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Date:2009-08-04 15:41
Subject:Ten Years of Love Life, done in Mad Men Caricature
Security:Public

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Date:2009-05-19 23:19
Subject:celi-brate
Security:Public
Mood: exhausted

I've overdone it! I'm officially exhausted.
I will not start any new relationships for the foreseeable future, nor will I spread myself too thin with anything else. I won't get into numbers or details, but what I've put my heart and generosity through in the past six months or so has got me nothing but a case of emotional exhaustion. A rest now, resting up for a new way of doing things. I'm curing myself of acting on this damned impatience. I can see a good kind of patience now, and I can see it's the only thing left.

And I am beyond glad I am not going to Congress this year. Everyone I ran into today commented on how joyous and healthy I seemed, and while this was pretty true in the moments they noticed it, I am also a vulnerable little bowl of lemon pudding: sunshiny and feeling like I'm fumbling towards health for once, but self-protective against falling off the edge of the table out of sheer weariness at keeping a healthy consistency under such constant duress. So normally it's the kind of thing I love talking to myself about, going through: "Wow, Jess, look where you were a year ago at this conference, having an unprecedented nervous breakdown and hormone crisis. Reflect on everything that's changed since then. Look at all the things you no longer care about, and all the things you've cared about since." I usually love that kind of Wordsworthian reflection, but at this very moment I am simply too tired to force myself to marshal the cheer and fortitude. I've decided I have to stop taking my resilience for granted. I treat it like the proverbial bottomless bowl of porridge. I won't spend it like I have been lately. I want to save some; I like it. It looks like some of these things are very small things to spend it on; that tells you how taxed the resource is at the moment.

But I'm getting it back, and I'll get it back. I'm glad I saw what needed to be done before it was too late.

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Date:2008-09-25 23:32
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: happy

My new approach is working and I'm actually getting some work done, while still doing all the other creative work I want to do! Still have a daunting book review to write over the next couple of days, a conference paper to deliver next Friday, and an open mic and 200 cupcakes to make between now and then, but for once I'm bloody HAPPY.

New guitar is awesome. Got a deal and guidance and a trip to the store courtesy of THE MUSICIAN, of all people. What a saga.

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Date:2008-08-27 22:20
Subject:Masculinity and Guitars
Security:Public

Macho music scenes. This picture of The Band and a naked woman sums up so much of the kind of atmosphere I've found myself in off and on over the years, full bore again this year, and thus it also sums up so much of the horror that has accompanied my deeply ambivalent and long-standing love of rock and roll.
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Date:2008-08-21 10:55
Subject:Interview Meme!
Security:Public
Mood: hopeful

Here's a dandy little interview meme from edgecondition. Hooray for doing internets instead of work on a Thursday morning!

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Here are the rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you 5 questions of a very personal nature.
3. You will update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

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Date:2008-08-20 16:23
Subject:Notify my next of kin; this wheel shall explode
Security:Public

As it turns out, I think I'm resolving a lot of unresolved things about my life this month.
The whole PhD thing has been something I've been struggling with ever since I applied in a heartbroken rush and didn't get in and then did get in, all back in 05-06. This past year it almost all fell apart during comps: an ongoing identity crisis and unacknowledged freakout that I wasn't doing what I wanted to do with my life. These things kind of persisted into the summer even though I started getting excited about my work again, and I spent most of the summer being vaguely into my project but still not writing or reading much. The last couple of weeks I really sat down and faced the obstacles. I figured out that unless I see this as a creative endeavor, I'm not going to be able to sustain any level of productivity. If I start seeing it and treating it as an outlet for my creativity and passion and start working only to my own satisfaction, rather than some strange career imperative of the profession, then there's a chance I might be able to do some interesting work while I'm here, rather than be stuck in unhappy paralysis. A second benefit of this new approach unglues my unhappy paralysis in another way: if I let myself take a creative approach to my academic work, then it won't seem so at odds with my other life interests, namely being a musician and a cook. I've been beholden to my supervisor's belief that the only way to succeed is to sacrifice everything else in my life. This has meant I haven't spent much time on any of it, fun or business, because that prospect was depressing and paralysing. Now I've decided that if I can't succeed in academia while also being a well-rounded, creative person, then academia won't be for me and I'll go do something else when this degree is up.

I wrote a good song this summer. All this new contact with the music scene in this town this year has brought up a bunch of old baggage about being a musician: all the times I let misogyny get in the way of my doing music, all the social and musical rejection that I've had since Grade Eight, and all the times I disappointed myself by letting it get to me. Fuck them all, I've decided. I'm going to be a musician regardless of all the assholes that populate this scene and every other. The perennially-working-itself-out-situation with the Musician is actually illustrating to me how much older and stronger I am--there couldn't be a more representative figure of all the things in my life that have held me down in the past, and it's not working this time. Ha: and the song's about him, and I'm performing it at a bar tomorrow for some of his unwitting admirers, real Male Musician Scenemakers, the kind who've done projects with the guys from The Band. For crying out loud, spare me.

In other news, I'm gonna see Bob Dylan tonight! How much more Hamilton can you get than meeting a bunch of people at Tim Hortons and heading over to Copps Coliseum? This town kills me.

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Date:2008-08-02 09:30
Subject:you ask why i don't live here; honey, how come you don't move?
Security:Public

At last it is the weekend. Weekends don't really have much significance in the grad student lifestyle, but this one seems to put an end to the most romantically eventful week of my life.
I finally sorted things out with the musician at 4 in the morning on Monday night. Tuesday morning, I met this amazing man on the bus and had coffee with him. I broke up with my longtime pillow friend on Thursday afternoon, who sadly wanted it to go the other direction. On Friday I went for a hike and dinner with bus friend, who turns out to have a girlfriend. In between, all sorts of correspondence with all three. There may have been a moment during the week where I was seeing three people, and now I'm not seeing any, and I'm curiously satisfied with all of it. Lots of tying up of loose ends. Six months of pretty much dating two boys officially over, and at least a symbolic understanding gained of what else is possible. So I feel pretty good. So healthy. Now I just have to get back to the work I've been neglecting for weeks.

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Date:2008-07-04 13:21
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: indescribable

Woke up at five, and I won't go through all the mind-racing: it was all fairly ridiculous early-morning paranoia.
As I decided it would be okay that I wouldn’t sleep longer and the light grew I began to calm down. I spent an hour looking for a good passage to send Griffin as a thank you for sending me the link to the Frank O’Hara article. I ended up picking something, not quite eight in the morning, that could be construed as a love letter. But I didn’t care; I was so inspired by the easy queerness of his generosity that I wanted to reply in kind, even if it might not work on his end. Wouldn’t that have a Derridean beauty anyways: I already know it works because it so likely won’t; my phone call won’t get through, my letter will get lost. I picked a joyous passage about how we all love you and are invigorated by you even though, and maybe because, you are running off to get married. A crazy thing to send him, no doubt, but no crazier than that autumn night in 2006 when he stopped me in a wind storm to rave and rant at me for fifteen minutes out of the blue.
That done, I began to feel more and more elated, a song of myself in a sunny little apartment on a sunny morning. “I have an insane amount of things to do, and I don’t know how to do it all!” I thought to myself, but it felt like a song.

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Date:2008-05-08 15:21
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: exhausted

I'm so exhausted. It's like I've forgotten how to fall asleep. It's such an exciting time with the move and Cathy's baby (that still refuses to be born, against all odds!!!) and my dissertation getting some steam and trip to Vancouver and seeing the mathematician more... that I'm making myself ill and exhausted and lethargic with spiraling insomnia. It's extremely annoying.

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Date:2008-04-24 12:32
Subject:Baby
Security:Public

Now I can't concentrate at all-- Cathy's three centimetres dilated and her mucus plug's out. This event is gonna happen soon! Apparently, though, at this stage we are supposed to go about regular business until the contractions become un-ignorable. This is because trying to force labour is like trying too hard to have an orgasm-- you can slow down the whole works by doing that. So for now we all just pretend to work for a couple of hours.

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Date:2008-04-24 11:02
Subject:
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I'm very much considering starting a separate food blog. I know there are a million food blogs, but I have a feeling it would make me incredibly happy. Just "what I'm having for dinner" kinda stuff, plus those fancy baking occasions. And with summer coming the photos will be ace.
But first, I haven't done any work this week at all, and it's Thursday, and I now report to my supervisor every Friday. So I have to work now. I just had to google "hermeneutics"- one of those words I've been just skipping over for years. Turns out skipping it all those times didn't really preclude any eureka! moments after all...

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Date:2008-04-19 10:23
Subject:Hipsterific
Security:Public
Mood: amused

I went to a party in Toronto last night, ethiopian food and 50s dancing way hell and gone on Queen St. West. Toronto hipsters are so different from Hamilton ones. They have "real" jobs and lots more money and they get their hair cut at stylists. I wouldn't call myself a hipster necessarily, but I've been veering towards Hamilton hipsterhood in certain ways. In Hamilton, though, the fact that I have five dollar pants and cut my own hair brings me closer to hipsterhood automatically, without my explicit blessing. In Toronto those things were a little off. And all the hipsters in both towns seem to be shaving their big beards for the summer, which is dismaying...
Well, I'm off to have my Hamilton Hipster diner breakfast.

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Date:2008-04-17 10:42
Subject:Dissertation lulz
Security:Public
Mood: groggy

I have this strong urge to call the paper "Getting Caught with our Hands in the Meat Jar: Acknowledging and Transforming the Biopolitical Situation of Farm Animals."
But something about it seems a bit too Freudian, or something.

I'm just so stymied these days about willful ignorance. Just this morning I woke up to a CBC report about the seal hunt, and gathered that the European unrest over Canadian seal products is largely premised in discomfort over the image of a seal being clubbed and blood going all over the ice. But ostensibly there will be no problem buying seal products if the method used to kill the seal is humane, ie. a bullet to the brain. As the report noted, studies show that a seal dies about as quickly and with the same amount of pain whether it be well-placed skull crush or well-placed bullet. So what really is the issue here? Because I think the "humane" thing is a bit of a red herring. The study author said it herself: a clubbing death is comparable to a modern slaughterhouse death. The real issue here is the explicit nature of the violence in a clubbing death: we see the blood, we see the blow. We call things we can't see "humane"- it appears that in the rhetoric and discourse "humane" has nothing really to do with suffering, but with lack of spectacle. Wouldn't it be amazing if, more often, the information that a clubbing death is comparable to a modern slaughterhouse death engendered some kind of reflexivity and reflection about one's assemblage of agential practices upon the self? Instead of what we see more often, and that is a defiant location of responsibility outside of the self and thus a preservation of one's unthought-through set of self practices. People call this "righteousness"- I can't think of anything less righteous or right.

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Date:2008-04-15 13:41
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: anxious

Well, after two horrible nights of sleep I pulled it out yesterday and had my first good writing/reading day in months, but today is kind of falling apart. I'm trying to fight that impulse to give up on the day, but it's not working all that well.
I had horrible nightmares at 5 in the morning and had to read Steinbeck for an hour to get over them. Plus I think I have bedbug-related neuroses about sleep in general, which has not helped my sleeping whatsoever.
Things have settled down somewhat but I'm still surfing on this neverending wave of complicated Hamilton artist/academic community sociality that is both invigorating and draining, as usual. Had an interesting talk with my student (friend. it is the end of term now) about feeling like a loose cannon and how tiring it can be... also told him about the drama with the musician, which was an interesting thing to tell him since he's the whole reason I met the musician in the first place.
Because of my new earnest young art friends and the course I taught, I've been thinking so much about earnestness and irony and modernism, revisiting conclusions I came to about those things a couple of years ago. I'm kind of recapturing a certain youthful perspective I once had, but now I'm less fucked up and more experienced and can take it with a big grain of salt. It makes me happy, goddamn it.
Still not sure where things are heading with the guy I'm seeing, but next week I'm going to Waterloo for his birthday, so that should be interesting.
My friend will probably give birth within the next week or two, so just watched the Ricki Lake documentary on home birth, The Business of Being Born. Very interesting, and I'm much more informed and pro-home birth now. Which is a good thing if I'm going to attend one, I figure.

I'm disappointed in the day. I sure as hell hope the next three days go better so I can get a solid draft of my long proposal ready for Friday and have a carefree weekend.

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Date:2008-04-07 12:35
Subject:I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself
Security:Public
Mood: calm

I get the chance to dress like Dusty Springfield for a party on Friday. I am a lucky girl, indeed.
Photobucket

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Date:2008-04-04 17:14
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: mellow

I think things are looking up!
I am very thankful that my wisdom teeth extraction went as well as it possibly could have yesterday. I have the tiniest of aches in my jaw and generally feel fine, and the mouth looks calm and neat. But still zonked enough that I can justify just hanging around my apartment for the near future, eating soup and soy ice cream. After the past few months of stress and rollercoastering, I don't know what else I could ask for, frankly.
And it seems that all my relationships are going quite well. Casual jovial normalcy with the musician; pleasant, exciting, level-headed, reasonably-paced courting with the mathematician. And lots of good friend contact. And a surprisingly understanding and collegial and patient supervisor. And fantastically sweet co-workers: my co-TA just dropped by with applesauce, DVDs, soy pudding, soy chai smoothie, and soup. And a girl in my program returned my pastry bag today with a leftover piece of vegan chocolate cake. I feel like an extremely lucky girl. The world is treating me nicely and I feel like I should return the favour somehow. For now I am going to make white bean and roasted garlic soup.

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Date:2008-03-31 12:54
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: lethargic

I gave sixty days notice on my apartment today!
The things I will not miss about living in city housing are also the things I will kind of miss: the old guys who call me Jackie, the pharmacy downstairs full of methadone patients and old unhealthy widows buying canned soup, all the people in motorised scooters, the chatty crackheads, the dirty elevators, the old guy in the lobby with the cat on the leash that asks me why I'm not wearing shorts every day of the winter, chatting with the guy on my floor about all his operations, trying to get my neighbour's german shepherd to like me. All this adds up to a certain kind of community feeling that I remember from my childhood neighbourhood, that palpable feeling of everyone just trying to get by, and the certain brand of camaraderie that comes with that.

I can't entirely say I'll miss Drunk Bob coming on to me, or all my missing mail, or the constant preventative bedbug sprayings, or the constant false fire alarms set to Senior Awareness volume levels, or the racism against the filipino social/domestic helpers and the asian international students that the seniors perennially try to implicate me in. Or keeping a lookout for the return of the woman who thought a girl named Cathy lived in my apartment who needed to be fed, and ended up throwing half of a dumpster-dived ham sandwich into my apartment as I tried to close the door after politely trying to disabuse her of the notion I needed food. All those things I can do without.

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Date:2008-03-30 16:00
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: contemplative

I'm spending the day reading the novel I have to teach this week, but letting myself think a fair bit as well. There's some kind of Wordsworthian tranquil reflection to the day. The past eight months or so have had little of that; too much going on. I think I need a calm mind to start on my dissertation again, so I'm glad things seem to be settling down. I'm supposed to be submitting a new prospectus/outline/proposal round about tomorrow, but I've decided to be a bit easy on myself and wait another couple of weeks, until my wisdom teeth are out and I'm have more time to myself to sort things out.

And I've decided to move! I think this is a very good decision. When you move into a certain place only planning to stay a year, and then resign yourself to embarking on year four, it can be an unhealthy feeling. I realised that my decision to stay had been a knee-jerk response to my disappointment in my dad's all-too-typical flip flop on the investing in a dinky little house with me. So I'll just move into a different apartment instead, which will also improve my other problem of having a lack of decent workspace during the year, since now I'll have a bedroom and thus a free desk to read and muse at.

I had another date with the mathematician from out of town this week, and my misgivings about the complexity of the whole situation are working themselves out. I made chocolate chip cookies and blueberry pancakes and roasted homefries and we had a lazy carbfest to beat all lazy carbfests: a lovely time, in short. So maybe things will be a little more sane on that front, now that the fucked-up musician is pretty firmly out of the picture.

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Date:2008-03-25 22:39
Subject:produce
Security:Public
Mood: tired

I'm almost thankful for the flu; I have an excuse to lay low and take care of myself for once.
Today at the market I bought asparagus, choy sum, onion, garlic, strawberries, pineapple, potatoes, green beans, rutabaga, red pepper.
Now I'm going to go to bed so happily, with plans to work tomorrow.

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Date:2008-03-13 15:18
Subject:
Security:Public
Mood: hopeful

After getting in after midnight on Monday night, I had an epic Tuesday that included my first public performance in a year and a half, and a rare meeting with my supervisor. He was amazingly generous about my current malaise, which I appreciate. I have to get excited about my work again, but I think after my despairing post-comps month off, I'm finally getting there. I'm trying to approach it indirectly, focusing on books you can buy in airports, things like No Country for Old Men and Temple Grandin's stuff. So that it might get rewired as organic and enjoyable in my head.
Hopefully my last bedbug treatment today. I hate being exiled from my own house. Exiled to a coffeehouse as they have apparently decided not to sufficiently heat campus today. Purchased warmth.
Over the next three days, two shows to go to and a birthday party. Making a lemon cake tomorrow!
I've come to discover that my quest for honesty means that I tend to come on like a ton of bricks in all sorts of social situations. Technically this is good, but it could be overwhelming for people.

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