March 1, 2005

Blogging the Hell Out of It
So I’ve been behind on the blogging. Tonight I’m going to clean out some material from my notes, because I somehow feel less cluttered when I store this sort of stuff in the ether of the Internet, rather than in my notebook. So, what you’ve got here is the equivalent of me taking off my head and shaking it like a toaster ’til the crumbs fall out. For you, this means free crumbs. Sucks to be you people.

Whatever. Time’s wasting.

“Hissy Fit,” Sample One
For some reason, Steve Martin’s article/story “Hissy Fit,” as performed in the audio version of his book, Pure Drivel, was in my head today. So I’ll be dropping quotes from it into this mega-blog, just to share some of it with you. The piece is about a New York writer who travels to Los Angeles for work and undergoes a culture shock-induced hissy fit. Sample the first:

“Furthering the agony, the beleagured writer finds himself in a rental car on the San Diego freeway and realizes he does not remember how to drive.”

You’ve seen, or heard, how I’ve been tinkering with audioblogs. Frankly, I think they’re great, but I dread the notion that the renewed relationship Americans were having with the written word is going to be squandered in favor of cell-phone reporting alone. If, on the other hand, this leads to national, ongoing open-mics of VOIP and fresh-from-the-brain material, then my pretentious inner poetry nerd is all for it.

My old friend Thom Chrastka, however, makes good use of audio/blog technology on his site. The good news is that he’s a (seemingly, but I know better) fearless and energetic speaker and talented experimental musician with a slightly more than healthy love of all things Tom Waits. The bad news is that his site is hosted through the hideously clunkly My Space service (he said with a question mark). So go there, listen, and then get the hell out before you have to click on anything more than archived audioblogs. His new one, on the subject of Hunter Thompson, is grade-A Bohemian open-mic stuff, but you’d do well to hear his Franz Ferdinand riff exploration, too.

Thom, by the way, has replaced John Tynes in my permanent link list below. Tynes has given up blogging, much as he gave up RPGs, with a kind of disappointing holier-than-thou-ness made all the worse by the fact that he’s probably making genuinely good use of his blogging hours writing screenplays, designing video games and snorting rails of complimentary coke off the bellies of studio-paid hookers at free movie screenings or some such.

Weak Hunter S. Thompson Segue
I tried for a time to come up with some sort of Hunter S. Thompson gun-related piece, thinking “Hey, hunters are known for their guns, and Thompson is a kind of submachine gun,” but before I figured out what exactly to do with the S(tockton), I learned that HST didn’t just die, but that he’d committed suicide with a gun. So now the whole connection seems more meaningful but less tasteful. Never mind that it was never a good idea to begin with. I share this for no reason at all.

“Hissy Fit,” Sample Two

“The producer, after having called the restaurant twice, each a warning of a ten-minute delay, sweeps in late but with an on-time feeling…”

Truth, Fiction
Did you read Jennifer Government by Max Barry? Then this article in the NY Post might be of interest to you. In the book, a crowd of fashion-hungry consumers riot over a dwindling supply of $1,000 Nike sneakers. In New York, this has now actually happened, as so-called “Sneakerheads” — a name so ridiculous that I would laugh it out of a work of speculative fiction — purchased rare Dunks for $300 a pair for resale on Ebay. High bids on Ebay land around $1,000 for these shoes, which I presume have, like, rockets in them or something.

Doughty Would’ve Made Me Better
I brought up Thom Chrastka because I’ve been listening to a lot of Soul Coughing lately, and Thom has always been a Reverend in the Church of M. Doughty, lead singer of Soul Coughing. Specifically, I’ve been listening to “Screenwriter’s Blues,” which is probably what put Martin’s “Hissy Fit” into my head. For example: You are going/to Reseda/to make love/to a model/from Ohio/whose real name/you don’t/know. Then, later, we are all/in some way or/another going to/Reseda someday/to die.

I missed out on Soul Coughing in high school, when they were a tad more popular among folks I knew. It’s absurd, too, ’cause I would’ve loved Doughty’s stuff back then, but I think I decided he was in the same vein as Stone Temple Pilots or something, which is to say he had singles on MTV, and so I couldn’t be bothered. (In my defense, I was listening to Los Lobos, Johnny Cash, and what was then called “techno” music, among all manner of other teen-enriching artists). Anyway, had I been listening to Soul Coughing back then, I would doubtless have been a better person, because my perspective from the modern day is that everything I like now would’ve been a benefit to me back then.

Books Talk
I got into this ridiculous late-night house-cleaning blog because I found myself in that late night, quiet house period when I become suddenly aware of all the books on my shelf and how I absolutely must have some snack from one of them right now and go reaching for a book like a stoner goes for a cereal box. Tonight, I got the urge to go dipping for a favorite haiku, because I’m an absurd and pretentious dork. Going for poems like this is like fishing for coi with your hands. Lucky for you, I got the one I wanted. It’s a good one, by Issa, maybe the best haiku poet who was not Basho. This is called “Hell:”

Bright autumn moon;
pond snails crying
in the saucepan.

Car Wreck at the Intersection of Two Fine Ideas
Tomorrow I start Jeff Tidball‘s 30-day writing exercise, like an idiot. This is one reason why I’m getting all this garbage off my desk tonight, like an idiot. I picked tomorrow, March 1st, ’cause it seemed like a good idea to start on the first of a month. For some reason I felt I had a positive association with that day. Now I recall why: I’ve been looking forward to playing Republic Commando for months, and was given the money to get it back at Christmas by my generous wife (who can get things done when I spend time swearing at the Xbox instead of bugging her). So, between the new video game and the personal challenge of writing every day for 30 days (on projects that are not White Wolf-related), I think it’s fair to say that I am going to fail this exercise and perhaps even the Republic. Timing. It’s, you know, everything.

I think I may have died a minute ago. If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I died while coughing earlier. This strange cold I have goes away during the day but makes it hard for me to breathe within a few hours on either side of bed-time. I thought I could shake it by not going to sleep until 3am, like an idiot, but somehow it found me here at my desk around 10:45. Fucking wily cough.

Saddening, Self-Aggrandizing Meme
Ken Hite posted this toxic meme on his livejournal (which I am uneasy treating like a word of its own, but there it is) and I’ve chosen to ape it. In practice, I’ve been avoiding these blog-memes lately because, I suppose, I’ve decided that they’re mostly self-indulgent pedestrian pleas for attention. Coupling them with a blog, which is itself a self-indulgent plea for attention, seems like a redundant iteration. Then I decided that I was a snob and set out to participate in this one.

So that’s what makes it self-aggrandizing. Here’s what makes it saddening: The meme is “Ten Things I’ve Done That You Likely Haven’t,” and I’ve only come up with seven (that I care to share with you people). Maybe I’ll revise this when I stop playing video games and do some stuff.

10 Things I’ve Done That Maybe You Haven’t
1. Moved to Atlanta, sight unseen.
2. Visited the neolithic village of Skara Brae, on the island of Orkney.
3. Had my snowy proposal of marriage get perfectly punctuated by the lighting of Chicago’s humungous Christmas tree and a choir of singing children.
4. Had a steak dinner with Quincy Troupe.
5. Made/served lattes to Joan Cusack, Ira Glass and Dennis DeYoung.
6. Had my writing translated into Portugese.
7. Been attacked by a crow.

“Hissy Fit,” Sample Three:

“Instead the Los Angeles grid is warped, like the assumed mathematical Netherworld, and must be moved through in an illogical manner. As the surface is unpeeled, a deeper level is revealed. But just below that, the surface level appears again.”

Noise:…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, “The Blade Runner”


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