Posts Tagged ‘navel-gazing’


embrace your destiny

June 16, 2010

i don’t consider myself a writer.

which is weird, right? because i write all kinds of things. i write this here blog (with a blatant disregard for consistent capitalization, even). i write a regular column, and i’ve written a whole book, and my resume even has a whole section for “publications.” most people would probably call me a writer. so why don’t i?

Read the rest of this entry ?


midnight girl in a sunset town

May 17, 2010

I talk a lot of shit about my hometown, and most of it is deserved. But I will say this for it, and for small towns in general: they’re good places to come from.

On Saturday I went to a Basque restaurant in Los Banos. We didn’t arrive in the valley until the evening, and so we missed the worst of the heat. By the time we got out of the car, as the sun was starting to set, the air had reached that perfect temperature that coastal folks sometimes forget about. As much as I hated the weather in Davis, I absolutely loved not needing to carry a sweater when I went out at night. There is nothing that says “summer” quite like a warm evening with a light breeze. Already slightly boozy and pleased by a day in the sun, I was ready to continue feeling boozy and pleasant—even nostalgic—before we even got inside.

Read the rest of this entry ?


part 1: family

May 10, 2010

y’all, family is hard.

i realize that’s not exactly a statement that’s going to set the world afire. it’s pretty obvious. but one of the things i’ve been dealing with (belatedly, perhaps?) is that at some point you have to stop being a child and expecting family to just sort of be there, circling around you. you have to act like an adult and realize that relationships – even with your parents, yes – require mutual effort.

Read the rest of this entry ?


rambling like a stoner; or, i say “sometimes” a lot

April 20, 2010

ten years ago today, i got my ear pierced. this fact is not terribly important, despite the fact that i lead with it. this particular piercing, the industrial in my right ear, was neither my first nor my last. it was neither the most nor the least painful.

in fact, in most ways, this day was not particularly significant. it was a thursday. either i didn’t have a thursday afternoon class, or i ditched it to go celebrate 4/20. first, though, i met up with my roommate m. and our friend h. and went to zebra for the piercing. at this time, i was on a piercing schedule of approximately every six months.* h. wandered around, m. held my hand. because i went during the week, i got the mean goth piercer lady, who gave me no warning before she jabbed the needle through my cartilage. it hurt, yes, but it was more shocking than anything else. that done, we stopped by the drug store (my previous place of employment, incidentally) so i could get some bactine and then went to a’s.

Read the rest of this entry ?


insert witty movie reference here

March 23, 2010

do you ever have those moments when you realize that your childhood was kind of odd?  it’s sort of like realizing that your parents are insane, but that it’s really a factor of the lack of boundaries in a family, and it makes you wonder what kind of craziness your own kids will roll their eyes at one of these days.*

what brings this to mind is that i was just reading that article on dwight yoakum, which of course brought up buck owens. now, for a while i was convinced that buck owens was in a movie i saw a ton when i was a kid, but i was wrong – it was roy clark. along with mel tillis. nevertheless, thinking about buck owens leads to thinking about mel tillis for me.

i should stop here and mention that while i have a lot of the 80s pop culture knowledge that everyone else of my generation does, i also have enormously glaring holes. i’ve never seen E.T., for instance. on the other hand, the movies i would have listed as my favorites and/or my most watched in the mid-80s, most people–certainly my cohort–have never even heard of. see, back in the day, we didn’t have cable, but we did finally get a VCR. of course, we didn’t have any tapes. so we ended up borrowing a bunch from an older friend of the family with eclectic taste in enetertainment. there were maybe a dozen. these included:

Read the rest of this entry ?


in which patterson sums up my life crisis

March 16, 2010

I think 27 is the year when young people realize they’re not going to get to do in their twenties what they thought they were going to do when they were 19. I think that’s the year of the reckoning. That’s the year that—almost universally it seems—you realize you haven’t conquered the world, and from where you’re standing you may not ever conquer the world. In fact, you might need to start working on Plan B.


btw, new DBT album dropped today.



December 13, 2009

Occasional reviews meets existential crisis: over-identifying with Alfred Lubrano’s Limbo (Wiley, 2004).

Quick summary: Limbo is about a largely-hidden segment of American society: blue collar children who grow up to be white collar adults, and all the ups and downs that come with living in between classes. It’s a pretty good book, and I found that I identified with it in many ways. There are certainly flaws: for one thing, it’s written by a journalist and aimed at a general audience, so by necessity it isn’t as detailed or analytical as I would like. Lubrano also tends to be too broad in his class definitions, and I frequently wonder where, exactly, he draws the line between “middle class” and “upper class.” His subject pool also limits his argument somewhat: most of the people he interviewed are from the East Coast, most of them attended elite Ivy League schools, most of them went on to hold high-ranking positions, and most of them are from the baby boom generation. I wonder how his argument holds up for younger “straddlers,” as he calls them (us, really), for those from the West Coast, for those who didn’t become professors or high level executives but instead became a part of the more “regular” middle class.

But aside from these general criticisms, I find his argument compelling, not least because there are very few books out there that look at class in this way. For a variety of reasons, class isn’t really discussed in our culture, and it’s difficult to talk about how it feels to be in between classes, especially since, like any other group, the middle class tends to overlook its own privilege. Most people don’t realize what they have; they don’t realize how much others have to struggle to attain things that simply came to them. This is something I’ve been thinking about more and more lately, and reading Limbo helped me to frame the ideas I’ve had swirling around in my head, helped give me a language to explain the way that class functions in my own life.

Read the rest of this entry ?