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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Body

It was with some trepidation that I sat down to rewatch The Body. I'm teaching it, so I had to. And I'm teaching it on purpose - on of our texts refers to death as the thing that will "define the creation for the created" and I immediately thought of it. But it's a doozy, as far as I remember. I haven't rewatched it since I saw it the first time, but I remember how shaken up I was by that first image of Joyce on the couch. In addition to the power of the episode, there are obviously some memories there. No surprise, then, that while I'll be suggesting that we watch future episodes as a community, I have no intention of trying to watch The Body with my class.

But enough stalling.

I'd hoped to Rewatch at an accelerated pace and work my way up to here, but that obviously didn't happen, so I'm watching it out of context.

Mom. Mom? Mommy?

It's jarring to see the slayer looking so helpless, but that's the point - actual, normal, human death is the thing that the slayer helpless against (even in the case of her own, it's not her who has any power, and the power that's used has horrible consequences that suggest it maybe shouldn't have been).

Word vomit "good luck"/real vomit.

It think it's well done that it's like it doesn't sink in until Buffy says "the body" herself. Earlier, she corrects the person on the phone and, when she say "the body, " Buffy says, "No, my mom." When she finally yells at Giles, "We're not supposed to move the body!", that's when it really hits her, and she begins to cry. (That's also when I started to cry.)

The pieces of this are so perfect. All of the random things you freak out over, finding the perfect shirt, wanting to know what's expected, wanting to think it's just not true, wanting someone to blame...and then Emma Caulfield (Anya) just breaks it down. But Willow's response, which is less talked about, is also great:
Willow - "We don't it works...why..."
Because that's really the problem, isn't it? We know, more than we know anything else, that it's coming. We don't know when, really. And we don't know how it works. IF you truly believe that it's just a cessation, even that's mysterious, because we can't truly imagine what it is not to have our consciousness anymore. So our brief lives are bounded by

displacement - I don't even know if I"m here

Buffy - Was it sudden?
Tara - No, and yes. It's always sudden.
My problem isn't with Dawn wanting to see, it's with not just saying, "I want to see." Why pick the dumbest way possible? Oh, because you're that character. If you lived in Sunnydale, why would you *ever* go into the morgue unattended, given how frequently people don't stay dead? You know that on any given night, there's got to be some vampire rising in the morgue.

And what, exactly, does Dawn think she's going to see? Or accomplish by seeing? I know this is an impulse for some people, but it's just not one that I share. I've seen the bodies. It's not a comfort, and it only gives you an unpleasant visual to remember. They don't look like the people you loved, and for exactly the reason Buffy gives at the end. "It's not her. She's gone."

3-30: Free rider problem

So, this guy is frequently on the Muni with me in the morning. 

He *never* pays. 

And it bugs me. Why? Because if he were Black, he'd get kicked off the bus. I know, because I've seen Black people get kicked off of this very bus line (the 30) for not paying their fare. But not this guy. Not once. And I've never seen him pay. Not once. Ever.

Muni drivers, along with Hollywood casting directors, do not live in a colorblind society. Class is also a factor, but in many cases, race is taken to be an indicator of class. Regardless, the fare for Muni is supposed to be the same for everyone.

But it's free for this guy.

3/29 - presents!

Came home today to a box from Thought, "Yay!" And then, "Hm. I don't remember ordering anything that would be here yet, and in a box that size." And then, "Uh-oh. Did I accidentally order something extra, like pajama pants or a bunch of books or something?" I've been *really* sleepy lately, and I was afraid that I'd pushed a button when I hadn't meant to. But, no, the box was from a friend who'd been kind enough to send part of his recent gift card bounty my way.

I played Encore at a friend's house once and it was lots of fun! More challenging than I'd expected it to be. And the first season of The Vampire DIaries was surprisingly enjoyable - I'd been a naysayer, but was won over, largely by Ian Somerhalder's hotness some surprisingly compelling narrative choices that happen later in the season. (Shut up. They can't all be Buffy, ok?!)

Speaking of Buffy, I'm about to start watching with my class. Well, not the first episode - they're on their own for the screening of The Body, which I can only watch from my own couch, with a box of kleenex and a blanket. This should also get me back into the rewatch, which I am woefully behind one. Stupid life, getting in the way of my DVD watching.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3/27 & 3/28

 Went to a conference over the weekend, which gave me a chance to pay too much for food at the airport. This disgusting sandwich the LA Roadhouse Diner (across from gate 83 at LAX) cost me $10. Grilled chicken a bried sounded good, but it was a terrible, terrible choice. Don't ever eat there and, if you have to eat there, don't order this.

Back in the bay area, someone obviously had a serious party at the Caltrain station.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

OK. Do you, but...

This just confuses me. So much effort. And yet...

I wonder if maybe your hard work couldn't be directed a bit more...productively?

Friday, March 25, 2011

On the drama about casting The Hunger Games

There's an article at Racialicious that does a good job of addressing why it matters who's in the lead role and why it's important that they've got it wrong. Why the Casting of The Hunger Games Matters.

This drama was one of the few entertainment-related things that made it through the noise of end-quarter period for me. I haven't read the book yet, though I've very much wanted to since one of my younger sisters recommended it. Given how popular it was, I wasn't surprised when I heard there was a movie version coming, and I made a note to myself to be sure to read it before the movie came out. So, not having read it yet, I don't have any real sense of who the characters are, or who might be right to play them, and I didn't have any idea why people were so upset about the casting. At first, I just kept reading that Jennifer Lawrence's hair and eyes were the wrong color, which seemed like nitpicking to me, given how frequently people wear dye their hair, or wear wigs and colored contacts. Then, I stumbled across a few things that mentioned what a big deal it was that Katniss doesn't look like her mom and sister, or that Katniss is compared to a character who is obviously not White, etc. "Ah," I thought, "I see your point." Then came the other shoe - I stumbled across a few really defensive posts about how it shouldn't really matter anyway, because it's all about class, and the world they're in is post-racial, and... That's where I stopped reading, because that's where people started shooting themselves in the foot, and I hate to see that happen. There are lots of issues to take up here, and they've been taken up by people far better situated to do so. What I'll say is this: if anyone can play grey-eyed, black haired Katniss, because race doesn't matter in Katniss' world, then why did the casting call specify that it only wanted "Caucasian"? Because that doesn't sound post-racial. Oh, I know - because, while the world of The Hunger Games might be post-racial (doubtful, but I'll see when I read it), ours is not. And that's why casting matters, and why it matters that Hollywood gets it wrong so often. We'll be watching this film in *our* world, where people are much more comfortable with the idea of casting a stereotypically blond-haired, blue eyed, fair-skinned actress in the role of an dark-haired, grey-eyed, olive-skinned character than they are with the idea of casting anyone even vaguely brown in the role of anything at all. Even a character from the same book, who is explicitly described as dark brown.

Again, not surprised. And, not having read the book and gotten attached, not disappointed in the way that actual fans are -- I'll get there when I've read it, and have my own ideas of what the characters should look like, which will inevitably not be what it translated to the screen. Instead, I'm disappointed the abstract way that I'm disappointed every time I hear that Hollywood never-ending quest to whitewash our imaginations continues.

3/24 - awesome galoshes

My friend Q's rain boots are *way* cooler than yours.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A short quiz

Slipped and fell again today. WTF, universe?! That's twice in the rain
at BART stations -- today on faux (I presume) bricks inside Balboa
Park (ew), last time on a slippery metal grate outside of Civic Center
(TRIPLE EW!!!) and once in dry weather, on the cement outside of the
Asian Art Museum (also the Tenderloin -- weep). All 3 times, the most
significant injury has been to my pride. So here's a quiz. Which do
*you* think the universe is trying to tell me:

A. slow down
B. wash your jeans
C. be more grateful for my well-padded thighs and hips
D. look into shoes with better traction
E. get ready for something *truly* humiliating
F. at least you've got good bones
G.some other exciting message (feel free to provide in the comments)
H. none of the above
I. all of the above

Monday, March 21, 2011

Music Monday: Adele's "Rolling in the Deep"

My friend M. sent me a link to the studio video of this a few weeks ago, but I was so buried under the end of the quarter that I'm just now getting around to checking it out. I do, as was predicted, like this a lot. Here's Miss Adele doing her thing acoustic:

No small thing to sound that good on a crappy little mic in the the open (windy) air. Work it out, Adele.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Catching up on the Whedon spotlight -- the linkfest begins

Finally catching up on the PopMatters Whedon Spotlight, in which I will be featured on Wednesday. Here's are a couple you might want to check out: Why Cast a Spotlight on Joss Whedon? and Joss Whedon 101: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The first is exactly what is says. Lots of interesting info, and you should go and read it, but the author suggests that, in a nutshell, Whedon rocks because he likes what we (geeks) like, thinks we (the audience) are smart, and actually likes and respects women. The second article linked is all about how BtVS came to TV, and what the author thinks its place in TV history is in terms of female heroes* and narrative structure. Also an interesting read. Both of those pieces are by the spotlight editor, Robert Moore.

*I've mentioned this here before, but will say again: for a thoughtful treatment of the history of female heroes in popular American media, check out Jennifer K. Stuller's Ink Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology.

pictures 3/11-3/18

Fancy pants at the coffee shop. And by "fancy," I mean "dear God, no." (3/12)

I was going to mock this place for giving someone highlights with which I disagreed, but then I noticed this sign and decided not to. It put me in such a good mood that I bought cookies from girl scouts that morning. I almost smiled at a hipster that day, but recovered my senses in time. (3/12)

 An excellent poem by Kay Ryan (3/13)


Morning got off to a terrible start, but I got a free latte with my breakfast while I waited an hour for the train, and there were pretty flowers on the table. (My garden was *totally* a bean that day.) [3/14]

March 11, 14, 15, 16 - exams

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Well, with those, anyway. Still have to survive 4 days of exams...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

PopMatters Spotlight on Whedon has started!

Here's the link to the main page - Creator Spotlight: Joss Whedon. On March 23rd, they'll be running an article by yours truly on humanism and heroism is Whedon's work. Until then, check out some of the other pieces - I will, as soon as I'm done grading! Today, for example, there's a 101 article on Buffy, one on vampires, language and masculinity, one on Buffy's place in the fantasy cannon...

You get the picture.

But how much does it *really* hold?

Thanks, B.!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3-8: "All the world's waiting for you..."

When I was young, I loved Wonder Woman. I watched the TV show - I'm sure that what I remember watching must be the reruns, since it's original run was 1975-1979, which would have been a little early for me to watch and remember. I once convinced my mom to let me wear my Wonder Woman Underoos for Halloween. I know that someone once truth lassoed my little brother, but I"m sure I don't know anything about it. I admit with no shame that I was going to *be* Wonder Woman (or a cowgirl) when I grew up. But my first real, solid memory of Wonder Woman was a glow-in-the dark light switch cover that was on the wall in my childhood bedroom, and had been for as long as I could remember. I remember standing in front of it, making sure my arms were in the right position to start my power twirl. And I can remember further back, when I was even younger, imagining that she was protecting me when the lights were off—that the glow-in-the-dark-ness was a magic of some sort, warding off any number of unspecified "scary things."
"All the world is waiting for you/and the magic that you do..."
When I got older, and certainly didn't think silly things like that anymore, I redecorated my room. I wanted to change it from the space I thought of as my mom's creation to one that was my own, so the baby pink on the walls changed to a more teenagery shade of...well, pink. But the little girly art—-an angel my mom had painted -- came down. My mother told me she'd put the angel there to watch over me when I was a baby; I gently reminded her that I wasn't a baby anymore, and put posters of an actor I've long-since forgotten on the wall where my gaurdian had been. My mom smiled and asked if I wanted her to help me take the screws out of Wonder Woman. She was sure the regular switch cover was around somewhere, and we could put it up after the paint was dry. "Why would I take Wonder Woman down?" I asked. "She looks good with the new pink." And so she stayed.

To be honest, I don't think I could imagine taking her down. And hadn't I always loved Wonder Woman? I don't think it occurred to me, at the time, that she must have been put there by one of the people old enough to watch and love Wonder Woman at the time that the show was happening. The people who'd bought me the Underoos, who'd actually been paying attention to the show while I was busy twirling with my eyes closed. Who'd put not one, but two protectors in my room. It's funny the things teenagers don't think of.

When I was 21, my brother and I sold our house in a somewhat hurried fashion. We did well for a 17 and 21 year old left with the responsibility of selling their childhood home in the middle of the school year, but a few things were bound to go wrong, and my forgetting to take that light switch cover off the wall was one of them. I've thought of it often over the years, and for some reason, it hasn't occurred to me until now that I could probably find one somewhere, and that it might even be for a price I was willing and able to pay.

Maybe she was waiting until I really needed her. It feels a little safer around here already.

*(Edited a little, because there are things we don't think of as grown ups either. Thanks, dad.)


Got to work this morning and found that the king cake that my brother sent me had arrived.

Had a particularly amusing (to me, at least) moment when I found the baby -- clinging for dear life -- to the bottom of a piece I'd just taken a big bite out of. I remember when the baby was actually *inside* the cake. I don't remember anyone ever actually coming anywhere near chocking on it. I also feel like the baby was smaller then.

Monday, March 7, 2011

3-5: Blossoms, etc

Went south w/A. and B. to see the orchards in blossom. See - sometimes I go outside.

Almond trees in bloom

Sunday, March 6, 2011

3/4 - No.

3/3 - At the Asian Art Museum

A gilded copper statue of White Tara. Tara is the female aspect of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, one of the most revered boddhisatvas of Mahayana Buddhism. Tara is said to have come from an expression of Avalokitesvara's compassion, usually a tear. She is also a figure of compassion, and can be peaceful, As shown here, or ferocious, as needed.

Fun fact: Tibetan Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism and the Dalai Lama's followers believe that he is manifestation of Avaloketesvara.

Date: approx. 1400-1500

Simhavaktra Dakini
Date: 1736-1795

A dakini is a female sky spirit (dakini can be translated as "she who traverses the sky" or sometimes, more poetically, "sky dancer"), a female embodiment of enlightened energy. As energy, they are often volatile. Dakini serve as protectors, muses, and removers of obstacles to enlightenment. This one's hair blazes upward with the fire of wisdom, and her lion's head indicates fearlessness in confronting all obstacles to liberation.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Things to make life suck less while grading

Another week of grading means another slow week on the blog (yeah, what else is new). What am I doing to make it hurt less? Well, this is too good not to post:

And then there's TNC's continuing geek out over Jane Austen. To which I say, "Yes."

And then there's Colin Firth winning an Oscar, and being all Firth-y about about it.


Also, some pictures:

3/2 - I had fried flounder for dinner. Yum!
3/3 - A Rainbow seen from the platform at Millbrae station.