Box O'Wine Headquarters.

Last night, at the first (annual?) Meeting of the Minds poker night, 4 PhD English and a Masters of Education candidates tussled over a deck of cards. Actually, two decks of cards. One deck had pictures of animals, like the common wombat

and the wallaroo.

The other had presidents, like Howard Taft

and Millard Fillmore.

Well, at this epic scrape of a poker joust -- at which two people actually knew how to play poker before we started playing -- I, in the end, bested the Masters in Education candidate with my suited jack-ten to win four dollars. (Four dollars, because I didn't have a dollar except in quarters, and so I would have owed the winner a dollar. But choose to renege on that deal with myself.)

I didn't get too drunk this time, but I did get told some of the things I said last time I got too drunk -- things that I didn't remember -- awful, awful things -- and, as such, awoke with more or less the same feeling of shame I would have had I gone three sheets to the wind.

Did I mention we were drinking a five-liter box of Franzia? And that it's Franzia's 100th Anniversary? It seems the good people at Franzia's Box O'Wine Headquarters thought that they would, in celebration of this, their centennial annum, change it up by doing something they don't normally do: making shitty wine. And then putting it in a box.

And so, P, who bought the box of wine, apparently had to get the purchase over $15 to put on his credit card. So, instead of buying, say, an upgraded, classier Box O'Wine, he threw in a flat flask of Seagram's Gin. So, now, as the man said, I've got me some Seagram's Gin, et& et& et&.

Tonight is the big department reception. Which is weird, because it's in the basement of my building, so at least I have an angle for schmoozing. "Yeah, I live here." Annoyingly, there's a party afterwards. So I don't have to go anywhere to get to the reception, but then I have to leave to go to the party and come back to my building. So really, the convenience of having the reception in my building is negated by the discourtesy of somebody who would be so presumptuous to have a party somewhere else, and then to invite me. Can you reckon the nerve? There's not even a keg! Reckon the nerve!

Also: I get my first department paycheck today! That would be really exciting, but it also means that I have to start a checking account at some fucking McMegabank. Not that they care, for any symbolic or fiduciary reason, whether they get a penny of my money. In a way, they'd be doing me a favor. But still, fuck them. Plus, now I have no excuse for stealing internet. And that's as hard to deal with as anything.


Salt water.

Thanks to Tim for what might be the best news story in history... not because it's a good news story... but because what's in it might actually fundamentally change everything, ever, forever.

They're burning salt water now. 3,000 degrees. Power a car. Heat a building. Salt water.

Salt water. The fire is fucking redorange beautiful. Buy a truck. Buy an SUV. Shit, buy a bus. It runs on salt water. It de-ionizes drinking water while it flies you cross-country. It cures cancer while it heats tenement buildings while it provides a potable supply of water for the whole world. You take a shower in the water that's powering your boat from Lisbon to Madrid, your boat's just sucking it up and using it for fuel and then you drink it, because what the fuck, salt water can do anything. Cures cancer.

Pie pans.

Fuck you, coal. Fuck you, oil. Fuck you, foreign oil. Fuck you George Bush and your fuel cell car, standing there looking dumbly happy when they tell you that it gets nearly 18 miles per gallon. Fuck you wood and tallow and wax and uranium and plutonium. I'm burning salt water.

Salt water.

There's no way this works like I hope.


I am no great Bears fan. In fact, I am a great hater of the Bears. But Mike Brown, their ludicrously talented safety, who was injured all last season, was injured again in the first game of this season, and looks to be done for the year... again. As far as I know, nobody who reads this is a sports fan, but you won't often see this kind of wrecked rhetoric coming from a player in the League, where the program is stoicism and anti-weakness. It's incredibly affecting.

'But as Brown talked about the sprained left knee he suffered against the Chargers on Sunday, his mouth quivered. He broke down. "We're holding out a little hope, but right now it doesn't look too good," Brown said. "It's a sprained knee right now, but it doesn't look too good. It's a shame. It hurts my feelings really bad."'

Which is in no way to diminish the tragedy of the Bills' Kevin Everett, who suffered a "catastrophic" spinal cord injury on Sunday and is unlikely ever to regain full mobility. I just don't have the words. None of them cost me enough to even begin, even presume, even pretend to match that kind of... loss.

You've got to feel for these boys -- because they start as boys -- who become men, who become giants -- sometimes they become giants before they become men -- who spend so much time and sacrifice so much to do this one thing like gods, only to have that one thing snatched away from them by the fact of their own frailty, the fact that they've hid for decades. Hid as part of their occupation.

Tragedies happen every day. Senseless, horrible tragedies. Why are these different? I don't know if they are different. But I know why they ring louder in my ears.

No man deserves to be his own allegory.


And all may certainly conclude that God loves them, till either they despise that love or despair of his mercy.

Observation: courtship would be a very different thing if everybody in the world had to wear an old-ass baseball uniform at all times.

Hey, check out this gallery of polar bears.

It's pretty stunning. I stole it from Boing Boing. They stole it from some other guy. They're going to be extinct in like twenty minutes, you know. Is your refrigerator running? Ahhh, modern luxury. You know, we've managed to screw shit up this bad, and it only took, like, a hundred years. Because let's face it... people used to be way too stupid to screw things up this badly.

I read boring shit from the sixteenth century today in the ultra-depressing university library. Coming from a Big 10 school to a private school less than ten percent the size is weird. The campus here is actually gigantic. But in this, the first full week of classes, it was as hard to find a place to study in the library as it would have been during finals week back at the ol' State U. (The U is for "Underfunded.") One wonders if this reflects the midwestern tendency to shirk studies in favor of cheese and beer and dry-humping to r&b hits on scuffed-up dancefloors. But I think it's just a really small library, because I'm pretty sure people are into those things all over the continental 'states.

There's really nothing more depressing than reading bad early-modern literature under florescent lights. You get all these moral imperatives, like, "We shant havest fun, for lo, the devil leadest thou astray from the flock, which is, ideally, everybody being just like everybody else and nobody having any fun at all, to besmirch God's most-chaste Creation, and everything about you is evil, whereas you must give thanks to God for creating you and loving you in spite of the fact that you're a really, really wicked, awful person, whom nobody should like at all. In fact, probably nobody does." And you're sitting there reading about how anything you like is a sin in a tiny wood cubicle, vomitous gray-green light bouncing off your glasses deep into your soul, while your brain is busy trying to reject this preacher's sentence structure like it were a foreign organ.

So it'd been around for a minute, but I'd never seen it. Check out this video that Kanye West hired Zach Galifianakis to make for "Can't Tell Me Nothin." It's got Will Oldham in it. Which raises the question: who the fuck is Kanye West? Who are you?!

But it doesn't really matter why, or who, or... why?! All that matters is, Will Oldham is in a Kanye West video. Look, Will Oldham weirds the shit out of me. I like his music ok, but he looks exactly like my uncle, if my uncle was the offspring of siblings, and he were guaranteed to kill somebody with an ax for religious reasons. Plus, he might be as close to the opposite of Kanye West that you can get. So, just to shake things up, I'm all for this video.

Yeah... I'm totally phoning it in. Can you tell? THERE'S NO TIME!


Please feel free...

To treat me like shit until you need something. I will do the same, as befits a cultivated people.

Class in less than 8 hours. I am wired, geared up, high-strung. I feel like the cork in a wine bottle. Big days are bullshit, but symbolism is a bitch.

I've mentioned this to some, but I never knew I never had a hero until I realized I had a hero.

Ze Frank is his name. He's really kind of a genius. And he looks just like my friend Josh. I wonder who would win in a fight?


Web of help

The things that get to me are creepy-crawling out from under the dressers, through the vents, seeping up from the floorboards into me.

The things that wrack me are mounting – they’re aggregate like that, like barnacles. They come in bunches.

I've got a lovely bunch of barnacles, de del e de. They're all stuck to me.

I’m having some problems with anxiety.

My insomnia is bad.

I hate insomnia.

I hate sleep.

I’m one of those motherfuckers too smart for his own good, but not smart enough to be good. Sometimes I can’t turn my brain off at night.

I get scared a lot.

You know how nobody can save you? But people still try to save each other? I love that. I love that people help each other.

It makes this crazy-complex web of help. Nobody I know is ever out of the web of help, man. Somebody's always there for you. Somebody's got to be there for you. They might need you to be there for them, or they might love you, or they might just have that maternal instinct. They might just need to help. Sometimes people just need to help.

But sometimes you feel impervious to it all. You feel unhelpable. That's what I don't like.

I don't like feeling like I can't be helped, any more than I like the feeling that there's nobody around willing to help, to try to help. Because that's never really true. It's a wonderful life and that. I can't imagine seeing relationships, seeing the way relationships would look if you could isolate the relationship-ness of them, as anything but complex compounds that go on forever, and every node is a person, or a part of a person, or a part of a part of a person, met an unlimited number of times by other nodes and atoms and elements.

That's what I think it looks like.

Sometimes, though, it feels like this.


Sometimes you feel like the lonely i, the tops, the angel on the Christmas tree. And the thing about the angel on the Christmas tree -- the base of a Christmas tree is misnamed. The base of a Christmas tree is really the angel. Even though it's up in the air, by itself, everything weighs on the angel. The angel is not on the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is on the angel, driving like an upside-down nail into the angel and they both just get stuck there against the hammer of the ground.

Sometimes you feel like the angel on the Christmas tree.

Everything flows, radiates from the angel on the Christmas tree. The heavenly glow that makes the spirit of the season in that tiny low-watt bulb. It's symbolic as much as anything, and it's so late at night.

Somebody should unplug that bitch.

I can't sleep, though. I get all wound up. I get all wound up, and I get fidgety, because my body is trying to burn off all this extra energy so I can fall asleep, except it doesn't seem like I ever get to the bottom of the energy. I just keep getting stretched, until finally I feel stringy. Like the kind of thing you wouldn't want to eat. And then the strings start to break a few at a time and the strings that are holding on start holding on really tight.

Everything starts to move so fast, but it doesn't move any faster exactly. If you tried to walk, but you spun yourself in a circle every time you took a step. If you were holding on by your fingers and you thought you were going to fall and all the sudden someone grabbed your ankles and then you knew you were going to fall but you still didn't fall. You start to crackle. You start to fizz. Bottle Caps. Pop Rocks.

All shook up.

The best thing.

That's the worst part.

The best thing that could possibly happen, in the whole scope of your future, it turns into just falling asleep. Moments are jumpy. You're always deferred to the future, you're not quite here so you're always in a way asleep already because that's the only thing that you can think of that matters, like how when you're in love you're never exactly yourself because you're always a little bit the person you love. And the best thing about the future is sleep. But you hate sleep. You hate sleep because it won't come and it's the best thing. It's the only good thing left. It's waving at you and it looks just like you and you don't know if it's saying hello or goodbye.

I get jittery, and I lose my train of thought. I don't lose it exactly, but it's a different train. It's a snake train slithering side-to-side and everything's getting all shook up. It's a train without the elbow-macaroni gears that make the wheels move. The wheels are the body but they're the fat underbelly of a motating snake. And it can only move by twisting, like a corkscrew into the Andes.



A-well bless my soul,
What's wrong with me?
I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree.
My friends say I'm acting wild as a bug.
I'm in love.

I have so much work left to do, but I can't do it because I can't see it. I can see it, but I can't see it and feel it at the same time. I can't touch the thing that I see with my brain. You see, pennies dropped in the well of the eyes, but the well freezes and the pennies bounce and settle. They're right on the cusp, on the white frozen gnarl, on the hoar, but they don't drop. They just pile up until you turn upside down and shake them all out.

I tried to eat today but it didn't work. But you know what's funny? How irreplaceable dental floss is. When you need dental floss, there's really no substitute for dental floss. I dug between my teeth with all manner of things -- a Q-Tip whittled into a point with a knife. You ever notice that, on the back of a box of Q-Tips, they have to advertise themselves as being "the best cotton swabs" instead of "the best Q-Tips"? That shit is fucked up.

Guitar picks. Elastic bands. Postcards. Envelopes. The dentist told me once that I have "tight little teeth." I had a piece of chip stuck in between my teeth. Finally, what worked was, I cut a section out of the chip bag, the the very same polyurethane that's killing our wildlife and making our oceans into tar pits. And I wedged it in between my teeth, but it caught on the piece of chip -- the bag was like a net thrown over some poor castaway -- and it wedged the piece of chip down further and it cut my gum and I started bleeding, and I started sawing at my gum with the chip bag to get the piece of chip out. It came out, but I really had to saw with that chip bag. I really have to buy some dental floss.


I'm feeling very homesick tonight and there's a tightness in my chest. Something has generated a certain sadness in me tonight and I'm not sure what it is. It just won't stop, the whole of it, the whole of creation. And I can't tell if I'm overwhelmed, or if I only feel astonished that I'm not overwhelmed by the sheer scope of it, the totality of things. There are so many things.

So many things to do.

So many things to try.

So many things to learn and try and do and find and lose and find again and finally lose.

I don't know how to do this stuff. I don't know how to live on my own in a city. And it's not like it's Christmas or anything. That's when it really gets to you, I guess. Because that's when people are supposed to be with their own. The angel's always a little bit with God.

But it gets to me tonight. I am the center of my own universe, and I encompass my own totality. There is nothing outside of me that I can get to that I also know. I am both of a married pair, each impotent or barren and blaming the other for the lack of children. They sure would spruce a place up. There is no tree driving into my undercarriage.

A body can't get no rest. The rest can't find no piece.


I feel like I have something to say, which isn't a feeling I get very often. But I also have a whole bunch to read. And that's not a feeling I get very often either. This is classic impasse stuff.

Class starts Thursday. I'm going to try to do well in it. But, you know, not too hard. Everybody hates that guy. I hope I'm not that guy.

Hey, everybody, please like me. Yeah?

He mean Lexus but he ain't know it.

Snoop Pearson is my favorite felonious lesbian.


The only things you need outta this AP story are the photo and the caption: "Sonya Thomas consumes 5.17 pounds of chicken wings."