it's just a waiting game, waiting for your nerves to grow back, waiting to see if they let me into the tower, waiting to go back to a home i moved out of, waiting for someone to respond on slack, waiting for the leaves to propagate, waiting to see what remains of my sanity, waiting to see people i don't want to see, waiting for your reaction to the scones i baked, waiting for my plane, waiting for my hair to grow out, waiting for that scream to worm its way out of my lungs, waiting to see how the court case settles, waiting for the other side of the world to wake up, waiting for something that's not waiting lychee juul pod anyone?
goodbye lenin is a good movie
I never see people wearing headphones here, very occasionally I do in the subway around Hongdae when the train starts filling up with a younger/hipper crowd, but never on the street. Holding them, wearing them around their neck, sure. But never on their actual ears. It makes me think I’m a strange alien who is making odd use of what is otherwise supposed to be a very expensive accessory. I am blasting Jupiter Jazz and he tells me I’m a Good Girl. He even cleaned the seats of his car for me. I didn’t brush my teeth this morning in the rush to get to the hospital. - At the Dongdaemun stop I see one guy wearing very nice headphones over his hoodie. This seems silly to me, why would you go to the trouble of buying very nice headphones only to purposefully muffle/worsen the sound? Despite this I still thought he was hot. He was standing in front of me with his phone glued almost to the front of his face. Then he sat next to me when someone got up and I saw he was tuned out to the world playing League on his phone. If you would only look up you would see there is something much better, I thought. A 5% chance encounter in the first place now goes down even more! However, maybe this is what other people think when they see me with giant noise-cancelling headphones on. - I'm in the mountains near Biei and snow is falling in huge clumps the size of dipping dots. Zooming down the slopes, Massive Attack is frequently interrupted by the car yelling at me that 1. I am outside the lane or 2. overspeeding. When the former happens, which is often as it has been a while since I've driven on the left, the car tries to wrest control out of my hands and force me back into the lines. I'm pissed but when it gets dark on the nighttime country roads I find that I am grateful for this feature. By the end of the trip I have a love-hate relationship with this car.
2022-10-16 where u are *
a cornfield in massachusetts a piercing parlor in chicago a shipping dock in delaware a diner in baltimore an amazon fulfillment center in pennsylvania *a hospital in korea
slam1 absolutely slammed by how good the club was yesterday. i was in love with the beat, in love with the feeling of being covered in sweat and other people's elbows, in love with finding my own little spotlight within that space to feel the music, in love with the feeling of my eardrums being blasted off. n's presence was so irrelevant, in the sense that theirs was one of many bodies in a larger flow; the pure feeling of moving and being in sync with myself and bodies around me and losing myself to the beat. whenever i'm really in the zone at the club, my brain actually pauses its ceaseless chugging, and i screw my eyes shut so I can really understand how my body is connecting to the sonic and crowd energy around me. so it didn't matter that the group of men who shoved in front of me were all like 7 feet tall - which also didn't matter because we got inadvertently shoved to the front literally at the stage itself, just because the audience kept yearning forward towards the DJ. it was like looking up at god at the foot of the altar. overall it transitioned beautifully from bopping to straight mosh pit and i loved how everyone was bruising each other up in their desire to go crazy within themselves. slam2 i *slammmm*ed n on the head with my phone while going crazy in the mosh pit yesterday. it was entirely by accident and i felt bad but honestly i take it as a sign from the universe that it's on my side slam3 i have been slamming doors lately. the last time i slammed a lot of doors was when i was working at the gallery: donkey kicked those white cube doors and left boot marks, which was very satisfying. i also blasted blackpink and die antwoord everyday after announcing that i quit for the blatant 'fuck you' effect. right now it is midnight and i am full blasting guitar amp... whole room vibrating and i've been lying on the floor enjoying that feeling. weirdly i'm only now realizing sonic warfare is how i operate when I snap slam3.2 probably due to an ongoing mountain of unresolvable frustrations, music has slammed back into my life. attending techno or raves interested me much before, and i was previously fine with having left violin as a shelved thing of the past. but now i'm making all these neuron connections, like for instance today in the shower realizing the chord progressions of fuckin 'viva la vida' and 'set me off' (magdalena bay) are weirdly similar and same exact key??? cRAzy. i wish i'd learned bass - it's the best combo of rhythmic and tonal, or create the best dissonances with main harmonic line; also just generally kinda sexy. i'm thinking of st vincent's latest single... [hey pig!!]. today i jammed out on violin, just plunking away while holding it guitar style to air's 'sexy boy' (the modulations are SO good) and deee-lite's 'groove is in the heart'. unfortunately the feedback went crazy, otherwise i would have plugged the electric into the amp instead of sticking with acoustic. TLDR SOUNDS SO GOOD GUYS
2022-09-18 good things !
i do my best reading on the subway weather: sunlight and the last stand of summer j's book on the politics of distribution is kicking my brain to new territory maybe we will collectively buy a house. dream big! new electric violin arrived, it is electric blue loml phd student from many years ago lomls me back did k for the first time people i admire are responding to my emails d is 70 and was up until 5 years ago still surfing in chile. he just got back from berlin and landed another book publication deal. life can be crazy forever !! wkw movies so good ! specifically the soundscapes i stay getting great headphones for free. beats & bose sponsored this post
2022-09-06 The devil’s interval
It’s 2am and I think I’m going crazy I couldn’t sleep because I had desperate need to take pictures while it was still dark out and I could use lamp for shadow effect and all the while an a?D? major concerto with the syncopated double stops leading up to tritone ending (top note all the same until very last chord I think) was running through my head but which one?? It’s not Prokofiev that’s the technicolor shimmery ending maybe it’s Mendelssohn but that’s the wrong key. if I were to guess it would be early romantic OHH maybe Tchaikovsky? no just checked the score Took some weird pics with my violin and cable release. they’re bad but honest Music scores are just littered across my floor because I can’t can’t can’t find which concerto it is that ends like that How do photo and music go together I want to know I decided I’m going to teach myself the Korngold concerto 3:23 ANSWER just came to me as I was falling asleep it’s Bériot’s Scène de Ballet and I got the ending chords wrong in my head
2022-08-30 a good pen
They texted me today, something random about "what books was I reading when you were visiting?" because they wanted to remember when they finished some book, and I didn't really have much to say in response. I would call it indifference except that I still care, just in a rather distant fashion, as if this were all playing out on the television. A few days ago this would have sent me into a tailspin. This is due to a confluence of things. Right now, it's the last dregs of summer, with golden light at all times bringing things into lovely, unusual angles and the trees swaying wistfully. I'm rereading Norwegian Wood after a decade (what the hell did I get out of it before?) and finding Watanabe newly fascinating and newly relatable for the way he experiences utter boredom and angst over life all at once. There's a general sense of renewal and sharp clarity that I and all my friends seem to be undergoing, perhaps naturally so, with fall underway. (By the pricking of my thumbs...) On paper, as Amy noted, life is just the same as it was at the beginning of summer. Here I am, sitting at the same desk, writing at the same computer, listening to the same music, drinking water out of the same jam jar. Well, there's a new pair of pants thrown over the bed. But somehow everything has changed. It's both wonderful and terrible to see yourself growing, just a constant feeling of cricks in the neck and pains in the limbs and a stabbing in the ovaries. I have the desire to pick up Faulkner again. I was rereading Absalom in the spring but stopped halfway as I usually do. When I get back to it, it will have been my third time through. I generally have at least a dozen books in rotation, all in various stages of being read or partly finished or fractionally engaged. Ngugi deserves a reread as well, if only I could find my old copy. Every year I tell myself, this is the year I finally finish 2666. I picked it up on a whim in Cambodia, at the airport bookstore, at least 4 years ago now. I had enjoyed Savage Detectives a few years earlier, so I thought, "This will be worth the luggage space." The problem is, every time I take a pause halfway through reading 2666 - which normally works out just fine - I try to pick it up again and forget completely what happened previously so I have to reboot basically from the beginning. Of course, the whole point of the book is that absolutely everything and nothing happens. But I still feel that I need to have some of the context to get into the swing of things again. So then it's an endless cycle of never finishing this damn book. I feel the same way about 2666 as Zelig did about Moby Dick. The light's fading and it's throwing a crumpled tissue on my desk into the spotlight in the most amazing way. In response, I told them that I remembered the Tale of Genji on the floor by their bed, and how I normally can date books I read by the pen/pencil I used to mark them up. He said something about the Muji pen he uses. "This is a good pen," I said. Then I tossed the phone on the floor and went back to my own book. - Things I listened to while writing this: SUMMER RENAISSANCE Rebel Yell Shinigami Eyes Warm Leatherette China Girl Amy Amy Amy 마지막처럼 Yuck Tristan und Isolde, Act III: "Mild und leise wie er lächelt" Satyagraha, Act II: Confrontation and Rescue MIC Drop
2022-08-21 the anticrush
Walking through an aggressively collegiate campus like Harvard to get to his place was extremely disorienting, like I was a freshman all over again trying to find my way to class; given my age, and that I did not actively look like a tourist, I imagined that everyone thought I was a student and I hated it. I am self-consciously hyperaware of how people perceive me these days. Seeing N in his element was also extremely disorienting, where I was suddenly presented with a cis California bro-y kind of guy, particularly because he is the most masc-presenting of his entire house. No less attractive but quite odd, another angle from which to perceive a person, and extremely jarring. The whole thing felt queer and wonderful in New York, but perhaps the domesticity of Boston grated on me. Everyone assumed we were together when we went out and I hated it. I'm not sure if this is indicative of a queer crisis or simply the anxieties induced by the poorly defined nature of our relationship. The combination of Harvard + seeing N as fully stressed-out grad student made me sad. In the last year or so I have been striving for mediocrity. I have been striving for it with the same determination with which I previously strove for success. Now I have success in the very blandly mediocre way of having a steady job and good income, with absolutely zero interest or passion. I thought that was what I wanted but I am starting to think that I need to wind my way back into research. I texted Amy about Harvard being whack but in truth I was also jealous. It was nostalgic to be in that space of academic anxiety again, where ivory tower elites simultaneously shit on the tower but also love to be looking down upon the world from it. At the same time, being in that space also confirmed all my worst fears about a PhD: N would say "don't ask me about what I'm doing after, I don't know" or "something helpful I heard was to think about a PhD like an extended fellowship, which is awesome," but it seemed like he was trying to convince himself more than me. Everyone scoffs at institutional success but secretly yearns for it. Those fears will never go away but at this point they are part of me, they've defined half my life, from all those years ago when I was 12 and mom said to me that as humanities people, we weren't smart like my dad or my sister, so I needed to work damn hard. Despite working damn hard all her life she still had so many crumpled dreams and now I've inherited those anxieties. She is a child of the Korean War and her English vocabulary is still better than mine will ever be. I mentioned this fact to N, off-hand, in a positive way where I was impressed and awed by her, and I don't remember the exact reaction but it was something along the lines of "why does this matter at all" and now I'm wondering if he thinks I have mommy issues. I think we live on two very different planes of existence, and our incompatibility is showing. The Pattern said that now was the time to manifest my dreams, and that if my life situation felt off then that now is the time to attempt transitioning. I thought I wanted the mediocre nice New York life with nice steady partnership but I suddenly can't stand to be here, I want out, I am hiding in my room because I feel caged in the city, I want to exist in contexts where no one knows my past, I need to be in flux again. I have come to terms with the fact that I do not like settling, and I previously thought something was wrong with me or maybe that academia was making me bad-restless; I now think it is more the fact that I grew up moving all over the place, that home never felt like home but simply a resting stop for all of us, and functional diasporic depression is simply how I function best. When I was on top the other day he called me "hot. hot AND interesting, a rare combo" and I was pleased until Amy pointed out that this is a very baseline compliment and then I found the observation hilariously sad. I think my fascination with N has been a manifestation of my directionless curiosity that has had no outlet since I stopped doing research (and lacking a structured space in which to do it). The whole fling had been productive in terms of data collection about myself, but the experiment is giving me diminishing returns and the mixed signals that both of us are flinging left and right at each other is exhausting. Maybe this is the comedown from rolling and an absolutely failed crush situation and the end of summer that is speaking but it feels right. I also feel my crazy coming out and I don't like it. I haven't been able to eat since I came back to New York, I feel homesick and sad, and the only thing that has made me happy lately was having a really nice late-night conversation with R yesterday where we promised to make lunch together every day so we would actually eat. I told N I liked him and wanted to continue seeing each other in some kind of non-platonic capacity (which I'm honestly not even sure is true, I think I just wanted to say something that would trigger some kind of affirmation about myself) and got the dreaded, "Can I think about it for a few days?" I have taken it as a no, because anything other than a clear yes is a no. In any case I wouldn't see him until October. I want to go nuclear, and I want to go nuclear NOW, but the logical people are saying to wait for his response. I put off responding to Z's email for 3 months. I told Amy 2 months ago about how I felt bad about not responding but I didn't know what to say. She is the person who would be my advisor at Witwatersrand. Now I know what to say. "omg is this real or escapism?" Amy asked. Both? - Three years ago, I was interviewing Tony the Chinese textile wholesaler in his warehouse in Maseru. I told him my father's family was originally from Fujian by way of south Asia. Where, which village? He asked excitedly. I didn’t know. I could go back now with an answer in hand.
We are sitting as the FOH at a weird sports bar that was rented out for the Boston bisexual event and we are charging people for tickets and vaguely touchy flirting but it feels like performative at this point, day 4 into me being here. the signals have been mixed all week and I suspect I icked him out with my usual rambling bullshit and it’s dead RIP but I just rolled for the first time and it’s been all very beautiful so who cares morning additional edit: I care now lolll I hate my life
2022-08-10 slow time (on nudes)
3/3 last of the airport series: I am in Abu Dhabi again. It is significantly less nice to be here, due to having had to sleep in the airport overnight. I landed last night at 11pm, local time, and my final leg of trip home (homehomehome) is at 10:15am. Currently, it is 6:52am and I slept approximately four 1-hour cycles that were interrupted variously by plane announcements, loud kids, the night staff's laughter, the call to prayer. Having accepted my lack of sleep, I'm doing the crossword to pass time, but it is going very slowly so I am getting out some thoughts here first. Time is so slow. I absolutely hated Singapore (though I loved my cousins) and it just emphasized how much I just wanted to go home, but had to wait 2 days in a country I found despicably boring, 7 hours in a plane, 11 hours in a freezing airport, and 14 hours in another plane – first. Right before my first 1-hour cycle of sleep on the Abu Dhabi airport floor, N texted me the horniest, nastiest messages from Kazhakstan of what he wanted to do to me and ended it with 'How can this happen as soon as possible?' which of course made time even slower because then I was just horny and alone on the airport floor. I texted back by telling him about getting off the other day to him but he didn't respond. He definitely fell asleep but I was illogically mad about it. This made me glad that I hadn't acquiesced to his semi-joking-but-also-serious pic requests yesterday; I would probably feel very bad and self conscious about myself if I sent a nude and then didn't receive a response for 10 hours. I did try to take the nude, though. I knew I wouldn't send it, but I have actually never sent a nude in my life and wanted to see how one would manage it. I tried to take one in my cousin's bathroom mirror. I observed my body. There were weird tan lines from when B forced me to go to the beach in Korea, line imprints from the unsexy period underwear I'd been wearing in an effort to reserve laundry, and a strip of squiggly impressions all around my waist from the elastic pants I'd been wearing under the Singaporean sun all day with my endearing yet hugely crotchety uncle. From a young age, my midriff has always had an odd discoloring, like dirt I hadn't scrubbed off or a mild form of cancer or something. My mom has always made me feel even more self conscious about it by pointing it out every time I lift my shirt or such. I rediscovered that my back has the same weird skin thing as well. I had never felt fatter or uglier in my life looking at my butt in that mirror, too, with my body oddly twisted around to see what was going on back there. This was especially disconcerting because I've always felt my butt was the one feature that made up for the rest of my body. Then, to top it all off, I felt even more self conscious because I remembered I was literally in my cousin's house in Singapore and what the hell was I doing anyway. Ingres is one of my favorite painters, kind of in the same vein with which I appreciate the earlier Italian Mannerists. Looking at myself in the mirror made me wonder if it wasn't because I subconsciously recognized myself in the bodies Ingres painted. This sounds rather egotistic, but I don't mean this in a good way, exactly. Ingres' bodies, particularly the women's, are oddly distended and curved, like all of them got hit with that boneless spell Lockhart cast on Harry in the second of the HP books, and then were awkwardly reshaped like they were mashed potatoes. Grande Odalisque is the greatest victim in this regard. Her back and waist are tiny but a giant, completely un-saggy breast (an unusually perfect globe, singular) hovers in front. That tiny waist then curves into a disproportionally large behind, above which rests an oddly short and elbow-less fleshy arm. This arm hangs limply over a large leg, like a sad fish in the tank by the end of the market day: not fresh. These kind of fleshly oddities exist in other of Ingres' paintings, too, but it's slightly less obvious since they aren't full nudes like G.O. But for all that these various bodily quirks gesture towards the absurdity of male fantasies of female fleshly perfection, I am not entirely sure these paintings are necessarily as 'sensual' as often described. Madonna of the Long Neck (Parmigianino's, not Ingres) feels more uncomfortable than anything, with her need to strain her neck upwards and maintain a dignified look upon her lifted chin, while still barely holding onto a weirdly elongated baby Jesus, who is practically falling off her lap. Or how Odalisque looks back at us when her body wants her to look forward; the awkward gap of fat on her neck as her she swivels around like an owl, but without that natural rotational ability. The artists' fantasies were necessarily at odds with pure physics, and the tension been their desire for pictorial realism and idealized bodies shows. I feel sympathetic to these women, for all their apparent beauty, rather than jealous. They seem like they are quite literally being pulled in many directions in order to respond to the different modes of presentation demanded of them. I, too, feel lumpy and distended. That is how I felt when I looked at myself, naked, in the mirror: I know what N wants to see; I know how I would like to look, and I know how I ought to present for a straight male gaze; I know how the physics of sticking my arm out for a selfie and twisting my body like a corkscrew all the way from head to toe works (or does not work). I know what I could do to make it all work together. "I expect pictures of your ass," he had joked (not joked) on his way out of the house a few weeks ago. "And how the hell am I supposed to accomplish that?" I jokingly (not jokingly) argued back. "You're a photographer, I have faith you'll figure it out," he said. The only good ass photographs I have ever seen in my life are Man Ray's "Le Violin d'Ingres" (appropriate) and Edward Weston's beach nudes. These only work because there is someone else taking them, playing the role of straight male gaze for the construction of each image. Being a photographer just means you figure it out by breaking it all up and cracking it open. Then you can't unsee it. I decided that it was enough for me to know how the puzzle worked. I put on my clothes and went to go play board games with my cousin's kids.
2022-08-06 compressed time (on aunts and gifts)
I am at the airport again. Incheon International is a far cry from the KL airport I was at two weeks ago, which my relatives quite accurately described as, "an airport within a mall"; it is pretty bleak once you get past security. Incheon – only Terminal 1, Terminal 2 is just okay – is ginormous, all glass and chrome and marble with the Bottega Veneta and Ferragamo stores just a step away from the gates. I skipped those because I am not A Rich TM; I went straight to the Tobacco Duty Free and bought Korean coffee- and yogurt-flavored cigs for my friends. Where time felt wide and expansive on the first legs of my trip (States to Emirates to Malaysia to Korea), time feels much shorter, squished, as I hop my way home (Korea to Singapore to Emirates to States). 10 days in Malaysia felt vast. 10 days in Korea felt too short. Part of this is that I know Seoul very well, and I know all the things that I am missing and that I should have done and could not do and wish I had done. Part of it is that I simply want to go home and crash on my bed in Brooklyn, and regret having the long layover in SG. Part of it is that the Korean trip was insanely busy, since B was here for 7/10 days with me so I was going around with him, and there was a wedding the night before I left. I barely even got to see my mom. It is a bit of whiplash, going from Malaysia to Korea to SG, because my modes of interacting with each side of the family are very different, and the constant code switching is wearing me down. The endless planning for luggage space for bringing gifts to relatives for each leg of the trip is also killing me; this morning I had to switch from my modest carry-on that I brought from the States to taking my mom's ginormous check-in bag from Seoul just to accommodate all the boxes of 한과 that I bought for everyone in Singapore. Still, all that said, it'll be worth it. It's nice to give gifts, and my mom is especially big on this – particularly the visuals/Asian shame of it all. The cash envelopes that my sister and I gave to my cousin for his wedding were already fairly large, and then she went and stuffed them with even more cash. "People remember," she always repeats, "and you want to be known as generous or you'll regret it." This morning before my flight, my mom tried to make me go buy angpow red envelopes as soon as I land in Singapore so I can give some money to my cousin's kids on dad's side, and I finally snapped and said I'd gotten two hours of sleep and goddamnit I'll give them cash but I'm not going to go buy fucking red envelopes just to put it in when I land are you crazy?? Anyway, the point is, I'm somewhere down the middle, and even though the luggage space thing is annoying, I'm glad that I can bring the Singaporeans some gifts. -- I just called my aunt. She was still in Seoul after the wedding last night, and had taken our other cousin's kids to the playground. I got to see her only briefly last night at the wedding, and earlier in the week during my road trip, when we drove down to see her for lunch (ssalbap restaurant in Icheon, with all the works that entails), a random bell museum that I went to last winter with her as well, and dinner at her place in the evening. "Your time here was too short," she complained over the phone, while my other cousin's kids screamed "I LOVE YOUUU" (in English) to me in the background. "We didn't even get to go on a trip." Last winter, when I was living in Seoul, I spent a few weeks with my aunt at her home in the countryside. After running out of my own nicotine a week into staying with her, I had cracked and finally asked her for a cig. After getting over the shock of me smoking ("why didn't you say anything?? You could have had some earlier!"), she promised not to tell my mom. We took a road trip to the ocean, chain smoking cigs out of her car down the highway. She ran 100kh/h through all the speed bumps and speed cameras and we visited lots of temples. "It's because I had spend more time in Malaysia," I said in Korean, "I split my time half-half. My dad's sister there is quite sick. But I will come again in the winter." -- When I was in Malaysia, my aunt over there gave me her old kebayas. She had told me in advance that she wanted me to have them, so when I arrived at her apartment, she had already prepared and laid out two kebayas, a kerongsang to go with it, a camisole to wear under, and a sarong. All shades of purple, or featuring purple flowers and such; all with intricate lace work. I asked her if she liked purple, as I’d often seen her wearing that color throughout this trip; I had expected a pretty strong yes but instead she gave a pretty lukewarm one-syllable “mm,” like“so-so,” which made me crack up. I tried on the kebayas, and she showed me where to pin the kerongsang but couldn’t actually do it for me because her hands are no longer mobile enough to do such finicky work. My cousin, one of her sons, KS, suggested I look it up later on YouTube instead. I asked her if she was sure she wanted to give these to me. But KB does not fit in them, KG has no interest in any clothes that aren’t jeans and a polo shirt, and Audrey is too young, so to me it goes. I asked her if she wanted to save one for Audrey but she shook her head, said to share with my sister. “KB says you can wear the kebayah with tight jeans like the girls do these days,” she said, not exactly disapprovingly, as she is very gentle, but with some disappointment in 'girls these days'. (I told her I’d wear the sarong.) She also wanted to give me some things from Aunty G in London, who stopped by Malaysia 4 years ago and asked my aunt to pass on some things to me and my sister, namely some angpow. (I should message her and thank her.) My aunt had been talking about it the entire ten days I was in Malaysia; I think it’s one of the loose ends she’d been anxious to tie up because she is fully preparing to pass on. “Okay,” my aunt said cheerfully, all wobbly and slow in the way that old people talk, “I have now done my duty.” After that she moved onto her own jewelry, and things she wanted to give me and my sister. All of her jewelry is stored in little plastic baggies in a bigger box, each with a little index card labeling who it is for when she passes away (“From Mummy to KS” was one). We talked in quiet voices; her hearing is not as good anymore, so you have to speak up a bit, but she’s still sharp and giggles softly when she does catch the whole clan’s bantering and arguing back and forth in (variously) Hokkien, English, or Malay, or some combo of the three. She and KS started wrapping up and putting away the boxes. “Is there anything else you want to give me and my sister or my dad and mom?” The Malaysian aunty equivalent of “oh shit” was uttered and they started unwrapping everything all over again to find some earrings she wanted to pass onto my mom. When the passing of objects and heirlooms was over, we talked and sat quietly for the rest of the afternoon. At that point, KS had quietly slipped away and Audrey got bored, so it was just the two of us in the dwindling light. Small talk: do you have a steady boyfriend; aiya, why did KB let Audrey get her ears pierced at such a young age; did you know your mom forgot shoes for her own wedding, etc. She expressed how happy she was to see me. “I came to Malaysia for you,” I said, and it was true. “You know that, don’t you?” “Yes.”
2022-07-17 stretched out time
weirdly nice to be waiting in the Abu Dhabi airport. kids are just as loud in any language and people are just as restless as anywhere else. the call to prayer just BLASTED through the entire place while my body digests plan B (banned in the Emirates, because it counts as abortion here). it's still rona times but some of the women walking around don't need masks; they're already entirely covered up in burkas. since I'm here I attempted to find a semblance of local food, but the best options are mcd's and brioche dorée so I'm just chugging a cafe au lait. it feels like paris because we are right next to the smoking section (which for me is a good thing; even as a kid i always loved the smell of cigarettes.) i'm still a minority, but the majority isn't white. the other east asians i see are more interesting to think about; they could be going home to kuwait city or kuala lumpur or bangkok or HCM city or nairobi or cape town. a lot of the custodial staff and customer service people seem to be south asian. a short wikipedia search confirms that there are lots of south asians working in the emirates. google shows up in right-to-left script, even though my computer's in english. in calvino's 'invisible cities,' marco polo relates all the cities and places he has seen in his travels to kublai khan. it's a short book full of vivid descriptions of fabulous, fantastical cities of a vaguely orientalist/silk road flavor, the kinds you'd read as a kid in fantasy YA novels: harbors of pink sandstone and sapphire-encrusted streets and all that. the cities all have vaguely feminized names like dorothea and zamira and eutropia and isidora. snippets of conversation between marco and the khan intersperse these urban descriptions, none of which are more than 1-2 pages, some as short as a paragraph, and it's just nice to lose yourself in easy, beautiful words. there is one point at which kublai points out that marco has never actually described his own hometown; Polo says, "Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice." as the book progresses, anachronistic modern elements trickle into the writing; Polo and Calvino's voices merge. there's a city, Trude, that's pretty much just the postmodern experience of going to the airport: staying at the traveler's lodge, the city-to-airport transit experience through monotonous suburbs, seeing the same signs and stores. "If on arriving at Trude I had not read the city's name written in big letters, I would have thought I was landing at the same airport from which I had taken off." i am clicking around the time zone map on apple settings and it is so wild around the arabian peninsula/turkey/Caucasus area. iraq seems to have its own time zone (it's 916 here and 945 there? but the emirates are further east?). the emirates share a time zone with oman and the eastern tip of the peninsula but not the rest of it, they also share a time zone with certain parts of russia east of moscow. turkmenistan and pakistan share a time zone (1016pm) but afghanistan, which lies between them, is separate (946pm). even time is somehow subject to historical and political constructions. or maybe, more accurately, the long-haul airport experience is extraordinarily successful at making me feel like time is arbitrary. as a result my weekend feels like it's getting stretched out like crazy. logically i suppose the travel time is 20 hours or so, but it feels like 5 days. A big part of it is that N came down to new york and even though I logged into work on friday it felt like the weekend started at 2am on friday when he arrived. for the ensuing 36 hours it was a very lazy chill time. at one point we went to greenpoint because I needed to get a gift at the cookbook store; there was an attached overpriced grocery next door so we bought this weirdly thick italian peach juice and sat outside because it was a relatively un-humid july day and were just pleasantly vibing as friends. actually we were vibing so hard that i forgot to go home in time for a meeting, so I took it from outside and pretended my wifi was dead. on saturday, without any obligations, we pretty much only emerged from my room to get food; barely slept, just took short naps that were just interspersed by fucking or talking. at the beginning of this week i was so anxious about 'what is this' and 'what are we' and now i do not care at all because i am just enjoying the process and i trust him as a friend to know that it will all be fine. i heard the term 'relationship anarchy' for the first time this weekend and i really like the idea of it, maybe not in general but for whatever tf this thing with N is, I like it. i remember in neon genesis evangelion that Misato and Ryoji, in their past as lovers, were said to have spent an entire week in bed: didn't leave the room, didn't go to class, skipped dates with friends. maybe they had the occasional cup ramen or power bar lol. I thought at the time of watching that this was just another instance of the kind of exaggerated quasi-freudian imagery that NGE likes to do, which is more for thematic exploration rather than a reflection of reality. but after this past weekend i think it actually could be achievable. my new goal in life is to get to the point where you are so immersed and nasty with someone that you can power your way through a week of p much just fucking and sleeping and not even realize it.
I think J in Portland was the one telling me about this crazy tech guy she dated who believed in biological theories of attraction between men and women. As a rule, I am pretty skeptical about those theories (they reek of quasi bio-anthropological quack), but I do remember that one of the things he said is that people who are compatible smell very good to each other. Something about pheromones? Anyway, maybe he was onto something, 'cause N smelled REALLY good, which was totally illogical given that he’d just been sweating it out in east coast humidity playing soccer before we met up at the bar. Later, I kept saying (and this was probably annoying but I couldn’t get over it) that he tasted like mangoes. I didn’t turn on the AC the whole time because I completely forgot/was preoccupied by the time we got up to my room, and we fucked in a very sweaty tangle of sheets. His back was slick. I apologized in the morning but he said, it’s cool, there’s something kind of hot about sweaty sex, and I agree. Later, in the afternoon, I tried to take a nap, but failed because my mind was running 100 mph thinking about the whole thing, and the fact that all my sheets and pillows still smelled faintly like him after didn’t exactly help. I took a shower and changed the sheets and then my own shampoo scent took over and that was better. I remember looking at the mirror before going out and thinking, fuck my lip chewing habit, my lips look whack as fuck. I looked at the mirror again the next morning and they were a really lovely shade of red, like pomegranates or lip stain, that I want to imprint in my memory. Before he left he used the bathroom and while he was there I took the opportunity to throw on this green linen smock thing I usually lounge around the house in, didn’t bother putting on underwear. He came back to throw on some clothes and get his stuff. I remember looking up at him very blearily before he leaned over and kissed me goodbye. It was probably a pretty picture. I should invest in more chapstick. . Only in NYC can the train drivers passive aggressively send out canned elevator voice “it is dangerous to hold the doors open at the station” messages 10 seconds after the conductor had to yell at someone over the speakers in her real voice (twice!!) for doing precisely that. If that person had been in my car I would have gotten up and pushed them out. New York's getting soft. . things i will do this weekend: - yoga. i've gotten off my routine and my body is feEling it - darkroom. closet lab is all set up, i got my negatives developed, i just gotta do it now. i'm excited to get into the flow of it, also see how my prints from the portland trip turn out. also some negs from 2 years ago in hawaii i never developed - find my prints from the months i spent in korea where tf did they go - pack for asia and related errands - read commie book club book oops fully have not and we are meeting on sunday and it was my pick lmao - spend time alone not on my computer. i'm all socialized out and yet another friend is coming to stay next week, mental prep is necessary
2022-07-05 80% success rate
me and I had to crush his dreams Bc he said he had an 80% success rate making girls come when he hooked up with them I literally egg HAHAHAHA me Just started laughing SO HARD egg HAHAHAHAHAHAH that’s so brutal hahahaha poor c me I even got S and A's gf E to confirm egg but he needed to learn me This is a fucking lie egg i’m crying me Im still laughing so hard Im in my room texting u Laughing egg hahahahahahaha me Oh my god egg dude poor C omg me ALSO N TEXTED ME egg talk about tough love hahaha u did not coddle oMG what did he say me: "also last minute development but I’m coming to ny again for 36 hours tomorrow afternoon to help my roomate move the rest of her shit lol I think I wanna fuck him And NOT have an orgasm GAHHAAh Im still cracking up he literally said “I think ur wrong” And S showed up in the kitchen and was eating craft singles like a PSYCHOPATH And so I asked him his success rate And he was like when I was younger def not now I’m “more than 50% sure less” And I was like what the actual fuck does that mean And he was like "Before I met M and was hookung up with people I’m more than 50% sure that some of them orgasm sometimes" Which is a REASONALBE ANSWER 80% BRO IM CRYING egg u did not coddle me i keep it real u know that Why am I still laughing so hard I mean im drunk but omfg Also he asked me ‘why do you love your dad’ bc I was drunk bitching about him and iw as like fuck you I’m not talking about family love with anyone who’s not asian lol we had a good time tho But hes def butt hurt by me LAUGHING my ass off about 80% I have repaired the relationship egg HAHAHAHAHAHAAH ok 1. u and N are def huing omg i’m so excited for u there is so much action happening in ur life this is so fun to live vicariously thru u 2. i’m dead at S being like “i’m more than 50% sure that some of them orgasm sometimes” because that still is kind dude poor C i don’t think this is going to help his self esteem u know he’s gonna look up stuff on how to make girls come which unfortunately i feel like is not helpful it’s so sad how ppl can be in long relationships and still not get better at sex me imma post this entire convo in mood ring
2022-07-02 albee at applebees
APPLEBEES A PLAY: primary cast: - B, def had a crush on me in the past, might still but only in the theoretical, visiting from SF - K poly she/them, primary partnered to M (not present) - AH, they have been in a relationship forever with: - E, some dude, idk hes nice but bland but weirdly intriguing precisely bc he is so bland - C, my friend, visiting me from seattle. doesnt really know anyone but is just taggin along - me, only 2 days into C's visit and I'm already fucking going BONKERS bc of him secondary cast, not present: - M, mentioned above - MH, has beef with K, but friends with me and B - A, my friend, has been on dates with K - S, my roommate setting: applebees near barclay's center. as soon as you walk in you are hit with the american flags and flags spelling out A M E R I C A on the doorway, but each letter gets its own flag and I think the staff wanted to fuck around so it reads more like "AM ERIC" with the spacing (can't see the last "A", she's off in the corner behind the doorframe). we're all here because B has a $100 giftcard to Applebees from his coworkers, and he's visiting, and we're all friends with him. Applebee's is shockingly popular - B got there 20 min before the rest of us and had to put a name down and wait for at least 5 of us to arrive in order to be seated. ~~~~~APPLEBEES DRINKS ARE VERY STRONG AND I AM FEELING THEM. SORRY IN ADVANCE~~~~~ C and I arrive, B's the only one there. Immediately, as usual, B hits me with the "dont be mean" spiel - we have a weird tension that's based 1. in past mutual crush mentioned above and 2. in this weird thing where he always says I'm really mean and in a way that is actually hurtful and mean himself. I saw him last summer when he visited new york and we went to IHOP (i guess we have a thing for chain restaurants) and it was awful. I don't think he realized. But I was really mentally not in a good place because I'd just escaped the gallery, and he was not particularly sympathetic, and kept ragging on about "wow you're mean~!" Maybe it's his way of flirting, like in a 'pulling pigtails' kind of way but I was actually really fucking hurt so I just got really quiet. I don't think I'm mean. I'm kind of a bitch but I'm nice about it, and I purposefully try to wield it in a way that's playful more than hurtful, especially to people I like, which included B. We also hadn't talked enough for him to really know if I'm mean or not, even in college, despite the fact that we know each other enough to hang out when he's in town. Anyway, B actually originally only invited me to Applebee's to go ham on the giftcard. But I wanted to avoid a situation like last summer so I made it a group thing. And the first thing he said was, "Everyone else is coming from Columbia/UWS, so be NICE!" I see where this is headed and immediately cut it off, but in a playful way of, 'I like those people! I'm friends with them! Why do you always say I'm mean? It's really weird, kinda bullying! Haha!!!" but that also conveyed I was uncomfortable. He bantered back that "Haha that seems like a way of trying to SEEM like you're nice" and tried to get C to agree with him. It didn't work, C was just fucking confused. So B ended up apologizing and mentioned that someone else called him out for this a few weeks ago for doing it to them. So it was great and he didn't do it again for the rest of the night. He said it's partly because he's intimidated by me since I'm from New York, which is just stupid. But whatever, hopefully he won't do it again. AH and E arrived together, they're a couple and they live together near NYU. It's funny because I met AH through my ex in college, and the last time I saw them was in that context, so that was a weird throwback. But they're both friends with B. AH/E and I did some catching up since it's been a few years. K arrived last, by that time the rest of us were at a table. [[C has been driving me crazyyyyyyyy these last few days since he arrived. Like, he's going through a breakup, which is why I suggested he come to new york in the first place, but I thought it would be a sitaution of "crash at my place for free and do ya thing, we'll hang out occasionally" whereas I suppose he thought it would be "we will spend every waking second together." bitch I'm not ur partner!! even if i were that's not cool!! our relationship is entirely platonic, but he always says stuff about how cool i am or whatever and I'm literally just making INDEPENDENT DECISIONS it's just normal shit. like he puts me on a pedestal. apparently can't do ANYTHING alone: I go into the kitchen to prep for a dinner party? he follows. i go to HMart in manhattan? he follows. I'm working at my desk all day? he sits in the room with me and reads stuff and goes "HEHE" or "heH" or translates his Chinese out loud in order to garner a reaction from me while I'm trying to fucking concentrate. (he's a weeb, which we bond over, but the difference is that I'm asian and he's a whitino, and his obsession with reading out every chinese character he sees on the street or say random japanese out loud is killlllllling me. I thought he only did it when we watch anime on facetime together, but apparently he does that in normal life too ?? which is sooo uncomf.) I tell him to go out and explore, he says "sure" and doesn't do it. im trying to be nice but in my head I'm starting to think like, jesus FUCK no wonder she got tired and dumped you... he also fully said he was "scared" of my friends before leaving, and i was like OK so don't come if you don't want but they're literally normal people, but he still rallied because he didn't want to be alone, and it was annoying that I had to feel responsible for his own inferiority complex/anxiety/whatever when I'm just here to catch up with friends and have a good time. this is kind of where i start to feel that B is right and I'm a mean bitch but honestly that kind of behavior is unacceptable, we are adults, you don't even have the excuse of having not been in NYC before. AITA????]]] anyway, we all settle in. the applebees is loud, the blender is going on and off, the drinks are way too strong. all them ppl in the primary cast talk way too fucking quietly so you have to strain like crazy to hear anything: AH and E in particular are weird and quiet but in a good way, and they'vea always been like that. K is just quiet can't get a read on them, since this is the second time I've met them. C is normally louder but doesn't know anyone so is quieter today. B is weird in a good way, normally loud, but maybe the group brought his level down. here's the gossip of the night: - K is partnered primarily with M but has been on dates with my homie A; K says they think it's more like friends, despite the dates and the fact that THEY pursued A. also apparently they told A that they were like, 'not primary with M' which is such a lie because they were exclusive for at least 3 years before going poly and they're always together?? - K is partnered primarily with M who is kind of seeing this guy who is in an open relationship with this girl, R, who i hooked up with years ago and who also had a threesome with A and another girl. Prob better for A if K doesn't work out because that is the most confusing poly situation I've seen in a while - EXPANDED VERSION: The night I hooked up with her, R and her now-partner were on their first ever date, at the club (fucking WHY????), and we all ended up in a dance circle. Suddenly he starts hooking up with our study abroad RA named Isaac (u were literally on a first date, again WHY) and so she turns to me and is like 'wanna make out' and she was a terrible fucking kisser but even so i was kinda into her, but then i saw that dude hanging around our dorm all the time so i figured it was serious and didn't go for it (good thing too because it's been 4 years and they're still together). - My roommate S (who was NOT there) is dating a girl who i think is the coolest person ever (I also think S is cool, I want them both to adopt me). The reason S was not there was because B dislikes him. The reason B dislikes him is because he thinks S is emotionally cheating on his girlfriend (who B doesn't know or care about) with people (that B doesn't know personally, but has heard about through his close friends). B said that S is emotionally cheating on his gf with this girl who I think is bland (I'm biased because I met her through Carmelle ok). he showed me screenshots where she basically drunk texted him in very sloppy multiple texts that she loved him and all he said back was "bro are u ok you can call me" which is clearly him being NICE, not encouraging. But whatever, haters gonna hate I guess. - The Evidence that B cited for "S being an emotional cheater" was the fact that him and MH were suuuuper cuddly around the time when S and his current gf had just started dating. BUT MH IS LITERALLY LESBIAN LOL. She's just a huge flirt for anyone including men. Cuddling means jack shit. Some people like that (I can't relate though). but the image of S and MH cuddling up or having a weird platonic affair is hilariousss - I personally think that MH just gets flack like "oh she's flirting with men" because she's very femme presenting. Whereas a more butch presenting lesbian cuddling up with a dude would be like, 'whatever, they are broskis and she's clearly gay'. But that's other people's problems (esp men), not MH's. - A few months ago, me and S were bitching about some girl that everyone likes but neither of us finds particularly interesting or attractive or intriguing or whatever. Turns out, B says, that girl insulted/was bored by a skate video that S made and he got weirdly butthurt/sensitive about it lmaooo. So I guess that's the real reason he doesn't like her. B finds that further off-putting; I find it further charming - the idea of my broski S being sensitive about a video he made lmfao. He's a softie!!!! #TeamS at the end of the night I went home and soaked some soybeans and made the custard base for basil ice cream, which is the prep for the community-based supper club that my roommate (not S) and I are starting! guess which of the primary cast sat with me in the kitchen the whole damn time when I just wanted to be drunk and separating egg whites/yolks alone lol. man this is all so stupid. you can't make this shit up.
2022-06-28 but IS it sexual tension
i rly cannot tell lmaoooo someone help but also some questions:: 1. can sexual tension be one sided?? > tension implies two sides pulling. people make mistakes like these all the time where they think there is a Mutual Thing and then it turns out it is Just You. but that doesn't make it less real, does it? the act of imagining said tension changes how you act/interact, thus creating tension, without which you would not act/interact that tension-creating way. that made more sense in my head 2. can u have sexual tension without wanting to act on it > i guess i have an answer to this one. as ur resident ace bitch I feel like I have sexual tension w ppl all the time (maybe i am overestimating my own hotness and it's a one-sided scenario as discussed above tho thats besides the point) but the idea of actually having sex w said person is like.... meh? like yes i am appreciative of u aesthetically and personality wise etc etc but I am perfectly happy going home at the end of the night goodbye 3. do i want to fuck this person???? > im not entirely sex repulsed, orgasms are cool. it's just never something i actively seek out, like ever. [[this is similar to my personal drug philosophy which is, if it takes effort to do, i don't do it - from sourcing and buying, to "i have to stick this shit up my nose? ugh no". but poppers fucking ROCK bc you can buy them literally anywhere and its just one sniff and then you're done after a few minutes of awesomeness on the dance floor.]] i tend to think about sex p anthropologically, like the inherent weirdness of sex in how it makes 2 people interact is very interesting to me. i haven't had sex in a year which is pretty crazy to most people but it doesn't really occur to me - life is so busy and interesting !! i guess also as someone AFAB sex is very rarely good in a one-night stand so its like, why bother all that said, why do i keep thinking about fucking this person in the theoretical if I don't somehow want him in reality to some degree?? i guess its just a crush then?? but he also annoys me? ughhhhhhhh i wish i had the sex drive of samantha on SATC
2022-06-15 happiness threshold income (?)
one chapter in capitalist realism can basically be summed up as, "everyone is depressed in the 21st c which never happened before and its capitalisms fault." we collectively agreed that capitalism is prob the root of most peoples depression today but also collectively agreed that we are not so sure about the historic claim. it's actually something i've always thought about - are we more depressed now bc our world is complicated and convoluted and we're all in postmodern ennui blah blah or did they ~literally just not have the word for it before?~ M said, 'the peasants/serfs were probably hella depressed because they had to work on this shit they didn't even own". which is still true, although at least you can own a project and get satisfaction out of that (sometimes?) which is prob better than "I am growing this tomato plant for the overlords' big feast and if i am lucky I get to keep 2 for my 10 children". but i still don't 'own' the project in any meaningful way bc ultimately i don't really care if it tanks except where it affects my paycheck. adorno has some piece where he talks about 'hobbies' and how much he detests the term because it implies that free time spent outside the capitalist system is tangential, trivial. or something like that. (michael ralph also has a v good text more contemporary take on this front, 'killing time,' for anyone who wants a rec.) we should all be invested in 'serious play' - which, true to form, has been appropriated by Lego lol. speaking of which, ive been putting it off, but I gotta finish setting up my darkroom. no excuses since the blackout fabric arrived. photo is one of those things i've managed to decouple from capitalist production and labor, in my own life. which is very nice. i see what adorno means. as of yesterday i now have hit what they call the happiness threshold income. (or is it happiness income threshold.) this is very funny to me. i hadn't heard the term until C mentioned it. i kinda hate these things, like where researchers try to quantify happiness, but weirdly enough i agree. the number hits the sweet spot between "i feel like i am making decent money" and "not enough that i no longer have anything more to try for." marx believed that humans ultimately want to feel productive, and while capitalist production can never provide that true satisfaction, we take what it can give us. when i quit art my totally sheltered humanities phd friend said 'oh wow you sold out' and i fucking railed on him because what does he know about how the rest of us have to make our living locked up in his stupid ivory tower? as if the art world isn't the QUINTESSENTIAL bubble of late capitalism, particularly because it likes to pretend otherwise? but i was mostly mad because it was also something i was beating myself up for every day. for the longest time there were two sides of me at war: "i need to always remember that this industry, and the system it feeds into, is bad so why try" and "for my own personal sanity, i need to actually try at work and aim for goals or else i'll be conflicted and sad all the time." at work they are always asking me to make "the business case." we can't design x feature because it wouldn't help meet the goal of "grow EBITDA by x%" and someone joked "if only it was grow user well being by x%". i hate that i'm getting better at making the business case. i love that i'm getting better at making the business case. we live in a world of compromises - which is better than the serfs had it. but at least they had a common villain to hate, a System to overturn. now who's the enemy?
2022-05-23 it's 5am and
i still can't sleep. when you start hearing the birds it's really all over. maybe I'll take r's car and go to mcdonalds for the hell of it. I'm supposed to move it at 10am for her anyway (she's out of town). my anxiety feels like this: i used to live in an apt that was crazy infested with stuff no one wants to read about. but it was the constant paranoia where you started checking every surface at every minute of the day: open up the toilet seat and check under the bathmat every time you peed, or every time there was a hair tickling your skin you'd freak out, or lying awake at 5am (such as now) thinking about oh god what if it gets me at night so i gotta lie awake just in case even though you know it's absolutely stupid and wouldn't help anything. kind of like being a kid all over again, that illogical logic of "well, if I keep my head facing the door and windows i'll know if a monster comes in." i think i could get kidnapped and no one would notice for days. who would notice if you just stopped texting? no, i can't drive a car. i'd probably crash in the sleepless state i'm in now... - i miss driving in SA. whether that was inner city joburg or the endless free state farmland or up and down the mountains in lesotho or going through the townships into randfontein. there were all sorts of different challenges: missing traffic lights, tiny 2 lane highways where you had to avoid the potholes on your lane AND the trucks ramming through the other side at 100km/h, watching for the speed lights and hidden cops ready to ticket you for any damn thing. oh and the time i nearly crashed a tractor on the way to the archives. and when i had to wait for the cows to cross the highway. and when my tire ran flat on the way to thaba bosiu. yeah, i nearly died too many times, but life is really a bummer after research. i used to think that what i miss about research was the content of stuff i got to engage in. but i realize now that it is about independence: there is a kind of unusual ownership, outside of capitalist or economic context, that cannot be touched. only you get to control what questions you want to ask, and how you answer them. or how to expand your own world through writing and publication - and maybe, if you're lucky, someone else's world. (driving, the good kind - the aimless road trip kind, kerouac style - is a bit like that.) of course, the deeper you get into academia, the more deeply that ownership is compromised. i quit before that could happen. i don't care that my final project will never see the light of day. that project profoundly shaped me, it is MINE in a way that I can't quite explain, and don't have to. i don't need to be lauded for my work, or have it published, or use it to bring more accolades, more grants, more degrees. it is just mine in all the ways that matter. if i ever go back to academia it will be for some other topic or reason, but they cannot have this. the downside to quitting is that now i get to contemplate going to mcdonalds at 5am with 0 sleep before logging into slack for work. and that's life right now.
2022-05-20 onion rings
yesterday after the movie i got home and spent hours glued to my screen scrolling on reddit so i tried to spice it up by leaning into the bumness and ordering onion rings at 10pm. watched the postmates app like a hawk, saw them preparing my order (it took like an hour, how does making onion rings take an HOUR), saw the little delivery bike icon make it all the way to the front door and then they ???? randomly cancelled my order at 11pm. so i was mad and then wanted to get fried chicken instead but i didnt want to leave my room because that would defeat the purpose of being a bum so i fell asleep anyway this is my *first post* and i thought i'd talk about the outrage that is getting your boring indulgent life of technology convenience interrupted