78uuu lumiŤre des ťtoiles


Me, updated
2007-12-08 † 10:43 a.m.

100 Things
1. I was born in the 70s.
2. I am six feet tall.
3. I weigh 147 pounds today.
4. I look like my mother, but have my fatherís hands and grandmotherís nose.
5. My family comes from several Eastern European countries and a few in the British Isles.
6. I have two brothers, two sisters-in-law, one nephew and one niece.
7. I see or talk to my mom at least twice a week. My father died when I was fifteen, but I still talk to him at least twice a week.
8. My father was a jazz musician, and my mom is a singer.
9. I grew up in a suburb, moved to a city, and now live in exurbia, surrounded by watershed woods and reservoirs.
10. I am a homeowner. I am still in the thrust of cognitive dissonance when I find myself talking about deck stain, shingles, natural gas heating, or the merits of a leaf blower.
11. I went to a high school where most everyone was white except for my Indian friend Priyanka, a few Asian kids and one or two Black kids.
12. Pria found me last year, wrote and told me her parents moved to Ann Arbor.
12. When I was 18 I went to a university where most of the students were not white.
13. I made friends with a conservative Egyptian girl named Safa and was forced to confront my implicit bias regarding Muslim women.
14. When I was 23 I moved to a community where almost no one was white, everyone spoke Spanish or Arabic, and the rent was pretty damn cheap.
15. I began studying ethnic enclaves and ghettoizing of ďmultiethnicĒ, northeastern American cities, like the one I was living in.
16. Iím back in a mostly White neighborhood, which contrasts with my mostly non-White neighborhood at my job. The NYC metro area is fascinating.
17. I paint pictures that I think are good, but am pretty sure are not.
18. I write travel pieces that I think are good.
19. A few of them were published several years ago.
20. I am an activist, teacher and researcher at a public university about 30 miles from my house.
21. I used to teach at a high school in Newark, NJ.
22. Two of my students were shot while I was teaching there, and more girls than I care to remember left to have babies. The hookers outside the school used to yell at the drug dealers for yelling at me when I parked my car in the morning.
23. I have two very related higher ed. degrees and am working on a third in a totally unrelated field. My lack of familiarity with the discipline makes me very nervous, but I like challenges.
24. I teach womenís and gender studies and literature related to protest, social movements and Marxist political thought.
25. I am part of a research team working to ďtransformĒ the gender-bias on our campus that keeps our m-f faculty ratio at roughly 82:18.
26. Most of my work is writing-based, which I love.
27. Some of my work is presenting-based, which I hate.
28. Some of my work is advisory, which I find odd. The promotion/tenure/hiring committees I work with to ensure efforts to diversify faculty are upheld typically consist of men who may as well be Niles and Frasier Crane. They are either overly-cautious around me in a way that still reveals their issues with implicit gender/race bias ("I THINK WOMEN ARE FANTASTIC!!!", "LATINAS WORK SO HARD!!!") or have no shame in being quite direct about their prejudice ("We hired a Black woman once, and it didnít work out").
29. I never talk to these committees about my teaching, or to my students about these committees.
30. Jobs A and B, combined with job C (being a grad student) make me feel so schizophrenic and tired sometimes that I come home and paint bad pictures that I think are good to focus on something else.
31. I waited tables for 10 years at four different restaurants in and around teaching jobs, school, and writing and painting, and sometimes I miss it.
32. I would probably still be waiting tables part time I didnít live in a dual-income household.
33. My bad teaching salary is supplemented by my good research salary.
34. Realizing how large my stipend would be when I accepted the research position reaffirmed how exploited non-tenure track, full time university instructors are when they just do what they were hired to do: teach.
35. My boss also got me a teaching-load release, which means I teach less classes in addition to making more money.
36. Hence the bullshit.
37. I find the research to be a great deal of work, but not as psychologically draining as teaching. I feel that teachers should be considered more valuable than they are at our school, and should be paid more even when they arenít doing extra work for some grant or program for bonus money.
38. I feel most academics who have never studied teaching, pedagogy and canít even informally socialize with other humans because they are so caught up in their physicsanthropologyvictorianliteratureengineering research are not good teachers. I feel that most sort-of academics who have studied teaching in addition to some other discipline-specific graduate work and get hired (non-tenure track, poor salary) specifically to teach are very good teachers.
39. One of my NTT (non-tenure-track) buddies and I have a theory that most academics are high-functioning autistics or sociopaths.
40. Howard Gardner sort of agrees.
41. I met Howard Gardner at a conference two months ago, got over my sweaty-nauseous-you-are-so-simple-and-stupid-you-canít-talk-to-Howard-Gardner, and told him of our theory and that I often felt so-simple-and-stupid around certain people even though I know Iím very smart and innovative.
42. He said something about academics having a certain sort of mind, that we all have those feelings sometimes and that my mind would be good for interdisciplinary work Ė and this before I even told him that ALL of my grad work and teaching has been interdisciplinary. The man is good.
43. I didnít get a chance to tell him that I feel targeted when I read of smarty pants people dismissing interdisciplinary fields and research as being pointless and diluting.
44. I donít know what my job prospects will be like once I finish my doctorate, since Ė well, see above.
45. I donít know if Iíd ever be able to have just one job, anyway.
46. I have many ways to depart from the psychotic world of academe.
47. I couldnít be happier with the people in my life.
48. I live to spend time with my family and friends.
49. I travel frequently.
50. I have been to 20 countries across three continents in the last 12 years.
51. I have been vaccinated for three or four illnesses that have been wiped out in the Global North for over a hundred years.
52. Traveling to Africa is difficult, dusty and exhausting, but exhilarating and impossible for me to resist.
53. My traveling companion is usually my husband, who traveled a lot before we met and lived in Taiwan for a while, teaching and taking photographs.
54. We went to West Africa together after knowing each other exactly 7 months.
55. If two people can navigate border police, government transport, standards of sanitation and insects in Africa pretty successfully, they get rather close.
56. We got married pretty quickly after we came home a month or so later.
57. We still go to Africa a lot, and want to go more, even though we get mad at each other sometimes when we travel.
58. We recently traveled with our friend Nicole to visit our friends Roberta and Claudio in Italy. Even though we all got mad at each other sometimes, we had a good time.
59. We recently traveled to Amsterdam to meet our friends Amy and Sean, who are from London. Even though we all got mad at each other sometimes, we had a good time.
58. We want to travel with our friends Tom and Chard, who have the best travel stories ever, frequently involving hiking in Australia or vomiting in Nepal. Even though weíd probably get mad at them sometimes, I bet weíd have a good time.
60. I have been having a great time with Nicole for the last five years.
61. We like to dance. A lot. We like the B 52s and Siouxsie and the Banshees and New Order and Le Tigre and Wolfsheim and the Smiths and Killing Joke for dancing. (and, and, andÖ.)
62. We gossip and have secrets and have a really real band with our friend Tara.
63. We donít really play any instruments but look good holding them.
64. I havenít played the guitar in over ten years or the drums in over 15, but I think I could remember if I really tried.
65. I was a band geek in high school. My parents taught me to play the piano, but since I donít have one in my house and canít practice much, Iím rusty.
66. I like reggae a lot.
67. I saw Desmond Dekker play an amazing show a month before he passed away.
68. I almost didnít go because I had to teach a lit class the next morning at 8:30.
69. In the case of Desmond Dekker v Responsible-Adult-W-Job: Dekker wins!
70. I saw Sting play to an audience of 1,000 people once. He had glisten-y muscles, and played some old police songs and songs from his first two albums, which nicely off-set the playing of his snoozey recent work. I was right up against the stage and was staring at him, mouth agape, through most of his set. Iím sure that if he saw me, I frightened him.
71. I find Sting attractive and consider him a brilliant song writer, and canít bring myself to dislike him no matter how pretentious/surgically altered/capitalist/assholeish/boring he becomes.
72. I also recently got to see the Police, whom I thought would make it through approximately three shows before they remembered they hate each other and called their reunion tour quits.
73. The Police are one of my all time favorite bands, along with The Clash and The Beat because of the way they incorporate reggae into their music.
74. One of my fellow NTT teacher friends saw Bob Marley play in the late 70s in San Francisco, to an audience of about 300 people. She said it was hypnotic. Itís one of my favorite stories that she tells.
75. I remember traveling to different parts of Africa by bringing home music I heard while I was there.
76. Les Go, Ali Farka Toure, Ayub Ogada, Johnny Clegg and Miriam Makeba are some of my favorites.
77. I need to listen to music when I exercise.
78. I run about 15 miles per week.
79. I need to buy new sneakers a lot.
80. I feel wasteful when I buy too many things, or spoiled because I can afford to buy new sneakers several times per year.
81. Sometimes I find it difficult to reconcile with living in a country that benefits from the free-trade agreements that subject so many in the developing world to poverty and utter destruction.
82. Most times I find it difficult to read about how our government routinely supports and funds governments engaging human rights abuses like genocidal rape, torture and assassination because they give us oil or agree to ďdestroy communismĒ.
83. I am a socialist who sometimes votes democrat, but is growing increasingly skeptical of those who refuse to recognize how destructive neo-liberal globalization is.
84. I like books and movies that explore how destructive neo-liberal globalization is, and use them for teaching.
85. One of my favorite of these books is Kiran Desaiís Inheritance of Loss.
86. One of my favorite of these movies is Paradise Now or perhaps The Syrian Bride.
87. One of my favorite of these documentaries is Life and Debt.
88. I would love to work for an organization that funds initiatives countering the ravages of neoliberal globalization, particularly as it affects women in developing nations.
89. I have my eye on a trip to Tanzania to study one of these organizations, if I can get it funded.
90. I have learned a lot about getting funding because of my research job.
91. But I havenít yet figured out how to argue for the subsidation of all of my friends so I can have them travel with me.
92. I waffle about having children because I get so discouraged about global social issues.
93. Since adopting kittens in August, I have been having dreams about giving birth, breastfeeding and food shopping with babies.
94. Sometimes I wake up from them thinking I would like to have a baby.
94. The dreams always include at least two babies, as we have two kittens.
95. The kittens, Mingus and Melody, are litter mates and well-behaved.
96. They donít claw the furniture.
97. Yet.
98. I miss them when Iím at work.
99. I also miss my husband when Iím at work.
100. I am hungry now.