Come to do good, stay to do well.

Democrats are, it's not particularly a secret, the infinitely more Christian (as far as being Christ-like, or "like what Christ would have wanted") of the parties. The principles espoused by the figure of JC, the son, the meek, the ultimate chariteer, aren't particularly embraced by those grand old riders of the fat red elephant. The liberal system of ethics is ultimately predicated on the concept of having respect -- sometimes too much respect -- for other people. That's why they're perennially considered to be the "weak" party, and why they're so easily swindled by welfare moms and, you know, needle-exchange programs. They help con-men con them.

Jesus's philosophy, if you stand back and look at it as from a mountaintop, starts to look a lot like good old-fashioned communism. There are two reasons Jesus will never be a plausible compass by which to navigate the public sphere and polity. One is the con-men. Two is republicans.

Republicans, they don't give a fuck, in much the same way rappers don't give a fuck. Cam'ron put it, "If you can't get paid on an earth this big, you're worthless, kid, Cam don't deserve to live." If they don't like what you do, they'll do their damndest to get you to quit it. If they want something, they take it. If they want to keep something, they don't give it away. If they want to channel money to their buddies, they will. If they feel even the slightest urge to hate you, they don't do what adults do -- live with it, get around it, try to move past it, try to swallow it, try to be a man about it, much less a Christian -- they go ahead and hate you, and then tell you why it's ok to hate you. Usually, this has to do with just defining you. Just say any adjective with a sneer. Liberal. Soft. Soft on crime. Soft on immigration. We need to be harder. We need to fuck these people over. They're trying to get us, we need to get them. Baby-killers.

Republican criticism of democrats is predicated on name-calling and general cudgeling. That's why democratic criticism of republicans has so much trouble escaping the Jon Stewart mode, no matter how brilliant it gets. It's really hard to come up with a response to these people that doesn't hinge on the fact that what they say is fucking baffling. (Which is why Colbert, in his way, is equally brilliant. He's baffling baffling. (Worst Pun Ever.))

The bafflement, though, is why Republicans get to use the adjectives they're not supposed to get to use. Intellectual, as a criticism. But more importantly, Elitist. Snob. The very things they are, snobs and elitists -- with their tax-cuts to the rich... to stimulate the economy. Somebody look at Anne Coulter and tell me this woman isn't firmly in the upper echelon of snobs in the world. Tell me she doesn't perceive herself as being elite. You know what the definition of elitist is? "Someone who believes in rule by an elite group." Cheney. Rumsfeld. Rove. No congress. No checks. No balances. Oligarchy. Not meritocracy. It's like the Greek Council in Revenge of the Nerds.

They don't like homosexuals either, which is weird, because it seems like lately, more and more of them are turning out to be homosexual, what with the congressional pages and the waving your hand under the door of an airport bathroom stall and, my favorite, Republican Bob Allen, who asked an undercover police officer if he (Allen) could pay him (the cop) to give him (the cop) a blowjob. He was arrested, and later pleaded that, in fact, he was not gay. He was intimidated into offering to give another man twenty dollars and a blowjob because the other man was big and black. (Read that article. It's worth your time.)

Remember that scene in Arrested Development, where David Cross is talking about Ice the Bounty Hunter, and how he's surprised his wife would go for someone "so close to my own type, but I suppose we all expose our secret desires." And Alia Shawkat says "I think you just did." And Cross says "No I didn't," and walks away?

Yeah. There's only one possible response to this kind of thing.

I'm fucking baffled.

I struggle with how anybody could actually believe there is a scriptural basis for homophobia that's, you know, actually based on scripture. There's exactly one mention of homosexuality in the New Testament in James, and it doesn't really make any sense, like, at all. It also leads directly up to that part, you know, it's kind of famous, where where St. Paul writes, "judge not lest ye be judged." But whatever.

Then, there's a death sentence in Leviticus if a man lies with another man.

There are also death sentences in Leviticus for people who have circular haircuts or wear two kinds of fabric at once. In other words, you're just as worthy of being stoned to death for being gay as for wearing a poly-cotton blend -- finally, something we can all agree on. Wouldn't it be awesome if, instead of gay marriage, a sweeping movement against circular haircuts, or eating meat with blood in it (also forbidden, rare meat pork barrel 'servatives) was the main talking point for the future of the party?

"God hates circular haircuts!"

That's the ultimate double-bind of republican homophobia. They don't want their kids to be gay, so they say it's a choice. But if it's a choice, you can catch it from gay people. So being gay is like an STD. And all you have to do is, apparently, give into the temptation. Apparently, anybody could be gay.

Does anybody really believe this? I mean, if I thought I could be gay, or like, half-gay, I would give it some serious thought. It's basic baseball logic. Switch hitters can pull against righties and lefties.

It's not like republican sex isn't a sin.

And even if God did, in the realm of pure speculation, dislike gayness? God also hates thievery, and he's the one who said, if somebody takes your cloak, don't get mad. Give him your coat, too.

So if you don't like gay people, and they take it from you... well... I guess that means God wants you to take it from them, too. Or at least, in the immortal words of R. Lee Emory, give them "the common courtesy of a reach-around."

God said, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." Ironically, taking a city is, more or less, exactly what the Republicans are always already trying to do.

Let's get those sinners! Let's build a castle! We've got everlasting salvation coming our way, and that means we're right! Right? Hard right.

This appeal to God is strange, don't you think, considering the hard right party line essentially amounts to, "What you do bothers me, and you're a pussy, so I'm going to fucking beat your ass until you stop. Oh, yeah, because it bothers God. I seen him!"

Republicans, on the one hand, are the ones who say, "Don't tax my income." They also say, on the other, "Follow the king." And this is an odd thing. They stress non-interference by the government, but they also stress loyalty to the government. They don't listen to God, but insist he's on their side. It's a very smart system, for the people at the top. Because they don't give a fuck about the people at the bottom, while simultaneously pretending to be about "the everyman," and the people at the bottom have no recourse since they are, by and large, so beat down that they don't give a fuck about what goes on at the top so long as they get there some day.

I read once that, in general, republican men are better in bed than liberal men, and the justification boiled down to the fact that republican men don't have consciences. Peck at that however you like.

And look, all this pisses me off. I firmly believe republicanism and its party lines to be reprehensible and reactionary and I call bullshit. But, as I get older, I get more nihilist. I stop giving a fuck. I stop caring about the leftist ethical rubric that is predicated on the fact that everybody deserves a fair shake. I'm not sure if I care about suffering right now. All I want to do is do well.

That's what they say happens, right? "Come to do good, stay to do well."

I've got everything I want, but I want more. And right now the thing that scares me more than anything else is somebody taking something away from me.

And I have a feeling, when somebody does take something away -- and somebody will, it's just a fact of time and entropy and inevitability-- it will be God.

I can see why republicans hate that guy.

But if I'm nice to him, maybe he can help me get some more stuff.

Honey roasted peanuts

I've had a stressful couple of days. I just had my passport and social security card overnighted to me. That was pretty stressful. I mean, nothing went wrong, but what if something went wrong?

Yesterday morning, I was drunk, and I badly wanted water, but I'm pretty sure I was still asleep. So I grabbed what I must have thought was a cup from my headboard and (sleep)walked into the kitchen. I filled the cup with water and took a sip. But it wasn't a cup. It was a tin of honey roasted peanuts, and it was still full of honey roasted peanuts. I don't know if you've ever drank from a tin of honey roasted peanuts that's still filled with peanuts, but it's pretty gross. A little like ocean water would taste, if the ocean was filled to the beaches with honey roasted peanuts. That woke me up. Almost too bad. I don't think I've ever sleepwalked before, and I could have had a pretty good misadventure on the streets of the city.


Sometimes it feels like...

Everybody's like this...
other people

But I'm like this...
me like


Please note, the Sanity Beam (as a beamlike apparatus) is copyrighted me, 08-27-07. If you plagiarize this concept, you deserve whatever's coming to you.


Holy balls, I'm in Baltimore: W-Balls, W-Balls, W-Balls

I went to Starbucks today. That was my first mistake. But Starbucks is in Barnes & Noble, and I was in Barnes & Noble, and I wanted a chai latte, so I asked the girl for a chai latte, so when I was walking home and I took the first sip and it was a regular, you know, coffee latte... that pissed me off. Then, I spilled it on my Corey Feldman's center for the arts t-shirt, and that pissed me off a lot, eh? (Get it? Latte? Holy shit, I hate my jokes.)

I think I'm supposed to be at the point where ironic t-shirts no longer have that much appeal. And that's true, in a way. I feel a little bit weirder than I used to about wearing my "Lucky U" shirt with a Care Bear on it that seems to emphasize the idea that the girl wearing it freshly legal (and if not Irish, at least drunk).

What's the point of all this subtlety? It oughtta just say "No jail for fucking me!" I mean, that's just creepy. What got into these Care Bears? But really, I think the reason I feel trepidation about wearing it is, it's so short that it sometimes rides up in the back when I sit down. And since I'm not usually wearing a thong, it doesn't put over the right impression.

Plus, I can't wear the shirt my friends made that says "fuck art... LET'S DANCE!" (ripped off from Stephen Malkmus couture) next to a stenciled graphic of a tuxedoed Dolph Lungdren, because I'm afraid some militant Christian will see me wearing a shirt with a curse on it and give me a lecture about The Children. But what about The Children?!

You know, they're praying away the murders now. I saw it on the news. A group has taken to the streets to pray on the corners. They want to bring God back into the communities, because the amount of murders in Ballmore recently eclipsed 200 for the year. And it's only August. So this group goes up to cars stopped at traffic lights and gives them fliers through their windows. Seriously. That would scare the shit out of me, if some guy came at me in my car when I couldn't move and started talking to me about murder through the window, right?

"Pray, because of murder! PRAY!"

And I'm sitting in my car listening to "Inner City Blues (Make Me Want to Holler)" trying not to cry. Surely there are saner methods of community outreach.

Murder is kind of a big deal in Voldimort. Tonight, a newscaster relayed a story about a woman whose home was invaded. A nice home. In a nice neighborhood. She came back from the grocery store, and two men demanded money. When she said she had none, they took her upstairs and raped and beat her. "Fortunately, the woman survived" said the newscaster, tying it all in with the murder statistics and the ongoing mayoral campaign. The last line of the story, which he tried to swallow as a footnote, something fundamentally paratextual and besides the point, was, "Since she was held around the throat by one of the men, some paralysis occurred."

Holy balls, I'm in Baltimore. Who the fuck are you?

The headlines here are incredible. Just from today. "Vice Principal Killed as Suspect Flees Police." "Convicted Baltimore Hit Man Gets 30 Years" ("He was indicted with 10 other individuals who have pleaded guilty on similar charges.") "Police Identify Man Shot in Annapolis." More than 200 murders. It's only August.

On my birthday this year, "Teen Arrested In Death Of Murder Trial Witness." ("About a dozen witnesses in city murder cases have been slain since January 2005 and dozens have been murdered since 2000.") Three days ago, "Former Canton police officer Bobby Cutts, Jr was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of his girlfriend and her unborn child." "Observers have voiced concern that homicides could go over 300 this year -- the first time since 1999."

(Baltimore's NBC affiliate is WBAL. If you're me, it's impossible to think "WBAL" without thinking "Snoop Dogg." "You're about to go downtown, bitch, right here on the station that plays only platinum hits, that's 187.4 on your FM dial, if you're lickin' nuts, W-Balls." "Everybody's got to hear the shit on W-Balls, W-Balls, W-Balls!")

So today, I bought a book of stupid pithy little short stories in facing Spanish / English translations. In the next two years, I have to learn two foreign languages. Which is sort of a fib, because all I have to do is learn two foreign languages well enough to pass translation exams on them with a dictionary, and translating romance languages is pretty easy. What a shocker, "persona" means "person." But I'm conflicted. Because I'd actually like to be able to speak Spanish, all preterito and subjunctivo and imperativo and shit. I mean, I've taken five years of it, and all I have to show for it is the ability to read half-page parables called "The Math Fiasco" about a kid who doesn't get an egg... oh, what it's about doesn't matter... without that much help from a dictionary.

And it's weird, how we change, because I'm having fun trying to learn Spanish again, tussling with the words I used to know but can't for the life of me conjure up. I hated Spanish in school. I mean, it's easy to hate languages in school. That's one of the fundaments of coming-of-age fiction in the last five hundred years. Learning Latin as a schoolboy is for the birds. You just sit there while the professor snaps his fingers repeating verb conjugations endlessly until everybody's ready to tear off their tops and spray beer at each other with Judas Priest playing in the background. Even Flaubert wrote about it. (You know, you say it "Flowbear..." I hate my jokes.)

Plus, our Spanish teacher was an absolute nutjob who once told me -- during class, mind you -- that the reason Christianity was more valid than Islam or Judaism was because, quote, "I know that my savior rose from the grave." I believe she had her hand on my shoulder at the time. She would go on and on about the New World Order, and how Alan Greenspan -- really, Alan Greenspan -- was the only reason the fabric of moral humanity and the beautiful, magical, protective canopy of the status-quo hadn't been shredded into tatters by debauched Leninist lesbians all rising up under the auspices of a totalitarian regime so maleficent that it would surely come for her first. She also had a mentally disabled kid. She had him exorcised, when he was a baby. I think that may have been a taxing time for her. Once she yelled at me about the atheism of Karl Marx for a while. I don't remember why.

In retrospect, though, it was a horrible idea to go to a high school that didn't teach French. Which is a little like saying, "I should have started training for the luge sooner, because the Winter Olympics are coming right up." But it's a lot better, in this discipline, my discipline goddamn it, to speak German, French, or Latin. I would kill to speak Russian. And I want to be better. You know, that's kind of the point.

I also bought a book by one of my future-professors. I'm not sure why. I would be pathetic as the student who tries to anticipatorily parrot a professor's opinions, and I don't much feel like disagreeing with the professor's opinions, so hopefully it will be that ultimate wash, that mother of all pushes, that heavenly tie, that great breaking-even that has to now constituted all the sweetest moments of my life: an enormous waste of time.


This line from Confessions of a College Callgirl just made me laugh: "How awesome are 19th-century hooker names? I mean, before you ever slept with Bauld-cunted Poll, you knew what you were getting." Really good blog.


The revolution will not be terrified.

"Parasol spinning casually, like 'I'm an artist, please don't laugh at me!'"
~Aesop Rock

I haven't read any Philip K. Dick. But I read this New Yorker article about Philip K. Dick. And it's a really, really great article, that's all.


RIP Max Roach.

Max Roach died not long ago. I never got Max Roach when I was growing up. I didn't like his music. I listened to a lot of it, but I listened to it because I wanted to like it, not because I did.

I didn't get Max Roach because it sounded to me like he didn't really know what he was doing. It sounded like he was just fucking around. "Improvisation" is one thing, but you have to have some kind of idea in mind of where you're going next, right?

I never got Max Roach until I saw him play. In a way, he is just fucking around. Of course, he knows where his pieces are going. He knows what's coming next.

But really, he's doing exactly what you're supposed to do. He's playing. He's not playing an instrument, or playing a game. It's somewhere beautifully, ingeniously in between. He's not playing something. There's no object. He's just playing.

He's not experimenting. He's not confounding expectations. He's not subverting ideologies, or challenging his listeners. He's just playing. And he can play whatever he wants. So he plays whatever he wants. Like a child. Like a genius. Like a prodigy. Not like an art student. Like an artist. And if it ends up being an experiment; if it ends up confounding expectations; if it ends up subverting ideologies; if it ends up challenging his listener, so much the better. Because, if it does those things, maybe the person listening doesn't remember what it was like to take off the bridle and just play.

Now, all I want in life is to be able to fuck around at something, anything, as well as Max Roach could fuck around on the drums. I just want to play something like that. Anything. Just to play.


Peter Paul and Mary

Then again, Peter Paul and Mary are sort of a case study on how aging gracefully isn't all that likely.

Sic transit gloria.

I forget sometimes when I talk about the first concert I ever saw. I say it was Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, where I got the Hook t-shirt I still wear too much from a radio station booth. But it wasn't.

I saw Peter Paul and Mary. If I was 8 when I saw Mark Wahlberg take off his pants and dance in front of 20,000 people, I would have been 6 when I saw PP&M. I don't remember much. I remember that I had to dress up in a suit. I remember being in the balcony. I liked it in the balcony. I remember them playing "Puff the Magic Dragon." I remember being awed because they didn't use sheet music. I asked my dad, "how do they know what to play without sheet music?" He told me they had the music memorized. I thought that was impossible. All I'd ever seen were orchestras and symphonies, and they all had sheet music. I remember my dad wanting me to be thrilled when they played "Puff the Magic Dragon," but really I was devastated that they didn't play "Right Field," their ode to being okay with yourself, even if you're kind of a loser. It was my absolute anthem as a child, even when I had friends and played left field in little league and stuff. I was an initiate of awkwardness from jump.

Saturday summers, when I was a kid
We'd run to the schoolyard and here's what we did
We'd pick out the captains and we'd choose up the teams
It was always a measure of my self esteem
Cuz the fastest, the strongest, played shortstop and first
The last ones they picked were the worst
I never needed to ask, it was sealed,
I just took up my place in right field.

Right field, its easy, you know.
You can be awkward and you can be slow
Thats why I'm here in right field
Just watching the dandelions grow

Playing right field can be lonely and dull
Little leagues never have lefties that pull
I'd dream of the day they'd hit one my way
They never did, but still I would pray
That I'd make a fantastic catch on the run
And not lose the ball in the sun
And then I'd awake from this long reverie
And pray that the ball never came out to me
Here in...

Right field, its easy, you know.

You can be awkward and you can be slow

Thats why I'm here in right field

Just watching the dandelions grow

Off in the distance, the game's dragging on,
There's strikes on the batter, some runners are on.
I don't know the inning, I've forgotten the score.
The whole team is yelling and I don't know what for.
Then suddenly everyone's looking at me
My mind has been wandering; what could it be?
They point at the sky and I look up above
And a baseball falls into my glove!

Here in right field, its important you know.
You gotta know how to catch
You gotta know how to throw
Thats why I'm here in right field
Just watching the dandelions grow!

You remember how, in the beginning of the decade, people were getting really angry when songs they really liked were getting used to shill crap in commercials? Well, I never got mad that the Shins were selling McDonalds, or that Nick Drake was wailing a dire message from beyond the grave... "Pink moon! Pink moon! OOOH I'm so depressed! Buy a Volkswagen... Pink moon!"

But I'll tell you. I get pissed to this day when I watch old VHS tapes with the Pizza Hut commercial that used "Right Field." In the ad, this kid is a loser, and then he makes a grab in right field, so his teammates reward him... with a trip to Pizza Hut.

I was like, fuck you, Pizza Hut. That's my childhood you're sullying. What on earth could you possibly have to do with this song? Apparently the song's not about being okay with yourself. It's about happy accidents that temporarily cause your social betters to treat you to an afternoon of Pepsi products. Motherfuckers.

Over the years, my relationship with Peter, Paul and Mary has changed quite a lot, and now mostly revolves around their cover of Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer." It's always a little bit astonishing to see them perform this song in the 60s, when they were at the height of their powers, before they had turned into the kind of group that middle-aged men took their sons to see as bonding experiences. They were dangerous, and it showed. They played it during the march on Washington ("I have a dream...") and all three of their albums were in the top 10 when Kennedy was assassinated. And all the danger, the alluring leftist chic, it all hinges on Mary Travers. She's so beautiful, so on fire, having a ball and dying inside at the same time, looking something like Claire Forlani playing Brigitte Bardot.

In the seventies, she got all wacky. She was still really beautiful, but she put on some weight and took to doing the song in a weird kind of Vegas-cabaret style, with a gold lamé tunic and everything.

Then again, Peter Paul and Mary are sort of a case study on how aging gracefully isn't all that likely.

Sic transit gloria.


Operation: 160

I dunno, man. I'm not really a goal-oriented person.

All the same, I think want to get fat.

Most of the people I've told this to haven't been able to de-contextualize it from their own situations and react with something akin to distaste. "Oh my god, I need to lose weight, what's wrong with you?!" That kind of thing.

I have a weird relationship with food. I don't like it. If I didn't have to eat it, I wouldn't. I'm almost never hungry. Everybody I know seems to love food. They get hungry, and they eat, and they have this wonderful symbiotic thing going with sustenance. Sometimes they eat even when they're not hungry! But I can't figure it out. I can't stand spending money on food, because it's money that I can't spend on stuff that's awesome, like books or guitar pedals. I can't stand eating food, because it's either bad for you or ethically indefensible or pretty fucking gross.

I have the palette of a moderately sophisticated 12 year old. I want fucking fried meat on buttery bread, fried potatoes, and a 64 oz. travel mug of Dr. Pepper. But I want there to be some thyme and rosemary in there somewhere. Please deep-fry the chicken with buttermilk and make sure you rub it with cayenne before it goes in the vat of 60 butter /40 first-press olive oil. It's not that I can't do and even like risotto and bruschetta and prosciutto or whatever. It's fine. It's rice and bread and ham, respectively. But I can't fucking stand food snobs, who are to my mind the last prominent cult of meaningless, irrelevant academes who haven't been taken down a necessary peg or two... other than possibly those in the fashion industry. Because look, there's nothing in the Bible that says people are supposed to like truffles above all other foods. Truffles are gross, yo.

Hey, I dare you to eat that monkey brain looking thing growing off that tree.

OK, dude, but only if you eat that giant portobello sprouting off that pile of shit over there like a steak and pretend it's just as good.

And thus The Cult of Fungus was born.

I had been trying to trick myself into thinking a different way. When I was working, and I didn't have much else going on in my life, I would spend a hundred bucks on groceries and endeavor to create elaborate, multi-course meals from recipe books, just because cooking is funner than shit. I nearly always failed, but I nearly always ate it all. It was a good thing for me.

But then I got all fucked up. Last winter, I herniated a disc in my neck, and I tripped and fell into depression. So I stopped working out, and I stopped eating. Since I relied almost purely on weightlifting to stimulate my appetite, and hurting my neck put me in a stupid spiral of inactivity since I was in pain all the time, I stopped being hungry. And since I didn't see the point of eating, I dropped a bunch of weight. I didn't actually know I was dropping weight until I went to the doctor and he grilled me about it. I was down to 140 lbs., around 15 less than I was at my weightliftingest.

These days I'm hovering a shade over a buck forty five. Which is fine. I'm a slight person, I have a slim frame. But I have almost no body fat, and I almost never have. Last time I had it checked it was in the mid-single digits. Like, 7%. Which would be terrific if I were a professional athlete. But I'm not. I'm in what is probably the worst shape I've ever been.

So the experiment I'm considering -- call it Operation: 160 -- is to get myself up to 160 lbs. this (academic) year without really hitting the gym. It's like my freshman 15, six years later. I'm going to try to forge myself into better shape via a little running and a lot of walking and a regular routine of yogafied calisthenics (I do wish calisthenics wasn't such a girly word). But mostly I'm just going to try to eat a lot more food, and drink a lot more pop and beer. Or at least, less lite beer.

Because I get picked on all the time for being skinny. It's always good-natured ribbing. But I don't like it. And I've always wondered what I would look like recast as a normal human being with 15% body fat. Part of it is that I come from a family with some weird body issues. Lots of very skinny people who think they aren't skinny enough. And I don't like that way of thinking. And I'm not sure if I like this way of thinking any better, since I'm pretty sure you're not being indulgent if you're not having any fun. But I don't know, and that's the point. The point is, I know I don't like that other way of thinking, so I'm going to try to gain some weight.

Here's the weird part, though. I don't really know how. For one thing, I don't want to get diabetes. And I don't want to be one of those gross people whose diet consists of nothing but partially hydrogenateds and high fructoses and white flours and processed cheeses. And I've never done anything like this before -- eaten like a normal Midwestern American human being, I mean, calorically. I mean, I have the metabolism of Thumper Rabbit, and sort of a limited budget, and I don't feel great about eating things that mooed, lowed, bahed, or oinked, which, near as I can tell, is the most cost-effective way to get Authentic Wisconsin Fat.

Since I only really eat meat when I go out -- and then I try to stick with animals that clucked, squawked, quacked, or flapped -- I don't know how to go about eating enough at home.

I did recently discover that you can feed yourself spaghetti and sauce for a week for like 3 dollars. I think that was something of a breakthrough. But there's only so much you can eat peanut butter and cereal and eggs and toast and chips.

I need a way to vastly expand my repertoire of easily-prepared consumables. And they all need to have a million billion calories.

The hunt begins. Good thing I bought all that butter.



Every time I start to cry, I think, “wow, I’m going to cry, and I never cry, so this is great!” and then I think, “wait, now I’m thinking about how I’m going to cry so wouldn’t crying be fake?” and then I think “but I want to cry” but then I can’t cry because I’m already – before I’ve managed to start – three or four thoughts away from whatever it was that was going to make me cry in the first place. I can double back on it, but then I just feel a sort of melancholy impotence, an inability to change the world and bring it in line. I suffer from a lack of perspective. I went nearly seven years without crying in high school and college.

The last episode of Six Feet Under just made me cry.

I don't mean to suggest that it made me misty, or foggy, or bleary-eyed. I wept. I bawled. I choked and cried and sobbed and it hurt my throat.

I wasn't wrong

So, as I've said, I don't want to deal with valets. I have a lot of trouble feeling superior to them, and that's kind of a necessary emotional buffer zone.

But I need to take these letters to the post office, and I need to go buy milk. So I go down and ask the lady working the front desk to have somebody send up my car, and I tell her my apartment number. I check my mail, get my health insurance card, and go back up to my room. A minute later, somebody knocks on the door. I haven't had anybody knock on my door yet, and it really freaked me out. I open the door, and there's a guy standing there with a cart.

"They said you needed a cart?"


"They said you needed a cart."

"No, I needed my car."

"Oh, they got it mixed up."

I laughed and apologized for the inconvenience as he walked away.

I just want my car!


Beautiful girls with terrible taste in paisley drapes

I went a-roving around the northwest part of my neighborhood today, looking for a market within walking distance. I haven’t eaten anything but pizza for three days, and I think it’s actually starting to make me feel a little bit drugged, so I figured it would be a good idea to buy some milk. I finally found a convenience store after a half hour or so of tromping around. But when I went back to the cooler, there wasn’t a price anywhere around the gallons of milk. So I decided instead to just buy beer.

The price of beer wasn’t labeled either. Then, when I saw that cigarettes were less than five dollars a pack, I thought I would get some of them, too. I don’t know how I work shit like this out in my head, but it seemed to make sense. So I walked out of the store with a six pack of MGD and a box of Parliament Lights.

The great thing, the one good thing about cigarettes is that they allow you to do something that you might not otherwise do.

I wouldn’t usually spend ten minutes just staring out the window, leaning into the screen, looking down at the big, lit-up fountain doing its dance if I wasn’t smoking, too. It gives me an excuse to just stop and try to realize that things I suspect of being boring really aren’t boring at all. Because you don’t have to be doing anything else when you’re smoking, and smoking doesn’t really make you do anything – it’s kind of an anti-activity. So there are two options. You can smoke while you do other things, and I think this is what’s characterized as addiction, or you can use the anti-activity as an excuse to be completely inactive. Not to “relax” or “unwind” or “take the edge off” or whatever it is people do when they don’t do anything. Just not do anything.

I don’t think I’m allowed to smoke in my apartment, and I don’t particularly want to anyway. But I smoked the one cigarette today, leaning into the window, almost wrapped in the paisley drapes.

I’ve wondered about who lived here before. Who has such terrible taste in paisley drapes? Who keeps a box of latex exam gloves in the medicine cabinet, and doesn’t take them out before they move? Who, pray tell, keeps a box of indigestion medicine that’s written in Cyrillic (or something)?

Me3NM spells relief!

It's actually made me feel a bit uncomfortable living here, not knowing who was here before. I assumed it was some Ukranian academic who got a sudden fellowship leave or fucking died and they didn't feel like cleaning out the apartment, so they decided to just leave all her dead-woman shit in the closets and rent it out to whoever came along.

This morning I got a phone call from a number I don’t know. I don’t usually answer calls from numbers I don’t know, instead just letting the machine work its magic. But I took it today, the corners of my eyes still crusted over with sleep.

The woman on the other end was obviously nervous, and I couldn't quite understand me at first. She had a nice, neutrally-accent voice. After a couple of non-starters, she finally managed to introduce herself, tacking on "I'm your landlord" at the end. She wanted to know if she had any mail left, because she almost missed a bill. I told her the truth, that I actually haven't checked the mail since I got here, because I didn't figure anybody had sent me anything. But I promised I would, and get back to her.

She had about five or six bills, and I sort of felt like a jerk for not catching them sooner. I called her back and told her I would forward them along to her, before I figured out that the nearest post office is like five miles away, and I still haven't driven my car since I got here because I don't want to deal with the valet, or, more accurately, the fact that I have a valet.

But anyway, I thought about it for a while. Because I've talked to "my landlord" before, and he's a guy with a funny accent. And she didn't have a funny accent. And she sounded very young. And they share a last name, so, one assumes, they are related. Husband and wive, father and daughter.

So, I did what any self-respecting academic does: research. By which I mean, I myspaced her. Her profile is set to private. But there's a picture of her. And she is goddamn beautiful. She's one of those Pacific Islanders who radiate something, glow something, maybe because their skin looks as much as a person’s skin can look like a precious metal.

And it's strange. Because it has fundamentally changed the way I live in this apartment. Not the approach, just the experience. Because I was convinced that I had inherited this place from a Russian endocrinologist who died of something ironic, like hyperthyroidism. But it turns out, I inherited it from a girl who probably just graduated, got a job, and moved on to something else. And who happens to be really, really good-looking.

There are two ways to think about it. One is the way proposed by the only person I told about this particular phenomenom, which was...

"Dude... you should just go around and smell everything you haven't really touched."

Which is perhaps to discount the fact that she saved a box of indigestion medication from another country.

The other way is somehow akin to an archetypal Sandra Bullock movie. It's to have a picture in the mind's eye of intertwining spirits, walking through this place, bent on their diurnal routines. Not because they're dying out and having their lives snatched up by vultures waiting. But because the things in the world are being redistributed, re-appropriated, remade in a new image, like they always are. Today, if I want to take it, my life's overarching superstructure got the opportunity to become less about a necessary and sad transition from the recently-dead to the soon-to-die, to being "about" sharing in the part of collective life that is still untested and untasted, still yet-to-come, which constitutes the hope of the world, and the hope of improvement, from the world as it was one day to the world as it might be tomorrow.

And I know this is bullshit. I mean, I sound like a communist.

But there's something beautiful about still being young, in the scheme of things, and taking over for somebody who is still young, in the scheme of things. People who have an unlimited opportunity to get their shit together. People whose lives can become anything, can become really, really great lives if only they get the breaks. People who can move and shake and gladhand and highroll and eventually become as good as they could have been under any circumstances.

It's not impossible, you know?

It's possible.


Fucking people are everywhere!

I resent the fact that people have already thought up both "mice pace" and "spy mace." Damn you, google.


The pizza quandary

Last night I drank from every category in the morning-after fuzzy tooth spectrum: scotch, Irish whiskey, cheap beer, and good beer.

I woke up after a surprisingly good night of sleep on Nick's couch, which I slept on for fear of the rapists and grifters that we suspect cruise the streets of the village at 4 a.m., and walked home, still kind of loaded, which would have been pretty fun if the sun hadn't been hitting me with hot hammers the whole way. Alliteration hooooo!

I got home and popped some Excedrin, which I've fallen in love with lately. Two pills, 500 milligrams of aspirin, 500 milligrams of acetaminophen, 130 milligrams of caffeine. They pack theoretical wallop, those little gelcaps do.

I chugged a glass of water with my pills and felt it slosh around in my tummy. I realized how hungry I was. I haven't really managed to explore very much of my area since I moved. I googled my shit, and I was disappointed enough to give up when I found out that the restaurant closest to my building is a "cheeky" French place that specializes in foies gras (pâté of Cognac-marinated goose liver and truffles, EWWWWWW) and a nice chicken mousse.

I don't understand the flavored mousse thing.

It's a mousse, right?


I whipped it all up, it's all pasty and light.


And it tastes like chicken.

Oh, fabulous!

The website that reviewed the restaurant gave it a 13/20. In the "price" category, it gave $$$ out of a possible $$$$$. Wha?

So I decided I would order a pizza. But I've been living in a college town for way too long, because there's just no way I'm going to pay $12 for a large, one-topping pizza. That's just never going to happen.

Josh and I theorized this quandary in terms of the DPS (Dollars per Slice). Ideally, you want a DPS of less than 1 in any situation where you're buying pizza slices in bulk (i.e., a pizza). DPS=1 can be seen as a fair and fungible (I've never gotten to use the word "fungible" before!) pizza equation -- both parties can walk away satisfied with that transaction, secure in the knowledge that they haven't been cheated. But in they city, they try to hose you. They try to play you for a punk. All they want to do is suck you up and bleed you dry.

But not me, though. I'm no rube to be chewed up by the system. On the Papa Johns website, I found a link for a special deal. Three large, one-topping pizzas for $21.99. That's a pre-tax, pre-tip DPS of just under 1.

This led Josh to say, "That's good DPS. You can't get DPS like that, usually."

I thought that was funny.

So, after about an hour of agonized debate over whether or not I should order three pizzas, therewith conveying my credit card information over a stolen internet connection (does anyone know if this is safe?), for nearly thirty bucks, I went ahead and did it. And I tipped the guy 15%, in addition to the $1.60 "delivery fee" that Papa John's imposes. That motherfucker looks so honest in the commercials, you know? Like all he wants is to give you the best goddamn pizza you've ever eaten, and if he could do it for free, he would. And there lies the game!


But I ordered the pizzas, thinking to myself, if four pieces of pizza is a meal, and there are eight pieces of pizza in a pizza, I'll have six meals, which should sustain me for three days, three blissful days of nothing but pizza. A pizza-fueled Lost Weekend. A pizza bender.

After thirty minutes, I went down to the lobby to wait for the delivery guy, and when he came, and with him my pizza, I charged back to my room with boyish, unbridled enthusiasm, ducking out of the way of doormen who popped out at me like video game villains from behind pillars and around corners, and all of them making the same crack -- "you throwin' a pizza party?" I tucked my chin, looked at my shoes, and charged past, yelling out "HAVE A GOOD ONE!" every fifteen seconds to no one in particular to make it clear that I would not be stopped to chat. I, intent on one thing: the immediate and voluminous consumption of hot pizza with a generous slathering of garlic butter sauce.

Now, two hours later, I've got two and a quarter pizzas left, and I'm so fucking sick of pizza.

And I have learned a lesson. It's a lesson of economics, of philosophy, of definition and epistemology, but mostly it's a lesson of the spirit. That lesson is this.

There are hidden costs in the DPS. For some pizza, you pay with more than dollars.


Sex scenes with your mom.

George Michael Bluth: "That's why they call it bunking cousins!"
Lindsey Funke: "They call it kissing cousins."
George Michael Bluth: "But we're not kissing, that's the point!"

~Arrested Development

On my way here with my mom, we listened to parts of a couple of books on tape. One was this awesome mainstream trash detective novel about these terrorists called the New Zionists, who were rednecks for some reason, who commandeered a nuclear reactor and then fell prey to an exploding robot. It was terrible. It was great. Halfway through, in a scene in which a male character's arm was rubbing suggestively against a female character's breast on the Concorde, my mom assured me that the book didn't get too explicit.

The other book on tape, tragically, was the first half of The House of Sand & Fog, which does get way too explicit.

It's a good book in nearly every way. It won a bunch of awards. It was made into a movie that nobody saw with Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connolly. It's got two main characters, both of whom are presented with commendable sympathy.

But every time the book got to a chapter that the chick narrates, you knew it was time to cringe. In no time at all, a police officer would be "going so fast in and out of me that it hurt." Or "tickling between my thighs with his mustache." Or that one part where, memorably, "he came against the back of my throat in a jet. I swallowed. Then, I asked, 'did you like that?' He said, 'oh yeah.'"

I mean, come on.

And that was roughly when I realized why it's usually liberals who are okay with freedom of speech. They're the ones who, generally, have the least contact with their family units. It's not because they have the most fucked up families. It's because they're less likely to be, as a family unit, stuck in a situation where they're listening to a graphic and, for all intents and purposes, unnecessary sex scene on a book on tape. Liberals just kind of do their own thing, and then, when they're forced into an uncomfortable situation, play it off. Conservatives, on the other hand, play it off, but let their discomfort get to them and turn it into a crusade against sexuality in general.

And it's interesting. There were a lot of sex scenes in this book. Visualizing Jennifer Connolly did little to palliate it for me. I'm not sure if that's because my mom was sitting right next to me and it was just altogether weird, or because I've seen and read so much porn, academically and recreationally, that I'm just kind of unphased by it as an artistic device, or what. I mean, I'm for sure one of those megaliberals who overcompensates for his ample repression with a pretension of sexual liberation, or at least a total awareness of sexual liberation, so it was bound to come back at me in the long run. But man, it made me pretty uncomfortable to hear a woman with a sort of impassively sexy NPR voice narrate a guy cumming on her stomach and liking it while sitting next to my mom.

And what made it more interesting is, the sex scenes all seemed to me to be completely unnecessary.

I wouldn't have batted an eyelash otherwise. If I were reading the book on my own, I would have plowed through without so much as a second thought, only wanting to get to the part of the book that has some meat on its bones. I wouldn't have even parsed the sex scenes. I would have read them, and probably felt a little hot and bothered in a very vague and general way, and then moved on the the stuff about not having enough money and feeling like you don't have a place in the world and being an outsider even where you ought to belong.

And I don't want to suggest that this is merely because I'm so repressed that my mind dodges sex, in one way or another, whenever it's presented. I mean, that's probably not what you were thinking, and the fact that I would even bother to point it out is more damning than anything, but I was just trying to make the point that, these were not good sex scenes. I mean, there was nothing at all erotic about their presentation. Totally economical, totally utilitarian, totally grotesque. Lots of appealing to the most basic sexual impulses that we all understand without feeling a need to actually articulate. A lot of "he came in me" and "I guided him into me" and "he made me cum with his tongue."

These are the kinds of things that I take for granted as being the most basic, plebeian aspects of humanity, almost always thinking of them as being without much psychological or philosophical interest.

But there was my mom.

And there was her son.

There was always a nearly palpable feeling of tension whenever one of these sex scenes was obviously on its way. But we did a fairly good job of pretending not to notice what was happening. When I was driving, I asked if it would be ok to take a break to listen to some music, and my mom was entirely too enthusiastic to listen to Voxtrot.

When we switched drivers and I offered to put the book back in, she didn't say yes or no, she just said, "I bet you never thought you'd be listening to a book with this many lurid sex scenes with your mom."

Before I heard a word of it, my mom was already on CD 10 of the thing. She started it over so I could hear the beginning.

"I had no idea there were so many dirty parts to this book," my mom said.

It's funny, though. That she -- my mom, of all people -- was able to listen to 10 of the 12 CDs and not even process the fact that these characters are having a discussion about whether or not they like to have orgasms in each other's mouths. You have to face the prospect that, simply on merit of being your mother, this kind of thing is not absolutely foreign to your mother.

All the sudden, the context changes everything. All the sudden, you're not listening to it as a person. You're listening to it as a mother or a son.

And I imagine what it would be like listening to this kind of thing as a father, and having to fact the realization that Jennifer Connolly doesn't play all these roles. My daughter could be playing one of these roles.

And what's my point? I'm not sure. It's hard to think about enough that you can actually come to have a point. I guess the point is, the impulse towards free speech and constraint are always exactly, whether subconsciously or cognitively, one family member away. I guess the point is, it would be hypothetically easy, but functionally impossible (for somebody like me), to cross that threshold where it's ok to admit that your parents are people, and to acknowledge that they have an interest in that kind of thing, too.

It's just so weird, to realize that your generation is not the generation that invented sex. That every generation, for hundreds, thousands of generations before yours, has invented sex for itself. That Greek men used to sodomize Greek boys. That there are Egyptian sculptures of guys circle-jerking. That there are papyrus depictions of people doing it doggy-style. It's just too fucked up. That was 3,000 years ago. How can it still feel so new, so fucking foreign? Or at best, so worn-in, like a pair of vogue retro pants that you just bought but can't remember not owning?

How could it possibly feel like it was something your parents did, too? You know, they were the ones who gave the shit to the Salvation Army that you bought.

It just doesn't makes sense.


Dios mio, this kid's fun to hit!

I really enjoy doing myspace surveys. They're good prompts. But myspace always deletes them after a few days, and it's not that I miss them, precisely. It's just that, blogging has made me kind of obsessed with having an ironclad record of every word I've thrown into the echo-chamber of the internet for the last few years, so I find it somehow distressing to lose some. So, in that spirit of pack-rattery, I'm going to save this myspace survey here.

1. When you want to have "you" time, what do you do?
I don't really know. But I have a lot of it, and it goes by very quickly.

2. Are you comfortable with answering personal questions?
Yeah. Go ahead, try me.

3. Have you ever cried and didn't know why?
No. I always know exactly why I'm crying.

4. When is the last time you were truly happy with your life?
Uhm... I've only ever felt truly happy with my life in retrospect. So, I mean, right now I feel like I was truly happy with my life last year. But last year, not so much.

5. Have you ever found someone of your same sex sexy?
I have kind of a thing for Ze Frank. And Matthew Fox, from Lost. There are a lot of hot, hot men in the world, and I've rocked them all. Well, I mean, not really. I love hot guys, though. I mean, not in a.... gay way or anything. I mean... I just think they're neat?

6. Do you think long distance relationships are ever really worth it?
Yeah, why not? The worst that can happen is a long-distance breakup, a bunch of boozing, and an eventual righting of the course.

7. What did you do at your lowest point in life?
I went to school every day and didn't learn anything. I went home every night and smoked cigarettes. I watched hundreds of hours of ESPN without processing a single thing I saw. I didn't eat. I didn't sleep. I was numb. But the bad kind of numb.

8. What brought you back from that?
I just forgot what the point of it was.

9. Have you ever envisioned your own wedding?
I dunno, it's nice to be the center of attention. And it's nice when people cry because they're so happy for you. I like the idea of that.

10. When is the last time you personally made someone else cry?
I don't know. People are weird. A lot of them cry a lot more than I thought.

11. The last time you were kissed, where were you?
On a couch.

12. Do you eat a healthy diet?
It's getting pretty good, yeah.

13. What part of your looks are you the most complimented on?
Resemblance to a porcelain doll, which isn't exactly a compliment, but I'll take it. Porcelain dolls are hot.

14. Do you believe exes can really ever be "just friends?"
Not exactly. They can never JUST be friends. They can be friends, sure, but they will always also be a lot of other things.

15. Would you attend each of your ex's funerals?
Yes. I've thought, sometimes, about how fucked up it would be if one of my exes died suddenly, when I was feeling the most anger towards them for the most insignificant reasons. It has a weird calming effect, where I just start wanting them to do well for themselves, and hoping they don't die.

16. In fact, how many exes do you have?
Uhm, depends on how you count. Three, or four. I would say three. She would say four. Errrr...

17. Would you be able to date someone who had a kid with someone else?
Yeah. I like kids, man. Actually, that might be cool, because me having kids would be weird, because I think about my relationship with my father, and everybody else's relationship with everybody else's fathers, and I start to think about, like, how maybe I'd be a better father FIGURE than an actual FATHER, you know? Of course, mostly that's just me being terrified of how weirdly, singularly happy having my own kid would probably make me.

18. When is the last time you were on a vacation?
I went to Chicago for my birthday and the Pitchfork Music Festival.

19. Do you make your bed every day?
No. I boo this question.

20. Are you too shy to tell people when you're developing feelings for them?
Oh, that's a rocky road. That's the whole question, right? Where you don't ever know if you're being too shy or too forward. You can just get it the fuck over with and make a strong move (for lack of a better term) and just see what happens. Or you can ride the pine and just hope to worm your way into her heart after an endless amount of lallygagging and pussyfooting. Neither one is great -- because you always have to carry around the knowledge that like 2% of relationships ultimately work out in any meaningful way -- but they're both usually better than what ENDS UP happening, which is sort of a combination of the two. You've both got an unspoken understanding that there are some feelings there, and they're pretty much one-sided feelings, and if we can just ignore it, we can get along just fine. But eventually, and this inevitably happens right when you get past the point where you've both started to take it for granted that you're just friends, to her relief and your dismay, what happens is, by a combination of accident and sheer willpower that completely ignores your common sense screaming at you to stop, you just kind of do something so outlandishly brash, you say something so over-the-top forward, that it wouldn't work even in the most optimal circumstances. So basically, by trying to be really safe, you shoot yourself in the foot six different times, and by that point, your gun is empty. People are stupid, man. We are stupid, stupid people.

21. Do you use the Internet or television more?
Internet. But I use the TV a lot, too!

22. Have you ever worn black nail polish?
Yes, actually.

23. How much older than you is the oldest person you've kissed?
Uhmmmmmm... a couple years?

24. How much younger is the youngest?
Three years?

25. Which celebrity have you been compared to most?
He's not a celebrity, really, but Andy Partridge. He's a celebrity to me.

26. Do you have romantic feelings for anyone, and if so, do they know?
No. Done, and done.

27. What are your plans for your future?
Uhm, I start school in a little less than a month. Then, I'm going to be reading all day every day for five years. Then, I'm going to look up and be like, "What happened to my twenties? God damn it, I didn't even learn anything." Then, I'll probably try to write a novel whilst loaded on gin, which will stretch out to seven, twelve years. Then, I'll be one of those wizened old men who seem to know some secret about life, but only because they've practiced for so many years trying to appear to know some secret about life. It's going to be Toad's Wild Ride.

28. Do you want to be in a relationship right now?
Yeah, I guess. But, you know, I'm feeling pretty good.

29. If you could to pack up and leave your life now to move away, would you?
I, uhm, just kind of did.

30. Have you ever done any acting on stage?
I was in a high school play. Had an important part and everything. It was really fun.

31. Do you like being in pictures?
I would love to be in The Pictures.

33. Have you ever been more attracted to a significant other's sibling than them?
No. What a funny problem, though.

34. What is the last fun, free activity you did?
Art museum!

35. Do you enjoy romance?
The only problem I have with romance is, it's the drug people use to relieve themselves of the fact that they deserve better things. I love romance when it's directly related to my own life. I don't like it when it's purely fantasy, the kind of thing people just use to stay sane in a situation they hate. But that's just because I hate it when people are stuck in situations they hate.

36. Do you tend to fall for people easily?
Yeah. But only, like, interesting people.

37. Have you spent more time in your life single, or in a relationship?
This question is geared for the middle-aged myspacers who have been married for twenty years, I take it.

38. What person in your family are you the most like?
Oh, probably my mom. But I'm a lot like my dad.

39. Are you quick to start a fight?
Depends on what you mean by fight.

40. Have you ever put anything other than cheese in your grilled cheese?
Butter is kind of essential. But I guess that's ON. I dunno, ham, I think, but I never really liked that.

41. What are you studying in school?
English literature.

42. Do your parents really know YOU?
Uhm... they have caught glimpses.

43. Have you ever felt invincible?

44. How many cars have you owned?
Three. I wasn't responsible for the losings of either of the first two.

45. Do you get along well with your siblings?
Yes, and no.

46. Would you rather be cheated on with someone who your ex had broken up with already or with a stranger?
Holy cow, that's a pretty good question. I wouldn't deal especially well with either one. But, I think I'd prefer it was a stranger. Because there's a better chance a stranger will stay a stranger, than an ex will become a stranger all over again. Cheating, man. It's the great American past-time. Kudos to us for knowing what we want and sticking with it. Predictable unpredictability.

47. Do you feel like you've got some growing up to do?
I hope so. I hope I'm not as mature as I'm going to get, that's for fucking sure.

48. Do you like to dress up?

49. Have you ever loved someone so much that you lost who you were because of it?
Who the fuck am I? Depends on what your definition of "is" is. Or, in this case, "were" is.

50. Do you own a little black dress?
I bought a little black dress for Dina on ebay, and she never paid me back for it. So if you want to get technical about it, I DO own a little black dress, but it's kind of on permanent loan somewhere on the campus of Stanford University. She better be wearing that fucker, too.


The view from this tower

Disregarding my totally amateur stitch 'n' blur job, this was part of the view from my bedroom a minute ago. Click for bigger.

God, r u up there?


The Thinker

I went to the art museum today with Nick, my classmate-to-be and private gentleman of the bedroom. The collection has a "monumental" cast of Rodin's "The Thinker," which is a sculpture that, for years, I've never thought I liked. The rinkydink eight-inch bookend versions of it make it look inconsequential, like any old guy with bad posture sitting there with his face on his fist, and it's been tainted by hundreds of chimpified parodies. But the 2,080 lbs. version of it puts across a totally different vibe.

(Here's what it would look like as a screen-shot of an 80s music video. (All I had was my camera phone.))

This dude is fucking jacked. His back is an intricate but arbitrary-seeming lattice of bronze veins and muscles, and when you're standing directly under his double-sized head, you can look up into his eyes, which are tortured and blank all at once. That's the cool thing about the sculpture -- that every aspect seems to do two things without doing much of anything. His physical power conveys emotional and philosophical strain, his darkness conveys lightness, his heaviness conveys quickness, and his inactivity conveys maelstrom. He's always seeming to negate himself. But, most incredibly, every single part of his body is too big for his body. His hands are too big for his arms, and his arms are too big for his chest, and his chest is too big for his legs, and his legs are too big for his feet, and his feet are too big for his hands. It's this weird cyclical thing. Everything is too big for everything else, and it seems like it should come back around -- everything should be in proper proportion, if it's all too big, but it doesn't. It's just all too big. He's just enormous, and not because he's so big, which he is. He resembles nothing so much as a bronze Incredible Hulk, where everything is outsized but you can't precisely tell why. (Incidentally, it's too bad he's not copper, because then, if you left him outside, he would turn green.)



"Kammerjunker" is a German title that means, literally, "Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber."




Because trash cans are for Oscar the Grouch.

Before I left Iowa, I had a bunch of bottles of novelty liquor left over.

Creme de menthe, creme de cacao, creme de noyau (almond), Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, and 5 O'Clock Gin. I had to get rid of them. SO I made jungle juice. IN the toilet.

This is what it looks like when you dump half a bottle of creme de menthe in a toilet bowl. There's a sheet of toilet paper in there, too. I thought it would look grosser that way. I don't think I was wrong.

In flows the gin!

When I mixed it with the Diet Coke the machine wrongly gave me last year, you couldn't even taste the alcohol. I swear, it was just like Kool-Aid.

A babbling, babbling brook of booze.

My friends, it really hit the spot.


Holy balls I'm in Baltimore, Vol. 1: Oh my god

I'm not used to the view, or the etiquette of city windows. Should I turn the light off if I take off my pants? Should I think it's funny if I don't? Does anybody care? Will I ever know? The sheer anonymity of it all, taken with how densely we're packed into this big fucking hole in the forest that is the northeastern United States, is a reshuffling of context that is bizarre to even think about.

I'm in my new apartment for the first day, for the first night. I feel lethargic. It's dark, and it's quiet. Office and apartment lights are turned off, more every few minutes, and it clears the black of clutter. But not so many that I don't know exactly where I am. I don't hear highways. I just hear crickets, and the fountain the back yard. Which isn't a yard. It's a slab of concrete with two football field-sized yard cut into it. But all I hear is crickets. A siren just went "woo" in staccato bursts like a rave track.

If I were Boswell or Garrison Keillor, I would tell you stories about the move. I may yet. But for now,

It's hot as balls. We're talking like hellish, like record highs for the state of Maryland. I'm in my new apartment for the first night wondering if I want to turn on the air conditioning, even though it should be a total non-issue. I should turn on the air conditioning. I'm pirating internet from somebody, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

More than once I've tried to convince people that I invented the phrase "hot as balls," which is about as close to a lie as you can get without being truthful in some way or another.

"I don't know man, I don't know man, I don't know man, I don't know, I don't know."



When will you be angelic? When will you take off your clothes?


The dirty curve

One of my favorite things about studying English Lit is the way everybody pretends that certain passages aren't dirty, like Hamlet talking about "country matters" with his head in Ophelia's lap, or that one time John Donne "love's pinnace overfraught."

It's a boat, see? A pinnace... is a boat. So, he put too much stuff... in his boat, so it got too... heavy. And it flipped over?

But even better is when a passage, through no fault of its own, comes off as just plain filthy dirty simply by merit of its dated antiquity. Like this paragraph from Agnes Gray. In a vacuum, without context, it's either:

1) A really fucking weird passage about a promiscuous woman contemplating giving up sex with other women -- she's taken her last walk in the garden, by god -- but still struggling with whether or not she's actually a lesbian. Or,

2) About a guy who's going to stop dressing as a woman, which he does in order to fool around with lesbians. Except for maybe a few "hasty visit[s] at Christmas." (One would have to wonder why he could not "easily disguise" his "sadness" with a kitten in his lap. RAOW!) Or,

2) Something entirely different.

"My dear friends looked so sad, and spoke so very kindly, that I could scarcely keep my eyes from overflowing: but I still affected to be gay. I had taken my last ramble with Mary on the moors, my last walk in the garden, and round the house; I had fed, with her, our pet pigeons for the last time -- pretty creatures that we had tamed to peck the food from our hands: I had given a farewell stroke to all their silky backs as they crowded into my lap. I had tenderly kissed my own peculiar favorites, the pair of snow-white fantails... And, perhaps, when I did see these things again it would be with different feelings: circumstances might be changed, and this house might never be my settled home again. My dear little friend, the kitten, would certainly be changed: she was already growing a fine cat; and when I returned, even for a hasty visit at Christmas, would, most likely, have forgotten both her playmate and her merry pranks. I had romped with her for the last time; and when I stroked her soft bright fur, while she lay purring herself to sleep in my lap, it was with a feeling of sadness I could not easily disguise."

There's totally more, but that's probably enough. I AM going to write a story with the phrase "sadness I could not easily disguise" directly in reference to an erection, though. That much I know.