This Politicized Life

While I was at my parents' for the break my niece showed me her new Beanie Baby, which reminded me that, hey, I have a Beanie Baby too! Of course I'd taken the tag off (like I always do—I can't stand wrappings and boxes between me and the material object), which means it has no resale value... though I suppose I wasn't going to resell my little Seaweed guy anyway.

I'd been meaning to write about said otter because this Beanie Baby question—the tags, the BB craze a few decades ago, my niece's yearning for a real dog, rediscovering objects from my childhood, etc.—managed to stay in the back of my mind since the holidays (and one of my New Year's resolutions has been to make time for low-stakes writing on the blog). But then with the combination of the start of the semester and the political happenings in the country, I was kind of like: screw it, I don't have time to be writing about no freakin' otter.

Sorry, Seaweed. I love you, even if I haven't politicized you...


Happy New Year 2017! / あけおめでござる。

Happy new year!—to those of you whose new year begins on January 1. I hope everyone's coming year is full of all sorts of joy and happiness.


For year 2017 I've made all sorts of interesting resolutions. For the first time in, like, 20 years, I'm not resolving to stop swearing (or even swear less). I've found that I just can't fucking do it, and besides, swear words are mere social constructions...


In Japan we have what's called a hatsuyume—or, the first dream of the year. It's typically the dream we have on the night of the 1st or the 2nd. Our hatsuyume is supposed to be a form of fortune-telling—if it's a good dream we savor it, and if it's a bad dream we find ways to dispel the bad fortune. For me, my hatsuyume was born out of all the planning I'd done a few days prior to make sure I'd be able to achieve several different goals during the year 2017.








After the Election

I think I'm ready to talk about the election now. Or, rather, about what will happen now that the election has ended, and ended the way it did. Or, rather, about what is happening, or what has been happening, since the primaries months and months ago.

But before that, I'm going to talk about my students. At the end of October, a couple of weeks before the election, my students from the Anime Club hosted a maid café. I'd never been to a maid café, even while I was living in Japan, so I was a bit tickled to be losing my maid café virginity here in California.

This maid café was a lot of fun, and very, very souped up. And get this—the students gave me an Attack on Titan scarf!! OK, supposedly I won it in a raffle, because paying for your entrance got you a raffle ticket (or two, I have no idea). But the raffle was rigged, I tell you—RIGGED!!! In fact, it was very Japanese of them to make it so that the club advisor won the raffle on the first go... kind of embarrassing, but very cute.


Cooking School / 料理教室

We've been watching Food Network's Worst Cooks in America on Netflix, and I'm starting to think that I should take my lack of cooking skills more seriously. With all the cookbooks in my house, I must be able to find explanations of basic cooking skills—cutting, boiling, baking, braising.

But what is so appealing about Worst Cooks is the presence of Chefs Anne and Bobby (at least in the seasons we've been watching)—entertaining people who are also really great chefs. The show gives me hope that, even for someone like me, a teacher may actually do the trick of teaching me to cook properly.


AAA #2: More Thoughts for the Application Stage of the Academic Job Search

It's...been over two months since I last wrote a post?! Well, I suppose I can pretend like I'd been actually "working" that whole time...

As we get closer to the early-ish deadlines for humanities jobs, I realized that I hadn't written about two specific documents that are (often) a part of the application packet submitted for job calls: the cover letter and the teaching statement.

These are, as always, my personal opinions—so do disregard what seems inappropriate for you or the jobs for which you are applying. I'll have more thoughts later about phone interviews and campus visits—which you will be offered if you do your due diligence, present yourself as fitting the position, and also have a heavy sprinkle of luck!


Drinking Coffee

At the 2007 CCCC I went to the exhibitors' hall on the last day and scored myself some free books. One of them was a short story collection by ZZ Packer titled Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, which I finished reading...finally, just a few days ago.

The collection is wonderful, and I hope you get to read it one day if you haven't already. Please don't think that it'll take you nine years to finish it—once I got started, I was done with it in just a few days.

The titular story is about a woman who enters an Ivy League school as a freshman and learns—and is made to reaffirm—all the injustices tied to being black, female, and queer (though she doesn't identify herself in all of those categories).