30 March 2011

Are you rationing the number of NY Times articles you're reading too?
My professor just called me m'lady. By that I assume someone has told her about my secret, secret blog. Hello professor! I know you are going to visit your lover at the conference in Hawaii, because I am stalking you too.

29 March 2011

Today after cataloguing and labeling artifacts at the museum I stopped for dinner with my three-and-a-half year old cousin and my aunt. She's very hard on him, expecting adult social graces, and she and my uncle are both very sarcastic. The kid responds with the potty mouth to end all potty mouths and goes outside to blow bubbles, which his mom says she hates. I want to love him and love him and love him and then I want one of my own.

28 March 2011

Hamentashen and wine are a winning combination. I have also made chicken soup. Purim has come to my house a week late and Jew-less.

27 March 2011

I feel compelled to break up with academia.

26 March 2011

My raggedy old cat has not accustomed himself to the high station of life that I have put on offer. He stopped eating his high-quality wet food so I fed him Fancy Feast, and while his intent whiskers indicated that initially, at least, he found it delicious, still, he leaves his portion waiting for the dog. He refuses soft bedding. He will only hop up on my bed when the covers are drawn aside so that he can lie on the sheet. In the kitchen he beds down in a cardboard box lined with an old towel. His one desire is to be allowed outside to lounge in the sun and cedar and hunt small game. This I deny him. One can't very well expect a cat to "get" the neighbourhood "lost" posters.

25 March 2011

While I was waiting at the pharmacy I picked up some flax oil capsules for omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Flax oil so that I am not consuming distilled essence of endangered species; it actually compares very well with fish oil. Maybe my brain will work better, but right now I feel more at ease, more well-being, some of the edginess is gone as if by magic. 2000mg twice a day.

24 March 2011

Today while I was waiting for my prescription I wandered over to a pet store and saw some orange kittens with mutant digits on their paws: one extra big toe with two mini toes astride it in addition to the average paw.

22 March 2011

I've been working hard. This morning I woke up at 3 am, I think from the level of anxiety I am carrying. I lay in bed for a couple hours and then got up and did some work for a couple hours. Slow coffee around 8 am, which I needed, but waking up so early leaves me cold and shakey. The caffeine made me feel light and jangled. It wasn't so bad, I'd got six hours, but it wasn't good either. In the morning the city streets were quiet and humid, a misty rain coming down, only homeless people outside the bookstore and waiting on the mall. The air on the bus was heavy with pot. Twelve hours after waking up I got home and lay immobile under a furry blanket, brain non-functional.
Hello to my reader this week in Japan. I raise my gyokuro to you.

19 March 2011

My helioborus. I watered it faithfully all summer, unsure whether it would survive the winter. Not only has it survived, it has proven itself hardy to summer heat and late winter frost.

18 March 2011

[T]o the person we call fundamentalist, there is usually, I think, one bible only, and not much room for free debate about that particular bible's preeminence. If that's what Bible means or what it leads to - if it is a word that refuses its own plural - then I propose to you that the Bible is a powerful agent of discord and destruction, worthy of Satan himself. [...]

The Europeans who came to this coast in the 19th century were by no means all devoutly religious, but I think we can safely say that the vast majority had been brainwashed in two respects. They were conditioned to believe that, as Christians, they had privileged knowledge of the shape and purpose of human life and that as Europeans, they had innate superiority to the non-Europeans they might meet. Just having a bible in that sense, or being told that you have one, is enough to make almost any explorer, adventurer, or colonist an extremely dangerous vector. It isn't necessary ever to have read this bible in order to assist the propagation of its more Satanic effects. [...]

I take the view that translation is or ought to be essentially a form of listening - one intended to enable others to listen too. It seems to me there is something suspicious in a person who wants to learn a second or third or thirty-third language in order to talk instead of to listen, and something more suspicious yet in a person who wants to learn a language in order to export into it a text he already has, before discovering what riches the new language might enable him to hear. But a good many missionaries came to western Canada with just that antihumanist ambition.
"Scripture as an Instrument of Satan," lecture, Robert Bringhurst.

Bringhurst is a poet and the author of A Story as Sharp as a Knife (Douglas & McIntyre, 1999), a collection of Haida stories. He has been heavily criticized by some member of the Haida community for profiting from their heritage and for not spending enough time involved in their community. He has also translated ancient Greek.
I got to look at seventeenth century Bibles today, family books brought to my coast by missionaries. Books used to be sold without bindings. Wealthy people would have all of their books done in the same kind. My class was visiting a theological college, an encounter fraught with cognitive dissonance. Right inside the door was an office for the native ministry, with colourful posters depicting aboriginal people in traditional ceremonial dress, an attempt to the attempt to show the seamless incorporation now of what was taken, by force and in arrogance then. A blandly worded apology for the residential schools where many students were physically and sexually abused or had pins stuck in their tongues for speaking their own languages decorated the archives room. Books in syllabic writing systems representing parts and wholes of the Bible in those languages, probably unintelligible and learned, if at all, by ear, sat just down the hall. An spry old man had brought in a sixteenth century Hebrew lexicon and thought the article that referred to the missionary impulse of talking without listening, refusing plurality, was "Satanic" was "very clever." People in my Chinese history class like to say that race, which you can say as a counter-argument today, but doesn't adequately address the past for me. As my professor said later in his office, "it's as if we were supposed to know what they all meant."

17 March 2011

by suppertime I was psychotic, but I finally figured the puzzle out.
I was taking the train home when a tripped-out looking aboriginal woman got on pushing a baby carriage. She had buggy eyes, crazy blue, she was poor, the baby carriage and blankets were so new they looked unwashed. She moved next to me and I could see her baby, an infant, had a scrape across her nose and a black eye, its purple matching perfectly her hand knit sweater. Her hand was steady as she smoothed the baby's brow. After a bit I tried to ask the baby's name; the woman's head rolled like she had fallen asleep. When her eyes opened I asked again and she told me, the baby's eyes opening as she spoke. Her eye was bloodshot, swollen shut. I said she was beautiful and the woman shrugged, I tried to make the baby smile and she just looked at me. The woman leaned in and made a face and the baby laughed. "She smiles for you," I said, and the woman moved to help me get off the crowded train.
I woke up at 2:30 this morning. If I fell asleep after that, I couldn't tell. I switched on the light to check the dates I had to memorize for my quiz and the cat jumped up to purr under my chin. He only lasts five or ten minutes, he's a very self-possessed sort of cat, but he did this for me five or six times during the night. It was ever so sweet and kept me from worrying about anything at all. I arrived at school two hours early and sat drinking a rare treat of a latte slowly, real caffeine, not my usual decaf. I was slightly delirious and thought for about half an hour that my thoughts wouldn't focus. They did, and I rocked the quiz.

15 March 2011

It's raining hard. I've been drinking green tea all day, inexpensive but handcrafted, creamy and delicately floral. Springtime in a cup. My favourite tea shop keeps discontinuing my new discoveries so one is an old favourite, the other a new-to-me quiet seller. I note that surely labour is being exploited and feel every bit the capitalist, stockpiling my goods. I am procrastinating. I am memorizing. It feels like it will never end but it is all finishing too fast.

12 March 2011

Can't wait for summer. It will be warm and I will have time to knit a cool grey short-sleeved wrap-around sweater.

11 March 2011

I ate carrot cake for breakfast at noon and am lost in a dreamy sugar buzz. So many books so little time...
Another story of sex and China, this time by P'u Sung-ling, who lived in Tzu-ch'uan county and wrote about Shantung province during the 1670s.

10 March 2011

My birthday means members of my mom's family phone up and sing. I love it.

07 March 2011

I spent the birthday money from my grandparents on coffee cream and makings for la vignarola. My "spring stew" involved chicken stock made from scratch, then shallots, leek, frozen lima beans, chard, and watercress.
The only fruit that had any fragrance was longan. I bought some and am unpeeling them from their shells as a study snack. They are juicy and sweet, not dried out this time. The name means "dragon eyes."

05 March 2011

last week... I had this amazing opportunity to look at crazy things in rare books & special collections and I totally clammed up and ran away. afterwards I thought, ok, it felt as though my shin bones were collapsing and I had an upset stomach, but at the time all I could think was that I was in out of my depth and had to get away as quickly as possible. but I could have sat, with my professor, who I love and who was so happy it was like a cartoon of happiness, and with the guy who does book history and says brilliant things, and read the stuff, and I totally lost it.
located a treasure trove of primary sources!
I have little mint and basil plants in the kitchen window, sitting in an oblong terra cotta pot scavenged from a neighbour. They are very tender, hopeful, a produce-store prelude to spring.

03 March 2011

The Plum in the Golden Vase, or Jinpingmei (pinyin Romanization, as opposed to the Wade-Giles system in which the text below has been translated), is a multivalent wordplay, taking parts of the names of three central female characters to form a close homonym to "The Glamor of Entering the Vagina." I have chosen a excerpt from Chapter 6 and reproduced some of the notes at the end.

02 March 2011

I am dealing with lack of intellectual horsepower issues. It takes me a long time to figure things out and I am not rigorously logical in doing so. Still, my teachers are not mad at me. They are supportive in the way that an elegantly privileged person must be to a lesser being exerting itself nonetheless. All of my books are still here. I have so many books that they have to be piled up in stacks and are reaching eye level from where I sit. Non-required reading includes presocratic fragments in the context of near eastern thought and rambling seventeenth century Chinese pornographic novels.