<= 2001.04

2001.06 =>

[MAY 2001.]

fingernails across the moon

Back again. Hello, Iowa: how dreary your weather is this week. Tucson had highs of 100+ degrees during most of my stay, which is normal: whenever you look at a U.S. weather map there's always that dark red circle hovering over southern Arizona only. It was fine until yesterday morning, when I had to do yard work before my dad drove me to the airport. I was hung over and didn't have time to eat anything and got dehydrated and then drank a bunch of pear juice, which was the only thing around. Predictably, this led to gastric distress on the plane and the woman next to me probably wondered what was going on. And yet I live.

I see that Douglas Adams died while I was out of touch. Ach, there goes my contact lens into the nether regions of my eye. It's skating around my retina now. I haven't really collected myself yet and something's wrong with this email account, so if I haven't written you that's why.

Today will be that sort of day: grocery shopping, paying bills. More better soon, honest: especially once I set up a machine that can run IE without crashing.

 

fingernails across the moon

Thanks to the bored-at-work folks who wrote in to point out that I actually got none of the titles of the prom songs right. They are in fact "The Humpty Dance," "Poison" and "Call Me." At this point I should also say that they played "Superfreak," then played "U Can't Touch This" a half hour later. You are not allowed to play a rap song after you've already played the song from which it was sampled.

Chelsey's prom Polaroids! Yes, Lyse and I are in there. For those who don't live in Iowa, Vu is the gentleman with the fetching pink crepe paper around his neck.

Item! Those who remember February's missing eggs will be interested to know that yesterday afternoon, while Lyse was talking to the powers that be at the Riverside Theatre, I elected to grab coffee from the Java House and wait for her on the bench outside the Motley Cow. Only when I returned to the bench, a bag was sitting there with my name on it. I looked inside: two eggs. I have my suspicions about their origin involving John's Grocery, but it's too early to say anything. While I waited torrents of rain kept splashing over Denis Johnson's The Name of the World, which I was reading as it's finally out in paperback. It's good, yes. Nobody writes them like that guy. Also, there was an accident at the Gilbert-Market intersection, but nobody got hurt and the people involved were very nice to one another and called a friendly policeman. I do love this city, often.

The New York Times gives us a McSweeney's update and points out the dangers they're in for when the joke stops being funny. So that's what that Lemon book is. I keep seeing it at Prairie Lights and wondering, solely because of the nice jacket design. Apparently the actual novel is terrible.

 

evaluation

Prom observations:
--Vu, though we love him, is a ridiculous man on the dance floor and will probably be unhappy about the many pictures taken of him.
--"The Humpty Hump." "That Girl Is Poison." That "call me" Blondie song.
--No faculty. Where were the faculty?
--Free beer and pizza. That, coupled with the fact that I actually liked my date, makes this Best Prom Ever.

Genetically modified humans have been born. Okay, so it's not like they're doing anything rampantly weird like changing eye color--it's just to help infertile women conceive--but still, the babies now have genes from three people. Just say it. "Genetically modified humans have been born."

Man tries to fake his way through a urinalysis test with a dildo. The saddest part of this, as Lyse points out, is that some poor probation officer has been trained to recognize the sights and sounds of urination.

 

raining on prom night

This weekend's weather forecast is dismal. It's going to be cold and drizzly until Monday, so naturally this is the weekend Lyse comes in and she will leave unimpressed with Iowa. Workshop prom is tonight. We actually call it the prom because all of us (except Marlowe) were unpopular in high school and need another chance.

I can't write any more because Internet Explorer is taking five minutes to load each page. Have I mentioned that my computer is a piece of shit? Why must everything in my life be broken?

 

day of atonement

Carry Me Across The Water is out, at least at Prairie Lights, and Ethan had his reading last night. During the subsequent Q&A session, which he seemed to enjoy more than the actual reading, he mentioned the "dark night of the soul" through which all novelists must repeatedly pass. This made me feel better re: yesterday's entry, which came out more strident than I had intended. I must not be taking the right vitamins, or something.

Good links from other people today: Il Grantino sends in the McCafe, which was only a matter of time, given that the McDonald's corporation is a sort of economic shark whose primitive brain compels it to ingest ever more shares of ever more markets. Steve P. points out the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie, which can be made at home and is effective against most types of mind control.

It can't be stressed enough how important it is to have the shiny side pointing out. This is needed because the shiny side is most reflective to psychotronic radiation, while the dull side can actually, in certain environmental conditions, absorb it. However, as is illustrated in the instructions above, it is also wise to complement this with a layer of foil pointing shiny side in. This will keep your brain waves, which are also reflected by the shiny side, from being picked up by mind-reading equipment. There is a small number of aluminum foil researchers who believe that this may cause an alpha-wave harmonic to build up in the skull resulting in memory loss or pseudo-religious visions, but their findings have never been replicated by the aluminum foil research community at large. Even if their findings are validated, the risk involved is small compared to the potential of mind-intrusion.

 

the electronic renaissance

Last night I was ready to heave my computer through the window out of frustration with this novel. The premise, which I occasionally think is brilliant, I currently think is really stupid. It'll cycle back around, I know, but fucking Christ. The problem with my emotional situation vis à vis this book is: when you grow up used to scholastic achievement but also used to consistent failure in every other part of life (like say sports, or having friends) then you learn to use scholastic achievement as sort of a stand-in for your personal value as a human being, because that's all you have. And this carries over, duh, to academic or literary work in your adult life; and there the culture only reinforces it. If you're a seventh-grader and you believe that "I quickly solved this algebra problem" equates to "I am a good and kind person," that's a little weird even if you understand why you've come to think that way. But if you're a young adult and you believe that "I wrote a good story" equates to "I am a good and kind person," that doesn't seem so odd because John Gardner and Robert Stone and all the other Moral Fiction people have essentially been expounding the same fucking equivalence. Only the failures correlate too. If you do something cruel to your character, you have to wonder if you're cruel yourself. If women come out badly, does that make you a misogynist? Or (as I worry) if you're at work on a giant sweeping narrative experiment that turns 94 different kinds of formal tricks and synthesizes such obscure departments of human knowledge as set theory, poststructuralism, Central American history (1550-2000), neuroscience and solar energy, but you've populated this book with characters who are somehow flat and lifeless and inconsistent and uninteresting and take a back seat to the slow inhuman progression of ideas, does this suggest that you don't actually understand human beings at all, that at the core you're just a giant hypertrophied self-involved brain hooked up to a shriveled and impoverished heart, without real capacity for empathy or unselfish emotion? Probably not to that extreme. But you know. I can say this now because workshop is over for the year, and presumably by August everyone will have forgotten it and can continue to comment on my stories without feeling unduly weird or self-conscious.

The U.S. Army announces that "We are transforming today's most powerful Army in the world from a Cold War Legacy Force to an Objective Force with... the power to slug it out and win campaigns decisively." It will accomplish this goal by buying new hats. No shit.

To symbolize The Army's commitment to transforming itself into the Objective Force, The Army will adopt the black beret for wear Army-wide. It is not about increasing recruiting; we achieved our recruiting target of 180,000 recruits last year--without a beret. It is not about retention; for the second year in a row, we exceeded our reenlistment goal by a wide margin--without a beret. It is not about morale; Soldiers are ready today to go into harm's way. It is about our excellence as Soldiers, our unity as a force, and our values as an institution.

Only none of them Chinee hats. Also, suburban schools will eliminate bump n' grind dances by requiring students to take dance quizzes.

 

showbiz opera walrus

Huh. May Day has a far more complicated history than I had realized. There are all the Wicca/pagan rites, but apparently it's also a historic day for labor solidarity and anti-capitalism and so on, which explains the protests that are being held everywhere except the U.S., since we're lazy here.

Those of you who remember Memento Mori doubtless also remember its director, the polymath Geoff von Oeyen. He's resurfaced on the emerald isle and is now writing articles for This Is An Exit, a highbrow student-run online mag out of Cambridge University. The article includes quotes from Heidegger.

 

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