Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Grey Hound

Speeding down the left-hand lane surrounded by the smell of grease, heavy in the air; a blanket choking the breath out of him. He pops the window open and closes his eyes as the wind streams through his hair. Caution, the words on the mirror read, Your past may be closer than it appears. Or maybe it's the future. Is there a difference?

He has been running for as long as he can remember, since he was old enough to resent his parents. Running from life, from love, from apathy. From expectations, from failure, from success. Running, and all the while screaming, hoping, praying that someone will follow; needing that person and hating them for his need. He wants to find her, wants to chase her down and rip her to pieces, then fall asleep in her lap while Rachmaninoff plays.

And how is that any different from any of us? Do we not destroy those we love; chip away at their psyches with kindness and devotion, remaking them in our own image? The cliche is redundant; love is war, and all is fair, fair as far as the eye can see.

Fair like her face, floating in the passing scenery.

Memory is a tower, one you ascend while living your life, locking doors behind you as you climb. Behind you, the bricks are disappearing, the mortar loosening, and one day you awaken and find yourself floating in the clouds, somewhere in the twilight between dawn and dusk. But there are some memories we do not forget, we can not forget, no matter how hard we try.

So it is.

This is the way the world ends.

This is the way the world ends.

Not with a bang.

Not with a whimper.

But with her smile.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sunday in the Park

...but not with George, that rat bastard.

Given the recent posts from Pooka and DiA, I thought I would share an amusing little anecdote from my most recent visit to the park, on Sunday.

So there I am, lying out in the sun with a friend. To our left is a couple with a kid, looks to be about 2 (my friend and I had a bit of a debate as to the kid's age; she first said 3, but I'll give the couple the benefit of the doubt because kids that small all look the same age to me, somewhere between annoying and really goddamn annoying. Anyways.) Everything is going fine, everyone's having such a good time out in the sun. Suddenly, the child (or parent) decides it's feeding time, and BAM, the titty comes out.

Now, I have no problem with breastfeeding. I have no problem with breastfeeding in public. But for fuck's sake, THROW A BLANKET ON THAT BAD BOY. No-one wants to see your big ole veiny teats being suckled on, and if they do, chances are you don't want those people seeing it.

But the story doesn't end there, oh no. Would I really be relating this story if it was just some lady breastfeeding a child in Central Park? That happens all the time. What elevates this story to a whole new level of awesomeness (or lack thereof, depending on your perspective) is that the kid is naked.

Naked. In the middle of Central Park.

Let's put aside the my own, personal irritation at the fact that I am now prevented from scanning to my left for cute chicks or stupid people to mock, for fear of a view of 2 year old vagina. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? THERE ARE SOME SICK FUCKS OUT THERE, YOU USELESS SACK OF SHIT PARENTS. And this kid wasn't shy, let me tell you, she was using her mom like a friggin' jungle gym.

It's a little sad, I suppose, but the world is a fucked up place. Every time I'm at the Alice in Wonderland statue and I see an older gentleman sitting there all on his own without a book or anything, I get a little worried for the kids and try to look around to see if there's an adult paying close attention to each one. Along those lines, these wonderful people in the park, when they were cleaning up to go, let their kid wander off a good 20-30 feet away. Sure, they were keeping an eye on her, but that's a pretty decent headstart. Am I just paranoid? Was my mom just intensely smothering and protective? Well, I know she was, but whatever.

Along those lines, and for a slightly more amusing take on things, check out this story about Dutch pedophiles starting a political party to push for the abolition of minimum ages for sexual relations. Other aspects of their platform? Sex with animals allowed, public nudity ok, legalized drugs and free train travel for all.

Free train travel? Holy cow, sign me up!

Guess I'll wrap all this up with a nice little quote from an editorial by Edward Albee, author of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, among other plays. The editorial itself is good if a bit odd; it feels rushed and disconnected at the end because he's talking about art and then, in two paragraphs, he jumps to two-tier education and the state of democracy in the US. But anyways:
Our educational system is a de facto two-tier disgrace, with so many of our students getting, at best, a halfway decent education. In schools the arts are taught, if at all, as an adjunct, and getting a high-paying job is considered more valuable than being broadly educated. Few Americans are educated in the ways government works — or does not work — and our passivity, our downright apathy, in the face of the headlong retreat from democracy in this country makes us wonder if perhaps the late Max Lerner was not right: We are a civilization in decline without ever having reached its zenith.

They tell us that in a democracy, we can have anything we want. True. But it is also true that in a democracy, we get exactly what we deserve. We'd better figure out what we deserve.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fan Mail!

No, not mine. This is actually a response I'm posting to Coyote Rosebud's latest article (Amateur Cartography) for my friend's magazine.

Coyote:

Liked your piece, but here's a thought for you: is it possible to lose something you never had? I'm stealing this from Rilke:

"...ask yourself...whether you have truly lost God. Isn't it much truer to say that you have never yet possessed him? ...Do you suppose that someone who really has him could lose him like a little stone? But if you realize that he did not exist in your childhood, and did not exist previously...what justifies you, then...in missing him like someone who has passed away and is searching for him as though he were lost?"

Obviously, he's talking about God and faith, but I don't see much problem with replacing God with the self. Maybe that's the only God left to us today, the only God there ever really was, but that's a whole other story.

I think the biggest problem is that people don't know who they are to begin with. And that's not a bad thing. You should never reach an end point; you should never be able to stop and say, "This is who I am and always will be." Life is a journey; it is a process of becoming that only stops when you die.

People think they've "lost themselves" when they find themselves out of their element, cast adrift in a new city, waking one morning to discover they have no idea who this stranger is living their life. The reality is they never knew who they were, and now, because they're all alone with their thoughts, this absence of self-knowledge is apparent. And it's only when people are alone like this that they can actually start asking the right questions. That's why people "find themselves" in Europe; like the comment in Before Sunrise, when you're stuck in an area where you can't understand anyone or anything around you, you're left with nothing but your own thoughts. And that's terrifying, because there are no conventions to guide you. But then, there are also none to constrain you. You can be whoever you want to be, whoever you honestly feel you are. You can like Winnie-the-Pooh and punk rock, you can wear docks and a dress, you can be idealistic and realistic all at once and tell the everyone who doesn't like it to fuck off.

And if you're honest enough with yourself as you begin this process, maybe somewhere along the way you'll find that you've lived yourself into the beginnings of the answers to your questions; that finding yourself is more a process of figuring out who you are becoming than it is finding some mysterious, pre-fabricated "you" knocking around in your head somewhere.

Yay!

You Are Indigo

Of all the shades of blue, you are the most funky, unique, and independent.
Expressing yourself and taking a leap of faith has always been easy for you.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Meep

Lots I could say, but I'll start with an updated booklist:

1. The Complete Poems, Anne Sexton
2. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
3. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
4. Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
5. Sideways, Rex Pickett
6. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
7. Le Morte D'Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory
8. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
9. The Sonnets, William Shakespeare
10. To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
11. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
12. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Yiyun Li
13. interpreter of maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
14. The Neverending Story, Michael Ende
15. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
16. Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
17. Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
18. The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas Friedman
19. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
20. the namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
21. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
22. seven types of ambiguity, Eliot Perlman
23. Unhooked Generation, Jillian Straus
24. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins
25. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
26. This Book Will Save Your Life, A. M. Homes
27. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
28. History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Thought

From cnn.com:



If you're looking for the body of a dead dude who's been in the ground for like 30 years, MAYBE IT'S NOT THE BEST IDEA TO BE USING A BACKHOE TO DIG WITH.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Syphilitic Mermaids are Cool

A friend of mine started a magazine a bit ago, and just got around to telling me about it: Syphilitic Mermaids. Check it out; my personal favorites are the writings of Eli Rockmell and pretty much anything sketchbookkid does (Tiny Tommy comics, the books of writing and the photo diary).

What are you still reading this for? Go clicky clicky!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

UMDS UMDS UMDS!

So apparently somebody went and posted a whole episode of Uncle Morty's on YouTube. It's in three parts, which is a bit of a pain, I suppose, but for anyone who was wondering what the whole episodes are like, feel free to watch. It's one of the earlier episodes, and the movie we dubbed is one of my favorites. Anyways, enjoy it if you watch it and if you don't...don't let me know.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Dand Nayak! UNDERLINE!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Story Time

I want those goddamn green eggs and ham
I do, I do, Sam-I-am.
Sam I am
I am Sam
Am I Sam?
What Would Descartes Do?
Are you really Sam?
Or maybe it's the evil genius who makes you think you're Sam but you're really not, you're just dreaming and he's laughing behind his hands at you because you're really Bobby but you think you're Sam.
And what if you really were Sam, but didn't know it?
Are you still Sam?
This is Sam's brain.
This is Sam's brain on Cartesian doubt.
Get the picture?
Sillyhead.

Tell me a story,
you said.
So I did.
Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl
(quite the original beginning, don't you think?)
they took a trip to the moon
to find out if it was made of cheese
but it wasn't.
It was made of jujubes.
The boy picked up an orange one
(they were his favorite)
and gave it to the girl.
"I read about this in a book,"
he said,
"It's a kiss."
And she smiled.

What if kisses were jujubes
and jujubes were kisses?
Would it make it any easier to give them?
I am drowning
under the weight of all the words I want to say to you
and all the kisses I want to give you.

Sorry
I meant jujubes.
The orange ones.
They're my favorite.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Waking Life

I woke up today
and wanted nothing more than to crawl inside your skin
and hold you close.
To devour you and store you for the winter
While I hibernate
Burrowing closer and closer to your heart.

The music of our fingers
Entwined
Harmonizing
Dissonant
Resolving
In unison.
Sotto
sotto voce.

You're gone but you remain
I have my memories to sustain me
through the long, bright night.
The moon was shining
a bright pink glow
And we were dancing
(oh, how we danced, with my head in your lap)
while the world stood still
and summer nights drifted by.
Did I ever tell you how selfish you make me?
I took your drawings and made them tattoos
you'd think they were lame
but they're not
(I swear)
they're scratch-and-sniff;
this one smells like root beer, that one like peanut butter.
The creamy kind.
Of course.

My music is stuck on repeat
"Do you realize?"
D y r l z ?
o ou ea i e?
Salagadoo la menchickaboo
Bibbity bobbity boo
And all that jazz.

Here endeth the lesson.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nowhere Near Enough, If You Ask Me



Rawr!

Ashlee's Brain? Not So Cool

So CNN finally gets around to reporting the "rumors" (quotations placed just to satisfy the completely blind) of Ashlee Simpson's nose job. Fortunately, thesuperficial.com has already done the work of mocking her for me:
Somebody should explain to Ashlee about the magic of photography. We already know she's had a nose job because we can see it. Lying about it isn't going to convince anybody of anything, except that maybe she's a fucking liar. And was born with a tail. Because Ashlee Simpson was born with a tail. And if she says otherwise she's lying. That's what she does.

Ka-blam! I love that site.

My Brain Is Cool

Your Brain is 47% Female, 53% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female
You are both sensitive and savvy
Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed
But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Untitled

Not really sure what this is, but I feel kinda bad for not having posted anything in a couple of days. As the title of this post suggests, this is untitled so far and I'm not even sure if I like what I have down. I know what I want to say with it, where I want to go with it, what I want it to be about, I'm just not sure if this is going to get me there or if it's going to end up mealy-mouthed, obvious and generally boring. Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't be posting such a potential pile of crap, but I suppose that's never stopped me before.

-------------------------------------

She awakes to a brand new day, the horizon pregnant with the sun.
This is the day.
This is her day.
She goes about her daily tasks, hoping to calm her nerves. Starts the coffee machine. Steps outside, grabs her paper. Pulls her favorite mug off the dish rack. Sugar, one flattened teaspoon. No milk, no cream. Pours, thrusting her face into the rising aroma, losing herself in the moment, in the sheer joy of sensation, of stimulation, of feeling alive.
And yet she cannot escape the feeling, that feeling, the gnawing in her stomach and in her mind that will not stop, that cannot stop, that is slowly devouring her piece by piece and second by second.
This is the day she says goodbye.
This is the day she says hello.
Calm. Calm. Must stay calm. She flicks through the paper, not really reading any of the stories, and pauses on the horoscope page, something she never pays attention to, seeking - what? Guidance? Advice? Justification? She is the scorpion, the eagle, the phoenix, doomed to be reborn time and time again; a destiny which she feels looming once more.
But. But. But.
Always buts. No ifs ands or buts, says the cliche, but no-one ever really brings up ifs or ands. Only buts. She knows what is right to do, what she has wanted to do, what he has been daring her to do.
But.
Isn't it funny how the mind works against us in so many ways; knows our fears, our weaknesses, the things that send us to sleep exhausted from tears.
You'll never meet another.
He can change.
You love him.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I'm a B+!

You Have A Type B+ Personality

You're a pro at going with the flow
You love to kick back and take in everything life has to offer
A total joy to be around, people crave your stability.

While you're totally laid back, you can have bouts of hyperactivity.
Get into a project you love, and you won't stop until it's done
You're passionate - just selective about your passions


Also, Violet Beauregard's got nothing on me:

You Are a Blueberry Margarita

Honestly, there's no one quite like you. And believe it or not, most people think that's a bad thing!
You're open, wild, friendly, wacky, and tons of fun. You have a big personality... and a big heart.

Yepyepyepyepyepyepyepyepyep

I don't really remember these guys, but they definitely fall into the, "were probably immensely disturbing for any kids watching at the time, but are hysterically funny when seen today" category of Sesame Street characters, if you ask me. What's with the way their lower lips come way up when they get spooked? That's AWESOME with a capital AWESOME.

Speaking of AWESOME with a capital AWESOME...noo nee noo nee noo noo noo!

Coolest. Typewriter. Ever.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I Got 99 Problems, Bill Gates Ain't One

Hit me!



From this page/story.

Je Suis Artiste!

I have a bit of an issue with this one. See, that last question I'd spend most of the day browsing bookstores, which gives me this:

You Should Be Fashion Designer

Although you're offbeat and artistic, you have a good eye for trends
You can figure out new incredible clothes to create... that will sell well!

But then in the evening I'd want to go hit a show, which gives me this:

You Should Be an Actor

You have a flair for the dramatic, and you probably already do a lot of acting in your day to day life, just to entertain yourself.
No need to steal the spotlight from your friends... You'll get plenty of attention once you start acting professionally!

Everyone branches out these days anyways, right? I'm all about maximizing the revenue.

In Other News...

Dick Cheney criticizes Russia's civil rights record and somehow avoids getting laughed off the podium. Also, people like to listen to news that agrees with their viewpoints. And here's a quote from this story that makes me giggle:
Cornyn is one of many politicians who got a gift from Send-a-brick.com, which allows visitors to purchase a brick for about $11 and mail it to their representative, a weighty hint to build a border fence.
Please God, I hope other people see what amuses me in that statement.

The Enemy of My Enemy Is...?

So the illegal immigrant question continues to be batted around. One interesting aspect of the issue which I hadn't really thought about until it was mentioned by a panelist on last week's Real Time is that while illegal immigrants may not impact the living wages of the majority of the population (ie, they do the jobs that most Americans are not willing/are overqualified to do), there is a definite percentage of low-skilled Americans who are forced to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs. And, of course, as happens any time you speak of low-skilled (read: under-educated) Americans, by default it tends to mean African-Americans. Now fast forward to this week, and this article in the Times, talking about the same discomfort.

I guess I find it interesting how African-Americans have been so negative towards recent causes that have likened their struggles to the civil rights movement; anyone else remember the furor over gay marriage? Is it because there are so many issues on which progress hasn't been made? Or is it something a bit less noble, is it the need for the downtrodden to have someone that they can dump on, someone they can point to and blame. Notice that there's always been friction between African-Americans and immigrants:
W.E.B. DuBois, a founder of the N.A.A.C.P., and other prominent black leaders worried that immigrants would displace blacks in the workplace. Ronald Walters, director of the African-American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, said blacks cheered when the government restricted Asian immigration to the United States after World War I.

...nearly twice as many blacks as whites said that they or a family member had lost a job, or not gotten a job, because an employer hired an immigrant worker. Blacks were also more likely than whites to feel that immigrants take jobs away from American citizens.
I think the biggest problem is that people fail to see the interconnections; that if illegal immigrants were legalized and companies were forced to pay them minimum wage (which isn't even close to a living wage, but let's not get into that here), then the impetus to hire immigrant workers that you pay less than minimum wage under the table disappears, and it becomes open competition for the jobs. Yeah, there's more people competing for the jobs, but those are the breaks; everyone deals with competition for the jobs they want. It is difficult to have a lot of sympathy for African-American activists when other groups have come into the same or worse situation and have flourished.

Well, I guess when I say, "other groups," I really mean Asians, right. And I'm sorry, but it's true. No, Asians weren't brought here as slaves, in ships packed to the gills. Instead they had to pay for the right to immigrate here, in ships packed to the gills. They had to deal with being rounded up, having their property seized and being sent to camps because they were all security risks during the Second World War. But, and this is probably going to sound screamingly racist, there is a culture there, there is a notion that education is the path to empowering yourself, a notion stretching all the way back to dynastic China, when entering civil service via the national exam was the quick way to advancement. African-American activists state that the reason why African-Americans embrace thug life is because they feel disenfranchised; that they have no other options, so of course they turn to that. I think it's a bit of a chicken and the egg argument. Yes, they are severely limited. But there is a darker aspect to African-American culture, one that you will see if you live in areas dominated by African-Americans (which I do), or even if you just watch enough African-American programming; I've seen this subject touched on in episodes of Fresh Prince, Boondocks and in Chris Rock's standup. It's a standpoint that says education is bad, is selling out, is somehow not black, that seeking a higher standard of living by going to college is worthy of nothing but contempt and mockery. More than anything else, it is that that needs to be addressed, and that's what Bill Cosby was trying to get at when he made the comments he made a few years ago. That is not something that the government can change, that is not something that anyone but African-Americans can change. And they should, damn it. Hasn't it been long enough? Haven't enough people fought and bled and cried for those rights? Did Martin Luther King and Malcolm X fight, preach and die just so African-Americans could enjoy their BET and $2 fried chicken?
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Improv Where?

Improv Everywhere! Caught a link to the Best Buy mission on a news site and was immediately entranced/amused. Haven't really had the time to look through many, but every one of their missions looks fun. As a U2 fan myself, I definitely appreciated this one, though I wish they had video of it up. It does kind of suck that cops are frequently called in, but it's understandable.

I noticed off their FAQ that the core of people met at a UCB Improv class; I'm thinking I really need to get my ass into one of those, as I've heard nothing but good things about them. Unfortunately - you guessed it - I have no money.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

They'll Nuke You...If They Can Figure Out Where You Are

So apparently Americans aged 18-24 don't know where anything in the world is. Literally. In fact, not only do they not know, they don't care:
Fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14 percent believe speaking another language is a necessary skill.
I'd like to take this moment to point out that on cnn.com's crappy quiz (you can find the link off the article page), I got perfect. Go me! That said, I fully admit there's about 40 states I couldn't name - but hey, they're all red states, so who cares, right? Heh. Of course, I'm just outside the age demographic in question. Ain't it cool what a difference a year of life/education makes? Apparently it makes me worthy of this statement:
Excellent work! You must read the atlas in your spare time.
Yeah, maybe I do...and maybe I'm just not a dumb bastard.

Monday, May 01, 2006

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Some of my favorite pics from the protest on Saturday: