Archive for moving

Hibernation over, hopefully…

Posted in blogging, lifehacking, Tokyo, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by katekanno

It’s been a long three months since I’ve posted. Getting re-acquainted with Tokyo a new job, as well as a few writing projects, have been part of it.  The other has been our new internet situation.

When we moved into our apartment, we had trouble accessing our WiFi. We fussed and moaned for a few days, and then realized —  wow! — We were so much happier without it.

I’ve been more focused than I’ve been in years, and have not only completed two drafts of my first professional script, but three short stories of which I’m truly proud. I’ve sent them off, received one very hopeful rejection email, and am happily waiting for the rest to circulate back through the ether.

I’ve finally, finally reached that point where writing is a happy compulsion. I knew it was there; it just needed one tiny inconvenience to nudge it awake — in this case it meant having to carry my laptop to the kitchen and hook it up to a LAN cable.  The old stand and surf also has an added benefit of making me more focused about what I’m looking for online.

Other people have more control over their online life. I didn’t.  And when you don’t have control, particularly in cases of technology, it’s sometimes best to downgrade. Throw a shoe in the loom, replace that microwave with a conventional oven. The food’s still there. It’s just better.

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The Village Virus: When your thoughts are in a box, box up your things and leave

Posted in academic speak, blogging, narcissism, Queer life, social networking, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by katekanno

Wow. A two-week blog fail.

Preparations for moving, the two day trip abroad for a job interview, followed by two more days of clearing out and scouring our apartment left little time for reflection, much less blogging. But we are out, out of our apartment, out of Irvine, and now out of California.

After the surprise feelings of guilt over selling our car — it felt like we were hocking the thing to an orphanage — it was a little strange to feel nothing upon leaving our apartment. We did our final walk through, said our “goodbyes” and “thank yous” to each room, and left. That was that. Not a second thought or a tinge of sadness.

There are lots of things that might explain this non-reaction, namely, the disorganization and frenzied activity that always works to anesthetize any departure pains. When you spend days clearing your home of its character, and follow that by scouring all of the places you’d preferred not to look, even the most stubborn grime of nostalgia is bound to come loose.

But there was another far more important reason: Irvine was quite simply sucking the life out of us. Despite the sun, the quiet, the stacks of books, we both felt we were catching Sinclair Lewis’ “Village Virus,” the provincial coma whose only cure is to get the hell back to a city. And it wasn’t simply Orange County’s 10-mega-church-per-block zoning laws, the bookstores that that exclusively sold the Twilight series, or the legions of Humvee driving republicans, but the university itself, which had a taken cultural and class snobbery to a level all its own.

It was a place where subtle pronunciation wars over the names of critical theorists meant social death for the loser; it meant wearing knit caps in the middle of 80 degree afternoons; and the overuse – and very often misuse – of the word meta. It meant the hip denigration of the academically unhip identity politics by people who mostly, despite their pseudo support of LGBT rights, either just couldn’t see what was wrong with allowing Donnie McClurkin to bash gays at election rallies, or were too afraid to say anything.  As a non-academic,  I often felt  that I was regarded,  to borrow an excellent description from Neil Stephenson, like “a test subject on the wrong side of a one way mirror.”

In short: It was time for us to go.

I’ve been reflecting on this since being back in Portland. This city may have its share of hipsters, but the discussion, the books, the humanities themselves are open to everyone. No academic jargon or mannered diffidence required. Powell’s books is unionized, and the vegans at the vegan cafe are actually interested in labor history, rather than using their veganism as yet another tacit class distinction.

Commence Project Guiltpile and 31/31 "A Wicked Voice" by Vernon Lee (Violet Paget)

Posted in books, ghost stories, Halloween, lifehacking, literature, old time radio, psychogeography, Queer life with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2009 by katekanno

bookHere lies the monstrous list of books that distraction be damned I’m going to try to finish before leaving.

The tickets have been purchased. I have exactly two months.

20 books. It’s not all, but I’d better break my goal down into chunks. At the end of this tunnel is a long stay in Portland and several trips to among other places, Powell’s. We’ll start with this, but not necessarily go in order. I’m capricious when it comes to reading, which is partially how I got into this mess. This also doesn’t mean that I’ll not read other books while I’m at it. However, I will not buy anymore. Library’s okay.

1.The Magic Mountain

2.The Futurological Congress

3.The Untouchable

4.Let us Now Praise Famous Men

5.Titus Groan

6.The Trouble with Lichen

7.334

8.We

9.Great Expectations

10.Henderson the Rain King

11.Infinite Jest (I wouldn’t include this monster, except I’m 200 pages in already)

12.The Thirteenth Tale

13.Skeletons at the Feast

14.Haweswater

15.Bright-Sided

16.The Windup Girl

17.The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

18.Interviews with Fritz Lang

19. White Sands, Red Menace

20. Psychogeography

I’ve tried to take an eclectic sample to circumvent distraction, and will cross them off as I go. Here’s to absurd goals and the transitions that allow us to get a lead on them.

Let’s get back to ghosts.

VernonLee

Today’s story is another one with strong queer connections. Written by Vernon Lee a.k.a. Violet Paget, it tells the tale of an androgynously beautiful young vocalist who can seduce and kill with his voice. Lee was a strong proponent of women’s rights and could beat Vita Sackville West when it came to wearing men’s attire. Her supernatural fiction was regarded highly during its time along with her a book on eighteenth century Italian music. A recent volume of her stories was published in 1990 under the title

Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales.

What struck me instantly about “A Wicked Voice” was its energy. Not a hint of the stuffy about it.

In addition, here is an OTR story called “Weekend Vacation” that includes creepy motel, old woman, and her Lennie like son: “Monroe likes girlies! Pretty hair.” It’s pretty darned disturbed, but has a nice twist.