Thursday, December 23, 2010

Going Mobile


So I has me this new phone and I gots me this app that allows me to post to my blog from the great wide open.
Point is, I am trying to expand and improve my digital footprint. A blog that is updated once a month and a dormant twitter account are hardly the way to go. But what with having little free time, the computer doubling as the tv, and the previous inability to update anytime/anywhere, things just kept failing to get off the ground.

Well.

I figure I hate deadlines and obligations (mostly because I fulfill them, I guess I was raised right or something) but if I set some up maybe it will keep me honest, as they say.

So I'm going to aim low - updates twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday (whether I've got anything to say or not).

Let's see how it goes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Consider the Stream // of consciousness*

Way haul away, we're bound for better weather, to me
Way haul away, we'll haul away Joe


Nothing is ever free, ever bound outside of position, positionality. we are bound, then. bound and gagged and starting blind with bilge switch eyes and a hunger for a farther. I stood there on the decking and beggered for a birding, I stood there on the good ship and bound my feet for home. I should have known better, should have known they were to kill me. I should have known a better but at least I know it now.

A knife, the mate, he slipped me. A knife to cut my bindings. A knife, the mate, he slipped me, into my bed he came. A ship bound for freedom, a ship bound for glory. A ship they say was bound, but bound was how they held me.

A night then, a night, when given a beggers glass o vinegar, a slip a sip a glass and grasp at the cask a rum (salt pork and peter and with the glass and gasp, the rigging and rigged, I to the sea was to call my last breath and last home). They hauled and heaved and luck would turn the storm, a jonah a jones, and honing the blade, the knife the mate he slipped me I cut finally my bounds, my binding, the rock the millstone dragging me to the deeps the depth the darkness that calls me and Davy home. And swimming and smiling and breathing free at last but hardly and ever free I made for the open for the last for the depth and the deep and the sand and the silt and the land that any would call would call it land might it be land or die here in the struggle to swim this last and this last and the list and the once more inthe breach good sirs and one

a message, no bottle, never found.

Apropos of Nothing, lacking occassion, consequence

There is so much that I don't know. Oh the years that could be spent in study. In a study. With tufted leather chairs, the gentle dust of the ages, and books aplenty. Also a computer. Because really? There is no research without the google button on the internet machine. Without wikipedia. And I am keenly feeling the lack of an institutional subscription to JSTOR. Or, to put it in a general sense, if I had the time, I keep myself occupied for damn near forever. I've never understood the people who go back to work after retirement, or stay working after the point the monetary concerns are no longer the defining issue. I've rarely needed help passing the time, as it were. Not to say that I don't get bored. I get bored very easily. Routinely and often. But I get bored because entering into new ventures that will occupy more time than I have to offer them becomes increasingly meaningless. Sure I could begin research projects left and right. Read this book or that. But I already do that. I have maybe, on the outside, 2-3 hours a day that I am not at work, eating or sleeping. Hard to get much done. I work on short stories as I can. I read, but mostly for pleasure or ideas/tonal notes for the stories. And a couple hours is easily spent. TV takes its toll. And I am no longer a single man without a care or companion. I don't want to spend all my time alone in a room that smells of rich mahogany.

Grad school (again) would certainly be a nice opportunity to move all the bookmarks a little closer to the back covers. As I get older (and surprisingly find myself thinking clearer and broader than I did in the heady days of youth) I find that time is such the rare commodity.

And it is so easy to get distracted. I've just spent the last couple minutes on Amazon. I've checked email and facebook. Poured the last of the coffee. And puttered around in general. Always the case that when time is of the essence that I often waste the most of it. I have to head out in about 30 on errands and such that will end this day of "freedom" that has mostly been taken up by sleeping in and catching up on that other lost commodity. This post is going nowhere. I was hoping that striking the keys (even though I lacked a initial idea) would lead me in a noble and notable direction. Like the discussion of architecture I was having with Gina yesterday. Or the one on Bigfoot I was having with my sister. No such, apparent, luck.

It's times like these that you feel you have to do something really important just to affirm that you are alive, that you can. To say that yes, when staring out into the vastness of the universe and infinite possibility I do recognize my insignificance, but it does not numb me to stupor but frees me from fear. And yet the arrow of time once again pierces my gentle heart with a mocking grin, implacable as ever.

We are at a tipping point in history. Of this much I am certain. Of this much I can see.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And the Worms Ate Into Our Brains: on the Roger Waters The Wall Live 2010-2011

I cannot speak for everyone. I will not. I will speak for myself. Not for the drunks. Not for the fools. Not for the douchebags who think that this is just music to get stoned to or that getting stoned is an end to itself. I will speak. I will comment.

The Wall was released by Pink Floyd in November '79. Roughly 3 years before I was born. The original tour was only 31 shows between '80-'81. (still unborn). It was performed by Roger Waters (he was no longer in Pink Floyd and they were elsewhere at the time) in 1990 in Berlin to commemorate the falling of The Wall. (Mother should I trust the government? I was six at the time.) There are/will be 100+ performances of The Wall Live. I am newly 27.

I love Pink Floyd. Or, I love the Roger Waters era, the four classics, and enjoy the rest. Those four albums resonate with me. I am not alone in this. The movie was a defining moment (in college, in Justin's room before he poured fruit punch over my head and Matt's alpaca comforter and we started drifting apart). I was late coming to music. Maybe that explains my anachronistic affiliations. It is what it is. I don't feel the need to explain myself. My guesses are the alienation and the vitriol, the madness and the quotidian. I wasn't listening to the album up until now. Rather a mix of my Recently Added folder. But maybe I should. Or maybe that's part of the problem.

The show was down in Lauderdale and we listened to Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown on the drive. I didn't want to be listening to anything too similar to the show I was about to enjoy. [I have, it would seem, lost my notes on the show - this will all be coming from memory.] The GPS kept trying to direct us down roads we didn't think were faster. I think it didn't want us to take the turnpike. Whatever. We got there fine. Early. Early enough that we walked past all the tailgaters, each and everyone one of them blaring the album from their tinny car speakers. There is a scene in PCU where Jeremy Piven reproaches Jon Favreau for wearing the shirt of the band he is going to see ("Don't be that guy." / "You are so fucking money and you don't even know it.") There were more of those guys at this show that I could count. (It got worse once people were able to hit the merch tables and then wear the shirt of the show they were at at the show they were at. Prices seemed to run ~$40 - $60 but how else do you fund a $60M production?). But those people, ultimately confused me less that the people blaring the music from their speakers that they were about to see live (and this was a show to see live). Even worse were the folks who played the album on their drive home. That perplexed me most of all.

Who are these people? was a recurring question. Tickets weren't cheap. And we were in the cheap seats. The seats where your options were having your view obstructed by projection equipment or hanging speaker towers. So who where these people?

Pink Floyd is a popular band. Was a popular band. (Hard to put the right verb in their since the band was legall battling over who could and could not use the name and doesn't technically exist anymore). Was so popular a band that Johnny Rotten had to hate them on principle. But that was a long time ago. I've seen Roger Waters live performing Pink Floyd twice now. But that's sort of the point, though.

Roger Waters, 67, is performing the music of Pink Floyd, the music that he cowrote 30 years ago.
The show was amazing. The visual effects (that we were able to see) were cutting edge. The combination of new and old animations by Gerald Scarfe were perfect. The move to increase the anti-war, anti-capitalist message over the message of postmodern alienation was on point and thus fell on deaf ears.

After all, who are these people? Kids who came to the music by chance? because their parents listened to it? because they liked drugs or the idea of drugs? The guys and gals who have loved the band since Syd was still singing about bikes?

I made a point of noting, with wry disappointment, that if this whole crowd was so anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-racist they must also be anti-voting given the recent election results in Florida. Which, I suppose, is possible if they are just pro-booze, pro-drugs, pro-sitting around doing nothing.

I'm jaded. When I saw my first Waters show I was less political and thought that he was pushing the concepts a little to serve his new message. Now I just think that it doesn't much matter. Those of us that agree already agree, and those that don't aren't coming to his shows to be persuaded to change their politics. They are coming for something else entirely.

What that is, exactly, I'm not quite sure. I think it has a lot to do with the sense of false nostalgia that I have referenced before. I mean, are we coming to see a show that barely played 3o years ago? Did some of the patrons miss it the first time around because it only played New York and L.A. (in America)? Is it a case of missed opportunities? I missed them because I was too young, he missed them because he lived in Florida. Maybe. And maybe that is all it is, for some of them. But not for most of us. I could never have been at an original performance. Could never been at a show from the In the Flesh Tour that gave rise to the sentiment that built the album. My parents hadn't even met at that point. So what then is this? What then is this fascination with the world that has passed before our eyes? Is it a postmodern desire to reappropriate? These are the things I have chosen to define my self and my facebook page and therefore these are the activities I will pursue. Is it a postpost concept we have yet to fully understand? This is good music, live music is good, I want to hear this good music live, fuck the chronological consequences. But then why not just go see a performance of The Machine (they're much cheaper). Clearly the show was worth seeing. The money behind it produced an amazing sequence. I would say cutting edge effects, but I might be wrong about that. The projections, though, were clearly beyond what a tribute band could afford to handle. Is it about being there? Even if we weren't able to be there before? A question of presence made manifest by the number of pictures people had to take of each other waiting in line (to prove to facebook that this shit happened, damnit).

I don't want to sidetrack the issue. The show was amazing. I would go again. I would consider paying the premium for floor seats. The experience was real. And I "was there" at one of those "you had to be there" situations. Except so were a lot of people. A lot of people who may have gone home to sober up, to wonder why Roger Waters (a Brit) is so anti-American, and to love the fact that they heard that band they liked in person (even if Roger Waters was the only original member there was still that guy from the Saturday Night Live). I can't really say what the majority opinion was after watching the show. Though, during the show, the woman sitting next to us proved to be an idiot and her husband was blazing (this was a rare moder show where audience members still raise lighters in a show of support because they have brought them in to light their joints). Their opinions were insipid and unrelated to the "message" of the show. The people sitting behind us were vocally offended by the brief nudity. So, maybe people just came for the music not the message (which though it has progressed over the years hasn't changed significantly - look at the lyrics). If that was worth the money for them, who am I to say that they shouldn't be there. That only those who believe the "true message" should be allowed into the holy of holies (because I frankly doubt my general opinions match those of Roger Waters either - though for different reasons).

It seems we come to a point, then, where we are all there because of the music, because the music meant something to us. Did it mean what the "authors intended"? Likely no. Does that make that reading of the text wrong? Again, no. I want to criticize those individuals who have such a facile appreciation of art, of music, of literature, but saying that they can't like it, can't enjoy it because they "can't appreciate it like I do" is bullshit. Especially considering that I likely also approach it in the "wrong way" and I am not apologetic about how it have reached the music. Some people like Pink Floyd because it's great music when you're stoned, some like it because it is great music for this or that occasion, because they heard it first at a defining moment, because their favorite cousin let them borrow the LP. And we like live music. We like to go out and be among the faithful. This was a church service to many. If Roger Waters is the only one preaching at the Church of Floyd, so be it. We will come. And we will sing. And we will all be there in the flesh. And the worms will eat into our brains.

I'm writing again. I'm wearing a new hat.


There were several posts that I had been planning on getting up here in the weeks (has it really been weeks) since I last posted. I have one about the Disney vacation. Another about the Roger Waters show. And the follow up to that last semi-philosophical entry. I have a lot of intentions.

There were reasons for the gap. Excuses for the delay - can't post mobile, never enough time after work, vacation, sickness, the grad school apps and requisite writings, a new Rupert Felix piece for Storied (entering final personal edits and ready to be sent off to the editors for official edits). But somehow the excuses always ring hollow when I finally do find myself in a position to write and I think back and consider that I had five minutes here, ten minutes there; what did I do with all that time? I wasted it. It is depressing.

I got the new hat at the Gap today. It was on sale. It helps complete my Aldous Snow look. The way I am shedding pounds these days, the only thing that I lack to complete the look is the hair. I've tried that one before. Not a success. Too many months of terrible middling lengths to make the effort meaningful. Pretty soon you will all be coming for my bangers, beans, and mash. JoyCan is set to be the band of the voice of the next decade of the millenium. All we need to do is learn how to pretend to play our instruments (like Paul Rudd, "I slappa de bass").

I spent 20 minutes earlier trying to figure out the best way to make wikipedia display Assyrian Neo-Aramaic. What makes less sense is that the language I'm pretty sure I want to use Old Aramaic and frankly the ability to see what the letters look like is going to affect my story almost not at all. It does remind me again of the undercurrent of my desire to understand and study linguistics and language (only to be reminded of how complex the issue is, a worthy distraction though, I suppose). Aladdin Sane. I just went back and tried to figure the whole thing out again. Still mired in the complexities of language families and history and diaspora. Still not writing the story that the research is ostensibly for. Still drinking Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau.

I think it's time to get to writing some of those other posts. Notably, Roger Waters/Pink Floyd/The Wall.




Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proceeding in Bad Faith: Syncretic Poetics I

On contemplating and developing a syncretic poetics both theoretical (critically so) and fictionally free form: yes, there is influence, profound and nigh untraceable strains throughout.

1. We begin with truth.

"Headaches and bad faith
Are all that I've got.
First I misplaced the ending
Then I lost the plot.
"
- Newsboys, "Lost the Plot"

To compose is to lie. To speak then, also. Though perhaps, or rather, almost certainly, that gives the wrong impression, connotes an inaccurate sense (an I am all about connotation and sensibilities). For to lie implies the deliberate act of misleading, a willful desire to mask, hide, and elude the truth. To lie implies that its opposite - truth-telling - is possible. Naturally, it is not.

Truth, with a capital T, Truth in the Platonic sense, if it can be said to exist in any manner, exists only behind a veil, behind a gap, a rupture in our human understanding and capacity to comprehend, behind and beyond the glass that through which we now see but darkly. Truth is that asymptote, that limit which we curve towards logarithmically (if we choose to seek it rather than content ourselves with its lack, that niggling sense that our average everydayness is not enough but will suffice), that which we can approach, grasp at but never grasp, reach for but never reach.

What we have left then, what we can access and make use of, is consensus (which we may choose to accept or reject in our individual manners, fragment and reform, or even ignore) and interpretation via analysis (multiple and multiplied as ever). Truth is, then, what is said to be true, what is accepted as true, what sounds and seems truthy. As Philip J. Fry might knowingly joke, "It is a widely believed fact." Stephen Colbert, prescient as usual.

What then? What then the point of this late reminder that, despite only vague popular acceptance (Absolutes and knowable Truth are still themselves widely believed facts), is not new or news? Clearly the current elections cycle will remind us all of the meaninglessness/triviality of our various truths (and the power to persuade that they hold over so many).

And so, conjuring forth from the darkness of a sunny afternoon, typing notes composed primarily at the mall, why do I speak? Why do I toss this opening salvo in a war already over?

I suppose it could be argued that I am officially choosing sides. I am staking my claim with those who would seek (despite the futility of ever achieving the destination) the infinite. For the journey through the shifting sands of our collective narratives is quite rewarding. Our messy lives as much a text (and more so now that we all so actively construct our identities via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media) as any static written document. But therein the difficulty, for if all is opinion and consensus if all analysis is corrupted by its inability to claim any more truth than that which it denies in the world, what is left? Play? Yes, there is play. And in this play of shadows, traces of influence and history, we conduct our lives. We make note of the notable, we forget nearly everything and we pretend. But first I will acknowledge my position. I am fraught and fraudulent. Ask me no questions, I'll still tell you lies. But the story will hold you, will captivate and entertain, and perhaps lend an air of authenticity to your own searches, your our sojourn down a path from here to somewhere else.

I proceed in bad faith, I will be lying. And yet, in telling these stories (both in the theoretical texts I seek to compose and employ as well as the fictions I would craft) there is perhaps little else possible. We continue, walk with me for a while.

(Coming next, perhaps revelations on beauty and technology: black box theory)

Monday, September 27, 2010

the temple is in shambles

Simple things. It comes down to simple things. Simple things that you don't realize you have lost. I actually had a day off today.

An actual day off, a day to write. A day free from my social, familial, and economic responsibilities. Finn was off cavorting with his Grammy. I was off from work. And I was actually able to start writing the novel. Then I went to the library to clear my head, came back and scrapped the whole thing and was able to actually get the first pages written in a tone that did not wholly upset me. It's not where I want it yet, but it's closer. And then I was able to do research reading, lounging in the sun, listening to my iPod out by the pool. I know have some inkling why some people like it down here. Not my cup of tea, really, but at least I can understand it now.


[dinner interlude, music provided by JoyCan]


My life is in something of a disarray. Today was good. It was a help, a reminder that things could be better. Than not everything is stress and running around on other people's schedules and supervising my infant and the ones I work with. Sometimes it's a book, a pool chair, and dozing in the sun. I needed to be reminded.

Now the goal is to write more than two pages a week (so that I can finish a draft in a couple months rather than a couple years). We'll see.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Talk to me, Goose"

"In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God." - Stephen, Braveheart

I end up talking to myself.

I watched the premier of Bones last night. Simple fun. An interesting and easy show. And since its season 6, I guess we are fairly invested in the characters and their stories if not the run of the mill forensics of the individual episode. Anyway, it raised the issue of lynchpin personalities, of keystone members of groups, the one that keeps the group together, keeps the dynamic strong.

Everyone, I suppose, would like to imagine themselves as the keystone. I know I do. But I can't say that it is true. Hard thing to figure out, really. Especially since all the groups I have been a part of seemed to fall apart when everyone moved away. Can't really pin that on one person. Which isn't really the point. Burying the lead, I suppose. The point is, I miss my friends.

I miss y'all individually, and I miss having friends around to talk to and hang out with in the general sense as well. Parenthood (especially when the first and only in your peer group) is an extremely isolating activity. Add in moving to the bowels of suburban "paradise" while everyone else stayed in New York or lit out for California and her sunnier brand of faded dreams. I don't really know people here. Not socially. Not intellectually.

It troubles me that the only two things I find myself talking about these days are how things are going with the kid and how things are going at work. Finn's mostly good. Work, not as much. But I remember when I would argue for hours with Todd at Grassroots about minor semantic points. And I miss that. I miss the days when Derrida had relevance to my discourse. At least I still talk about writing with Gina. But I get so little time to work on my writing (and I often procrastinate with what little time I do have "waiting for inspiration") that talking about it is often as far as anything goes. I have notes for a novel. And a steampunk prequel. But I get discouraged thinking about it. Thinking about my lack of progress in general. When the whole of my regular writing process is short shorts and poems tossed off on the iPod during my lunch breaks. It gets hard. It's basically (so far as blame can be assigned) my fault for being lazy. For wanting to sleep. Rowling managed.

(an interlude to talk to Gina, about life et al.)

a poem:
***
a glass.
+ ice. + rum. + lemon juice.
a glass with melted ice, residue.
+ bourbon. the ice melts.

there was beer before. and Chinese.
***
I don't know. Maybe I'm not putting enough out there, not giving enough of myself. Not investing in the blog, in the emotion of venting to a blank screen (Springsteen in the background), of telling strangers and future generations about the minutia of my life, such as it is.

I'm working on it. Finished up Heart-Shaped Box the other night. A surprisingly good book. Or, perhaps that is the wrong word. I was surprised that I so enjoyed a book marketed as horror. I tend to read horror the way I read techno-thrillers and spy novels. As plot driven escapism. Heart-Shaped Box wasn't that at all. Mostly I found myself thinking what it was like for Stephen King to feel simultaneously proud and jealous.

A question about horror writing: I have never (in my adult life anyway) been given nightmares from a book/movie, etc. Is that odd? Do people actually get nightmares from books they read? Are they kept up? I am willing to accept that the way I process information (rather abstractly) often precludes me from what may be a normal response to horror. I have no idea whether that might actually be the case. I suppose then, what I look for in horror writing (film, et al) is more a sense of the unheimlich. The uncanny nature of the story rather than any implied or expected sense of fear. Or is that meant to cause nightmares, too?

Started reading Oliver Twist. I've never really read much Dickens (a bit of Great Expectations in 9th grade but that's about it). Kind of a pompous buffoon, really. But it's research for the the prequel. Makes me feel productive and learned at the same time. (And the way we feel about our lives is far more important than anything we actually do with them, terrible as that sounds).

I keep picking up the empty glass on my left rather than the full one on my right. Odd. So it goes. Gina, and life, is distracting. I digress. We talk. I wander off. I go into the kitchen to get something, but I didn't want or need anything there. ...

Soon come. Change. Soon come.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Finish Strong. They won't remember your failures.

Nothing like a walk through the morning rain to wash away your sins.

"When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide."
- John & Paul

The computer/TV setup has proven to be a bad idea. An incomplete one, at least. Since I am copying this down from my pocket notebook (from about 14 hours ago). Better being able to get the thoughts down somewhere than go through the rest of the day trying to remember that idea (good or otherwise) that I had earlier. Forgetting what might have been a good idea always bothers me to no end. Especially since the idea, if I could remember it, would likely be of little consequence but the not being able to remember bestows a grand aura of lost excellence (or the possibility thereof). Though the going back and writing the actual post later does allow me to edit out the boring bits, the parts about Finn's breakfast, and the scribbles in search of coherence. It was morning. I was (and still am) exhausted. Forcing productivity is going to get easier, right? Of course if I had the next new brand new next next fancy thing that would totally make me productive and not just a lazy procrastinator with a brand new toy that could make me more diligent if I were the sort of person to be diligent in the first place.

[that was about all I had from the morning.]

I live a, well I guess the best word for it is sheltered, life. Not exactly by choice. Time is such a rare commodity that I rarely feel justified in spending any time reading up on the news of the world. I need to be playing trucks with Finn. Or cooking dinner. Or cleaning up. Or writing. Or doing this or that for work. You get stretched thin. The first things to go are things like checking the updates on my reader feeds and reading the various news sources I find intriguing. And so I have been finding myself less and less in the know of late (if I had a job that came with a cube and computer this would almost certainly not apply at all but as it is I am perpetually out of the loop). It leaves me in a position of having to make this blog a lot more self-centered that I would really like. I mean, I am vain. Terribly so. And I love to hear myself talk. But not just about anything. Not without an audience that prompts me to my next ridiculous display. Not without a crowd that I can pretend finds me witty and irresistible. I want this blog to be about something in that grandiose bullshit kind of way that everyone this day and age wants to feel important about themselves, about something. I guess I am no different. Maybe a little more self-aware and shameless. But now I can't follow the news. I don't much bother with politics. I won't talk about work. And I don't want to be the guy that rambles on and on about how his kid is the greatest in the universe (he is, natch, but given his parents that was to be expected). What do I have left? A couple of TV shows that Gina and I still find time for and the books that I manage to read on lunch hours. The Fall seasons haven't really started yet (have they?). Burn Notice was good. The SyFy crossovers were done very well (if only they could be more than a one off blip to be retconned almost immediately). I very much liked The Magicians (despite the fact that I think the Narnia books are complete and utter shit). So much so that there were times that I wanted to book to end happier. Or sadder, really. I can go along with an author that happily-ever-afters an otherwise cynical tale because its what the audience always silently hopes for. And I always agree with a scorched earth method of "life is shit and this book is real, dammit" that refuses to concede to the happy ending crowds. I guess it's just the middle path that bothers me. I guess I would rather have sunshine and farts or dingy mud puddle pessimism instead of any of that in between hope never dies work that just unsettles me. Sorry for the thematic spoilers guys. Go out and read the book. It's good and a sequel is coming.

First Lord's Fury was a little disappointing (for Butcher's insatiable optimism and belief in the betterment of mankind) but still a worthy end to the Codex Alera series. Lord Sunday was also a bit of a let down (the pacing wasn't the best, the twists at the end were unique but too predictable. Though, as a critical theorist reading a children's book, I might be being a tad overcritical). But it too was a more than worthy end of a good series. Harry Dresden and the Abhorsen are still far and away better. Just how it is. Eating the Dinosaur is going strong so far. I don't know that I will be able to finish it before Thursday when it's due back at the library.

That seems like enough.

Monday, September 13, 2010

because sometimes good enough is all you've got

Been a while. What was it that I was saying about being easily distracted? Life just gets beyond you. And writing is hard.

I'm trying. And I am full of good excuses.

I thought, this morning while walking around the neighborhood hunting pups with the Binns, that I should write a memoir. A sort of memoir. A "what I can remember of my life without having to look anything up" memoir. A storytelling, then. Because my memory is often both better and worse than most. Remembering odd things like obscure numbers but forgetting names and events. A storytelling of my life based on my current circumstances and current disposition. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now it seems like a lot of work that I don't have time for based on a payoff that may never come and a recollection that will almost certainly upset a great number of people and cause my mother to worry (needlessly) more than she already does. I mean, sure if it's a best seller like Eggers had it would be a great way to launch a career. More likely - nothing. And I find it hard enough to spare a few minutes for the blog. Let alone the novel. And now somehow I am also going to find time to pen facts?

C'est la.

At least I was able to storyboard my first chapter the other day. And am on my way towards finishing up the outline of my 3rd (4th-5th, the order is at yet indistinct) chapter. So there is that. But this is all based on scribbling down ideas while at work or out on walks while the kid get impatient with standing still. I like to call myself a writer (though there are far too many associations with the title these days, at least I no longer feel obliged to live up to the name). But I used to be a writer in the sense of "I'll write when I am inspired, you can't force genius." And now my options are write at the most uninspired times of day for myself (my "lunch" break or just getting off work too tired to do much of anything -- otherwise I am passed out or sleepily parenting). This is what I have been able to manage so far. Clearly not a good sign.

Gina said that it took her at least a good month to adjust to writing in the off hours that she had. She had a novel to finish and only those hours. It was a simple choice: write in the off hours (slowly building up steam) or don't and give up. I'm not ready to give up.

***

Work piles up. It gets up and grins at you. Say's "Lookie here, mother fucker, this is it. This is everything." It's hard to get past work. To say that work doesn't affect my family life would be absurd. It does. It affects my family life, my personal life, my life outside the job. It invades my days off and asks more of me than I am paid for. It does. It's a job. Within reason, I tend to answer.

(sigh)

Let me know how things are going with you, dear readers (the few of you that exist). Let me know how it is, out in that world that it doesn't seem like I still live in. Maybe we'll make something collaborative out of this silly old blog after all.
***
"Go back to sleep."
- A Perfect Circle, "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums"

Cogitatio et Memoria
- family motto

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Still working that day job

Still working that day job. I'm going to make an effort not to get into that. After all, it's just the day job. The hard part, really, (and I blame society for this one) is that it remains difficult for me to remember and act as if (and expect others to follow suit) my day job is my second job. My first job, my passion, my career is my writing. No matter how little that is paying at any given time. And that is what this is meant to be about. Nominally. I guess. (What number blog reboot is this one now? 6?)


I don't have an office. I don't have a separate space in the apartment to work, to write, to think. My computer is attached to the same TV I watch Fraggle Rock on with my son. It's not ideal. Makes it easy to make excuses. Makes it easy to procrastinate. Sure I could start writing now. Or the wife and I could watch some more clever television. There's always something on Hulu or Netflix. (and somehow I still haven't gotten around to see all those Criterions on the queue.)
The out of the blue phone calls from the day job aren't much help either. Kinda have to take those. Life always intrudes. Sometimes you mind, sometimes you don't. Sometimes I don't realize that I have spent all my time set aside from writing and writing related research and now am faced with the decision of no writing or no sleep. With a kid set to wake up around 6am, the choice inevitably becomes no writing. I can get by skipping the writing.

And that's the problem, isn't it. The problem that keeps resurfacing, that makes the claim that this is not my job, not my career, not my life, that writing is a hobby. Writing doesn't pay the bills. I can skip a day and nothing will happen. Sure nothing gets done. But right now (with the novel anyway) I have no deadlines, no editors breathing down my neck. If I don't write, the only consequence is that I don't get anything written. Which is a big problem, but I can still pay the bills, still buy food, still have the energy to play with a rambunctious one year old. So there's that.

This is what it all comes down to, what this is all about: taking the writing seriously. Sure there are no "actual" consequences from skipping a day. But it's thinking like that that will keep me from finishing any of the projects I have in the works (and is why I have such a poor track record of finishing so many of the projects that I have started). Time to invent consequences. Otherwise it's not meant to be. If I can get by without writing, I guess I'm not a writer. So it goes.

There is also the professional aspect of it all. I have long said that I have an aversion to artists who do not "keep up appearances" who do not consider how they look and present themselves to be a reflection of their art. I make exceptions for older artists who came of age in a less visually overstimulated culture with its ever present cameras and camera phones. But for the rest of "us", frankly, I feel you have to look the part. To clarify, I don't think that means that everyone has to look like some cliched version of the "writer" or the "painter" or "performance artist". That is needlessly reductive. It is just that I feel that an artist's work (regardless of their medium) extends to their person, and thus their person and personal appearance must be considered with equal weight as anything else they would exhibit in public. Perhaps that seems superficial, but I feel that it coincides rather well with what has become the new standard of cutting edge marketing: the personal brand. Now this can be applied well and poorly, genuinely and shamelessly. Sometimes the audience can tell the difference, sometimes we can't. I went to B&N yesterday before work and picked up Trust Agents to help me out on this front.

Because, while I feel suitably confident in my work and presenting myself in public, I feel less confident in my web presence. I've been erratic in my blog posts. I offen dabble in incomprehensible nonsense (proudly). And I do not, effectively, protect my personal brand online. It's something to work on. I also picked up VanderMeer's Booklife. Together, they should help me get a handle on the business of being myself (as a business) and selling myself in an effort to sell my writing.


I finally went across the street on Monday and got a library card. It was a big deal for me. Settling in. Getting used to if not getting comfortable. You can't get anything done if you are always waiting for it to get better first. Baby steps.

***
"They’re spoonfeeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words"
- Dylan, "Desolation Row"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

FUN with cats and dogs and marmosets and green things and cannibalistic fish (yes, fish) (Jimi 6, the shark episode, part 1)

Jimi saw Jaws when it first came out. Since that early and defining moment of his young life he had always felt himself to be part shark. I guess that's why they called him "the Fix".

It was 1994 and Kurt Cobain had just left the world a bit more depressed. Jimi was listening to good music, reading a couple good books, and scoring decent X, but he felt that something was missing in his life. At first he though it was a woman.

It was 1995 and there was nothing new under the sun. Jimi was newly divorced and had a second child to show for it. Not that he knew his son at all. The boy would be 11, Jimi guessed. Maybe it was time he showed up and took the kid out whoring. Did estranged fathers still do that these days? (Sometimes Jimi the Fix lost track of what century he was living in and what dues he owed his liege.)

It was 1997 and Jimi was heading up the kitchen on a research station off Cape Agulhas. The scientists were studying Great Whites. Jimi was wondering why L.L. Cool J would be cast to play him in the movie. They were nothing alike.

[you know what happens here, shark attack, disaster, miracles, movie magic that defies science, and awesome science about awesome sharks that are awesome, Jimi makes soup]

... and Jimi kept that shark tooth with him until the day he died. He was buried with it, a suit of clothes, and a watch that belonged to the undertaker that had been carelessly misplaced.









STAY TUNED OR ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)$*@&@*(R#640985134578

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hamm, jam, spam, Ma'am. Let the prosody begin. (Jimi V)

Jimi was riding high on the crest of his newlywed bliss when the first of three things happened to him that had been fortold by the wise white rabbit, Longfoot Coney: he broke his arm. It was a freak accident. He fell down a flight of subway station stairs in the middle of a November sleeting. Maybe he was lucky it was only the arm. We are not here to speculate on futures that will never happen. Jimi put himself on the lookout for the next two signs. He wasn't ready to die

*** FLASHBACK *** ALERT *** FLASHBACK *** ALERT *** THIS IS A WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES THAT A FLASHB

It was the woods. There was probably acid.

It had began as a normal walk in the woods away from civilization, responsibility, and social mores. Jimi began in by sounding a barbaric YAWP! in a basso timbre at a volume he had never previously dared express. The angel trumpets and devil trombones echoed in his joyous cry (G.L.O.R.I.A).

It was his third day eating wild mushrooms and berries that the nice naturist down by the creek recommended when the animals started talking to him. It began as whispers in the empty forest. Mostly about what was good to eat and whose coat was coming in good this season, boy did she look smokin'. But then it got weird. Jimi stopped by a tree stump, drank some water, and smoked a bowl. And waited. Two days later Longfoot Coney came and introduced himself. In return for the knowledge of the wilderness, Longfoot took from Jimi memories, emotions, and the psychic scars of a life of petty crime and recreational drug abuse. Talking animals get off on that shit. Longfoot threw in a death prophecy for shits and giggles. He had never meant for it to come true.

The prophecy went something like this:

"In the beginning there will be three signs:" Longfoot Coney spoke in a clipped tone, eyes rolling into the back of his head, mumbling and shaking like a wino with the DTs.

"1. You will break your arm.
2. You will contract syphilis.
3. A clown will give you three gifts, one of which is more than it seems.

Then you will be betrayed by someone close to you, someone you did not expect.

Then you will die.

Do you want me to go on?"

Jimi did, but Longfoot didn't have much more to say and none of it is really worth repeating. Who cares where secret lettuce patches are or the wormhole to Alice's Restaurant is? Didn't think so.

Anyway, stay tuned for the shark.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

glass abattoir: Jimi the Fix makes his name on history

"Everybody knows."
- Uncle Leonard

It was morning in America and Jimi the Fix was sniffing glue with Marky Ramone.

By night Jimi was writing long form essays exploring everything from critical theory to political economics. Though not technically trained in anything, Jimi was something of an autodidact and his Xeroxed pages were collected and treasured like Dylan bootlegs in certain circles. (They were posthumously published in a three volume collection as Welcoming the Void: The Burden of Intelligence during the Cold War with a foreword and afterword by Dr. Hubert Gaintree, PhD.)


Occasionally Jimi mainlined heroin. In was New York. In the 80s. Like tagging crumbling walls and subway trains with Dali replications and dada originals, it was part of fitting in with the crowd. He grew to enjoy the particular taste of crimini mushrooms and was technically homeless for at least 3 -4 years. During that time two girlfriends gave birth to children that were not his. Though he considered himself artistically satisfied in a way that he would never again achieve, he felt that he was becoming quite the misanthrope. He retired to a hermitage in the Adirondacks in order to find peace and talking animals.

The next stage of his life reads almost exactly like a Norther European fairy tale.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

JIMI 3: THE BOMB (AND OTHER STUFF)

Jimi had never and would never meet Dexter Burroughs. He did, however, feel the accidental side affects of Dexter's handiwork. To date Dexter Burroughs has never counted among his kills any collateral damage. This statistic is only true, however, because Jimi's shoe came untied at exactly the right moment. Allow me to explain:

Jimi had been running numbers and a few substances on the side with the full knowledge and permission of several influential gentlemen and their associates for going on eight years. He hadn't been moving up (his family had no connections, he was just a two bit con who happened to have a name ending in a vowel) but he had been making money. An enterprising individual, Jimi had diversified his business(es): he ran newsstand (which made his illicit distributions simpler), he owned several more, he pioneered the idea of coffee and donut carts (at least in his neighborhood where he owned 7) and he made sure that the kids had their ice cream in the afternoon and the businessmen had their umbrellas on rainy days. His work was semi-legitimate and profitable, he was a noted member of the Chamber of Commerce and the local Kiwanis Club. Then came the misery. Jimi met Caroline, the devil's twin sister (twice as mean and much more attractive in the form fitting mini dresses.)

Caroline hired Dexter to remove a certain CEO of a certain multinational competitor of the Cavendish Corporation. The bomb went off 20 minutes after Jimi was scheduled to make a weekly horse drop. Jimi was late because his dick was burning (from the syph, he was careless during the 80s and 90s and slept with a fair compliment of dirty men and women despite the scares and warnings. He was not, what one would call, an ideal citizen.) and he had spent the last hour drinking cheap wine and crying in a public men's room. Throughout his 30s, when asked why Jimi had stopped saying "never trust anyone over 30", Jimi always responded that syphilis had saved his life. The conversation always ended there. Dexter Burroughs was successful in the hit. Later he would be contracted to remove Caroline. In this too, he was successful. Jimi was taken out by competitors. Dexter was not jealous. It was the nature of the business and he charged a premium rate. The bomb was a precision job that barely did any damage to the structure of the building and was noted by police and FBI inspectors as being premium work beyond any level they had previously seen.

Jimi drank red wine on the night he was betrayed, I drank red wine while writing this post (coincidence?)

When James Michael Ruffino was born he cried, his father smoked a cigar, his mother lay in a hospital bed uncomfortably, and the Indy 500 crowned a new champion. It was 1969 and Mario Andretti was Jimi's father's second favorite American Hero. That a 2 and 1/2 month old James Michael made an appearance at Woodstock should clue you in on who came in first on Paolo's list (it was not little Arlo).

At six, little Jimi had broken both arms and both legs (not at the same time), spent a total of 6 months in a hospital, and had conned all his friends and acquaintances out of their allowances for 2 years running. He spent the money on comics that he read once and then stored in plastic. The collection, willed to his daughter Constance Marie, would sell for a surprising total of $1.73 M.

At ten, Jimi was permanently excused from attending school (his arguments for "street smarts" were very persuasive).

At 15, Jimi had slept with all of his mother's friends (married, single, men, etc).

At 17, Jimi was working full time for the Family and living in Alphabet City shithole. He was not addicted to heroin, though he had tried it and did sell it at a tidy profit that he kicked up the chain.

At 21, Jimi had married and divorced the Don's younger daughter. He counted every day he remained alive as a blessing. He began to compose his memoirs.

Yes, in part 3 there is still going to be a bomb.

Hey Kids! Have you heard the story I am about to make up about Jimi the Fix? No? Well then, listen close: ...

An abstraction. A thought experiment for an experience machine.

Sometimes you have to wonder.

New computer. New pint of cheap wine. (not that young anymore) And staring at the ashes, the ruins, the wreckage of a life, the lost aberrations(a systemic anomaly The Architect and The Oracle will pretend to fight over to stave off boredom and rake in millions) of a system that is running on fumes. It would seem that I have

1. quarterlife (+/-)
2.

He took the boardwalk like a fish to water. A dead fish, scaled and filleted for the grilling. That is to say, he dropped, bleeding, with a few more holes in his head than he had asked for and a longing for a slice of Aunt Jen's Kiwi Lime Pie. Even his wife and kids thought he deserved it. His mistresses missed the money but not the sex.

In death, Jimi the Fix was to prove far more formidable than in life. That, however, comes later. First, his son: Gerald Byron, 26, carpenter.

Gerald Byron, 26, was a carpenter. He was not skilled. He did, however, enjoy his work and dedicated much of his time and talents to charity. This was how he met his wife: she volunteered in soup kitchens serving the men (mostly) and women and children for whom he built readymade houses. Gerald had an odd relationship to charity work. Unlike his soon-to-be wife, he did not approach helping the less fortunate with a sense that those who can give back should give back. He did not feel he owed anyone anything. Nor, though, did he feel that he was in charity because he could not hack it as a regular carpenter or contractor in the "real world". His skill level was what it was. He would never build furniture. He was no artist. He did not delude himself. Perhaps, though it is truly hard to find a fixed answer to a question so weighted, but perhaps, he built houses for those who could not afford to buy them because they understood the value of a house. Of a house as shelter, as basic human need. Of a house as home instead of investment, instead of a temporary way station and source of equity. Perhaps he enjoyed that for his clients, his work had obvious, distinct, concrete meaning. Perhaps. Gerald was a quiet man and kept his thoughts and feelings close to the chest. He supplemented his income by winning at poker (every third weekend at the Indian Casino, never deviate from the pattern. Deviation marks a gambling problem, call the 800 number). His father was shot twice in the head, once in the chest on a tuesday in March. Gerald was in Tennessee that month, he built four homes for 13 people and 3 dogs.

Stay tuned for the THRILLING continuation of the Epic of Jimi the Fix (spoiler: part 3 contains a bomb and part 6 contains a shark)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Der 12. November ist der 316. Tag des Gregorianischen Kalenders (der 317. in Schaltjahren), somit bleiben 49 Tage bis zum Jahresende.

She had a face like a broken toy. Worked over. Abused. Intentionally. “Cosmetically”. It gets hard to believe she actually paid for that shit to be done to her. Or had some man pay. Promised Elysian Fields of youth and beauty and given this monstrosity. Live with this, dearie, cause there ain’t no going back now.

[There’s something happening here, but you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?]

In dim lighting, everything is a lie. A pen, to a wall, in an instant. I was younger then. A brief instant. A red sharpie and a subway wall. I had no poems. Just a bellyful of wine, an idiot’s grin, a woman’s inexplicable love. I was truly in the moment. I drew. I scrawled. I laughed and spewed nonsense. It was glory. It was nothing. It was a moment lost in the millions. Scrubbed from the walls by baffled city workers later come Monday, but it was there. It lived. And perhaps, for a moment, I was free.

Welcome to Buxom Blueberry, population: 17.3

[Time to face the strange. ch-ch-ch-changes.]

Like bobcats. Like chained bobcats wrestling with a bowl of rabid tuna fish. Grits. Mayonnaise. And a worn copy of Candide oder der Optimismus.

- Just say you were smoking.

- I don’t smoke.

- Fine, just say you went to the woods to take a leak because you don't trust technology. Just make damn sure you don’t mention you actually went inside.

- …

- Willards, I was just here looking for you. Where were you?

- I was smoking.

- Oh. Very good. Carry on then, boys.

[debts that no honest man can pay]


When John Dillinger died, his last thought was of the Pope’s phone number. Not that he realized it. Or it’s importance. // Years later, a child was born with a curiously shaped birthmark: a Thompson machine gun. He was blessed twice with Holy Water before being given over the Church. Next Generation Six-Gun Holy Roller. // These colors run any way they choose.


- It begins with a warm glow. A warm glow and a sickly pallor. From the outside you will look like you are in the worst of fevered dreams. Ranting, raving. They won’t trust you. They probably won’t believe you. If this is all to give you a chance to convince someone of something, this isn’t your poison.

- That’s not what this is.

- Ok. Like I said: you are going to look terrible: sweats, fevers, maybe some shakes. You prone to jitters? If you are, you’ll likely have them. Just the way of it. You’ll have to deal. But terrible as you look, you will feel amazing. Lucid. And I mean lucid. You have never been so awake, so aware. I’m sure you’ve done a lot of drugs, mind-expanding shit. Yeah, well, you have no idea what’s in store for you. You have no idea what your mind really is capable of. It truly is amazing. You will be clear of mind and body and purpose in the way that only the most trained and advanced monks and yogis are. You will understand.

- That’s what I’m looking for. How much?

- You do realize, don’t you, that you only have 36 hours? This isn’t something for nothing kid. This is the old magick, these are the laws of nature. There’s no bargaining, no second chances, no backsies. 36 hours. And then you die.

- Yeah. I know. I get it. I have to finish the book. How much?

- $2,750.


Après moi le déluge

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

They call it the High Life: the Champagne of Middle Roads

It’s that part in the movie where the curtain drops and Mel Gibson walks out and sits down on a stool salvaged from a 15th cent. clipper ship. Mel Brooks follows him on and begins giving him a neck massage, a shoulder massage, whispering sweet Hebraic nothings into his ear, clearing his throat, remembering his gorilla mask, a mask from childhood, perhaps, his or another's, remembering his pot roast, this or another. There is a lizard sitting near by, lounging, talking like Sam Spade on a bender, drinking gin and preying on dames. A smoke machine turns on. Then off. Then on again, only this time in purple. The crowd slowly dissipates. Credits. An easter egg teaser. Funny. I get up. A ghost in the machine.


You work all day, clouded in the unreliability of the times, the changing nature of a desperate age growing desperate, growing sad and you think, hmm. I think, hmm. I'm getting paid, I'm doing a good job. It's hard to find good help these days. Etc. &c.

I want to get back into painting. I miss playing my bass. In fact, I think I'll go get that out now.

Do you remember Steve Guttenberg from Police Academy? Yeah, that was funny. I like things sometimes. I've thought about becoming an officer of the law. From time to time. I always think better of it. I think I'll go pick up that bass now.

Monday, July 5, 2010

it would seem that I have become ... Management

Facts. Yes, there are those.

It was a PBR (A 16oz can 4 pack) kind of night. A night born to irony and self-deprecation. I would go on, but I won't.

Work is what it is. I'm watching the first episode of the X-Files. Because it's apparently important to my generation. If amazingly heavy handed and patently absurd.

Perhaps, then, I just want to look into the wilderness and babble like a deranged fool. Like a man who has stared into the sun during an eclipse. Greater is no man that this: that he might sleep for 15 hours and then wake, refreshed, and drink a keg or so of beer. It is a question of time. A question of.

District 9 is an awesome movie. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a good but severely overrated book. The Book of God and Physics seemed a similarly good foreign novel with depth and intrigue. It is, however, terrible. You probably shouldn't read it.

The Bourdain books though, you should read. They are good. Kitchen Confidential is more consistent, but given the circumstances of the writing, not terribly surprising. Esp. vis a vis the food. Which is an important thing. A very important thing.

Wow. X-Files really is absurd. If only I were more credulous. If only I had started watching at the beginning and could have ignored the first few terrible episodes in order to get to that amazing episode mid season two that changed everything. You know, like Buffy (or so they say). I guess you had to be there. Maybe this is the way that people who missed out on LOST feel. Seems plausible. More plausible than this show about "aliens". Whatever. It might be a while before I take the time to watch episode two.


There is a quietus. There is a risk. There is a magnifying glass placed near to the sun, an anthill, and an eternal flame. There is a question written in spray paint upon a public bench at a children's playground, it is non-specific: are you done yet?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prominent Blogger Awaits Confirmation from Undisclosed Sources

Back, it seems, from another hiatus. Writing is difficult. Posting equally so. Especially considering the outdated technological artifacts I carry around with me. A phone that can't function as a mobile publication hub? What the fuck is wrong with me? Good question. But it's a situation that I am not going to get around to fixing any time soon, so other measures will need to be taken. Given time (to make idle reference to a book I haven't read.)

I'm writing again. Working on my last chapter for my first Storied project. The new app is in the iTunes store. I should check it out. Jotting down some ideas about the grocery project. Starting out what seems to be a new Dexter Burroughs adventure. I never know when I start in on these things. It's not the way I work. Which I suppose is much of the problem with the all of my artistic endeavors. I lack planning and foresight.

Have you ever watched yourself type in a mirror. It is oddly disconcerting. And yet surprising how easily your brain gets used to the idea.

Hmm.
I am always intrigued by how the brain works. It's always capable of so much more than we realize.

Work is what it is. I would rather be working with food at a more advanced level, in a more creative and rewarding capacity. But it serves. And the schedule has improved.

I haven't painted in a while. Finn doesn't offer me much time to pursue my lesser artistic hobbies. He is far too enthralled with smacking the amp and fucking with the volume knobs (he wants them up to 11 and damn the man if his little ears can't take it) for me to get much opportunity to "slappa the bass". I guess I am going to devote the time I do get to writing. I'm better at it. As I progress in my various other artistic pursuits, I realize how much I have to learn, to practice, to develop. I recognize readily the significant difference between adequately serviceable and elegant finesse. I can crush words and sentences into shape, less so with brush strokes or knife work. Not that is reason for me to give up on my dilettantism, just an increasing need to focus on the writing for the time being.

When are the second gen iPads coming out?

Good enough. I'll be back later.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

the day goes on and we continue: On Leaving New York

It hasn't quite registered yet. The leavetaking, the moving on, the new. It always takes some time. And that I can allow. And the issue of a routine is really main thing. Once there is a set pattern, a pattern to keep to, a pattern to deviate from, then you are home. Right now, it is like we are on some offbeat vacation, nothing quite what it should be even if it shouldn't be anything else. Which I suppose is enough, or sensible, at least.

There are things I will miss about New York. It is a city like no other. Perhaps the city. And I will likely still refer to Manhattan as "the city" for some time, even though I am miles away and never actually lived there. Our end of Brooklyn was really never anything to celebrate. Except for the fruit markets. I'll miss those. It's hard to beat a 24-hour fruit market.

I'll miss the trains. I would say public transportation, but fuck if I ever enjoyed riding a bus. I'll miss the city, or the things that go along with a city of such a size. Cultural institutions. Bars of all stripes. The food. The attitude of New York: a certain indifference, a certain inclusivity, a certain je ne sais quoi. I'll miss those nights where I would sober up with a sprained ankle in midtown wondering how I got there and where the closest N train was. Ok, night. But I hear it was a good one.

I'll miss the places. Grassroots. Circus Fruits. McSorley's. The Magician. Otto's Shrunken Head. Menkuite. The Strand. Yes, the bookstores will be a hard one to make up. The internet is a poor substitute for a good conscientious bookstore. So it goes.

Perhaps I will miss the museums and performance spaces of the city. I mean, I should. They tend to be rather impressive. I enjoyed the opera I saw. And the plays. But I feel as if I never fully took advantage of them, as if that was one missing page in my fairly incomplete guide to the city. I never saw enough shows. Did enough crazy and outlandish things. So it goes. I am slowly coming into my own. The universe will catch up to my story eventually. Or vice versa. We go on.

I would say that most of all I would miss my friends. And it is true. Or I will miss the times we had when we had them. Drinking at the 'roots over pitchers and arguments on Derrida. But so many of them left New York before I did, that perhaps that is a claim of a different nature. A regret of growing older and apart from, well in this case, grad school. Which is true. I miss grad school. I miss being able to have an intellectual conversation about pop culture and low culture at that. And I miss being able to have an unintellectual conversation about high art and philosophy. Those are matters that I will have to take up with the grand imperious internest in the future, I suppose.

I have never had much attachment to place. To any locale. I figure it is a product of my upbringing and the fact that I moved at certain, but formative, times. I don't find it to be a detriment. It makes the future all the more interesting, I suppose. Unbound to the past. Unbound to regret over leaving "home". Not that I don't have regrets. I regret that I didn't take full advantage of a city that I regret I never fully understood. I suppose it is damn near impossible to fully understand New York, but I should have done better, I should have done more. I regret that I didn't live in my ideal New York. I regret that while I had a neighborhood coffee shop and a neighborhood bar, neither were anywhere near my neighborhood. Or all that close to each other. I have this vision of what it means to live in New York. And I never experienced that. Not to say that my experience was bad. It just wasn't the one I had hoped for, or the one I know is there to be had, the one that suits me best. But I feel the same way about Vegas. Maybe it is only in leaving that I realize what I have missed. Maybe I'll go back. But just like re-reading a book of my bookshelf (now in one of 30 boxes on a truck somewhere on the eastern seaboard) there are so many other options. There are so many other things to see, places to go, bars to stumble into and out of.

In closing: it was a good two and a half years, New York. Thanks and you stay classy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The UnEnlightenment would like to remind you that today is that Last Day of the Empire

The world is falling apart and I am wearing sweat pants stained with baby food. I haven’t showered in a while and that during that last one I only had a chance to wash my hair, not the rest of my delicious filthy body.

Our government is impotent and vainglorious at the same time; a winning combination. Apparently 60 is no longer the magic number, 41 has taken its place. As if the sole point of being a respected member of one of the most powerful and notable legislative bodies in the world was the ability to ensure that the guys you don’t like don't get their way. Picture Nelson in a $4,000 suit with a $300 haircut and no class staring across the aisle, “Ha ha!” Nothing says senator quite like pouting in the corner. Campaign finance reform has proven to be a meaningless gesture and corporate interests no longer have to pretend that they aren’t buying elections. And life goes on as usual.

Haiti is a disaster of relatively unprecedented magnitude. At least for this hemisphere, in recent memory, not involving colonization or plague blankets. Which is terrible. More terrible is that it allows us to forget, pass over, and ignore all the disasters of regular magnitude that are happening all the time.

Our newsagents are bickering children in a shouting match hoping to drown out the inevitable drone of progress. The New York Times thinks it’s going to charge for its internet content. China thinks it’s going to stop Google. And the most interesting thing going these days is the “Late Night Wars”; which are, all things considered, a lot more interesting than the real wars being fought in our names (if only they could have been canceled in seven months).

But as I said, I am wearing sweat pants stained with baby food (blueberry yogurt and spinach to be specific) and my son is in his room crying himself to sleep because his teeth hurt. The world is falling apart. The world is just the same as it ever was. At least American Idol is back on the air.

“Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent.”

- Chairman Mao