scififanatic: (purple flower--black woman)
( Apr. 13th, 2009 03:20 pm)
I missed my garden while vacationing in Virginia the way a person misses her cat or dog or spouse or child.

Since I have none of those, I missed my garden. Things are growing so well that I think I need to build a new gardening box. That would also mean buying tons more of rich dirt from Home Depot. I just can't fathom the task of thinning the plants out (plant assassination). I'd like to give them all a chance but that's ridiculous. No one has that much space unless you're living on a plantation, which I'm not.

Ugh. So this week I plan to expand in some vegetable areas and thin back the lettuce because it's growing like crazy.

Part of me feels awful for not trusting the earth. I planted way more lettuce seeds than I probably should have because I didn't believe this many would take to the soil. Stupid me. The research I read didn't make lettuce sound so easy to grow but it's doing better than fine, only for now. If I don't do something soon, they'll all die. Not sure what to do but I've got to figure it out.

I'm also worried about the carrots. They look a little weak to me. The gardening articles I read said that onions and carrots are great companions so I sewed them a row away but maybe I didn't make enough room between the rows.

I was worried about the radishes. I noticed holes in their leaves. Some insects are eating them. Jade Park told me this doesn't affect the radishes, which made me feel better. The insects get to eat and later, so will I. Everyone wins.

The herbs are doing well. The mint is barely breaking through and the basil isn't ready for thinning yet. Still, I've got a major task with the lettuce and carrots. Just a few pics:







scififanatic: (Dandelion)
( Apr. 12th, 2009 11:43 pm)
I feel reborn. My nine days in Virginia were wonderful but I don't think anything can top the experience of meeting poet Gregory Orr. Some of you may remember one of his poems, which I posted a while back. I first read Orr's work during the fall 2004 semester at Mills College in a special topics course called "The Poet's Voice" taught by poet Chana Bloch. I've been a big fan since.

My friend Lori encouraged that I email Orr and I was glad for the push. Gregory Orr is so giving. We spoke about writing for nearly an hour in his office at the University of Virginia. He changed me. Not from a what but to a where. Our conversation was, particularly near the end, very personal for me. Orr opened my eyes and articulated so many things my heart has been telling me this year; having these ideas and feelings confirmed has helped me change my trajectory as an artist.

2009 is keeping its promises. I've got so much work to do these next several months as I continue to revise my work.
scififanatic: (dadelions)
( Apr. 2nd, 2009 11:00 pm)
Hell yeah! I just graded the last mid term exam. I'm all packed for Virginia. I can't wait to see my friend Lori. I miss her! She has all kinds of adventures planned: driving to Philly, touring Monticello, dancing, attending a Bach music festival, fun fun fun.

Friends + me = happy

The only drawback--waking up early for the plane tomorrow.

A high school friend posted this concert clip on her page. I love me some Erykah Badu, lawd ha'mercy! Next to Tori, she is my second favorite vocalist. Saw her in a New Years concert ('07) and she did NOT disappoint.

Thought I'd pass the clip along for some afternoon inspiration.

Phat beats.
Cosmic chords.
Heavenly flute and vocals.

Feel the soul, ya'll!

scififanatic: (purple flower--black woman)
( Apr. 1st, 2009 10:51 am)
After freaking out and being reassured by Jade Park that the radishes would be fine--I woke up this morning to garden goodness!

I have other thoughts about what gardening is teaching me, mainly that I worry too much but for now I will focus on the goodness of it all.
scififanatic: (Tori's Eyes)
( Mar. 29th, 2009 02:03 am)

Inspiration...or freeing the ghosts.

I blazed through two chapters of my WIP. Revised them quickly. I love these "new" sections because they are still authentic. Original. Me.

I revised them when everything was illuminated, when my novel's world turned to night.

This makes a lot of sense...

Now the question is: how do I hold this feeling? How can I stay happy in the heavy arms of the world?
scififanatic: (purple flower--black woman)
( Mar. 27th, 2009 08:05 pm)
Things have been rocky for me these last six weeks. I've been wrestling with a lot of demons but I'm slowly working my way out of the tangled mess of my mind, my fears. So far, my fitness goals the first quarter of the year have been shot to hell.

That means I've got 3 quarters of the year left to turn it around. I'm not one of those who believes the first time you break a New Year's resolution that you should forget about it until next year. No, I'll keep trying. I'm that stubborn. Also, my doctor felt I needed to take a different approach to my fitness goals.

Getting stuck in a routine doesn't work for me. For about 6 months last year, I worked out regularly and lost quite a few pounds, which I gained back this year. This time, my doctor suggested that I focus less on fitness and more on being active and being healthy (more so in mind).

I joined a hiking group, but it's not a group of die-hards who would feel weighed down by beginners. We're all beginners and we learn together. There are only three of us right now, all women but I find it comforting to meet with them, talk with them, explore with them, and just walk in silence with them.

In addition to hiking, I've also taken up a new activity--gardening. Partly inspired by the desire to move my body more often, partly inspired by my grad schoolmate's, Jade Park, experiences with gardening first here, then here, and finally here, and partly inspired by what my writing process has been teaching me this year--to write slowly, to listen to my environment and what it's telling me.

I spent six hours in the garden today. It didn't seem like a lot while I was working until my back screamed at me during dinner tonight. Screamed in a good way, of course. "You remembered us!" my muscles thanked me.

I cleaned, prepped, planted, and then I freaked out, much like the way I write: What if I messed up? Did I leave something out?! Will this work???...and so on. I learned today that I can't worry about the end product. All I can do is pour my heart, pour my best into the process with all the love and enthusiasm I've got. What happens later is really out of my hands.

And so, today, I let go and enjoyed myself. I let all of yesterday's worries dry out beneath the sun. I got my fingers dirty because gardening gloves just get in the way. I laughed, brushed away the spiders when they lost their way on my arms, pressed the seeds into the soil a quarter inch deep, a half inch deep, sometimes 3 inches deep; and each time I went into the earth I also went inside of myself to plant the things I've been denying myself lately: love, support, encouragement. "You are capable," the wind whispered.

Yes, I am. I am capable of great things and best of all--everyone on this earth is capable of the same thing. So, it is with great pride that I display my plots. Whether they grow or not is not the point because then I'd be missing the best discovery of all: I am capable.

I planted eggplant, tomato, basil, cucumber, radish, lettuce, spinach, and squash. Pictures beneath the cut )

I also planted mint, which freaked me out once I found out they're greedy with space. Who new something so sweet could be so sneaky? Luckily Jade Park reminded me that I can keep them under control by plucking them when they sprout. My mom planted onions, carrots, thyme, and parsley.

Tomorrow, I'm going to work in the garden again to plant brussels sprouts, artichoke, and bell pepper.

The earth is good.
scififanatic: (Color blocks)
( Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:38 pm)
That's right--I'm doing a countdown until spring break. Only 10 more days before I head to Virginia. Wooo!!!! I haven't taken a vacation since Arizona last August. That vacation was the most relaxing I've had in a while and I just know Virginia will be even nicer.

I'm planning to walk the trail with the Blue Ridge Mountains as my glorious background. My friend Lori is coming up with other fun things for us to do.

This will be the toughest week to get through, with correcting papers, calculating grades, and typing out the mid-term exam. I've made a deal with myself: I can correct papers on the plane but not while I'm in VA.

Tonight, I'm planning to grade several papers, record grades, and calculate the grades for one class. I also need to type up a few make-up assignments for some students in ENG 21. Aren't I nice? I really don't have to do this but I'd rather see students succeed and at the beginning of the semester a lot of students didn't receive grant money from California so they couldn't buy their books and so they fell behind.

After that, I'll spend part of tomorrow grading more papers, quizzes, and printing out what I need for the next two weeks at the Repo office on campus.

At some point, I need to buy a few things for this trip and I've got to return a bunch of books and CDs to my local library. So much to do, so little time! I count the days: 10...
I'm slowly reading Laleh Khadivi's The Age of Orphans not only because I'm a turtle but because I like to study an author's language. If you haven't picked up The Age of Orphans then I encourage you to do so NOW.

Reading her novel reminds me that language is not a collection of crude words. Language does not only serve a particular character's voice, a novel's plot. Language in its varied forms is an extension of music. There is only ONE common way to read music--through notes. Music is our shared human language. Before there were words--there existed sounds, grunts, shrieks. From these sounds came beats and rhythm, perhaps inspired by the earth.

In Laleh's novel I'm reminded that as human beings, we belong to one earth. The language of our earth is music, often sharp; as human beings we live in varied registers, keys, and pitches; we share with one another at different frequencies.

Needless to say, she inspires me. I've been working on my WIP slowly. Painstakingly, I attempt to write in the rhythm of this human existence for any less would be useless.
scififanatic: (Heart)
( Mar. 19th, 2009 07:36 pm)
I, like, wanna marry this guy. He's so awesomely creative.

I just hope my trip to Virginia in a couple of weeks will be as delightful. Unfortunately, I will be flying on US Airways and I don't think their air stewards are as cool as David. *Heart, sigh*

I will be teaching and can't sign up for tickets but others on my friend list might be interested in going. That's the thing about teaching at a college--there's no such thing as a substitute teacher. I'm bummed. :( :( :(

President Obama will hold a town hall meeting in Downtown Los Angeles. You've got to fill out the form by 12 PM PST so hurry!
scififanatic: (Purple space)
( Mar. 16th, 2009 02:16 pm)
The Sci Fi Channel will soon be the Syfy Channel.

Studio Heads: "Excuse me while I ask someone else to the prom."

Limo rolls. Eggshell cracks on face. Maniacal laughter echoes in the distance.

The Syfy Channel will essentially shun its CORE audience to court a new demographic of viewers: people who find "sci fi" geeky, reality TV enlightening, and books a relic of the past.

What, ideally, was so great about a Sci Fi Channel was that a broadcast valued the medium of fiction, the written word and the ideas and characters that writers created in a marriage to the visual and audio of television and film.

Without the FICTION "Fi", you've got nothing but "Syfy" or a made up term that is shallow in meaning. I don't like how literature is buried and resurrected at whim.

Don't get me wrong--I support change. When I first heard the term spec fic, I was intrigued. Not offended. Not afraid.

Syfy? Well, phonetically, it works but what about CONTENT wise? What's the meaning of it all? How will attracting new viewers with this made-up term support the fiction, the LITERATURE = (TRUEness) that gives birth to the television and movies that the Syfy Channel will produce?

It's all just bullshit and offensive to all writers.
scififanatic: (Default)
( Mar. 15th, 2009 02:22 pm)
I just saw "Let the Right One In." If you haven't seen this Swedish horror film, then rent it soon! It's bleak yet beautiful and haunting in a way that its characters linger after you've finished their story.

(I can't speak for the novel because I haven't read it yet. Looking forward to doing that soon.)

scififanatic: (dadelions)
( Mar. 13th, 2009 05:41 pm)
Stephanie slept on a pen and dreamed of writing her name in the sky. When the ink ran out, she hopped on a spaceship with aliens who could read minds. That’s when she realized that reality is all in the mind. Reality is a dream. And so, she kept dreaming and soon learned that everything was in its right place.

When she woke up, the sunlight illuminated the dullness of earth. Nothing but trees and ants and computers and robots and cars and telephones and cell phones and musical sheets spoke to her but she could not hear them because in the waking world, reality was (de)constructed and broken and duotone.

In other words, the earth is black and white and no one knows where all the crayons in the Crayola box are constructed…perhaps in our dreamworld.
scififanatic: (Default)
( Feb. 27th, 2009 04:20 pm)
Even I could beat Michael Steele in a freestyle battle. I would enjoy watching Stephen Colbert do the same.
scififanatic: (purple flower--black woman)
( Feb. 26th, 2009 11:12 pm)
Octavia Butler passed away. I was in my last year of grad school and when I got the news, it was like someone had taken out my stomach, kicked it, and sewed me back together all bruised. Looking back at it, in some ways, I feel foolish for crying the way I did but I needed to cry alone.

At times, don't we all?
scififanatic: (Hiding behind my journal)
( Feb. 22nd, 2009 11:00 am)
I hit the ground running this morning. Sundays are my days to prepare for the work and classes ahead. I'm posting an entry on my journal, hoping one or more of you can help me with a lesson plan problem.

My Composition I class already read the chapter on writing definition essays. I lectured and provided a topic for their papers. (Usually, I give them 1 of 4 choices for an essay topic but for the definition essay, part of the lesson comes from seeing how everyone defines the same topic in different ways.)

The topic that all of my students have to discuss in their papers: What is the meaning of Happiness?

It will be interesting to see how each defines this differently. They must use outside sources, such as the movie I plan to show in class next week.

Here's where I need help: does anyone know about any movies where happiness is a theme? It can be a dramatic movie, a comedy, an animated film. I'm open to suggestions.

I planned to use "The Pursuit of Happyness" with Will Smith (thinking that most of my students hadn't seen it since they're 18-19 years old) but half the class has seen this movie already.

I'd like some other suggestions, if possible. I'll be doing some searches today to see what else I can find online. Thanks for any suggestions!
scififanatic: (Purple blast)
( Feb. 19th, 2009 04:45 pm)
I just have to sigh and shake my head whenever the printed media publishes another one of their cartoons, depicting Barack and/or Michelle in demeaning, racist ways. While I'm not too big a fan of Al Sharpton, I do think the outrage is justified. Perhaps if people had made a bigger fuss when The New Yorker published its cover, the NY Post wouldn't have been so bold (and so dumb).

While it angers me, there's a part of me that pities people who fall for this ruse, both the creators and the consumers of such comedy of errors. Unlike Shakespeare's aforementioned piece, no one should be laughing in the end. Blacks are not chimps. There is nothing wrong with a black woman and a black man who give each other a fist bump. Etcetera.

But I digress...yes, when used properly, satire and parody can be quite thought-provoking and even more, parody can also be entertaining. What I'm noticing, more recently within the last year, is that some creators and consumers do not understand what a satire is and what a parody is and how they differ.

Part of me gets angry because, well, the creators should have high school diplomas (at the least) and the consumers, well, that's another story given that the NEA's survey of literacy in this country shows dismal reading rates.

Do not be fooled by the labels "satire" and "parody"; be[a]ware of the content itself to understand the message.

Now, I won't bother going into explanations of the two. Instead, I'll leave you with a truly GREAT parody. Unlike that cartoon printed in the NY Post, this is a much better example of how one can parody a facet of our culture. Enjoy.

scififanatic: (Color blocks)
( Feb. 16th, 2009 09:33 pm)
This Valentine's Day, I had an awesome friend, [ profile] stinglikeabee, to hang with and I've never had so much fun. Seriously, the last time I had that much fun, I was at the Exploratorium in San Francisco with my friends Lori and Judy.

[ profile] stinglikeabee took me to The Huntington in San Marino for birthday/Valentine's Day celebrations. I'm so lucky to know people who are as kind and good as her. She's so smart. I learn so much just by listening to her talk enthusiastically about writing, comics and manga, the movie and entertainment industry, etc. That's what I love about my friends: each person is so unique! I'm lucky to know them.

Well, I'd never heard of The Huntington until [ profile] stinglikeabee told me about it; I've lived in SoCal nearly all my life but I'd never been to this historic landmark. With over 120 acres of gardens, museum/mansion, an art gallery and various exhibitions, we spent the entire day learning, walking, exploring, talking, and laughing.

Here are some photos from the trip (I could only upload 40 or so to flickr):

We left The Huntington at 4:30 p.m. and headed straight for Zankou Chicken. Ohhhh, the food was so good! I've got hummus left over, which I spread on my lunch sandwich today. I can't wait to go back. After stuffing our faces with yummy food, we stopped by the comics store next door.

I browsed around and took a look at a manga selection [ profile] stinglikeabee recommended. After reading the first dozen or so pages, I was hooked so I had to buy it: Me and the Devil Blues: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson by Akira Hiramoto.

Then we headed to Vroman's Bookstore because there was a "singles mixer" and I wanted to use a gift card that someone had given me nearly a year ago. Vroman's is an awesome place and if it were closer to the South Bay, I'd shop there more often. They had a great selection of new books! I saw my fiction teacher's book on display, The Vagrants. (As I type this, I realize that I should have taken a picture of it for her. Darn!) The poetry section was okay. I couldn't find the Gregory Orr collection that I want so I'll have to use my B&N gift card to get it.

Once I picked my selections and [ profile] stinglikeabee got some coffee, we realized that there weren't many singles mixing around. We asked one of the employees about it and found out that we were at the wrong location. LOL!!! She gave us directions to where the party was at but [ profile] stinglikeabee and I both looked at each other with that same look, "Ain't gonna happen." Oh well, as she says, "it was their loss" that we didn't show up. :)

What an awesome holiday weekend! I can't wait to go again!
scififanatic: (Tori's Eyes)
( Feb. 3rd, 2009 01:20 am)
Here's to pleasant dreams.



scififanatic: (Default)


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