Sunday, December 31, 2006

Best of 2006

I have already discussed many of the items on this list throughout this past year when I first encountered them. There are surely things that perhaps moved me more at the time, which I am no longer able to remember and that should be included on this list, and there are even more surely items, books, shows, and films that I did not encounter at all and that should definitely be on here. And so the narrowness of this list and how it is bound my own limited experiences cannot be emphasized enough, but even those narrow boundaries are wide enough to experience so many great things that have both affected me in some distinct ways and also inspired me to reach for more distinct things.

1. David Lynch, Inland Empire

2. Yayoi Kusama's show at Robert Miller Gallery

3. Roberto Bolano, Last Evenings on Earth
Overall, the trip goes smoothly. Driving out of the city both father and son feel cold, but as they leave the high valley behind and begin to descend into the state of Guerrero, the temperature climbs and they have to take off their sweaters and roll down the windows. B, who is inclined to melancholy (or so he likes to think), is at first completely absorbed in contemplating the landscape, but after a few hours the mountains and forests become monotonous and he starts reading a book instead. (131-132)

4. Samantha Hunt, "Three Days"
Her mother slowly drags a finger across the kitchen table and then does it again. Beatrice remains entirely still, frozen like a field rabbit, hoping that her mother will decide not to tell her whatever it is she wants to tell her. She can already imagine its perimeters: “Honey, I wish you would think about a job that offers insurance,” or, “I know a real nice young man you might like to meet, Bea.” But he wouldn’t be a nice, young man. He would be another forty-five-year-old divorced actor her mother had met through community-theatre projects, a man who also holds his hands up around either side of his face like the sunshine when he wants to make a point.

5. Cat Power, The Greatest

6. David Mitchell, Black Swan Green
"Locomotion" got all the girls doing this choo-choo dance in a snaky line. Then there was "Oops Upside Your Head," which's got a sort of rowing-boat dance to it. It's not a dance for boys. "House of Fun" by Madness is, though. "House of Fun" is about buying condoms but the BBC didn't ban it soon enough 'cause the BBC only spots secret meanings weeks after the dimmest duh-brain in Duffershire's got it. Squelch did this electrocuted dance that more kids copied to take the piss at first, but actually it worked. (There's a Squelch hiding in all great inventors.) Then "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads came on. That was the crucial song that made it more bonzoish not to dance than to dance, so now me and Dean and Floyd did. The D.J. switched the strobe light on. Only for short bursts, 'cause strobes make your brain blow up.Dancing's like walking down a busy high street or millions of other things. You're absolutely fine as long as you don't think about it. During the strobe storm, through a stormy night forest of necks and arms, I saw Holly Deblin. Holly Deblin's got a sort of India goddess dance, swaying but sort of flicking her hands. Holly Deblin might've seen me through her stormy night forest, 'cause she might've smiled. (Might isn't as good as did but it's miles better than didn't.) (273-274)

7. Gregoire Bouillier, The Mystery Guest
Maybe that was what this Sophie of hers expected of the “mystery guest”: to arrive at the highest possible conception of presenthood. Could that be what she had in mind? And so I kept walking the streets and going up and down the avenues and looking in every storefront; but wherever I looked all I saw was merchandise and more merchandise and nothing of value except the value assigned to each thing in its turn by society, and nowhere I looked did I see any object that seemed to incarnate anything more than profit and gain, and in every direction lay all the commodities of the world expressing nothing so much as a degraded idea of The Gift, an idea contrary and, in a word, hostile to the idea of The Gift rightly understood, and the last thing I wanted was to arrive at that party bearing a gift that would shed its mystique the moment the colored paper and ribbon had been torn aside. And all at once I saw why our societies use gift wrap, not for the sake of surprise but rather to cover up the fact that The Gift is based on a lie, as we inevitably discover every time somebody gives us something, yes, and we open it and, after that microsecond when we expect the deepest fulfillment of our desire, disgust and sadness wash over us and we smile as fast as we can and say thank you, the better to bury our chagrin at never once in all our lives receiving something more than what we’d hoped for. And this evanescent joy, forever disappointed, remains incomprehensible to us. (33-34)

8. The Concretes, In Colour

9. "Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" at the Met

10. M. Ward, Post-War

11. Phillip Roth's Everyman
But how much time could a man spend remembering the best of boyhood? What about enjoying the best of old age? Or was the best of old age just that – the longing for the best of boyhood, for the tubular sprout that was then his body and that rode the waves from way out where they began to build, rode them with his arms pointed like an arrowhead and the skinny rest of him following behind like the arrow’s shaft, rode them all the way in to where his rib cage scraped against the tiny sharp pebbles and jagged clamshells and pulverized seashells at the edge of the shore and he hustled to his feet and hurriedly turned and went lurching through the low surf until it was knee high and deep enough for him to plunge in and begin swimming madly out to the rising breakers--into the advancing, green Atlantic, rolling unstoppably toward him like the obstinate fact of the future--and, if he was lucky, make it there in time to catch the next big wave and then the next and the next until from the low slant of inland sunlight glittering across the water he knew it was time to go. (126-127)

12. Spike Lee, When the Levees Broke

13. Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit

14. Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep

15. TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain

a plane ticket bought, a date for change set

02 Feb 07 91 New York, JFK 4:50pm Oakland, CA 8:25pm 0
11 Feb 07 96 Oakland, CA 11:20am New York, JFK 7:45pm 0

On Tuesday, I am going to put in notice at my job that my last day will be February 1. My buying this plane ticket to go visit Bonnie was a way of not chickening out from doing this. The world is so big and all mine, and I know that I could be doing better things with my time and getting paid better to do it, and I am going to just jump and hope that there is something to catch me, but I am pretty positive that there will be because I am feeling so good and so confident about how things will work out, that that positive energy either must surely have a positive effect, or that that positive energy is already the proof that things are going to work out well, that I am so happy because the future is already determined and it looks pretty good. I am not sure which, but man, I will be happy in many ways to not be working at this job, and also sad in many ways. I do love copyediting, however I do not love transcribing, and I do not love being a part-time employee with no health benefits, even though I am surely slowly developing carpal tunnel syndrome by transribing all day long. And I do not love reading about disgusting capitalists exploiting the resources of poorer countries for their own profit. If I read one more CEO interview of a junior mining company, I am going to punch something, someone.

This could be a very stupid decision of mine, but I am sure I have made stupider decisions, and you have to try to live the life you want even if you do fail miserably, which I don't think I will.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Unsurprisingly, I called in sick to work yesterday, having gotten too drunk and having stayed up too late the evening beforehand. Because I called in sick to work, this also gave me a chance to get in line to see James Brown's body earlier than I otherwise would have, and had I done so at that time, after work time, I probably would not have got to see his body. I waited in line for five hours with Gabriel, the wait nearly not so long seeming or bad as it seems here written out. My seeing his body was very necessary and I am not sure I could tell you why. Some woman asked the two of us why we had come to see his body, and Gabriel managed to give some answer, and I thought about the reasons, unable to come with a good one and was glad that Gabriel was talking to this woman.

His body, James Brown's, is the first dead body that I have seen. It was a brief glimpse as they shuffled us past his coffin on the stage of the Apollo. It sent shivers through me, this dead body, this person's dead body, the site where this was taking place and thinking of all that had transpired here, and man, it was overwhelming. The entire experience was very lovely, waiting in line with thousands of people, some feeling of solidarity, of perhaps common purpose. A man in line told us about his fantasies about being gangraped, and that was lovely, someone being so salty after you just met them.

Afterwards, we went to David's apartment for Macros' birthday. I got drunk, ate some cocktail shrimp, and listened to these two men talk, very bored and annoyed that I was there after such a lovely day that I would have liked to have reflected on. But all it takes is a couple of drinks and soon I did not mind whatever it was they were saying, and lost perhaps the feeling I had had earlier, and also the desire to trace that feeling to its source and identify it. We went to the Cock. I made out with a math teacher, who obviously liked me but was lacking in aggression, was not touching me enough and not doing so urgently enough; his touches were more so just in reply to mine, that I had to give permission to touch me by touching him. Some other man later in the evening grabbed my ass. I grabbed his hand and pushed it tighter on to my ass. And this was what I wanted, someone to be slightly aggressive, slightly dirty, definitely urgent. And so it all led up quickly to kissing, groping over clothes, then through them, and then taking our cocks out and exchanging handjobs, blowjobs. I came on the dancefloor, and it was lovely, just what I wanted, what I needed - the perfect end to a close to perfect day.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I am up and none too happy about it. I need all of your positive thinking to hope that there is nothing to do today at work so that I don't have to stay and can come home and get some sleep. Also I am thinking about cancelling my shift at the P Review tomorrow because I want to go view James Brown's body at the Apollo. Anyone else want to go, say around

the lyrics were layered one on top of the other and totally unreadable

Gerald Ford has apparently checked out, a day after James Brown, perhaps because he couldn't stand the thought of a world without that man shimmying and squealing, aware as we are all are of the brilliance of that man and the absence of any comparable genius, soul, on the horizon.

It is approaching four thirty in the am and I am not in the least tired, and this is a problem because I am supposed to work in two hours or so. Perhaps I should mention that I am wide awake and feeling pretty awesome and catching myself chewing my gums, because someone, this, your narrator, has a total absence of what is alternately referred to as common sense or self control. But Al Green is playing right now as I try to calm my metabolism and lullaby myself to sleep, but really all I am doing is grinding my lap into the laptop as I type, wanting to dance, wanting the night and life to continue indefinitely, sleep be damned.

A future note to myself (which, given my lack of self control or common sense, I will probably at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future fail to heed): Next time you feel like chipping in to buy some coke, make sure it is with a friend, or even better a group of friends, rather than with that boy that you have normally awkward interactions with. Also good to note would be purchasing said product either before two in the morning, or, even better, on a night when you don't have to be at work the next morning. And so now I am weighing my options and deciding whether it would be any use of trying to sleep when I am this wired, feeling this damn good, or whether I should try to stay awake and go into work without sleep, even though I did wake up at six this morning to leave New Jersey. All very good questions, all questions that I cannot ponder for more than ten seconds, other than to fret about them, because there is that aforementioned awesome feeling (which surely will crash in a major fashion shortly) and the also previously mentioned Al Green playing on my stereo singing, "Let's - let's stay together - whether times are good or bad, happy or sad," and assuming you know Al Green's body of work and you are a human being, you shall and hopefully do know how terribly affecting his voice is.

I stayed until the bar closed with a non-coked out Bri, that boy having left with several boys. I tried to convince Bri to stay up with me, but, needless to say, he was not excited about this. And again, why did I give money to that boy for some coke when I had come with someone else, a friend who I never question whether or not he hates me? All very good questions, and all questions with pretty much the same answer, which if you are a long time reader of this diary, you know the answers to, knowing how much I like that boy when drunk (why qualify that with "when drunk" when most of you know very well that is a fib?), and how I would jump at the chance to spend time with him. But, it probably could have been anyone, truth be told, because there is that lack of adultness (which might be a good thing?), where I will say, "So what? Work at 9? Whatever! Rock n' roll! No sleep till the city I now reside in, that city, of course, the Brooklyn that the Beastie Boys sang about so long ago now." So long ago because we are approaching the year 2007 and that occasionally will scare the fuck out of me when I seriously ponder the implications of that number, the forward march of time, and my eventual falling out of line with that march - the army not stopping for any soldiers that can't keep up, as it keeps marching on and on.

I met a nice boy who sang one of my favorite Morrissey songs, "The More You Ignore Me," and who's writing this script? Such a cliche to play that song at this point in the movie, but life tends to pile those cliches on. And I am not sure what the boy's name is anymore. I also met a boy with tattoos, being a little chatty Cathy for very obvious reasons, and now, because of silly choices, I am alone here in my living room (aside from Al Green), way too awake, way to eager to converse for my own good. And God, God, what a day. I rode on the bus at seven this morning with my sister through a fog covered New Jersey, falling in and out of sleep, leaveless trees poking through the fog. A blowjob from a man uptown, and then work at one job. And then this bar, this powder, this cheeseburger from La Bonita, and Al Green, singing as melodic and beautiful as might very well be humanly possible.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Coming back from my lunch break, I stopped in the bodega that I stop in after eating lunch every day to pick up a cup of coffee. Every day I say I want a dark coffee, no sugar. But today, after going there for a couple months, as perhaps a Christmas present, they knew exactly what I wanted as soon as I walked through the door without my saying a word. It was so lovely, to feel in busy midtown that someone knows you, even if they just know how I like my coffee.

Things are getting incrementally better and better. This was a level I wasn't expecting to reach and so its emergence, like jumping on to a ledge randomly in Super Mario only to be whisked away to some secret bonus level, made me smile ear to ear, not so much for the thing itself, the secret level or the coffee made how you like it, but for its unexpectedness, the ability for pleasantries to surprise you, me.

I have been slacking off for the past hour and have to finish this interview in half an hour now (eeks!), but afterward, I am going to go see some art that I am itching to see (namely Sue de Beer), then laundry, then perhaps a bar (in an ideal world, dancing), and then New Jersey tomorrow morning.

Thank God, thank fucking God, for coffee and rock and roll. They saved my life.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Mystery Guest, Gregoire Bouillier

Gregoire Bouillier’s The Mystery Guest is surely going to end up on my Best of 2006 list. I read it yesterday, unable to put it down. It is a slim volume, a memoir, the second book by Bouillier, and the first of his, the only one at this point, to have been translated into English. In 1990, he gets a call from his ex-girlfriend who left him without a word five years earlier, not to apologize or even to mention the past, but to invite him casually to be the mystery guest at her friend’s birthday party. The book is Bouillier talking about his reactions after this call, his planning for the party, the party itself, and then the aftermath of it. It is a near perfect book. Bouillier gets all of the self-doubt, anger, and hope that anyone would experience in this situation down on paper so perfectly. It is charming and hilarious, probably in large part due to how pitiable a situation it is. And Bouillier makes some very lucid observations in such a gorgeous manner throughout the book, such as this one, which I must quote at length for you to get the effect:

Maybe that was what this Sophie of hers expected of the “mystery guest”: to arrive at the highest possible conception of presenthood. Could that be what she had in mind? And so I kept walking the streets and going up and down the avenues and looking in every storefront; but wherever I looked all I saw was merchandise and more merchandise and nothing of value except the value assigned to each thing in its turn by society, and nowhere I looked did I see any object that seemed to incarnate anything more than profit and gain, and in every direction lay all the commodities of the world expressing nothing so much as a degraded idea of The Gift, an idea contrary and, in a word, hostile to the idea of The Gift rightly understood, and the last thing I wanted was to arrive at that party bearing a gift that would shed its mystique the moment the colored paper and ribbon had been torn aside. And all at once I saw why our societies use gift wrap, not for the sake of surprise but rather to cover up the fact that The Gift is based on a lie, as we inevitably discover every time somebody gives us something, yes, and we open it and, after that microsecond when we expect the deepest fulfillment of our desire, disgust and sadness wash over us and we smile as fast as we can and say thank you, the better to bury our chagrin at never once in all our lives receiving something more than what we’d hoped for. And this evanescent boy, forever disappointed, remains incomprehensible to us. (33-34)

Bouillier also finds parallels between his story and the works of Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and the Ulysses space probe. After receiving the call from his ex-girlfriend, he notes that it was on the day Michael Leiris dies, and that Germany was in the process of undergoing reunification, and various other historical events, which he was sure this call was situated in, that if Germany was being reunited, so was he with his ex. The logic is dizzying in its absurdity, but also extremely beautiful and, you begin to wonder under his sway, possibly true.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What is the What

There is a brief throwaway sentence that occurs when Achak and his friend pass a white photographer taking a photo of a starving mother and her baby. That photographer is both a stand in for Dave Eggers and also, I think, an example of what he didn’t want to do with this book.

We walked past a small tent, inside of which a white photographer was taking pictures of a Sudanese mother and her emaciated child. (336)

What is the What is a fictionalized biography of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys from Sudan. Most of my knowledge of recent African history comes in the form of photographs of the sort this Western photographer was taking, that things are horrible and there are malnourished people crowded into tents in the desert. The images are heartbreaking, but the situation behind them was one that I vaguely understood, the details a little hazy. However, despite the good that may possibly come of these photographs, there is something a little exploitive about these photographs and that is what Eggers was getting at in that brief scene, that the photographer is just looking for a good image, perhaps one that is going to win a Pulitzer, that the photographer doesn’t talk to these subjects, doesn’t know their stories.

With this book, Eggers does something similar and also drastically different. This is still a book about one of Sudan’s tragedies by a white person (which surely will be fodder for some good postcolonial criticism), but it puts a human face on tragic images and stories we have heard. By hearing one story in its entirety and awfulness, it makes it a lot easier to understand why something multiplied by the millions of people that experienced something similar is so horrible. And also Eggers exploits this situation for not his gain, but for Deng’s gain and the gain of other refugees. All the proceeds of the book go to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation.

Several critics have already pointed out that Eggers is a good person to write this story, in that he is also a “lost boy” of sorts, as his A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius details, having lost both of his parents within five weeks of each other. And though this book could very easily be nothing but a series of terrible photographs one after the next, breaking you down to absolute tears, this book is not. Rather, it tells this story, horrible as it is, with laughter mixed in – that even in the awfulness of the refugee camps, there were moments of beauty.

But that there are human beings alive who went through all of this and came out alive is amazing and heartbreaking. People are going through similar stuff now, of course, in Darfur, and southern Sudan is still suffering from Khartoum. I thought I had some idea of what people were talking about when they mentioned the Lost Boys of Sudan, but I had no idea. The stuff that this boy endured is beyond comprehension, one horrible event after the next. Muslims on horseback backed by the central government destroying his village, killing and looting wantonly, sending him and thousands and thousands of others to walk on foot across the country, avoiding militias, hunger, and even lions, to get to Ethiopia. And then Ethiopia itself convulsed politically, making it no longer safe for the refugee camp there and people that had already endured so much, lost so much, were chased out of the country with rifles, were shot at it as they swam across the river back into Sudan, the country that didn’t want them, people even being eaten by crocodiles in this river. Then another deadly march to Kenya to another awful refugee camp, and on and on.

If there was ever a country that might have been deserving of some interventionist military action, Sudan was certainly it. Much of the violence and why it has lasted so long is due to oil. Amazingly, George Bush Sr. even played a role in this. When he was at the UN, he showed Sudan satellite maps that indicated there were big oil reserves there, and thus entered Chevron, and thus started the violence toward and displacement of the people in the south of Sudan. The West no longer has oil investments in Sudan, knowing that it’s with oil profits that Khartoum is able to terrorize its citizens, but that doesn’t really matter when China is there to buy up their oil.

And I am getting distracted from the book, which is what I had meant to talk about, but this is the effect of this book, that it really stirs in you an outrage about recent and current events. This book is a very important book and really excellent as a narrative, but I don’t think that it is his most artful book, and I don’t think that was the goal, so I think that that is okay. There were a couple of times when I was near tears reading some sections and since I can’t think of the last time I have experienced that with a book, I would say that that is something. This book has also changed my perceptions about a few things, and perhaps done the most powerful thing that anything can do, to alert me to the fragileness, the humanity, of people around me, to in some ways make me more conscious of the suffering around me that I otherwise put out of mind.

This is achieved throughout the whole book, but Eggers hits home this point, perhaps a little too heavily, in the last few pages, hitting that manic pitch he can get into (and which is why I love him) about the ties of humans to humans, sounding a lot like a couple of the sections from AHWOSG, such as this one from AHWOSG:

There is nowhere I stop and you begin. I am exhausted. I stand before you, 47 million, 54, 32, whatever, you know what I mean, you people…and where is my lattice? I am not sure you are my lattice . . .Don’t you know that I am connected to you? Don’t you know that I’m trying to pump blood to you, that this is for you, that I hate you people, so many of you motherfuckers— When you sleep I want you never to wake up, so many of you I want you to just fucking sleep it away because I only want you to run under with me on this sand like Indians, if you’re going to fucking sleep all day fuck you motherfuckers oh when you’re all sleeping so many sleeping I am somewhere on some stupid rickety scaffolding and I’m trying to get your stupid fucking attention I’ve been trying to show you this, just been trying to show you this..

And then this from What is the What:

Whatever I do, however I find a way to live, I will tell these stories. I have spoken to every person I have encountered these last difficult days, and every person who has entered this club during these awful morning hours, because to do anything else would be something less than human. I speak to these people, and I speak to you because I cannot help it. It gives me strength, almost unbelievable strength, to know that you are there. I covet your eyes, your ears, the collapsible space between us. How blessed are we to have each other? I am alive and you are alive so we must fill the air with our words. (474)

In both, there is this desire for human connection, that perhaps through storytelling, the sharing of our own stories, we can get closer to one another. Eggers, like all of us, is lonely and shows, tells, that the only way to overcome that, to fight that, is to make that human connection, to talk and talk and talk. He never really says anything about listening, but I think that that is understood, that if someone is talking, surely someone is listening.

any excuse for a pity party

"If no appointment was made, it would mean the answer was no."
-What is the What, p. 394

So since in the past few days, for some of you at least, I had been relating this story about my pursuit of this boy I have a crush on, Rich, it seems only right to conclude the story, to provide the denouemnet as it were. Wednesday evening, he told me that he would call me Thursday. That didn't happen and the sight of my phone whenever I would look at it would cause me such anxiety. Waiting for someone to call you, as small and as non an action as it may seem, is such a painful thing to endure, the moods and emotions that you go through. It is even more frustrating perhaps that it is a phone, this inanimate thing, that you are waiting for to come to life, like trying to bend a spoon with your mind. Friday came and no call on that day either. Nor on Saturday. Nor today. I left a message on his machine minutes ago asking if he wanted to hang out today, and that was my last try. Maybe he will call, though I have a feeling he won't. How a boy I don't know has this ability to inflict such chaos over my emotional state really bewilders me. I can very easily recognize how illogical it is, and yet can do nothing to prevent its occurence, my sadness at a boy not being interested in me.

Brent Everett fucking Brent Corrigan though does provide some comfort to me and the sight of the two of them together is a bright shining light that prevents anything else from exisiting in this world, and those moments while I am jacking off to the two of them together in Schoolboy Crush are lovely moments exactly because of their isolation from any sort of reality other than that moment watching that recorded moment. But then I cum, and there's the problem of disposing of semen encrusted newspapers and that normally brings me back.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


This is the stuff that gets me, that held my attention, that moved me. I had had a lot of coffee. I was reading a sad book by Dave Eggers, What is the What, and I was on a train riding along the Hudson River, the sun shining brightly, the sky blue, leaves on the ground, barren trees, and everything looking so astoundingly beautiful. I couldn't believe, as sometimes I am unable to on days when I am so struck with the world's beauty, that I get to experience this stuff, that I get to live and take in things with my eyes. This ability to feel things, when I think about how special that is, continually shocks me.

At Dia:Beacon, I was a little bored. Robert Ryman, I don't get you. You either, Richard Serra. Blinky Palermo, you're over my head. And these were the first galleries I walked through. After that, I just gave up, starting walking through galleries pretty quickly. I may not understand Minimalism. I will readily admit it. But who wants to understand something so boring, so insular, so unemotional, so academic, so pompous? And maybe a lot of the artists there aren't actually minimalists. I am not sure about the distinctions here. The space itself is gorgeous and all the galleries are lit by natural light from skylights and big windows. Too bad it's filled with white canvases and Fred Sandback's yarn sculptures.

There was stuff that I did like though, perhaps you may say the easier stuff, the more mainstream stuff, the stuff everybody likes. I just don't believe that anyone really likes Fred Sandback or Robert Ryman. It seems like too much of an affectation. In the Ryman room of all these canvases painted white, there was this boy there, my peer, sitting there, seriously studying them, and I wanted to shout, "Come on! Are you serious?" But I did love the On Kawara paintings, but I had already loved them beforehand. I liked the Joseph Beuys stuff. I loved the Bruce Nauman stuff obviously. Rembember I said I liked the big names, the people with flashy stuff that entertains you. I like bright lights. And so put Dan Flavin on the list of artists I liked there. There is a sculpture, "Spider," by Louise Bourgeois that is amazing. I just felt so self-conscious spending time with it because there was a gallery attendent following me around, the only other person on this floor, just staring at my every movement. The Warhol room of "Shadows" prints is amazing. His prints look so good and provide so many more layers of meaning when they are all grouped together.

But I listed maybe five names there out of the 25 or so highlighted in this space. So my trip to Beacon was brief. I got back on the train with another cup of coffee and on that ride back almost cried a couple of times, mostly out of happiness at how gorgeous it was to be riding along the Hudson with the lowering sun warming my neck. I get so much reading done on trains, in ways that seem more meaningful than when reading on my couch. I don't know how to say anything it seems. I think I am losing more and more of whatever verbal abilities I may have at one point had, and now can do nothing but say, "Holy fuck, holy fuck! Fucking gorgeous!"

Friday, December 15, 2006

snipe hunting

Another year is soon coming to a close and I am thinking about this from the living room of my third floor apartment in Brooklyn, no one else home, and I am thinking about what it is I am doing with this life of mine, and thus my posting here in this diaryland diary, posting here because I had been rereading all these sad diary entries I had written from Sarasota.

I want to make a promise to you, this world wide web, because I want to make a promise to myself, and really I tend to honor the ones with myself, but maybe if I do it with you, promise this vague collection of data something, that maybe I will be more motivated to hold to that promise.

And so, I am going to try to get myself back to certain things. I am turning in notice at my job that I am quitting as soon as the holidays are over. But more importantly, I am going to write a book. Or at least that's the goal. If it ends up as a short story of length, that too is okay, so long as I actually write the thing. Tonight, I am going to sketch out an outline for the thing. It is going to deal with themes that I have been wanting to deal with for a while. The main framework is going to be through my crush on Ben of a couple of years ago and deal with loneliness and searching for something, thinking that thing is a boy. And then it is going to look back at this character, me none too well disguised, as a kid, at Cub Scout camp going on a snipe hunt. Snipe Hunting is tentatively the title of this work. The other alternative title is Ben.

I am really good at thinking up all these details, like the title, but not so good as the making the actual thing that would be called by this title. And so tonight, an outline will be sketched, and then tomorrow and the next day and the next day and on and on, the thing will be written. This is my promise to you, to myself.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Shortly after nine o'clock, I got a call from my sister's phone number, someone other than her, some guy, talking. One of her co-workers had called me to tell me that she was wasted and I should come get her. I was very confused since my sister is normally pretty straightlaced and doesn't drink, sort of rolls her eyes at me when I do, and even more confused because this party had started an hour ago, wondering how she could have gotten so drunk so quickly, so early. I think that this boy might just be the hysterical type and so I ask if she can stand up, and he says no. So I paused The Devil Wears Prada (which by the way, as far as mainstream pop movies go, is so enjoyable) and headed up to midtown.

No joke, my sister was wasted and totally confused. I tried to get a cab, but there were none for the having, all occupied, at this time in midtown. And so I got her on the subway reluctantly, her falling, or holding tightly on to poles saying she wasn't drunk, that she was fine, and that we should go back to the party.

This was particularly painful because it forced me to confront my own behavior while drunk, knowing that I too am pretty obnoxious when wasted, which is fairly often, and which needs to quit happening. Drinking is fine, but if I ever approach how annoying my sister was last night, then it is not fine. She was so beligerent, saying she was going to call people while we were in the subway, and though there was no reception down there, that did not quit her from trying. She tried to run away a couple of times, but since she more like carreened slowly like a wasted person, it wasn't too hard to prevent her from leaving.

As soon as we were on the NR, I was already regretting not having waited longer for a cab because she was loud and wasted and started arguing with the guy sitting across from us. We got off the train at Union Square and I was really dreading her putting on this same show on the L train and so I went to the front of the train, hoping that there would be less people there that I cared about being embarrassed in front of. Again, she kept on trying to make phone calls, yelling at me about how she hated Brooklyn and wanted to go back to the party, wanted to go to Jersey, on and on. All these people on the platform staring at us. Once on the subway, she was falling again. I tried to catch her at one point and her head snapped back up and popped me in the chin. My chin is still sore and not as swollen as it was last night. I finally got her home and because she was driving me crazy, I finally made her go in my room and sleep, telling her I wanted to read.

I know she is really embarrassed about it now, since she slipped out at 5:30 this morning with some absurd excuse about going to Kinko's. It was such a weird experience. Rich called me at 11:30 last night to tell me he had just finished decorating his tree and wasn't going to go out. I was really happy that he called because I was resigning myself to him not calling right when he did. I might see him tonight, might not.

I am also scared now that my sister knows about my livejournal now since she used my computer last night right when Rich called, right when I had left it as I was starting to write an LJ entry. So that's kind of scary. Um, I am off to work after getting little sleep because of my sister, because of drinking too much coffee last evening, and because this futon sucks! But, the sun is already out! And I have music to listen to and I book I want to read, and things are great, new!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

maskless for one

Two holiday parties, two declines. My office today, last minute, decided that they are having a holiday party tomorrow after work. Luckily, I have this Princeton Review job, which though isn't happening tomorrow, was the perfect excuse to use for why I couldn't come. Hanging out with my older co-workers who I have trouble talking to at work sounded like a nightmare. Social anxiety, say what?

My sister called me a short while ago, this notice even more last minute, to invite me the Marc Jacobs Christmas party. And though this one surely will be lots of fun and be good for celeb spotting, I had laundry in the dryer, and no idea what I could assemble to a Venetian themed party that she had to be at between eight and eight fifteen, meaning I would have had about ten minutes to try to find something, in addition to picking up my clothes from the laundromat, before rushing up to midtown. I know that I am going to regret this decision of mine later tonight when I am eating pasta and watching The Devil Wears Prada, probably thinking how pathetic my life is, and probably not being too far off considering the decision I just made.

Tomorrow is Thursday and I hope a boy calls me because I don't want to be sad on Friday, any day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

There are two things that I pass in the morning on my way into work here that when I notice them, which sadly is not every morning, provoke a smile, a titter, or a roll of the eyes from me. As I walk up 6th Avenue from the Herald Square subway stop, I first pass this electronics store. They have a flat screen TV in the window that constantly plays Britney Spears music videos, nothing but them, and every morning, I woke past Brittney, always wondering if they are going to change it up, put something else on that flat screen TV, but every morning, there she is like it is still 1999, doing synchronized dances in tight outfits. Further past this, just across the street is a shoe store called “Shoes are Hot”.

There are other things that I pass each morning, things less absurd, but which also give me a nice sense of comfort to pass them every morning – an evening dress store with sequined dresses in the window, the man with his fruit stand on the corner of 37th and 6th, further down 37th, a man with a coffee cart, and further beyond that, a porn shop a couple doors down from my work.

I walked past these things three hours ago now, and since that time, have sat here at this computer, occasionally looking out the window.

Monday, December 11, 2006

After work, I went to the Princeton Review to fill out my timesheet and was told that work was going to be starting again there probably tomorrow or the next day. And so I will probably be working a bunch, which will probably ruin the plans I had laid out for myself today at work. There was nothing to do all day and so I looked at talks, readings, and movies that I want to go to this week. I looked at the train schedule to go to Beacon this weekend to go to Dia, and hopefully that will still happen, but if there is work, I imagine I'll probably be scheduled all weekend.

But I came home today to a package from Akashic Books on my steps and got so excited because I knew they were copies of Userlands, the book I have a story in that comes out in a couple weeks. I ran upstairs, very giddy, and the only analogy I can think of, one that seems so right, is that it was like opening your college acceptance letter. I was so giddy and excited that I was unable to open the envelope and finally just ripped at it to get it open.

Yes, I am excited to have something published and very grateful, but after a few minutes, I already became slightly critical. The book itself is slighty ugly and I haven't read any of the stories yet, have just skimmed over some of the text, and while a couple of the writers sound really good, a lot of them, not surprisingly, sound like what you would expect from fans of Dennis Cooper, the editor. But I am the most critical person ever, so take that with more than a grain of salt. I also cringed rereading a couple of my sentences, the distance of a year already enough to let me be distant enough to recongize some of it as fake, inorganic. But, again, I am very excited still, and this is just impetus to write better and find my way into better publications.

So I was already very giddy, but knew that I should call Rich this afternoon both because I didn't want too call to late after getting his number, and also because if I put it off until tomorrow, I would have spent all day at work tomorrow freaking out, wondering what I should say on the phone, which is also what I did today at work in addition to adding things to my calendar. I was so nervous - so, so nervous. I kept squealing and putting down my phone every time I contemplated saying "Hi Rich." I get so nervous calling people, and finally I just pressed "Talk," and gave myself no other option but to call him. He was friendly and at work. He said we could get a drink Wednesday or Thursday and then asked me about Pinochet. It was nice, brief, and I was fairly under control for the phone call, made no major gaffes. I love his voice, his inflections, his timbre. I know this is not going to work out, that it can't, because I like him too much and don't even know him. I am not sure why I like him so much since I really know nothing about him and have talked to him for maybe five minutes total in my life. I just think there is something revealed in his voice and smile, enough to let me know that he is a really good person. Eek! Hopefully, I won't be scheudled to work when he wants to get together.

There is another boy's number that I got after that Butt party, but it was because I told him I wanted to be flesh and blood friends on Myspace, and so he gave me his number. But I am not sure if he wants to be friends or friends of the flesh. And I just can't deal with any more nervousness tonight, so I might just not call him. I told him my phone number also, so if he really wants, he can call. Also that boy I made out with briefly, Michael, has not called, and I was really expecting him to. In other news, I am boy crazy!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

a sunday in pictures

Last night, I went to Bank for the Butt book party. There was a two hour open bar, a performance by Final Fantasy, and homos homos homos. I met some nice boys last night. I have two phone numbers now, which I am very nervous about calling. I made out with one boy briefly last night, who has my number, and whom I really hope calls me.

There is this one boy, Rich, who I have liked for a while and whom genuinely seemed like he wanted to hang out when he gave me his number. His is the number I am really nervous about calling. I really wish someone with social skills on the phone could give me lessons in how to behave properly and not appear like a crazy person on the phone.

That is the only reason this is locked, because I don't want any of these boys to read this, but man, I love boys! crushes! life!

Today, I bought this anal vibrator at a scuzzy sex shop in Times Sqaure. I also bought poppers and lube and so had a pretty fun time this afternoon masturbating in the fading light of this cold Sunday in December. Pictures TK.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

silent, sympathetic gestures

Last night, his interviewer read the opening to the titular essay of his awesome book, Air Guitar:

"Colleagues of mine will tell you that people despise critics because they fear our power. But I know better. People despise critics because people despise weakness, and criticism is the weakest thing you can do in writing. It is the written equivalent of air guitar--flurries of silent, sympathetic gestures with nothing at their heart but the memory of the music."

I read that book a couple of years ago, and to hear again those words of Dave Hickey's that I loved so much brought that time period, that seemingly lost thing, back into the present, up to the surface, reminded me of how good that book was and probably still is. It's a book whose absence I sorely miss and I might go to the Strand later today and just purchase another copy. The copy that I used to have may or may not be in the possession of this boy that I used to like and who for a brief period of time I slept with, Matt, and who, during that brief period of time, I had lent it to. With the end of my physical access to Matt's body came the end of my physical access to the text of this book. At the time I would have told you one's absence meant more than the other, but now, particularly after last night, I might tell you something else, depending of course probably on both the state of my sobriety and how horny I am, the two though probably correlated to a great extent.

But last night, sitting on the floor of this crowded gallery, everyone there to hear Dave Hickey, I was again reminded of so many things, of what it means to be critically engaged with something and how meaningful that can be. This book was a revelation to me, a call to arms, and any of you (which I assume and hope is all of you) that care not just about criticism, but about what that is, a human's relation to a work of art, to the world, to life, that you should surely read this book if you have not.

Hickey curated the current show at Cue Art Foundation and presumably that was why he was there to talk, but it was an hour and a half of him essentially doing standup. I wish that I had brought a pen so I could have transcribed some of the zingers he was throwing out to this audience of people in the art world, more often than not making fun of them. At one point he called universities a big handicapped parking lot, that they attract social cripples. He said that professors (which he is one of) are lazy and insular, fearful to ever create work once they enter an institution, because they get too accustomed to "huggy time," students fawning over them. To hear Dave Hickey say "huggy time" a couple of times in the evening was enough to make the trip out there in the cold more than worth it. He lamented the lack of any art criticism, of any forums for it, saying that there hasn't been any in a decade, that no one publishes it any more, that Artforum only publishes stories on Belgian artists. He also said that there is too much tolerance, that no one is out there saying what's bad. And so he took aim at two bloated cows that I also find unjustifiably overrated, John Currin and Matthew Barney. I was full of glee and wanted to clap during these moments.

At some point in the evening, he also gave a hilarious monologue about the root of what is wrong with young artists. He attributes it all to the culture of playdates, that the people making art now never walked over to a friend’s house and asked if Johnny was home, never hit each other with sticks when they were kids, that their parents would call up Johnny's mom to arrange for their kids to play together, would drive the kid over in their SUV, put the kids together and say "play." And that as a result they are boring and play it safe. Hickey said, "I don't like games where you can't lose," referring to the world of contemporary poetry, how institutionalized it is and how it isn't in dialogue with a broader culture. But it was a theme that encompassed much of what he talked about last night, how it's boring because no one loses, no one's bad, or rather no one will admit that something is bad, that there is no such thing as real art criticism any longer. He also mentioned briefly that he is at work on a new book of essays, which perhaps jokingly he said was going to be called "Goodbye to the Art World."

After the talk, I ran into Joe, met his friend Alex, and hung out with them, drinking wine at the gallery, getting fairly drunk. We came back to my house, ate some food, drank some Schlitz, talked, and then went to the Pantyhoes dance party for a bit. "Heartbeats" was the last song to play before we left. It was a very lovely evening, the second of what will hopefully be a trifecta of them should tonight go as planned. The first was seeing David Lynch’s Inland Empire with Justin Theorux answering questions after the film. This movie was so excellent and a little messy, but I think I am going to go see it again soon and so I will hold off on further comments until that point. Tonight will complete these three evenings in a row of seeing inspiring artists with hopefully seeing Final Fantasy for free. Maybe there will be a fourth, fifth, even a sixth. Maybe these days will stretch out indefinitely, maybe if I can remember that there is coffee and romantic sentiments and red wine and good music and Xtube – so many pleasures in this world for the having to fill up all those days that may lack a marquee name.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

the organ breaking up

From the MySpace bulletin boards from The Organ:

We are breaking up. We want to thank our friends, fans, and family for all the support you gave to us. Thank you.

Shelby, Jenny, Katie, Debora, and Shmoo.

Listen to "Memorize the City" again. Still so good!

I am not going to take a nap now, which I have been during far too often in the afternoons lately, and am on my way out the door to see Inland Empire!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Inland Empire opens Wednesday. Holyfuckshitgoddamn, I am so excited. I am also very excited about Saturday and Owen singing for free and an open bar. I need to keep putting these goalposts out there, give myself little things to look forward to, to make this work week which just started fly by in anticipation of nice things.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Heart One

Heart Two

Both images from Slava Mogutin's blog

Today, laundry was done, Morrissey was played and sang along to, the Concretes were played, the weather got cold, and it was the type of day when that music would be played. I feel pretty awful. Even these images aren't as stirring as they should be. Even my bed doesn't hold me, touches me hesitantly, and I can't even sleep away the day.