Friday, April 25, 2008

Thanks! I needed that!

They say that you can measure a person's wealth by looking at their friends. If that is the case, I must be the wealthiest person on Earth!

I just came home yesterday from my trip back to old BG. It was such a great time! I didn't actually realize how much I missed that place and all those people until I was back. And I just want to thank all of you who came out to say hi. It is really heartwarming to know I haven't been forgotten and that I am connected to such amazing people. I can't wait to come back in a few weeks for the defense. (BTW-my meeting with my chair went great and I will be distributing as planned).

One last thing, I noticed that an underlying theme of the evening was that many of us are facing scary times in the next few months (or years). Try to stay positive. The only thing that keeps me going some days is just blindly stumbling forward and refusing to even consider that I could fail. I really believe that somehow the Universe always takes care of those who deserve to be taken care of, and you are all remarkable people with incredible things to give this world! I wish you all the best - don't give up at what you want. It will not be an easy haul, but each battle we win, is one they lose. Okay, enough "sap" for now (at least I don't do this often, huh?)

Thanks for the awesome times-I'll see ya again in a few weeks!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Back to the Old Stompin' Ground.

For those of you still in BG (or the area), it looks like I will be returning for a very brief visit next week. I will only be there from the Mon (21) afternoon - Wed (23) morning, but perhaps I will be able to see some of you. I'm sure there will be at least one trip to Howards, so that might be a good time to check in with many of you. You can reach me via email or my cell (it's still the same number it always was). If not, don't worry (how arrogant of me to assume you were), I and my partner plan to come back around the end of May. I'm hoping to defend the ole' diss around then. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

N'sync and Outta'Sync...Together at Last!

Oh yes, this IS a picture of two members of the famous (or BG infamous?) Outta'sync with the sorta well-known Lance Bass of N'sync! In other words, you are looking at "Lance Bass," Lance Bass, and "Justin Timberlake." I know you are all jealous!

How did this amazing meeting of talent occur, you may ask? Well, the non-ironic Lance Bass came to speak at St. Cloud State last night in promotion of his book, Out of Sync (yeah, where do you think he got that title?!). He spoke about being in a boy band, trying to fly in space, and coming out in the public eye. It was pretty cool, and he was really funny.

From a scholarly point of view, it was fascinating to see all these young women, who were huge fans of his several years ago, still swooning over the guy. The last time I saw this dude (yes, truth be known-I have seen N'sync in concert!) he was about a quarter inch tall, hundreds of yards away from me in Miller Park, Milwaukee. Now, I'm standing next to this guy in his "dressing room," which is really a classroom inside a fieldhouse in EastJesus, Nowhere. Same guy, same fans, different pop culture landscape...weird.

But c'mon, was I starstruck just a little bit? Of course, like Henry Jenkins, I'm a fan of being a fan. I got excited when he signed my book and took this picture with us. And of course, when another audience member asked if he would dance, it was pretty cool to see him do five seconds of the "Bye Bye Bye" dance. (Don't worry, Outta'sync - he was rusty, we could have taken him!).

But all that aside, what struck me is how human he was. Rarely do we get to see celebrities like this, just hang out and talk with people. Although his responses to questions were probably coached and his stories were often "appropriate," he was still letting people ask him whatever questions they wanted about his life. He was very gracious and super polite (a nice southern boy) to everyone, no matter how crazy they seemed. And some of the stories he told were quite revealing - like the vulnerability you feel when fans chase you rabidly around the world; the way the press orchestrates your life and decides who you are; or his concern for the safety of his next door neighbor, Britney Spears. But, my personal favorite was the horrible homophobia he experienced at the hands of the Russian space program (and he wasn't even out yet). Clearly, no matter who you are, you experience these things.

So, is Lance Bass a radical queer activist? No, not by any stretch. But I do think that he serves a purpose. I mean, really what other way would you get a few hundred conservative college students from a campus in the rural Midwest, that is in the midst of a swastika graffiti controversy no less, to come see a young gay man talk about his life and experiences. If even a handful of these students think differently about "homo" or "fag" jokes now, he's made a difference that much of the faculty isn't able to do over the course of a semester. Sad, but true.

So, you go Lance Bass - spread your moderate and pop culture-infused message across college campuses! Change is slow, every chip counts. That said, those of us in the real Outta'sync will be expecting our royalty checks in the mail!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How Cool is This?!

You should all know who this book is by, despite the fact that I brushed out her name and only left the initials. It was nice of McFarland to use a still from one of my favorite films, too!

I feel like I'm married to a rock star! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What's Wrong with this Man? (aka: The Curse of Eric Gagne)

Yesterday I got to watch the Brewers play the Cubs for the latter teams home opener. It was terrible weather and the poor players were clearly struggling to stay warm, focused, and even upright, as many of them slipped and slided all over the field. It was tough to watch - they really didn't look like they were having much fun. To top it off, it was a close game. No one scored anything (and hardly even got anyone on base) until the 9th inning! In that inning the Brewers scored 3 runs, and Cubs fans began to get discouraged and actually left the stadium. But, apparently no one informed them that they had a big weapon on their side.

No, not their new Japanese acquisition, Fukudome.

No, not all the Cubs fans that were still left and cheering them on.

No, not the sheer odds that say this is their year to finally win it all.

No, no, my friends...they had Eric Gagne. "What?" You say, "He plays for the Brewers!" That is exactly my point.

I watched this guy come over to the Red Sox last year mid-way through the season and he did nothing but screw things up. I don't get many Sox game here in the Mid-west and I still witnessed him single-handedly blow numerous games. This includes one that was a 6 run lead and another that was during the AL Championship series against the Indians. I kept hearing that this guy was something special, that he rocked with the Dodgers. They suggested that perhaps he could not adjust to the set-up role (he's normally a closer).

So, the Brewers acquired him this off-season (amidst his implications in the infamous Mitchell Report, no less). I had hope for him. Perhaps he could wipe his slate clean and perform for the Brew Crew like he had for the Dodgers. After all, the Crew needed a good closer, since they had lost Cordero.

Well, yesterday Gagne proved to be the same old Gagne that the Sox had last year. He immediately blew that 3 run lead and barely ended the inning. Thank goodness for Tony Gwynn Jr.'s sack fly in the tenth!

Well, unless you're a Cubs hey, cheer up! - It's a long season and the Brewers have Gagne all damn year long!