Wednesday, April 29, 2009


If nothing significant has happened recently,
go to a travel agent and purchase the airline ticket advertised three down from the top. Do not buy a map or a guidebook before departing, do not buy a map or a guidebook upon arrival; take a train from the airport to the city center, take a cab to the hostel, and walk. Walk to a bus stop and take the bus to the terminus. Find a train for the return trip, exiting at the seventh stop and walking five blocks towards the sun. If it is cloudy, turn left. Once you are in a small neighborhood, buy a sandwich or kebab, sit on a bench, talk to the man selling flowers, ask an old woman pushing her cart how to find the market, buy a new pair of shoes or an old top hat or a sports trophy from 1972 or someone else's high school yearbook. Send a postcard to your best friend from third grade, write a letter to your grandfather even though he died a decade ago, throw your watch into the river, go to the zoo and feed the monkeys. Find a local train to downtown, visit an exorbitant and trendy salon, become the person you see in the mirror, and smile.

from Learning to Love You More [Miranda July & Harrell Fletcher]:
Remember exactly what you were wearing during a recent significant moment.
If nothing significant has happened recently, ...

reading works of Geoff Dyer, which amuse in process but leave a bitter and slightly unsatisfactory aftertaste
weather blissful

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The doors are locked -- not just the first one or two, but ten, a dozen, until one is opened a crack, the light spilling into the hallway, a record playing midway through an old Beatles album, the room otherwise vacant. There is a folding card table, with neither cards nor chairs; there is an ottoman, once upholstered, and sent away when deemed bedraggled; a rickety bookshelf with some old Agatha Christies, but only Miss Marple; and a pitcher of water and plate of Fig Newtons. The room is low ceilinged, raw rafters showing, an attic space carved out as an indoor treehouse, dimly lit, and full of the presence of those who just left and those who are soon expected. The Beatles croon on, the songs not played in any order from any of their albums, mixing up Sergeant Pepper and Abbey Road and generally disappearing into a cloud of melodic pandemonium, as John and Ringo begin on two separate songs and the others banter back and forth. The water in the pitcher turns cloudy, and it seems an opportune time to abandon the room to the approaching chaos.
The hallway now is a roller skating rink, and one emerges into what is either the hokey pokey or the team races and in the midst of struggling to pull one's right foot out one is suddenly being propelled forward at unlikely speed by a stranger pushing at one's shoulders. The floor is smooth and waxed and the impossible corner turn ahead seems dangerously unsafe until the disco ball and the strobe light and the uncompromising 1980s pop music suddenly disappear and one is rollerskating along an empty hallway. There doesn't seem to be a compelling reason not to, the hallway is sanded smooth and the skates, though heavy, are propelling one forward with delightful speed, until the carpeting returns and roller skates are no longer a worthwhile accessory.

It would be nice to have a room / you could not enter / except in your mind" from "Parlor" by Rita Dove

reading the article about neuro-enhancers in the New Yorker, and distressed that these reports rarely mention the perspectives of onlookers; it is heartbreaking to watch friends disappear into a haze of Ritalin or pot and become washed out shadows of who they once were [even with my own moralizing laid aside for a moment].

weather the clouded perception of days of cold damp drizzle

Thursday, April 16, 2009

diacritical markings

issuing false foreclosures and forged condemnation notices to homeowners throughout the district and then repurposing the properties as, variously, a private gambling hall; a reenactment of a speakeasy; an opium den; a house of ill repute; an orphanage; a greenhouse for rare orchids; a greenhouse for the cultivation of medicinal herbs; a distillery; an unaccredited institute of secondary education offering coursework solely in Latin and Greek, with breaks and luncheons conducted in Italian, excepting on Thursdays, when all courses and breaks are in Portuguese (Brazilian); an animal shelter for three legged domestic pets; an a home for unwed mothers over the age of thirty;

The most amazing article published in the New York in some time --
"The python’s potential range is roughly a third of the contiguous United States."

almost, almost, almost gin and tonics
and, oh!, do I miss parties where everyone was sloshed on Pimm's!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In which the reader pauses in their quest for literary amusement and looks at photographs of Storm King, while waiting somewhat impatiently for the arrival of spring.

Rather than blatantly breaking copyright law, consider incorporating an external soundtrack, in addition to the wind / rustling grass / tree noises which occur unpredictably throughout. Some obvious options might include:

Philip Glass, possibly Island (Glassworks, 1982) or Metamorphosis (Solo Piano)
otherwise anything by Kaki King, Massive Attack, or Spiritualized
or, if you must, Bob Dylan

Technology can be used both for good and for evil; and I must admit that this is an example of a less admirable use thereof. Demerits for over-use of Ken Burns effect, unsteady movie quality due to lack of gloves, and the need to be ruthlessly cut to about half the length -- the original intention was to only have the moving clips of the mobiles, trees, and grass -- but I was seduced by the beauty of the setting.

However, the general B movie effect of low-resolution film clips taken with the digital camera (which thus resembles 1960s documentaries) is an interesting result that merits further study.

reading Outliers [Gladwell], which raises some interesting points in an easily digestible manner

weather moody, somehow fitting for the time of year. Depressive skies set off by flamboyant daffodils, random bits of snow, and the overall threat of rain. The off-stage organist is about to break into the soundtracks for one of the gothic silent films -- Nosferatu or Phantom of the Opera or whatnot -- and we will all cringe before the terror of . . . .

Thursday, April 2, 2009

police blotter

No one had interacted with either of them, but the youngish one was said to be from Alabama on account of his accent. No one had actually observed the two men together at any time, but it didn’t make sense any other way, two strangers just happening to appear in the same town, at about the same time.
It started around the time of the spring potluck. Usually it was held at the start of the Pentecost season at the Anglican church, but Easter fell late that year and the Ladies Auxiliary and the Altar Guild ladies knew that if they waited too long that the spring potluck would be lost in the Memorial Day barbeque rush, and so it was discussed with the rector, who shrugged indifferently and allowed the engine of the ladies’ planning to continue unchecked. They had been running the community for years; there was no need to interfere now.

reading feigning an interest in “The Shadow of the Winter Palace,” & wishing the Russians were just slightly less intensely morose
weather unequivocal