Sunday, October 31, 2010


Who would have thought that my first ever appearance on national television would be on ESPN of all channels, and during a football game nonetheless!?! I haven't even been to a PSU game, and I don't intend to.

But one thing does make sense: I love food and I love to eat. So, Yun and I went to lunch at one of our favorite date places, Herwigs, where they just happened to be filming a feature for the "Taste of the Town" segment and asked if we would participate.

You can find it here.

By the way, this also means that two big lesbians (on a lunch date) were on ESPN last night.

And here's the proof that I finished my plate!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Figuring Out the Mainstream

I have been slowly putting more and more attention into developing my own youtube channel. I actually started one over a year ago, I just never did anything with it. But now I am feeling slightly more motivated, a little bit more brave, and increasingly more impatient with my lack of public participation in important issues. So, I launched a new one. I only have a test video up and the audio is out of sync, but I am now trying to figure out some of the ins and outs of how to utilize the public domain of youtube.

You can find the channel here.

As of 10.28, I have added a video for the "It Gets Better" Project.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The problem of not-knowing, or knot-knowing

Life and experience are rich with opacities. Nietzsche and Dewey are some of my favorite guys who stated that simple explanations which claim to report on the reality of the world will always be falsifications. Nothing is ever clear, easy, and evident. There will always be mysteries, gaps, disconnects...Donna Haraway also referred to the idea of the world as a trickster-coyote, a subject-world with which we must converse in order to understand, but that has its own ability to deceive, to mislead, to play tricks. The world is not an object-thing that we can study thoroughly and know everything, or increasingly more about. The world and our experiences in it are elusive, partial, and decidedly unclear. Furthermore, following Nietzsche, why would we want to know truths? Why not errors? Why not deception? Why not falsity? Well, he's quick to say that we may not be able to handle it if we realized that the "truths" we hold on to so dearly are precisely that- errors.

As of late, I've been in a position of not-knowing. Not just failing to know everything, but really not knowing much at all. Not just partially understanding things, but seriously considering the possibility that I have completely misunderstood some very important things, that my perceptions have been delusional, that whatever I do "know" is misshapen, misinformed, and very, very confused. When it comes to knowing oneself, a standard reason for engaging in philosophy, an awareness to one's not-knowing is a bit treacherous. And when it comes to knowing others, not-knowing presents a very precarious place to find oneself. Especially if we are to trust others, depend on others, befriend others, and become their lovers.

What is one to do? Trust in what you thought you knew? Trust in what others tell you? Trust your "instincts," whatever says your gut?

The problem with all of this trusting and feeling, is that they are not pure and untainted either. I have a conflicted relationship with what the feelings deep down in our gut can tell us. (This is a project that I will be pursuing for many years of dissertation writing. Stay tuned.) Sometimes you get a "vibe" about a person and you are right, but other times, your "intuition" is completely off, even hurtful to others. So, I can't trust my gut. But my gut isn't clear anyway. The only thing my gut gives me is even more of a sense of tight, queasy, yucky, icky, nauseating not-knowing. It feels like a knot in my tummy that can't tell me anything but simply that I don't know. Hence, it's a knot-knowing. And it's not very helpful when I am trying to figure what to make of all this "life" and the experiences that I am having.

So then what?

We crave to know the truth about things, and once we feel like we have a handle on it, we *feel* better. One of my heroes, Ladelle McWhorter, wrote that the need to know, the urgency with which we want to know, is a bodily thing. We feel the need to know deep in our quivering bones, our shallow lungs, and our tense stomachs.  And for me, if I can't get a handle on what is going on with me, others, or me with others, I feel it in my body as a bad consequence. I get inflammation in my wrist, an infection in my lungs, scars on my skin, and acid in my stomach.

From what I can tell right now, I have two options:

1) I can tell myself a simple, easy, coherent story about the truth of what is going on. I may feel better, but it comes from a simplification, and hence, a falsification of reality.

2) I can sit with the knot-knowing and try to transform it from nausea (and illness) to a patient bodily presence. This means that I may not (ever) settle on the truth, but it frustrates the bodily need to know "everything" (or anything, for that matter).

Regarding 1), I could side with Nietzsche and ask, "Well,whoever decided that truth was better than error anyway? Maybe there is something more to be said about error." And as for 2), I've been sitting with this tense knot in my gut for months now trying to make it a calm, attentive bodily presence. If health isn't at risk, maybe I can continue on with it for a bit longer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Down, Fall Apart, Fall Into It

It's another October which means the leaves around central Pennsylvania are aflame, rich in yellows, oranges, and becoming bold reds, even purples. The autumn colors are vibrant, but all of this is preparation for the coming winter. Winters here are long, bitter cold, and very wet. The sun is scarce, and it's hard to avoid a bit of seasonal depression. For the past two winters I think I have mustered the cold just fine, but the transition into December with finals, and then January with the start of a new semester, has also brought immeasurable weight in emotional upheavals, personal challenges, and hard times that require personal growth in order to avoid a breaking. It's a counter-intuitive reaction to the natural seasons for the sake of survival. Grow and be strongest through the winter, for they seem to bring the threat of snapping limbs and branches.

So, this October, I fear another uneasy transition from fall into winter. Faced with few other options than to simply roll with the rotation of the earth and the pace of a natural transition, I am trying to suspend my fears and trust that winters are easier if you have another source of heat in addition to one's own. Friends, family, lovers bring a bit of warmth.

I've always known that I could learn from the trees. They have patterns. They have strength. They give lots of things--shade, colors, sway, and silhouettes. They also have roots.

Here's to the hope that I can take another fall with grace.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Knowing the Negative Side of Things

From today:

Q: What is something that people need to know about you in order to really know you?

A: The negative.

Not in the sense that I am dark, depressed, or pessimistic, but in the sense that there is always another side, another way to see something. I know that I can come off in bright, clear colors. I have strong angles, hard edges at times, and a bluntness most of the time. But the directness, the clarity of my form, and the passions that provide bold outlines are only the most readily apparent parts of who I am. If one cannot see the negative space that occurs around the lines, between, and behind those clear lines, they will not know the whole picture of me.

But I think this goes for knowing anything.

We look for clear lines when we should be more sensitive to the spaces.

We hear words when we should be listening to the silences.

We demand the obvious when we should be open to the ambiguities.

We want the facts when we might benefit from acknowledging mysteries. 

And I seem to be reminded of this daily.