you are not my typewriter
{Monday, February 28, 2005 . Gay Science Teacher}

So even though I had to skip fourth hour and show choir because a mystery disease is slowly sucking the life from my body, I managed to don some presentable clothes and make an appearance at the school board meeting. I was accepting a certificate for being a National Merit Scholarship Finalist (all capitals, mind you).

The best part of going to school board meetings is checking out the bizarre array of people there. Mr. Murphy is always there, which is kind of a hoot, and of course the old white dudes on the board are mildly amusing. This time there was a little girl who looked like she came straight out of Africa being congratulated on winning the school spelling bee. When Dr. Whatever asked her what word won her the spelling bee, she casts this sidelong glance at him and says in this really snotty voice, "Disappointed." It was the funniest thing ever. Kind of. I guess you had to be there.

This blonde guy with splendidly coiffed hair was sitting a row in front of me. He was pretty young - mid twenties, probably - and he was wearing this awfully stylish little striped shirt/sweater combo. Sitting remarkably close to him was another young man of about the same age who was gesturing swishily about something. So I thought to myself, "What are these fags doing at a school board meeting?" Turns out the one with the coiffed hair was being given some extremely presigious award for science teachers, and it was all amazing and stuff because he was so young (and because he was gay, but no one said that.) Hooray for good homosexual teachers. Maybe school would be cooler if there were more of them.

posted at 11:13 PM by Alison


{Sunday, February 27, 2005 . the night when the squares come out}

Award shows are stupid. They're for stupid people who like stupid things.

The Oscars are one giant circle-jerk where all the sell-outs of the world get together to congratulate each other on being such wonderful sell-outs. It's difficult work, selling out, but they do it with style.

If you're watching that ridiculous masturbation session, I laugh condescendingly at you.

posted at 10:59 PM by Alison


I haven't been posting much, lately. I'm not apologizing; I'm merely making an observation. I've had better things to do. Unfortunately, none of them have had a whole lot to do with writing my essay for Iouriev's class or applying for scholarships.

Fortunately, they have had a lot to with rousing fun. My last pep band game was on Friday, and it was surprisingly unsentimental. It didn't even click that it was my last until the StarvedArtist's mom said something. I was losing my voice, though, and couldn't pull my usual unsportsmanlike stunts. I.E. - When a member of the opposing team goes for a freethrow, just as it gets silent and he's about to shoot, I yell: "If you make this, I'll buy you a pony!" If he misses: "Pony hater!" If he makes it: "Ponies for everyone!"

It's a crowd pleaser, at the very least.

And last night was the frosh-soph show. FecesFest, as it is sometimes called, was salvaged mostly single-handedly by ANDY BUEL. The man's a genius. "Ah spilled mah beans! Where mah pintos?!?!" Gold.

So China's making an attempt to balance out the boy/girl ratio. I'm not so sure how to feel about this. I'm not one of those people who's automatically outraged by the fact that they even have the one-child rule in the first place; I'm not keen on it or anything, but I understand the need for it. Of course, it's extremely cruel to force people to part with their children that way. And, of course, it can be cruel to force people to endure the hardship that not having a son can bring. But people will starve if the population gets too out of control, and it's no good to have a practically 2-1 male-female ratio. This is one of the few issues on which I don't have a well-defined opinion. Enlighten me, readership.

posted at 3:06 PM by Alison


{Friday, February 25, 2005 . Ooooh, I forgot.}

I forgot to mention that the referendum passed. I am elated.

Absolutely elated.

Etta James freaking rules. You know that?

posted at 1:05 PM by Alison


{Wednesday, February 23, 2005 . Hoef's a crunk-ass bitch.}

A couple of weeks ago, someone told me it was a hundred days to graduation. I don't really feel like counting how many are left. Suffice to say I really want to be done with school.

This morning, the StarvedArtist and I left our crazy Spanish teacher to babbling and wearing wigs on her own, and we wandered the empty halls of our high school like post-apocolyptic warriors. We ran into our old history teacher. He commented on her pink tie, and the conversation turned to gay marriage.

Hoef: What's this gay marriage? How does it work?
StarvedArtist: Well, basically, two people love each other and want to get married, and dirty Repubs get all scared and want to stop it.
Hoef (who is himself a dirty Repub): Oh yeah? That sounds awful.
StarvedArtist: It is pretty awful. What's your take on gay marriage?
Hoef: What, me? Oh, pffft.
StarvedArtist: Yeah, what do you think?
Hoef: My political views are very moderate. You know that.

Like believing that two grown men/women should be able to make a simple decision like marrying each other is so RADICAL. He's the MODERATE who isn't going to go all CRAZY and allow people basic freedoms. Jag.

posted at 10:31 PM by Alison


{Tuesday, February 22, 2005 . Fear and Loathing}

Don't let the title fool you. I will not talk about Hunter S. Thompson. I have never read any of his work, and talking about him would be pointless.

I will talk about this. I'm a fraud. I'm not really eighteen years old. I'm not old enough to take care of myself. I'm not anywhere close to being an adult. I was watching this PBS documentary about Malcolm X last night, and it said that at 17 he became an effing street hustler. Okay, so a street hustler isn't exactly the sort of career I'm aiming for, but the point is this: he was independent. Not only did he not have to rely on anyone to provide for him, but he was actually able to con people out of their money. I can't even lie to my mom convincingly.

I don't have any ambition anymore. At all. I don't care about being successful. I care about sleeping.

I'm getting real obsessive lately. Not OCD obsessive. More like creepy stalker obsessive. And I can't really concentrate because of it.

Paradoxically, I feel as if a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

posted at 6:52 PM by Alison


{Saturday, February 19, 2005 . Party of the Millenium}

Sorry for all of the dour posts lately. I haven't been depressed or anything, it just kind of turned out that way.

I've been abandoning all in favor of preparing for this party tomorrow night. I've been busy as a bee cleaning the house all week, and I just got home from a massive grocery shopping spree (which was my mother's generous birthday gift to me.) I bought more filo dough and tofu than any normal person would ever be able to find use for.

What is it with all the attractive Indian men who shop at Michael's having kids? Every single one. I swear to God. I'm standing next to the basamati rice having a grand old time oggling a good-looking guy, and this freaking rugrat comes barrelling around the corner. Of course it's his kid. They ALWAYS have kids. And they're always way older than they look.

I'm inordinately excited about tomorrow night. It's just a party. But it's MY party. I never throw parties. It's going to be awesome.

You should be there.


I totally forgot about last night. Boys, if you're squeamish about lady issues, click on a link to the side. Not Starved Artist's.

So my period came kinda early this month, so although I usually carry analgesics at all times *during my period*, I was quite unprepared. So I start to get cramps during last hour yesterday. No biggie. I'll be home in an hour and a half. I'll take something then. But all of a sudden - BAM!!! I'm in blinding pain. I kind of creep off to the bathroom and *almost* throw up, but my cramps receded, and I figure it's okay to go back to class. They come back pretty much immediately, only worse. I'm dizzy and I can't really see straight. So I go to the bathroom, but since I'm staggering around in this crazy fit of pain and nausea, I just kind of bump into that dealy in between the stall doors and puke all over the floor. It was actually a little funny. Slash really gross. But it gets worse. I CAN'T STOP. So I completely empty the contents of my stomach in a bathroom stall, kind of getting it everywhere. Once I manage to stop, I go to the maintainance office and let them know, because I don't want it to just sit there. I tell them, "It was in the Yellow bathroom - Respect, I think?" (The bathrooms at Oswego High School are all color-coded and named after the six pillars of character. Just a tad queer.) But as I grab my crap and head to the parking lot, I pass the bathroom where my incident happened, and I realize, "Shit! It's the Trustworthiness bathroom, not the Respect bathroom!" So I guess Trustworthiness just had to smell like puke for a couple of hours. On the way home, I hit every red light I possibly could. New red lights sprang up just to prolong my agony. I began to get anxious - as I do only when I have really intense cramps like that - and think about 'what if I'm actually dying?' I had to pull over across from St. Anne's and throw up on the curb. When i finally got home, I took way more than the recommended dose of Excedrin and curled up weeping on the bathroom floor. After about an hour, the Excedrin kicked in, and I found the energy to get up off the floor and get into bed. So that's why I wasn't at jazz band rehearsal.

I really want to go on The Pill and all, but being without it affords me so many opportunities to curry sympathy with Dramatic Mentrual Stories.

posted at 1:18 AM by Alison


{Wednesday, February 16, 2005 . Wednesday}

When I was a youngster - younger than I am now; elementary-school-aged - I used to lie awake in bed and wonder at my own existence. I never had anything to do, really, so I never got tired and I never slept. I would lie awake in bed with my unfocused eyes pointed heavenward and just let myself be amazed at how my particular soul got put in my particular body. I would touch my hands together and think about how I could have been born with fins or wings or claws. I could have had no body at all. It is only by some bizarre twist of fate that I happen to experience existence in this particular way.

I can't do that anymore. I've so thoroughly accepted the way I am and the way I feel things that even though I remember the sensation I got when I thought that way, I can't recreate the actual thoughts. I was thinking this afternoon in English about how I've created my own world, and I've accepted as absolute truths concepts for which I have no proof. A couple of years ago, I made a choice. It wasn't a permanent one, I don't think, but I've been living with it. I recognized the fact that, in that grand scheme of things, nothing REALLY matters. Pain is just pain. Death is just death, and there is no point in trying to change or better anything, really. But it hurts to think that way, and there would be no point in living if that were the case. I considered, briefly, whether I shouldn't just kill myself. But I didn't want to. For whatever reason, I just didn't want to die. So I made the decision to create my own reality. I practice double-think. I realize that nothing REALLY matters, but I make myself believe that certain things are extremely important. It's important that we end suffering. It's important that I get a good education. It's important that I be good to people. I know these things aren't important, but it makes me feel good to say that they are. So I believe them while not believing them. Is that okay? Is it alright to consciously deny reality?

I know. It doesn't matter.

posted at 10:38 PM by Alison


{Tuesday, February 15, 2005 . Rufus Brown}

My first real music teacher, Rufus Brown, died this week. Thanks to Mark for telling me about it.

After my dad died (and after a somewhat ridiculous legal battle with my stepmother), I inherited his favorite guitar, the one my mom bought him as a wedding present. My dad was a blues guitarist/musician, so the guitar was really important to him. It was the summer before fifth grade when my mom signed me up for guitar lessons at Hix, which was then somewhere out in North Aurora. Rufus was the one who took me on. My mom says that she chose him because, judging by his name, he was probably some big black man who could teach me how to play 'dem blues. Actually, he was a skinny, 25-year-old white guy who encouraged me to play classical guitar.

He always told me I was his favorite student. In retrospect, I realize he was probably just saying that to keep me from getting disheartened at my lack of skill at the guitar, but at the time, it made me feel wonderful. I have never had a teacher who has made me feel so good about myself.

My mother read about it before I did. She said it was the most tragic thing she had ever heard in her life. I have to agree with her. For someone so vibrant and passionate about EVERYTHING, for such a doting father and such a loving husband (these qualities were apparent even from my relatively distant student's viewpoint), to die so young, is absolutely heartbreaking. His little girls lost one of the most caring fathers I have ever known.

I am a remarkably self-centered person, but for some reason I felt compelled to get a card for his wife (whom I've never met). I broke down in the card isle at Dominick's. Here's the card I found:

Outside: A life well-lived doesn't end any more than music ends...
It echoes through time with whispers of beauty and grace.
Inside: If we listen, we can hear the encore with our hearts, for the song plays on just as love lives on.
With deepest sympathy for your loss.

I always had this idea in my head that after I graduated from college, or after I was well-established in my career, or after I had something or other substantial to show for myself, I would track Rufus down and thank him. I would let him know the impact he had on my own decision to become a music teacher. I would ask him for advice. I would reconnect. Later. Somehow, as always seems to happen with me, my own petty little life became more important, and now I've lost the chance to tell him what a wonderful teacher he was. I certainly intend to tell his wife, but it's not quite the same.

You all know what a cynical bitch I am. You all know how much I despise cliches. So take heed, that's all the more reason to listen to what I am about to say:

Don't wait until the last minute to thank those who have helped you out or made you happy. You never know when it will be too late.

Note: Clicking on the link at the top of this post is supposed to get you to Rufus' obituary, but you have to erase all the blogger/fencepost stuff surrounding the URL. I don't know enough about html to get rid of it myself.

posted at 12:30 AM by Alison


{Sunday, February 13, 2005 . part one of a two-part series}

Well, fuck. I'm not going to State.

I knew I wasn't going to. Last year, when I did my "gay marriage should be legal" speech, all of my praise was followed up with the statement that my topic was very prescient, topic topic topic. It was the right speech at the right time. Unfortunately, though, it's never the right time to get up in front of an audience and tell them that eating meat - a practice which is indelibly engrained in our culture - is wrong, and that animals - for whom many people have the utmost distain, for some reason - actually deserve respect. People just don't want to hear that stuff.

I kind of broke down on the bus ride home. Not necessarily because I didn't make it to State (I was well-prepared for that), but more because it was my last speech meet. It's impossible to describe to anyone who's never experienced it the feeling of being at a speech meet. It's a strange combination of the fun of being with your friends, and the quiet of being alone. You're all dressed up in your Sunday best, walking down a dark, unfamiliar, spotless linoleum hallway. All you can hear is the click of you heels. It's like crystal. That's the only way I can really describe it. It's a crystalline experience. One that I'll never have again.

There was a good deal of embarassment and disappointment involved. This year is the first year in roughly a thousand years that OHS hasn't sent anyone to State. I blogged about this a few weeks ago, after losing at yet another meet. I was hoping the illustrious Sarah Watts would pick up the slack I left when I chose such an unwise topic, but the judges were retarded and didn't advance her either. Donna B. was visibly upset. She didn't take it out on us, though. She knows how hard we tried.

Both of my final round performances were the best performances I've ever given. That's why I refused to read my critiques. I happened to catch a phrase from one - "just didn't measure up to the others" - and I decided I just wouldn't find out why. Last year, I went home from State feeling depressed. I didn't place because I had fucked up. But I didn't fuck up yesterday. My final performance was flawless, and I want it to stay that way in my mind.

I almost made it to State for verse. I got fourth in the hardest sectional in the state. I'm not sure how I did for Oratory. I'm not sure I want to know.

The girls who got first and third in Oratory did their entire speeches out of the corners of their mouths. It's a bizarre idiosyncracy that bad speakers like to affect to give the illusion of casualness, of sincerity. It doesn't work on me. My speaking style really is casual and sincere, and that will serve me much better in life. While those girls were training themselves to get up in front of an audience and pander, I was training myself to get up in front of an audience and speak honestly about a subject I believe in. My arch nemesis - Sara Wilbur from York high school, who is an incredible speaker, but has a cocky-ass attitude and acts very unprofessionally - also didn't make it to State. So there.

I sobbed the whole way home. It started off as crying about the loss of one of my favorite pastimes, but it turned into something more. Almost no one I know agrees with my views on animal rights. Sarah comforted me, for which I am forever grateful, but I still can't shake the feeling the if THAT MANY people disagree with me, I must be wrong. Maybe animals are just commodities for human use.

However, I was soon drowning my woe and self-doubt in green tea and Egyptian tobacco. As part one in the two-part series that is my eighteenth birthday bash, I and four of my eighteen-year-old girlyfriends went to Mr. Sheesha's in Naperville to smoke the hookah. Becky and Katie were all prude about it and would only take one puff, but Jessi, Diana, and I smoked the hell out of that thing. I'm such a good girl, and I've never really done anything subversive, so I figured that at least ONCE I should do something for which I had to show ID. Before you get all sanctimonious on my ass, let me assure you that this was a ONE-TIME thing, and that I would never make smoking a habit. Sheesha is much milder than cigarette tobacco, so in two hours I only smoked about the equivalent of a quarter of a cigarette. I also stuffed my face with some of the best hummous this side of Maza and this greasy Egyptian bread called "fatira."

Part two of the two-part series will be a vegan feast next Saturday night. It will be grand. I'll have to work all week on cleaning the house.

So I'm not going to EYSO this week because I just woke up and I have a crapload of homework. Sue me.

posted at 6:52 PM by Alison


{Friday, February 11, 2005 . NIU Audition}

First off, let me clarify the "giving up meat" joke in Wednesday's post: I've been a vegan for the past five years. I sometimes assume people know these things.

I just got back from DeKalb: The Mediocre, Liquored-Up Gateway to Northern Illinois. Damn, do I not want to go to NIU. My twenty-minute audition with the tuba/euphonium professor was dull enough. I can't imagine sitting through four years of that.

He seemed scared of me. It was as if he were the one auditioning. He seemed way too eager to ingraciate me. And he was nervous and had a puffy old man face. I'm sure he's well educated and all, but he didn't come off as having much confidence in his abilities. The prof. from U of I, on the other hand, was not only tons of fun, but he worked with me and gave me specific examples of the sort of teaching techniques he uses. I spent and HOUR in his office. But the guy from NIU just seemed like he didn't know what to do with me.

However, driving up there alone afforded me an opportunty to explore, which I'm always fond of. I tried my damnedest to eat at some sort of ethnic restaraunt whilst in DeKalb, but both the (single) Indian resaurant and the (single) Thai restaurant were closed. So I made my way back home by driving roughly South-East-ish and I wound up in St. Charles. I cashed in some of my Borders gift certificates for a Charles Mingus CD and a vegan cookbook (for my upcoming birthday feast). I'm so awesome. Then I went to Trader Joe's (for the first time) and loaded up with organic goodies. I expected to spend my life savings, but it wound up only being $47.85. God bless you, Trader Joe's, and your reasonably priced health foods.

Sectionals tomorrow. It could be my last speech meet. I'm a little forclempt.

posted at 1:52 PM by Alison


{Wednesday, February 09, 2005 . Ash Wednesday}

Well, it's Ash Wednesday. Or, as I like to call it, "The Day After Fat Tuesday."

Actually, I completely missed Fat Tuesday this year. Forgot about it. I usually am a little jazzed about it (no pun intended) because of my bizarre obsession with Cajun culture, but it just slipped my mind this year. I didn't even realize what day it was until I saw the smudge on the forehead of the girl who sits next to me in English.

As I'm sure you've guessed by now, I don't really observe Lent. Every year (with the exception of this year), someone invariably asks me what I'm giving up. I usually look them straight in the eye and say with great effort, "I think I'm going to give up meat." "Oh, no," they say, "That's going to be so hard." And then I say, "Yes, but I really want to do it. And, in fact, I think I'll give up dairy and eggs, too. And leather, while I'm at it. God will give me the strength."

So, although I consider Lent difficult and pointless, I will be observing something slightly more difficult and equally pointless this year. You guessed it: Passover. I decided to keep my bestest Jewish friend, Ethan, company during his week of pennance by adding leavened bread and corn syrup to my already fairly long do-not-eat list. If nothing else, it will be an excercise in understanding other cultures.

posted at 9:53 PM by Alison


{Monday, February 07, 2005 . the big won ate}

Well, boys and girls (and my mom, apparently), this is my first post as an eighteen-year-old. I's growed.

Emily made me a vegan cake from scratch last night and brought it to orchestra rehearsal. It was the sweetest thing ever.

And my mommy woke me up this morning with my presents: a bicyclemark tote bag and t-shirt. I'm wearing the t-shirt as I type. It's a good one. Nice and sturdy. I'd post pictures, but I still have pictures from a month ago that I have yet to post. So just use your imagination.

Unfortunately, though, it's too late to register to vote in the referendum.

For those of you unlucky enough to live outside the bustling Mecca that is Oswego, there is an education referendum up for voting on February 22, and I was looking forward to being able to vote in it. Essentially, if the referendum doesn't pass, every school in the Oswego School District will burn to the ground. Basically. Go here:

Don't let OHS become a Madrassah.

posted at 3:57 PM by Alison


{Sunday, February 06, 2005 . What-a-Week}

I'm going to be dull and just list crap that I did since last I posted.

Wednesday and Thursday: Nothing. Those weren't days.

Friday: Skipped school (legitimately) and went to NIU Jazz Day. Freaking unbelievably awesome. It was just sort of a festival, so we (the Oswego High School Jazz Ensemble, in which I play trombone) went and performed in the morn and then listened to other bands for the rest of the day. I was sitting in the NIU concert hall, making friendship bracelets with my good buddy Beacon, when the Warren Jazz Ensemble took the stage. They're unbelievably good, but they just keep featuring this one trumpet player. Every song is all about him. He's really, really good, though, with this mellow tone and mad improv skills, and as I look at him I realize, "Holy crap, that's the little Indian dude!"

The Little Indian Dude: I've seen this little dude three times in the past two weeks. At the University of Illinois audition, I saw him with his parents. Not to be racist or anything, but Asian/Indian parents are really overbearing, and his parents were a prime example. They never got more than three feet from him. The following Friday, I went to the jazz concert at the IMEA festival, and he was the trumpet player in the State Jazz Combo. He BLEW ME AWAY. Amazing. But he was like a different person. Onstage, he affects this cocky, bitch-ass trumpet player persona. I didn't even recognize him until I saw him with his overbearing parents later on in the exhibition hall. And then, of course, I saw him yesterday at NIU. I had to talk to him. It was fate. The Gods were willing us to be together in some capacity. So Beacon and I went up to him before the final concert on Friday, and I explained the situation to him. "Look," I said, "I keep seeing you everywhere I go, so I need to know your name." It's Zubin. As in a place where animals live, and a container. He was really frightened of us.

The NIU Jazz Ensemble was the greatest school-related performing group I've ever heard. That's all I'll say about that.

After Jazz Day, I went back to school for speech coachings and Pep Band. My mom came to my speech coaching bearing two glorious things: word that I am a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, and a birthday card postmarked from the Netherlands. That's right, the lovely and talented Bicyclemark sent me a birthday card. It made my day.

Then I had a grand time with some friends, but damned my soul to perdition for all eternity.

Saturday: Speech Regionals. We took first as a team, and I got first in Oratory and Verse. The Verse victory I attribute mostly to the fact that Bicyclemark's b-day card was stuck in the pocket of my book. Before you congratulate me too profusely, you should know that Regionals is the easiest meet in the history of everything. It was kind of a dull day, and we were there for way too long. Plus some shit went down involving the beautiful and talented Sarah (who got first in prose and will most definitely go to the toppermost of the poppermost.) But I finally got to see my beloved Andrew, and had yummy Indian food for dinner. He's always full of ultra-specific information on obscure styles of rock music. A good time.

Sunday: Brought cake and cosmo to Sarah's house, and wrote our skit for Espanol. "Que es el propio de la luna? Eso. Eso es el propio de la luna." Then had a celebratory day-before-my-birthday luncheon with the fam. Then went to Borders with my mommy. Bought:

Van Morrison - Poetic Champions Compose
Belle & Sebastian - Tigermilk
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
The Walkmen - Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone.

Now I'm going to EYSO.

I'm late! I'm late!

posted at 3:11 PM by Alison


{Tuesday, February 01, 2005 . I'm a lazy cat.}

I went to gym this morning because my gym teacher has ridiculous ass grading policies which make even excused absences a crime punishable by death, but I had my mom call me in and I slept blocks one and two. Then I rolled out of bed, did English homework for an hour and a half, and went to English. English is one of those classes that I really can't miss too much of, but for reasons far more legitimate than those for gym.

I would have gone home after English, but I had jazz band rehearsal, and we have a big performance on Friday which I, for one, am fairly unprepared for. So I really couldn't afford to miss that.

And then I had two coachings scheduled, and I'm performing on Saturday in an event I've never done before, so I couldn't miss those.

And then I had show choir, and we have competitions starting in a month - some of the music for which we haven't even gotten yet. So I couldn't really afford to miss that.

So I stroll into my front door at 9:30 and power up the ol' laptop to start in on my English homework, and my mom calls from her bedroom like I've been out past curfew, "Where have you been?"

She's really angry at me for skipping part of school but going to rehearsals. But I can afford to miss Spanish and Music Theory and Band. I can make those up - or, in the case of Band, I don't need to make it up. Is it so difficult to grasp that some of my classes are easier than my extra-curriculars?

In other news, I picked my poems. One is about crack babies, the other about abortion. Barrel of goddamn monkeys.

posted at 9:40 PM by Alison



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