Archive for ‘los angeles’

March 5, 2012

dancing woman, part dos.

by la rebelde

This weekend I was at the Rose Bowl for a 5-mile run.  My group meets there once a week as we train for a half-marathon.  It is both exciting and daunting, having never run more than 4 miles at one time.

Earlier that week I had been thinking about when I used to run regularly — not since 2007, when I first moved to LA following a summer of regular running with Manito D by the river in ‘burque.  It was during that time, when I was first getting to know LA, that I started this blog.

So there we were, all of us in our team running shirts, warming up together.  We mostly just meet together to stretch, learn about nutrition and injury prevention, or hear announcements and the like.  But once we get started, we are each on our own.  And I am a slow poke among the runners, barely jogging faster than the walkers, so it only makes sense that we each go at our own pace.  I blame my short legs.

As our coach was talking about proper form, I couldn’t help but look over her shoulder at the joggers and walkers who were already out on the path.

And there she was…the dancing treadmill woman!!

I’d seen her almost 5 years ago at the gym and wrote about her on this blog.  She was amazing.  She’d set the treadmill to a slow pace and instead of running, she danced.  I remember looking to the others on the treadmills next to me and noticing all of us smiling while watcher her dance to the music in her ears.

Dancing woman was going slowly up the hill along the path, swaying to the right and to the left, moving along with the rhythms that played through her ear buds.  Arms outstretched.  A little hip hop, a little salsa.  Every now and then, she’d stop and move her hips.  She was really into it.  Dancing, as they say, like no one was watching.  Joggers and walkers kept passing her with smiles on their faces.  I looked to the others in our circle, but no one noticed…or if they did, they didn’t show it.

So much has happened in the 5 years since I last saw her.  I did a ton of research, wrote lots and lots of pages, weathered some academic storms, finished a degree, started a career, went through heartache, found love, made new friendships and cherished old ones.  I have grown as a teacher, a scholar and as a person.  The last few weeks I’ve been contemplating my future, feeling the strain of a tight job market, hoping for a gig that will be nurturing and enable me to reach my personal and professional goals…goals I have articulated and re-articulated over and over, even now.

At that moment when I saw the dancing woman again, I knew I was doing what I need to be doing.  I hope I see her again sometime soon.  Perhaps on another path, when I need reminding that I’m right where I need to be, dancing to the rhythm of the music in my ears.

August 22, 2011

on art, trains + borders.

by la rebelde

This summer I started training to become a docent at the Chinese American Museum (CAM) over at the Pueblo de los Angeles Historical Monument — aka Placita Olvera.  Although I ultimately decided that I could not give the time to it that it deserved, I learned so much from the few training sessions I attended.  As a historian, trained by elite academic institutions, it is, to me, imperative to know how people understand historical narratives — people who don’t sit around and read tons of historical monographs written by others who do the same.  I was reminded how difficult it is to put lots of information into a teeny tiny chunk of time.

Back in July, when Manito D and Nicole were visiting, we saw the Street Art exhibit at the MOCA.  It was pretty remarkable.  Over the previous months, I’d read the critiques of the exhibit — particularly how the exhibit did not include many Los Angeles based street artists.  Walking through the museum, the omission was glaring.  Still, it was well-done.  I wish I’d had more time to read about the artists and the history of graffiti.

My favorite was the wall of train cars.  I have always been fascinated by train graffiti.  My ex was a graffiti artist and DJ, and we spent hours talking about it, how he planned his pieces, stories of jumping over fences to get at a train car in a rail yard.  In my MA program, I wrote my thesis on Chinese and Mexican railroad workers and U.S. empire.  Now my book begins and ends with the railroads, although they are not the center of the story.  Mexican workers lived in train cars — boxcars that railroad companies used to house workers, and which, according to reformers and city officials, were part of the “housing problem” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Chinese and Mexican children played on or near the tracks, and recalled the feeling of rattling floorboards as the trains passed by their homes.  Folks who lived in boxcars built homes and communities, despite the poor housing conditions that were available to them.  Train car graffiti just smacks US imperialism in the face by highlighting everyday lives of actual people.  Especially when it covers the corporate signage on the sides of cars, and then those cars travel across the continent.

Patrick Martinez’ pieces (the ones he is standing in front of in this photo) are at the Chinese American Museum as part of their “Dreams Deferred” exhibit.  It is a great exhibit where LA street artists respond to immigration reform.  The same week I went to the exhibit at the MOCA, I was fortunate to attend a session led by one of the curators at CAM, who told us in more detail about the artists and their pieces.  What’s truly amazing about it, to me, is how, in the conjunction with the Museum’s exhibit, called Remembering Angel Island, the art exhibit links Chinese exclusion and current day immigration/border restriction debates.  The Angel Island exhibit highlights the experiences of border-crossing for Chinese, in the midst of border restriction during Chinese Exclusion, in a way that shows their dignity, their experience of crossing the border, of enduring interrogation by US officials, of living in inhumane conditions while in confinement, all so they could make a life, join family members, live.  The artists featured in the Dreams Deferred address current-day renderings of border restrictions.  It is not very different today.

The MOCA exhibit got all the play, because well, it’s the MOCA.  If you didn’t get to see it, maybe you can catch it in another city if it moves.  Unfortunately, it left LA already.

But I have to say, the CAM exhibit is more powerful and more meaningful, in part because it is more politically focused on one topic, but also because it is historicized well.  Both the street art and Angel Island exhibits are incredible. Go see them before they leave in December/January!

(photo via Patrick Martinez | Hustlemania @ Known Gallery)

May 23, 2011

1871.

by la rebelde

I recently attended the play, The Chinese Massacre (Annotated), written by Tom Jacobson and directed by Jeff Liu. If you haven’t already seen it, go!  It is playing over at Circle X Theater Co.   There are only three more showings left this weekend!  And it’s always good to support community-based theater.  Plus, you can bring wine and beer inside the theater.

Historians and journalists have presented the events during 1871 that have come to be called the “Chinese Massacre” in many ways, most commonly as the last chapter in Los Angeles’ “wild west” story, just before U.S. whites aggressively asserted so-called “law and order.”  As a recent article in the LA Weekly demonstrates, it is popularly known as LA’s first race riot, and continues to be sensationalized in present-day dime-novel style. If we think of “race” in terms of US-based cultural constructions of race, it may have been LA’s first race riot.  But considering the history of Spanish colonization before the United States occupied this land, and then the fact that the United States still occupies this land, the events of 1871 are a much more complex and part of a longer trajectory of imperialism and violence.

It is an important marker in the historical experiences of Chinese in Southern California — an especially violent anti-Chinese event. Between 18-22 Chinese men and boys were killed, mostly by lynching.  Those who were indicted for their murder were both white and Mexican.  It is also an important marker in the transition from Spanish-Mexican to U.S. rule.  Of course I could go on and on, but you’ll have to read my book for that! (If it ever gets published…if I ever finish writing it…)

The play was excellent!  Although some of it was fictionalized, the main story about the 1871 events was really well-done.  And I think some of the fictional parts were necessary for the audience to understand what was going on historically at the time.   Tom Jacobson brilliantly includes insightful annotations, with information about source materials as well as key information about LA and the region that help the audience to contextualize the story.  Not only that, but he also notes the connections to other “race riots” in LA history, notably the Zoot Suit Riots and the Watts Riots, as a way to encourage the audience to think about the larger history of rioting in LA, even if in vastly different historical moments.  Jeff Liu took great care to make sure accents and representations were well and justly executed.  I wish I knew more about theater, or I would say so much more and I would say it much more elegantly.

Go see it!

June 13, 2009

stream of consciousness.

by la rebelde

PERHAPS it was a series of events. I don’t think I realized what was going on—the number of things I was mulling over inside consciously…or maybe unconsciously. My amigas seemed to know what was going on with me before I did. They know when I’m off my game. And I am lucky to have them in my life.

MOURNING. A couple months ago, I thought to myself, I’m not sure that I even know how to mourn. The last time I was in Nuevo México, I spent all my time taking care of my abuelita and everyone else, that I didn’t have time to confront my own emotions about my abuelito having left this world for a better one. Now, I haven’t been a mass-going sister since I went away for college when I was 18, just 3 years after I decided not to be confirmed and 5 years after I finished my 9th year of Catholic schooling. But during many hours spent at church, at rosarios, at mass, the novena, with familia, I was reminded of the power of meditation, of praying in a way that I find healing. In the weeks following my abuelito’s passing, three of my amigas have lost close family members. Praying, thinking, talking in my thoughts with ancestors past. I am still learning.

AMIGAS.  Jennifer’s and Joseph’s wedding.  A four-day-long reunion with amigas I’ve known for ten years now (ten years!).  Good times catching up, sharing tasty meals and lots and lots of dancing!  Despite my exhaustion from driving all around LA and Bakersfield, it was refreshing. And a welcome follow-up to my trip to Austin just a few weeks before (a reunion, as well, minus the dancing). It’s not that I’d forgotten how amazing it is to be around good friends, it’s just that it has been a while since I spent time with more than one good friend at once. There’s so much that doesn’t need to be explained when you’re with friends you’ve known for so long.

MANITO D. He had been working the graveyard shift at the drugstore for a couple of months, to make up hours lost since my abuelito’s health took a turn for the worse. He experienced not one, but two, robberies at gunpoint within a month. The second one was really scary. I’m so thankful that he is okay and that he has some time off to heal and focus on himself. He told me the other day that between my abuelito’s passing and having his life threatened twice, he’s been thinking a lot about life, how precious it is, and how he doesn’t want to put off spending time with people he loves and on things that are really important to him. For me too, it is a reminder.

BABIES. Two of my closest amigas in the whole world are making new life in their wombs. They will be the first mothers among my close friends. It’s exciting! And I anticipate that it will mean big changes for our relationships as well, although I’m not sure yet what these changes will look like.

MOVING. I wrote my last post in the midst of all of these things. For a month I spent a lot of energy weighing the pros and cons of moving to small-midwestern-college-town versus staying in Los Angeles. I am not one to think quantitatively. And in the end, I realized that I could make many different lists (I am good at making lists!). I could see which list was longer. I could make a good argument for either place, arguments that would be in my best interest in one way or another. But some decisions cannot be based on lists. Three years ago, during the oral defense of my comprehensive exams, my profes asked me, at what kind of institution do you see yourself teaching when you finish? I told them it depended on what was going on in my life, that place is more important to me than the type of school, that academia alone is not going to make me happy. They were shocked that I’d said it out loud.

LOS ANGELES. I decided to stay here. I still cannot quite put all of these thoughts that I have collected over the last year or more into words. Perhaps I don’t need to. Who knows what the coming year will bring for me and my loved ones? But I have a good feeling about it!

May 27, 2009

on finishing.

by la rebelde

So…I’ve been dealing with a pretty difficult and stressful decision over the last few weeks:   whether or not to leave Los Angeles and move back to small-midwestern-college-town at the end of the summer.  And I think I’m about 90% decided on moving.  Why would you leave sunshine and brown people, you ask?  I need to finish up this pinche dissertation and finally get my Ph.D. on.

I need to make a final decision very soon, if only to stop stressing about it and make some plans.  And also, so I can stop bugging my lovely amigas about it.  Sigh.

Here they are, some of the messy and sometimes contradictory pros and cons of it all, in no particular order.

Pros:

  • two super close friends who are also trying to finish up, who will likely stick it out with me for many hours at the coffeeshops when we write and then celebrate the little victories with me over tequila gimlets
  • academic community who I will inevitably run into daily on the street, in the hallways and in the cafes
  • regular access to my committee profes
  • library privileges at one of the best university libraries in the country (sorry UCLA and Spiffyton, you don’t compare)
  • workshops and resources for the impending job market in the fall
  • less time may pass before my unconscious body would be found, should I accidentally slip in the shower and knock myself out on the edge of the tub (that may sound ridiculous and morbid, but hey, since I don’t get to see LA friends very often, it’s something I think about from time to time)

Cons:

  • the 3 dark months, which will be horrifyingly cold and wet (and which will inevitably turn my skin back to that weird putrid gray color from lack of sunlight)
  • lots and lots of white liberals (hey, you gotta love them sometimes, but they can be exhausting) and very few brown people (and by brown I mean not white), which also has the unfortunate side-effect of vastly limiting my dating pool (not that I date a lot in LA, but I’m just saying)
  • fewer options to enjoy the nourishing food of my peoples and much less fresh produce at the mercado
  • little access to my archivos
  • very far familia in nuevo méxico (although, closer to my mama)
  • another expensive and time-consuming relocation (I would not even break even on the lower rental costs in small-town, and it would take away about a month of writing time.  But on the flip-side, I might be able to write more productively from over there.)
  • the possibility that I could get stuck in small-midwestern-college-town for more than a year, should I not finish and/or not get a gig for Fall 2010  (this is the BIGGEST CON and is possibly the one that is holding onto that last 10%)

The hard part about this decision is that there are no guarantees.  I could write from LA and fly back to small-town for a handful of 2-week trips.  Or I could write from small-town and fly back to LA for a quick archival visit if I need to.  What it comes down to, it seems, is lifestyle…and which place will provide a situation that will be good for me in the long run.  As one of my amigas says, “you will be fine no matter where you decide to be.”  And I know she is right.

April 21, 2009

hipsters.

by la rebelde

This is my regular spot.  My usual coffeeshop in Highland Park, where the windows are big, the light is plenty, the tables are square, the outlets are abundant and the internet is reliable.  When I first started coming here, the clientele was mostly brown.  Asian Americans and Chicanas/os came here to study, work and hang out.  Now the clientele reflects the changes in the neighborhood.  In a word?  Hipsters.

Usually I grab a table along the wall, on the other side of the cafe, far away from the hipster/hippie corner by the cushy chairs where I can’t hear their conversations.   Today the cafe is crowded and the only table left faces the hipster corner where they are sprawled across armrests, feet sticking up, junk almost visible because the skinny jeans are WAY too skinny.  I still don’t get the skinny jeans trend.  They talk on and on about racism.

Time to turn up the volume on my earphones and hope the population shifts back.

July 6, 2008

two years.

by la rebelde

Almost two years have passed since I moved to Los Angeles. When I decided to make the move, I’d only been to L.A. once—back in 2002 for a wedding. Before that, my knowledge of the city was based on information from movies, songs, books I’d read in Chicana/o and Asian American Studies classes, and the after-dinner-stories told by my Papá and Grandpa.

“There’s a lot of Taos people in Los Angeles,” my grandpa still reminds me, whenever L.A. comes up, which is often. “A lot of our people over there, New Mexico people.” During WWII, my grandpa had been in Los Angeles briefly before his troop was shipped to Burma. According to his story, he was among the troops ordered to beat Mexican youth who wore zoot suits. It was during one of the raids that he was walking down the street when someone called his name. “Hey, primo! What say?” “Nothing, primo. Let’s have a beer!” I guess he decided to have a beer with his cousin and some other folks he knew from home, instead of joining the riots. He told me later that he knew he was caught in a strange position, one that he didn’t agree with—a Chicano soldier. I still wonder what it must have been like for him in that moment.

Over 25 years later, my 22-year-old father came to Los Angeles, wanting to experience new places. He lived in Lincoln Heights and drove an ambulance at night. His favorite memory was of walking from Union Station after work in the morning and grabbing breakfast at a taquería near the placita. He only stayed in L.A. for a year or so before moving back home to New Mexico. That was in the late ‘60s. Even though he hasn’t been to Los Angeles since, I think he imagines it as if it hasn’t changed.

When I last suggested that I should take a train back from Albuquerque, my papá protested. “That area around Union Station is not safe for young ladies,” he’d said…or something like that. Actually, it’s not just Union Station that he thinks is “unsafe for young ladies,” it’s all of Los Angeles. He thought the same thing when I’d moved to NYC several years ago. If he could have his way, I’d live in Albuquerque, which is actually just as (un)safe as Los Angeles, only more familiar. This is clearly a gender issue–obviously, he wouldn’t be concerned if it were one of mis manitos living out here. He forgets that Union Station and the surrounding area (100 years ago)–the site of my dissertation research—is what brought me to Los Angeles in the first place. And I wanted to get to know and become a part of the communities that live in the legacies of the people whose lives I study.

I knew four people in L.A when mi manito and I moved my stuff into my new apartment. Friends told me it was a “brave” move—maybe it was just crazy. I remember thinking, “if I hate it here, I can always pack up and go home.” I can’t front, those first few months really sucked. L.A. is a difficult place to be a newcomer. Now, after two years spent meeting new folks and exploring in the city—in person and amid dusty papers in multiple libraries—it has become more and more familiar. And I like it here.

Someone recently asked me whether I could finally call L.A. my “home.” And I surprised myself when I thought, there’s nowhere else I’d rather live right now…. But on the real, though? I’m not sure I can really call it “home” until I find some of the New Mexico gente my grandpa keeps talking about, who know how to make a great bowl of green chile. If you know some, hook this nuevomexicana up!

Hey everyone, I’ve been asked to contribute to LAEastside blog. It’s bien cool, so check it out! This post is cross-posted there.

June 16, 2008

time.

by la rebelde

In order, left to right:
Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913)

I’ve been traveling again—on business…again. Except for those few days I spent with a close amiga in Lexington, I’ve been scoring AP exams and presenting at the big Women’s History conference—the one that only happens every 3 years. All of this has been exhausting and nourishing at the same time. Exhausting because I read hand written essays all day for seven days straight before flying to the conference. And nourishing because I spent the last two weeks surrounded by good friends, mentors and colleagues.

**

At the end of a long day of conferencing yesterday, I attended a panel in which the very last speaker ended her discussion with an anecdote about Rosa Parks. She mentioned how Parks had often been asked if she knew Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman (at least I think she said it was Tubman, but it was definitely someone of that time period—it was a long day!). The story stuck with me for the rest of the day. In fact, when she said it, I couldn’t hold back from expressing audible horror at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. It’s as if abolition work and civil rights era work had been conflated in time and purpose. But I thought, maybe as a historian, I had been taking for granted the contextual specificity that has been drilled into me.

And then I remembered—this is also a common problem for high school students whose exam essays I’ve read over the last few years. They constantly collapse time when thinking about the histories of Blacks in the U.S. Some make statements that say something like “the Civil Rights movement freed the slaves,” which is, of course, wrong. I’m not saying that abolition and civil rights are not related struggles—of course they are. My concern is more that the contextual differences are not taken as seriously as they are for white history or the more traditional historical narratives that get reproduced all the time. Students don’t usually conflate the U.S. Civil War with the Vietnam War or Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Nixon—even though there are similar parallels involving imperialism and conquest (not to mention masculinity!). When the story is more explicitly about peoples of color, context seems to fall by the wayside more often. Histories of “oppression” are then relegated to a bygone era so as to relieve present-day guilt about atrocities past and present—even if present-day people are simultaneously associated with historical actors.

**

The Parks story also reminded me of an interaction I had a few weeks ago with a friend of an amiga. After we were introduced, we made polite conversation. He asked about my dissertation. I gave my usual brief description. As a Chicano who grew up in LA and who had taken Chicano Studies courses, he knew the general area my research deals with and wanted to know more. He asked me something about the transcontinental railroad—people always ask about it when I mention I study Chinese Americans, even though it’s no longer a part of my study. It’s as if Chinese Americans and transcontinental railroad are inseparable in their present-day racial imaginaries. A little bit later, we all piled in the car and headed out to grab a drink. On the way, we stopped at a nearby 7-11 because someone needed to hit up the ATM. As the rest of us waited in the car, this same dude noticed a group of teenage Asian boys hanging out nearby. “Hey! There’s a bunch of Chinese guys over there. You should interview them and ask them about the transcontinental railroad for your research. They’re all right there!”

Say what?! The TC-RR was completed almost 150 years ago! And, I don’t study the TC-RR, which I had made clear in our earlier conversation. And, those kids might not have even been Chinese. I could go on and on, but you get the point. I didn’t say anything—mostly because I was about to be stuck with this dude for the next few hours. It occurred to me—he may not have known I am Chinese (not that it should even matter). Mexicans in LA sometimes talk smack about Chinese people to me, not knowing I’m Chinese too. I’ve decided that it’s not worth explaining my identities unless I’m actually invested in the person or the conversation. This time I didn’t care. He may have been joking, but it was definitely not funny. And I knew it was about to be a long night.

**

More about the nourishing parts of my travels to come later…

May 9, 2008

not from Los Angeles.

by la rebelde

Whenever I meet new people, they inevitably ask me if I’m from Los Angeles. Of course, I am not. I tend to think that fact is fairly obvious, but maybe I’m wrong.

Most of the time people figure out that I’m not from Los Angeles because they begin the conversation assuming that I am. They want to know where in LA I grew up (they always assume it’s east of the river). That’s when I have to explain that I’m actually from Albuquerque. It may be hard to believe, but there are a lot of nuevomexicanos in Southern California. We’ve been migrating out here for centuries and the migration pattern goes the opposite direction too. My grampa talks about this all the time. Not all of us who look like Mexicans and call ourselves Mexicans historically came from the region that is now Mexico. I’m just saying.

Just a few months ago, a new acquaintance was so surprised when I said I am not from Los Angeles that she sputtered, “but you have that LA Latina look.” I remember thinking, Dang, already? I hadn’t even lived here for a year at that point! It must be your impeccable eyeliner, my amiga joked later. Very funny, funny girl, I’d responded. “What is the LA Latina look?” I asked. “Well, you know, all the LA Latinas have a little look,” the woman went on. “All the black girls in LA have a little look and all the Asian girls have a little look.” Hmm…I decided not to out myself as Chinese Am too—that might have thrown her for a loop. In case you were wondering, she was “Latina.”

In academic circles, people assume I’m from LA for three reasons: First–because where else would a Chinese American/Chicana be from? Second–because I study the histories of Chinese and Mexican people in Los Angeles. And third—because if you go to school in Tejas or the Midwest, why else would you study LA (as opposed to some city in the Midwest or Tejas)? But the truth is, I came to my project by asking a series of questions about the interrelatedness of Asian American and Chicana/o histories and how those stories took place in the context of overlapping processes of conquest/empire, questions that I have been asking since I was in college (and that was a long time ago). Those questions (and the railroad tracks) led me from Nuevo México to El Paso to Chicago to Tucson to San Diego (briefly) and finally to Los Angeles. Contrary to what some might think, I did not come here because I idealize Los Angeles’ multiracial populations or because I believe in the kind of LA/SoCal/Bay-area exceptionalism that I read about in the books and hear about time and time again in the voices of Cali brown folks who just miss their home.

I suppose it’s good for me to be able to articulate how I came to my project and my relationship to this here ciudad. Funny, when I lived in New York City, no one thought I was a (real) “New Yorker” and my mom grew up there!

May 6, 2008

on business.

by la rebelde

I’ve been away from Los Angeles for a while. All “on business” as they say. My favorite part about traveling “on business” is that I get to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. (Obviously, “business” is not the central thing.) I’d forgotten what it was like to be around amigas/os constantly. When I was in small-midwestern-college-town, I was almost a social butterfly! I say almost because I wasn’t trying to be social—I just enjoyed hanging out with friends. It was a work-hard-play-hard kind of lifestyle—studying until 11 or 12 and hitting up my favorite lounge bar for a tequila gimlet (my favorite drink, in case you were wondering) before going home. Very different from the life I lead in LA, where amigas/os are harder to come by. Now, back in my apartment, I’m reminded of what it’s like to be alone again.

Well, I’m not completely alone, actually. My good amiga has been crashing in my study while she completes her comprehensive exams, which she has a week to do. It’s nice to know someone else is around, even if just for a few days. And just like several of my LA friends before her, she’ll be moving up north, to the bay area, in a couple weeks. I’m happy for her, but sad to see her go.

I spent this last semester exceedingly worried about my funding situation for the next school year (which also meant I put unnecessary stress on myself to write faster, but that’s another post altogether). I poured over fellowship and grant applications, hoping that I’d get one so that I could stay in Los Angeles. So that I wouldn’t have to go back to small-midwestern-college-town where white liberals abound and where I too easily fall into the (un)comfortable space of invisibility—privileged invisibility. So that I could feel more settled and postpone the inevitable academic process of uprooting my home and my life just one more year. So that I could continue getting to know the spaces and, more importantly, the communities who live in the legacy of the histories that I’m trying to learn about.

After much thought and agony—and a pile of rejection letters—I decided it would be worth taking out loans and possibly teaching so that I could stay in LA. And then I got one! I haven’t gotten the official letter yet, but I got a fellowship that will pay for my food and shelter for one more year. I should be happier than I am, because, hell, I’m a privileged-ass person in this world. But I’m anxious about what lies in store for the next year—whether I’ll find new friends and a larger community. And whether I’ll be able to bust out this pinche dissertation, so I can (hopefully?) move on to a post-doc or a job situation. I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I shall write.