Khalid Hussain (khalid_hussain) wrote,
Khalid Hussain


OK, the subject for this entry has two meanings: the weekend I've been having, and the title of the film my husband and I watched last night.

The weekend as such started on Friday, when I (briefly) attended a party in honor of the dept. secretary, who retired over the summer. The party was at the Dean's house, at 5:30. Who has a party at 5:30? I'm sorry, but I decided to arrive fashionably late. It was to be a BYOB, pot luck affair. I didn't want to make the time to go it, let alone spend time making food and also skip having dinner with my husband. Instead of staying on campus until the party began, I decided to take a break in the afternoon, to return home to practice the piano a bit (so that I could redeem myself as a functioning musician), and have an early dinner with my husband, before heading back to campus. On the way home I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some cookies from the bakery. Once I was home, I took the cookies out of the package, put them on a paper plate, and covered it with plastic wrap. That was my contribution. This way I could just leave the plate at the party and take off when I felt like it.

Once I had arrived, after 6:30, the Dean asked me if I wanted a glass of wine, but as I had already had a beer with the pizza that my husband and I had had for dinner, I asked for some sparkling water instead. She said that she didn't have any, but that she had some 7-UP. The Associate Dean then emerged from the kitchen in about a minute with a glass of warm, flat 7-UP. It was awful, but I politely got through the whole glass. The Dean is Irish: I guess they don't believe in ice or refrigeration of beverages.

I arrived in plenty of time for the announcements and toast. A colleague, who is rumored to be having an affair with his graduate advisee, was there with his wife. His wife looked none too happy: it was awkward. After the announcements and toast, cake was offered. It was a cheap, grocery-store cake that looked like plastic. I passed on that, took one of my cookies instead, and chatted with a couple of colleagues before leaving. I think I must have been there a total of an hour, which was more than enough for me.

On Saturday my husband had some friends from school over for a small picnic. We had some preparations to do, such as refurbishing parts of our grill which had become rusted, and picking up some last-minute food at the grocery store. I cleaned the piss smell out of my bathroom. All in all, the preparations weren't too much trouble. I even found time to practice the piano and to grade some papers. I wasn't sure how social I'd feel, but after 'asr prayer I took orders for burgers (soy beef, soy chicken, and real turkey) and hung out with my husband and his friends until it got dark and they left. One of the women brought her boyfriend, and he was pretty cute (haha).

On Sunday we slept in, then hung around at the house before doing our weekly grocery shopping and laundry (very exciting). My husband showed me an article in the local paper about pay increases for 24 top administrators at my university. The Dean's pay went up from $240K to $252K. Not a bad salary for her second year on the job. I guess that's why she has to give such cheap, awful going-away parties for members of the staff--poor thing, haha.

The CD project I had been working on, on and off, for a number of years, has finally come out. I did a little bit of work on promoting it this weekend. A German post-minimalist composer with whom I am friends on FB commented when I posted my announcement of the CD. I sent him a message to offer to send him a copy, and he recommended that I also send a copy to his friend Terry Riley (a rather famous American minimalist composer), who had introduced him to the composer of the music on the CD back in the day. Since I was unable to message Riley directly, I sent him a friend request but haven't heard back yet. If he's interested, he'll see that we have a few composer friends in common.

When I think of the disdain with which faculty are treated by both administrators and students at my joke of a flagship state university, I get some reassurance from being in contact with real creative musicians who are actually interested in the work that I do. I am learning that the international scope of one's scholarly work means nothing at the university unless it is focused through the narrowly defined "initiatives" of whoever the current administrators happen to be.

In the late afternoon/early evening, after grilling more from our current surplus of frozen burgers, my husband and I watched Andrew Haigh's Weekend (2011), a British gay romance set in Nottingham. The film focused on the two main characters and their friends and extended families. It was a more booze- and drug-fueled weekend than I recall having had back in the day, but it defintely captured the atmosphere of, well, precipitous romance between men. So much of the mix of intimacy and awkwardness felt really familiar. It ended up being surprisingly emotionally engaging. It's the kind of film that creeps up on one gradually, until one finds oneself being more involved than one expected--in a sense, kind of like the characters in the film. It was refreshing not to have to lower my standards so much in order to take in an indie gay-themed film.



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