Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Things You Should Do

I went with Jamie to the reading and talk with Jonathan Lethem and AM Homes. Homes read from her soon to be published novel. Lethem read "Vivian Relf" from Men and Cartoons, which I need to read ASAP because this short story, even read aloud, was masterly, amazing - Lethem is so in control of language, it makes me jealous. And then Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor of The New Yorker asked both of them questions about their work, their writing habits, and of course, about their lives and how much that entered into their own works. I was shocked when Treisman came out, not knowing what she looked like, and seeing how young she was. I imagined that the ficiton editor of The New Yorker to be a frumpy, old lit professor looking type, perhaps wearing something a little unfashionable. But Treisman can't be too much older than thirty, if even, and she is really attractive and fashionable. This sort of stung for some reason, that this person is not only pretty and young but has probably the most coveted [surely, the most powerful] literary editing job in the US. People should not have it all. She is in contact with everyone and gets to read through the submissions of literary giants. I couldn't even imagine - I try to wrap my head around that notion of getting to sift through stuff from these people and choosing a story for each issue.

I have been doing lots of daydreaming today. I bought a lotto ticket for that big jackpot and no joke, spent a good two hours lying on my bed wide awake lost in daydreams of how different my life would be if suddenly 250 million dollars came my way. It was the first time I daydreamed in a long time and so really, a dollar well, well spent whether or not I won.

Both Lethem and Homes were really well spoken, grounded, and serious about their craft. It was such a pleasure to hear the two of them talk, particularly Lethem, who is such a good writer, so fucking skilled. He talked about who he writes for, and said he writes for dead people and told this beautiful story about being sixteen and reading seriously for the first time and how awed he was by just the books on the shelf, by seeing Borges and Calvino up there, and that that's who he's writing for, that when his book is on the shelf he hopes that the Borges and Calvino book lean in toward his to listen. Of course, he said this so well, much as he writes so well. It was a pleasure - I don't know what other word to use, what one could be more apt - to hear these literary idols of mine speak and talk about the habit of writing. I want to get into that habit. I was doing well for a while and made it a habit, was doing some every day, but I haven't even attempted in a month or so. This night has reenergized me and I think I might try what both of them do, to wake up early and write until lunch. I mean, it's not like I have a job or anything right now, so I should be spending this free time that so many people kill for not sulking about how I have all this idle time and no money, but instead utilizing it the best I possibly can. Wake up earlier, write early on in the day, then do some job hunting after lunch, and live your life and fucking smile more often and laugh more often and read some good books.
Oh, Pitchfork, in your teaser for your review of Tapes 'n Tapes, about the band, you say "their total lack of pretentiousness is a breath of fresh air," and yet, pretentiousness just oozes from the review, making me wonder if in fact this band might not also be oozing this despite the teaser's claim. This sentence from the review is almost too much, it probably is too much, it's just so smarmy, and that is probably why I like it so much - take this in:

"But facing the task of averting obviousness, they play the uncool card: 'The Iliad' dresses its keystones in afro-MIDI percussion, cuica and humorously fake timbale, its garb recalling the shy kid in sculpture class who could be a hipster if not for those Sketchers: Are the kicks a defense mechanism, ironic one-upmanship, or just a really good deal at TJ Maxx?"

The audaciousness of that similie still has me a bit stunned, but in a good way. And, PS Pitchfork, obviously I was not a hipster in sculpture class because they are spelled Skechers.

Last night, in bed again reading McSweeneys #18, I was stunned in a not good way. Typo on the very first page (!!!) of the book: "At one point she as writing copy.." [was, not as]. Typo on page five: "Calvin finally giving in to the longstanding salacious advances if our incestuous cousins" [of, not if]. Typo on page 95: "I touched my check and it was sticky hot" [cheek, not check].

This isn't a photocopied zine with all these errors - it's supposed to be an elegant, professionally published literary quarterly. This is maddening. It totally disrupts a story for me, and I am sure lots of other people who come across these typos and totally pause to reread the sentence, to wonder what the fuck exactly these copy editors do if they aren't catching these glaring, glaring typos. The first page! Come on!

I watched The Thin Red Line last night and Scarface the night before and Oliver Stone's fingerprints are all over Scarface and what the fuck is up with Italians playing Cubans, and Terrence Malick is a beautiful human being and so is his star, James Caviezel, even though apparently he is an extremist Catholic. I didn't notice his beauty in The Passion of the Christ, probably because he was covered in cuts and blood, but he is a striking, striking man in The Thin Red Line.

I am going to see AM Homes and Jonathan Lethem talk tonight at Columbia and I am really excited. I should probably ask someone to come with me soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

out on the streets they call it murder

I love cute boys and liquor, so I guess it should be no surprise that I really like cute boys that serve me liquor. The Hernan Bas and Virgil Marti shows were both really awesome. There was some other gallery that I don't remember except for the fact that the bartender was totally dreamy and he served me Cabernet Sauvignon and I wanted him to serve me other things.

We returned to the Bas opening because there were lots of pretty homos there, including the bartender, Grant, who served me generous cups of wine and who, I thought was dream dream dreamy. I signed the gallery's guestbook saying so, saying that I wanted to make out with him, and leaving my e-mail address.

There is a picture of him dressed as an elf on his MySpace page that I think is amazing. I want to make out with this boy and wish I had tried harder to talk to him. Maybe he will e-mail me and will make out forever and ever. Probably not, though - which is totally okay because life is amazing, just seeing cute boys and drinking wine and seeing good art and being with friends.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Fucking Shit! Hernan Bas! Opening! Tonight! Bobby Cuza, you've got some competition. Bas is my favorite painter. I am obsessed with him and apparently he has an opening at Daniel Reich tonight. Fuck the L being stupid. I am still going. Anyone else?

letters never sent

Dear Charlie,
Please share with us why weekdays are awesome?

Well, dear reader, that is a very interesting question because you see, weekdays aren't always awesome, mainly only so when you are unemployed and your roommates are employed, because then, when you are listening to Le Tigre in the middle of the day and get an urge to crank it, to shake the foundations of your flimsy little apartment with feminist fury and to dance around like a maniac, well, you can do that. However, on weekends, shame and fear of disturbing your roommates from their rest keeps you and the volume and the dancing and the freedom in check.


Dear McSweeneys,
Last night, I was mildly drunk but not totally tired and so I couldn't get to sleep, so I picked up your most recent issue, #18, to read the Joyce Carol Oates story. She has always been one of those writers on my get-around-to-reading-this-person list and the story only confirmed her place on that list, maybe even shifted her closer to the top of the queue. However, I was totally distracted by two glaring typos in the story. I don't understand. This is not a huge publication. It is only published quarterly. There are twenty or so interns listed on the masthead, two copy editors, a managing editor, and a general editor. How these typos in this story were allowed to slip past the attention of all these people confused me greatly. The fact that I wad mildly inebriated and caught these typos made your staff's inability to do so all the more puzzling.

For example, on page 214, the following sentence presents itself: "None of is could recall Father very clearly now." That makes no sense, whatsoever. Yes, Oates is doing something very weird and beautiful with her method of narrating this story, using a first person plural "we" to have the voice of three children talk (possibly others - the dead children also?) and then refers to each of these kid's actions in the third person singular, never having one of the kids narrating with an "I did this," making me very confused for a bit about who was narrating this story, but surely, that "is" is not part of that technique, surely that "is" was meant to be an "us."

What I am getting at here is that I am umemployed at the moment and need a job badly. So if your two copy editors together are unable to catch these things, then I know of an excellent candidate who would not mind at all relocating to San Francisco were it to work for this publication. That person, of course, this writer.



Dear Bobby Cuza,
If you were not on NY1, I am not sure I would watch the station nearly as much as I currently do. And watching it isn't even a guarantee that I am going to see you, since you aren't an anchor, but a transit reporter. And some days, there are no transit stories, and as a result, no Bobby Cuza crooning in that beautiful voice the latest news to me about MTA. The days when you do do a story, I am so much happier that my morning started off with this bit of butterflies in the stomach - everything following it just seems nicer - sort of like on those days when you wake up after getting laid, how good a mood you are in toward the whole world. Well, some days, there's no story from you, and thus none of that glow from me toward the whole world

So, surely there must be an easier way for us to get together, one less beholden to the whims of chance and subway strikes. So here's what I am thinking, every day when I would normally be tuning into NY1, normally about ten after I shower and as I am eating my cereal, you can come over to my apartment and stand where my tv is and just talk about anything, so I can get my daily dose of your pretty voice and pretty face. And who knows where that might lead. Let's just take things one step at a time.

Faithfully yours,


Dear Charlie,
Get a life.

Well, dear reader, as I recently told my boyfriend Bobby Cuza, one step at at time, one step at a time.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Beer and chocolate taste a bit like key lime pie when eaten together. I would kill for a good piece of key lime. I haven't had one in years.

My hair looks amazing right now. I straightened it and then wore a hat for a long time and now it is so straight and light. I can toss it back and forth by shaking my head. I don't think I have even been able to do this. What would happen if I relaxed my hair? Um, I am watching Valley Girl and it is making me crazy, boy crazy, crazy. Key Lime Pie!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Ballet at Sin-e

I arrived right as The Ballet was about to start playing, the perfect moment, since really, the only thing bad about going to shows by yourself is that time in between the sets, when no band is playing and you have no place to focus your eyes, your attention, and your aloneness is all the more striking, or at least, in your state of self-consciousness, you will be convinced that it is.

They started to play and I had another beer, another because I had already had a couple before leaving my house, and I sipped from this beer, this Miller Lite, the special, and started to do as I had planned, to watch Craig for a good hour or so, but I got distracted because the music was really good and it took control of my attention and I watched the lead singer, this boy Greg, sing his lyrics and watched him play his guitar and soon found my focus, my attention placed on him.

And there weren't that many people there for the show, which seemed too bad and also good. Bad, because this band was really amazing, was one of the better sounding live bands I have heard in a long time and they deserved lots of attention. Good, because I felt really privileged, like I was getting to see a really amazing pop band in such an intimate setting. I imagined how I would feel getting to see Belle and Sebastian or Final Fantasy in this small room with this small crowd, and realized that I was really privileged to be part of this moment.

And I stared at Greg, got wrapped up in these songs about crushes and boys and thought about my own crushes, thought about boys, and soon found myself developing a pretty intense crush for this singer. And he was looking out into the audience, focusing his eyes on a point in the middle of the audience, and at times, even though he probably wasn't, I was convinced that Greg was looking at me, directly at me, and I could only look back at him for a short bit, before I would get shy, before I would get too self-conscious, feel too stalkerish (even though I think you are supposed to watch the lead singer) and would turn away and try to focus my attention on the cello player.

I drank another beer watching them, and found myself fairly drunk and fairly caffeinated and in love with words, and soon, I sort of stopped listening attentively, and soon found myself getting lost in verbal fits, trying to describe my love of Craig to myself, to put into words, why it is that I love these fragile, thin boys, and I think I will spare you this analysis right now, but I will throw out some key phrases for you: subversion of traditional standards of male virility, Charlotte's Web like love of the runt of the litter, privileging this beauty as a means of asserting that all humans are beautiful, every piglet of the litter, this wisp of beauty, his fragileness, smallness, is ours, ours writ large. And this is how my mind works sometimes. I kept wishing I had a pen and pad of paper with me because my mind was making wonderful connections that thrilled me so much, and I was excited for the first time in a long time, and excited (and sad - the two often seem tied) about boys for the first time in an even longer time.

And despite this excitement, the fact that I could have easily stayed to say hello and try to chat with one or both of these boys, instead as soon as their set was over, that self-consciousness again set in and I had no place to focus my attention, my eyes, my ears. I was nervous and didn't know where to look, what to do with my hands. I went to the bathroom, and then looked at the text messages on my phone and then shyness taking over, decided that I could not wait for the next band to come on, could not wait for The Ballet to finish packing up their gear, and I put on my sweatshirt and then my jacket and then headed back out into the night, feeling like I was leaving something I shouldn't have, but not really having the power to do anything about that.

On the train ride back home, I sat in one of those small, two-seat benches next to this man playing on his cellphone. Our elbows were touching so lightly. And again verbal associations raced through me head. Sister, car trip, sharing the backseat, and there, there would be a shoving of elbows to claim this space, but here, so polite, and we rest our elbows, touching, the slightest contact, hoping it will make the other person uncomfortable enough to shift their position, the potential of an erotic reading of these elbows making one or the other of us uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable, and getting strangely horny, but not enough so to move my elbow. I texted on my phone also and looked at the male bodies around me, desiring pretty much all of them. I got off the train and really wanted chips. There was not one open bodega on the way home.

The chips, in case you did not get it, are a metaphor for something else.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cause for giddiness #1:
It's not open yet, but there are pictures of the soon to be opened thing.

Cause for giddiness #2:
I am going to Sin-e tonight to see the Ballet. Craig is in this band.

Cause for giddiness #3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9:
Bonnie Raitt, stretching, hot showers, daydreams, coffee, Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap, memories

There's an overlap. Cause for giddiness #9 is also reason for depression #1.

Cause for depression #2:
Not having a job and not wanting to worry about that.

Cause for depression #3:
Reading W.G. Sebald and being convinced that life is meaningless and we are all going to die and until that point, be lonely and wander the ruins of civilization.

Cause for depression #4, 5
Reading the news, Nico

There was going to be more listed, a 6, 7, 8 and 9, but sometimes I think it's better to put those things out of mind if possible, that listing them and thinking about them can do no good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Fog of War

Since I have been using sleep, tiredness, or that there's not enough time as excuses for missing things, I woke up three hours before my interview this morning, so that I would be well awake and have plenty of time to get ready, time to even go to the bank beforehand. I woke up at seven this morning, had a bowl of cereal over the morning paper, a nice cup of coffee and felt generally good.

The other two temp agencies I have been to in my life have been really similar to today's experience. Filling out some paperwork in the lobby, the same information they presumably already have when you e-mailed them your resume, then simple computer skills tests and a simple typing test that despite its simplicity always brings out the jitters in me and my normally quick fingers seem wooden as I type the wrong thing and then have to backspace and then that thought that you are losing time making me really nervous, and then after all this, a hurried interview with one of their placement people.

They were interviewing people in the same room that we had to take these computer tests, and it was so distracting. Of course, I couldn't type as fast as I normally do when I can eavesdrop on hearing someone have to sell themselves, and I am especially going to be distracted and think that I am at the wrong temp agency, when one of the interviewees tells their interviewer that they have a copy of their CV also, and the interviewer asks, the person placing people in jobs asks this young man, "A CV? I don't know what that is. What's a CV?"

This was pretty remarkable, and yet I heard something not too long after that is in strong competition with it for the most remarkable thing I heard today. After talking to two of the placement people, which I am going to take as a good sign, I rode uptown to Columbia to get there at noon for when they distributed tickets to a talk next week by A.M. Homes and Jonathan Lethem, and on this train ride, I sat across from two women. One of them pulls out a bootleg copy of that Disney dogsled movie and starts talking about how an hour into it, the copy just ended, and how pissed she was. And her friend sympathized and said, "That's too bad," or something to that effect, because what can you do - it's a risk buying bootlegs and more often than not, you end up getting a shitty copy and being out of five dollars.

And then the other woman again talked about how pissed she was and then, shockingly, said that she was going to get her money back. This isn't Barnes and Noble's. These are bootleg videos bought on street corners. I didn't know there was a refund policy. And neither did her friend. Her friend laughed as if this person could not be serious, and then she said that she always returns them if there' anything wrong. One or two seconds of blackness she'll tolerate, but anything beyond that, even if it's ten seconds of bad image, she returns the videos. She returns them all the time, she says.

Waking up at seven, even though I got plenty of sleep, made my body so tired. I couldn't even stand up come three o'clock and I passed out in my bed, totally unable to stay awake. I woke up and just ate half a pizza from Nina's where I got in an arugement with perhaps Nina herself, with some old lady who tried to charge me 15 even though they have a pickup special of 6 and I felt pretty silly bargaining over a pizza. Now, I am going to watch American Idol and then Rent and drink some beer. What? My life is awesome.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Bicycle Thief

It seems that all I ever talk about lately are movies that I have watched or things that I have read. This is probably because I am umemployed and have lots of free time to occupy and never want to leave the house because it's cold and so I never get any physical activity which has the effect of making me tired and depressed and all I do is watch things on my tv. I don't know how to incorporate physical activity into my life because I really hate being outside in the cold. Tomorrow, I am going to try to go to some museums and spend my day that way, walking around, and maybe even interacting with other human beings. And of course, Tuesday there are two job interviews that will hopefully provide me with a way to occupy my body and time, enable me to get paid money, and hopefully alleviate some of this ennui that is snowballing into something worse with each idle day in my apartment.

I mean, I am not living in a country that just suffered a brutal defeat in World War II and is coping with massive unemployment and poverty, but still in this current mental state, I felt an affinity, a connection with Vittorio De Sica's characters. I have had a couple of bikes stolen in my life and know how crushing a loss that is, and when Antonio's bike gets stolen, my heart crumbles. This movie has such a simple plot and yet it is so emotional. I was way more invested in this movie than I anticipated being. It reminds me of Children of Heaven and The White Ballon (both Iranian new wave films) that also have fairly simple plots that involve kids and yet are such dramatic movies.

I was anticipating a Pee-Wee's Big Adventure nice, happy ending, but I guess that would probably go against much of what Italian neo-realism was about, and that refusal to gloss over the economic realities is surely what made this movie so good. I have been thinking a lot about Bubble the past two days, and this is part of what I have been thinking about, film and poverty. Bubble is a rare, contemporary film in that it involves poverty. You sort of forget watching most media products that most people live their lives spending a good amount of time working stupid jobs and talking about these stupid jobs and worrying about money and bills. It is something that isn't even on the radar anymore, it seems. The last big tv show that seemed at all grounded in the economic realities of most people was Roseanne. And maybe Soderbergh isn't the best person to be making films about poverty, but I find it really admirable, this six film deal he has with HDNet. Bubble is the first of these. He has stated that he wants to make a cycle and do the same filmmaking process for the other films, to have a loose plot, pick a location that is off the cinematic radar, and cast it with local people from that town, using their life stories to flesh out the plot. I am glad that someone is doing this, trying to ground their films in real American locations. I am really excited to see the other films in this distribution deal.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

That felt good. I just deleted eight MySpace friends, people that I didn't really know or people that I did and who posted eight hundred quizzes a day or people who left me three really cheesy image comments this past week even though I haven't talked to them since high school. No more countless bullentin posts from Becca forcing me to scan the main bullentin page to see if anyone actually posted something worth my time.

I am listening to the Smashing Pumpkins and hey, does anyone in New York have Siamese Dream that they would not mind lending me for a day or two so that I can rip it? Because the Smashing Pumpkins are amazing and that is all there is to that.

I watched the Wholphin DVD last night, a bunch of shorts collected by the McSweeneys people. The DVD came with Issue 18 of the publication. I read Edmund White's "My Hustlers" from that same issue and enjoyed it a lot and will talk about it when I feel like talking because I used to like Edmund White (high school) and then didn't (college) and now I think do again. Right now, I am going to read some more from that issue or from Sebald's Campo Santo, which I started this morning, and which, is amazing so far. Sebald is my writerly idol, in case you did not know. His influence is obviously not seen in this post about MySpace, Smashing Pumpkins, and Edmund White. Not that those topics are impossible to explore that way, but I just don't have the energy.

Now actually, I am not sure why I wrote any of this. This may be the most pointless post ever.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bubble; Phenomena

Bubble is fascinating for so many reasons, so many of them not even having to do with the actual experience of watching the movie. Its unique distribution method, being released on DVD, on HD cable, and in theaters at the same time; its being in shot in HD, where depth of field no longer matters with everything in focus and what this means for us as viewers as David Denby really intelligently asked a couple weeks ago; its cast of nonactors; its being directed the unpiegonholeable Steven Soderbergh who is all over the map in what he directs, and yet, usually good somehow. So much stuff and then the actual film, which is brief, and really good. I had to tell Adele to stop crinkling the newspaper while I was watching it; that's how into this movie I was. It reminded me just vaguely of Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark, anothe bleak tale of rural factory workers and murder, but of course, way more humanisitic and more likeable than that movie, and more nuanced.

After that, Adele and I watched Dario Argento's Phenomena, which I found much more enjoyable than the one of his I had seen before, Inferno. With this movie, I could see the appeal of him, but it's a total camp appeal. The goofy focus on the supernatural, the synth soundtrack, and the bad script make for an enjoyable movie, but my enjoyment does not mean I think highly of this movie, that I even really think much during this movie. I am just strung along for a couple of quick thrills and then the credits roll. But I am glad, I saw one of his better movies so that my opinion of him is now not solely based on Inferno, which actually I am liking more now in retrospect. The soundtracks to both stick in my head and sort of blend together. I don't know what that means.

But yes, another thrilling Friday night. A double feature, a frozen pizza, some Old Milwaukees, one cigarette, and chocolate. That is not sarcasm on my part, calling it thrilling. It was. I love watching movies in my living room. I am over going out, thinking it is what I need, only to come home feeling it wasn't what I needed, and feeling lamer for never succeeding in hitting on people. Like there's something I want to happen and I can think I can will that or that it will occur there and it probably has just as much chance of occuring here. Here watching movies, I can only be disappointed if the disc skips during a good scene.

PS - Did you all see Marky on the cover on that trashy free gay weekly that you sometimes use as masturbation fodder? That entertains me a lot. Other things that entertain me these days: Key Food, Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues", Spanish language soap operas starring a bunch of hot students in prep school uniforms, MySpace profiles of people underage, pizza, that weight loss flyer that someone always sticks beneath the plastic guarding the "real" ads on the subway, and the ad says a bunch of stuff, but the thing that entertains me and makes me smile with memories of a former roommate and a dated hit song of a silly electroclash band: "Look Good, Feel Good."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gates of Heaven

There are so many behemoths being erected around McCarren Park. I can even see these new condos under construction from my part of town, their lighted skeletons lighting up the sky at night. They bother me for a reason that I cannot entirely put into words, but I find it troubling that church spires and church domes are no longer the things that poke out tallest above the Williamsburg skyline. That soon, that distinction, will be the residences of extremely wealthy people with track lighting.

This was already a changed neighborhood when I moved to it three years ago, but in those three years, I have been witness to a host of more changes. It's interesting to watch these slight modifications to the neighborhood, building by building. One of these, 702 Grand Street, a few blocks from my house, a toy/variety store, Children's Playland. It has been open since I have moved here and even then I wondered how it stayed in business. Some of the inventory looked as if it had been sitting on the shelves since the eighties. I bought an awesome pair of sunglasses there last summer, that must have been sitting on that sunglasses rack for a decent amount of years. They were covered in a thick layer of dust and grime, but they were awesome, eightiesish (probably because they were an unsold item still sitting around from the eighties) and again, only two dollars.

A month or so ago, I stopped in there with Adele, looking for Risk, and we laughed at the inventory, at the dust on everything, wondering how this store stayed in business. They had tons of board games that also seemed unsold since the Eighties. Trivial Pursuit, the original Genus version, a whole shelve of them in their original packaging. Stacks of Trump: The Game, from the pre-Apprentice Trump, from a long time ago, still sitting on their shelves. Outdated game after outdated game and no Risk.

Today, I walked by to see a "Going Out of Business" sign hanging from the front. The sign proclaimed that the store had been open 22 years and that everything had to go, that everything was half off. Even though I had made fun of the store with Adele, and even though the store lacked any seeming business sense at all, I was still sad to see the demise of another one of these grimy Grand Street stores. Quite a few of them have departed in the time that I have lived here. The Brooklyn Fish House, a fish and chips joint, near the toy store went out of business a couple months ago and held an open house two weekends ago, people wandered into the grimy place looking to buy it, the old menu still in the window, and something is lost and something will be gained and I am not sure what, and not sure if it is for better, or for worse. Better for whom? Worse for whom? Some bar, some vintage clothing shop, some coffee shop will probably step into these voids as they have been doing on Grand Street since even before I moved here. Places which I will probably end up frequenting way more than I did either the fish shop or the toy store. I made one purchase in each of the locations the entire time I lived here. It's disturbing to know that I play some role in these changes, that I am part of the wave that allows this neighborhood to be gentrified, and even more disturbing to know that this wave can't be stopped, that I could probably play no role in resisting these changes, that it just seems to be the way of the world.

I just finished watching Errol Morris' Gates of Heaven. It is a documentary about pet cemetery owners and people that have buried their pets in cemeteries. It is amazing. Morris either is an amazing interviewer or hit the jackpot by finding talkers as his subjects. These subjects will talk for such long periods of time, uninterrupted without the aid of any prodding questions, and yet still deliver the answers that Morris must have been seeking out. The subjects are so fascinating and God, this movie, is so good. If I recall correctly, there isn't one voiceover by the director in the entire movie, which is pretty rare it seems for a documentary, to be able to tell the story solely with the voices of the subjects shot and to not have to narrate with either on screen text or some voiceover. It's surprisingly elegant, this movie. In the beginning, I tended to laugh at the subjects, thinking their adoration of their pets bordered on something close to idolatry, but by the end of the movie, the themes Morris is touching on become clearer, that the loss of loved ones and how we deal with their disposal is pretty important stuff. There is a really touching segment at the end where a pet owner talks about what animates a body, that yes, the body of her pet is still there, but that that's not what she loved, that there was something that made that now inanimate body move that's gone, that the fact that the body is there and doesn't move is proof that there is another component to life besides the body, a spirit. Surely, my retelling of this sounds hokey, but to hear this woman talk about her dead dog, you really start to believe that their might be some afterlife.
Yes, I did receive your timesheet last week and I sent it to accounting. Unfortunately, accounting seems to be having problems lately do to a change in staff. Of course this is no excuse and I have called them and sent them an email regarding missing checks. Hopefully, they can cut manual checks tomorrow and send them to the office. I apologize for any inconvenience and promise I will get you your paycheck ASAP.


Of course, my paycheck wouldn't arrive when I really needed it and was all ready to pick it up and pay my rent with. Die, Princeton Review, Die!
God, today is beautiful. I was wearing a jacket, a light one earlier today when I was walking around town doing errands in preparation for my interview later this afternoon, and I had to take the jacket off because it is so warm and so sunny and so not February outside. Spring, Summer, I cannot wait for your arrival. We are going to have so much fun together.

And with copies of my resume printed and feeling prepared for my interview at the temp agency, I came home to eat some food, drink some coffee, and change into nice clothes. While enjoying my lunch, I started to write down the address of this temp agency, reading through the email that they had sent me. And rereading this email at noon, I saw that my interview was not at two like I was so certain of for some inexplicable reason, but at 11:30, that I had missed it. And I laughed and continued with my lunch, mildly relieved. I have a "trial work day" at some place in my neighborhood tomorrow, and then on Tuesday two more interviews, so I am not too worried about my missing the one today.

I got an email right before I started writing this alerting me that I had a new Friendster message from Matt. Of course, despite it being 2006, I got really excited as I logged into Friendster, however, I tried to clamp down on my excitement, knowing that it was probably just a mass Friendster message to alert people about his gay hip hop party at Alligator this Saturday. The message's title: "We Belong Together!"

I had to click on this, a message from this boy I have been pretty obsessed with for the past two years, a message with the title "We Belong Together," and I had to wait for the message to appear on my slow computer, imagining what this message might contain, only for it to fall far short of my brief daydreams that were enabled by the slow speed of an ageing Packard Bell. It was just an announcement about his party on Saturday. It is either absent-mindedness on his part or mean-spiritedness to include me in this mass mailing with that title. I am tending to think it was intentional. He's kind of a jerk.

There is lots of stuff coming up that I want to do, and I am waiting to deposit some checks and pay my rent to see how much, if any money, I have left over and which, if any, of these things I will be able to do. But these things include: Jaymay, Oakley Hall, and Dirty on Purpose tomorrow night at Northsix. Saturday: (Not Straight) Outta Compton at Alligator. Sunday: Mirror Mirror at Union Pool. Wednesday: The Ballet at Sin-e.

I also want to watch nothing but documentaires by Earl Morris and Werner Herzog and man, everytime, I watch a new movie, there are eight other ones that I want to see. You'd think that watching a lot would shrink the amount of movies on my need to see list, but the list just keeps on getting bigger and bigger when I want to see these other movies cited in criticisms of the films I have seen or want to. Last night, I started it off with Joe, watching Herzog's Little Dieter Needs to Fly, which is similar to Grizzly Man in that it is this unbelievable biography of a person that somehow is real, and also totally heartbreaking. I was continually shocked by this movie, laughing "Oh my God," finding it incredible that one person lived through all of this.

Um, more coffee and a trip to the bank! And fuck yeah, this weather is amazing! Jobs and interviews are for suckas!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

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coverage of Times snow coverage cont.

So, apparently, I was not alone in finding yesterday's article about snow over the top. A day late, Gawker chimes in, pointing the way to a WWD article that looks back at McFadden's snow articles over the years to find out that he has recycled the same phrases for decades. Too many clichés, indeed.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I find this fascinating, answering this quiz about other people, and so if you find it fascinating also, you should pick six words to describe me so I can be neurotic and wonder how I am percieved.

Um, besides that, let's see. Caught up on all the back issues of The New Yorker I had lying next to my bed. Went to Walgreens in the snow, bought two things, stole one thing. Applied to a bunch of jobs and temp agencies. Listened to lots of music. Drank two strong cups of coffee. I have an interview at a temp agency on Thursday that apparently trademarked the phrase "Applicant-Centric". Ask me if I am excited about this and I might puke on you. The world of jobs is so stupid and corny. I can't believe human beings do these things, trademark such silly phrases and have a web page with cursive lettering and some thing that resembles an angel in the corner.

Besides that, I have "a hand on interview" on Friday doing data entry for a real estate web site that is really cool. Which means that I am to come in and work for the day, get paid, and see whether or not they like me. This job is in my neighborhood and I could walk to work. It starts at ten an hour, which is less than I would like to be making, but if I can walk to work, I really don't care. Plus benefits and free metrocard. The site is an awesome way to waste time. I found out my building was built in 1901! I am hoping that this job works out, because a job within walking distance would make me so incredibly happy, as would not having to work for a frilly temp agency that trademarks stupid nonphrases.

26.9 inches

In this story about the record snowfall by Robert McFadden, about the biggest snowstorm in New York City history, at least since the start of records in 1869, in this story, the writer gets a little out of control toward the end of the story. Obviously, he has higher ambitions than writing weather features for a newspaper and so let's his poetic side take over:

Central Park was a setting from a storybook. Children dragging parents dragging snowboards and sleds converged on all sides in a daylong migration. Large dogs galloped through the drifted meadows of the Great Lawn, and cross-country skiers glided among joggers gallomping in snowshoes.

For many indoors, it was a day to relax by a window, perhaps with a glass of wine and soft jazz on the radio, and take in the unreal loveliness of winter — the panes frosted like glass from Murano, the sills drifted with flourishes of lacework, and, out in the storm, dreamscapes of snow blowing down a street, curtains of snow falling in great sweeps, snow settling like peace in the parks and skeletal woodlands.

In an otherwise anemic winter filled with too many sunny days and too many clichés about spring, the storm elicited something more-or-less poetic from its admirers.

While he seems aware, or at least says he is, of the "too many clichés about spring," he does not seem at all aware of the too many clichés about winter.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

CFNM; or, alternately titled another acronym: TMI

The tenth, yesterday, was a remarkably better day than the ones that preceded it, as I promised both you and, more importantly, myself. Promises to other people, those are bad enough to break, but you can deal with those easily enough. But promises with yourself, you can't ignore yourself when you break those, can't just not call yourself for a while. And so I woke up yesterday and was a bit sluggish for about ten seconds and then I had to remember my resolution of the evening before, and I said NEW DAY NEW DAY NEW DAY, and got perkier. I pretty much did the same things I had done on those previous days but did them with an enthusiasm and a joy that was lacking in those earlier days. I read stuff, but did so not so much out of something to do, as out of something I wanted to do. I drank lots of coffee and ate food and treated these as the pleasures they are.

I got a call from John #3 and went over to his house and jacked off and got a blowjob, drank some nice vodka, and got paid some money. This was excellent since otherwise I would have had four dollars to somehow spread out until Friday, which while possible, wouldn't have been entirely enjoyable.

I was so horny with this guy, not because of him, but because of where my mind had been earlier in the day, looking at CFNM (Clothed Females Naked Males) porn and conjuring those images with this guy. I have looked at this stuff before and been turned on by it and yesterday, following a link on Fleshbot and a link there and a link here and there and here and there, I found myself looking at various CFNM sets for hours. Some people are confused when they find out that I enjoy straight porn. I remember Nora was really confused (and I think disturbed) that I had a copy of Hustler, but yeah, I want to talk about this and try to explain. CFNM is a weird subset of straight porn and I really don't understand why it is so big. I mean, I think I sort of understand my own logic in liking it but surely that cannot be the same logic that interests so many other people in it. Do a search for it and see how many results there are. It is totally crazy to me that there are so many people who are all turned on by seeing naked men around clothed females. If you are really interested, this is the site that absorbed so much of my time yesterday, providing hundreds of links to free sets.

CFNM is sort of everything I enjoy about straight porn boiled down to the stuff I really care about. I am not into straight porn that focuses on the females in the shot, where you just see a female being penetrated by disembodied penises. I like seeing the entire male body, head, chest, arms, all of that stuff that some straight porn tends to crop out of the shot. Surely, some of the eroticism I find in straight porn comes from fetishizing heterosexuality, specifically these buff heterosexual men. I definitely do not like straight porn that does not involve hot men. Stuff with fat and/or old men wearing t-shits turns me off. The woman in CFNM is just scenery, a prop to witness these straight men naked and aroused. And yes, that is the critique of porn, that it is misogynistic and that the bodies of women become props, lose their human attributes, so yes, call me sexist, and call me a self-hating fag, too. I am aware that there are lots of problems with my enjoyment of straight porn, but I am trying to understand those, trying to understand something that is impossible to do so, why some thing arouses you and why some thing has the opposite effect.

And CFNM solves this, is essentially straight porn for the homo male, wherein the male becomes the object of attention, of attraction, that instead of three men hovering around the centered woman, here you have five, ten, twenty women all centered around this hunky naked male. The women, for the most part, are clothed in these shots, with the males completely naked. The gaze is shifted from the women to the men.

This is my favorite set that I came across, and mainly just because of this one skinny blonde guy who reminds me of too many people, his face, and the way him and this other male in the shots seem to have a suppressed attraction to each other that manifests itself in this cute competitive sexuality, sharing a look with each other across the back of the woman they are fucking, or watching perhaps a little jealously as the other one gets head. But jealous of the guy getting head, or the woman giving it?

I really think this might just be gay porn made hetero, CFNM, made safe for some guys who wouldn't admit to being attracted to hot naked guys. But then some of this stuff deals with humiliation also, which I guess could attract all the submissives. And then there is also the exhibitionist and voyeur crowds that would also be turned on by this. It takes all kinds. Thus, the large amount of this stuff. But how did this snowball start? Who decided to organize these shots, that they would have naked men and females dressed. It even has an acronym.

Just so you are not totally worried, I also watched a gay porn last night at this guy's house, Czech gay porn. Apparently, Eastern Europeans are all that's hot in porn now. And yes, this porn did turn me on a lot also, lithe young boys with big uncut dicks rolling around together.

The tenth was awesome, is what I am trying to say. As was, as is today, the eleventh, because if the weathermen are to be believed this snow that started an hour ago is the start of a blizzard, and a predicted eight to twelve inches should soon cover my city. The snow has me incredibly giddy. I walked past an old sex partner today on the street, and that sent me on a nostalgic fingering of past moments in bed, of places I used to live and today is awesome, because those days were and they can come back to me, I can travel back in time, just with the sight of a person, with the way my scarf feels and the way it felt a couple years ago on this same block, my first New York winter. You can keep your phone booth in front of your Circle K. What I've got works much better, anyway.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Alton Ellis

It keeps getting worse and worse and yet I cannot stop watching it, have become too invested in the plot, want to know what happens with them this week, next week. But this show is a trainwreck in slow motion. Each week, it gets worse and worse, more and more mindless. I am beginning to wonder if it was ever good. I am a little scared to go back and rewatch the first season of The OC, for fear that I might realize even that was not as good as I thought it was then.

Some boy died on last week's episode, one of those minor characters they introduce every month to stir up some drama, and who normally ends up leaving town just as quickly after causing trouble and making the show seem vaguely more exciting. When he fell off the cliff last week, I was hoping Ryan would fall off, too. And Marissa, also - even though she wasn't on the cliff, but was at the bottom of it. Maybe they could fall on top of her. And then Seth and Summer could have died somehow also. I really hate them all now and yet I cannot stop watching this show. The only characters I like are Sandy and Julie Cooper. Season 1 was so good. It was occasionally witty, often intelligent, and just more fun to watch. Seth wasn't cool yet. Ryan was still from the wrong side of the tracks. Now, it's disgusting. Seth and Summer are a self-satisfied boring couple. Same with Marissa and Ryan. People do not like being around dopey couples. I don't. And I sure as hell do not want to watch a show about them. It evokes that same discomfort I have when I watch people with no personality compensate for that by attaching another person to their side at all times. It is not good television.

My frustration with this show hit a new high this week when there was the most blatant product placement I have ever seen in a television show, one other than a reality show or a game show. There was a plotline about Victora's Secret underwear in this episode, with the catalog displayed, with bags from the store displayed, and then a mixup with the bags. And then during the commercial break, an ad for Victoria's Secret. This show sucks. What happened? I imagine that there will be a fourth season, which will surely continue the trend of increasing mindlessness, and I will not be there for that. I don't even want to be here for this third season, but I find it impossible not to watch.

The day started with masturbation, will probably end with it, and I wish I could tell you that there was something that happened in between. There is not. I listened to music, laid around the house, played on the internet, sort of looked for jobs, ate food, and read The New Yorker. My life. Today, the ninth day of February 2006. Tomorrow, another chance. I will do things worth telling you about. The tenth holds great promise.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Oh, embarrassing. I have been sending out resumes and covers letters while listening to music really loud, and doing so really fast and maybe, obviously, a little carelessly. I just applied for an entry level editorial assistant position at a design magazine, hit send, and then saw the item I sent, and saw that I had misspelled "design." Spelled it desing. This, for a job, that emphasized how they were looking for candidates with sharp proofreading eyes. Um, so I think it is safe to say that this is one job I will not hear back from, except for maybe getting an email from them with the message: "HAHAHAHAHA."

Monday, February 6, 2006

Total Destruction to Your Mind

Do you guys want to be me today? Glad to hear it! Here's all you have to do:

Download, or if you are really cool and already have a copy of it, play Swamp Dogg's "Total Destruction to Your Mind." Turn it up really fucking loud, play it over and over again, do total destruction to your ears, and dance around to the grocery store listening to it, dance around as you are cleaning your house, dance around as you are typing this.

Isn't my life awesome?


All right, occasionally I will let the song play past that one and listen to other Swamp Dogg songs. I know a decent amount about soul music, but somehow, had not only never heard Swamp Dogg, but never even heard of him. It's politicized soul music and it is awesome.

I gave my ipod to Jordan a week ago to put lots of his music on it and what a good decision that was. There are so many albums on here that I have to listen to. Aside from all those obvious new albums like the new B and S, Arctic Monkeys, and Love is All, there are so many bands on here that I have never even heard of, and I am so excited to hear them. Especially since there is the potential, the very good potential to come across treasures, sonic treasures that will do more total destruction to my mind. Excuse me while I rock out some more to this song, and while you do the same if you are earnestly doing the assignment.
This phone call I just had boggles my mind so much, and I can think of no better adjective than that it was so pre-Soviet Russia, bureaucratic to the level of absurdity. I didn't even totally understand the message left on my phone, Supervisor Someone calling from New York Police Traffic Blah Blah Blah about a complaint by A-C-V-D-something-something on April 14, 2004.

After talking to the guy, who had awful phone manners for someone whose job was talking on the phone and who was hard to understand, in addition, I learned that this was regarding a complaint Niki and I had made about a film crew that was shooting outside of her store, having the street closed down for a week, making her store not have any business. This was a Lindsey Lohan movie. Niki screamed profanities about Lohan all week. They were in violation of their permit, were there past the time they were supposed to be there, and I called to complain for Niki to the number that was posted on the permit.

The person I talked to was rude beyond belief for a city employee whose job was to handle complaints. So I asked to talk to her supervisor, who was even ruder and who hung up on me. So I called 311 to complain about all these mofos. This, in April of last year. I was so confused, and so annoyed, had forgotten about the whole thing, but was again annoyed by the way this city operates, that they were calling to investigate my complaint now. "So, let me get this straight," I said, "You are calling in February of 2006 about a complaint I made in April of 2005, nearly a year after the fact?"

I talked to this guy, so annoyed and vented some frustration and threw off snotty remark after snotty remark. Which, I know, not endearing at all, but it's a better coping mechanism than yelling.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

On the Waterfront; The Fortune Cookie

Despite the fact that I should not like him, that he named names, I think Elia Kazan is amazing (not as a person, of course, but as an artist). And I think these distinctions are important to make, that a person might be a little disturbing, but you have to keep that distinct from your reading of their art. I am thinking of Woody Allen, of Michael Jackson, of Roman Polanski, and of Kazan.

Apparently, this movie can be read as Kazan commenting on his difficulty in naming names, having Brando's character having to wrestle with whether or not to testify against his associates. However, Kazan has said that was not his intention at all. There is amazing scene after amazing scene in this movie. That glove scene, which apparently was accidental, is so good. From the commentary, I learned that Eva Maria Saint dropped her glove in that shot and Brando, the consummate Method actor, picked it up and put it on his hand. Kazan said the only thing he had to do with that, was to have the genius not to yell cut, to keep the cameras rolling.

Somehow, I feel a little better about my laziness so long as what I am watching is in black and white, that watching stuff in color is just a little too close to the world around me, too close to the world I am not interacting with.

And so, with glee, because it was in black and white and because it was directed by Billy Wilder, I watched The Fortune Cookie on 13 last night. I really love the Saturday night movies they play on 13. They are really crisp and usually presented in widescreen, commercial free. And, they are movies that I am glad for having watched but probably never would have rented on my own at the video store. Walter Matthau is amazing in this movie as an ambulance chasing lawyer. For a movie that I haven't heard that much about, I like this movie a lot, a lot more than Wilder's The Seven Year Itch, also seen on 13 a while ago. 13 is Wilder crazy. I have seen four Wilder movies on 13.

I would talk about my life, except I don't have one right now. That's okay. I've got books and Law and Order and a never ending stream of frozen pizzas pilfered from Key Food, and of course, those friends of bored boys from coast to coast: a dirty mind, eager hands, and a door that locks.

Friday, February 3, 2006

I am rereading Slaphappy again with the intention of trying to write a review of it. If I don't do it by Monday, I am not going to. Reading it led to me hunting on EBay for a copy of Wrestlemania III, which I watched a long time ago, but want to see again, and bid on it and watched the auction for the last five minutes, refreshing about every ten seconds. Thirty seconds left to go and the video was still mine. Nine seconds left to go and I had been outbid. I tried rebidding, but the auction had already ended. It is probably for the best, and surely (maybe?) I can find some video store that still rents these old wrestling videos.

Wrestling means a lot to me, believe it or not. Up until middle school, I was way obsessed with WWF. My sister and I were both obsessed, and I mean obsessed with it. We went to two WWF events and subscribed to wrestling magazines. Reading this book about wrestling has made me think so much about my own childhood and why I was so into wrestling. I am going to talk about it this at some point, but not now. I have to pee, FYI.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

I am serious. I want to move. The heat has been on full blast in my apartment since six pm. The windows are wide open and I am still sweating and feeling faint. This is fucking absurd. It is so frustrating for it to be this hot when it is only around fifty or so outside. I want to live in a nice little house where I can control the thermostat. I am thinking Cypress Circle. I sometimes really wish I could think of a place to live that I wouldn't be bored in, but that would also be really cheap and where I could live in a house and where it would be warm most of the year. It's what I wa-ah-ah-ah-ant - It's what I - That's what I want.

The best things in life are free.

Something about giving or telling that to the birds and the bees.

It's what I wa-ah-ah-ah-ant. That's what I want.

In case you did not know, I hate means of temperature control. I would rather be cold in the winter and hot in the summer that have either the heat or the a/c on. I hate both equally. Luckily, our apartment is sans a/c. I really wish it was sans heat, too.
I am serious. I want to move. The heat has been on full blast in my apartment since six pm. The windows are wide open and I am still sweating and feeling faint. This is fucking absurd. It is so frustrating for it to be this hot when it is only around fifty or so outside. I want to live in a nice little house where I can control the thermostat. I am thinking Cypress Circle. I sometimes really wish I could think of a place to live that I wouldn't be bored in, but that would also be really cheap and where I could live in a house and where it would be warm most of the year. It's what I wa-ah-ah-ah-ant - It's what I - That's what I want.

The best things in life are free.

Something about giving or telling that to the birds and the bees.

It's what I wa-ah-ah-ah-ant. That's what I want.

In case you did not know, I hate means of temperature control. I would rather be cold in the winter and hot in the summer that have either the heat or the a/c on. I hate both equally. Luckily, our apartment is sans a/c. I really wish it was sans heat, too.
All right, so unless my paycheck comes in today instead of tomorrow, I will not be going to see Young People this evening. This, because of my nemesis in this city (aside from Ada), Washington Mutual. I looked at my account today online to see that not only do I not have fifteen dollars, but that I am negative one dollar in my checking account, and negative three in my savings account. The reason for this is because I was charged sixteen dollars for a set of "deluxe check checks," whatever the fuck those are. And then I was charged a five dollar fee for not having a savings account of three hundred, even though a couple weeks ago, some teller set up an automatic monthly savings transfer that would negate the requirement that I keep a minimum.

So I picked up my phone, dialed and waited. The guy at the other end said that I had called and ordered these deluxe checks. And I held back profanity, even though I wanted to say, "What the fuck are you talking about? Why in the fuck would my poor ass order fucking deluxe checks, whatever the hell those are, when I had a free checking account?" Elimante the fucks and the hells and that is, in essence, what was said. Then I explained to him how that teller had set up that transfer thingy and he said that that had not been set up.

I almost screamed here. I knew that teller didn't know what she was doing. I spent about twenty minutes with her, feeling like she had just started there, that she didn't ahve a clue, and was getting frustrated that it was taking so long. I remember leaving the bank and calling Ben to complain about this woman. The proof is in the fees: she definitely did not know what she was doing! So then I get transferred to this guy's supervisor, who tells me that I have to wait for these deluxe checks (that phrase enrages me) to arrive and return them to the bank for a refund. And that there is nothing she could do about the five dollar charge, but she could set up a savings transfer so I would not be charged in the future. And then she had the gall to say that she hoped she could get it so that I wouldn't be charged for the next month. Again, I had to suppress my tendecy to throw around fucks and fuckings.

This isn't what I wanted to talk about. Not what I want to. There are all these petty things that inflict so much stress on me and prevent me from being concerned with grander things like life and love and being the best I can. I went to the Strand the other day and did something I shouldn't have done. I bought a book. I have been trying to only have one that needs reading at a time, because otherwise I get in the habit of collecting a bunch and having three or four all calling my name and I waver between which one I want to read and choose the newer one and leave the other book there at the bottom of the pile where it gets more and more sunk underneath new concerns, new acquisitions. So D.H. Lawrence was sidelined by Henry David Thoreau and Walden, and really, I don't care too much because this is the book I needed right now. It's got stuff to say to me, and is saying it and making me think fairly hard about my own methods of living and whether I might be leading a life of quiet desperation like that mass of men he chides. This interaction with the bank leads me think that this very well probably is the case, and I don't want it to be.

Last night, I listened to Gillian Welch's Time (The Revealator) over and over again. When I first put it on, I wasn't expecting it to hit me so hard, but it had been a long time since I had heard it and I had dranks lots of coffee and yerba mate (thus emotionally volatile), and midway through that song about the day Elvis died, I was curled up in fetal position on my bed trying to cry. This album is so amazing. I wrote some stuff I am pretty happy with last night and I do like being alive.

But yes, everything is not doom and gloom, far from it, because I am happy and I am alive and I have an interview on Tuesday at a bookstore in Harlem. I have no clue what the deal with that publishing woman and why she has not returned my second call to her. But, there is coffee for the cheap and books for the same, and so much simple pleasure, and of course, music music music.