Hoos for Hokies Day

 A Hoo for HokiesI wish I could say it was because the world is experiencing miraculous detente of all kinds.

However, it is a show of support for the VaTech community in their difficult path to recover and regroup from the insanity of one poor sick guy, who got a lot of guns, and used them on campus. 

I had such a feeling of amazement when I saw the “Z” on the Rotunda steps being painted over in the Maroon-gold of Tech.  Under ordinary circumstance, if you would have asked me if that would ever happen, I would have replied “When Hell freezes over”.  It turns out that all it takes is to have one suffering person decide to share their own personal brand of hell with their entire community.  It seems obvious that this guy was probably suffering from a condition similar to autism, if not precisely mild autism, which as long as he could function was completely ignored by his family.  I know full well how parents can work hard a denial of  mental and affective disorders in their children, and they don’t have to be Korean heritage either.  Although, thinking of my friends the Chongs, and how trapped between cultures their sons often felt, it must have been very hard for everyone in that family.  However the Chong boys looked to college as the time when they would be “free”.  Perhaps Cho had the same desperate longing, but due to his inherent inability to form ordinary connections with people, he was never going to be free, or find what emotionally he was longing for.  One writer sagely observed that, although he was physically and intellectually and adult, emotionally Cho was a child – a very stunted child. 


Bloody Day in Blacksburg

There was only two students in my Monday class yesterday.  We all were having anxiety about sharing our campus with thousands of people who were essentially strangers.  It was interesting to note, that even myself, had pause for thought in coming in today one day later.  It was unsettling to note that the student gunman in Norris Hall on the VaTech campus took out the person at the head of the class first.  Although there were several profs there who are true heroes …. one tried to hold the door shut with his own body so the students could have time to jump from the windows.  He was a Holocaust survivor in his 70s. He did not survive his injuries, but he saved a lot of his student’s lives. 

In the crucial moment, he showed his true spirit, and laid down his life for his students.  I have nothing but deep admiration for him.  I want to write to his department – who lost 3 profs and one entire class of graduate students.  Not sure of what I want to say, but I do know that their time ahead will be draped in a difficult emotional backdrop, and the survivors who didn’t die will have their own difficulty, not just the families and friends of those who perished.

Virginia Tech Tribute Pages

So What Does a Girl Have to Do to Get a Little HELP?

We theoretically have a lab tech part time assigned to our department. He has issues with working “for” a woman. They are very subtle, but know that I have a clue of what is going on here it is beginning to make sense. He will not collaborate with me or work under my direct supervision. He likes “solving” the problem himself, presenting me with his solution, “taking care of it”. In a lot of cases this is all well and good, but at times, what I want and need is supposed to be what I want and get.

My department chair made the formal request that he visit my classroom between 4:10pm and 4:20pm for the Design Studio class to see what help, if any, I needed at the time. He showed up officially once, and serendipitously once. That makes twice in 8 weeks of 3 classes per week or a percentage of less than 10%. This is NOT help. I have concerns about what is going to happen after my surgery, and especially if it doesn’t “fix” me.

I am trying to put the “blame” where it belongs, and have begun being a little aggressively proactive to the MEs who follow me in the classroom. Essentially the problem is – stuff needs to be lifted and moved. I can’t do it. The guy didn’t come. Tuff shit. Complain to my department chair.

I am really sick of working with engineers, and working with men. They don’t respect my profession, nor my gender. After 20+ years, it gets to a point, that it is a lot of the SOS, and one begins to ask why? Why do I need to expend my psychic energy with these bozos in this place?

Auctions for Animals

I have been focusing on hurricane relief – participating through NOLA Volunteer community forum links to many various grassroots efforts to get direct aid to the folks who need it as soon as possible. As the Biloxidoc would say – the American Red-Tape Cross can do somethings well, but in others they just don’t even begin to try. He is starting his Send Me Your Panties campaign for college sororities and fraternities to get underwear for folks living in shacks or tents in their backyards of their destroyed properties who haven’t had a change of clean clothes since Katrina/Rita. Yes, can you imagine living in the same pair of underwear for 6 weeks.

I am working with two Adopt-A-Families, trying to get them some stuff they can’t get, or that they just plain need absolutely everything.

And of course the animals – I have to ration my reading of animal stories. By now they are getting much more focused on the tragedy. Either the poor creatures are close to dying of starvation or dehydration or they were rescued early, but now have been transferred to out-of-state KILL shelters. Saved from the flood only to die before their owners can find them. I just plain don’t want to find out how bad that confusion is … I know there are some folks kicking ass on the internet to try to point folks to the information – but there are just too many databases, so much happening so fast.

I try to focus on the happy picture – the one kitty in the cage with a sign – do NOT send – owner found. I try to chant about the stories of mass death like the NOLA high school, and then move on but it is hard. How do you keep your sensibility and humanity and stay upright and not want to crawl into a hole and weep at the end of every day?

Trauma and Shock

For me the emotions hit home as soon as the “Looking For” message boards appeared on the NOLA.com site. I guess I have not forgotten the emotions of 9-11-2001 through 10-01-2001. Living with your heart in your throat every moment – seeking any news desperately and fearing it at the same time.

Such a imploding chain of little underestimations to result in such catastrophe. Like my husband, it seems the “worst case” scenario of Katrina passing by NOLA was that since they did not get a direct hit of the ‘cane itself, like Gulfport, the folks who stayed put would ride out the storm the best they could and that would be that. I cannot figure how anyone could not interpret what all that rising water meant from the breached levees. I guess Bush is as bad at geography as he is with economics and cross cultural understanding. I believe there is more than a kernel of truth in Rev. Jacksons observations of the race factor – lots of desperate poor black people in trouble – well so what – that is nothing new.

I could not sleep last night at all until I myself knew that the Guard reinforcements had landed in the city. I can’t say I feel good now. However, I have sought out and found a little niche to try to patch ordinary folks up with stuff to send with ordinary folks who can take delivery and give to shelters in LA, AL, an MS. I am heartened by the knowledge that just like after 9/11, the ordinary folks are stepping up and making it happen. In the last 48 hours it seems only us have been capable of action. The vacuum of leadership at the “high ups” has had tragic repercussions.

I cry suddenly a lot, especially about the small children perishing at the convention center and the old folks. I see my poor Dad with his feet and legs all cut up after his surgeries, and see us trapped in a hospital. It will be difficult to recover – as in fact a lot of it did not have to happen. That will make the grief recovery difficult – there is no Mohammad Atta or Osama Bin Laden to pin one’s anger on. So where does one put their rage?

Grumbling – Grumble

Things could be worse. The college could be burned down and I could be out of a job.
Things could be worse. I could have lung cancer or some other potentially mortal disease.
Things could be worse. My animals could have died in my house fire.

So the fact that the classrooms, storage, room assignments were all uprooted for technology upgrade [long term gain] in the most disorganized last minute fashion making my start of classes for the term exponentially harder, is not the worst thing that could have happened to me …

Things I can’t find:
Orange oil cleaner for markers on green borco boardcovers
My long white extension cord for electric pencil sharpener.
A lot of my instructional handouts which at the moment I presume are in the box where I rescued the whole lot of what I found in miscellaneous haphazardly packed boxes [done without my knowledge or input which WAS available ] However no one consulted me about packing up ALLLL of my stuff.

Things we don’t have:
Electricity in one classroom – we keep throwing breakers
Electricity for E-size copier
Functional A-size copier for classroom work
Parallel rules for drafting classes

Things we have:
A room for student’s drawing lockers in which they can lock themselves in.
Other department faculty who are unwilling to be even a teensy bit inconvenienced by all of this.
Instructional and other administration who have revealed they have NO CLUE about exactly what should be done.
A department chair who doesn’t give a shit.

It is pretty crappy all around.
But as I said – things can be worse.

If You Don’t Believe in Karma – Explain This

My Performance Work So Far:

  • Perform my solea at 4W5 ? NOT. Program fizzles. No venue.
  • Play Columbine at Mardi Gras? NOT. Exigent Emergency. Comedy/Tragedy of Anxiety.
  • Perform/Read My Characters at Creative Society? NOT. Exigent Emergency #2. Quiet evening at home with Dad post-op.

My Other Work So Far:

  • The Mardi Gras Mask – a Complete Frustration. NOT satisfied, yet client over the moon with pleasure.
  • Columbine’s Costume – a 3-hour rush job that wins compliments all around. NOT satisfied.
  • Live in the Dead Zone? NOT happening either. No lead time left. Funny how the days evaporate when you play chaffeur, nurse and housekeeper not just to one household but to two.

Do YOU see a theme happening here?
What convinces me is the fact that this outpatient surgery could have happened anytime in a 2 week time frame YET the day the surgeons et al just HAPPEN to come together is the VERY same day I am decided to make a stand at the Creative Expression evening (April 20).

I am crushed. However, I don’t feel at the mercy of the power of someone else. I made this choice – I know it is the right one, but I hate having to make such hard choices. It always has been understandable why artists and their families can have such problematic relationships. Sometimes the work has to be chosen over the family – and it may not seem “significant” enough to those put second.

What I have followed to conclusion in this field project year it is NOT in my work. I have so many venues I could have and wanted to work with post Mardi Gras. I had PLANS. I was preparing for those plans. Pfft ffft kaput.

The only thing has been the inner voyage from the work being outside of myself to it becoming mine. It will be done someway in near future. These things are things I need to do – as they are my work. Not a project. My work.

Dreaming About the Creative Pulse Again

I had the oddest dream. It was the first day back at the Creative Pulse. I was one day late. It had been moved to the UCLA campus in Westwood, and I didn’t know that. I spent the longest most anxious time trying to find out what building we were in, and with a surge of relief and a measure of joy I finally found my way back.

I had to jump right in to – you guessed it – personal performance – without the benefit of one day to have mental transitions. It was – jump out of car (parked illegally of course) – run around campus in a frenzy – personal performance. Talk about a “cold reading”.

Nor was anyone was thrilled to see me. There were three or four first year students that were hypercritical of everything – and they had already formed the “critic’s claque” in record time. I was up on their chopping block after my personal performance, which was put through a critical wringer, in which I had to defend nearly every aspect of myself, including my right to breathe the same rarified air as themselves. It was as if the personalities from the judges of American Idol or Project Runway were being channeled through these members of our group. [ Of course in the dream, I didn’t ask myself what 1st year students would be doing in the 2nd year performance group anyway ]

The dream progressed from terror to worse – until I had to wake up. I can see the face of this one young woman so clearly – she had made it her mission in life to prove that my whole premise for art and life was a cop-out for the untalented, undisciplined, and undeserving. Most of the time, I get anxious about what all is left to be accomplished in this field project year. This time I was glad to wake up and still be in Dela-where?.

Thriving and Staying Alive in the Dead Zone

Polly’s rebuttal was actually published in the October issue of Out and About …
and now a lot of PR about activities at 4W5 is about thriving or being alive in “the Dead zone”.
The Dead Zone is a moniker hung on a portion of the city of Wilmington that died after it was “malled to death” in the early 70s and has resisted most efforts at city renewal.

I got news for folks in Wilm DE in general – this is the only place in town for after hours life on an ongoing basis. It seems even when you attend the theater at the Grand Opera House and the Baby Grand theater, events and city organizers seem to want to funnel people in and out of the theater to their cars in the parking areas as quickly and efficiently as possible. When my Dad I went to see Bob Newhart’s show, it was almost like they had “valet walking” from the two major areas to make sure no one got lost in the 1.5 blocks they had to go to either major parking garage. After the show the crowd was funneled right back to the garages ….

Admittedly there has been one bad incident in last few years about a patron to a downtown bar being shot fatally on the way to her car…

{going to insert Polly’s story here }
Linda Cripps 26/10/04 11:33 AM | Comments (0)