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Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
10:02 pm - trouble with dreams
As usual, I took the N train home from work today. The ride was less frustrating than usual - I was immediately able to find a spot against the doors, and at the second stop I was even granted a seat. Despite my having slept an anomalous eight hours the previous night, I was tired. Sitting rendered me unable to concentrate on my book, as the motion of mass transit vehicles of all types acts on me as a soporific. Gently rock-a-byed to slumber. I switched to the headphones and began nodding off to Kid A, which worked out alright. Never quite falling asleep, I exit the subway at my stop and slink home. Past the far intersection of my block, I see the laundromat, which reminds me: I have to do my laundry.

I know what happens when I lie down in my bed after coming home from work. I nap, and occasionally sleep the night. I don't mind to nap, since I prefer to keep late hours, but I arrive home knowing two things: it takes an hour and ten minutes to do my laundry, and I'd really like to lie down right now. I don't like to resist sleep; besides, I have an hour before it is 7:30, which is generally around the time when I absolutely must gather my laundry, roll a spliff, suit up, and quit the apartment with time enough to drop coins and dry clothes without making the laundromat close late. Closing time is 9:00. I know all the ladies who work the laundromat, and they know me, because I am the guy forever showing up with barely enough time to do my laundry. I wrote my senior thesis on procrastination, so I know what I'm doing.

I sleep a restful, unpleasant sleep. Unpleasant because of the dreams. Strange dreams. I don't commonly remember my dreams, and I don't often recall even having them. But today, in the space of an hour, I had and can recall three uneasy and eventful dreams, each related to the other, each separated from the other by the chirping of a set or re-set cell phone alarm.

1. I stroll through my neighborhood. It is my neighborhood in my dream, and somewhat similar to my neighborhood in waking life. An urban mix of two- and three-story brick dwellings, auto shops, storefronts, ironwork railings, cracked sidewalks, sycamores. I live on the strange borderlands between Brooklyn's Sunset Park and Borough Park neighborhoods, the former populated, at least proximate to me, with mainland Chinese immigrants, their restaurants (American Chinese, Chinese Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Vietnamese - all owned and operated by mainlanders), pharmacies, "variety stores", doctor's offices, garages. Borough Park is by and large an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, mostly of the Haredi stripe, big furry hats and modest women, the color black particularly popular, kosher grocers, cobblers, tailors, CPAs, a kippah shop. Generally a safe neighborhood, though sometimes the Chinese kids brawl, and the Haredim always keep an eye on you. But here in my dream, there is no population, there are no signs I cannot read. Yet I am strangely alienated in this place, far moreso than I ever am (or feel) in my usual environment. Typical dream crap.

I enter a building. It is a large structure, open inside like a warehouse, with a large cement loftspace. There are trucks up on the loft, two of them. I don't feel like I am trespassing when I ascent the staircase to the loft, where promptly one of the trucks reverses backwards into a pit filled with water, the driver somehow falling out of the cab and into the pit. The driver of the other truck gets out of it, looks at me, and seems to say, go, go help him. The dry trucker himself walks hesitantly toward his trapped co-worker, but I rush to his aid. I sense something is wrong, something has been thought through. The trucker in the pit isn't panicking; I pull him out. He says nothing, but all of a sudden the foreman, or some authority in the truck building, approaches me and thanks me for my quick action. Would I please come with him? He smiles in an obsequious way that gives something up, and puts his hand on my arm. I indicate my intention to exit his realm, but he persists in holding onto my arm. I tell him that I really must be going, my people are waiting for me just outside, they are expecting me. He lets go. Of course, I have no people outside, whatever he took that to mean. I flee hurriedly. The street again.

2. I am in a different New York neighborhood, not sure where, but it feels like Manhattan. A mix between the West Village and Midtown, with a little bit of Grozny thrown in, some wreckage and crumbled stone against the facades. I've been walking a long time. I'm going to visit my mom, who has just moved into this neighborhood. In wakey-world, my mom lives in South Florida, but my aunt does live on the UES. Mom's dream street is somewhat similar to Aunt Barrie's, some highway or bridge outlets onto it halfway up the block. I go into her building which, again, is a large and oddly open space with high ceilings and wide hallways. The visit with mom is pleasant, though I make a fuss out of her living in a neighborhood of disintegrating buildings - hey, what are you gonna do? I exit her place for whatever reason, and then decide to re-enter, only now the lobby has grown much larger and harbors some kind of railway depot. Wait, no, those aren't trains, it's some kind of amusement park ride, or in any case, small trams crammed with screaming passengers are regularly sent down numerous parallel tracks into a darkened, plunging void. People line up for this.

After witnessing two people slapping each other in the lobby/hell-train terminal, I decide to investigate why this is no longer my mom's apartment building; maybe I just went through the wrong entrance? I exit again, re-enter, and it is a different interior. I am in a hallway, walls painted dark purple, dim sconces barely illuminating anything. A janitor, young, long-haired, looking kind of like Vincent Gallo, mops in front of a doorway. I ask him what is on the other side of that door, and he replies that the meeting has just started, I should go in. I do. It's a book club! I don't know any of these people, but they all seem enjoyable enough. It looks almost like a class at Bard! And what are they discussing today? Wonderful Wonderful Times, by Elfriede Jelinek. I just happen to be reading that book as well (IRL), imagine that. I am invited to join in - sorry, there are no more chairs, but please make yourself comfortable. I sit on the floor next to the sexy girl. There is only one in this class. A lot of frumpy, Seth Roganesque guys, some nerdy birds, the teacher (whom I don't recall but I want to say looked like Takeshi Kitano), and the sexy girl. She wears a white skirt, comfortable shoes, her hair is brown, shiny and soft, eyes brown too, she looks rather Israeli, and has a proper melanin spot on her cheek a little above her lips, which are appropriately dreamy. She is fiddling with my hair. I glance up to see that she is attempting to affix her jacket to my scalp with some kind of adhesive tape. I look her in the eye and sternly inform her that I am not a coatrack. She looks a little surprised at this, the smiles and respectfully ceases that action.

I don't think the book club discussed the book at all, which is a shame. I find it odd that I just happen to be reading the same novel as this mysterious book club, not a popular novel in the U.S. at all, grim and violent and Austrian. My sexy friend offers me some white gum, which I do accept. It is gum. I chew it. Kitano-sensei attempts to organize the gathering, but I am now more aware of the fact that the gum seems to be expanding as I chew it, and certainly is becoming more viscous and grainy. I spit it out into the wrapper, but the gooey bits stuck to my teeth begin to grow again, working into an unmanageable volume. I look to the girl who provided me this impossible substance, and she smiles queerly. I excuse myself, walk out the door, and find that the hallways is now white-walled, the floors linoleum, the janitor in the exact spot as before. I ask for the bathroom, to which he accompanies me. He sees me attempting to spit out all the gum, picking at my teeth, and laughs. We crack jokes. He doesn't seem all that dimwitted, though he is now attempting to wrestle with me, wheezing and guffawing. He is obnoxious. Get off of me, I tell him, though he is now definitely trying to put me on the floor. Now get the fuck off of me, now. He just keeps laughing, trying to trip me, which he does. I fall to the ground, and he continues to attempt to restrain me. Holy shit, is this guy trying to rape me or something? I am not having this. I get out of his grasp with a combination of my foot and my crazy snarling voice, and return to the classroom, but I hear him in the hallway, laughing and wheezing. The horrible gum is back in my mouth.

3. This dream is very brief. I awoke from the previous one with my jaw sore, surely from grinding my teeth, which I am purported to have done often in my sleep as a child. The time on the clock/cellphone is probably around 7:20 at this point, but, following the laws of motion and thermodynamics as I do, I remain at rest. I reset the alarm.

I am back in the classroom. Apparently I've been getting along splendidly with my bookclubbers/classmates, as I now have my very own chair, and they are all gathered about me in little groups, standing while I remain seated. There is much laughter and merriment. Sexy girl and one of the Seths come up with a plastic bag. Let's play a game! they say. Hm. Seth puts a bag over his head, and the Israeli-y lady explains: put the bag on your head, and see how long we can hold it here until you don't want it there anymore, and when you no longer do, look, you can just put your head right through the bag. Seth promptly pulls the bag down tight onto his skull; the bag tears, his head is free, he smiles and laughs, she smiles and laugh, everybody smiles and laughs. Ohp, gotta get a new bag. She reappears with a new plastic bag. Thick. Seems to be reinforced every couple millimeters with embedded blue nylon lines, has ridges along its surface, textured, almost corrugated. Heavy duty. I point out the difference. Oh, there is more laughter, and an awkward glance between the girl and guy. A worrisome glance. I get up to to leave, and I remember the janitor. Everyone is laughing.



So then I woke up, cursed the time, and rushed to do my laundry, replaying the details of the dreams through my head as I lugged the heavy bag of clothes on my shoulder down the block. I have some ideas about what's behind these dreams. The laying-on of the hands may have something to do with an experience yesterday in the subway, while I was transferring from the J to the N at Canal Street after having dinner with my friend Jean in her neck of the borough. Going down a flight of stairs as the N train pulled up below, guy behind me begins pushing into my right side, trying to wedge between myself and the wall of the stairwell so he could get to the train. Pushing me, basically, while I was going down the stairs. I gave him the old rib-elbow, but in retrospect I should have shoved him headlong down the steps, shattering his arm or face on the platform, that little shit. I got onto the train at my apparently insufficient pace, as I'm sure he did too, unless he was expecting a Q. The subways, the sidewalks, they frustrate me, they do get me angry - the people, I mean, the great plurality of corpulence, flesh missiles on uncertain courses, having to dodge them, having to slow down for them, occasionally having to collide with them, having to adjust my step, reacting, causing reactions, and all I want to do is just get somewhere.

For the violence and malice displayed by the characters in my dreams, I can probably thank Ms. Jelinek. The feeling of foreboding, the paranoia, is certainly my own. I don't feel especially vulnerable in this city - no one has every harassed me, punched me, or pulled a blade on me, as other friends and acquaintances have reported - but I do tend to remind myself constantly that people are dangerous, dangerous. People cut off other people's eyelids and punch strangers for kicks and formulate nerve gasses and assemble antipersonnel devices. Cinema and newsmedia have made their case for a deadly and volatile world, and you can't argue with the pictures. The slapping that occurs in the amusement-void place comes from the mamma I saw slapping her young daughter on the subway platform at the Atlantic Ave.-Pacific St. platform while heading home from work. I never come up with the right thing to say to asshole parents in time to prevent the corporal punishment of their children, though I compose the perfect screeds later on.

Visiting mom in Bizarro-Manhattan? Well, she did mention yesterday that she wants to come up and visit me. She was born and raised there.

The ever-changing interiors seem like typical dream fare, but their darkness and spaciousness cause me to think that they may have their origins in Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves, an ergodic novel I read some months ago about a family who moves into a house that, they soon discover, is dimensionally larger on the inside than it is on the outside, and, oh, a bunch of other weird shit. I was thinking about it on the train ride home, wondering why no one ever saw the unusual formatting and typefacing and asked, whoa, what is that? during the month I read it, mostly on the train. That would be my ideal way to meet people. Ask me about my book.

The emotionally turbulent Vincent Gallo janitor came from my watching The Brown Bunny on Monday. I am glad his dick did not appear in my dream.

The bag on the head I have no clue about, but now I can have a new kind of death to fear!

The gum, the gum. The gum was very persistent. I think it has something to do with my recent feelings about dental care. I bought mouthwash yesterday. I noticed a buildup of plaque a few days back, which I removed with post-it notes, lacking a brush at the time. And I ground my teeth, which probably accounts for a lot.

And, of course, there were the alarms. Violating my sleep-space, periodically cutting off my dream cycle, assaulting me. My better intentions (clean clothes) battling my basic desires (remain in bed), pitting one half of the soul against the other, laughter with murder, suspicion and doubt with heroism and art. I don't often recall my dreams, but when I do, they generally creep me out for a while.

current mood: weird

(10 gestations | inseminate)

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
2:58 am - somehow this is a book review
I had a strange dream in which I seized control of the music played at the New York Sports Club (gym) I occasionally go to, and played Girl Talk. It truly united the classic rock-loving attorneys and hip-hop hardbodies who go there more regularly, and the gym turned into an uncanny cyborg dance party. As in, people were keeping the beat and dancing on the ellipticals, rocking out with barbells, engaging in weird choreographed moves with the giant rubber balls and adbuctor machines. Everyone was fit and happy, and no one wanted to go home. I woke up sweaty and aggravated. Time to start going again, my little brainmeats transmit.

I saw Beck with my friend Matt. As in, a Beck concert. Beck seemed somewhat unenthusiastic, but I've gathered that he's a moody fellow. It was a good show, but not conducive to partying. That's where that's at.

In the previous post, I mentioned having read twelve novels in the space of a year. They are listed below, for my records. I can recommend most of them.

Fiction read, September 2007 - September 2008

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima. Recommended by friend Sara, this is a brief and stark novel about the destruction of ideals. The central character is a young adolescent boy who engages in the excruciating and brutal annihilation of a figure he once lionized. With plenty of the delicate masculine posturing and sexual confusion you might expect from Mishima, it is a sinister little novel, and one to check out.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This was my first foray into anything remotely "true crime"-esque, though this non-fiction novel is universally understood as being elevated beyond any genre. It is a labor of art. The story of the Clutter family murders is an incredible thing to read, and it lingers. Capote claimed to have a 95% memory retention and the level of detail in In Cold Blood is as remarkable and engaging as the careful explorations of tragedy, death, grief, justice, and humanity the tome serves up. Oh yes, you should read it.

The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq. The French author's Elementary Particles made an impression on me when I read it a few years ago, and I thought I'd return to the bitter stream for more. This is a melancholy book of ideas. Houellebecq seems transfixed by transhumanist notions of escaping our own biology; the novel is set in two times, the present, occupied by a highly successful European intellectual comedian named Daniel, and the distant future, as narrated by a sequence of Daniel's clones. Houellebecq is a cocky trickster-spirit, and the novel is rife with existential lament, sexual deviance, cultural recriminations, a doomsday cult, needless provocation, and then more sex. This novel doesn't easily fit anywhere. I really loved it, but, as I have learned, not everyone is down with Houellebecq.

World War Z by Max Brooks. The story of the oncoming zombie apocalypse, as recounted orally by a score of survivors from around the world. This was a supremely entertaining, and occasionally quite frightening, book from the author of The Zombie Survival Guide. Brooks has the keen ability to write convincingly in myriad voices, all of whom relate the terrifying cries of the undead. This book is full of compelling narrative, and if any of the foregoing sounds like something you'd enjoy, you should pick it up. It's a quick and satisfying read.

The Dying Animal by Philip Roth. A slim volume about longing, heartbreak, the fear of dying - typical Roth stuff, from what I've heard, though this was the first I'd read of him. I wasn't quite taken with the language or the story, but there are innumerable gems of specific knowledge and poetic suffering in the book, good stuff to quote to any undergrad lit students you may be trying to seduce. Apparently the movie Elegy is based on the book, but I didn't pick up on that fact when I saw the trailer for the flick.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. A new favorite. A sprawling, askew journey that begins with a lost cat, treks through some of the 20th century's forgotten horrors, and ends somewhere near a psychic assault, this is a many-splendored tale of loss, passivity, and connection. All I can do is tell you to read it before you die.

Diary of a Bad Year by J.M. Coetzee. I believe this is the most recent of Coetzee's fiction, though the majority of it consists of occasionally-interesting academic essays framed within a fiction narrative. It was less than impressive, especially when compared with Disgrace, which is a mighty and solemn novel that will punch you squarely in the soul. This is basically Coetzee fretting about becoming old and lusting after a younger woman, which seems to be a fairly typical kind of novel by aging literary superstars. It does contain an impressive chapter about national shame.

White Noise by Don DeLillo. I'm still not quite sure what to make of this book. Yes, I did like it, though it also felt inconclusive, and not in the pleasing way certain left-uncertain tales do. This book was my first encounter with DeLillo, and the influence it wields is definitely apparent; I can't imagine authors like Ellis and Palahniuk writing without White Noise in the background. It's chic and cool. A product-hyperconscious story of (post)modern family love, vengeance, and academic bullpocky, it is totally worth reading (so maybe you could talk to me about it). As I suspected while reading it, the chapter entitled "The Airborne Toxic Event" has already been co-opted as a pithy band name.

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee. Feeling let down by Diary of a Bad Year, I picked up this short novel hoping to find a bit of the old gut-kicking that Coetzee passed around in spades with Disgrace, and was not disappointed. This is an unsettling work, a parable of colonialism and localism that is clearly directed at the present, but could also have been written a century ago. A conscientious civil servant in a small colonial outpost is punished for his mild, sloppy, good-hearted demonstration of humanity toward a captured "barbarian" girl, and learns that the nature of civil order is highly uncivil.

Platform by Michel Houellebecq. The bastard child of the French literary establishment, Houellebecq is a confirmed provocateur (he recently stood trial for defaming Islam in this very novel). In it, Houellebecq reasons that sex tourism is the logical extension of the ongoing sortie of advanced capitalism into the realm of human intimacy, and plays out the founding of Club Med-like sex resorts in third world countries by the protagonist and his sexy professional girlfriend. Sounds intriguing? The novel abruptly ends in a sad, dissatisfying sequence of violence and loss (along with pussy and cock and endless balls, violence and loss are Houellebecq's primary fixations). I didn't like this novel much, and certainly not enough to recommend it to anyone over Houellebecq(that's pronounced well-beck; Coetzee, it turns out, is pronounced cut-zie-uh)'s other books, or any number of thousands of other books existing.

The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing. This is a remarkable and bare novel, Lessing's first. It was initially assigned to me in an anthropology class, obtained but unread. After the chauvinistic grandstanding of Platform, I thought I'd go for a feminine perspective on the horrible shit of life, and was quite satisfied by this one. It is a disturbing, sensitive, ambiguous novel about an ill-matched marriage in mid-20th century colonial Africa, which, as you may guess, also involves heaps of racial politics. There are yet no riots, no protests, no second chimurenga, and resistance comes subtle and incredibly personal. Characters that begin sweet and sympathetic become detestable and vile, which I am sure was very much Ms. Lessing's point. I recommend it strongly, though do not read it in conjunction with Disgrace unless you hate your life.

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. Another funky genre-bending journey by a passive protagonist, this time traveling into the snow country of Hokkaido in search of a unique, mystical sheep that penetrates the souls of men and uses them as tools of its terrible will. How fucking awesome is that? A thoroughly enjoyable book by a thoroughly enjoyable author, it is the second installment of the loose "trilogy of the rat," the third of which, "Dance Dance Dance," I am reading at present. If you like meandering metaphysical journeys through dreamlike simulacra of ordinary reality, and I suspect you do, then pick this up one day.

This concludes "fiction read, September 2007 through September 2008." Stop by next year for brief comments on House of Leaves, Dance Dance Dance, and others.

current mood: restless

(1 gestation | inseminate)

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
4:44 pm - words, words, etc.
Like all things in my life, and like me, this post comes in a little late. Citing the nausea that has stalked me since yesterday afternoon and what amounts to a rather fluid-heavy head cold, I called in to work this morning and notified the boss man of my absence today. Then I slept for six more hours. After spending much of the day sorting through an impressive stack of old, opened envelopes and categorizing the contents (a first sign of an organizational drive?), I concluded that I must write today. Just must write. Anything, really, so this will do. Writing, and in livejournal specifically, was once a part of my daily life, but over the years I have neglected the act, so much once a part of my identity. I am out of the habit. I have lost considerable faith in that personal capacity. I worry that if I don't begin excavating what is left, I will lose the ambition entirely and have to resign myself to a life of workdays, paystubs, and commutes, the dreaded spectre of ordinary adulthood I combated daily when I was fifteen, sixteen. The writerly life was my only hope, the best application of my best skill, a fiery pen jammed in the neck of the life insurance salesman, the tax auditor, the malpractice attorney, the copy editor, the hotelier. Writing was to be my shining path.

That path is now overgrown. As a person seemingly lacking the stringent self-discipline necessary to scale the heights of Maslow's ziggurat, I have tended to comfortable and unhealthy habits and become estranged to the earlier version of myself, that good Jon who would win money for an hour's worth of paragraphs. So here I am, trying to reconnect, and perhaps its working. This already feels good, though I know where it is going. For the little I've written in the past year, I have made a consistent effort to at least better acquaint myself with good writing. That's important, right? I have read more this past year in New York City than any other previous year, certainly including any year spent at Bard. It amounts to a whopping twelve novels. I am a slow reader and a slow writer, but careful at both. I get somewhere, but at ease, which is generally how I proceed. Yesterday my friend Danielle described me as a "long-suffering competent," which I liked, despite not being entirely clear on the meaning. Probably means what it means.

I've seen some famous faces in the past week, if you're the type who looks at the flaps of book jackets. Salman Rushdie, who edited this year's Best American Short Stories collection, presented the collection last Wednesday at Symphony Space on the upper West side, with readings of two stories by the actors Jane Alexander and Michael Rapp. Josh got tickets for himself, myself, friend Jean (who scored me a sweet hardcover edition from her job at a lit agency), and friend Jon, who also likes books and who was also born October 2. I've never read anything by Rushdie, though I'll get around to it. Apparently the fatwa, though still technically in effect, no longer keeps him from making public appearances in rooms full of aging Jews. Rushdie is a hope-giver. His existence says, hey, look, you can be a chubby, aging, bald literary nerd, but as long as you score a Nobel, you can score with the likes of Padma Lakshmi. He's a charming man.

Also charming is Haruki Murakami. I'd learned that he was going to be publicly interviewed as part of the New Yorker Festival on Sunday. Tickets apparently sold out twelve minutes after they'd gone up, but, I was told, a few would be available for $25 at the door an hour prior to the event. In the early afternoon, after toking with my friend Jes the remainder of the previous night's birthday party favors, we boarded the N, Manhattan-bound. She scrambled off at 34th, toward Penn Station, and I continued on. I got to the venue at 1:50, two hours and ten minutes before the scheduled interview. There was already a line of hopefuls, some of them outright "fans" of Murakami, which I suppose is what I'd be if I didn't recoil from the idea of literary fandom. Only three people ahead of me. Okay, the guy in front of me planned to buy a ticket for his girlfriend, too, so that's four. After waiting that hour and ten minutes, it was revealed the the tickets held for at-the-door sale numbered exactly two, but, the staffwoman assured the now thirty-person-long line, there are always last-minute cancellations, and those tickets would be resold at the door just prior to the interview. Okay. Only two people ahead of me. I could stand for another hour, whatever.

I chatted the dude in front of me, a cool fellow who, it turned out, also worked as a paralegal just a block away from me. We debated the pros and cons of the Hale & Hearty Soup on Remsen street, him railing against the prices, me apologizing it's flavorful selections, and the fact that it is the only healthyish alternative in an area stocked with KFC, Popeye's, Nathan's, and McDonald's. The woman behind me, an attractive 28-ish Japanese American woman who had somehow kept her PR job on Wall Street, spoke giddyishly with me about maybe getting Murakami to sign some of the first-edition Japanese editions she'd toted along. Behind her was a tall, brightly-adorned girl who said she'd come from Korea to New York just to see Mr. Murakami. Definitely a fan. (Apparently his public appearances are exceedingly rare). Paralegal-dude and his ladyfriend were informed that two tickets had become available. He wished me luck. The gals behind me looked hopeful, but with a tinge of dread. I was next in line for a cancellation-ticket, it was ten minutes to four, and legit ticket holders were now being permitted entrance. I looked at the tall Korean girl. Who flies 14 hours in the hopes of scoring a ticket? She seemed sincere in her love for the author. A New Yorker photographer asked her to pose with her Korean editions. She giggled sheepishly. Pretty cute, I thought. I decided that I would be a major jerk if I took a ticket and left her standing on the sidewalk, forlorn, perhaps utterly crushed, so close to getting in but ultimately denied. Staffwoman came around with a couple in tow. Apparently the couple was willing to sell their tickets to us. She pointed to me and the PR girl, said you and you, you can go, pointed to the Korean girl, said not you. You, you, not you. Oh man did Korean girl look crushed. I told staffwoman that Korean girl could have my ticket. Staffwoman looked shocked, told me I was a good man, Charlie Brown. Told me that she'd do everything she could to see that I got a seat. A man walked by while Japanese American PR and tall cute Korean were sifting through their purses to pay the couple. He overheard staffwoman, looked at me, said "oh, are you looking for a ticket?," and then handed one to me.

I sat next to Korean girl, whose name is So-Hyun, though her friends call her Soy. Mr. Murakami came out looking like one of his own protagonists, suit jacket over a faded Tide t-shirt, slacks, sneakers. His English, though fairly accented, is fluent, which I guess should be expected of a man who has translated Carver and Fitzgerald into Japanese. Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of New Yorker and elegant lady extraordinaire, made a brief introduction and got down to the quiz. Murakami writes because it is fun. He doesn't plot things out ahead of time, he just sees where they go. How does he know when a story is finished? Well, it's like making love; you know when you're done. What does he listen to? When he writes, baroque. When he drives, he likes R.E.M., Beck, and Radiohead. He does rewrite, sometimes heavily. He never reads his own stuff in Japanese once it's published, he prefers to read it in English. The translations are very faithful.

There was the man: easy, relaxed, probably even happy, nearing 60 and not looking a day older than 50, probably thanks to all that running. Discipline, he said, was very important. It is hard to sit down and write a novel. It is next to impossible to continue to sit, decade after decade, and write novels. You have to be tough. He learned his toughness from running.

Well, shit.

So here is a baby step, on the way to running. Hey, I'm meeting So-Hyun for coffee tomorrow.

current mood: calm

(7 gestations | inseminate)

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
4:29 pm
To the little bird who washed itself in the stream in the park while I sat on the rocks nearby the other day: thanks for stopping by.

I guess lots of stuff has happened. Also, hardly anything. Lately I feel like I'm living in a fugue. It would probably help if I kept some kind of ongoing journal of my thoughts and the events of my life. Hmm.

current mood: yeah, none

(1 gestation | inseminate)

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
10:18 pm
Holy crap, I last updated six weeks ago? I thought I would do better than that. I would write a bunch now, but I've had such a long day and want only to sit under moving air and watch a movie, which will be After Hours.

Basically, I just wanted to come on here and express a little joy for Obama sealing the party's nomination. Just under a year until we see the White House on MTV Cribs!

I figure the slightly racist-interpretable element of the above quip will be negated by my voting for him.

current mood: pleased

(2 gestations | inseminate)

Sunday, April 20th, 2008
3:36 am - my very first craigslist missed connection!
Your shittiness is incomprehensible

You, caucasian, female, early to mid twenties, were standing on the Brooklyn-bound N/Q/R platform at the Canal Street stop at around 2:20 AM late Saturday night. I was on the N train that pulled up alongside you. I am sure you remember me. I was the guy stuck in between two cars, the doors of which became hopelessly jammed after I passed through one. Yes, that guy: the one you made eye contact with, and then quickly looked away from. You may recall how I tried to get your attention by addressing you directly and politely, asking if you would please notify the conductor, perhaps ask him if he could unlock such door. But, no, you steadfastly looked away. It was only after I began calling you out by what you were wearing that you looked at me again, and when I asked if you'd assist, you shook your head, clearly and calmly, 'no.' When I subsequently remarked that you were an asshole, you nodded, equally calmly. If you are wondering why I spat at you as the train pulled away, it was only because I was tired of being trapped underground between two cars, and was really hoping to have gotten inside the train before it crossed over the Manhattan Bridge, which, of course, it then did. That part of the journey was even somewhat lovely. Don't worry, when all attempts by people inside either car to open either door failed, I kicked in a window and found a seat. But then, you obviously were not worried. I would like to meet you, if only to get a sense of where your unsparing indifference seeps from. I give you my every assurance that I will not punch you in the throat repeatedly. Do write back.

current mood: irritated

(7 gestations | inseminate)

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
4:04 am - the vague details
Numerous odd things occurred today.

Whereas before there were no trees outside my building, now there are trees. Spring has come, and some city department has bequeathed onto my little stretch of street two young trees, I think cherry, positioned directly beneath telephone lines. While getting ready to go to work this morning, I watched contractors break up several slabs of concrete sidewalk. They used some kind of pneumatic smashing machine attached to what looked like a hybrid of a bulldozer and a golf cart. I had no idea what they were doing until I stepped out and saw their equipment draped with green banners, some proclaiming the great honor of the Mayor and his decree to better the city through flora. Sure enough, when I came home, there were two trees, maybe 10 feet high from trunk to tip, each steadied by lines tied to two large stakes that were in fact sections of larger, more robust trees that had been culled for the purpose. And as cynical as I feel when I think that these trees will be cut down in a few years to spare some aging telecommunications infrastructure, I am really looking forward to the color green again.

I transited and met a friend for coffee and information. On the way back home, after having screwed up a transfer, I was propositioned by a bashful prostitute while walking from one station to another. She asked me for a cigarette, I asked her for directions to the next station, and when I went in said direction, she began to keep up with me. "Say, sorry to ask but, gee, you wouldn't go for a blowjob, would you?" Something like that, really. I made up some lie about having a girlfriend who delivers vigorous and satisfying blowjobs. She continued walking by my side and asked if I spoke Spanish, which I don't actually. She was very aww shucks about the whole thing. Still, I was kind of annoyed that she kept walking with me after I'd given my final decision on the matter. I pulled the whoops, gotta tie my shoe while you keep walking maneuver, and it worked like a charm. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but my mind's Abacus of Stabbing Likelihood indicated that it was probably best for the both of us if we parted. On my train home, for the first time ever, I got an entirely empty subway car for TWO STOPS, and I sang just like I've always planned to in that scenario.

A very late phone call with a new person provided information that revealed a convoluted and highly improbable (seeming, and even more so than it seems) connection between between multiple disparate parties. This revelation was only possible in light of a conversation I had with my friend from earlier in the evening. I suspect that the flow of knowledge regarding these connections may have greater ramifications than the connections themselves. Hence my being entirely vague.

Also, tomorrow shall be a day in which I eat falafel.

current mood: unsure

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Saturday, April 5th, 2008
1:21 am - return of the ragged claws
Um.

Hello.

This is where I used to come to write things, and for a long time, it was good. Good for me, and good for you. I then became disenchanted; again, with me, and with you. I began to feel like the things I really and badly needed to write about, I could not share with you. And without an audience to feed my ego, either out of narcissism or necessity, the need to write itself, and its usefulness to me as I conceived of it at the time, slowly dried up. I believe that was a critical error on my part, but things having been as they were, it was also probably unavoidable. I think it is time for me to return.

I must assure you that I am apprehensive. This is the internet, and I am exposing myself. I've spent years carefully and ably withholding knowledge of myself from the external universe, tailoring my catalog of personal facts and modes of humor to each of the people I happen to love or get along with, perhaps a different strain of myself for each person. As sure as I am that this is incredibly commonplace behavior, I am also sure that the effect would be the same even if the behavior was not present. No one sees the same picture. Nonetheless, I am occasionally more or less overcome with a jolting, gut-punching dissatisfaction in what I think has been a long and willful denial of other hearts and minds into my own. This has to change before things get out of hand. Consider this journal a defensive strategy against previous defensive strategies. My aim here is to let off some steam before the hull cracks. The steam will take the form of little truths about me, or at least some considered self-interpretation. Of course, I will write about other things as well, because I get bored with my self just as you must have become bored long ago with people regurgitating their personal turmoil into dramatic little vignettes for you to comment on. I see weird shit all the time, and I promise to write nicely about it. At the very least, I need to practice writing again. I am rusty, charleyhorsed.

Livejournal, I return to you and embrace you as an outlet. I am simultaneously repulsed by the fact that I am writing this, and the fact that you are reading this, but I suspect that it will be best for at least one of us. Oh, do not expect the whole shebang. I cannot even conceive of a time when I will be willing, or even able, to perform a written vivisection of all my innards; anyway, the medium (and any other) does not permit that. Plus, I have to keep the choice secrets locked away for future barter. There is also the problem with my never having thoroughly (or anything much more than cursorily) examined myself for myself. I could say that I feel fragmented, but that's not quite it; it is more like feeling shadowed, shaded. I have undergrowth to hack through, you see?

So, this journal shall have several uses. I will dump into it memories, nightmares, fucked up fantasies, moments of beauty, snippets of overheard or generated conversation, annoying meanderings, conclusions that you had pegged when you were in middle school, experiences you wish were your own, criticism, madness, poetry, stories, and eulogies. I am mining for soul.

Also, it is worth noting that I may abort this project at any time, and that the possibility exists that I might never write here again after this post. One problem that sure would be great to resolve is my seeming disinterest in committing to projects of the most useful kind. However, this probably will not be all. I hope and pray, except not really. I tend not to pray.

Also: quit reading my private thoughts!

Just kidding. Thank you.

current mood: kind of bewildered

(3 gestations | inseminate)

Thursday, April 12th, 2007
4:18 am
Kurt Vonnegut was a person I had really hoped to meet at some point. So it goes.

(9 gestations | inseminate)

Monday, November 27th, 2006
6:50 pm
I experienced anxiety and hesitation before writing out this first sentence. Those are some of the things I will have to deal with in this project.

Some hours ago I returned from a solo trip to the beach. Same beach I always go to. From the lifeguard stand where I perched I could see some kids further down, around a fire. The wind coming off the Atlantic was strong and the fire was burning very well, but very quickly. I gave them some kindling, sheets of palm bark dessicated by the wind. Then I left.

I went to the beach because it has featured prominently in moments of ecstasy and thought in my personal history. It is a very dynamic place, where many of my favorite bits of the universe come together. I like going at night. Then the stars can be included in the dynamism. The people who go to the beach at night tend also to be reflective and unseen, quiet silhouettes moving against the thin white lines of the breaking surf. Sometimes they also fuck on lifeguard stands, or start fires, neither of which I really mind at all. I will also go to the same beach tomorrow, in the day, because I also love the beach in the day. I can wade and swim with less caution, and finally feel some sunlight on my bareness. Tomorrow evening I fly back up to New York, get into La Guardia around 9pm, drive back up to school. There my shirt will remain on while outdoors.

I went to the beach tonight to think on the dead, and also to think nothing. I could not clear my head. Instead I just sang to myself and looked into the horizon, imagining an asteroid striking at sea and the waves swallowing South Florida.

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006
4:31 pm - it's a dream post
On the flight over to Japan I had the most entertaining and realistic dream I can recall. In my dream, I woke up from my hazy nap to find myself in the same seat, sitting next to the same people, looking at the same screen in the center of the fuselage on which, at that very moment in waking reality, the in-flight movie of Big Mama's House was playing to no one's satisfaction. In my dream, however, the stats of our flight were listed, and the estimated time of arrival was 53 seconds. I looked out the window and saw Osaka bay, with brightly-lit buildings lining the shore a the Incredible Sinking Island that is Kansai Airport forming under the wing. We landed and I was ushered to the shore by a rowboat, where myself, my friend Georgia (whom I sat next to on the flight) and our professor Michiko were brought to light of a conspiracy taking place at that very moment by high-ranking members of the Japanese military, who were planning to create a national panic and launch a coup. This plot element was quickly shoved out of mind when we met the Rat King, a highly developed rodent not unlike Master Splinter who took us to a night club in Osaka where we were asked if we would like an in-flight beverage. I then had some orange juice.

Remember: http://nijon.livejournal.com

current mood: calm

(2 gestations | inseminate)

Saturday, June 17th, 2006
2:09 pm
Hello. I am in Japan.


http://nijon.livejournal.com/

(3 gestations | inseminate)

Monday, April 3rd, 2006
9:32 pm - you got it you got it
As a person who flies in and out of New York several times a year, and like most adults who've boarded an airplane, I guess I've inured myself to the terror and awe one might expect a land mammal to experience when being propelled through the atmosphere. Though I am always sure to book a window seat, it's because the view helps stave off the boredom of air travel, and frankly I'd rather be randomly seated next to one person than two. Aeronautics is no longer the domain of dreamers and restless engineers, but open to those of us who'd rather just get there faster and watch some Direct TV on the way. Slightly tragic, but not surprising; practicality consuming the sublime. It so happened that one of the highlights of my Spring Break came, quite accidentally, in through the windows of the Airbus A320 I took out of Florida yesterday. I suppose I could have calculated the event, but I just happened to be sitting on the right side of a northward flight over the Atlantic at 6:00 AM, and the solar system did the rest. There was the brilliant Morning Star, and below it was another celestial body, dimmer but still visible slightly above the brightening Eastern horizon. It was the first time I'd ever seen the planet Mercury. Below us I could just barely discern the outline of an island, lit up on the edges by hotels and streetlights. At 6:20am I got to watch the sun rise over the Bahamas, neon acid light highlighting the wispy clouds a few thousand feet below, a wobbley red orb peaking over the slight curve of the earth and penetrating the cabin windows to produce a static disco-ball effect of red ovals, on the passengers, on the crew, throughout the fuselage. And in that moment I truly appreciated air travel.

current mood: genki

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006
12:37 am - in which jon is overwhelmed by the urge to kill
It was huge. It was moving across the top of the wall opposite me, a mobile, brown stain on all that is domestic and familiar. I don't remember when my revulsion toward large, winged insects was programmed into me; it was probably wired somewhere between ancestral DNA and the poolside wasp attack when I was five. While I regard the prejudicial formulations of my mind to be fair sport for my intelligence and antipathy toward nonthinking response, I also consider how useful these instantaneous judgments/responses can be. For example, I usually don't even have to consider not touching poo when I see it. See also: the olympic leap I made after meeting a rattlesnake while walking home from highschool. However, I just cannot seem to justify the intensity of my response to seeing a fat cockroach roaming the walls of my home. It was merely being, just as I was - but it also just happened to be defying gravity and betraying civilization and reminding me of the inherent meaninglessness and absurdity of my own existence. My transition from relaxed repose to murderous rage was alarmingly quick, paused only by about a half-second of utter disgust. My scientific indoctrination has led me to believe that cockroaches are harmless foragers, cleaner than cats and typically not a vector of human disease. So maybe my literary indoctrination is to blame. Whatever the source of the hatred, the response was as offensive as the stimulus. The methodology of my execution of the insufferable insect, though not given much thought in the act, probably can be mined for all sorts of fascinating insights into my psyche and contemporary Western culture in general, if you've got enough boredom and pretense to have at it.

I believe my first "thought", really just an image replayed in my head, upon seeing the roach was a commercial. Greenish, animated bugs lament their fate in colloquial working-class English as a stylish woman's hand positions a canister over them, spraying them with a toxin which causes them to instantly vaporize. This is what was on my mind as I was moving from the study to the kitchen, where, under the sink, among dish detergent and rubber solvents, I expected to find a canister of Raid or somesuch concoction. I fell to my knees before the sink and swung open the cabinet doors. I scanned every bottle and can for the signs of insect lethality, but found none. I was determined to poison it, as oppose to simply squash it or, better yet, gently coax it into a box for outdoor release. Squashing, as an idea, is just too messy, and capture-and-release was not an option; it would just find its way back inside, and anyway I didn't want to have to get so close to such an organism to capture it. The spray-death has been sold to me as the acceptable way men and women kill bugs. Historically speaking, poisoning is regarded as one of the more efficient models of pest liquidation, and, of course, has become nearly synonymous with the word "extermination." Under the sink, however, there were no canisters of insecticide. There was still the question of the Cockroach Problem.

Time was running out. When I had darted from the study, the bug was moving swiftly along the angle of the wall and ceiling, all sheen and thick brown legs. If I took too long in the kitchen I might lose track of it back in the other room; I did not want the discomfort of meeting Herr again. I thought of incapacitating it with some other spray; I had successfully frozen invasive wasps to death in the past, using cans of Dust-Off held upside-down. There was none of that. My eyes turned to the WD-40. I did not even consider the silly notion of disabling the insect with unmanageable lubrication. No. What immediately came to mind was the product's flammable properties. I decided at that moment that the quickest, surest, and possibly most spectacular way to dispatch the intruder was through the act of torching. Not incineration, mind you, which would involve a little too much fire in the house, and would anyway be unnecessary. I figured that a quick blast of intense heat would kill the tiny bastard, so I fetched a grill lighter from another kitchen drawer and rushed back to the room, Delta-Force style. As I entered the doorway I watched the enemy flutter down from the ceiling to the floor, emitting a droning sound which chilled the marrow in my bones. It sensed me approaching and rushed under a small stack of magazines in a corner. I hit the area with a quick spray of WD-40, which burst into a surprisingly hot and bright fireball when it met the lighter flame a foot away. I guess we were both a little surprised. It darted out of the room and into a hallway, and after a second of well-reasoned hesitation, decided to try and torch it one more time, now a little more safely over the tile. The second blast did it. The roach hissed quietly and went belly-up, unmoving. The flame left a grey residue on the tile around the dead bug which smelled like turpentine. I still placed a twice-folded paper towel over the bug and crushed it with the end of a crow-bar which I'd also found under the sink, just to ensure that the job was done while maintaining a safe distance from disgusting brown roach goop.

Only after I had flushed the remains did I allow myself any surprise at my actions. The fact is that I took a little bit of pleasure in killing a bug in such an outlandish, unnecessarily dangerous way, even turning it into a kind of play, calling the roach "muthafucka" and possibly mocking a German accent. Until I set my eyes upon it, the organism and I inhabited different worlds, neither competing for food nor space. Then I saw it, and space became a huge issue. For whatever reason, my programming regarding domestic space, hygiene, and intrusion caused me, without much thought or reflection, to become a killer, and though I don't feel truly awful about having annihilated a cockroach, which I regard as a mechanistic entity lacking even the sensate equivalency of fish or chickens (which I kill directly or indirectly quite often), I do feel a little unnerved about the rashness of my response. A little part of me knows that the cockroach and I could have continued to peacefully coexist even despite my having witnessed its grotesque existence. I could have gotten past that. A greater part of me was so intolerant, however, that I monomaniacally focused my energies on ridding my world of its apparentness. Is there an ethical question to my methods? Is burning a bug worse than poisoning a bug worse than stepping on a bug? What of the joy taken in this kind of extermination? What of the tinges of guilt which follow? Was I, through my specific actions, play-acting a part of the greater Historical nightmare? The Holocaust? Afghanistan? You write the damn essay. I'm going to watch more TV.

current mood: vexed!

(10 gestations | inseminate)

Saturday, February 4th, 2006
5:26 am
Wow, it's been so long since I just dicked around on livejournal for three hours. My attempt at sleep officially ended an hour and a half after it began. It's just going to be one of those nights. Thanks for writing stuff.

(3 gestations | inseminate)

Monday, October 24th, 2005
7:19 pm
Hey Florida, I hear trees are down. I can't get through to anyone's cellular phone, so I assume some towers are, too. Is everyone alright and dry? None of the accounts I've heard so far sound particularly horrific. My sister reports that our grill in now toppled over in the grass by the lake, which I am prepared to accept. I heard that power may be out for a couple weeks, so this post may lack official purpose. All the same, I do hope these early autumn weeks are cool and breezy for you. Maybe a good time to visit upstate New York? We have colorful trees here, and all the squash you could ever possibly want. Dress warm, though, the winds here are chilly. On the other hand, they're not likely to drive a fence post through your bedroom.

Remember not to operate your generators indoors, folks, unless the patio damage was just too much to bear.

current mood: enraged

(2 gestations | inseminate)

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005
6:19 am
Oh, my shoulder.

(4 gestations | inseminate)

Thursday, September 15th, 2005
2:02 am
Everybody plays the fool.

No exception.

current mood: elevated

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005
11:57 pm - oops pow surprise
Last night me and Julee and two newfound friends drove down to an uninhabited strip of Ft. Lauderdale beach and got drunk on cheap vodka and pure, grovestand-style Florida orange juice. About twenty minutes before the brilliant sunrise, Brandon, who leaves for the Airforce in a week, used his Arab-tracking night vision eagle eyes to spot a couple fucking on a lifeguard stand. The rest of us could just make it out, but there was some very definite doggy-style silhouette humping going on. "Slap that!" I shouted. And slap it he did. Our cheerful applause of the female orgasm will forever haunt their naughty public sex urges.

current mood: batman!

(14 gestations | inseminate)

Thursday, May 26th, 2005
7:46 am - kaplan gets pink eye
I'm hideous! I am grotesque. I look like a half-caste Zombie, pus dripping from my eye sockets and gluing lashes in clumps. My summer vacation is off to an inauspicious start, no doubt, with a waning strep throat and what the physician's assistant called the worse case of conjunctivitis she'd ever seen. My eye was swollen shut! Pinkeye bullshit, it looks like someone popped a cherry tomato into my ocular cavity. A cherry tomato that leaks yellow goo. Toss that into your salad and dress it. Thankfully I received prescribed antibiotics yesterday so I may get to schedule some non-solitary fun for the weekend (I'm looking at you, Julee... with my hideous crimson orb), or perhaps next week. I love antibiotics. They ease real suffering! My friend Radhika refuses to treat her infectious maladies with pills or drops, which does smack of some kind of noble faith in the body, but I can still call it imprudent. There's definitely a line to be drawn. A headache can wrestle itself to death in the dark without any chemical assistance, but when important body parts start leaking like cracked eggs, I think it's time to partake in the fruits of science.

A medical theme is developing. Next month my mother will undergo a major reparative operation on her lower spine, in a last-ditch effort to relieve herself of some long-agonizing pain and, hopefully, to help her walk better. I'm to care for her, with the occasional help of my sister Sage, while she recovers. I've assisted her after previous operations and the work was surely no fun, but I have no idea what is in store for us this summer. As worried as I am, my mom is nervous to the point of neuroses. She swallows all her fear and it comes out as an obsessive need to keep every corner of our house in an impossibly pristine state, I guess her way of maintaining orderliness, exerting control. Her body is being undone, has been shifting from within for years and years, and for someone who has put up with so much pain and real stress, I'd say she's extraordinarily rosy for all of it. Her mind has kept well through years of daily pain. Some minds do not. Apart from my sickness, though brief, and my mother's continuing unease, I must also contend with a father who is, to say the least, unhinged. Since I've come home he's been calling me incessantly, begging for my company, speaking to me about things which, I imagine, most fathers do not speak to their sons about. As I recall, though, that's always been the case. I seem to have talked him down from his dusty old ledge sometime in my last couple visits, and though he's put thoughts of suicide back into his dresser drawer, I suspect it's only a matter of a few weeks until his mood swings back in that direction or his fear of eternal damnation wanes. I might be wrong. He seems more conscious of himself now than I ever remember him being, and I like thinking that this is because I now speak to him honestly, and do not file down my points. He is now openly questioning why, for instance, the older two of his three children want nothing to do with him, and he is finding answers that might be of some wound-binding power. I can only hope so.

I've got a job to find. I don't really like these summers in Florida. My urge toward indolence almost always overcomes my better-laid plans, though I imagine this summer might be different. I'll be busy enough. Annandale seems so far away.

current mood: carbon and wistful

(10 gestations | inseminate)

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005
5:44 am - The New Henderson Massacre
It looks like someone opened fire in the computer lab. Bodies sprawled everywhere, on the couch, on the floor, in the hallways, slumped over the desktops, all sound alseep despite their decision to spend the night working. Me? I'm jazzed. I'm getting my shit done. Hopefully I'll only have to work on two final papers in Ft. Lauderdale. Only one of which will be overdue.

Ah, progress.

current mood: productive!

(inseminate)

Monday, May 16th, 2005
3:42 am - T-minus
I have eleven hours to write my Anthro of Violence & Suffering final.
After which I must attend the Anthro department party at my professor's house, 5:30 - 8:30
I must then finish another final for another Anthro class, by Tuesday 3pm.
I must also write an overdue 3-page response paper for my Relativism class for an essay I have yet to read.
I must attend the final Relativism class at my professor/dean's house at Tuesday 4:30.
I must also pack up my belongings and place them into storage somewhere which has yet to be fully determined.
I must also box some of my belongings and ship them home to Florida.
My flight leaves La Guardia at 1:25 pm on Wednesday. Which means I must catch a train to Manhattan to overnight at my aunt's apartment by 11pm Tuesday night or, more likely, find some way to get to the train station by 10am Wednesday morning.

This means, effectively, that I cannot allow myself to sleep for the next 48 hours or so. Why do I fuck myself so?

Goodnight, Livejournal.

current mood: panic

(2 gestations | inseminate)

Friday, May 13th, 2005
1:00 am
In the meanwhile, I sure love a lot of (you) people.

Thanks for visiting the Game Room, friends.

current mood: elemental

(inseminate)

Thursday, May 12th, 2005
10:23 pm
What do you tell an old man when he's thirsting for death? Hanging in by a thread, empty of any redemption, hopeless husk man, years of waiting and nothing coming. When nonexistence seems preferable to the alternative, by nearly all accounts but the priest's, what reasons does one provide for preserving the body and cradling the consciousness? Is it even right to encourage hope? When hope seems so empty. What do I tell the sad old man whose got nothing left but a dog and a television, both of which he stands to lose any time? Children he's hurt too much to ask back to his side, one last kid to keep him company. The man who used to speak so fervently of God and Jesus has forsaken thoughts of both, after years of begging the air for better. How can the old man stick around when there's nothing left to cling to? What would you say to this sad old man?

(6 gestations | inseminate)

Thursday, May 5th, 2005
6:11 am
iPod: recovered.

Also I will be living in Tewksbury 119 next year. Please ignore the stench of gastric juices wafting down the halls and visit me.

Also I have a debilitating desire to gorge on eggplant parmigiana right now. It is 6:29 a.m. My heel is bruised from shopping cart shenanigans. I saw Carmina Burana last night and was very pleased, especially to see a number of my friends in the choir. I have so much work to do. I must do my work. The computer lab monitor keeps pacing, as he always does, and it's making me nervous. I want to damage his spine, just for a while, just until his shift is over. He can pace all the fuck he wants in the privacy of his home. Just leave my field of vision out of it, you fucking swine.

Holy god I need to do my work.

current mood: arsenic

(4 gestations | inseminate)

Monday, May 2nd, 2005
9:54 pm
To Bardians:

I lost my iPod, possibly in New Henderson. Attached to it were black ear buds, with the wire for the left ear much shorter than the wire for the right. It contains a lot of music. The screen has some considerable scratches, and there's a shallow dent on the metallic back. The artist list begins with ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and ends with Zero 7. In between there's a lot of Dylan and Radiohead and Neutral Milk Hotel and stuff. If you have it, or know someone who might (ugh, how futile), I would very much like it back.

It is white.

current mood: exhausted

(1 gestation | inseminate)

Sunday, May 1st, 2005
6:34 pm
Bard's Spring Fling weekend is too much fun for me to do any work. The major draw is that the institution of Spring Fling provides an excuse to have fun, which of course results in an increased overall fun quotient. The tent full of live music and the inflatable gladiatorial fighting ring also help. Dogs roaming merrily, skunkly-sweet smoke rising from every corner of the quad, and Fred Barnes has cornrows.

Yes, cornrows.

current mood: carbon

(1 gestation | inseminate)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005
12:45 am - a very ecstatic tuesday
I was unwisely awake when the sun broke the horizon today. All-nighters have become far too commonplace an academic strategy for me, and sometimes I fear that I’ve become reliant on a self-made myth of a slow brain to justify what comes right down to base procrastination. I entered the computer lab at an hour past midnight last night and idly read essays from Arts & Letters Daily and the Onion A.V. section until around five thirty. I didn’t even open Word. I could have told myself that I was just compensating for a lack of personal computer (note to all: fuck Dell), but my Relativism midterm was already a day late, and I had no excuse for a further delay of production. Anyway, my writerly juices got pumping just around the time that the sky began to glow an inky blue, and I managed to finish my analysis of Kuhn’s paradigmatic history of science just in time for the opening of Dean Shein’s office, nine in the morning prompt. I owe much gratitude to a pleasant senior named Lola, who revived my rapidly collapsing organic system with a shot of stimulus from a shared cigarette. Thanks, Lola.

I entered my room at nine thirty in the morning, pulling the window shades extra down, feeding Michel, and shakily shedding my sweater and pants before slumping onto my bed, praying for a full system shutdown. Having no class until three that afternoon, I slept a miraculous sleep of five hours. I got into bed mindful of the risk that I might not get out until sunset, but my rest was of the comatose, time-traveling kind, and I woke up at two thirty fully energized and wondering where the hours had so quickly gone. A brief, dreamless hibernation.

Today in class I learned about the gender dynamics of Japanese hostess bars and the ethical ramifications of intercultural moral judgments. I still think female genital mutilation is utterly repugnant (even, perhaps, maybe, wrong) and I have no sympathy for a cultural practice, no matter how deeply embedded into society no matter how ancient, that inflicts grievous and potentially mortal wounds upon children. Cultures shift, cultures change – when they aren’t stagnating, shifting and changing is about all they do. If this comes down to a matter of cultural imperialism, so be it. Not all exports of value are destructive, and not all impositions of will are cruel. Of course, I lack the capacity to change the habitual practices of the Sudanese, and I am hardly recommending a military intervention to halt the practice (and others like it), but a gradual infiltration and undermining of particular social structures would be beneficial to a lot of people, prepubescent girls in particular. May as well begin at home, though, I suppose. When I am king.

How’d I get onto all that?

Today the peepers began peeping. I heard them through the windows of Olin during the female circumcision discussion. The frogs have got it made.

Today after class I learned a lot about art and music and images and how far a loud voice will carry. I’m not quite sure yet what those lessons are, but notes have been made in the softer parts of my brain and I’ll be paying attention for them again.

It began with a film screening for my Japanese culture class. The film is called Tokyo Godfathers. It was directed by Satoshi Kon, and though I am not quite sure how one directs an animated film, Satoshi Kon has done a marvelous job. The simple summary is that three Tokyo bums find an abandoned infant girl in a trash heap on Christmas. What other words I could put to it would do as little justice to the film as the previous sentence, so all I will do is recommend that you obtain a copy and watch it. If you think you might be averse to a very serious animated film, then you are clearly not familiar with the Japanese art form and therefore need a proper introduction, so I again implore you to see it. The fact that the characters are rendered in pen and ink means only that the world they occupy is as rich as the one in your mind, and their realness becomes so apparent as to become unconscious. It is about love and worth and coincidence and family, and about sorting through the world to find the trace elements which compose all poetry. Wo dein sanfter Flugel weilt.

As soon as the screening was over I left Preston theater and fled downhill toward Bard Hall. The gothic windows revealed a dim interior and I could barely make out a mass of heads and shoulders in the room. There was a voice, only so audible from outside. I walked through the door an a hundred people turned to me and shouted “Welcome!” Thomas from my Violence and Suffering class stood up and hugged me like an old friend. All apparently by instruction from Jason Webley, but the audience may just as well have devised its greeting from cheer and good will alone.

Jason Webley is mostly a musician from Seattle, though he is also partly a comedian, storyteller, poet, performance artist and, I suspect, demon. You know, the good kind. He plays instruments such as the accordion, the guitar, the piano, the larynx, the audience, and a plastic vodka bottle full of quarters. He won’t eat your soul, but you will eat his, and he is pleased to share. I had heard about Mr. Webley last year, when he made acolytes of my friends at a concert in the fall. He has returned this semester, and he’s given his word that he will return next. I don’t think he would turn his back on such love.

I am no classifier of music so I cannot place Webley’s sounds on any sort of graph, but it might be helpful to imagine a young Tom Waits with a chemical imbalance toward a sort of apocalyptic joy. The chords he most commonly strikes are primal and the rhythms can be met with the stamping of your feet. His loud songs will make you loud, and his quiet songs will turn you into a choir. Jason Webley is a man of presence and charisma, a Carolina rattlesnake preacher reborn into an amiable, happy-go-lucky, earth-moving shaker of souls and diaphragms. Had he produced, at some point during his concert, a nalgene bottle full of strychnine, I suspect a sizable portion of his audience would have drank up (drank up). Instead the hundred sweaty of us danced around him, stomping our feet and pointing to the sky while spinning like palsy dervishes, shouting what could only have been curses to God in pidgin Russian and laughing, laughing. We grabbed at each other and swayed and swung around, singing ancient drinking songs at the top of our lungs, drunk on song alone (most of us, anyway). A full glass on a full evening. May the devil play for you all.

current mood: hydrogen

(4 gestations | inseminate)

Sunday, March 27th, 2005
1:31 am
Sunburned! Aww yeah!

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Thursday, March 24th, 2005
12:28 am - a plea
Like many of you, I plan on going home for Spring Break. Unlike many of you, my home is in Florida. I've got a flight to catch out of La Guardia at 2:55pm on Friday, but before I can get to that, I've got to find a way to get to New York City. The surest bet seems like a train, but I'd have to catch one fairly early on Friday morning in order for the travel clockwork to click correctly. If any of you would be kind enough to give me a ride to Poughkeepsie so that I might make the 10:33am to Grand Central, you would have my friendship and gratitude, which are both very splendid things for a person to have. I am also willing to talk cash. Say $10? Covers gas and gets you a snack and a song on the iTunes store. Refer this message to an car-equipped friend if you lack an automobile. I thank you all very much.

current mood: argon

(6 gestations | inseminate)

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005
5:26 pm - uncanny
Help! My lungular tubes have been dishonorably invaded by a gang of irritating microbial jerkanisms. They make me wheeze and cough and clear my throatial area with repugnant sounds that attract unwanted attention. I guess this makes me as sick as everyone else on campus. I really hope leprosy never gets a foothold here. Wash your hands, Tewksbury.




So the first half of yesterday was tremendously awful. I am occasionally prone to brief but intense fits of inexplicable anxiety and self-reproach, and when I woke up yesterday, after a very long and sound night of rest, it felt as though a silverback had sat on my chest. My breathing was rapid and I felt as though I had just sold the last worthy part of my soul for something cheap and fleeting. I felt as though I was only barely a person.

This may require some explaining.

Sometimes I think I am squandering the best parts of me. I don't consider my youth to be or to have been particularly well-spent, and it's only in the past few years that I've become something of a social creature. As a kid my habitat was mostly indoors, thought forays to my back yard or the backyards of my neighborhood friends Jeremy and Todd were as common as my generally unsuccessful fishing attempts at the nearby lake or canal. I never learned how to ride a bike, though I am an excellent swimmer and a sure shot. In high school I never went to a party that didn't have the word "birthday" or "pool" in front of it, though I imagined that all other parties must have been as lame as those, if not lamer, because in my mind jerks abounded wherever I dared not dwell. My best memories from the high school era all take place in various AP classes or making ridiculously fun and hilarious video projects for those classes. There was a lot of other enjoyable and sundry stuff, too, like getting close to Stephanie while volunteering at the Boys & Girl's Club and stargazing in the Everglades. Mostly, though, nothing truly significant or life altering occurred during my most formative years, which is to say that I cannot match any changes in my identity to any specific events. I think sometimes that I've had it too easy, that I was never in a position to struggle or strive for anything. I coasted through highschool on my wits and somehow made it into Bard with mediocre grades and financial aid. My safety school, the University of Florida, rejected my application, yet Bard and Drew were open to me. So I flew up North and kept old habits, resulting in three semesters of continued academic probation and subsequent worry. The professors and deans gathered that I was intelligent from my papers (the ones that I turned in) so they cut me some slack, told me, essentially, to discipline myself to the rigors of academia, to shape up. And I'd like to say I've been trying, but there really is room and time for a lot of improvements that I simply have not undertaken. I'm doing better, certainly. I've turned in every paper assigned to me, and have received variants of As on the ones I've gotten back. But yesterday I felt myself slipping into that nasty void where self-doubt becomes paralyzing and the paralysis becomes sickening.

It had something to do with a paper that was due Thursday of last week. Every day since that Thursday I had promised myself I'd complete it, and despite never having class until 3pm, I'd wake up shortly after sunrise, have an early breakfast, and camp out in the computer center where I'd find ways to do everything but my paper. First I cannot conceive of an idea. Then I cannot structure that idea. Then I cannot back up that idea. And then comes the most grueling, blood-draining part of the process, the actual conversion of ideas into written language. It feels like every sentence is a subtle lie made manifest, a trick that I'm playing on my reader and myself. People tell me that my writing is half-decent and I tend to agree, but why must one of the blessed few things that I'm good at feel like nothing more than a chore? Writing a personal livejournal entry is significantly less difficult, but it still stings a little. I like to think that I'm hammering this out as a warning to myself. Again, I have to explain.

My feeling wretched yesterday had something to do with my fear of academic failure and something more to do with the fear that I am betraying myself in other ways. I'll try to describe it this way: I felt that I had let that which is good and useful and even powerful in me rot. A palpable rottenness within, accompanied by shortness of breath and hunched shoulders and a feeling of inescapable, quiet panic. Last year I visited my friend Matthew at NYU and we stopped by the dorm of his friend and my pal Casey. Casey had written on a slip of paper a quote of Nietzsche's which she'd then affixed to her bedside desk. I cannot recall it exactly, but it spoke of the self that we aspire to, our Best Self which hovers somewhere above our heads and follows us around while we ignore it. Sometimes, I think Nietzsche said, we are able to reach up to that identity and we experience an ecstasy and a confidence which is the treasure of all men. I think, perhaps, that I've felt that once or twice, or something akin to it, or the "Oceanic Feeling" or whatever intellectual gobbledygook that good stuff goes by. Yesterday I felt like I had shotgunned my better self to the ground for kicks. There's a bit in Vonnegut's Mother Night in which the protagonist loses all sense of purpose, and simply stops, on the sidewalk, and remains there, motionless. That is what I did, except I opted to sit down, on the curving path that runs between two houses on Annandale Rd. and goes up to the library. It was beautiful and warm out and I tried to listen to birdsong to calm myself down. It worked to a slim extent, and I thought to call my mother and interrupt her third period history class, because I know that she loves me without condition and would tell me that I am not worthless, despite however worthless I may have felt at the time. She defused my burning self-loathing enough for me to confront the immediate issue at hand, the material issue, the academic issue, the paper which I was not being able to do. I stopped by the office of my beloved professor and adviser Yuka Suzuki, to whom I owed that very late paper, and to whom I had turned in very late papers in the past.

Yuka and I spoke for the better part of an hour and her everpresent smile and incisive understanding of my personal problems allayed much of the anxiety and disdain that had built up in my spinal fluid. She mentioned the cold and necessary truth of accepting one's own mediocrity, no matter how great one really is, and then spoke of the importance of denying that mediocrity in the face of all obstacles whatever, or something to that effect. There's something valuable in there about not taking oneself too seriously - though I don't think I've ever really been prone to that error. Ms. Suzuki assured me that she's known my situation all to well, and has struggled with some of the same problems, and has come up with some half-decent solutions which, I suppose, is why she's now my professor and adviser. She also mentioned the unfortunate and swift degradation of memory, particularly when it comes to emotions. We can remember being joyful, but we cannot remember the joy. Likewise with feeling like gutter shit. Thus this entry, foolheaded and truthful, that I may read it weeks and years hence and recall how utterly pitiful one's inner world can become when one mistreats oneself with doubt and escapism.

I finished the paper earlier today and handed it in, one day less than one week late. Less than a week late! I'm improving.

current mood: fructose

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Saturday, March 12th, 2005
1:12 am - broadway
According to Loyal there was a party rocking in the Village at which my presence was desired. Sorry, friends, but I was hanging out with Tim Curry and Hank Azaria. And David Hyde Pierce was there, too. And lots of pretty women. And a giant illuminated Star of David. And Tim the Enchanter.

SPAMALOT

It is a very silly show.

current mood: happy

(3 gestations | inseminate)

Monday, March 7th, 2005
9:19 pm - in which i abscond with loot
Earlier this evening I ascended the stairs to the third floor of Hopson, an old stone faculty building with a funktronic metal fountain in front. I was there to slip an essay on torture under a professor's door. On a small, dark wooden table in the hallway was three dollars cash, American, and a message written in chalk, "TAKE IF YOU DARE." Some sociologist's wager, I figured: leave money somewhere vacant but public and a person who encounters it won't take it because of some paranoid suspicion of a moral overseer. Yeah, you've all seen Clerks.

Anyway, I dared. If you know whose money it was, thank them for me (though I did so myself with the chalk) and tell them to next time not wager against a scavenging species, and to nix the encouraging message. And no, they can't have it back.

current mood: devious

(5 gestations | inseminate)

9:12 pm
The weather has been particularly pleasant lately, only snapping its cold wet towel on my ass with an infrequency which keeps things interesting. Some freshmen constructed a packed-snow igloo behind the new toaster dorms, and I spent several hours this weekend occupying it with two gentlemen from Cruger named Matthias and Joshua, whose kindness was only matched by the bud we passed. During an ill-fated attempt to warm ourselves the three of us started a small, very noxious fire out of dried sticks and notebook paper. After the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players concert Josh, Julie and I crawled back inside, consumed a Snickers bar, and voted for electric warmth. Igloos are wonderful structures and all, but prefab concrete and automatic climate control are significant improvements on the essential model.

I will continue to enjoy Spring's slow, enticing striptease.

current mood: mellow

(3 gestations | inseminate)

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005
10:21 pm - we are boiled in milk
The opening sequence of the wild, grotesquely marvelous 1988 animated film Akira features an enormous, desolate crater gouged into the earth where Tokyo once stood. It is a barren hole accessible from the sprawling and chaotic neon megacity of Neo Tokyo by a few tangential, untrafficked highways. It is around the crater that the city's excreta gather to rumble or engage in acts of unspeakable deviance. The bosozoku kids aim their motorcycles at eachother there and splatter their opponents' heads with rebar lances. We were discussing the film in an anthropology class which interprets Japanese social constructions through the principal cultural product of animation, and for some scores of minutes the talk had concentrated on film writer Susan Napier's psychoanalytic interpretations of objects featured in the movie such as big red motorcycles, gaping craters, and roiling, massively expanding infant flesh forms. Of particular interest was Napier's characterization of the crater as both a barren vagina and a dark, crusty asshole. Intelligent voices reasoned this way and that, some objecting, some dismissing, all fully engaged in the material. Perhaps the discussion had started to go in circles, or maybe it was just time to move on, but at roughly 3:55 pm my professor and beloved adviser Yuka Suzuki uttered thus:

"I think we've all been bogged down under the tyranny of the anus."

Meaning it was time to move on.

I do not believe I will ever move on from that sentence. I will think of it whenever I am behind schedule on some important paper, or when the sun is too brutal, or when I must have a document notarized in order to carry on, or when a library charges me overdue. It will echo reassuringly against my parietal plates whenever there is a parking meter to be fed, when a war is being waged, when I am questioned by a police officer:

I am being bogged down under the tyranny of the anus.

Fuck the anus. As I learned in elementary school, there is no reckoning with assholes.

Someone unlawfully removed my unlawfully used pyrex pipe from my room on the night of mine and Reed's suite party. I am also missing a swatch of orange (though some may call it saffron) fabric I acquired on the twelfth of February in Central Park, at the opening of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Gates. It was handed out by one of Christo's helper-elves. I liked the art and so should you, because it was free for you and me and brought bright colors and and activity to a cold, leaf-barren park. It lasted only a few weeks and ended in recycling. It wasn't as magnificent as a wrapped Reichstag or Biscayne islands surrounded in queer pink, but it was something billowy and the hot dog vendors turned a good profit. May the mighty Colorado do so well.

Hot girls playing foosball. Best game room shift ever.

current mood: tired

(2 gestations | inseminate)

Monday, February 21st, 2005
9:33 pm
There was a wide patch of ice on the path to the campus center which claimed me and a number of friends, and undoubtedly some strangers. All I wanted was to check my mail, and instead I got a stunning impact to the base of my skull which rendered me incapable of speech for several long seconds, in addition to some tenderized arm-meat. Oh, but vengeance was mine. I melted that bitch of a slab with a half-bucket full of day-glo pink road salt.

I would like to extend thanks to the Tea Club for providing me with healing tea and energizing cup cakes after my spill, and for their moral and comedic support.

And no, Napoleon Dynamite Guy is not dead.

current mood: copper

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005
3:06 am - Dear Jerkface
The other day I was stirred from my slumber at two thirty in the afternoon by a call from the campus post office. This will seem strange to you for two reasons, one being that the post offices usually don't call. The second is that this call in the mid afternoon (one could argue late afternoon due to the seasonal sunset) woke me from my sleep. Due entirely to the fortunate scheduling of the anthropology and philosophy departments, I do not have a single class this semester that begins before three. I first celebrated this as a blessing, affording me the sunnier part of the day to do as I please, unencumbered by mad rushes to academic buildings or the dream-violating screech of an alarm in the early morning. I guess the schedule so far has blessing potential, but I've been mostly abusing it to further enable my horrendous tendency to pish the night away into the pre-dawn minutes and sleep until the requisite fifteen before my class begins. Once I woke up at seven in the morning (by accident) and did my laundry and went to the gym and read an ethnography and still had time to catch another three hours of sleep before class. That was only that one time. Where there is potential to do some good, I usually laze my way into the balmy realm of insular mediocrity, doin' my own thang in the cheapest and least spectacular way possible. Which brings me to the continuation of my original story.

So I get this call from the campus post office. The voice generated from the receiver speaker seems to be telling me that I have a number of large boxes waiting for me (though, I think to myself, I am only expecting one) and that it is paramount to the operation of the post office that I retrieve these boxes immediately, presumably to clear up floor space in their otherwise cramped quarters. I tell the handset that I will be out of class at four thirty, and will, as they suggested, have a friend bring a car to campus center to aid in the process. The handset tells me to be sure to get there before the five pm closing, and I assure it that I will. Six boxes. Big boxes. For me. I am excited. I am unsure. I claw my way out of bed and hurriedly clean my teeth, splash my face with some water and conclude that yesterday's shirt is good enough for today, too. I get to class with a minute to spare, and I devote that minute, and many more following, to wondering just why I have so much waiting for me. Is this another screwup like last week's, when the slip in my mailbox told me to pick up a box that turned out to be for the other J. Kaplan on campus? Have loving relatives sent goodies in bulk? Am I the recipient of some corporate contest I did not know I had entered? Did I click on some magic pop-up? All these possibilities occur to me while the class discusses the brutalization of noncombatants during the civil war in Mozambique. I feel for them, I really do, but why the fuck are there six big boxes for me in the post office?

I began to reason. Alright, my mother is sending me some of the goods I left during winter intercession, but those aren't due for another couple days, and would only account for one box anyway. I did order a book off of Amazon.com for my friend Joshua's birthday, and was expecting it that day. It's called Quintessence: The Quality of Having 'It', and is a collection of short essays and accompanying photographs of items which embody a perfection of style and design, which are, for their purpose, unimprovable. I read about it in a book called Destination Culture while researching for the Anthropology final paper which, though over a month late, brought my grade in that class from a wretched F to a happily accepted B. Quintessence was mentioned alongside another book called The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, and I would have preferred to purchase the latter for my friend but it was out of print. Josh's unique aesthetic sensibility allows him to appreciate the god-awful as much as the near-perfect, and on similar terms. He's all about neon paisley shirts and Macs. Anyway, the volume would be a slim one, owing to the dearth of perfection in mass-produced items, and most definitely would not be shipped in six separate, large containers. So what the fuck?

Class ended and I rushed down to the first floor of Olin, popped out my phone and called Josh, who had his mother's SUV from his drive from his home in Brooklyn up to Annandale during the snow storm, conditions which usually don't favor Ford Foci. Of course I'd conceal his gift from him, if indeed it were there. He arranged to rendezvous with me in the campus center parking lot, and I made my way down the long hill toward the building. Upon arriving in the post office I announced my name and was greeted by the woman whose voice was reassembled by my telephone earlier that afternoon. She asked that I have my friend pull his car around the back of the campus center near the mail room's loading doors, and I asked what the boxes could possibly contain.

"You mean you're not expecting these?"
"Well," I clarified, "I'm expecting a package from Amazon. A book."
"Well the boxes are all from Amazon. One is a vacuum cleaner."

Uhhhh.

So one by one Josh and I loaded these boxes all ranging in heft and bulk into the back of his big automobile, rolling them over the digeridoo I had left there from the previous evening's hootenanny where I was mostly unable to find a spot in the Paul Simon and Woody Guthrie songs for the godly resonance of the dij. I did, however, get my first lesson in Mongolian throat-singing from a gentleman with an equally inapplicable musical form. Over the tube the boxes went, and we hurried down the potholed roads to my dorm, eager to see just what the bloody fuck had come my way. My suspicions were mostly innocent. "I've won a contest somehow!" I thought, or "Shipping error in my favor," as though I'd drawn the best card in the whole community chest. A friendly acquaintance passing by helped Josh and myself carry the boxes to the door of my village dorm, and we dragged them inside like they were bodies in the daylight. I decided to start small. I pulled a knife out of the kitchen drawer and quickly brought the blade across the lateral lines of the smallest box, as though it were a delicious, deadly pufferfish in need of the most precise butchery. What delicacy was contained within this corrugated shell? I cut the tape across the top flaps and carefully slid my fingers beneath them, lifting with the anticipation of a hunter who finds a bulging stained sheet in the middle of the woods. It was... the... first... season of Charmed on DVD. Not exactly a fortuitous shipping error, but there were more boxes to slash into. My hopes were deflated when one of the larger boxes contained not shipment of pricey and resaleable computer hardware but, rather, a Polly Pocket playset. Josh and Reed were very much amused by this turn, and I was nearly so until Large Box #2 revealed a matching Polly Pocket suitcase. Large Box #3 yielded a Disney Princess rolling luggage carrier, the smiling faces of Jasmine and Cinderalla burning a hole through the holy cords of my soul. I had just cut into a big ol' slice of fuckpie. The vacuum cleaner box was chock full of vacuum cleaner. The other smaller box contained a number of tomes aimed at the insecure middle-aged women of North America. French Women Don't Get Fat? Fuck you. Wear More Cashmere: 151 Luxurious Ways To Pamper Your Inner Princess? My inner princess is waving a bowie knife over your little brother's genitals, you bastard.

The last box contained Quintessence: The Quality of Having 'It'. Evidently when I had ordered the book from the public computer lab (for my laptop was inoperable at the time) I had neglected to log out of Amazon.com, which I did not even know was necessary. I thought, you click the X, the window closes, and no more worries. Not so: always log out, lest an ill-humored asshole charge $400 of utterly useless shit onto your credit card. A perfectly good hour of my day was ruined while I assessed the potential damage to my credit and made arrangements to return the merchandise. For the record, Amazon.com is a highly reputable company which cares deeply about customer satisfaction, and they voluntarily footed the UPS reshipping bill and recredited the whole charge to me.

Let it be known, however, that I do not appreciate being made the butt of some fool's financially damaging practical joke, nor am I fond of being defrauded for any purpose. My actual ire wore away as soon as I was assured that the charges would be removed, so, should the prankster be reading this, know that if I were to find out who you are, I probably would not punch you in the throat so hard that you'd choke into a coma on your own coagulating blood goo. I hope that encourages you to reveal to me who you are. We could sit down for a few drinks, laugh about Polly and all of her Malltown adventures, and quietly contact federal authorities to discuss the possibilities of pursuing criminal charges. I am willing to accept the possibility that you're a mostly decent person, but you are forever tainted with this quick act of jerkfacery. Consider not being a prick in the future.

Anyway, Josh liked the book.

current mood: accomplished

(13 gestations | inseminate)

Friday, October 15th, 2004
12:39 pm
I gave Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn a flower and she smiled at me.

current mood: pleased

(5 gestations | inseminate)

Sunday, August 29th, 2004
6:15 pm - home going and coming
I am back at Bard. I've taken surprisingly little back with my from the summer. There are some digital photographs of my niece Maya puffing into a harmonica, the harmonica itself, a few neuroses, and a small, plastic toy terrier I found on a beach after a stranger's wedding. I also have a very, very slight tan. And despite working retail all summer long at a store specializing in ensuring conformity among Christian school children, I've come back with only a few hundred dollars in my bank account and a head full of illegal laundering schemes. Summer was dandy over all, but I am relieved to be back at Bard.

Also, my living quarters are ridiculously sexy. Big. Yeah. Stop by if you're feeling sinister. I'm in the village, dorm F, suite A.

I've been back since Friday afternoon. The college actually charged me for two nights stay, as I was an early arrival. I'd spent the previous day with my friend Maggie in Manhattan, whose grandmother Maddie gave me a pink plastic dinosaur which I've officially adopted as my International Symbol. My plan was to fly up with my friend Matt, who goes to NYU, primarily for cab fare-splitting purposes. I'd stay the night in Manhattan and take the train up to Poughkeepsie the next morning, where I'd catch the Bard Shuttle back to campus. I neglected to ask anyone if the shuttle was in operation yet. At the Poughkeepsie train station, I was informed by two chain-smoking angels that it was not, and their kind and lovely friend gave me a ride to campus with them.

It's been a happy couple of days. Last night I had a late, late dinner with my friend Josh* at an all-night diner in the city of Kingston. We just happened to take the booth next to a cabal of traveling psychics. What is it about psychic abilities that makes the women who posess them obese? There was a thin man of about six and a half feet, head shaven bald, his Nordic jaw pointing straight toward his shamanic feather necklace. More interesting, though, was Carl from Brooklyn, a dumpy man in his late middle age whose mustache said "gruff but nonthreatening." Carl's preternatural capacity lies in his understanding of the intermingling of Fate and the human circulatory system. After scanning the distribution of veins on Josh's hand, he pronounced my friend a music-loving horn dog, and thus piqued my curiosity. I offered him my right hand. I've got deep veins, I'm told, and it is a fact evidenced by the number of jabs I must suffer before a nurse can properly draw enough of me for a blood test. Carl confirmed this, but read my hand anyway, telling me, essentially, that I will have to decide my own fate with one crucial decision (watch out, civilization!), that I might die young, and that for a more accurate reading, he'd have to see my cock. The veins of the penis, he assured me, can say much more than the veins of the hand, though I'm certain that mine keep no secrets from eachother.

I may be naive in some matters. I have some faith in the basic goodness of most people (that is, most human beings aren't classifiably horrible). I do, however, have an acute sense of when someone is attempting to walk me down a short path toward buggery, and when a fifty-year-old vagabond asks to be acquainted with the topography of my penis in a restaurant bathroom, I am wise to decline.

But now, alas, I am forever burdened with the question that plagues me.

Oh well. Off to the Dutchess County Fair!


* See comments.

current mood: amused

(6 gestations | inseminate)

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004
1:00 am
I have discovered something amazing and it is my joy to share it with you.

1) Take a cooking pot, preferably one made of smooth steel or otherwise teflon-coated. Place it on a stove top burner and turn the heat up, somewhere in the pre-glow range. Let it heat for several minutes.
3) Step back.
2) Spit in it.

Rock!

Be sure to experiment! But remember, safety first.

current mood: enthused

(4 gestations | inseminate)

Saturday, August 7th, 2004
4:01 am
a head line

current mood: high

(2 gestations | inseminate)

Friday, August 6th, 2004
12:32 am
I won't actually do it, but I really would like to burn my workplace down to the topsoil.

(2 gestations | inseminate)

Saturday, July 10th, 2004
8:13 pm
Should I start writing again?

(30 gestations | inseminate)

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004
6:13 pm
an assignment for a classCollapse )

current mood: hot

(7 gestations | inseminate)

Tuesday, May 11th, 2004
5:47 pm
A long entry will surely be forthcoming,

In the meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy my life.

And thank you, those who surely know who they are.

current mood: unstressable

(1 gestation | inseminate)

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