Sunday, November 30, 2003

sdt is coming to you via dialup right now (which might explain the delay in posts)
something's fucked with my modem. the dsl light is lit up even when the phone cord is unplugged.

in other fun tech news, i can't log onto my att wireless account. it's near impossible to get someone on the phone (i've been on hold for about a half hour now)

the strange thing is that the recurring message playing to the sickening loop of happy fun music says the following:

log onto and click on the customer service tab
blah blah blah etc etc

however, i love my new nokia 3650.

i'm still on hold.

Saturday, November 29, 2003



i just had church.
unfucking believable.

move down here. let's start a band. let's learn to play the cello.

holy holy shit. did you know that you were at the gypsy tea room tonight?

i am so happy to be alive right now.

the space filled with holy souls, smoking cigarettes, standing shaking moving

i wanted to turn around and embrace everyone, to hug even the three tall guys in front of me blocking my view

i wanted to kidnap all of us, pick up the entire bar and cart it off to some remote destination so we wouldn't have to stop--
we were doing something holy (even the noisy fucks at the bar)

it reminded me of seeing the polphonic spree there on previous occasions, when i'd call you from the bathroom, blowing ecstatic energy up the wireless network up to chapel hill.

he's playing in ny on wed the 10th. take the train. go fucking see him.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

check out this article on the peculiar form of english we speak here in texas

when my sister first went to college she lost her accent. after graduating, she began working with several "expat texans" in DC, and it returned in full force. i think it must be some combination of homesickness, texan pride (brought on perhaps by competing against yankees and such in softball), etc. for her it's an attractive affectation.

i doubt i'd get a positive response to answering my phone "howdy"

(although my "doesn'ts and wasn'ts" don't often contain s's. wadnt. waddnt. crazy.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

(from the squires house on saturday eve:)

There’s a book on the counter in the kitchen entitled The Very First Thanksgiving. It shows, among other things, a pilgrim girl and a native american girl running around with a doll. Grr.


So, yes. Thanksgiving. Last Thanksgiving was hyper-emotional, as Granny had just recovered from life-threatening encephalitis. They actually thought she had west nile; a week before Thanksgiving Day Gran was in the hospital and they said she didn’t have much chance of making it.

They figured out that she might just pull through, and the doctor went in to explain her condition, which my aunt kept mispronouncing “ensephalus.” During the course of the conversation the expression on Granny’s face got odder and odder, and when the doctor left she started hollering,

“I ain’t done nothing dirty!”

You see, she thought they were saying she had syphilis.


I hate crying in public, unless it’s crying because you’re laughing so hard when Papa tells this story.

That may be why Thanksgiving is not really my favorite holiday (it might have something to do with all the carcasses sitting around, too -- there’s usually fried turkey, honey baked ham, and uncle bobby joe’s specialty -- roasted goat. He drives up his cooker thing and they skewer the entire goat and it turns slowly over charcoal or whatever. They just walk straight up to the thing and pull strips of flesh from it “here, try some baby!” -- my vegetarianism hasn’t yet lost its novelty for them.).

My family waits until Granny and all the women (of course) have finished preparing the food, and it sits steaming in the center of the dinner table. We then sit in a big circle in the living room and take turns saying what we’re thankful for.

I’m not kidding you: every single woman in my family ends up crying. And I sort of have this empathy-thing, especially when it comes to my mom. When she cries, I cry.

I usually try to sit as far away from her as possible, with my young cousins in an attempt to avoid the tearfest.

The first thing that everyone says they’re thankful for is their soul salvation. Then there’s a little laundry list (family, surviving the turmoil, trials and tribulations of the past year, health, etc) punctuated by crying.

All I can usually think of is that I’m thankful that my grandparents are still around after so many close calls. I guess that’s what I generally choke out before the next person’s turn.

But I think I’m robbing myself of something on this occasion. In the one moment where I’ll enter real reflection, I’m too concerned with the pressure to come across as a believer to really sit and think. Plus I doubt that most of these guys have the language to understand what I have to say. Or it would cause much concern.

But just once, I want to be honest.


this was easier when you had a personified god to thank.

as it stands, the ever-present question WHY no longer relevant (and somehow always already relevant....) anyway, somewhere in the space in between there is

fuck laundry lists

thank you for the past thirty seconds
for the next, and the next, and the next....

Monday, November 24, 2003

bran has a new blog

Friday, November 21, 2003

i miss my brother.
it's hard to type when you're sitting with one leg crossed over the other, laptop in your lap
thanks to kausar for the following picture:

last night i got home from work, the freedom of an obligation-less-evening stretched before me -- full of creative potential.

i fed the cats, sat on my couch and played every song i've written on guitar, fixed a glass of tea, flexed my fingers and sat down to write.

an hour or so of prose later, i realized that i was hungry. i decided that i owed myself a veggie burger.

i grabbed dan's mclaren book, my bag, keys, a jacket, and walked down to parry ave, the familiar journey to the meridian room.

only i didn't make it. a small square red neon sign stopped me. the new restaurant around the corner is open.

i walked up, stepped inside. the empty space reverberated with shit easy-listening jazz being pumped in, and an elegant hostess awkwardly seated me. i think i've read somewhere that it's carribean-cajun fusion food. duh, shan! there isn't much veggie on the menu. but i felt like i'd invested something in the enterprise, so i stayed and ordered an appetizer.

by the way, the menu is a little confusing. i thought i was ordering some crazy cheesy guacamole onion thing -- but apparently that was only the topping/dip thing for the bbq fried chicken wonton! there was some confusion, as i'd asked the waitress if the dish was vegetarian and she'd said yes...

anyway, we agreed that they'd just bring out the guac and some fancypants chips (my words, not hers). i read, and ate, and finally some other people showed. i stopped reading and listened in to the conversations....

and she brought the check, and i somehow ended up paying ten bucks for guac and chips. what a rip, right?

only i neglected to tell you this: they have complimentary wine.

so... i had two glasses before i came home and wrote the entry below.
i'm posting it anyway.
ready to go home and decompress

Thursday, November 20, 2003

sitting and reading the news

i feel it slipping from my grasp, falling away --
any sense that i can do anything to stop this shit.

politics are so fucked

how many of you are sitting there feeling this way? what can we do?

i'm a goddamn citizen with no agency to enact change. fuck my theories of localized change through conversation. it's not enough. it takes too much time.

this is serious people!

i've been thinking so much lately
it's such a rush of motherfucking stimulae, i can hardly deal with it

it's like fast pangs of intense emotion, coming so quickly
i'm almost forgetting what its like to be human

i just get wrapped in moments, stressed as the shit of the world pelts me

i'm grabbing you on the lapels
you, yes, you
and screaming "what are we going to do about this??"

and you look back, "do about what?"

and i can't even answer. because it's all fucked. so much -- so goddamn much.


i'll tell you one thing.
when i first started becoming more political mom said that it was just a college thing. that once i encountered the "real world" and worried about bills and had to surrender forty+ hours of my time per week that i wouldn't worry about such idealistic things.

i'm here to tell you that i do. and i will continue to do so -- even if it means that i sit here and type out frustration, if i get nowhere, enact no goddamn change. i will continue to care, despite the bombardment pings of shit, despite the distraction of negotiating my identity in this mass of consumer culture and the pressures that that accompany the identity that happens to be human.

i'm here. i'm frustrated.

no one is going to help us. save us.

we have to do something.

i'm going to go work on trev and beate's press release.
slacktivist weighs in on gay marriage
i'm thoroughly pissed off at the media. pulled up this afternoon and you know what got the most prominent placement? michael jackson's mug shot. yep -- his booking photo along with the headline jackson released from jail

whether or not he's guilty, this does not deserve placement over 27 killed, hundreds wounded in Instanbul blast

the only reason he's #1 cnn headline guy is this bullshit american fascination with celebrity. jackson's been in the headlines for a while. he's been the butt of poorly-written sitcom jokes. it's been an american pasttime of late to ridicule him publicly. and now it's almost as though we got bored with the shock of seeing his face. i mean...

this is news?

how many adults were arrested on charges of child molestation today, this week? how many in our state, our local community?

twice today i heard people discuss jackson's situation in the elevator. they assumed his guilt, and uttered their disgust into the carpeted mirrored box that travelled upward or downward, tired beethoven being pumped in through invisible bose speakers overhead while i stared at my hands.

i told myself that this is how humanity goes. this is what you get. stop expecting more.
i just found all the writing i did on damon's computer that i thought was lost.

this is good. very good.
Pop-Idol style literary talent search
etymology as a board game? i must have this.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

it's always strange to bump into references to yourself online
tune in to Fresh Air today

Terry Gross speaks with Journalists Cam Simpson and Flynn McRoberts, reporters for The Chicago Tribune, about a series they wrote about the crackdown on illegal Muslim immigrants living in the United States.

Check out their series Tossed Out of America online (requires registration)
Educational Study Shows No Progress In Getting Kids to Read

About 100% of first-graders walk in on the first day and are interested in this thing called reading. Eighty percent of graduating high school seniors tell us they will never again voluntarily read another book.

Young people always have found lots of distractions, but NAEP* shows that many spend considerable time simply watching television: 65% of fourth-graders said they watch two hours or more each school day, and 21% watch six hours or more.

*National Assessment of Educational Progress

Monday, November 17, 2003

the rain

wish i was out there in it right now, or at least at my place with the sound at my window

Saturday, November 15, 2003

enjoying the stillness of my apartment this saturday night. there's something nice about being quiet and thoughtful, just simply sitting here and being as tiny flames flicker in my candles and the cats move about this space with seeming purpose.

things somehow got so hectic; i've been stressing out recently. even yoga was just something else on my to do list that i wasn't making time for. i really needed this -- solitude in my clean living space. i feel like my place has cocked its head to the side, loft windows wide open to receive whatever gentle unmessage the night has to deliver. i can't believe how much i love living by the highway. the sounds of I-30 ride the breeze that drifts in, whispering that it's okay that everything is not okay.

i can't seem to speak the subtle joy that inhabits this moment -- the happy acceptance of this version of shnn, sitting here eating a tomato from kroger, pausing to squirt water at one incorrigible black kitten intent on hanging halfway out the open window.

i'm reminded how so very much of my life is my choice -- that the stress-suffering of late has come from the expectations i've written upon myself. so much good has occurred in the past few weeks. i'm glad that i'm finally taking the time right now to enjoy it:.

discovering a new shnn culinary delight -- greens.

spending time with trevor.

conversing with kausar.

writing parts of my manifesto.

purposefully wandering around dallas with leah in search for her next living space.

driving up to colorado with kaus and dan, donning more articles of clothing as our northward trek lowered the temperature, nearly running out of gas on a dirt service road that paralleled a highway in the dark, then driving solemnly in bright moonlight as we approached colorado springs with "bollywood" in the cd player (specifics on the indian artist to come)

the observance of sacred routine -- two margaritas on the rocks with no salt and half a veggie burger with fries (sit outside if the weather permits)

laughing with judah.

conversing with annika.

chess with chase.

monster energy in a blue can.

bethy's interpretive dance.

brandon's emails and poetry.

standing in the produce aisle of some kansas grocery store with dan.

the alternate route home from colorado through new mexico. watching the earth's shadow as we eclipsed the moon, thrilled to be in the state that feels like home, feeling melissa and michigan dave and luna and the holy priestess goddesses of epsilon epsilon epsilon as the grapefruit moon hung low in the sky, our vehicles soaring eastward towards tucumcari, then amarillo, then home to dallas.

4 walkie talkies. the kaus-dan-trevor indian accent. an arby's blt without the b.

blowing up the air mattress with a hair dryer.

searching for pictures of my favorite philosophers -- seeing sartre, baudrillard, foucault in their human form for the first time. marveling at google's seeming inability to deliver a picture of simone de beauvior.

engaging in discourse on land of the free

sucking down beers with my cousins justin and karl and friend jefe in austin.

a letter from my father.

a phone call from my grandparents.

conversation with mom.

(squirting berkley now)

meeting daniel miller.

justin. jill. meat.

time spent with muyo.

yago with kausar at the garden of the gods. taking pictures with choti chini bachi. (see for pictures -- or just scroll down. i've got 'em too)


i'm thinking that i'm looking up at mars now, still brighter than usual. perhaps. maybe it's just one bright, twinkly star winking down on us this fine saturday eve.

just smile all the time.

Friday, November 14, 2003

The Democrats have to lay out what they're for. There's a real danger of just being a critic rather than a leader.
-- Bob Borosage, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America's Future

from this article

Thursday, November 13, 2003

if you haven't yet, go check out the developments at land of the free

thanks to all my friends who have contacted their representatives to voice their concern over trevor and beate's situation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

is competition in the cellular phone industry starting to heat up? i just saw a commercial for sprint -- their nights will begin at 7pm, instead of 9. cool!
i have the lunar eclipse in new mexico story and others to share with you, but for now my time is taken up by several other concerns.

there are many of you with whom i need to share my time. i'll get to it.

Monday, November 10, 2003

we're back up! got my dsl connection fixed.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

experiencing the anguish of losing a particularly good post.

a long one.

for now you just get a quote from king of the hill

maybe its just me, but i'd rather bobby be in that christian gang than one of those murdering gangs. -- peggy hill

Friday, November 07, 2003

have had a difficult time focusing the past couple of days, so there hasn't been much writing. dan and kausar (yes, i've been spelling it wrong this whole time) and trevor are moving stuff.

had dinner at subway earlier this evening. it's pretty much the only fast food place where i can eat (anything other than french fries or iceberg lettuce salad, that is). it's really great, cheap -- their veggie delight sandwich is about two bucks. it's like a salad you can hold in your hand!

i almost stopped eating there because of their unethical franchising practices, but after a bit of thought i changed my mind. (those "unethical franchising pracitises" of which i speak were bad for the small business owners of the subway branded restaurant -- my avoiding spending money there certainly wasn't helping the individual owners.) anyway, as far as fast food goes, it doesn't seem like a bad place to work. i kind of got to know the staff at the lower greenville subway back when i was spending half my time on prospect ave.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

it's a good thing i live alone -- it's really hard to blog with people in the room. we're hanging out in trevor's evening post-matrix revolutions. today we didn't go to pike's peak -- instead we took pictures with kauser's kickass phone at the "garden of the gods" (at the bottom of the mountains)

here we are:

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

about to depart. the cats have been concerned ever since i started packing last night. thanks to all who offered to look in on them. of course, it would be ideal to fly brandon down for a "meditation with cats and goodness" retreat.

just the thought of that made my morning.

i'm so excited. colorado!

if there's snow i'll post pictures.

oh, and yeah, go check out the latest on trev and beate. and write your congresspersons for goodness sake!! (i wrote cornyn. kay biatch was another thing entirely -- go look at the process to write her. crazy!)

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


that thing your mom told you, about leftovers being sooooo good because they have time to soak in the flavoring?

believe her.

i can barely eat these greens. the cayenne is killing me.
i just found out that Hal Clement passed away on Oct. 30. I met him at a SF convention this year.
refined sugar....

the evil evil interns have brought candy into the office.
The editor of Taking the Red Pill will be on the Discovery Channel's nightly science magazine show tomorrow night. Somebody record it for me -- I'll likely be en route to Colorado! when it airs.
Of late I've found myself in moments of such great joy and peace that they defy language. At best, I end up sounding like a cliche, or a christmas carol.

And so, for now, I give you an image that for me captures a bit of this space, this feeling (the gap bran!)-----

feeling inspired this morning. i think i need that differance tattoo.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Daughter Spurs Gephardt's Changed View on Gays

I'm not here so much to comment on Gephardt exploiting his daughter's identity position to appeal to a gay constituency. That's politics.

I guess a politician must use what life has given him in order to sell himself.*

I remember the first time I heard that "the personal is political." It was in my Masculinity and Pop Culture class. We were discussing the play of race and sexuality in the identity of the protagonist in Chester Himes' If He Hollers, Let Him Go. (I highly recommend this novel, by the way. What an honest, gut-wrenching, fresh look at race in America in the 40s. It goes way beyond the obvious "racism is bad" didactic tone of most books that take on this subject.)

One of my peers remarked that the personal is difficult enough to navigate without politics entering into things. I imagine that Chrissy Gephardt knows this truth intimately.

Anyway, here's the thing. We want change. Political change: you know what I mean. Less warmongering, more rights for gays, enforceable environmental laws, campaign finance reform, healthcare, etc. (or whatever. you may want different things. run with me here)

But it's impossible to work the system when we're the vocal minority. There has to be a shift in public consciousness, in the cultural climate before our legislators are going to give a fuck.

I know I've said this before, but listen: last november I was one of two people i knew in my peer group who voted during the mid-term elections.

Do you know how many people I know? (My neighbor Kristen could speak to this, as I always seem to run into someone I know when we're out.) My network of SMU, hipster, emo, Dallasite friends/acquaintances is vast. And no one fucking voted.

Whoa. That wasn't even my point; that just came from nowhere. But I think it's a part of this conversation. Just not sure where it goes.


What I'm really trying to say, if I'll ever get to it is this:

Change occurs on the local level. Through conversations, through reading, in the enactment of relationships between people of differing and similar opinions.

For example. All my interest in acting ethically, lovingly -- my reverence for life in its many forms... so much of this is directly due to my relationship with Brandon. To call him a positive influence is to attach a simple cliche to a 6+ year process that is still under way.

Another one. Mom was afraid of homosexuals. They were all licentious Sodomite child molesters, foppish girly-men who threatened the very structures of family that GOD set into place. And then she met Brandon, over time realized how important he was in my life, began developing a semblance of relationship with him. The change would shock you. She no longer uses hate language when referring to homosexuals. The whole discourse has changed to one of concern (she's worried about his salvation) instead of one of fear, hatred, etc.

Unfortunately I don't have any butch lesbian friends at the moment, and I think Mom has a great deal of fear there. Maybe she'll figure that one out on her own.

But that's what I'm trying to say. It's not macro, folks. It's in the details, the anecdotes -- you boil things down and you end up with people who have emotions and they're not monsters -- they're your daughter's best friend, your grandchild, a character in a poignant novel, etc.

Listen: In order for there to be change on the legislative level, we have to change the cultural climate. Reach in to the hearts of individuals and dig around a while.

I'm reminded of the protest I attended last February. I wasn't really comfortable chanting -- it seemed about as effective as my "no war in iraq" button at stopping the bombs. Bush sure as hell wasn't listening to us. It seemed like an activity that belied the work of a truly passionate activist. Perhaps. But what struck me was the six thousand people with signs they'd taken the time to paint, draw, create. The slogans and witticisms and honesty in crude lettering. And marching, braving the cold. You know, that afternoon took on a certain expectant energy, an excitement. Strange, given our reason for being there. But there was something concrete, amazing in our solidarity. That so many showed up, that there was a sense of "us" in big Texan Republican DFW. The march ended up in a rally at the grassy knoll area, where I participated in and overheard many many conversations. Someone challenged my friend Michael (his sign said "Better Ways to Boost the Economy") -- this someone said, "Well, do you have any ideas?" He didn't. We spent the post-protest lunch/dinner at Sol's Cocina discussing just that. Conversation, thought, challenge, solidarity... these things I took away from that feb 15 experience.

I can't say for sure, but if Gephardt hadn't had a gay daughter, or if she'd managed to stuff the truth about her identity deep in her chest somehow where it wasn't in danger of escaping, he probably wouldn't have changed his mind about this.

And here's the thing. There's politics. I mean, yeah. We have to deal with that, and the ick factor that sometimes accompanies identity politics. But why do we care? Because when you pull the issues closer, take a step forward and peer in, dirty your hands and really touch someone you learn that it's about people.

And that's why this xmas card photo makes me happy. Who cares if they're exploiting Chrissy's sexual identity some; who cares that he changed his mind to a position more like my own. What i'm interested in right now is this proof that these conversations are happening. Behind the smiles, behind the political decision to include Chrissy's partner in this photo to send to friends, family and campaign contributors is a lot of pain. and work. and love.

so often i run into articles and start to blog on them and then stop -- because it seems obvious maybe, or i spend time with you and you've heard me go on and on about change happening on the local level.

but something like this is worth writing down, committing myself to.

i've been sitting on this one for a while. it's damn well time to publish it, so forgive the rambling nature. i suspect i communicated successfully. if not, shoot me an email.

self_deconstructing_text at

*I wish I could remember that gender-neutral pronoun bran was telling me about. I could have written this sentence with a series of him/her himself/herself 's. I thought it interesting that Rorty uses "her" in his prose when referring to a person. I've yet to find gender-neutral language that isn't clumsy. So you get a clumsy footie note instead. Yay.

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from