November 01, 2002
harvard halloween

When the T comes to a hault everyone assumes the guard has arrived to escort off the three assinine drunks who have been desperately trying to pick a fight since they boarded.

Instead he moves to a homeless man passed out at the far end of the car, checks his pulse, pulls out his walkie-talkie, says something in a hushed tone, then quickly exits.

A guy gets on in a golden one piece suit with a bouncey spring protruding from the top of his head, and a tail. He's got the Boston accent and the attitude down pat. Someone asks him what he is and he responds "I'm YOU! You like what you see here, huh?" He's the only one in costume, but he's not about to let that make him feel uncomfortable. He takes everyone on: "Where's your costume? You don't like Halloween? What's the matter with you?" He goes from one person to the next working his way through the crowd of averting eyes. "You know you're not supposed to ever smile on the T, don't you? It's a rule. You gotta learn all the rules, you know that much at least?"

Now I can tell my Grandmother "I went to Harvard". As I expected/hoped, I saw someone who had a chemical compound made out of tin foil attached to their skull. I somehow thought all Harvard costumes would possess some special degree of brilliance, but there were many of the same old offerings: witches, devils, and quite a few guys dressed like seventies night club prowlers in afro wigs. About these afro wigs-- I don't know if they cut it. But then who am I to talk? I had no costume, and neither did my sister. We sat in some bar, impressed by our waiter, who was dressed as a boy band. We tried to figure out why it took us so long to figure out who are parents are. We took the T back to North Quincy theorizing along the way about what course of events led to the great smattering of raw beef all over the train floor.

Posted by at November 01, 2002 02:49 PM

aah... the T...

I didn't appreciate that city when I lived there, but damn, I miss it now.

Posted by: marijke on November 1, 2002 07:42 PM .

Hi Marijke-- sorry if I made you miss Boston, but then again, a little nostalgia can be a good thing. Now, where can I find your weblog, please?

Posted by: on November 6, 2002 02:49 AM .

*gulp* I don't have a weblog....

(I didn't keep a diary in high school, I didn't keep a travel notebook, and I've never kept a journal for more than two days, if that explains anything...)

So... ummm....
can I still join in your reindeer games?

Posted by: marijke on November 7, 2002 02:41 PM .

es please! People who don't keep journals are cool! (Or wait-- is that what this is? Is that what I've been doing? What happened to me?!)

When you lived in Boston did you a) take out a loan to help pay off a loan? or b) serve as a guinea pig in a medical institution's experiment with anti-depressants?

Judging from the ads on the T, that's all there is to do there. That, and from what I could tell, walking around with a letter on your sweater.

(That's it: I've officially drained myself of all the material I have on Boston).

Posted by: on November 7, 2002 08:24 PM .

I did none of the above (except for one Halloween in high school when a wore a letter on my sweater as part of my cheerleader costume -- the scariest costume that night, I might add).
Of course, if you're judging the quality of life of a city based entirely on public transit ads, then I would conclude that Torontonians:
a) attend DeVry
b) use Viagra
c) chew Juicy Fruit
d) win the Lottery

Oh wait, that's just me...

Posted by: marijke on November 8, 2002 01:28 PM .

Okay, Marijke, it seems you're shitkickingly funny. I may have to concede defeat in our first-ever round of reindeer games. But wait a minute-- reindeer games are competitive. Commenting, at least here at /blog, is not intended to be about winning or losing, but personal growth. Therefore I have another question, if I may: What do you think of this?

I find it brave, interesting, and maybe not quite right. I don't get how just because it's 'blogging' anyone would surmise sexism somehow ceased to be an issue. And yet, maybe due to the fact that most bloggers are readers, and most have... what a typical guy-- ask a question of someone then start answering it before I even get a response. It's just that you're the first woman who's posted on my site [aside from Gwen O'Donnell, who I was too busy describing as being "in hell" to actually ask a single thing of]. Uh... You are a woman... right?

Posted by: on November 8, 2002 08:47 PM .

PS If this subject bores you to tears please feel free to ignore.

Posted by: on November 9, 2002 03:17 PM .

i'm not ignoring you -- i just stay very far away from computers on weekends. besides, you called me shitkickingly funny (my best compliment this year), how could i ignore you?

about the link: it's an interesting perspective, but i think he's a little off. of course someone would list the blogs they find interesting, but i disagree with his claim that the interest has nothing to do with the gender of the writers. a big part of a writer's style, choice of subject, etc. comes from the writer's identity -- and that includes gender. sure it's not the entire identity of a blogger (or a singer, or a painter -- my god, did i just equate bloggers with painters?), but it's definitely going to be a rather immediate common element that readers will identify with.
i wouldn't call any of this sexism (i think there are still more men online than women anyway, so aren't the numbers going to be higher no matter what?) any more than i would accuse a guy of being sexist because he hangs out with other guys, or a girl if she likes frida kahlo. the fact that you choose to include male bloggers on your list does not automatically verify the antithesis - that you're excluding women.
to be honest, i get pretty tired of the whole cry of sexism. sexism is quite a bandwagon, and while i think it's warranted sometimes, it gets thrown around an awful lot. if what we're looking for is a gradual blurring of the gender line, then every time we stamp something as "sexist" unnecessarily, we're being counter-productive. we're just reinforcing the line. i think there's a big problem with confusing "actual" gender differences (biological differences, as well as shared common experiences that come from being a particular gender in today's society) with "implied" gender differences (i.e. girls like pink, boys don't cry). we can blur the gender line, but the fact is, there are still two genders (or more!) -- and yes, they're different.

hmmm... i think i went off on a tangent there.

in other news, yes, i'm a woman. but i wouldn't take me as a, um, "typical woman" (who the hell is, anyway?)... when preferences/opinions/tastes run along the gender split, i tend to fall on the guy side. oh, and i swear like a truck driver. so *clearly* i'm not much of a lady...
[she says, reinforcing the gender line in one fell swoop]

i'm curious: how long did it take you to figure it out? i'm rather fascinated with the way gender identity plays out online. after all, you can't see my breasts, yet you knew. what are the little subtextual references that give us away unintentionally? how much are we able to infer when we've lost the immediacy of visual cues? and when we get it wrong (which i love, by the way), what are the subtle things that we've misinterpreted? and what does that say about us?

or did you just not want to picture a guy dressed up as a cheerleader?

*phew* that was a mouthful (and no shitkicking humour in sight). i'm going to go nurse my carpal tunnel syndrome now....

Posted by: marijke on November 12, 2002 03:49 PM .

Oops, I kind of had to unplug my computer for a few days. Thank you-- you answered all my questions. Great Work! A+! In the meantime, I've come to the conclusion this subject matter is way too much of a mine-field for me to venture onto. I felt bad having placed the onus on you, but by the time I made this discovery it was too late to take back the question I'd posed about that link. Sorry!

But I can say this: I love having someone question my gender on-line. It's better than being ID'd at the liquor store. If the name isn't something like "marijke" that gives it away-- like say it's a symbol like "" or whatever (hmmm, I like this one...), my mind seems to form an impression based on the sensibility I'm uncovering as my eyes are scanning through a sentence. At some point, I'll start hearing a female voice, or a male voice in my head. A lot of the time I don't hang around long enough for verification, but I always think I'm right until the moment I'm proven wrong, which is always a great moment unto itself.

You hit the nail on the head when you said it was all about the blurring. Even applying the word 'sexist' to someone's art, or their comment in a thread, or their choice of links - really to anything someone else has done, has a way of setting the wrong tone. Yet sometimes, in my life anyway, I don't think I would have actually grown if I wasn't exposed to this 'wrong tone', if I wasn't kind of backed up against the wall about the way I was thinking. Increasingly though, I'm not sure about this. Tactful people can work miracles in this department.

I guess I'm finding that I really like what my mind labels as female writing and want to learn to make mine more like it. It has less of a swagger, and therefore its clarity is more welcoming, less intimidating all around, but by now I'm well into the realm of stereotype. Actually, writing this has given me an idea about something: I'll try to post about it this week-end if I can find the gumption. I shouldn't promise anything though, as I still have a way of recoiling in horror from things that I write.

Posted by: on November 15, 2002 07:32 PM .

that's funny, I always want my writing to have more of a swagger...

I'd like to be the John Wayne of words -- brash, unapologetic, instinctively domineering...

Posted by: marijke on November 15, 2002 08:34 PM .

I think you got all that covered, personally.

I didn't manage to write what I thought I would write over the week-end, or rather, I did, but I'm going through that phase where I'm convinced it doesn't sound right yet... an impulse I'm learning to trust...

Posted by: on November 18, 2002 06:07 PM .

Really? I've got the swagger down?
*claps hands and jumps excitedly*

OK, now I'm just plain curious about this mysterious post you were going to write on the weekend.
Don't put a tuxedo on your brain, my friend -- spill it!

Posted by: marijke on November 19, 2002 08:10 PM .

Right... you want it right away, in unfinished form. But what about me? What do I get?!!

Posted by: on November 20, 2002 05:29 AM .

umm... er... you get my response.

oh, and you get it out of your system. which is a much better result than it sounds like...

Posted by: marijke on November 20, 2002 01:54 PM .

I get your reponse! I get it out of my system! Both of those ideas sound great. I'm doing it! Next week!

Posted by: on November 20, 2002 03:01 PM .

Wow, that was easy.... I thought I was going to have to resort to plan B: throwing a party in your honour.
With Goldfish Crackers -- lots of Goldfish Crackers.

(the goldfish will be disappointed...)

Posted by: marijke on November 20, 2002 03:46 PM .

the gender genie. tells you if you write like a girl or not.

I ran my long response from this thread, and it recognized me as a woman! amazing!

then I ran 's long comment from this thread and it recognized him as a woman, too!

Posted by: marijke on August 27, 2003 09:06 AM .

High Praise!

Posted by: on August 27, 2003 11:49 AM .

trick-or-treat/happy holloween/was sent a spam

Posted by: irene voebel on October 18, 2003 01:43 PM .
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