i’m baaaaack….

In the last episode, i told you i was off for the holidays. Somehow, when i got to New York, i just managed to stay offline. And then when i got to Hawaii, it seemed foolish to open the computer. Damn that felt nice. Here’s a recap of the loveliness for those of you who get a kick out of me having a life in the physical world.

I landed in NY just in time to witness the transit strike. The kid sitting next to me was also from Cal and we got to talking. He was going home to see parents and he volunteered his parents to drive me home. I was a bit unsure about this, but when they arrived, they talked about how hard getting around was because of the transit strike and _of course_ they’d drive me even though i was going to the Lower East Side and they were going to the Upper West Side. I love New Yorkers in a crises. During the first two days, i never made it past the Village. It was neat to walk around but so very strange. People on bicycles biking across the Williamsburg Bridge. But of course, it was New York and everyone was just buckling down and dealing. It was great to see some community actually standing up against the disintegration of social support in society.

After chilling with a friend for a few days (including fun pub times), i was supposed to go to midtown to move into the Algonquin with another friend. I decided to grab a cab midday, hoping it wouldn’t be so bad. It took over 2.5 hours to get from Houston to Time Square. ::gulp:: But the Algonquin was wonderful and i felt like i was going back in history… Dorothy Parker… Harpo Marx… George Kaufman. Ahh. We went and saw a fantastic exhibit at the Met (Photography and the Occult) before doing lots and lots of Christmas shopping.

Off to Long Island for familia and then back to the city to whip through the Pixar exhibit at MOMA before seeing a *HYSTERICAL* Broadway musical called Avenue Q. OMG. I couldn’t stop laughing at the mockery of modern day PC-ness.

Next, i took a brutally long flight from JFK to Kauai (with a layover in Los Angeles) which i mostly spent playing Sudoku and reading about the history of Times Square (The Devil’s Playground). I actually did quite a bit of reading on vacation. I read A Million Little Pieces, Dharma Punx, Prep, and Teenage Wasteland. (Yeah, yeah… there’s a theme here.) The last one was based on Cameron’s recommendation and OMG, it was fantastic. It’s an ethnography of the burnouts in Bergenfield, New Jersey where four teenagers killed themselves in a suicide pact in 1987. The book does a brilliant job of covering class in America and the disappearance of notions of success for working class workers (death of unions, factory work). I will deal with it more specifically on alterity in a few days. But wow! Soooo good.

And then there was Hawaii…. Barb and i managed to get a Mustang convertible which made me think so much about Thelma and Louise (the friendship bonding part, not the suicide part). We drove all around the island, hiked the Waimea Canyon, saw pretty waterfalls, snorkeled, watched kite surfing in blissful obsession and flaked on the beach with joy. Soo good.

After Barb left for CES, both of my advisors arrived with their full families. Their friends arrived, my friends arrived and i realized at some point that i knew 16 people on the island who had nothing to do with the conference in addition to the 12 people i intended to see because of the conference. The workshop was a fascinating discussion of Pepys Diary and my talk went well (and Peter even came!). I ended up having brilliant conversations about social visualization while goofing around at beaches, hottubs and pools. I got to play with Mimi’s absolutely wonderful children (who i managed to get fascinated with hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, tsunamis and earthquakes in a strange twist of conversations). I also got to play with another wonderful kid (Mimi’s brother’s girlfriend’s friend’s daughter) who didn’t speak of lick of English but loved talking to me in Japanese. And then, when i would speak back to her in English she would just repeat whatever i would say. “How are you?” “How are you?” It was utterly beyond adorable.

So, that was my vacation… it was lovely… I’m relaxed and calm and ready to dive deeply into my qualifying exams (yelp).

Hope everyone out there is doing well! And i promise some more thought-provoking entries soon.

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5 thoughts on “i’m baaaaack….

  1. Hollie

    danah, my husband and I are constantly laughing at the music from avenue Q, and we haven’t seen it live! Great stuff, I’m jealous!

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