Monday, May 26, 2014


This past week, the first week of the first real summer vacation I've had in three years (can't say I miss the 9-5 at this point), I decided to take it easy. Almost to the point of absurdity. But after grading all those essays and writing all those final papers, I just wanted some time to relax and do roughly zero things. Well, that's not exactly true. Zero difficult things. Only 100% pleasant things. So far, this plan has been working out swimmingly.

In no particular order: barbecue/pool party with Austin's adorable parents, X-Men: Days of Future Past (the sexual tension between Charles and Erik is still there--I feel we are owed a Fassbender/McAvoy lip lock at this point), RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6 Finale Party (viva Bianca del Rio!), karaoke at Champagne's, tiny mojito party (the party was tiny, not the mojitos), um...other things, probably, but it's all running together and I can't remember what day it is. All the sleeping in doesn't help.

Don't worry. I know what day it is today. Memorial Day. Austin and Jamison and I are going to see Against Me! tonight at the Punk Rock Bowling festival! I've never seen them before, so I am psyched. (I know--a band I've never seen? Practically impossible.) Then tomorrow my week of complete-and-utter-vacation will end. I'm going to take my car to the shop, and then hopefully late next week/next weekend I will drive out to Los Angeles so that my internship and other California adventures can officially begin.

I'm going to miss Vegas though. A lot. I don't know how to live without these people anymore! I see them almost every single day! I hope I receive some visitors in LA. That'd make life easier.


On an entirely different note, I'd like to say some brief words about the recent shooting in Isla Vista. So many people want to make this about mental health, and I understand that impulse. Mental health issues should be taken more seriously in this country--counseling and treatment should be far more readily available. At the same time, mental health issues need to be better understood by the general public as well. Most people with mental illnesses would never hurt anyone. I have several mental health issues related to anxiety. I take medication for them. Many of my friends have mental health issues. It doesn't mean we're anything like this shooter.

This shooter was a vicious misogynist. He hated women. That is what people should take away from this. Sexism and violence against women is still a huge problem. Many people who share this shooter's opinions about women are expressing their support for him, or at least for his worldview, on the internet right now. I'm glad to see that women and feminists of all gender identities have taken this opportunity to start the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter as a space to share all the ways in which misogyny still exists in our society. It's true--all women experience it on a regular basis. I've been harassed on the street more times than I can count. I've been groped in public, followed home from bars. I've had dates try to force themselves on me. And that's just me. Every single woman I know has stories like these, if not worse stories.

When I talk to my college freshmen students about rape on college campuses, it's no wonder that these disgusting views are still so prevalent--nobody has ever talked to them about it before. None of my students had ever heard the term "consent" used in regard to sex. In each of my classes, male students asked whether having sex with a drunk girl is rape because they legitimately did not know. Nobody had ever told them how to respect women. The women in the class, of course, all felt that it was a bad idea to wear short skirts and/or get drunk at parties, because women are constantly taught that we have to "protect" ourselves. Men are not taught that they should not rape.

I'm well aware that not all men are misogynist creeps. You don't have to tell me twice. I know many wonderful men who I'd trust with my life. The problem is, when it comes to strangers--all strangers, everywhere--women have no idea which ones are the misogynist creeps and which ones aren't. There's no visible way of telling. On some level we have to be wary of every male stranger all the time. That's just daily life for all women.

If you're a man and you're feeling uncomfortable reading this: good. You should feel uncomfortable. You should help make changes in society so that women don't have to feel this way. Fight the good fight with us. If you hear or see one of your friends behaving in a misogynist manner--or if you see a stranger behaving that way--call them out on it. If you continue to tolerate misogynist behavior, misogynists will simply continue to believe that their behavior is right and acceptable. Men and women and all those with different gender identities need to work together to stamp out these dangerous sexist views, or else more people are going to die. The Isla Vista shooter may be an extreme case, but violence against women is common. Rape and sexual assault of all people, regardless of gender, is common. It needs to stop.

Oh, the other thing we should take away from this: legally purchased guns are just as much of a problem as those obtained illegally. Our politicians need to stand up to the NRA and fix it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Whenever I can't think of an entry title, I usually just go with a song. Can't beat this Sly & the Family Stone classic.

You know what that means. School is officially out for the summer. I haven't been able to blog for quite some time since I've been writing final papers, and some more final papers, and I've been grading fifty 8-10 page essays from my students as well as their final exams. However, I just turned in my final grades to the department, so I don't have anything else to worry about. I'm glad to take a break from essays and teaching for a few months, but at the same time, I'm quite sad that my first year in the program is already over. Everything's going too quickly! In a few days maybe I'll write a more reflective post about that. You know, because I'll actually have spare time.

Summer does not mean laziness for me, though. I have to write write write so I have something to workshop next semester. I think I'm going to tackle James Joyce's Ulysses, because why not? And of course, in June I'll begin my internship with Les Figues Press in LA! I'm psyched to be working with them. They make gorgeous, innovative books--poetry and prose. I can't wait to help out, learn the ins-and-outs of a small press. Many thanks to Les Figues for giving me a chance, and to my beautiful friends Mackenzie and Alex who have offered me their guest bedroom for the summer. Happy to have a place to stay with people I like.

Speaking of LA, my friend Katie recently abandoned her spacious apartment near Griffith Park to come visit me for a long weekend. We went to Velveteen Rabbit for a reading in celebration of The Salted Lash's issue 2 launch. (And since I haven't mentioned it on here yet--one of my stories is in the second issue of Michael Berger's adventurous handmade zine! If you'd like a copy, let me know and I will make sure one gets to you. $5-$10, sliding scale.) We had brunch downtown and meandered past the old casinos. She joined our D&D party for an exciting evening in which my character met her god, the Raven Queen!!!!! Penny was fangirling just a little. We went hiking at Red Rock--which I should really do more often, since it's right there, and because it's so pretty it looks fake. Exhibit A:
No filter on that photo, my friends. It just looks like that. For real. 

That evening we went to the strip and played tourist--had drinks at the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan, saw the Bellagio fountains and gardens, wandered through Paris and New York-New York. Ended the night with some delicious alcoholic milkshakes. Katie's visit was a lovely break from all the end-of-the-semester madness. I am more than glad she came, and I can't wait to hang out with her all summer!

Want to know how I'm kicking off summer celebrations? Tonight I am sissying my walk down to the Tropicana for the RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE SEASON SIX CORONATION! I am so. excited. Gagging, if you must know. I am confident that Bianca Del Rio will take home the crown she so clearly deserves; Adore Delano and Courtney Act have their merits, but I am convinced that only Miss Del Rio has the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent to be America's Next Drag Superstar. I have only one concern: what will I wear?! Should I serve up sexy cheetah realness? Bright blossoms eleganza? 

Excuse me. I have to go dig through my closet. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I found a lizard on my door when I got home from the climbing gym this evening. I haven't seen any in Vegas so far. Reminds me of Florida.

I've been going to the climbing gym a lot lately. Jamison and I got month-long memberships--did I mention that? I can't remember. Anyway, we did. I think I'm improving slightly, although I'm still using my arms far more than I should. I know what I'm doing wrong, but it's hard to remember when you're up there on the wall, especially when one is lacking core strength/strength in general. I'm good with cardio, but my muscles aren't so great. Hopefully all the climbing will fix that.

Saw Gogol Bordello again on Saturday. This time the show was positively raucous. The crowd was bigger, the pit was bigger, lots of screaming, lots of jumping and dancing. I think they should play the Brooklyn Bowl every Friday & Saturday at midnight and sell season tickets. I suspect I'd be there quite frequently. It's a great way to get rid of pent-up energy. The kind that comes from sitting in one's bed and writing a theory essay.

That's what I did on Saturday during the day. Not the whole thing, unfortunately, but 6 out of 20 pages. I'll take it. Let's see, what else have I been up to? Friday evening was Colby's going away extravaganza--he's moving back to California--so we went to Herbs & Rye for fancy cocktails & dinner, and then we went dancing at Free Zone. Another good way to get rid of pent-up energy. I was very sleepy that night, unfortunately, so I don't think I was owning the dance floor as much as I normally do. And I do own the dance floor. Never doubt that.

Oh. Hey. I think I forgot to mention that I got an internship this summer. How silly of me. It's in Los Angeles. I'm psyched. I'll tell you more about it soon--I just want to make sure it's okay with them if I blog about it. I'm sure it will be, but just in case.

I am psyched about leaving for the summer--no one wants to deal with up-to-120-degree-days--but at the same time I am less than psyched. As avid readers of this blog probably realize, I'm quite enjoying my life in Vegas. I love my friends here--love, love, love them--and I don't want to leave them. I don't want to have to go through the process of making friends again in LA. I know it will probably be easy. After all, I already have a few friends there--Katie, Mackenzie, Alex, Carissa, I'm coming for you!--and the other interns will likely be in the same position as me, so I'm sure we'll bond. Nevertheless, I'm going to miss my Vegas friends, and they'll be piled on top of the huge number of Chicago friends I already miss all the time.

At least it's close, so I can come back to Vegas for any birthdays, exciting parties, etc. And I am certain that LA will be adequately distracting. You know. Beaches. B-celebrities. A plethora of concert venues.

And it's very late at night again. Look at that. Better sleep. I have to teach tomorrow morning. Until next time.