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Sundowner

Dec. 29th, 2009 | 11:45 am

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I feel really sad right now. This despite having a great few days seeing friends, seeing art, seeing the outside of my step-dad's house. I'm not sure if it was coming home at dusk as the sun was setting, turning rapidly into night, or if it was all the conversations about Scott I had with our friend Jim. I spent last night in Long Beach, very close to our old neighborhood. I was ok with being in LB. What I hadn't accounted for was the car ride down Ocean Blvd. right past Scotty's old place. It didn't help that Jim felt like talking about him. I've written before that Jim has a very gruff detached way of talking about things that would upset most people. As we drove along the coast down Ocean Blvd I craned my head around to see the facade of his old bldg, decorated with lights, I tried to see his door from the road. Instantly when I looked I was flooded with memories. Actually he's been on my mind this week. Xmas eve was his birthday which in Xmas' past meant a precarious balance of easing him into allowing me to do some low key unobjectionable ways of acknowledging his birthday without acknowledging or participating in Xmas. Since we would be skipping Xmas. The last year he was alive I coaxed him into having lunch at Jim's. Jim cooked chicken cordon bleu, haricot vert, and mesclun salad. I biked over to a Japanese bakery to get a strawberry shortcake, which I somehow got to Jim's without Scott's knowledge. The cake was a lite surprise and by the time I eased him into accepting the meal he was in a sufficiently good enough space to allow the cake to be served. I think I was doing it more for myself than him truth be told. Scott would say, "I don't deal in symbols Toro." I on the other hand go out of my way to let friends know I love them. Maybe I was doing it for myself to reassure myself that I loved Scott. I wondered all this as we drove past 8408 Ocean Blvd. apt. 4, Long Beach, CA.


Car ride home. Report. Over dinner the conversation catch up drifted into dead friends. I asked him about a woman friend of his who's husband had died suddenly about a year ago. I asked how she was doing. We ended up talking about autopsies and it came out that I had ordered Scott's autopsy report but had not had any desire to open it. Jim's friends report was 5 pages and he had read it for the wife. Scott's was 30 something pages based on the per page cost I believe. Jim said he'd be interested in reading it and if there were anything he thought I might want to know he'd tell me. And, just like that I let it go, made the decision without much thought, to let the envelope be opened. Mind you I've been mired in depression so I was walking around with that slightly shocked feeling. It's like being under shallow water. Everything is filtered. I didn't even call my sisters or brothers. I really need to go back to my life in Santa Cruz. This visit has been all about endurance. Enduring my step-dad's freezing cold house, empty pantries, and callous nature. I actually fought with him on Xmas about going grocery shopping. He was irritated beyond belief that I was interrupting his TV time. The only acknowledgment that this was Xmas was when he told me I didn't need to prepare his dinner because he would be going out for Xmas dinner. It's been like being trapped here. My bank account continues to accrue fees for being overdrawn. I'm at $300 and counting plus the $100 overdraft. My school money will come in any day now but fuck knows when.

There have been moments of happiness. I was invited to have lunch with Sister Dirrtie's family the day after Xmas. It was really lovely spending time in their home. It's so home and so family and so not dysfunctional or callous. I forget how nice it is to be around that competent mom energy. I think my observations of my own mom and step dad have taught me to loathe hetero male privilege. I was happy at MOCA too. Jim was a little under the weather and we contemplated postponing it. Once we actually got there and I was in my element I completely forgot everything. MOCA was doing a massive retrospective so photography was allowed virtually everywhere. I realized during this visit that photography really brings me a huge amount of joy. I spent more time photographing/documenting art than I did actually viewing it or taking it in. The depression was demotivating. The size and breadth of the show was overwhelming for someone like me who like to focus on the minutae and read each and every description. It didn't help that most descriptions also included quotes. Of course I got stuck on those too. More so than the art work. A lot of paitings I had seen multiple times so it wasn't till we went over to the Geffen contemporary that I really had an awakening. I immediately felt in my element and very much alive. Almost everything I was seeing thrilled me and stimulated me. I saw way more profound art than I did shit. Even the Koons piece they chose was interesting.

Jim dropped me off in the evening. Last night. Yesterday evening. I ran upstairs and fished behind one of my paintings under the cloth wrap, to find the ziplock bag full of letters and certificates, many I'd forgotten I had. I gave Jim the envelope and said goodnight. Now we wait. It's a waiting game. In a few days I'll be returning back to my life, returning back to life.

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When I sat down in front of this piece it attracted another photographer and we ended up playing in the mirrors with our cameras

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A Sense of One's Own Power at Solstice Time

Dec. 21st, 2009 | 12:56 pm

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A sense of my own power is my recurrent theme this Winter Break. It was in the 30's, stormy, and wet when I left Santa Cruz last Friday morning. My final final was scheduled for Thursday evening at 4:30 or 5:00 but I had it confused with my other final which occured at 7:00 p.m. I was sitting in my room going a little crazy with building anxiety. For some reason I ignored my rapid cognition telling me to double check the time or my school e-mail. So it wasn't till after 6 when I noticed two e-mails from my professor:

Thu, 10 Dec 2009 16:26

Where are you? We are in Baskin taking the final.

Worried,
DLS

I received this e-mail because of the personal relationship I built with the professor. Sitting in the front row. Chatting after class and during office hours. E-mailing interesting things. And, mentoring 5 other students for the final. I flew down the trail in the pouring rain on my bike adrenaline coursing through my body so that holding a pen much less writing became an out of body experience. The professor and my TA both rushed out of the auditorium to greet me with great relief. I calmly told them about the time mistake and they immediately set me up with the profs laptop at the podium to begin the image ID portion of the exam. They both joked about the irony, me being the arguably most prepared for the material. I knew some of the upcoming images based on questions on the prompt even before they were shown on the tiny screen so I was able to finish this portion of the exam in under 20 minutes. As students thanked the prof for a great course and embarked on their winter breaks I collected my exam prepared to hand it in incomplete. The prof matter of factly and casually for that matter said, lets go to my office (at my college) to finish the exam. The mood in her office was jovial as TA's held stacks of exams in hand and brunch plans the following morning were made. I on the other hand was feeling the rain and cold in my lactic acid filled muscles and joints still aware that I had almost 90 minutes of exam to complete. The prof set me up again with her laptop in her office, admonishing me not to touch the buttons as the identification info was attached to each powerpoint slide. Then she left me as she spoke to someone on her mobile in perfect french. I could barely tune it out. I was simultaneously stressed to the maximum with the exam in front of me and charmed and intriugued by my teachers glamorous conversation. The last hour of the exam consisted of two essay questions, 30 min for each. My prof was hungry and told me she was going into town for greek food and that I should just close the laptop and begin the final portion when I was ready. She then closed the office door and left me alone for more than an hour.

I posted a status update about the experience and my former history professor and boss (when I was a TA) responded with this comment:

Torito...Your amazing integrity and engaging personality saved your butt! If you're anything like the student you were at SAC (and my guess is you're 10 times like that) no wonder your prof made the exception :)

Which brings everything full circle. The theme that keeps recurring to me. A sense of my own power. The relationships I build. Or put plainly my like-ability. It has been an asset throughout my adult life. Since finding my tribe in San Francisco I think, and learning how to "be," a better person.

Some other things occurred at school this quarter. I am amazed at how much I managed to accomplish. I'm not by nature a self starter. I just get bored or perhaps scared into action and while I'm in motion, unaware of how assertive I can be, I get shit done. Its not hard to do in the University. The quarter system accelerates everything. If you don't go home and push through your exhaustion and read 60-120 page for class the next day you get excoriated in front of the class and you feel like a loser. I connected with someone from my junior college. I knew him peripherally through a friend who was very active in student government and also helped me run the Gay Straight Alliance. He's at Berkeley now and doing remarkably well. So, I knew this guy peripherally but we were always cordial. I saw him at UCSC and we were immediately warm to one another. If for no other reason than it was remarkable and lovely to see another brown face among the sea of white ones. He got me gung ho on this program that pairs you with a faculty member to do your own research or theirs. UCSC being a UC school all professors have to be doing research and writing books. I lagged on everything and didn't even read the application till a week or less than the deadline. Which is why I went into a panic when I realized that I needed two recommendations from faculty and ideally I needed to identify a faculty to work with, though not necessary it would only help me and strengthen my application. So I did everything last minute. The application deadline was a Friday and I didn't have a meeting with my professor till the Tuesday following. Still the program coordinator was gung ho for me to be a part of this and aside from the heavy heavy coaching (again due to the lack of diversity on campus, the program she works with serves theses students) I reached out to the very few people I knew. I knew a fill in professor, a professor who was going on leave, and the History of Art and Visual Culture chair who I'd actually met with at the beginning of the quarter to do ed planning. That left only the chair to ask. As soon as I'd sent the e-mail I was filled with regret. I thought, what in the hell have I done. It would be like a receptionist asking a CEO to mentor them. So I was in shock when she agreed to meet with me and with little sleep at 9 a.m. and on auto-pilot I charmed her as I presented my case and simultaneously spoke about my love for art and picking things apart (analysis/deconstruction). I brought my statement of purpose and personal essays with me, which she actually took the time to read. I have a feeling those really sealed the deal. Even when writing for academic purposes I still manage to employ all those emotional hooks which I've learned from watching Disney films and observing cinematography in general. I do it unconsciously at this point but the papers had their own performative aspect to themselves. Thank you Mrs. Hallback from the hell that was 6th grade for developing my creative writing skills. (I say this as I sit in my step-fathers house across the street from the grade school I attended, age 10 and 11). So what does this mean in plain english? The department chair, a Yale grad, is really incredibly well connected in the art world. A boon no doubt. But, I have years of experience of self-actualization and a pedigree of sage teachers and experiences. I have a feeling while I'm helping her research her two upcoming books I'll be helping her in other ways. After all learning helps us to learn about ourselves. I only hope I can live up to expectations and standards.

This concludes the personal narrative education recap portion. Now we delve into the more personal. Love and life and travails, er I mean travels.

I haven't written about the Lonnie situation for months now. I didn't want to write about till I had reached some resolution. Did I write about the big falling out? I can't imagine that I didn't. I was feeling all emotional at the time at the prospect of this friend not being in my life. (he used friend...) I said some things. I said anything to get him to talk to me. I said things he wanted to hear. About the middle of the fall quarter I began to feel that creeping annoyance that turns into resentment. I clearly chose school over anything else including maintaining a long distance friendship. The contact became less incessant. The chats died down. My bitchiness signaled for him to back off and give me some space. I get really short when I'm exhausted. Whereas there is some veneer of filter in my normally opinionated pronouncements there is absolutely none when I'm stretched thin. Still there was the pre-planned Thanksgiving visit, which was totally disruptive. While I am one to compartmentalize, when it comes to relationships I cannot just subjugate that stuff and act as if nothing is occurring inside. It quickly came to the surface. Lonnie being Lonnie, emotionally impulsive and childish, he had a tantrum. Thank goodness the campus was literally deserted. I was livid over the behavior. It all came to a head in a really loud, not on my part but still, fight in the upstairs bathroom. I took advantage of the outrageous situation to lay it all on the line. I told him I said the things I said for the wrong reasons. I told him that I had finally had a sense of ownership living on campus. I no longer felt like a visitor. I was cognizant that fulfilling my dream of going away to University came at the cost of Scott taking his life. That is neither here nor there. It just is. A flat fact. I told him that I had not missed him since moving away and that this was my life now. I wasn't coming back. Orange County, it even makes me shudder to type it, was a necessary punishment for the choices I made in my life. A stepping stone for my real life. Albeit I would not have met Scott had I not moved home and gone to community college but Northern California has and always will remain my true spiritual home. But I digress. It felt good to get this stuff out. Bluntness is the best way. Authenticity and honesty are the best way. All pretense ripped away we could move on. I was nonplussed with the episode and aside from spelling it all out I told Lonnie to, "pack his f**cking bags and leave." I understand that he's emotionally immature but to not be able to control your emotions in the context of a school residence hall where his actions could seriously f**k up my situation crossed a line. I have to admit on some level it also felt a relief to say this. It was like a reset button. I didn't mention that the reason we were in the bathroom/shower room was to get ready for a night out. The monthly gay mens gathering in town. I really meant what I said but I was also remaining calm. Maybe most people would have freaked out but I'm used to these kinds of explosive situations. This was pretty calm by comparison. No police were involved. No one bloodied themselves. No ones hands were set on fire. No one plunged their burning hands into the toilet to extinguish the flames. Yeah, I suppose this is not normal but I've not lead a normal life. Lonnie calmed down and apologized as he always does after these episodes. I flatly told him if it happened again there would be real consequences. I was pretty confident it wouldn't happen again. We went out with a friend who was also on campus. We drank and smoked way too much and had a nice evening. So nice that I lost the entire next day owing to being hung over. Disruption. Self fulfilling prophecy. Torturous 14 hours at the computer the next day writing papers.

We've been spending time together since my return to Orange County. I've had to redefine boundaries and its been a negotiation. I don't want to shit on anyone's Xmas and I don't want to be alone. It's been trying. Lonnie had another fit but it was pretty minor. No real yelling. A few harsh words but resulting in a real hard line resolution this time. These things take time and I've been a willing participant. I am not a cruel person after all and our friendship underneath all of this is genunie. Everyone is looking for love it seems. Except for me. I've closed that part of myself off a long time ago. I'm happier. As I've said ad nauseum its not something I have any control over, why expend the spent wasted energy. Still I have been conscious of missing Scott quite a bit lately. Maybe its the holiday time or being with friends outside the context of the maddening pace of school. Speaking of which. I spent the first night here in So Cal in a dirty seedy club reconnecting with an old coworker from my mad End Up days. He was head bartender and I was doorman. We've both come along way. We've had a few falling outs and a few patch ups. I now have a place to visit in NY. The following day I was dragging. I forgot to mention Forrest. My teenage friend. Forrest was with me. I always love seeing him. We had such a long stretch without one another in each others lives. We had a lot of stuff to work out before we could come together. When I was younger I was so afraid of being alone that I clung to our friendship. Even as I had this feeling of him being torn away from me as he entered into several long term relationships. I was not aware of the enduring love affair I would have with Capricorns and the powerful relationship the two signs have when they come together. Forrest was my first and Scott was my last but there have been many. Each and every one engaging and oh so fulfilling. When I was in SF last weekend I ran into an old friend, one of the lost children we took into our Haight St home. He remarked over lunch, "you were Forrest's case manager weren't you?" I never framed it in those terms before. I never thought that when I called his doctor or social worker and pretended to be him because it was just easier to get shit done that I was doing that. I guess I took care of everyone in my life at that time, like a big mother. I love(d) those days/daze. It's always emotional for me to connect with Forrest now. I see the effect of being a long term survivor has had on him. Though nowdays these things are chronic and manageable. Maybe its age that I'm seeing. I see that he and other friends have not coped as well. I want us all to grow together and to grow older gracefully and beautifully. It gives me a sense of mortality seeing these friends that I've known for 10 and 20 years, like my parents who aged visibly every time I visited with them. We spent the day in Disneyland. A whole blissful wonderful day together with some friends from school. A 19 and a 20 year old but they're nerds like me so we connect and age does not appear to be an issue, though I am always and constantly filtering what I say based on my own different experience. At the end of our day riding rides and running around I forced everyone to stop and view the spectacular fireworks show. I am a sucker for these things. They narrate and score them for maximum emotional impact and it works like a charm on me every-time. I have known that familiar soothing storybook teller voice since I was a little tiny boy and it still holds the same power to render me childlike even now. I attempted to film the experience. As is my desire to convey these sorts of things with others. I found myself filming Forrest experiencing the show. I was very conscious of what I was doing. Scott accused me of what he called engaging in meals remembered. That is, not being in the moment. Incessantly wanting to record and capture these poignant experiences instead of experiencing them. He was right. I did want to record this moment for future use and I was wholly aware that while I was observing the moment I was cherishing the idea that I'd be able to experience it again and again like my favorite tear jerker film. I've always done these things but more so now after having lost so many friends and having lost Scott. It's perverse but its a kind of perversion I can live with. Our technology allows us to mediate these things. I may as well mediate something for myself while we're all busy uploading, posting, and micro-blogging. Therein lies the power of the self. In a meta way I am mediating my own experiences but also cataloging them for my own use. Maybe I watched scanners one too many times.

taken

I hadn't intended to write so much. I should also mention my weekender in San Francisco. It was lovely and grey and wet and perfect. I got to spend three glorious days reconnecting with my ate dexter. It worked out perfectly that we were out with friends and then home in the wee hours to have a nightcap and conversation. It really did feel like staying up late with my brothers or sisters, chatting away into the wee hours as we drifted off to sleep with one another. I really value and appreciate having him in my life. Our relationship is one of those fluid ones where we pick up where we left off no matter the distance or time. A true friendship. Which reminds me. I met with my old roommate and best friend Paul at the Eagle for beer bust. He kept introducing me as his dogs mother. Awwww. We raised this beatiful pit ridgeback mix together and she still lives with him. Bodhi. Bodhi was/is an emotional healer and she saw me thru some bad times, as did Paul for that matter. So it was really lovely to come together, older and with stability in one anothers lives. I think of all the beerbusts when I worried about my ensemble and stressed about where I would position myself not wanting to be alone without friends. All the Sundays of my youth. From the minute I walked up the Eagle and ran into Paul and friends outside I had this sense of well being. I was very happy to go here and there, even alone at times saying hello and speaking to strangers. I had a sense of my own power. I felt beautiful and attractive and charming and in my own element. The bar could have been anywhere or anyplace. The important thing was it was a backdrop for old friends to reconnect and have fun. I stayed out much later than I had planned. I drank more than I planned. I kissed a very attractive man, also unplanned. Then I had a lovely walk back to Dexter's. A San Francisco walk through my old neighborhoods past the bars I tended and the shops I worked and the old flats I lived in. But, this time I had a sense that I was ok and that everything and everyone was ok.

Space Mtn

So now here I sit in my step-dad's living room typing away furiously. The sky is cloudy and its cold and the Solstice is upon us. I adore this kind of weather! This atypical So Cal weather, this Nor Cal weather. I don't have a longing sense for Xmas nor do I have a dread about it. I attended my old Survivors of Suicide group yesterday at the Crystal Cathedral. It happened to be the end of year group that precedes the candlelight service on the 13th floor, lol. The tower of hope where we meet has a 13th floor! It was a very loose unstructured group and people streamed in late. We actually managed to get through each persons story. We all adhered to the 3 minute rule, though it seemed like less. I myself told an abbreviated version of my story and punctuated it with, it was very lovely to come back to this group where I spent a year of my life, to find some continuity and continuation, to meet a family who was only a month into their grieving who had found the group a great salvation. I also shared that a year of bereavement group and SOS group and a year and half of life since May 15th, 2008, and I was now at a point where I could reflect on my own experience and help others. This is a good feeling. Feeling whole. Feeling wiser. Feeling ready to resume being a formless field of benefaction. Feeling ready to resume being a part of life. Happy Solstice and Yule everyone.

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I heart Tam

Dec. 8th, 2009 | 08:44 pm

I've been either too mad with class work or the blues to write though I've had stuff to share. Thanksgiving was both a small blessing and a test of endurance.

Today was a special day. One of those days that touches your soul in a way that lets you know both that you are connecting with people and that there is goodness in the world. Hoping to pick up a few hours b4 the quarter ends I rang up my immediate boss and asked about coming in. I wasn't sure what she had planned or even in what capacity I'd be coming into the Queer Ctr as a trip to the bargain bin, something we've been trying to do for a few weeks, was mentioned. Turned out our big boss was later and later arriving till she confirmed she would not be in at all. Which meant no use of her car and no outing into the frigid outdoors away from the cozy heated cabin. Another favorite kindred spirit, a bad girl kind, came in and made the most amazing carrot potato soup. I know it sounds weird but it was divine. A few students came in to study and eat but for the most part we spent a really lovely day together and covered a lot of emotional ground. At one point the topic got onto the E-Z Bake Oven and I told my Christmas story. Elia and I were both tearing up as I talked about receiving one after wishing and waiting 29 years. I could barely tear the wrapping paper when the sight of the pink box sent me into paroxysms of violent sobbing. My roommates thought they'd done something horrible to me. I had quite a few moments like that today. When you feel touched emotionally. These connections and moments are more poignant for me these days. I've come to realize that what really touches me is when I'm helping someone. My immediate boss announced to me recently that she was breaking up with her girlfriend of 10 years. To complicate things they have a 4 year old child together. I keep using boss because the Japanese in me loves to delineate titles and rank and part of me fetishizes politeness and observance of it but it would be more accurate to call her my friend. I've been trying to be emotionally supportive to my friend Tam. Partly because it breaks my heart to think of my friend in such pain or anyone for that matter. But, I also feel like being so close to the process of loss, or the healing after loss, myself I can benefit others by at the very least just listening to them. In my own dark moments I didn't really know what to do so I just reached out to people. That connection, just being able to tell someone or speak to another person was meaningful in some way. I say meaningful because it would be trite to say it made me feel better. It would be more accurate to say it allowed me to endure something very uncomfortable. Like the vulnerable naked feeling of the floor being ripped out from under you. Do I fetishize pathology? Does the Mexican in me (the culture of hearsay and death and gore) love the drama of life? It was so terribly uncomfortable for me, not just Scott but all the plethora of experiences with loss, that I hate to think of my friend being in that place without any guidance. Yeah, she's a Gemini. Although quite your dominant lesbionic archetype like most of my Gemini friends, needs constant reassurance, either through negotiation or dialog aka processing. And ya'll know I am a process queen. My inner lesbian loves processing because I can never shut my mind off save for Ambien or some other pill. My boss, my friend enjoyed my company as well. I do enjoy habitating the stable dependable earthy grounded masculine role. That's the inner mother in me. I'm best when I feel needed and nurturing.

We're going to the Bargain Bin tomorrow bright and early at 9:45. If all goes well and we have use of a car. Will try and take some snapshots.

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speed can break your heart

Nov. 23rd, 2009 | 04:50 pm

I'm sitting in my dark residence hall room with the lights off. Just got off the phone with an old friend from Seattle. He called to inform me of the death of a mutual friend that occured this morning. I don't know if its the call or the fact that it came from Seattle or the circumstances he died under. I suspected even before I was told. All misery emanates from Seattle. This friend enjoyed occasional forays into the bathhouses of Seattle where he would spend days twacked out on speed. I've certainly been there on my fair share of occasions. I don't know that I'm so much shocked by the death but by the circumstances having touched and been so close to that world. Its something I've not spoken or written about. Towards the end of my time in Seattle I spiraled down into a bad place. I was desperately lonely and found the only people who come out in the winter time are the druggy monsters. They didn't scare me per se as much as being that out of control, being that close to death or madness. Madness I suspect more but perhaps the line is the same. I definitely have not reached a place where the chill of death does not still terrify me. I still think about and miss Scott almost daily, certainly in a meaningful way several times a week. I spend so much time covering for my life filled with experiences, being surrounded by 18 year olds, that I don't think this is something I can really reveal to anyone around me. Save for my roommates but we're in our own microcosm here in our room.

There's other stuff going on but I am stretched so bloody thin I just don't have the time to write. Forgive me. Quality over quantity. 2 more weeks of the quarter then winter break. Then, perhaps more entries or at least reflection.

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A mixed bag day

Nov. 12th, 2009 | 12:00 am

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I actually posted a really nasty message encapsulating what I thought of UC Santa Cruz having construction work occurring on a federal holiday. It was not pleasant to be awakened by jackhammering at 7 a.m. I also completed the hardest paper I've ever written. I'd elaborate but I'm too wiped. I forced myself to take a break and go for a walk with my roommate (who's relatively near my age) and some younger friends. We visited the infamous Tree 9 above College 9. It was super easy to climb but my fear of heights made me afraid to climb much higher than the ladder. Afterward we visited the wish tree. It was fun reading wishes out loud. Some guy offered us notebook paper and pen so I left a very personal and probably disturbing "wish" for someone to find barring rain. I still am always amazed at the beauty of this campus each and everytime I step outside.

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Place of equilibrium aka kids f*ck off!

Oct. 16th, 2009 | 10:32 pm

Wrote this Friday night. I was heartened to overhear some seniors remarking that there was an inordinate amount of douchebags this quarter.

I've been bothered about not writing time and again and I think about it all the time. I tell myself I'll write an entry tomorrow and make it really good to make up for it. I thought the paralytic depression I felt in OC would dissipate once I arrived at this magical destination in (my) life the University. I was all smiles and sweetness and light at first. We were all in a collectively good mood with excitement and newness and fun. Here at the art college where I live there is always music and singing and jam sessions at all hours in the courtyards and halls. Just this week we had a massive naked run in honor of the first rain of the season. 600 or so teens gathered in our commons then took off with collective chants, bagpipes, drums, and such trying to gather other naked students from other colleges. I learned something. A university is a collection of colleges. Here we have at least 10 all connected by lush forested redwood groves and wooded land. The deer are so abundant and ubiquitious that they seem to have little fear of humans. Just tonight I stumbled upon 2 as I ascended science hill on my way home. I tried to see how close I could get before they reacted. I got about 15' and crouched down. The deer looked at me perplexed for about a full minute before skirting away. The raccoons come out in packs of 3 or 5 as well and they just saunter past you as you walk from dining hall to residence hall. All the animals look so robust here.

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Cantú Queer Center (radio station next door)

So why the change of heart? Why the sudden entry? A lot of great things have happened to me here in a short time. It would seem almost as if I were leading a charmed life here. I volunteered my time at the Queer Center and was offered a work study job which has been a lifeline and hilight of my weeks. The center and the crazy inclusive way they work is so welcoming and affirming. They even feed you and encourage you to nap on the couches which is so cozy since its housed in a huge A frame cabin with a picture window view of a redwood grove on a hillside. My boss is this incredibly fabulous turned on lesbian who looks like Jenny Shimizu and moves with such grace. She was a very succesful modern dancer before becoming a cool mom 2 years ago. The kind of mom who busy Gaultier baby and elucidates gender theory. She's asian like me so there's that affinity comfort level as well. I really love spending time with her and am really enjoying our friendship. Funny enough the first night I worked for the center was the night of their open house. She and a friend asked me out to the weekly gay night which while fun has elements of raucous frat party like every venue here in this college town. But the funny part is that neither of us had eaten before the open house so we were drinking like fish on empty stomachs. We had a funny episode. Ended up at Denny's. She had issues with being so plastered in front of me and wouldn't look me in the face but the next day did not remember much past leaving the bar much less why she woke up sleeping in her daughters bed. No biggie for me but it took her a while to get over the embarrassment. It was a good bonding episode. Since then there have been a few other events. I attended a Queer Leadership retreat overnight. It was pretty amazing although weird playing 10 fingers the truth game with sexually inexperienced but adventurous 18 year olds. Which reminds me. How did I get to this place of acceptance. I stopped giving a fuck. Stopped feeling like I didn't belong here. Stopped going out of my way to say hello to asshole children with pronounced senses of entitlement who mostly snarl in return anyway. Leaving my res hall and being struck each and everytime by the beautiful redwoods and Xmas smell of the woods helps too.

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My fab boss Tam and our friend Ray in yellow

I'm writing tonight partly from the boost this sudafed is giving me but partly because I've just emerged from a great night of responsibility in which I was asked to table for the Queer Ctr at the Chicano Latino new student welcome night. What a fun time!!! And what a respite to be in a room full of Latinos like myself. I love it here but its so very white and I miss the brown-ness like I had at Santa Ana College. The event concluded with literally the entire room line dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. I felt really happy my bosses trusted me to rep the center after knowing me such a short time.

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Queer Leadership Retreat group photo

Next time, the quarter system and how it makes your head spin.A-dorm
endless construction and the ever present stench of portalet at Porter

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I wrote this on Friday

Sep. 27th, 2009 | 12:02 pm

I think I wrote this Friday. Had planned on editing it but f*ck it. Here it is.

Something they push you to do in college is network, network, network. I'm great at being friendly but crap at the n-word, or so I thought. As I mentioned after the PSB trip I was feeling irregular emotionally. Actually I was feeling downright depressed and things like fitting into a new school were stuck in my obsessive thought track. Still the Japanese in me puts on a happy face and smiles thru it all. I had my 1st spanish 2 class and the professor seems super nice, but he conducted the class entirely en espanol. I'm sure it will be to my benefit but it was daunting. Plus having to interact with people while the room was like a sauna and my ass was dragging. He let us out an hour early which made it easier to attend an open house the Ethnic Resource Center was holding. The center houses Asian, Native, and Latino student orgs. Funny thing I was actually unsure whether to check out the Asian organization or the Latino one. I sometimes feel very culturally anglo and see myself as not a real Latino but also I feel so uncharacteristically Asian esp. with all the tattoos and being gay and stuff. While I was at the queer table, they call it Queer here, I still have to get used to that word. Anywho, while I was at the Queer Ctr. table I met this fabulous woman who was working the Chicano Latino Ctr. table and she made me feel sooooo welcomed that I made it a point to attend the open house. When I arrived she introduced me to her daughter who I later found out was a lesbian. The womans name is Rosie, Rosie turned to me and point blank said, "you're queer right (still have to get used to that word)? Then we had a long talk about her daughters relationship with her husband and how her recent breakup had affected their relationship. The father being very old school loved the girlfriend but was still grappling with the queer thing. Its one of those as long as you don't give it a name and tread around it, its ok things.

Did I mention that when I walked in I had a minor panic since I didn't know anyone? I forced myself to go inside and thats when I ran into Rosie. But, after we were done chatting in walked the Queer Center director who I've enjoyed an instant rapport with since volunteering there the other day. In my cross talk she overheard that I was looking for work study work. I slacked off on applying till it was too late to find anything. Turns out she was being conservative with their budget and after speaking to this fab woman (who reminds me of Jenny Shimizu, who's style I adore!) on staff (I think she was advocating for me, see it pays to be nice) she thought she could offer me some hours. So, on Monday after class I'm going to stop by the center to talk more about it.

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p.s. this was my Friday night dancing outside the occupied bldg.

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Pet Shop Boys in San Francisco

Sep. 24th, 2009 | 06:47 pm

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Today was the first day of instruction but fortunately for my hungover ass it coincided with a work strike. I hovered in the general area almost an hour prior so I could adjust my stimulant and food levels. Still I felt that yucky post party feeling and didn't even feel like being my usual friendly self. It was fine cause nobody spoke to anyone anyway. I got up this morning in San Francisco at 7 a.m. and rushed out the door to the MUNI, then Caltrain, thankfully it was an express train so it only took an hour to San Jose. From there I caught the Hwy 17 express and in another hour I was on a local Santa Cruz bus for the quick trip to the mouth of the school which at 11 a.m. did not have a huge amount of picketers. The general walk out and assembly were scheduled to begin at noon and last till 3. During dinner an announcement that the commons in the center of campus had been taken over by students. I'll bike over shortly. (I was just told the students had turned it into a big dance party).

Toro y Forrest left side

Let me backtrack to my wonderful day in the city. Whenever you hear a San Franciscan refer to the city you can assume they mean SF. Wednesday morning I commuted into the city. A loooong 3 hour trip put me there at 2 p.m. and my adolescent best friend and partner in crime, Forrest, was waiting for me. Paul my old roommate happened to be hanging out in Dolores Park with Bodhi, our dog so I hopped out of the car and had a really lovely visit. Spending time with Paul and Forrest put a lot of my fears and social phobias into perspective. I am after all building something for all of us and not struggling with the day to day stuff like medication, a job, or finding affordable housing. I already have my own unaffordable housing courtesy of the State of California. Spending time with Forrest, searching for outfits at H&M was just like old times and even though it took till the end of the night to verbalize it, we were both really happy to reconnect and have one another close and in one anothers lives again. I am amazed lately at my take it or leave it attitude when it comes to drinking so it took some talking into for me to agree to have a cocktail with Forrest before the show. Being the sensible party girl I am I suggested we just go to the liquor store and doctor our own beverages. Forrest gave me a Vicodin (little weird seeing someone else (ab)use them reflecting on my own history with Scott). By the time the show started I was feeling great! I danced non-stop to all but one slow song. The show was a dazzling feat of technology. Even the crew were dressed in white lab coats working the hundreds of computers and server parts. I really enjoyed the 1980's references because they were done in a smart way. Typically I find nothing pleasurable about reminiscing about the decade of misery and I cringe majorly when anyone waxes on about it. The Boys incorporated a great deal of irony into their references and showmanship. Par example when doing Go West the staging was full of red china references. A nice touch! Go West, your destiny is there, indeed. The venue, which incidentally was the last place I saw them (also one of the best shows I've seen), was nice and intimate so there was really no bad seat on the floor. My only gripe was that being esconced in the bear group meant a completely obstructed view of a wall of iPhones constantly and unceasingly recording and photographing every single change. Scott accused me of wanting to document everything and thereby taking myself out of the moment, which is somewhat true, although I only ever pause for a second and then promptly return to the enjoyment. He called it meals remembered (syndrome). These guys were like statues the whole time. Afterward Forrest talked me into going onto the Castro, no tough feat in my floaty state. We had been drinking beer throughout the show. We reviewed our options and set on Juanita More's nite at what used to be the Castro Station. Turned out rather than faeries and freaks it was wall to wall twinks. Visions of being surrounded by teens on campus. Fortunately we didn't stay for very long and I was back at Dexter's house in time to pop and Ambien and say goodnight.

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No more trips to SF now that school has begun. I will be very very sad about missing Folsom, LovEvolution, and Castro Fair but it has been drummed into my head that the quarter system flies by that I know better.

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Porter College is the best f**king college!!!

Sep. 22nd, 2009 | 10:03 pm

Porter College meadow and sculpture

I do not know why I've not felt settled enough to write. UC Santa Cruz is a dream in so many ways. The community and curriculum are so "turned on" and the campus is nestled in a gorgeous redwood forest with sweeping views of the Monterrey Bay. I feel like I have returned to Witch Mountain. There are so many great and exciting and new things occurring. Each day is a new set of possibilities and activities since moving to UC Santa Cruz. When I arrived the dorms were still under construction so I was put into temp apartment housing which turned out to be a cool thing cause I immediately bonded with this very gregarious and beautiful young woman who is into philosophy and death metal. Everyone here is super friendly. Everywhere you go people introduce themselves and say hello and chat and stuff. It's a little weird for me feeling so alien around the throngs of young people. They all seem so tiny in stature as well. When I finally moved into my dorm it turned out I was put into a 3 person studio which means in theory we have a kitchenette and our own bathroom. Right now only the sink and toilet work. Everything else is under construction like the entire building. My roommates are very nice and both at least a more mature 25. One is a young open minded cool taurus from LA and the other is your scraggly bearded vegan hippie type. We seem like we'll coexist quite nicely. So far we've been glued to our laptops in the evening with a little chat here and there. During the day we've been doing our own thing.

So far I've gone on a bike tour of campus and into town. The ride back was brutal and a lot of us walked our bikes for great stretches. That same night we went on an arduous hike behind the college to the most amazing moist clay lined cave. The school put a cement barrier over the entrance but some students opened it up exposing the iron ladder into the large main chamber. As we made our way in we eventually had to crawl on our hands and knees thru wet slimy clay. The 3rd chamber was so small we had to crouch down together and it was very warm and difficult to breathe. The caves go on even further but the cavern gets dangerously small and descends into seudoscorpion land and creepiness.

Thursday is the first day of classes. I bought tix to see the Pet Shop Boys in SF Wednesday so that means I'll be hoofing it back super early Thursday to make my 1 p.m. class. We're supposed to have a strike that day so things should be interesting.

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I almost forgot to mention the initiation last night. It was lead by the fabulous Porter (College) RA's who were topless in war paint, yellow and red, our colors. People beat everything from pans to drums and there were even bagpipes. We marched to the center of campus where we danced and drummed and screamed chants about Porter College being the best college, well best f*cking college actually. Did I mention that I love being at the art college? I cannot imagine being anywhere else. Indeed, Porter is the best college (on campus).

ps I've been taking pics but I wanna wait till I compile a good selection b4 posting them

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lovely holiday weekend

Sep. 8th, 2009 | 10:16 am

I actually had a really lovely weekend spending time with large groups of friends and for the first time in ages I didn't return home depressed or deflated. Friday night Lonnie and friends put together a send off party. I was banished from his house while his friends decorated. It looked like a combo of my prom and this is your life with photos of the two of us together and photos with friends everywhere and streamers. They made me open a box of stuff at one point and I while I was laughing hysterically I was very touched. Had it been a little less raucous no doubt I could easily have cried.

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Sunday BBQ with some pool party bear friends. Monday BBQ with Lon's best friend. Although I hit the gym Saturday for 4 hours I managed to drink beer and booze for 3 days straight. I'm trying to keep "up" and not focus on the idea that I leave in only 9 days. I will miss Lonnie terribly but in my heart of hearts I know I will thrive at UCSC.

Here are some photo remnants of the weekend. This blog should start up again in earnest after September 16th. Please enjoy:

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