Saturday, November 5, 2011

Assault on the Three Bridges

Excerpt from a stolen communique, fragment 19:

... and this will bring about the full assault on the Three Bridges: techno, social, semi-divine. It is our intention to rebrand a new scientific paradigm, to create a new theory and a new mode of full philosophizing. Silence only in death and only then from an anthropocentric view of the sonic. History is written with (and into) fictional narrative paradigms, philosophy and theory must follow suit. Reality is what you can get away with. Perception (pace ...

It can safely be assumed that nothing is stable any longer. Change then shall be our guide, our friendly inconstant. The wave has once again crested. There is naught to do by ride it out and make for whatever shore becomes available. Any port in the store. Straight on and strive for tone.

- Posted from my φάρμακον.

Location:Lone Pine Dr,Palm Beach Gardens,United States

Friday, November 4, 2011

"1 2 3. 4, 5 6. 9. ... Go!"

Mushrooms growing from the stump in the corner of the courtyard, that bit that can't keep it's grass. 7 skies h3 blending with the wind and the neighbors patriotic windchimes. Dogs are barking. The harsh cry of the neighbor kid; skinned knee.

And his Baby Einstein branded kickball.
Ours is just green.

English breakfast tea - black gone cold. Trying to read Noise, in fragments. Figments.
Hour and a half. Wash the feet.

Remembering the tasks for the day, those left unfinished. The music drifts with me as I fade in and out. An argument for synthetic/synthesized/syncretic/synchronicity. The number 23.

"Fast running! Daddy, chase me! 1 2 3. 4, 5 6. 9. ... Go!"

- Posted from my φάρμακον.

Location:Sorrento Cir,Winter Park,United States

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wear Your Own Hat.

spitting lines of straight forward progeny
bricoleur bile and death's head monotony
ramblin' rhymes mediocre melody
I sing of the depths; misdemeanor.

Look. It's Monday. We can keep forward keeping on, tales of orca and dragons. Breath, breathe, fire. I could stand tall, pissing off mountains, high hills, strangers. Potentiality is no longer a measure. Everything retains potential energy. These days the measure is not potential but jobs Jobs JOBS. Give me a coherent and calculable measure of the ineffable or give up. There is nothing that cannot be measured, reduced to bits/bytes, and streamed. And if there is, well there won't be once we finally standardize the form and eliminate analog analogues for good. One last 7" (I was in a pool!)

The fact is, the chain of influence, impotence, relevance, & association is inevitable, infinite. I can associate William Jefferson Clinton with William the Conquer, Thomas Jefferson, and George Clinton should I choose (one hell of a band that trio would make). I can associate George Walker Bush with Curious George, Walker Texas Ranger, and that band that I never really listened to much, glycerine. Of course, it isn't really a choice of association. Association is a function of language, narrative structure, and human thought processes. That which is is only by relation to that which it is not. The endless chain (and play) of signification. Could I further overdetermine a reference? Certainly. Hyperlinks. Title data. [a related project is in the works for one of my current classes]. Though overdetermination of data does not inherently signify anything any more or less meaningful than any other chosen chain of meaning and signification. We hack our own ways through the desert/jungle of reality and human relations. Enough of this. 140bmp. Skip scratch and fade the record.

Our courtyard is grassy and there is a climbing tree that Finn is too little to and terribly impatient to climb. He confides to me that the tree has too many secrets. I cannot but agree. Fast running! Daddy, chase me. There is no thinking in a vacuum. There is no think tank that is not biased towards or poisoned by the experiential reality of its "thinkers".

The Milliner Research Foundation says: "Wear Your Own Hat."

Monday, October 31, 2011

dark lines

i lost a post last week. Fully formed. Submitted. There was an error. and the screed, the ramble about words and ink and life and ennui and rebellion was lost. The world remains the same. None cried.


1. The Story. (i read books. it seemed enough. foregoing sleep. a woman. a chair. something about the music. too loud? the flight home. lost luggage. sleep. mischief.)

2. The Song. (the is a chanting or a droning in the background. perhaps it is religious. perhaps it is feedback from an audio system. perhaps it is. that which will be will be. so it goes. amen amen it shall be so.)

3. The Situation. (_)
4. The Solution. (go on then. salute.)

On another day, perhaps we are in the woods now and maybe it is a Wednesday or Thursday but regardless those involved are neither skipping work nor unemployed, so a holiday maybe or just one of those long weekends or a vacation or whatever:
Let's skinny dip!
I am aroused from all this consensual nudity. Let us have consensual sexual relations.
Now let us go our separate ways without guilt or shame despite societal proclivities and expectations to the same.
my headphones are broken. shame. that. i suppose i shall need to obtain (purchase) new ones. such. then. the same.

it's late. I need sleep. the semicolons need sleep. let us ;;;;;;;;;:

Monday, July 18, 2011

I often catch myself twisting my beard but it hasn't gotten me to stop or shave (speculative memoir)

I'd like to spend more time meditating.
He thought about the lizard. He was just trying to catch it, put in the the cup, and take it outside. Catch and release. They couldn't have a lizard in the house. No matter how tiny - less than an inch tongue to tail. How he caught it with the plastic take out tub. Caught it on it's throat on the wall up and to the right of the tv, above the amplifier and the geisha. And then there was no choice but to kill it. To crush it's little body against the wall, behead the poor bastard in a brown smear and then get a pile of Kleenex to clean off the wall. At least that stain could be removed. He had just wanted to shoo it out of the house.
I sprained my ankle in the ocean. Water was waist deep or so and the waves were coming on strong because of some tropical storm or another. High for the Atlantic, high for the summer. And the floor was distinctly uneven. And I was running. Probably should have chosen to dive earlier but I didn't have my goggles on and I wanted to delay the dull insistent burn of salt water on the contact lenses. Not a bad sprain but on my good ankle. Or a least it was.
The Master asks the Acolyte: "What is Jesus?"
Answer: "Three bearded cats."
I leave my shoes near the door. Sandals mostly. Almost exclusively. I like my toes to wiggle, my feet to be free and to stretch. It is debilitating. I over-pronate and should restrict myself to sturdy shoes with custom built orthotics. I should brush my teeth twice a day and refrain from cussing at children. Fitter. Happier. More productive.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The carpet had the fewest stains

Karl Gómez dreamed of a window, of having a window. The fan on the ceiling groaned but kept it's slow widdershins. He had been told to keep an account, the three notebooks now yellowed, full of nearly illegible chicken scratch in blue bic typical. Numbers, dates, accounts. Shopping lists, book catalogues, stray thoughts. He could never tell what was important. But he hadn't been hired to think. Just the notes.
"The facts, ma'am, and a slice of that cherry pie I saw coming in."

Poor humor had always been his defense mechanism of choice.

Karl Gómez changed into his spare shirt. If he was to meet the big man, he couldn't go in a drenched wifebeater and stained khakis. The suit was tight around his gut so he left it unbuttoned. They would be sitting most of the meeting, surely. Near a window. Mr. Jones certainly had a window. Probably windows. With views.

Karl Gómez put the notebooks in his backpack. It didn't match the suit, but it couldn't be helped. The advance had run dry weeks ago and he still didn't know if he had anything to show for it. Who could say what he had been looking for in that overheated basement "office"? Numbers, number stations, quotes from popular newspapers and magazines, street signs, bits of doggerel. He had even found one poem written above a urinal in a turnpike truckstop. He didn't know how it was relevant but he had feeling, a queer sort of sixth sense certainty.

Karl Gómez turned off the radio in the middle of a Thirteen Faces song (it was all the place these days, does that make it was good) and headed for the subway.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

He stole water from the moon. forcing a wet mop through a keyhole. All I get is the rank rot of decay and a slow trickle of grey water. Welcome to the Marketplace of the Soul!

Johnny Marag crooned menacingly, spittle forming on his lips, flying into the black of the audience. Bright lights, sweating stage. Ram's horns curled up over his dripping black hair and with his legs wrapped in curly black wool he was the very picture of a modern satyr. Satyr with a ebony Gibson Les Paul Custom. Baa baa, black sheep, fork my whorish tongue.

Pan Io. Io. Io. Pan Io. Pangenitor. Panphage. Io Pan. Pan Io.


The opening band had been something of a disappointment.
Hi! Hello there. We are the Skinflint Berrypickers. Enjoy. Ready, boys? And a 1. 2. 3. 4.

A trio of fat boys: black overalls, black bow ties, & guyliner. Bluegrass metal.
"Froggie went a courting and he did ride. Uh huh. Froggie went a courting and he did ride. Uh huh. All the way to Frankenstein's hall, stole himself a bride. Uh huh."

L'ironie est mort.

The next set was a conventional set of outoftowners that were in tune (if nothing else). Must find that van comfortable. Couldn't say why Mr. Jones would have booked them. Maybe they put out.

Then Marag took the stage, already glistening. The emo chicks creamed, the shoegazers gazed at their shoes, and the planets did align.
"Ladies and Gentlemen and drunk fuckups of all ages:


Vive l'ironie.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

All your heroes speak English

The dreams of dead men...

The computer screen flickered with the storm. Søren lit another Gauloises and sighed, nostalgic. It was his last pack.

He began to type:
Like tumblestone ram bladders...
Words & phrases (parsed)
Lyrics & lyricism (typos, included)
Picked from the æther.

Three teen girls by side of the road
With ballon swords
And imagined foes

I'll be your
(nothing but a)
Carry on.

Assumed to be a bit of doggerel (a poem to be jotted on a spare bit of parchment and left to the wind, a sharpie and a stall in a truckstop men's room) he emailed it to the whole staff. Subject: Everything is true but the flayed god hears no screams.

He looked at the pile of written requests in his paper inbox. Worse than the email. He looked at the first - a glossy black and white of Mayan statuette that looked to be smoking, breathing out the winds of death. He decided to label it "Codex Huracan". The museum staff were so beholden to his supposed expertise and to refrain from questioning even his most questionable moves. It would serve to confuse, the wise would pontificate and the fools would smile. It would buy him some time. Jerome peeked in to say hello, check what was to be checked. Søren proffered his whiskey to the night guard. It was well past the day that anyone pretended they didn't all drink on the job:

"How's the family?"
"Same shit. Wife keeps nagging that I should switch shifts, that we never see each other. Course if I did, I'm like as not to catch her balling the landscaper."
"Maybe that's what she's going for."
"Nothing that cunt does would surprise me. But the divorce would be hard on the kids. They're too young for this shit."
"Better you keep your separate spheres?"
"While she hoards travel guides and I buy guitars... So it goes... But how's bout you? Still living the high life?"
"Mr. Jones is growing impatient..."

Søren dreamed of running again. This time he was in a pawn shop haggling over the price of a '62 fretless Fender J. But running. Always running.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Thursday, June 16, 2011

full house lazy Thursday afternoon broken string tension blues

I could scarcely say and it kept nagging at me.
I could scarcely say and it kept nagging at me; working and worrying it further.
The sound's a little thin but what do you expect? It's a laminate.
Gone flat and flabby. Nylon's lost it's kick. (Daddy poke back)
Sunny and I dreamed of rain (rain and far shores, gone from this place) considering the cost of acquisition.
Silence is what you are buying, son. Your wife will thank you, I guarantee it. She doesn't want to be listening to all that banging and twanging all night, knowwhatimean? Got kids? Sure you do. And I bet they don't want to be bothered while their facebooking and messaging pics. Silence. Golden. And today. For you. Cheap. Let me just go talk to my manager, see if we can't knock this price tag down a bit. I'll be right back, don't you go nowhere.

Stickers for the case. Proof of something: travel, experience, humiliation, humanity. The words go unread. They can wait, I can do it later. There are more import - well, no this isn't really important but -

You see, I want to be loud.

"The sun's not yellow, it's chicken." - The Commander-in-Chief
"I'm a Yankee doodle dandy." Paul Revere, Jr.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Friday, June 3, 2011

Playing to an empty room

I am a man of rather extreme pretension. I style myself a writer, aim to be a musician, a renaissance artist, and a dashing rogue (with rapist wit). A restless soul. And the wanderlust. Not to mention the occasionally pathological drive to know more and more in a rather desperate archeology of (low) culture.

In times of desperation or introspection, I find myself questioning the validity of these stylizations. I am a man. Husband, father. Son, brother. I am a student. These are the facts that can be legally conferred upon me. That and the unpleasant student loan debt. The others are, naturally, considerably more relative.

I can call myself a writer as I do write, have been paid to do so. And yet. There is the sense (often illegitimate) that a writer must make a living off writing, must be on a trajectory towards Stephen King success, must be known and popular, &c &c.

Much the same for music. Not only must on be proficient on the instrument but there must be a record, the record must be disseminated.

It would seem, at least to me, that these titles - writer, musician, artist, et al - must be externally applied. That they are titles others give you, labels they put on your great work, your passion, your pastime, whatever it is we do when we do it. That it isn't true unless it is externally verified. You aren't an artist until someone else agrees. Jack Black claims that "one great rock show can change the world." But what if you only ever play one show? Or is the exhibitionism inherent in the label. People who play music for their friends and family alone wouldn't call themselves musicians?

I hate to think that commercialism is what defines the artist. Not that I dispute the holism of the Culture Industry. Cultural production is a Being-toward the Industry even when it is not a planned participant in the gated community. Yet, it is the commercial viability of the of the work (whether mainstream audience or niche Internet subculture) that allows the artist to be defined, to be disseminated. Or is there something to just putting it out there: writing on a blog that no one reads, posting videos that no one watches, playing music for an empty room.

Until that day...
... "I'll see you all in the coming fall in the Big Rock Candy Mountains."

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Things unfamilia' might sneak up and kill ya!"

It's an identity thing, an issue of forming an identity, crafting it. Who am I? And who do I want to become? There have been significant portions of my life where this has been decided for me. I was the good son, the irascible churchgoer, the smart kid. The roles were defined for me and I fit them, well enough, and maintained. But I've moved around enough that I have been able to recreate myself. A couple times. No history. No baggage except what you bring with you. And I've gotten better at leaving it behind. Of course the problem with not being defined by your surroundings or circumstances is that self-definition offers so many damn options. Choice anxiety. And a lack of time.

I take photographs. Sometimes videos. And alter them.
I play music. Bass. Uke. Mando. Harmonica. Trumpet.
I paint. Acrylics. Bold colors. Broad strokes.
I cook. Organic. Asian. Italian. New American. *Fusion*.
I have a bike. A lock. A helmet.
I want to wander off into the empty wilderness. The beach. A mountain.
I write. vox clamantis en deserto.

And I have a two year old that takes up all of my time while he is awake. Not to mention the financial constraints of a single income family and the expensive nature of my "hobbies".

I find it difficult, with my limited time and funds, to really fix an identity, to decide that I am the guy who does this thing. Whatever thing. I don't have time to practice, to get out and do any one specific thing. And so I dabble. A little of this, a little from column b, and presto chango alla kazam (jack of all trades and master of none). Also I'm lazy.

I like buying new things. Or the idea of buying new things. Experiences, experiential materiel, the ideas notions and progression towards experiences. New instruments, better amps, a fancier camera and lenses, handmade kitchen knives, survival tools, tents, bug out gear, books that I will eventually get around to reading, movies I hope to watch, music I might listen to at some point. I like thinking about the things I would like to buy, the things that would allow me to become the guy who has these things who can use them to do these other things. Everything would Neal verify adjust s bit more money, &c &c, and the rest of that tired routine. It's not a matter of solving all my problems, but it is a hope for an easy way out. When practice is the only way and there is either time to practice or time to sleep ...

You may say that I'm a dreamer but I'm not

in this case.

Actually, I probably am.

I'm certainly rambling. The point is I have several contradictory life goals. I want to live on a beach with no electricity while I play a hollow body bass through a giant stack. I want to live out in the mountains away from the rabble of society while writing (hell, blogging) about pop culture, allusive, recursive, self-referential. I want to become a survivalist in an electric blues band taking photographs of light and human detritus. I haven't been able to fully work out the kinks. I guess there is nothing specifically impossible about the combinations. Unlikely. But not impossible. Sort of a time share thing. A shack on the beach, a cabin in the woods, satellites, and touring in between (writing and shooting pics in the downtime, cooking when hungry).

Of course crushing student loan debt and a rambunctious two year old slow the process down rather significantly. But you can win the lottery without buying a ticket, right?

No purchase necessary. Some restrictions apply.

"Next time, Gadget."
- Dr. Claw, D.Div.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On the consequences of empty time

My first impulse after being woken up in the morning is going back to sleep. I let my son out of his room (he no longer will open the door himself), turn off his white noise machine, make him a bottle. Then grab my pillow and fall over on the couch hoping he doesn't need me for anything for a while.

It's my second and third and fourth impulse too.
But it always seems to be the wrong choice. Staying up and I am exhausted, but with the kind of shut eye I get on the couch, ever interrupted to be part of some game or to put on some Pixar or to get his breakfast of the wife's coffee ready. I am better served by making that coffee, sucking it up and reading the news, engaging the mind so that collapsing isn't the only viable option. I waste so much time during the day trying to do nothing while Finn runs around with semi-caged pure wild animal craziness. It doesn't help that the weather is hardly conducive to outdoor play and our "yard" isn't fenced from the road (so enticing).

But he's going to school soon (both us boys, and with matching tin ninja turtle lunch boxes). Well, "school". Daycare. But ideally with a bit of structure and instruction. He's mostly going because I won't be home to watch him all day and for the development of necessary social skills (no spitting, hitting, head butting, screaming, or throwing breakables, and I guess sharing and listening too). I'm mostly going back to school because I hear that doctors are well respected in this country and someone needs to bring back the medicine show.

UPDATE: Finn just took me over to the couch and told me I should be sleeping. Clearly he recognizes my patterns.

Medicine show does sound like fun, doesn't it. A touring menagerie of musicians, con men, hucksters, comics, and preachers all selling my particularly cracked and absurd slant on the far side of the darkened glass. It is what's missing. But logistics would likely sink the op. Too many options these days. Why go to a show where you would be expected to learn something, to participate? A show without stars or celebrities or comfortable and recognizable household names? Put that on the list of other unlikely projects...

I was thinking yesterday about what injecting some stability, some routine, into my daily life would do to improve my mood/ the general state of things. Days would begin in much the same way, but after breakfast I would walk Finn to school and then come home to coffee, the news, daily blogging (*gasp). I could spend the days prepping for class, working on journal submissions (both academic and fiction). Ah, dreams.

"Life goes on, brah." - Lennon/McCartney

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Monday, May 2, 2011

A man is dead. headshot. Osama.

“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” - misattributed to Twain based on a similar line by Clarence Darrow. Also popularly not said by Churchill

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - MLK

"He's dead, Jim." - Leonard "Bones" McCoy

"So it goes." - Vonnegut

The getaway is the essence of the crime. And for the last ten years, he had gotten away. Never seen "justice". That is no longer the case. The implications of the death of Osama bin Laden abound:

(in no particular order or organization)

A week (two?) ago we learned on Glee that a diva can schedule a meeting and then show up hours later as if nothing is amiss. The President proved last night (when he preempted Celebrity Apprentice, made all the major news anchors embarrass themselves and expose the limitations of their wit and extemporaneous speaking skills, and made Fox News not insult him for a few minutes (and also proclaim his death "accidentally")) that he still wears the big boy pants.

It was 11:30 on a Sunday, May Day. And, coincidentally the 8 year anniversary of "Mission Accomplished".

Symbols, symbolism, symbology.

There are quite a few things we learned last night:

The White House is, and remains, if little else, a voice of authority. It's version is the version.

Cable news is dead, or at least, impotent, irrelevant, dying. How many talking heads proved their worthlessness last night? I'm looking at you, Wolf.

Twitter: Scoop. Jokes. Rumors. Misattributed Twain quotes. Troubling desires to abuse corpses. Ghost, zombie, and Osama in Hell accounts. Humanity. (and it seems that the whole op was live tweeted).

What it comes down to is:
either we are naive enough to think that the killing of a man who has become little more than alienated figurehead (anathema, pariah, etc) will take down a worldwide network of autonomous cells, or that revenge can bring back those we lost.
Or we are jaded so significantly as to render this into a political move, a power play, a theater of cruelty (they were dancing in the streets of Palestine after 9/11). What is the shock doctrine selling us today?

Of course it's not as simple as that. It never is.

Sure it is a political move. Everything is politics, everything is power and shifting alliances, especially at that level of society. Daes Dae'mar, The Game of Houses, The Great Game. But I don't know that I am ready to ascribe that level of conspiratorial power to the US or any other government. Strings aren't that easy to pull. But it isn't just a happenstance revenge play, a Hail Mary pass in the last minutes of the game.

Everything changes. Everything stays the same.

1. The same people stay in power.
2. You can't say democrats support terror, are weak on nat security, didn't really want to pursue him
3. Bush couldn't do it and his mission was accomplished
4. Fox News had to spend a few minutes without anything bad to say about the president. (perhaps it was as close to an apology as they could get for when Geraldo "misspoke" and said that Obama was dead)

"Bring the boys back home." - Pink Floyd

Will this change the status quo? No, but it might make some people feel better about it. And aside from the breakdown of civilization and is gentle comforts in an armed insurrection, that really is all we have: accepting our pile of garbage and scraps from the masters' table with a smile or at least a smaller grimace.

Will it bring the men and women of the armed services back home? Probably not. Sure the war in Afghanistan was about 9/11and bringing Osama to justice. And the war in Iraq wasn't about much at all. And this war in Libya has nothing to do with either. But you can't just pull out now and pretend you were wearing a condom the whole time.

But if nothing ever changes, what does it matter? And what does it matter how dulled and deluded the masses are, remain? If they dance in the streets and celebrate death, is it surprising? Does it matter to those of us who cannot celebrate death? No one ever agrees (always agree). Preach to the choirs, because we have all chosen sides and don't want to listen to proselytizing from across the aisle, pond, universe. Utopia is a thought experiment, it was never a real place, an expected outcome, a consummation devoutly to be wished. Comes out as pretty depressing, I suppose. Defeatist, sure. But when you spend most of your days bouncing theories off a two-year-old, you realize that it doesn't matter if you convince anyone of anything. Keep them entertained, maybe. The world is a place. Go on...

At least the burial at sea leaves something for the conspiracy theorists to spout off on now that the President has shown us his long form.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A campfire, a ghost story (perhaps the hook on the rearview mirror, it matters not)

It is a story of personal and professional truth, of the difference, inherent. Each to each. Of the truth that is in the telling, the tone and rasp of the old man's voice, the flicker and glow of the firelight, the lingering taste of the scotch, of the metal of the flask that held it, cradled it, a home, away from home, and homeward bound. Further up, further in, further along the path, the road goes ever onward and the clearing at the end of the path, may you find water and shade.

He believed there may have been facts but remained unconcerned. If their lack was anything it was not apparent, it was not felt or missed. The truth is in the telling, the teller. And the old man spoke with authority, a voice imbued with the power of the muses, the force of gods unbound, and in his silences we experienced death, emptiness, the draining out of the human vessel. Empty, made clean. The is-ness of things, Being-in-the-World, Being-as-Such.

He wanted another s'more. Perhaps the phrasing was just that he wanted s'more or even s'more s'more, but that felt redundant and cloying on the tongue, and he desire the gooeyness of the marshmallow not words, not now. Soon it would be his turn to tell. He was nervous, to follow such an act, such a telling. The close of the old man's story drifted away with a slight evening breeze, the forest's gentle Nachtmusik, but nothing was lost. Nothing is ever truly lost. It was now his turn, eyes had refocused on him, heads turned, slightly elevated, expectant. He put the flask to his lips:
In a forest not unlike this very forest, Баба-Яга began to sing...

Self-importance; or, impotence & thoughts during an early lunch

Mawkish. A man in Teva sandals, board shorts and an all around look of disheveled ignorance. As if he didn't realize that he didn't look stylish or new professional, like the kind of kid that can get away with that look and still demand to be taken seriously. As he voided his breakfast order, gathered his things, made protestations of time, late late for a real and actual meeting. Said he comes here all the time, this place is the best, dropped a Hamilton for his coffee (not enough for the whole check, where does that money go? is it a tip? a short payment? who takes the hit: waitress or establishment?), will get you next time, and out the door with his pen and legal pad and documents and smug self-satisfaction. I disliked him immediately.

I took his emptied table.

The waitresses mock him after he is gone. They do not think of him the way he thinks they think of him. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

I begin writing, this piece and another: a book of stories, a story of the book, of the people of the book, of a shelf of books dusty unread to be read full to the bursting with their tales their woes their lives and words unlived unbreathed not breathing; we wait. My sandwich arrives, I sip my coffee.

I eat. I return to writing. I take two photographs. I pay and leave.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And so, Perhaps. [beach combing thoughts]

Following. A strange act to follow, rampaging wild and say, footloose. But frankly, if such an act remains possible (remains at all): to be frank, to speak frankly; regards to one's biases and seeking to acknowledge and eschew them. But frankly, it is the act of following, to follow, to follow after that remains strange, the strange. To choose a page, a stage, a path, a venue that has been chosen, chosen before, chosen for, chosen again; established.

I sit on the beach, it has been so long, so long, my friend. Blessed be. I sit on the beach in the late morning wind, shirtless to the high and rising sun, pen succumbing to the elements, elemental decay, wondering if I should take the plunge. No one is swimming, perhaps I should have checked the flags before cooking my feet on the hot sand, or called ahead. The surf is up with the wind but there doesn't seem to be any extreme wildlife danger, the sharks keep to the pier. Wondering if any of the women - they are all women at this hour - are watching me, watching me waiting for me to watch them, to notice they have undone their tops to remove tan lines from their backs how risqué, how much more absurd to only have them up front, pale breasts shyly exposed to husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, empty fitness center lockers with lines extended to the clavicle no further. I don't watch, they are incidental, I have come here to film. Perhaps meditate. I have begun to sweat.

The water was cool, cool to warm, nicely so and the sunlight sparkled beneath the clear waves. There is a shot in there, if I can get it. I have limited equipment. The ice has melted from my bottle. The women do not seem to think (perhaps they do not care, perhaps they revel in the audacity) I have come here to film them. Perhaps this is common. Perhaps nothing is absurd enough to pull them from their sunbathing, their beach reads.Just a man, ankle deep in the water, staring out to the horizon with a multiplicity of eyes. Also, perhaps, perpetual motion.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Four String Plague (to obtain more productive distractions)

[composed while watching The Stand; thinking about plagues and strumming on a ukelele]

In a perfect world, I suppose I could just call them hobbies. In a perfect world, I suppose they would be equally legitimate pursuits and I would be a renaissance man and not a dabbler. Sure they keep me from writing, but with a toddler around, there are a lot of times when simply can't be writing. Today I'll be a bricoleur.

"I've got blisters on me fingers."

I bought the uke a while back, something about the four strings. I didn't quite realize it wasn't tuned in fourths like my bass, though. I still need to look up how to tune the stings. Fifths and re-entrant and all that. Initially, I had thought to use it as an odd and tiny acoustic bass. Not quite. But I've gotten into it. Learned a few chords, and when I get around to changing the strings (lousy factory strings) and getting a clip-on tuner so that I don't have to be continually assaulted by the jarring not quite right notes, it might actually sound ok.

Finn loves to play bass with me. Or, rather he is far more interested in fucking around with the electric tuner while I muddle through. So much so that he throws fits if I don't let him whether I am interested in playing or not. Or I have to spend the whole time keeping him from smacking the guitar with his blocks or toys or whatever. Bad enough that he broke my practice amp the other day. Turns out one should not smack all the buttons and turn it off and on in rapid succession. I think he just caused a connection to break or fray in there somewhere but I haven't opened it up to take a look (it's not worth it to take it in to get fixed, I'll tell you that). Got me thinking I should get myself an acoustic bass. Won't need a cheapo amp to hear it; less breakable parts, less wires. I was thinking of going fretless.

I was also considering a mandolin. Something about those four stringers (in this case they're doubled, but same dif). It would be considerable smaller than an acoustic bass, the unwieldy bastard. And size is a big deal when you have a toddler that wants to mess around with every not white childproofed thing in the house. Not to mention that buying a hardcase or mounting the bass on the wall out of reach costs almost as much as the guitar itself.

See, I'm sorta looking to make this degenerate four string electric blues sound. I feel like playing the uke through a harmonica mic would be a solid component o' that sound. No idea where that thought came from, don't think anyone's bothered to try that one yet. Be a while before I do, though: too much money, too many wires. Add in a hollow body bass with a slide, a four string banjo, and maybe Finn can drop in on Einstein's electric violin (fiddle of gold against your soul...). Fourth String. Hmm, makes you think...

"No gigs yet... Just got together... Is Tuesday night cool for you? ... We'll just, you know, jam."

So that's another reason agains the acoustic bass - it's not really part of the sound, of the idea of the music I think about hearing in my head. Not being able to afford the one's I really want (or imagine I desire), I feel like I should get something that furthers me down the road. Ideally something that teaches me chords for a GDAE axe. (I've considered retuning the uke, it doesn't seem to be recommended). It'd be nice to play bass chords. There is that.

Because I'm not exactly a musician. Not anymore. Not since I left Montana and the last good band teacher. Maybe not since I got the braces and fucked my horn playing royally. And since then (despite another five years of active band participation) I've mostly been a dabbler, getting by on what I could fake (and back in the day I could fake a lot on the trumpet). But I, like almost everybody else, like the idea of playing music, like playing music, and certainly love an adoring crowd lavishing the praise (I can hear those yaks already). It is a much more immediate gratification that writing can provide, and a live show is a lot more verifiable than an hit counter on the blog, an easier energy to feed off, feedback on. Maybe someday. Keep building the callouses.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Drinking and writing and being a dad

Tequila Gimlet; rocks no sugar.

You watch a lot of the same movies. Luckily we've been able to avoid the mindless schlock normally marketed to toddlers. Finn likes Pixar. And Wes Anderson's stop-motion.

A non-exhaustive list:
Castle in the Sky
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Finding Nemo
Kung Fu Panda
Toy Story
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 3

And for that I am glad. Because if you are going to watch a movie over and over, it had better be good. Of course, it all becomes so much background noise. And with luck I can use it as an opportunity to scribble.

In fact, you do a lot of things over and over. Like getting up from the couch to reassemble a Duplo truck (cement truck according to the manufacturer, garbage truck according to an obsessive tot), or to open the fridge to say no to more milk or orange juice, or to reopen the shades revealing the greatest play area ever (windowsill FTW), or to search the house for the bear he needs to hold to calm down but will abandon in discreet corners and under tables and behind beds. Or all manner of additional activities relating to toys, food, annoyances, and tasks he can't or decides not to do on his own. There are many. It has been one of the more difficult things for me to adjust to. I like to sit still, to lie about/in. I lack boundless energy. He doesn't. Getting up means I can't nap. Or finish typing most sentences. C'est la vie avec l'enfant.

There is a Magic Hat bottle cap on the fridge. While the inside of the cap is generally printed with a witty or quirky phrase, usually in rhyme, this one reads: "You need to write more". No, I do not expect it is so unique as to be made just for us, but it is amusing in it's assumptions: writers drink and feel that they need to write more (and need to be reminded of the latter while they are distracted by the former). Given all my trips to the fridge, for Finn and my own aimless wanderings, it's a nice reminder. Occasionally it leads to something (two posts in one day!). Often not. But then there is also the Bukowski magnet: "until you die or it dies in you." I ain't dead yet. And for that, I suppose, I should be grateful, and I should keep writing. Hooray beer! Hooray responsibility!

I worry about his exposure to violence, so redolent in this fragmented Age. Getting tired of the repeat viewings, I occasionally try to watch something else on the side (Netflix for iPad). I've been meaning to watch Baader-Meinhoff Complex for some time, but the violence of it all (disturbing, senseless yet meaningful, timely) is beyond his ken. And it's not like I can explain what's going on when he glances away from the big screen. I think I might save that one for while he is asleep or entertained in another room. [though I am much less concerned, not unconcerned but less, with letting him watch nature shows as lions take down zebras] And so I take to the page, sipping my alternative gimlet and watching a rat cook haute French cuisine. Ah, the days, they are so fleeting. 物の哀れね〜

"... the rat ... he stole my documents..." (sans papiers)

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

We have coffee again (with adorable photos)

We have coffee again. The new grinder came in yesterday afternoon. Led to Finn running outside chasing the mail lady. She was amused. He wasn't wearing any shoes and, chasing after, neither was I. Does great things for the floors. So as long as I don't break this one...

Finn is making incongruous shapes out of his duplos; calling them food. We both partake. "Food. Good."

He decided he could read all his books at the same time

Enough photos.

It's an odd thing, coming to grips with being a dad, a stay-at-home one at that. Puts my artistic narcissism in a new light. I hate being the guy that only talks about his kid, but when he is your sole companion all day (and when so few of the people around share my odd and divergent interests)...

My instagram feed is mostly pictures of him, my twitter feed is mostly about him or a "Being-without" when I get time away (though it's really about 80% RTs). There is a certain claustrophobia to it all. Did I mention he's sitting on my lap now?

I guess it comes down to a phase shift, switching a twentysomething's listless drunken ennui for a suburban stasis, a holding pattern where I hope I don't run out of jet fuel before John McClane sets fire to the runway. I guess when thinking about my future, I never really considered the reality behind chasing after a toddler. I don't want to call it growing up or maturing because while that has been an aspect of it for me, it isn't for many, much as they would protest. Parenting no longer fits on that continuum of events that one "does after high school" in the same way that I contend that college in not inherently necessary to a good life. In fact, the more of those way stations on the road of life that I pass unheedingly, the more I realize the absurdity in thinking that this is the way things must be done, should be done. At least I'm now in position to give advice to the next generation. Of course, looking, acting, and thinking the way I do, I doubt many will listen.

A thought to leave you with: Ravensburger puzzles have interchangeable pieces.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lo, the compositor (a man, a plan, a kid, & Spaceballs)

Bolt is on for the third time today and yet again no one is watching it. I'm grabbing a rare minute to write after fucking around on the GarageBand app creating a distinctly out of tune statement of bass guitars. I am fairly convinced that I need a translator to turn my rough music ideas into a actionable composition. Oh the degenerate hobbies of a dilettante. I am also drinking some Earl Grey tea. Finn is playing with what sounds like duplos or his trains (likely both) in his room and hasn't needed me to come in a fix something for a few minutes. A lucky respite. If he hadn't woken up at 5 (and spent 15 minutes lying on the floor outside our bedroom not knocking or coming in for reasons all his own - but I could hear him out there) and napped so early that I just took it as opportunity to go back to sleep myself, this might be a more exciting turn. But you take the time you can get. And I am always exhausted on Mondays...
"Yes, little man, what do you need?"

Two puzzles, a book, and a piggyback ride later, I return. Finishing the tea and cracking into a Sam Adams Scotch Ale (not too bad). I've grown tired (and mildly depressed) that I can usually quote Bolt better than Spaceballs. Though due to multiple daily watchings of this another, mostly Pixar works, my favorite movies no longer number anywhere near the top of the list of Most Watched. So, not much of a surprise, but still. And Since we picked up the Mel Brooks collection not too long ago; perhaps it's time to remedy the situation.
"You went over my helmet!"

He seems not to object. Of course he is more interested in the train on the open page of Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. You have to start somewhere. If this works out though, I'll be glad. Glad glad glad glad glad.
Problems you never knew you would have as a parent #217: explaining that a Mog is not a Lion.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Sunday, April 10, 2011

When I say 'fifth' I really mean 750 mL {part v}

Anthony ordered a porterhouse (rare) and three fingers of the Talisker 25 year. It seemed fitting. (They were the same age) Ocelelot splurged on a chicken Caesar, dressing on the side, no croutons. Sir Talis just drank water, glass after glass, mumbling incoherently (inchoate) about Chapel Perilous; a garden or gardener.

They overheard two men in boxy American suits (cut large to poorly conceal their bulk rather than say the more interesting plot arc concerning sidearms that would indicate that they were hit men or the brand new heavies):
"I don't have the time, Werner. Sonny and Walt will be here any minute."
"But it's envy, see. Universal envy. That's the news, Cort!"

I am full of incomprehensible nonsense. I call it education. I call it a fever. And the cure is more cowbell. Also books. And black magick. They stopped listening to the two ugly extensions of corporate America when they realized that they were not going to be a meaningful plot device. When you put a gun on the mantel in the fifth act ...

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Saturday, April 9, 2011

To see a man about a book {part ii}

So hold on to your horse, my friend. And if your horse should pass away then simply pretend that you can build them again.

"Barkeep, I'll have a whiskey. And a whisky."
"Not from around these parts, are ya, partner?"
"Not from around any parts, friend."
"Why they call you 'Ocelot'?"
"It's a good enough name, I suppose. Fits me near enough."
"I'm the fastest gun East of Shanghai."
"The hell you say."
"Do you bite your thumb at me, sir?"
"You wanna step outside and dance?"
"I'll be your huckleberry."
bang. pow. zap.
"¿Quién es? ¿Quién es?"

That combination of wood smoke and sandalwood just does me in.
Ritual, I suppose. Ritual without worship, detached and descending. A pattern or a routine to cling to in the face of the Smiling Voids.

They rode for hours, in and out of days, weeks, months, years, decades, lifetimes... This is the place:
It was a small town with a big fence. Like castle walls of old. Protecting the town from dangers unknown. Protecting the town from the likes of them. They stopped at the Waygate to shit, shave, & shower. Anthony looked at the spare bit of parchment he had been carrying since the Territories. A name. A place.

"State your business!"
"We're here to see a man about a book."
"You may enter. For the day. You have to be out by Evenfall."

Location:Florida A1A,North Palm Beach,United States

Friday, April 8, 2011

Concerning a Quest, a Hunt, & Some Food {part iv}

The road clouds, Ocelot and Anthony make their way to the town gate. Best be gone before the sun. Before anyone asks about Beth or her house. Before the Night's Watch finds what's to be found; the stash.

Truth & Beauty: spilling out of the folds of her dress

There's nothing there: we craft the walls of our own prisons and fill them with our exception's imagination.

Even in the Outlands, closer to death more aware more at peace with all and everything, he thought longing of his books. What had become of them? Had they succumbed to the fires as so much else? He hoped not. He dared not dwell.

"Got any food?"
"Well... Got any money?"
"Well, what do you got?"
"A good bit of rope. An appetite for destruction. And a two illegal knives."
"Do you have a plan?"
"Well, Anthony... I say we steal some food. But first we need to steal a couple bandit hats."
"I am intrigued. But first, lend me one of them bitchin' knives."

I write in bursts. In fits and starts and Sunday rains. It don't mean nothing.

The world is ending and we are ending with it. Whimper. Bang.

"Excuse me, sir."
"I have this here stabbing knife as does my esteemed associate. Lest we use them to decorate your viscera, give us some food. Also, is that your daughter behind you?"
"Yes. Her name is Beth. Also, what type of food?"

Location:Florida A1A,North Palm Beach,United States

On exorcising the bad taste of disagreeable locals

I find myself more pleasant company. I used to think I liked to talk just to hear the dulcet tones of my golden voice. Maybe it used to be true. Maybe it still is, conditionally. I am not an evangelist.

It's another bright sunshiny day, but I'm inside because the ac is nice and my skin burns easy. Forgot to put the sunscreen on this am and frankly don't need to go all lobster. Going out tonight. With adults. To a show. Have to look my best. No, the vanity is still intact. Oh, the yaks. The fields and fields of gentle, unassuming yaks.

Headphones. They keep the world at bay, allow me to wallow in my chosen filth. Allow me to avoid and ignore the ignorance around me, the bad taste, the foolish belief systems, and general stupidity of the world, of this little sunburnt corner of it specifically. I have chosen this life, it's relative poverty (financially anyway, but we are rich in spirit & spirits). I don't need to bother with the talking points of a gaggle of MSM parrots and their reality tunnel vision. After a couple hours though, the the headphones make my ears hurt. Hours is better than minutes though. I am the mad prophet. I like to listen to myself ramble, miss the semantic arguments with people who know what the word 'semantic' meant. But I find that I have no desire whatsoever to preach to these lost sheep, I do not seek to save the lost from Glenn Beck (what will they do now that his tv show is cancelled? Huddle around the radio? Just like real Americans used to when men where men and women and minorities knew their place? No, I will not take book recommendations from you, sir. Not all reading is good reading.)

I was irrationally upset by having my afternoon ruined yesterday by a conversation with a man who not only disagreed with me on every issue, but knew he was right and couldn't figure out why I didn't embody the straw man positions that he has been told 'liberals' have. Sure, I wasn't able to write but it was more than that. This man ruined a bar for me that I really wanted to like. I mean, it's not great. It has a quaint charm but it's beer selection is shameful. But it was the best one in stumbling distance. And I guess, this is the final nail. I don't belong here. I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo. And now I'm ready to go. Last one out of Liberty City, burn it to the ground.

The real issue is that I no longer have any desire to engage with people who are narrow minded. It's not that I only want to talk to people who agree with me, engage with those who will massage my ego and assure me that the world is still a rational and sensible place. Because it isn't and I don't. But I do expect the people I talk to to realize that they have chosen their reality tunnel and that there are others and that all of them are equally legitimate and equally manufactured nonsense. Open-mindedness. Critical thinking skills. A glimpse behind the curtain (pay no attention to that man!). Not all talking is good talking. I don't care if you heed my message or not: I'm not looking to save heathens, just entertain friends and fellows.

So hopefully you are entertained. And I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States (a Starbucks)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On the immediacy of writing on the interwebs, a quick note

Why is it that I find it so easy to ramble here or the tumblr but so hard to compose the lengthy publishable pieces I need? Immediacy, I suppose. I like the idea of people reading my work. People other than Gina. And a dormant perfectionism. I get so bogged down in the details of my various long form pieces that I rarely can bring them to a satisfactory close; they languish in an limbo bogged down in one insignificant detail that no one will look up, that three people in the history of ever might complain about, all because I know that it is probably wrong or contains within it the potential to be misconstrued. Then again, what doesn't? And so I am placed in a position where I really need to get over myself and get on with it. Because while it is satisfying to check the blog stats and find out that some 49 people have read my writing, it would be so much more satisfying to know that my writing had been legitimately published in a journal that boasts an actual readership and a substantial distribution/subscriber network. But enough of that, food's here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Florida A1A,Riviera Beach,United States (Brass Ring Pub)

Wake up, it's nearly noon...

A stream of fungible rambles to wake the brain and let the words flow in a rather more coherent and marketable fashion; begin:

"He's not selling any alibis."

4:48 and he's in the room asking for mama his bottle his white noise off and to just be with us generally. But I have my contacts in, they are the sleep in kind [the kind that it doesn't matter that I leave them in overnight and they last a month but I'm wearing a new pair after a week in the glasses and six months in the last pair (an optometrist's nightmare, I)], and unlike yesterday I can see the clock and recognize that neither he nor I nor my lady wife nor any reasonably sane person that isn't working graveyard or partying like it's 1066 should be waking or woken at this hour (a full 30 minutes earlier than the day before and 50 minutes earlier than the day before that - no way I was jumping down that defeatist rabbit hole).


He screamed, fussed, bitched, moaned, and smacked the door that I was holding closed to keep him in his room, urge him back to the comfort of his bed, his stuffed souls (bear, frog, lamb, paisley). 16 minutes. I have the stronger will. For now. I returned to spoon the lady wife.


"God said to Abraham, 'Kill me a son.'"

Testing, a ritual of self-flagellation, proof positive that we are human, that we are epic fail. Being towards. Some would argue, poorly as the lay audience of self involved parents giving over their lives to vicariously ruin the lives of their spawn have given me the general impressing that they lack a philosophical vocabulary let alone a wit to effectively construct and communicate such an argument (an apology for reproduction and self-effacement), that once one becomes a parent one ceases to be an individual. While it can be easily stated (less easily followed look at all those shitty parents out the) that when one has a child a significant portion of one's life is indeed constructed as a 'Being with' or a 'Being for' the child (as they are incapable of effecting such a Being for themselves for a period of time unique to the individual and I'm sure there are plenty of studies on this that you could look up and decide which is right for you and yours) that is not, nor should it be, the whole of one's ontological character. The self is always first s constructed self. Should you choose to construct that self as a subject of another (an Other), it is clearly a choice amongst the plethora, but the self-effacement is a choice and not a necessity nor really should it be a goal. Personally, I find it to be a rather depressing form of escapism. I have far preferable means of effecting escapism, I think I'll keep to those.

6:13 and he's back and looking for hot milk and hopefully a cuddle that let's daddy go back to sleep on the couch and mama shower and get ready to wrangle those cats into orderly rows, desks, and everybody do your lessons (you can't have your pudding unless you eat your meat!). Half a banana, two cereal bars, a tickle fight, a game of chase (Attention: Today all trains will be re-routed over the windowsill, expect delays) later his sitter drops by to take him out. Kung Fu Panda has played through three times (I think, it's getting harder and harder to tell). And now it is my day to write. I download a solitaire app.

"Because something is happening here but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

Location:Anchorage Dr,North Palm Beach,United States

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

lights on shades drawn sunlight peeking through

My life is not my own and so I agonize. The sun burns my retina in another junk sick afternoon in a dingy version of American paradise. Who would choose this shit? This pisspoor offering of bloodmoney and bad taste. If only I could really turn to drugs, to booze, to artificial means.
"Death is light as a feather."
1. It all relates. Everything has equal meaning; is equally meaningless. A chocolate stain, an ass itch, a cotton swab, a glass of cheap wine, being bored while reading, then inspired.
2. There is no ethics. There is only the moment and the memory; regret, impulse, and the grumblings of the mobs.

We call up our darkness and our pain because it is what we use to relate to society (the source of our pain and darkness; the shame we feel under the gaze, the averted eyes in the originary face2face, the beginning of our denial of ethics, an unchanged and unchanging avowal to remember to remember to forget).
"This tastes significantly better than sardines."
We look at life, at our lives, at the wreckage of history, of all that has gone before and crumbled into the sand and concrete from which we build anew. We look out first through one lens, then another, another. We look out looking in never seeing, never seen (always watching: a society of voyeurs never exhibiting, fear, shame, denial, anger, resentment, depression, the acceptance of inevitable failure)

3. I am better as myself, than myself, it is better to be me.
4. Sustained contradiction is the basis of thought, happiness, humanity.
“… to be a rock and not to roll…”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Morning Production, idle thoughts

... pushing through the rumbling streets, the matadors & master races ...

She hums Chinese work songs; off key, soft but too loud to ignore. The Colombian used to sing too. In Spanish, whatever came to mind. Corridos, boleros - unless Xtina or Shakira came on the store radio (& he'd sing along).

Half a tank of blood for oil: I have a long commute. The black foetal balls of vestigial munitions or -

"How can I help you, sir?"
"I want a roll."
"An inside out roll, I guess."
"With spicy sauce."
"Ok. What kind of rice?"
"Whole wheat."
"You mean brown rice?"
"Yeah. That."
"And what do you want inside."
"Avocado and cucumber and um ... What's a crabstick?"
"A fish cake that tastes like crab."
"Yeah, I guess I'll have that. With extra ginger and soy sauce and the green mustard."
"So that's a California roll on brown rice with spicy sauce and extra ginger. Anything else?"
" ... "
"3 minutes."

That humming is really starting to grate. Like the afterbirth of a syphilitic reptile. I've got to get out of here. The only entertainment: plastic surgery disasters, fully erect boob jobs, facial injections from cartoon sweatshops. I've got to head for the door, walk out like I walked in, hit the ground, "got a wife & kid & Baltimore Jack" -

"Here you go, sir. Thank you."

Oil the gloves, this avocado is well past rotten up.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

On lunch

An inquisitive young girl sits patiently, waiting quietly to eat her sushi, looking around the store cafeteria while her country club parents pray over lunch. I wonder when they are going to realize she doesn't look to them for answers anymore. Damn you, school and your science!!!

I turn back to my coffee. "Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Bosses

Management: snappy dresser, wears no socks, doesn't get hands dirty

K: in over his head, just a chef, quit to be just a chef at a restaurant, musician, just wanted to be warm

CrazyLady: crazy, over-share-er, always does what she is told even when it makes no sense or is a bad idea

The Kid: didn't get no respect, didn't take the job seriously, enjoyed addictions & ladies, quit to go back to a restaurant, then quit restaurant, still just a kid

Self: it was only temporary

BossMan: certain of himself, self-described as tricky/devious, believes cavemen rode dinosaurs at the beginning of time (2,011 years ago), once hit former boss with chair, stole policeman's gun, poisoned wife

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The First Few Weeks. Delirium III.

I work alternately in a refrigerator or between two fires.

7. Management.
The day begins as all days begin. With an alarm clock. And misery. Later there is coffee, ideally. Some days there is no coffee. Those are bad days. Though, these days, all the days have been bad. Today management will drop by unexpectedly. The idealism will be infectious for about twenty minutes. Then the infection will set in.

1. Training.
Day 1.
“There is a lot to learn and no time. We’re understaffed and I’m leaving in less than a month. After that you are going to have to take over. But don’t worry. I’ll show you how to work smart not hard. Now I’ve already cut this beef and I’m not going to do it over to show you. I’ll show you that next time. But here is how we prep it. We need egg whites. Do you know how to separate an egg?” - Hammer. All in one breath. Without taking his eyes of the meat. At least I’m getting paid.


I would relate more details. There are endless details. Touch of pepper. Add salt to this when. When and where and why. But remember it’s all up to you when you do it. Rules? Guidelines? Health code? Who knows? But details are irrelevant. There is food. I cooked it. People bought it. And presumably ate it without complication. It is best not to search for meaning where there is no meaning. Total hours for the week: 56.

4. I can’t wait to quit this job.
I can’t wait to quit this job.

19. We begin anew
There is a malaise that spreads like a contagion. I see it in their eyes. Dead, empty eyes. I see mine reflected back at me in the mensroom mirror. The air is heavy with the stench of bleach, semen, and charred flesh. My skin has gone pallid. I am in disarray. My body aches and the fear is setting in. This is not -


6. Scheduling.
10 hours a day. Six days a week. And of those hours, only about one a day is real, actual work. At least cube monkeys have the internet to play with.

The fog hugs the ground, coiling through the parking lot as if it had a mind of its own, a destructive will. I cut through it towards the dim neon of the empty store. The air is acrid, foul, and reeking of death. The night crew is finishing up, putting away their mops and insect heads. A million eyes turn towards me as I punch in.


19. I am still alive.

13. Payoffs.
There are four separate inspection agencies. None of them inspect anything. Mold has colonized every walk-in. Fungal spores cloud the air of our prep room. Rat shit remains the primary cause of slip and falls. There are four separate inspection agencies. They each take their own cut. Everyone gets a taste. The spice must flow.


27. One of us.
After a month they seem to trust me. They clue me in on what I already know. This is a Nexus. The primary one for our perfect little corner of the Blight and we do a brisk trade. The rest either they keep to themselves or even they don't know.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Questions to which gesturing with a recently sharpened 270mm sashimi knife is a sufficient if not customer appropriate response:

Do you have a men's room?

Do you still do cold cuts?

How much is the soup?

Wait, did you stop making sandwiches?

Where're the spoons?

Do you have lids for the soup?

How much is this falafel?

Where's the egg/chicken/tuna salad?

Is the soup charged by weight or what?

Do you have anywhere that we can sit down and eat?

Do you have spoons?

Where do you keep the soups?

Where do I pay?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Be careful. They're watching. Delirium II

She nods towards one of the hanging surveillance cameras trained on the registers and then to the beer I'm buying. "Be careful. They're watching."
It's my first day.

I imagine it to be a cramped little room with a hunched old man, unshaven & with coke bottle glasses, watching. Just watching. Like the Pearl Station. Reports flying off to nowhere, still watching:
The cameras pan the store. Checking customer bank accounts. Sufficient funds. That woman is not wearing a brassier. Nice. That man is stealing from the salad bar. Investigate. Only 3 outstanding warrants. The police need not be notified. They return to their regular hobby: watching the staff.

The Hammer takes me back to show me dry storage. A narrow side hallway/fire exit with shelves overstuffed. "This is our dry storage. Where we keep the rice and -" his phone rings, he checks it - "if you need to take a call, do it back here - " nods up at a camera - "they can't see you back here -" takes the call.
It's my first day.

Wrinkled decrepit man, staring with lidless eyes, gesticulating frantically, teeth crumbling to dust and falling from his gaping maw, drool pooling at his feet. Watching as I toil. Why is he watching?

I blinked. “Excuse me?”

“I said, ‘is there anywhere we can sit down and eat this?’”

“Yeah. Café’s right over there.”


Friday, February 18, 2011

Shackleton's Scotch

“Antarctica is not and has never been the home base to Predators or any other Alien Master Races. It is not Atlantis and there are no secrets buried in the ice…”

- Official Press Release from Antarctic Preservation Commission, LLC

The ice could not harm us.

The claimed it was a preservation issue. The hut was a historic site and they didn’t want to damage it or the booze buried in the ice. They claimed they were testing the scotch and the brandy to see if it was still good, if it was a marketable brand. Brand management is all the rage. The public, as much as the paid any attention, lapped it up. Smokey aftertaste. Plenty of peat. They joked: could this qualify as aged 100 years. Ha. No. But brand management and a lost recipe didn’t explain the circus. Didn’t explain the gathering of great and diverse minds, occult resonance. Didn’t explain the complete lack of media inquiry.

“Mankind knows no limits or bounds. We shall prevail over the cold, over Gaia’s frozen cunt.”

- Overheard at APC press conference.

The ritual was simple

In 1908, Ernest Shackleton set off on an expedition in a ship Christened "Rebellion." The goal, never fully disclosed to the public, was to destroy evidence of a previous (clandestine and failed) expedition. To unlearn everything they had learned on the ice, and to keep any and all others from returning, for the risk was too great. Aleister Crowley had been slated to join him. Everyone who knew what he was doing knew what he was going was wrong. It was said that the sailors heard ghosts howling in the frozen desert.

"Day 23: Digging continues apace and we seem to have found something today. If it is what we have been looking for, then Reginald truly deserves the £100 reward."

- last entry from the ship's log of Thomas Magog, Captain of the HMS Moria

A candle. Blood. Focus. And Shackleton's demonic Scotch.

I sip icy gin in the late afternoon. The news has come to me from several sources, is there any truth they ask, they worry so. Yes. It has been found. But they don’t know what it is.

“And the pit shall thawed [and the] beast[s] shall pour forth […] like devouring insects, like serpents […] and they will know no limits or [b]ounds and the [whole of] creation shall be […] razed.”

- The Apocalypse of Judas 12:22, fragment

This wasn’t about booze.

The permafrost was not an ideal location to perform a summoning, but one makes do. The bottles wouldn't unearth themselves. And the 12 nations would never resolve would retain ownership of the elixirs. This wasn't about a recipe, this was about power.

“When hell freezes over.”

- Jessica McDougal, response to when she would like to go on a date with me, c. 1992

You could almost see the gates straining to open as the seals fell away.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Knife work

I move the blade in circles. Slow, then faster. Is faster better?
I move the blade in circles. Ellipses, really. Ellipsis.

The stone is dirty. BossMan soaked it in oil and basically turned it into a fancy colored rock. Told me that was how it was done. He has five years of experience. Clearly this manner of juvenile fuckup is not par for the course. Surely. Why would I have been replaced otherwise? Why indeed? I've managed to mostly clean it. They weren't going to give me a new one. Not when BossMan and BossWife prefer to sharpen their $20 blades with a ten cent scissor sharper.

I move the blade in circles. Two minutes. Flip. Two minutes. Test the sharpness on my thumbnail.

I don't really know how to sharpen a knife on a stone. No one ever told me/ever showed me me. I hope this is right. At least it works. A lot better than...

I move the blade in circles. My back tightens up. It's harder work than you think, the repetitive motion, over and over, I roll my neck, crack my back, stretch, keep moving the blade:

It can score my fingernail and cut through the dishtowel. It's sharp enough for the fish. Tomorrow I need I to sharpen up a knife for sushi.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Delirium I

Working hours like this I could have been an ibanker. I could have been they smirking guy, caustically indifferent to my role in having caused the breakdown of the global economy. "If it ain't broke, break it." I mean, I haven't seen Finn all week. The first years are so formative. Whiskey. Bed. No time to think about it. Back to the fridge in the morning.

I see Common playing basketball with a pizza. Steve-O is shopping for cheese with his grandparents. Olivia Newton John wants kombucha, chicken, to get physical?

This can't be ...

I put on my hoodie and roll up the sleeves. Don't need to cover them with avocado again. That shit stains like a Pollock. I put on my uni, the dumb as shit hat, the still dirty apron. I should ask the Hammer where it was we get clean ones.

K is standing in the oven, rubbing his hands together, looking guilty/satisfied: "It's just so cold."

The room is wet. The air is wet. K has turned on the sinks, full hot, full blast. He just can't take the cold. It brings the temp up a few degrees, sure. But it makes the room into a humid mess. The cooling unit drips on my head. I hate being the new guy.

The Hammer comes in swearing about something not being where he thought he left it. Racial epithets in southern drawl spanglish ensue. Something about the genitals. I laughs weakly. K tells him to shut up. His brother is off today otherwise there would have been another fight. The Colombian never breaks stride: "I do my job."

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Year With the Shining Prince: the beginning & a disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of speculative memoir. Which probably means it is mostly fiction. The thoughts, ideas, stories, reflections, & recollections are solely my own or my own adaptations of hearsay/heresy. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of any employer, associate, colleague, subordinate, student, teacher, friend, or relative. Past or future. Thus it is written, thus shall it be so.
I. In the beginning...

I woke up one day (about a year ago) in South Florida in much the same way that Michael Westin did. Except that I wasn't (and still am not yet) a burned spy. Didn't have many (any) marketable (or even black marketable) skills or friends with guns and a list of illicit contacts. Which is why his version of dazed, trapped, and resentful was made into a hit TV show and mine never will be. [Unless of course this tale becomes a break-out hit and is optioned and I won't say no to that kind of action. Just don't cast Shia.] Also, I didn't find myself stuck in Miami. No such luck. The Palm Beaches are just not my kind of cultural wasteland. I would complain about the weather, the lack of snow and mountains and recognizable seasons (much as I complained when I lived int he desert), but as I will get to as this journey down memories back lanes and forgotten highways continues, I quickly found myself in a position to never be able to take advantage of the fact that it is currently in the upper 70s while the rest of the country is reeling between one snowpaclypse to the next snowmageddon. Frankly, I would still rather be back in Brooklyn. It took me almost 2 months to make it to the beach. The beach is one of the few redeeming aspects of this part of the world. What did I do instead? I took a job paying me almost nothing that called for unnecessarily long hours IN A REFRIGERATOR.

[and Finn is up from his nap, so I guess that's all for now.]

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the pen is mightier than the glock

If you aren't aware of the Gabrielle Giffords story by now you probably aren't reading this blog. I wrote most of this in fits and starts and quick breaks while at work, so forgive the tone and the jump cuts. I still feel the ideas are there. And solid.

It didn't take long for the rumors to hit Twitter and with it came bits of truth, piecemeal accounts, lies, fabrications, hope, and, naturally, the invective. There was name calling and blaming and the swift takedown of all previously published, tangentially related, mildly objectionable material. Sarah Palin's camp was notable for their campaign: "No, those are surveyor's symbols. We chose a meaningless metaphor back in an important and contested election season because the public will believe anything. Surveyor's symbols. You've heard of those before, right?"

&c &c

Personally, I am a bigger fan of the first amendment than the second. Especially when it comes to 30+ round clips and assault rifles. They aren't for hunting. And if you need an assault rifle to protect your home from the spetznaz team that has come to take you out, you are not an average citizen whose experience should be used to model legislation. The only other individuals who seem to require use of assault rifles to protect their interests are criminals and as a proponent of legalizing almost everything, I am not really concerned with a criminals desire to protect his narcotics with a MAC-10 when the State could do a better job of it. So yes, I would rather see restrictions on gun ownership than on speech. That is a given for me. An obvious answer to an easy question. I would much rather have to freedom to speak my mind than carry a weapon that I should have no legitimate need for in a free and open society. And, if you want to contest this point, it is because of the fact that we do not live in a fully free and open society that the issue should ever arise that one might need a gun more than free speech. Not that anyone ever really trusts the words of the man with the gun. Sure you listen. But that's about it. Fear is not the heart of love.

So yes, I believe in gun laws. I believe that an average citizen should be restricted in the guns that he or she can own and legally operate. There are some things that should be left to the military. And if you want to disagree and make the claim that at some point in the future we citizens may need to rise up and resist our government with any means necessary and firepower is the key to success, I say the zombie apocalypse is a more likely scenario. And a shotgun and machete will do you just fine for that.

[and for that claim that he would have just purchased the self-same gun on the black market had he not been able to obtain it legally, srsly? Have you ever purchased anything on the black market? It isn't easy. It isn't like walking into Wal-Mart and asking for some bullets. The black market isn't something you look up in the phone book or go into unprepared. It isn't a "place." Yes, stricter gun laws will send some criminals to the black market for guns. But those are already hardened criminals. Your average citizen who suddenly develops a desire to go postal will not be seeking that measure. It simply isn't something you happen into. Which means, yes, there need to be alternative measures for controlling illegal guns. So? Because one has to use alternative measure for illegal guns suddenly all gun control measures are void? You expect me to believe that line? That is some weak ass bullshit.]

So there is that. Which is not to say that I am anti-gun. Hunting is a legitimate pastime. A handgun for personal protection is ok by me. Though how you keep it safe from the kids becomes an issue. And once you put a trigger lock on it it is about as useful against a home invader as the Nintendo Duck Hunt controller. But that is a separate concern. I don't want to take your guns. Giffords is a gun owner. The judge, as well. After all, guns don't kill people. People kill people. With guns. There is a difference there and it is more than a minor semantic point. Agency is required. Sarah Palin and Talk Radio did not pull any triggers. Not physically. Not while aimed at people.

Violent rhetoric does not incite passive people to violence. Same with videogames, movies, and every other form of media. Violent rhetoric can be a reason/excuse that a violent/unstable person commits acts of violence. But they would have found a different reason/excuse if the rhetoric wasn't there or was otherwise censored. There are measures that need to be taken, but muzzling language and discourse is the wrong one.

Should politicians and public figures be held to a higher standard? Yes. They should be expected to keep a civil tongue and to restrict their invective. They have been elected to represent the best in us, not our lowest common denominator. But it should be self imposed. And if it is not, perhaps it reflects deeper issues in the American populace that need to be dealt with and aired in public. Why indeed is their so much rage and hate? Why is it found to be so appealing? The politicians are just giving the people what they want. Why is this what "we" want? I don't know. It certainly brings to a head the quintessentially American question of violence- why does it appeal to us? Why are we locked into perpetual war? Why don't more people make an effort to do something about it? Why does America, if not Americans, always compete rather than cooperate when it encounters a prisoners dilemma? Why, indeed. Why do Michael Bay films make money?

So yes, we have problems. Deep seated American problems. And this is what our politicians and pundits should be working to remedy. They should be endeavoring to raise the level of discourse not lower it. They should be appealing to commonalities and working towards shared goals like not having one of the shittiest education systems in the post-industrial world. Or one of the shittiest health care systems. Or really any and all of the broken down systems we have lumbering alongside us just waiting to be put out of their misery. "We sent Social Security to live on a farm, Timmy. Where she will have plenty of room to run around in and will never have to worry about going broke again."

Is it really so much to ask that every educated, voting age adult be expected to know the difference between a communist, a socialist, a marxist, a fascist, an anarchist, a terrorist, an asshole, and some guy that you happen to disagree with on a few points? Or is this the way that polite society finally acquiesces to postmodernism's dreaded lexical "relativism"?

Ultimately, the problem is the rhetoric or the guns. They are just symptoms of a greater disease. An American malaise as the sun sets on our century of greatness. Full of hate and fear bred of ignorance and opportunism. The perfect recipe for a crowd of angry, unfulfilled malcontents screaming impotently at the Angel of History. But it gets better, right?

Look, having and knowing how to use a gun (for personal protection) is still going to be of limited effectiveness on a lone crazed gunman. It's not like they wave the gun around in warning "I'm a out to shoot you with this here gun, maybe." But having and knowing how to use a gun is still a right we possess. So is saying whatever the fuck we want (in almost any situation). There should be limitations on gun ownership, usage. There, I guess, need to be limitations on speech (in certain situations, &c &c).

Hate to be on the same side of the fence as Sarah Palin, or at least, hate to be having to defend her against the onslaught of the "pc liberal media," as her "real America" is something I am heir to and have willingly and knowingly abandoned, but there is a big difference between shouting "fire" in a crowded theater and typing it to a crowded Facebook.

Salinger may have been a colossal ass but he didn't kill Lennon. Of course, he didn't put a surveyor symbol over the Dakota Building either.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pointless Censorship; or, Would you please pass the oar, N-word Jim?

Dear Mary,

I was going to start off this post with the Family Guy clip that it now seems everyone is referencing in relation to this whole Huck Finn dustup. But I couldn't find it in a simple google search and gave up. As my generation is wont to do. I'm sure someone else has it on their blog post. Go look for it there.

I first heard about it on twitter, the read this story over at the Times, and since censorship and books are a couple of my soapboxes I figured I would weigh in. I can't write about politics with any depth or sensitivity, I can't discourse on the troubles in Pakistan and Kashmir. I don't want to go into the Tea Party Mandate that apparently exists, somehow.

So the main point of the book (not necessarily the discussion around the book, though the Room for Debate has many good points.) is that replacing the n-word and the i-word will make the book more accessible to high school students, will get it back on reading lists, will revive and modernize and update an apparently stale classic that no one much cared about because it had what the bad language in it. Of course, racial epithets are not what is keeping kids from reading these days. High school students are naive enough to think that we are post-racist now. That electing Obama ended the war. It's a nice thought, I guess, but what it means in the context of this debate is that kids don't care about the word. Or to misquote Inigo Montoya, "I don't think that word means what you think it means."

If the point of this censored edition is to get kids reading Twain again, it might work by accident. I mean, nothing sells a book like controversy. That's how I got into Burroughs, Miller, Bukowski, the 無頼派, and so many more. Though my hope will be that they turn to an unexpurgated edition. And I still don't hold out much hope. I believe the parlance is "too long did not read."

Which brings me back to why. Why do this at all? Do the publishers really think that this was all that was keeping kids from reading? Not the impressive graphics and interactivity of video games, not the pabulum being spoon-fed at the box office, not Facebook and Farmville, and every other conceivable means of waisting precious time and bodily fluids? Why? Why take out the word? Not that this is really about a word, even that word, so shunned and verboten that it cannot be named or spoken (look at the flack Ebert is taking for his position, treading the ground that no white man may yet safely tread). Is it about offense? Yes, the n-word is offensive. Incredibly so. But that was Twain's intention. He was a satirist and a social critic. He wasn't telling a ripping good yarn to make the children sleep easy at night. He was ripping apart polite society and showing the rot underneath the fresh coat of whitewash. It was offensive then, it is offensive now. Has usage changed, and connotation. Yes. Naturally. But "slave" certainly doesn't carry nearly as much of that pain and baggage. Who said reading was meant to make you feel safe and comfortable? Who said it wasn't meant to make you angry and try to better yourself, better your society? Or is Holden going to be scrubbing FUDGE off the walls next week?

Frankly, I still don't see the reasoning. Maybe they will make some money. Maybe some more people will read Twain and this [CLEAN] copy will be the gateway drug that gets them reading The Diaries of Adam and Eve. Or maybe they will still find it offensive and scale back to the decent, god-fearing retelling know as VeggieTales Big River Rescue. It seems such a trivial thing, in the big picture. It comes down to whether or not you like shopping for CDs at Wal-Mart. But not all reading is good reading. And the more we change our classics the less they stay the classics. Might as well just break down and translate Shakespeare into English while we're at it. Because that's all that's keeping kids from reading, right? Or we might want to looking into the deeper issues. Might want to wonder why kids would rather spend two hours watching the same 30s youtube clip than reading a good book. Might. But this is probably easier.

I yearn for you tragically.

A.T. Tappman, Chaplain U.S. Army

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

That puzzle is missing its pieces

So I missed last week. Off to a good start.

But it's a new year now. And so fresh starts. Fresh starts with stale ideas.

Given that the holidays are finally winding to a close and work is looking even bleaker in the cool, grey light of January, I figure I could write about family. About growing up and apart and becoming who we always were but only seem to really realize when we revert to who our families expect us to be.

I could.

I could write about resolutions and plans on making this year better than the last. There are lots of things I hope for, but few that are really in my immediate control. The big one is publishing.

But there isn't much to say about that either. I need to put more words to the page - an effort that having family around and in need of entertainment (or just wanting to talk, we see each other so rarely) makes increasingly difficult.

I don't live into most conducive environment. Welcome to real life. Fix what you can, deal with the rest. And keep the words moving. Hopefully without someone coming into the room every minute or two to blather (I have been trying to write this meandering nonsense foe hours.).

There. One post. That's one in the bank. Next.