Thursday, January 31, 2008


how do you say "skin" in science again?

oh yeah, yeah! epidermis.

well today i made my first trip to the dermatologist, ever. funnily enough, i actually used to work at a dermatologist's office back in high school (at the height of my acne challenges), but i was one of those feminist grrrls that didn't know they were feminist at the time but still managed to ignore most of society's misogynistic messages about who girls should be, how they should want to look, and what makes a girl "worthy." so even though i worked in a superstar miami dermatologist's office, where the dr. was actually featured on the news every week to give skin advice and star's relatives came in for botox (while still in high school!), i refused to take any of the free/discounted treatments i was offered. i figured that the world should have loved me simply because i was a nice person, had lots of extracurriculars, volunteered, never had sex, and scored really high on the SAT. what are a few pimples and acne scars in the face of all that, right?

um...a deal breaker basically. :) so 7 years later, here i am. going to the epidermis doctor to see what we can do about making me the clear-skinned fabulosity my fellow receptionist at dr. c's always hoped i would be.

she was cool! and black! and young! and totally got my concerns! i've never been huge on requiring that my doctors share my race, but i have to say that working with a black dermatologist made me feel comfortable in her suggestions for treatment. she gets what's going on, and knows how to help.


if you're looking for a black dermatologist in new york, check out dr. jamal. you'll be glad you did...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

i think i'm going to have to do this better justice tomorrow

but tonight i'm going to share with you some of these unformed thoughts that i've scribbled in the margins of this week's new york magazine article on hillary and barack. i saw chimamanda adichie again tonight, and spoke to her (somewhat gushing- and embarrassingly), and i thought i'd be able to focus on something else on the way home but i just couldn't. tomorrow i swear i am going to make this better (and actually coherent), but for now, a few key points...

an open letter to cnadichie:

dear chimamanda,

  • the way you graciously ignored my insanity tonight was truly touching. i know i kinda-sorta had tears in my eyes when i tapped you on the shoulder and babbled incomprehensible nonsense about your writing, and that those tear-filled eyes widened perceptibly when you asked my name and complimented my hair, and that all of those things combined must have struck fear into your heart. but this gift you have, this gift of words, is amazing to me. i envy it. and i'm so glad that it is yours, because i think you use it with a wisdom that eludes many in this world to whom is given much power.
  • "my american jon," like half of a yellow sun and purple hibiscus before it, scares me because your sentences are my thoughts, my feelings, my heart on paper, expressed more eloquently that i ever could. between you and zadie smith i feel like my deepest feelings, the good, the bad and the ugly, have finally been expressed and restored to me and all of the beautiful women out there like me the power that has been stripped from us by the myriad negative forces out there in our world. you speak back! and your speech is all that i need it to be, and more.
  • finally i have to say that i will be back tomorrow to try and make this sound less crazy and more casually admiring. you know, just in case you happen to google yourself tonight and find this. because i know if i were you i'd be googling myself constantly.

just in case you're as ignorant as i am

about the delegate assignment process, here's a post that clarifies.

more help, suprisingly enough.

i've never voted in a primary before, and i'm SUPER excited. received my new polling place in the mail last night, and i am SO READY! whoo-hoo!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

things that rock about today

  1. today is the day after the second meeting of my ItAG (and the first that everyone attended). we played games from "games for actors and non-actors," introduced ourselves, and started to get a taste of what we all bring to the super-positive, awesomely radical educators' table. i left at 9:15 feeling radiant and expansive, and exhausted. good talk about good books is like crack to me, without the horrible post-hit crash :).
  2. my promotion (as lukewarm as i felt/feel about it) was announced at work today. it's good to have it finally out in the open. it's also good to have a great officemate to make sense of it all with.
  3. restaurant week dinner at amalia with heather and nicole. FAB! from caldo verde to balsamic-glazed short ribs to warm chocolate cake with vanilla foam and caramel ice cream, fancy dinner was worth every single penny. add the pinot/cabernet/syrah blend to that, and you've got near-perfection. good eats and good conversation-- a great way to end a wonderful 48 hours.

what's up next in this oh-so-blissful week?
i dunno. but having to decide between this many awesome choices is priceless.

i know i rip off jezebel way too often, but

their montage on whoopi on the view this week is TOO GOOD!

i haven't loved whoopi this much since jumping jack flash!

i can't embed the video, so you have to click through.


color of change rocks my (and your) socks off

not endorsing one candidate, but rather allowing their audience to speak their minds. i love smart people who do smart things. become a member of and share your thoughts, too-- i want to hear what you/we have to say!

Dear ****,

As the primary heats up, celebrities, politicians, newspapers, unions and advocacy organizations are lining up behind presidential candidates--trying to use their personal or institutional power to influence voters.

At, we believe that it's our collective voice that can bring about profound political change for Black America. The 2008 presidential election is a crucial time for us to make clear where we stand as folks who are engaged, informed and committed to the interests of Black Americans. Today, we want to give you a chance to tell the world which candidate you support. Can you take a moment to vote for your favorite candidate?

Because not all ColorOfChange members support the same candidate, we don't think it would be right for us, as an organization, to endorse one of them. But we absolutely want to give ColorOfChange members an opportunity to use our collective power to elect a President who will defend and advocate for the interests of Black folks. After you vote in our online poll, we'll publicize the results. It's a way for the media to see where ColorOfChange members stand, and it gives each of us a chance to see what other ColorOfChange members think.

Within the next couple of days, we'll send you the results of our poll and information on how you can support your favorite candidate by donating or volunteering for his or her campaign. Using our individual and collective power to influence the 2008 election will help us demonstrate our power to influence electoral politics and ensure that the next president stands up for our interests.

Can you take a moment to vote for your favorite presidential candidate?

Thank You and Peace,

-- James, Van, Gabriel, Meryvn, Clarissa, Andre and the rest of the PAC team
January 29th, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

can we talk about intersectionality for a moment?

or maybe the responsibility that political figures have to be cautious and sensible about what they say? or even about the idea that at its heart effective activism/work for social change requires coalition building and solidarity? or, at the very least, that being respectful might be nice?

what is it about barack's candidacy that makes people get so nastily up in arms? this statement by the NOW New York State President is really overwhelming to me:

Psychological Gang Bang of Hillary is Proof We Need a Woman President
January 11, 2008
by Marcia Pappas, President NOW - New York State

We've all witnessed scenarios where, on the playground little girls are being taunted by little boys while both girls and boys stand idle, afraid to speak up or even cheering. Or, in the workplace males tease young and older female co-workers; make obscene gestures, inappropriate comments, laughing and expecting (often correctly) that everyone will join in. Then there was that movie where Jodie Foster portrayed the true story of woman who was ganged raped in a bar while others looked on and encouraged the realization. Still others pretended the rape didn't happen. In short, gang raping of women is commonplace in our culture both physically and metaphorically.

This past week, we witnessed just such a phenomenon involving men who are afraid of a powerful woman. Hillary Clinton, in her quest for her Presidential nomination, has in fact endured infantile taunting and wildly inappropriate commentary. Indeed we have witnessed almost comical attacks by John Edwards who in turn sided with Barak Obama as both snickered at Clinton's "breakdown," which consisted of a very short dewy-eyed moment. Now John Kerry, who should certainly know better after his own "swiftboating," has joined the playground gang.

But here's the news. Every woman knows how it feels! There are those who will dismiss, defend or even shame those around them into believing that we progressives are making a mountain out of a mole hill. But that’s the game plan of the patriarchal system that has persisted for millennia. Because they can't frighten Hillary they've decided to control her with the time-old trick of patriarchal ridicule. Women, you know what I mean!

Pundits want to know what happened in New Hampshire. Why didn't the polls see it coming? How could they have gotten it so wrong? Well, aside from the thousands of women and progressive men who made calls from their homes, dropped literature, and held house parties for undecided voters, the truth of the matter is…women get it! That’s why, when women in New Hampshire could vote in private, they came out in droves for Hillary. They'd seen more Hillary bashing than had Iowa's women, and the polls stopped too early to measure their collective reaction. What happened is that women stood up and said "We're fed up and we're not going to take it anymore! We won't sit idly by and watch, while you gang bang one of us." One woman told me she didn't even want to vote for Hillary because she feared that her campaign would be the most dreadful blood bath in the history of politics. I asked her “if Hillary is willing to stick her neck out for us, should we not be brave enough to stand strong behind her?” She agreed and said of course she would vote for Hillary.

We have waited a long time to see our first truly viable women presidential candidate. And what we see now during the debates is what women and girls have experienced from time immemorial. But it seems John's recent alliance with Barak sent a clear message to women everywhere. The message is that if a woman gets too powerful, she can count on the good ole boys ganging up on her. Hillary is a powerful, strong and intelligent woman and she deserves our support. Let us remember what we as women's rights supporters, are charged to do: SUPPORT WOMEN!

And I, your writer,certainly speak from the belly of the beast. I was in Iowa for ten days with other feminist leaders, donating our personal time and money to help with Hillary's campaign. And in spite of our shortfall in Iowa, we did make a difference. Our efforts gave Hillary second place in the precinct we walked. Let me tell you why.

Our job on caucus night was to transport eight women from a nursing home to their caucus site. These were eighty-to-ninety-year-old women who came out in the cold weather and climbed into our vans to stand for Hillary. As we talked with glee about the possibility of our first women president, we were overjoyed to hear stories of their dedication to making it happen. One woman said "I never thought I would live long enough to see a woman president." Another woman said "It's about time; we need to have a woman as our President." These were women who were born around the time that women won the right to vote. They'd heard first-hand stories of that struggle from their mothers and grandmothers. They fought long and hard to see a day when they could have their own credit cards, own their own homes and be in control of their own bodies. They remember all too well when it was legal for a man to beat and/or rape his wife because she was HIS property. They remember when “rape” was ignored by people in the community and law enforcement officials. “She must have done something to deserve it” was common language in those days. Today we still see variations on this same behavior, more subtle perhaps, through success of our efforts, but nonetheless still abusive.

Now those senior citizens we transported stood tall for Hillary, and want us all to know that to have a woman president is to send a clear message to little girls everywhere: "Yes, you can do great things and even become President of the United States." Those senior citizens really get it!

So let's not let young women and little girls down, whether it's on the playground, in the workplace, or in the political arena. Young women need role models. They need to know they can be powerful and control their own lives. By putting Hillary in the Oval Office we send that message loud and clear for all to hear. Little girls everywhere need to know that to be important they don't have to emulate Brittany Spears or other similarly-exploited women. We can do it!

Think about the legacy we'll leave behind when we support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Let’s put a stop to the psychological “gang banging” of women and girls. Let's stand up and be counted by way of the hard-won votes we can now cast!

Marcia A. Pappas, President, NOW New York State
found at:

NOW, please don't ever knock at my door. i just don't have the time, the patience, or the love that you need right now.

** oh, and the constant shout-outs to vaginas everywhere ("women, you know what i mean!") are so played out and just plain stupid.

cool video TOTES ripped from gawker

  1. daniel day lewis' tear-jerking dedication of his SAG best actor award to heath ledger:

  1. "the root" is apparently a site connected to both the washington post and henry louis gates' pbs special, "african american lives 2," that will be airing on PBS in february. if these clips are any indication, i'm probably going to need to invest in the DVDs for my next teaching job:
    don cheadle finds out his ancestors were owned by the chicasaw.
    oh boy, does this make me wonder. there is definitely some choctaw on my dad's side (which is where my family says i get my now-considered-beautiful curls (they were a little late on the memo)), and now don's story is making me think our relationship to my ancestors may not have been what i assumed it was...
    HLG! Research me!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

one of those tidbits of info that prove that i'm a freak

did you know that they subbed in another actress as harriet in the last season of family matters? i thought that fresh prince was the only show that depended on the age-old stereotype that all black people look alike to sub in a much lighter-skinned and completely different-looking black woman for another. i'm baffled right now.

and those of you who know me on facebook know about another bafflement from this weekend's television watching:

j.c. chasez?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

sexy sexy

South Carolina Unofficial Results
Democratic Presidential Preference Primary - January 26, 2008

Statewide Results

Joe Hillary Chris John Mike Dennis Barack Bill

Biden Clinton Dodd Edwards Gravel Kucinich Obama Richardson
Totals 78 14317 33 12263 22 63 28566 90
Percentages 0.1%25.8% 0.1%22.1% 0.0% 0.1%51.5% 0.2%

this really just gets me going. i cannot WAIT for february 5th, and my turn in that booth. ugh, it's so nice to be excited about politics in this country for a change!

weekends are for goodies

my marble banana bundt cake, ladies and gents. with chocolate chips for extra kick!

ummmm, so my mom rocks

and randomly sends me really beautiful pieces of clothing from banana republic. if you know me, you know that all of my prettiest outfits are bought-by-mom. no shame in my game, though.

keep it comin', les!

book learnin'

had my kick-off session of an Inquiry to Action Group (ItAG) with the New York Collective of Radical Educators tonight. i am SO READY to get my brain in gear and engage with other like-minded kid-lovers. so ready to learn and stretch my mind, to stretch my expectations, and to stretch my understandings of myself. ready to make new friends and new connections.

for monday:
freire's letter to north american educators,
chris vine's interview with augusto boals,
and donaldo macedo's intro to "pedagogy of the oppressed"

it doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

welcome to the good life

that kanye jam has been in my head all day, for good reason. kinda like nsekuye, i'm feeling really good about the coming months. i don't know what it is- maybe the new sense of career direction, or the newly reacquired belief in myself, or this incredible feeling of my world expanding in all of the right ways...i don't know.
what i do know, though, is that the next year should be challenging, rewarding, and full of good hard work. all those things i love so much.

hmmm. was bill clinton the first black junkie president?

cuz he's talking like his brain's on drugs. you know, like those saturday morning commercials with the egg in the frying pan? i mean, straight crack talk. what is this?

"At the Greenville event, Bill brought up Obama’s joking reference to him in the debate, about how Obama would have to see whether Bill was a good dancer before deciding whether he was the first black president.

Bill, naturally, turned it into a competition. 'I would be willing to engage in a dancing competition with him, even though he’s much younger and thinner than I am,' he said. 'If I’m going to get in one of these brother contests,' he added, 'at least I should be entitled to an age allowance.'"
- from Maureen Dowd's 1.23 op-ed in the Times, emphasis mine

Okay, so, granted, Obama's "joking reference" was a little silly, as it really relies on a sort of critical consciousness that we can't take for granted in America's voters. I mean, why set people up to potentially think you mean what you say? That's a quick way to end up Dave Chappelle-like, running off in a frenzy of self-loathing and getting lumped in with Mariah Carey's really crazy ass.

So Obama has been a little silly and given a setup, but what does Bill say? Bill's response to this "joke" is a suggestion that he is, in fact, at least as black as Barack-- now he as a white man is eligible for a "brother contest"-- go fuckin' figure! And I was sitting here thinking that a white man that goes through his life with all the privileges of white supremacy at his back, and who has SERVED AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES would have to acknowledge that there's really no way for his dumb ass to be black, literally or figuratively. You would think that he would acknowledge the assertions of the completely idiotic black leaders that feel the need to open their mouths every G-D day and then modestly back away. You would think he would intelligently point out the differences in his experiences and that of a black person, and express a sense of flattery, but that the assertions minimize the reality of racism and discrimination in this country. You would think.

Basically, it would be hoped that he would put down the crack pipe, if only for a minute. Bill, as we "blacks" often say to each other, you've GOT to do better.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

snacks for a sunday afternoon

if you were to happen to stop by my apartment this coming sunday afternoon, you might be able to score a slice of a marble banana bundt cake.

you've been notified. do what you will. :)

i am.

busy, in the best possible way,
excited about possibilities my near future holds,
content with the way things are shaping up,
boldly imagining/molding my life into a much better "place" to be.

january is working out quite nicely.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

sometimes the wonderfulness of friends astounds me

i feel so lucky to have my friends sometimes. today one of my older, wiser friends and i had a chat. nothing too intense-- she set me up to visit a school and then we rode the train downtown together from 231st street up in the bronx. we were interrupted by calls to our cells and random silences. nothing special, yet the insights i gained from her are infinitely valuable. i trust her opinion, and it wasn't until i was sitting next to her in her car this morning that i realized i had so much to ask.

i don't know what i would do without friends like her. and i'm grateful to my time in new york if only because my first job here gifted me my relationship with her and with another friend, chris. having women whose footsteps are just the right size and shape for you to follow is really nice. and to have role models that aren't so far away as to be inaccessible is what my mother would call a blessing.

feeling thankful.

Monday, January 21, 2008

get your game up

just spent 15 minutes on the bus listening to a man bullshit his girlfriend over the phone. i mean, WOW.

not only did dude screw up his story over and over again ("I'm walking to the train station over here in Brooklyn...what's that sound? Oh yeah, did I say I was walking? Oh, my bad, I'm on the bus, baby!"), he was also trying to get at me in the process! dude, i know you're lying to another woman RIGHT NOW. and badly, to boot! no, i'm not gonna give you my fucking number. and you're the second dude i've met this weekend wearing british knights (yes, readers, by british knights i mean british knights).

if i thought i could have jumped off the bus fast enough to get away without any possible injury i would have blown his story up, but i'm just not that nimble. oh well.

interview for being a fellow advisor is coming up soon. keep the digits crossed!

i'll leave you with an ode to footwear:

soooo in love with the new layout

i don't quite know what to do with myself :).

first off, a conversation had with my parents (and particularly my mother) over breakfast one day during the winter vacation got me thinking about the importance of memory and of truth. my siblings and i are fortunate enough to be one generation after the civil rights era, and hearing my mother's own truth, one that is absolutely shaped by her location as an african-american and a woman born into the sixties, is always a wake up call. to really understand the ways in which she and my father suffered to make our my reality one in which the horrors that they witnessed are almost unbelievable is to be deeply, almost painfully humbled.

humility is where i start today.

BAM started their ticket giveaway this morning at 8:30 or something similarly as crazy, so i won't be there this morning after all. i'll be sitting at my desk working feverishly away on this hip-hop curriculum i'm writing, hoping that what i'm doing helps, in its own little way, to further the dream.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

sad face :(

in the midst of overhauling the bloggo tonight, lost my blogroll. and of course i can't remember everything that was there. so if your blog has gone missing, it's nothing personal! i am just inept.


favorite new feel-good show

how to look good naked, on lifetime!

when the guest today said, "i am going to try to love all of myself, as i am," i realized that there is nothing i like more than carson's new idea for a fashion show that guides women to a new sense of self-perception. it's not your usual makeover show- the women are not put through major workout regimen or given tips for hiding their rolls, nor are their senses of style dismissed. he helps them see themselves differently by looking at themselves from a different perspective. then he buys them a sexy outfit or two and challenges them to do a tastefully nude photoshoot. as usual, joy finds herself crying more often than not. :)

this is SO much better than queer eye!

oh, p.s.: yaya's got a job! go yaya, lifetime needs you. and raven symone. and queen latifah. and tamera mowry?

5 reasons to ride the city bus

  1. spotting cool graf/murals around the city that you miss when you're underground:
i was on the bus yesterday down lex. ave. (a route that i've ridden many, many times before), and noticed a mural on 111th that i've never noticed before. it's a de la vega homage to picasso, and it's beautiful. one of the many, many pieces of art that make east harlem a more beautiful place to live that i miss when i ride the train.
  1. checking out hot dudes' booties:
there was a dude on the sidewalk yesterday whose booty made me smile. :D and i didn't have to worry about him turning around and seeing me stare, nor did i have to worry about his ass being pressed up against my face during a sharp, unexpected turn. sweet and simple admiration, another bus plus.
  1. spotting and coveting other people's clothing:
a woman had the CUTEST BOOTS ON. they were hot. i broke that 10th commandment and coveted the hell out of her footwear. all without her giving me that weird "what the fuck you lookin' at?! fuck outta here!" look that i get so often on the train! (yes, i get the look often. no, i won't tell you why.)
  1. hmm maybe i only have three reasons:
oh well. fresh out of shit to say. that's what i get for getting up at 8:30 to "work" when i didn't get home 'til 3:15. stay up, my friends.

oh, and happy mlk day tomorrow! i will be at BAM's annual event, maybe you should be too!

Friday, January 18, 2008

starting over (again)

maybe moving back into the school environment in the fall! big step to take a year after i left, no? i'm thinking so too. so i'm going to think about this one carefully.

i want to take this slowly and to make my next step deliberately.

i can't be open here for a variety of reasons, but hit me up if you know me and wanna know more. this should be interesting.

why do people allow russell simmons to comment on important matters?

i know the man is a mogul, and i'm sure he's really brilliant and thoughtful on some level, but have you seen him on "run's house"?

he and rev have a wonderful relationship, but the man's mouth is a trashcan. in the episode pictured above, he talks ad nauseum about the way he used to travel around the world, and all he would want when he got to a new place was "some blow and some pussy!" classy, russ, reallll classy.

and this is the man, i ask, who co-writes open letters to presidential candidates? yes. yes it is.

open letter to be found here.

maybe you don't know the meaning of this word

i didn't. so i'll share it with you, since my aim today at work is to spend ALL of my time doing non-work things, of course.

epicene (\ˈe-pə-ˌsēn\)
1 of a noun : having but one form to indicate either sex
2 a
: having characteristics typical of the other sex : intersexual b: effeminate
: lacking characteristics of either sex
-definition courtesy of

Just thought I'd share.

so why isn't this on a billboard on houston

instead of the constant up-close and personal pics of cameltoe?

US states renamed for countries with similar GDPs

image courtesy of

these are the things one stumbles across when one wakes up at 5:30 and is unable to return to sleep, and therefore decides to read the morning news because it's technically morning and the "real news" seems overwhelming.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

OMG! and another one bites the dust...

yet another of my little whiteboy star crushes of the nineties has died of an apparent overdose!!!! :( what's wrong whiteboys? what happened? oh, brad, if only you had made it onto "dr. drew's celebrity rehab" in time!

i know i sound really shitty right now, and like i'm mocking this, but i'm not. i'm actually really serious. i'm actually really emotionally kind of shaken up. brad renfro is dead, and it makes me sad.

what is happening to our generation?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

anyone going to be in san jose in march?

info on the exhibition that will include my LTLYM photo:

The show is called This Show Needs You. All of the art exhibited relies on some kind of collaboration in making the work. The LTLYM project is a wonderful example of such a collaboration and I am very pleased that your work will be included. Other artists in the exhibition include: Linda Montano, Lori Gordon, Michael Smit, the Love Art Lab (Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens), and Sara Thacher. The exhibition dates are March 28-May 17, 2008. We will have an opening reception on March 28 from 6 - 8 pm.

if you'll be in nor cal near the end of march, i'd love it if you went to see! i might even love you if you were to take a picture of my picture, hanging on a museum wall!

coughing up nastiness= working from home

where i can easily blog while googling kid-appropriate news articles on immigration. yay.

received a "final entitlement" check from the DOE today. yippee! etsy jewelry, here i come.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

i'm sick. boo.

here's to drinking tea 'til i can't pee no more, craving carne asada but not even being able to imagine actually getting it down my throat, and purell-ing until my hands feel raw.

i really need winter to draw to a close. any time now.

note: my sickness has also affected my ability to spell/write. i've had to edit this three-line entry five times for mistakes at this point. wow.

p.s.: i have an interview on friday...i hope i feel better by then!

Question 1: Are you Black?

Question 2: Where did you get your research? Cuz it sounds like you've just been listening in a Burger King or a McDonald's!
- Questions posed to Prof. Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School,
author of Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal

Listening to "Sales History," a Brian Lehrer show podcast, tickled me this morning. For one thing, I'm days and days late on the show (originally broadcast on 1.10), which shows you that I have subscribed to far too many podcasts in my love frenzy for "my pretty lady." ("my pretty lady" is my ipod, btw.)

The second thing, though, is that I feel the media is bringing out every Black dude with a degree or some money to share their thoughts on the thoughts of a "community" that is so large and diverse in its constituents that I don't think anyone really knows who they're talking about, or to, for that matter. The idea that a Harvard Law professor, or anyone else for that matter, really knows what "Black America" can or will do, think, or believe is a little crazy, because there isn't one Black America. As someone who grew up in South Florida, has family in the Deep South and the Caribbean, and has now spent a good amount of time in both Southern California and the Northeast, I can tell you that there is no one "blackness" in this country. And a black kid in San Fran is going to have a much different take on this election than one in Marietta, Georgia. No doubt about it. So why can't we just leave the issue well enough alone?

As the commentary around Barack's race continues to intensify, I don't know how I feel about the myriad media sources bringing in people like this Randall Kennedy dude (who is black, by the way, and whose research was, granted, not at all based on conversations overheard in fast food joints) or Shelby Steele (who is on a podcast I have yet to listen to).

I don't want to know what they think, and I definitely don't want them telling "White America" what I think for me. I'll do that with my vote, thanks very much.

Monday, January 14, 2008

great breakup song i'm finding six months too late

chrisette michele, "be ok."


what i'm doing at work today

working on my book wishlist for the new year. here's a taste:

  1. the best american nonrequired reading, 2007. (ed. by eggers)
  2. the book of other people (ed. by ZADIE!)
  3. ake: the years of childhood (soyinka)
  4. but some of us are brave (ed. by hull)
  5. a poem traveled down my arm (walker)
  6. in search of our mother's gardens (walker)
  7. scattered hegemonies: postmodernity and transnational feminist practice (ed. by grewal and kaplan)
  8. decentering the center: philosophy for a multicultural, postcolonial, and feminist world (ed. by narayan and harding)
  9. feminism without borders: decolonizing theory, practicing solidarity (mohanty)
  10. third world women and the politics of feminism (mohanty)
  11. wizard of the crow (Wa'Thiong'O)

this american life: post-9/11 truth

listening to last week's "this american life" episode brought me to tears this morning on the train.

"shouting across the divide" is a set of stories about muslim-non-muslim relations, and act 1 (which is as far as I got between 125th and 34th streets) is the story of a young girl whose family is ripped apart post-9/11 by the unbelievable power ignorance and blind faith can have in a culture that discourages critical thought. i won't be silly enough to suggest that our culture is the only one that fits that description, but i will be bold enough to say that we are a part of that sad, sad group.

Stream it, and know this young girl's story.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"pack just one bag, plus the guns. i'll make pancakes."

"terminator: the sarah connor chronicles" is on fox right now, and it's pretty freaking awesome.

there's something about sci-fi that joy just absolutely loves...maybe i'll reread my octavia butler collection this winter...

sexism @ work

The quietly pacifist peaceful
always die
to make room for men
who shout.
- alice walker

I'm not exactly dying, but I am feeling the push to make room for a man who shouts at work. I think that I am drawn to female-led workplaces because I am very sensitive to the propensity for men, regardless of their political leanings, their race or their sexuality, to be fully, ragingly sexist in their dealings with women around them. As a teacher I feel that I worked more for my students than anyone else, and little (or big) boy- and girl-sexists didn't make me feel quite as defeated (being absolutely in charge over them helped too).
Now in the adult workplace, I am lucky to be surrounded, for the most part, by really chill guys who have their heads on straight. Respectful, thoughtful, open, and mentally present to the negative effects of white supremacy and patriarchy.
One man, though, is different. He is, somewhat unfortunately, African American and old enough to be my father, unfortunately because I think it is those aspects of his identity that cause our coworkers to expect the two of us to have an affinity. We get along as individuals, but within the workplace he has a sense of superiority and a desire to be in control that is frustrating. I, being the person who believes in bottom-up, collective decision-making and watching out for those below you as a way of watching out for yourself, find myself being trampled by his shouting. I don't know that the way he treats me is based in sexism exclusively-- he treats the men that are, in his mind, "below" him in the workplace in a very similar way. I, though, am not below him, and I do think there's something about my womanness that makes him feel that he can push me around in spite of our supposed equality.
Next stop on the self-development express: speaking up for myself horizontally, not just vertically. Not letting someone else make my job miserable or uncomfortable.

This mid-twenties thing really fucking sucks.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

i feel like dancing

and hopefully the beautiful women of the square rootz collective will dance with me.

back in the BK this weekend (third weekend in a row?!), living my life like it's golden.

work it!

Friday, January 11, 2008

shh, don't tell

i know a blog is not a good place to share top-secret information, so i won't share it (all) here.

but i will say that sticking up for yourself sometimes brings its own (somewhat flawed) rewards. come february first, my job will be a little different. not necessarily better, but different. you could say my talk with the boss worked, or you could say i've dug a bigger hole for myself. we will see when i can explain the whole thing here, for real.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

the hair journey

come august 2008, i will have marked the 7th anniversary of my embracing my hair. it was almost seven years ago that i took out the first braids i'd ever had and, upon trying unsuccessfully to get them fully out, decided to cut my hair short without giving it the touch-up my mother so badly wanted for it.

i still remember the night i decided to go for it. my mom literally got my aunts on the phone, and each of the pleaded with me--
"you don't really want to do this, girl!"
"don't you want someone to marry you?"
"but you have such beautiful hair! why would you want to do that to it?"

funnily, the perm i had to beg my mother to give me in 7th grade was the same process that i was begging her to support my leaving behind. the process was slow, and definitely not sure. my father has spent 3-5 of the last 7 years asking me when i was going to "get over" this phase, and even now, in his acceptance, he has his setbacks.

i find myself reflecting on hair this morning because i think i may have finally found some products that i love (!). curl junkie was, until recently, my answer. but lately my scalp has been feeling a little raw, so i thought i'd look for something that's a little less harsh. my oyin handmade order just showed up at my doorstep, and not a moment too soon!

the honey wash- my hair has never been happier. soft even before the conditioner comes to visit! and my scalp doesn't feel stripped and raw, either.
shine and define- adds shine and definition without making my curls hard, and is so light that i thought i'd opened the wrong container.

i know this probably feels like a bad ad, but i can't help but share the wondrousness that is oyin. my head is soooo happy!

Monday, January 7, 2008

a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

a few thoughts on tonight's reading at the 92nd st. y:
  1. chimamanda ngozi adichie is as beautiful as she is talented as she is well-spoken as she is thoughtful. all around admirable soul. when norman rush asked her about the "african village" in "the african novel," she told him that the words of the question were meaningless, and she therefore had no answer. when he asked her how she felt about dave eggers, as a white man, writing the story of a black african one, she said that when she first read the book she was annoyed with herself for liking it as much as she did (ummm, can i get an amen?), and that in the end the worth of a novel lies in how the story is told, not who is telling it. in sum, she was WONDERFUL.
  2. dave eggers was a bit of a bumbler, which i guess at the end of the day isn't really that much of a surprise. but he's humbler than i thought he would be too, and more thoughtful. and he called rush on the "africa" versus a specific african country commentary on more than one occasion. gotta love that.
  3. quote from tonight's discussion that makes me want to go back and read "half of a yellow sun" all over again: "this is not my story to tell."
if you're wondering to whose novel the title refers, i'll say that dave eggers is more brilliant than i thought in coming up with that phrase. he and chimamanda both have something that makes me stagger, just a little bit.

the only words that i really loved from rush's mouth tonight:
"both novels stand for memory and knowing the truth."

there are just some things that are worth reading.

in other news, the talk with the boss went better than expected today. not wonderfully, mind you, but i think she heard me and the message that lurked behind my words. i cannot be tethered to my chair at work. i will not be there until 7:30 or 8:00 at night when i can have a life outside of that office. i want to live, and living at work doesn't do that.

i know that as a twenty-something i have to pay my dues. i know that. even if i knew what i wanted, i'm not necessarily empowered to make "that" happen. but i do think i have the right to feel like my hard work is taking me somewhere, and that's just not the feeling i get at my current job. it feels like a lot of hard work for nothing. and that's not how i want to feel/what i want to be.

my boss told me that sometimes what is needed is time. i told her that i don't have the kind of time she's looking for. and i told her i need alternate ways to make money this summer that are going to make my time of the absolute essence. the next few months are going to kick my butt.
a little additional reading:
c.n.a. in the morning news, oct. 2006
"half of a yellow sun" as a short story in literary potpourri

uzodinma iweala, my favorite young black author whom i've actually met on more than one occasion, and with whom it might be said i've had a conversation, in the morning news, march 2006.

new workplace procastination obsession

muse magazine

Sunday, January 6, 2008


okay, blocking the crazy now :).

the sisses are in town, and my legs are feeling the burn. we have been up, down, and around this borough, and it's tiring me out! back to work tomorrow, and the minis are on their own. we will see if drama manages to find them.

being a host is tiring, but i love that family brings no pressure. they are okay with sitting on the couch watching t.v. for 5 hours. also, interacting with my sisters outside of the family home makes for more authentic interaction. it's been a long time since it's really been just the three of us. it's growing on me. :)

as for this coming week, i'm feeling the burn before it even starts. i have to have a difficult conversation with my boss tomorrow, and i'm not looking forward to it at all. keep your fingers crossed, and will me the strength to stand up for myself for once. the "standing up for myself" thing is one that i really need to get to work on this year. no matter what happens, though, i will enjoy the 92nd street Y reading tomorrow night, and enjoy my last day with the sisses on tuesday.

bring it on.

1st saturdays, the caribbean, spoken word

saw suheir hammad at the brooklyn museum last night. she was amazing. she makes quite a case for hybrid identities and the power they can impart to one's consciousness. we are all hybrids in a way, i guess, but some people can express the fuck out of the crossroads they are built upon.
leila buck also read a really interesting excerpt from her new play, "in the crossing."
what was really interesting was being there with my two younger sisters and two friends from work. i work at a non-sectarian non-profit that was founded in the name of a rabbi. many/most of the higher-ups at the org are very pro-israel, and more specifically very pro-jew. they bring israel into every conversation possible. now my coworkers don't necessarily have the same outlook, but to be anti-israel and to express your viewpoints in that space would definitely be a nasty trap.
these writers are pretty anti-israel. one is palestinian, one is lebanese. the discomfort on our row was palpable even after the four disruptive little boys a row ahead of us were carted away by their mom.

suheir's performance touched me in some incredible way. there's something about poetry that holds on to me and won't let go, something i can't quite define. i think it's the condensation of experiences, feelings and thoughts, all into a few words, you know? like it packs a freaking punch.

this video also includes a bit by black ice. suheir starts around 3:30.

the museum's contemporary caribbean art exhibit was AMAZING. there was so much to think about, packed into these three rooms. i'm going to have to return one day, alone, and do some more quiet thinking.

the other thing that made me happy about first saturdays was that it reminded me of all the connections i've made to this city in the last almost-three years. i ran into four people from different parts of my life there, and they reconnected me to who i am, and who i want to be. i love being connected to people, making friends. time to get out and do more of it.

plans for engagement this winter:
  • joining an NYCoRE ItAG group on paulo freire and augusto boals
  • joining the planet fitness that is going to open on 125th and lenox--membership will be just $19/month! (it won't break my new year's resolution bank, either :))
  • well, that's all i have for now. but i think they're good starts, right? ;)

Friday, January 4, 2008

the sisses are coming

my sisters will be in town from today until tuesday. they are 18 and 20 years old, and i don't really know what to do with them.
i bought tickets to the dave eggers/valentino achak deng/chimamanda ngozi adichie reading at the 92nd street y on monday, and all they had to say was, "god, you always have to make us do educational stuff!"
bring on the education! i mean, it's not like they drink...


wow. i went to bed early last night, just randomly got up to pee and thought i'd stop by my comp on the way to relief. but when i saw the headline about barack winning iowa, um, i started to freak out. like, freak. out. on the toilet i'm gesticulating wildly, staring at the mirror with this pride, like, "A BLACK MAN TOOK IOWA!!!!!!!!!" and i'm kind of crying right now.

the funny thing is, i didn't know i was such an obama supporter. i didn't know. i thought i was torn between barack and hillary. but i've never felt anything like this insane flurry of giddy disbelief/pride/happiness. do i think he'll win? i don't know. do i think there are no flaws in his campaign, or that his triumph will make discussions of race in this country move in a new, more positive direction? not necessarily. but am i going to start believing in the "audacity of hope"? hell yes. i am going to hope the HELL out of barack obama's ability to change our country, even if just a little bit, for the better.

now i need to squeeze in my last half hour of rest.

p.s. DUDE i've always been one of those fairweather friends, haven't i? i think i just didn't want to get my hopes up with barack. but he got me, he got me good. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008


so my lessons for the women's hip-hop lit curriculum i'm working on are due on january 21st.
t minus 18 days.
send smart brainwaves my way, because i'm going to need all of them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

mentally fatigued

i've spent the last week and a half working really hard. my coworker kinneret and i have been editing/revising/rewriting a conflict resolution curriculum nonstop, and we were starting to go a little crazy. the project wrapped up around 2, and i've been useless ever since.
this job...kind of sucks. i was working on christmas morning. i was working on christmas eve.
it's time for me to hit the lists.
i was on idealist just now and started to try and remember the last time i was actually really happy with the way my life was going. i realized that it was probably 2 years ago. before pam left new york, before i stopped loving teaching, while i was happily single and dating. that was a loooong time ago.
i need to claw my way out of this rut.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

good eats

good luck in the new year= black eyed peas, mommy style.

i don't know if you pray

i don't, generally. but if you do, please pray for my cousin william. he has leukemia and he was placed in the ICU today. he's 12. he's a great football player, very silly, and he is quite the big brother to his little sister. the cancer came out of nowhere and has come on very strong. things don't look good, and i don't think my grandmother (or i) will be able to deal very well with his leaving us. so i don't want it to happen.

some of you know i had the chance to be a blood marrow donor recently for an anonymous patient. i was advised to say no because i am missing a kidney. writing the marrow donation organization to say no was the hardest thing i've ever done. i feel horrible about not being willing to save someone else's life because of an unknown risk to my own. i feel so selfish. and now william needs someone's help and he doesn't have it.

anyway, again, please pray if you do. think positively if you don't. and maybe think about adding your name and a sample to the national blood marrow registry if you haven't already. you never know who you might be able to help.

starting the new year with a heavy heart and with tears in my eyes.

what a way to start the new year

new year. what does it mean?
  1. latoya over at racialicious linked to this article, "make a list you can't miss," and my list of ways to improve/organize my financial life is well on its way.
  2. i called the ex and squashed the nasty non-thing that has cropped up between us over the last six months. or at least i squashed it for me. i apologized for ugly things i've said and done, and secured a "virtual handshake," and i for one feel much, much better. i think my forgiveness process has come to an end, and just in time for the new year.
  3. a healthier me. i'm committed to being a healthier me this year, incorporating good food and exercise all the time, not just when i think my ass has gotten too big (though the ass is shrinking at a good rate right now, thanks very much).
  4. feeling good about myself is at a high priority this year. that means dressing well and thinking even weller (;)) about who i am and how i look. it means seeking out opportunities to make me proud of myself. 2007 was a little lacking in that department.
i would love to sit down at this computer at this time next year feeling strong and uncompromised. i would love to take stock of the coming 12 months and think about how positive they were-- that i did good things for myself and others. it feels good to have a challenge. :)

p.s.! one last thing! i am going to go to nicaragua to visit my friend bk-j! i need to make it happen.