January 20, 2008
The other day I was having a conversation with one of my oldest and dearest amigas about getting older. She was reminiscing about our college years and lamenting our passing youth—or rather, her passing youth. It got me thinking about how I haven’t been lamenting my passing youth as often as I used to, and how perhaps it is because I’m more anxious right now about my impending future. But I digress…
Although she knows she is not at all…old…amiga has been growing some canas, which she is inclined to pull out immediately upon discovery. I was shocked when she said this, thinking especially about a couple friends I have whose canas have grown in quite nicely—they look kinda chic actually. That said, if mine grow in all funky (funky-bad, not funky-good), I’m definitely going to get a good colorist. Oh yea, hell yea.
Anyway here is the conversation as far as I can recollect (perhaps embellished a bit by my faulty memory over the last couple days):
You can’t just pull them out! You should cut them.
What’s wrong with pulling them out?
It’ll make more grow. Or worse…you could become bald!
I am not in danger of going bald. (she does have a ton of hair—with the best curls ever! For reals.)
Oh, well, I’m in danger of going bald. My gramma is very thin. You should have your lovely partner cut all the canas close to your head instead. I saw a woman at the salon having that done.
You should post this question on your blog and see how many people believe that. I bet it’s half and half. In the meantime, I’ll pull them out.
So we turn the question over to you, dear readers. Do you believe that pulling out the canas will grow more canas? Or is it all urban legend?
January 17, 2008
One of my little quirks… I hate one-sided printing. It makes me feel insanely guilty about how much paper I’m wasting—it just seems unnecessarily irresponsible. And it makes me anxious about how much paper will end up in my files…I mean, my personal archive…before my inevitable academic relocation, whenever that happens.
So I’ve wanted a laser printer for a while—to print out all those transcriptions of primary documents I’ve typed out over the last year. And I’d been avoiding it because I’d been avoiding writing. And today I could wait no longer. I’ve got a deadline, people! So I made the rounds to a couple of those huge electronic superstores. And when it came down to deciding about whether to buy the cheap, on-sale one that only prints one-sided or the much, much more expensive that prints two-sided, I honestly wanted to pay the extra.
The amigo who came with me to the store said I should just get the cheap one. But I had to call Manito before I could really be convinced. Manito is a math genius. He was at the airport waiting for Sobrino. But on the fly, he broke down how much I would be saving. And calculated—in his head—how many reams of paper I would need to print to break even: 6 boxes of them! (or however many boxes is 30,000 pages.) This is why I go to him with all my purchasing queries.
Like when I first moved to LA, he came with me to the furniture store to look for a mattress and possibly a couch. I was hesitant about buying the couch—because it seemed extravagant and my student finances were already stretched thin. But he calculated how much I’d pay per hour, if I sat on the couch for one hour a day for two years. I decided to buy the couch. And I love it.
So today I bought the cheap printer. And when I tried it out for the first time, I discovered that I can do two-sided printing!! I just have to get off my booty and switch the paper around. I already love it.
Why didn’t I buy one of these things years ago? Now if only I could use fun colored paper like these.
Flickr photo of paper from Pikaluk.
January 14, 2008
It was a beautiful day today, as I drove to Chinatown for a meeting about writing a piece about, you know, history and stuff. The last time I’d been to the historical society, I went on a walking tour of Chinatown with over a dozen giggly undergrads who were getting extra credit for being there. This time, I got to talk with some of the folks whose hard volunteer work keeps the society running. I was struck by the passion with which they thought about the history of Chinese Americans in Los Angeles and southern California more generally.
And as they were talking, asking questions, referring to places and people, I couldn’t help but wish I could be as passionate as they are about this history. Not that I’m not passionate about what I study. I mean, I obviously decided to dedicate my life, in part, to the telling of the histories of my peoples. But I’ve never been the kind of historian who focuses on the details–the people, places and things. (That’s why I hated history in high school.) I’ve always been better at the big picture, the historical and thematic trends, the methodological interventions. And since I took those massive exams, I’ve become extremely focused on the story I’m telling in my dissertation. I’ve forgotten a lot of the details of the books I’ve read that are outside my specific topic and time period. In fact, I’ve even stopped reading books that are not directly related because I just don’t have time or mental space for it right now.
So as the conversation unfolded, I was reminded about just how little–and how much–I know. And I was reminded that we should never stop questioning who we are writing for.
January 10, 2008
The new year has begun.
I meant to go to the Spiffy-ton today, to get back on my research schedule. But I’ve been getting over a cold and I took some medicine last night that knocked me the heck out! So I woke up this morning with a big headache and decided to postpone the Spiffy one more day. Afterall, los archivos do make me sneeze even when I’m not sick. Instead, I’ve been working on…yet another fellowship application due in a couple of weeks.
I have a deadline for a chapter draft—mid February. The deadline was set to help me out with a fellowship application that requires a “representative chapter” by the beginning of March. I was all about it last month. But now that the deadline is a month away, I’m a little panicky. I haven’t started writing yet. I still have a lot of research left to do. I think I will have to start writing with whatever I have, maybe beginning next week. I’m not even sure if it’s possible to write a chapter in a month. I guess I’ll find out!
My grad student amig@s keep talking about these moments when the end is in sight. I haven’t had that moment yet. But I’m still working as if the moment will reveal itself at any minute.