No more dithering.

October 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

At the very last minute, with no ready plot and no characters, I signed up for nanowrimo.  High in the air with no net, but what the hell.

Everything I want to post about

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

is terrifically depressing. I am completely freaked about this election–no limits on corporate spending at all. Isn’t this how societies decline, a small group of (horrible) committed individuals hijack the political process while the rest of us spend ten years muttering “they’re so wrong–if only we could just get our message across. I don’t know how anyone could believe the filth coming out of their mouths.”

These people hate us, and by these people I mean the Koch brothers and all the other mega-capitalists who make their money on human suffering and death. The tea partiers are just the idiotic shock-troups, raised on hate and fear and a sneaking sense that it’s all getting away from them now. Why not stomp on a woman’s head? Undoubtedly she had it coming (they always do).

And look who’s leading in the Illinois gubernatorial race? A pure ideologue, perfect in his hate of me and mine, you and yours.

I don’t know how to stop this…decline is not the word. I don’t know how to stop this horrific, torrential corruption of all this is good.

Good lord, the next post will have to be about knitting or an interview or something. This is why I like to focus in on the small, the micro, the biographical–the macro is just too much.

Probably I am not driving to Milwaukee.

October 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

But still, why does the amazing and wonderful Woodland Pattern bookstore send me a list of their October events…today?

I sacrifice for knowledge.

October 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

I cannot draw. It is like I am six.

Really, those are fingers, really?

unfun things my students say to me

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

“I want to k… hug you.”

“You know I’ve always been intrigued by you.”

“What are you doing this evening? I bet you have special plans.”

“Jen, hon, I need to talk to you honey, okay? Call me back. Talk to you soon hon.”

Verbatim. All within the past two weeks. It is endless, and it wears me out.

my job and the blog title

October 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

I work as an academic advisor at a state university here in Chicago. I should put the “state” in quotes, because my school receives less and less funding every year.  This year for the first time ever the State of Illinois has funded less than half of the University’s budget, just 48 percent. There are multinational corporations, they-pocket-the-profits-we-pocket-the-expense corporations (and banks), that are subsidized at that rate.  Sometimes they get more.

Labor relations are getting very ugly at my school, and people are starting to get concerned that we might be facing our second strike in eight years. It’s a total fucking mess, and it’s the students who will be hurt the most. Some of the staff and adjunct faculty would be right behind them though, hurtwise. (As a total aside, I had a high school English teacher who abhorred the use of “wise.” He hated all “izes,” prioritize, capitalize, incentivize.  Maybe he was on to something there, but still he was the kind of guy who would refer to his wife as “the hairy buffalo.” So this one’s for you Mr. C.)

I’m getting pretty bummed out about universities in general, and the Chronicle of Higher Education isn’t helping any. This sucks so hard, because I like helping my students make their lives better. It thrills me when they graduate and go on to do things they wouldn’t have been capable of or allowed to do before graduation.  I live for those moments when someone who has been taught her whole life that she is not capable of learning and deserves the shit our country heaps on her, when this someone, 40 or 50 or 60 years old opens up and discovers within herself a depth and richness of mind that had been denied to her because of poverty and racism and gender-violence. This is what I live for in my job, those moments when I am so incredibly privileged to watch people come into their own.

These people cannot afford any more disruption to their educations. But our state would rather spend millions torturing people in solitary confinement than to fund educations even for the young. Forget the middle-aged and the old.

What I do in my particular job at my particular university is to try to help people steer their lives to safety. So that then they may shine, I really mean this, in their own radiance. So that they have the power to go on and do for others. So that we may rebuild our communities and our city and our world. It’s a stretch, I know.

If you look at the “about” section of this blog, you’ll see a couple of quotations that pretty much explain why I’m writing here. What I do in my day job though is, to quote Ulrich Beck, seek “biographical solutions to systemic contradictions.” And I’m pretty good at it.  But it’s not enough.

mud

October 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hungary red sludge flood | World news | guardian.co.uk.

These images are from October 5th, but a second wave of toxic sludge is inevitable, there’s no telling how much the sludge will pollute the Danube, and people are working frantically to contain the second spill.  Kolantár, the town that was killed, is a thousand years old.

At least the Hungarians arrested the director of the company responsible for the spill.  The U.S. hasn’t done even that much with BP.

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