My Harry Potter Experience

Am I the only one who never gave a rat's about the whole HP phenomenon? I read the first novel in one sitting, thought it was entertaining, though highly derivative of much more original and more interestingly written young adult fiction from the early to mid 20th century (Baum, Blyton, Eager, Enright, Kongingsberg, Nesbit, Ransome, to name a few). I immediately started the second one and felt like I had eaten too much cheap candy, so I basically lost interest. Then a few years later, we were subletting a wood-heated house that was wide open, with no way not to hear everything in the house. My brother-in-law came to visit with his family, and my nephew insisted on playing a later HP audiobook on the stereo, with the suggestion that we would all be very sorry if he didn't get his way. At the time, I was in the middle of the preparations for a stressful and demanding job interview process with all this convoluted crap with a bunch of stupid, cutesy-pie names blaring through the house, and that sealed my permanent antipathy toward all things Harry Potter (I got the job and this monster child grew into an amazing young man, btw). I've seen none of the movies, don't get the references, and look forward to the whole thing fading into oblivion.


Now that I'm no longer a teacher, I've had a recurring dream that's very unusual for me. I've dreamed of being in bed with one of my student, having an intimate, loving, post-coital conversation. What happens is always the the same, though it's a different kid (always a boy {obviously, though not necessarily a hot one} and usually a really strong student) each time. I'm expressing from my heart a profound sense of pride in and admiration for him, and he is lovingly and gratefully acknowledging this. I don't really mind, as it's a very nice dream, but it's happened (and very vividly) at least four times. And I was never sexually tempted by my students; quite the opposite, in fact. I'm not sure what to make of it.


Has anyone seen this indie film called "Humpday"? I somehow missed hearing about it and just picked it at random on Netflix. The idea is that these two hetero hipster guys who are bestest friends try to make a porn based on a dare, but they discover that they're just too gosh darn straight to go through with it, and everyone goes home reassured about who he already is. It really pissed me off. Once again, erotic attraction between men is just beyond the pale, something with which no regular guy could ever empathize. Homosexual desire (and thus those who experience it) is other, foreign, so decisively "not us" that it poses no threat and doesn't need to be taken seriously. And all this is presented in the the guise of total openminded acceptance. The director is a straight married woman with children, and I can only speculate uncharitably about what her motives might have been. It also seems that all the critics loved it. And it's not unengaging or poorly made (the fact that one of the actors is a walking hipster bear wetdream may fuel my feelings [see below]), but the underlying premise is really offensive.

Need some advice from those more computer-savvy than I (i.e. everyone)

I've been using a laptop owned by my employer for the last three years, which has often been my only computer during the week, and thus I have used it extensively (outside of work) for personal purposes. I also have generated a lot of professional material. I will be needing to turn in this computer when I leave this position next month. Now, chance are they'll wipe it clean and recycle it (or as it's an eight year old IBM ThinkPad, use it as a doorstop) without even looking at it. But I want to be sure they can't poke around the various online places I've been on my own time, and that they can't make use of my material without my permission.

So I'm planning to back up the whole thing on an external hard drive and also copy all my documents, and then deleting everything from the computer I have used Google Chrome and Mozilla for any personal web access. If I de-install these, will this hide? The sanctioned browser is IE, and I've only used for school stuff. I can clear my history, but I don't think I can delete it altogether.

Should these precautions be sufficient, or am I overlooking something. Or should I drop it in a pond the day before I have to give it back and say it was an accident?

Kids in NYC: A Rant

My spring break began last Friday, so I went down to New York for a couple of days. For the most part this had its usual salubrious effect on my psyche. I always note the constant change in the city, and every time I'm back I see thing slipping away. But there was one thing I particularly noticed: there are children EVERYWHERE. It really began to get on my nerves. I was staying in the West Village. Two of the four businesses on the corners of Bleecker and Christopher are designer kiddie boutiques, at what was once the epicenter of adult sexual freedom. My host, who has been living in his apartment for 30 years, has neighbors who keep the excess kiddie crap (tricycles, strollers, etc.) in the hallway and who say that since having children in the city is so difficult, they have the right to commandeer shared public space.

Now, I was born and raised in Manhattan. In fact, I was born in the West Village (I was actually born in a hospital, but that's where my parents were living). And shortly after I was born, my parents moved uptown precisely because the West Village was NOT child-oriented. Of course, I realize that having kids is what people do and people have the right to have children wherever they happen to be. But they do not have the right to to turn wherever they happen to be into a giant nursery. There are spaces that are more family-oriented than others, and either one moves to one of those spaces, or one accepts that raising children in the adult-centered space one always enjoyed makes one (and one's children) marginal.

The defining moment for me was on Sunday afternoon when I went to Three Lives & Co., one of the great (and few remaining) small independent bookstores in the city. It has not only an interesting selection, but a really contemplative and unhurried atmosphere. But this couple had come in with their two obstreperous children. SInce there was nothing in the store to interest them, they entertained themselves by trying to chat up all the customers, making banal observations at the top of their lungs, and harassing the store's very quiet old dog. There was no idea that these kids were not entitled to take over any space in which they happened to be. And the parents feel entitled to have this unimpeded adult urban life, yet demand that wherever they happen to be become their children's playroom.

I think this is a huge problem, this inability to recognize that public space needs to be shared, and I think parents are the worst offenders. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You need to communicate to your children that there are times and places when they are insignificant, and if they are too young or too spoiled to understand this, then you aren't welcome at these times and places either.

What's going on?

I have neglected LJ for a few weeks, and I find myself missing it mightily. And now I hear rumors that it's in crisis. I feel I have been disloyal, giving in to my ADD, etc. But I would be crushed if LJ went away.

Made it!

Endless odyssey, but here. Heading out tonight after dinner with tmaher and urso (maybe others?). I'm thinking the Hole in the Wall, maybe LoneStar. If nothing's going on, then back over to the Castro (where I'm staying). NYE at Sea of Dreams party at Concourse center. Very happy to be here.