2008 Flash ArkHive
(ephemeral microbursts too brief and transitory for the full-fledged 5¢ense):
¢ Sunburnt, sore and itchy (from jellyfish and mosquitoes), reflecting on 2008 then "catching a midnight training going ... " back to Bangkok. Don't stop believing.
¢ Leaving the northern hills of Chiang Mai for the southern beaches of Krabi.
¢ Got some ink done, trekking tomorrow for xmas.
¢ Yesterday we ended up in some town that started with Ph, may as well been Phaic Tan, but we couldn't find a habitable room, so we some more wats, ate fried grasshoppers and grubs, drank a bottle of Thai whiskey and slept on the midnight train to Chiang Mai. Now I'm wearing a black silk bathrobe and matching slippers.
¢ I got the email from Blake Butler that said, "everybody be cool, this is a robbery." So I sent Bookmobile an email telling them to light up the grill and make them book objects shiny. Now the sun has come up so I know what time it is. And someone just slid a Bangkok Times under my door with a photo of the new PM sweeping the steps of the governor's house and below that (still on the front page) is a big ad telling me what sort of creative modifications I can make to my body (sex change only 1,625 us$, though orchiectomies at only 125 us$ is struck out in red, like they are sold out of those). And that foreigners are charged the same as Thais.
¢ Made it to Bangkok. Sitting in some boutique hotel on an iMac high off tom yum koong and seeing wat po, writing this directly in HTML.
¢ Posted something by Jimmy Chen on Sleepingfish N. Our saloon car is seriously jacked up, way ghetto. Popping over to Siam for a spell. If you don't hear from me for a while, we probably crashed in the Indian Ocean or something.
¢ HTML Giant did this "massive" interview with me. I'm blushing. Yesterday I got an email from a Spanish-speaking Egyptian Poet that said his Chilean ex-girlfriend bought some books from me at the Brooklyn Bookfair two years ago then asked me to sign mine and I got all nervous and handed her the pen back instead of the book. He said some other things too, like how he didn't particularly like the books (besides mine which he never got), though Sleepingfish was "ok." I wish I got more emails like that. As I'm writing this our car is being raised by one inch (by way of spacers in the shocks), not as a fashion statement but out of necessity. I'm embarrassed about having a car, even if we are still on the one tank of gas we've put into it and we're two months into it. The tank of gas that I forgot to pay for and they somehow tracked us down because we were the "funny mzungu couple that walked places." Now we are known as tne mzungus who don't pay for their gas.
¢ Dispatch from our trip to Lake Baringo last weekend.
¢ I googled myself and noticed my wiki page says I live in NYC. It also says I'm a poet and that I'm absurd or some such thing. Someone please update it, because lord knows I don't have such authority.
¢ I closed submissions to Sleepingfish in order to attend to a mounting backlog, and because I'm getting out of Dodge for a spell soon, and well frankly so I can do some writing of my own. If I haven't responded to your submission yet it just means I probably liked it somewhat on the first read.
¢ My shoes and socks are soiled red, not from traveling but from putting a dog six feet under. Headed north to the banks of Lake Baringo where there are some 470 species of bird.
¢ In the middle of last night, out of the blue, a heap of dishes crashed into our sink. It was loud. The same sink where I staged the chicken shot that is offending the clusterflock of vegetarians. I swear something also scattered my work out clothes all over the floor where Jess tripped over them on the way to pee. I went back to bed and made a series of images based on this that I then put to the music of Art Brut's Formed a Band. Today is also Mogli's last day. He's the white deaf and blnd dog with dementia that I blogged of last month in regards to the black mambo and Christina Ricci. A 6-foot deep grave was dug for him already, and he's been hanging out by it and fell into it even, then barked from the bottom of it. I'll give him some of my chicken-scratch soup as a last meal. R.I.P.
¢ Made some ex-pat chicken-scratch black bean tortilla soup whilst thinking of cover ideas for Stories in the Worst Way and reading The Singing Knives.
¢ Temperature conversion right now between New York and Nairobi: XX° Farenheit in NYC = XX° Celsius in Nairobi. For example 19°F in NYC = 19°C in NAI. Not to rub it in or anything.
¢ You can debate the merits of online submission managers, but today I got my first automated acceptance of publication! In the email, which I almost deleted as spam, it says "Doug Martin (Snowvigate Press, Inc.) says: "Dear Contributor, I've sent you an electronic version of our contract for signature. When you receive it, please follow the instructions on the form. You need to fill in the form with the name of your piece which will appear in Online Writing: The Best of the First Ten Years, plus your address and phone number. Then, below the form, fill in your name and initials and press the green "E-Sign" button." Hey Doug, let this be the first blog-post rejection of your automated acceptance. You need to at least tell people what the piece is you plan to publish to fill out the form, or is that also an automated process? This is not a publishing machine I want to be a part of.
¢ I blogged about Noy Holland, Rudy Wilson, Southern Gothic, zebras, hell and sense of space, amongst other things, from The Nursery.
¢ Another, this one by Fortunato Salazar, up on Sleepingfish. It assumes knowledge of the word aposiopesis, and familiarity with 120 Days of Sodom helps (of which I was ignorant of both). In particular, Fotunato says he was inspired by the line: 21. His first passion is for bestiality, his second to sew the girl into an untanned donkey's skin, her head protruding; he feeds and cares for her until the animal's skin shrinks and crushes her to death. But then again he said it is a book that no one should ever read.
¢ A Horsie by Ravi Mangla is up on zzz><()*>[N/08.12.04]
¢ Blake Butler and Rauan Klassnik said a bunch of nice things about me and the press in this 10-part interview about Ever: 1, 2, 3, etc... Can't decide what's better, Blake comparing Calamari to Dischord (of the 80s I think he meant), or Robert Polito comparing Calamari to 4AD (also back in the 80s, when you could tell an album in their catalog just by the look of it). Oh, and speaking of which, Blake is taking pre-orders for Ever if you can't wait.
¢ The house I grew up in Oregon had a den. It was the miscellaneous room for all activities that didn't take place in other rooms, like where you might wrap presents or work on a jigsaw puzzle. I suspect all American homes have a den. Where we live now is one big room that I think of as a den. Last night, all sorts of wild animals came into our den. At one point I woke Jess up because I was barking out loud (I was telling some wolves to leave). I often dream of being in a house that wolves are trying to get into. I'm usually scared at first, but once they get in, they are always friendly.<
¢ I turned on my computer last night and it looked like the cover of Ever. As if it wasn't obvious, a message popped up telling me my computer had crashed. I was turning on my computer to check my flight information that I didn't have written down anywhere. I was flying from somewhere in Europe to somewhere else in Europe with my dead brother. He obviously wasn't around in person to ask about the flight, but he called me at that moment on my cell. He was already at the airport and said the flight had been delayed until the next morning because of the "recent activity." I figured that meant Mumbai, but I didn't see what that had to do with where we were or where we were going.
¢ I posted some images I made for Butler's Ever. There's supposed to be a video trailer, but the internet here is like crapping through your peehole. Stay tuned for that. [ Hurt like hell, but the video is there now. ]
¢ In our sad absence from my favorite holiday, I suggested to my in-laws that this year's infamous (newsworthy even) Turkey Dance involve Sarah Palin. A no-brainer really, even before I saw this video of her at a turkey farm.
¢ I posted 4 short things by Mathias Svalina on Sleepingfish.
¢ I've started to write a book called "Fodder Rind". I'm not sure what it will be about yet, maybe the love between a man and a goat, set in Shrubbery. I'm going to use this newspaper archive scrambler to write it. Though maybe "Isle of Man Rind" or just "Manrind" would be a better title. If so, the latter would be historical fiction about Man Ray eating pork rinds thinking he was eating blood oranges, translated to Mandarin and back with babelfish. If I called it Isle of Man Rind, then think a low budget Cremaster 4 that couldn't afford sidecar motorcycles, but had to use goats with engorged scrotum sacs large enough to accomodate passengers. Of course the Manx triskelion would be the cover.
¢ I am urged to look under some couch cushions (preferably plush) to find the things you'd find there (call it an art project), but we don't have a couch at our disposal, we have a hammock hanging from our rafters. I also feel compelled to roll on the carpet (preferably shag) and bite wool and pull strings (like we used to down in Villiers Terrace), but we only have tile floors and woven rugs under our feet.
¢ My better half took off for Malawi this morning and I couldn't manage to fit myself in her baggage. Sad. So it's black beans and tortillas for me, which fortunately "Chedro" smuggled us in from the states. It's that and some book covers. Working on finalizing Butler's Ever right now, under the influence of Bruno Munari and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. And then a redesign of Lutz' Stories in the Worst Way. Speaking of which, I think the single best title, or for that matter, sentence, in the English language is "People Shouldn't Have to be the Ones to Tell You."
¢ Today is my re-birthday, completing my 42nd revolution around the sun. Though technically I was born 11 or 12 time zones away, so not quite.
¢ Still in our Rome obsession, we watched Caligula last night. I'd never seen it in the U.S. because you'd probably have to go in the porn section to get it. Here it was filed under drama. Which it is. It's like Clockwork Orange in Roman times with Fellini directing it. We're also on episode 8 of the HBO Rome series and it's getting interesting now that Cleopatra is in the picture.
¢ Last night I dreamt that "I face the world I inhabit." Later in the song she says, "I walk from room to room in my house. My house that is 10,000 miles from your house." Any guesses?
¢ Back from Kisumu, but still not quite caught up on blogging about it. Here's my first dispatch under the guise of a review of The Wizard of the Crow.
¢ I just got back from meeting Obama's grandmother. Um, I'm sure I'll have more to say once I'm back on the grid.
¢ I'm off the grid for a spell in Kisumu.
¢ The Fireman and the Caper by Justin Dobbs posted on Sleepingfish N.
¢ When people here say they live in "the village," it’s like saying you live in the country. It’s a funny way of saying it, but if you think about it, saying you live in the country is weird. Tomorrow morning we are going to the village of grandmama Obama.
¢ Finally saw Kill Bill last night, that's how desperate the selection is at our local video store. The violence was so dumb and monotonous I fell asleep. When Black Mamba (see previous flash) is in the back of the Pussy Wagon, she tries to "will her limbs out of entropy." I think the word Quentin meant to use was atrophy. Can't he afford proofreaders or fact-checkers, or at least ones that know English? For that matter, why were her legs atrophied, but her arms perfectly okay?
¢ For the second rainy night in a row I went searching the dark recesses of the backyard for this old deaf and blind white dog with dementia. For the second night in a row I found him wandering aimlessly in the rain in the furthest reaches of the yard. He wouldn't go into his doghouse so I brought him inside ours. I went to get his mat from his doghouse and there was a black snake coiled under it. I came back and googled "black snake Kenya" and this naked picture of Christina Ricci comes up. I tried to go back to sleep, but kept hearing a slide and thump in the night. The old senseless dog couldn't get up on our tile floor. It wasn't raining at that point so I helped him back out and he went back to walking in circles in the backyard, his head bobbing back and forth, trying to just hold on to his momentum. I wasn't dreaming. There's a lot more to the story. There was another dog that was sleeping in our bed. There was the frog that Jess accidentally stepped on. There's all the crap still falling from the sky, limbs landing on our new car and tin roof. It's relentless. There's even more that I can't say. We also saw Babel for the second time last night (the first time was right before we went to Morocco)—the way it's filmed is brilliant. The way the stories are connected is genius. Now it's morning and back to raining frogs and sodden limbs from the sky and the dog is in the doghouse and the snake isn't there where I swear it was.
¢ Next up in the Sleepingfish N series are 2 by Shane Jones.
¢ Posting this from Java House. Kibaki declared it a national holiday here. Here's how we celebrated Obama yesterday (footage from Obama, the musical):
¢ It's a new morning in Kenya, and for America.
¢ When we wake up tomorrow, we will know who the next president of the United States will be. I don't know if I will be able to sleep.
¢ We finally got our "saloon" car today. If you looked up "car" in the dictionary, it would look like this. It's the first car we've had in over eight years
¢ Dispatch from Rome, a.k.a. S.P.Q.R., which I swear will be my next tattoo. But first I have to mean it.
¢ Posting from the Cairo airport. Drinking beer and watching the election drama on Al Jazeera not knowing what they are saying. Full dispatch pending.
¢ We made it to Rome, we have just been too busy seeing stuff to write about it, and we don't have internet access in our hotel. In the meantime, here's the post from how we got here via Cinque Terre.
¢ Turin Dispatch 2: Took a break from food to go to the National Cinema Museum.
¢ Trying to catch up with blogging from Italy, too much good stuff to eat. Here's what we saw on the way here.
¢ In Turin, after a day in Milan. The sun doesn't rise here til 8 a.m., but I forgot how fast the internet can really be.
¢ Sunn o))). Goes well with pre-flight Kenyan thunderstorms, power outages and South African merlot.
¢ A hundred other words blind me with their purity, like an old painted doll in the throes of dance, I think about tomorrow. Please let me sleep as I slip out the window. Freshly squashed fly. You mean nothing. I will lose myself tomorrow, crimson pain, my heart explodes. My memory in a fire, if someone will listen, at least for a short while. But the same image haunts me in sequence, in despair of time, I will never be clean again. I touch her eyes, press my stained face, I will never be clean again.
¢ Design-wise, nothing beats a poorly designed toilet. Despite a gushing flow of water, ours often requires multiple flushings or even manual intervention. Right now Jess's and mine are floating around together, which I guess is kind of romantic if you think about it. But if you think about it, a poorly-designed flush toilet is an oxymoron, it's a stupid idea to begin with. If I had my way, I'd have one of these.
¢ It's raining again, but no more termites. The Green City in the Sun is awash in termite wings. Now it's the next morning and the sound of rain and falling debris on the corrugated tin roof is punctuating the Smashing Pumpkins. Fuck Nevermind--Gish, and then Siamese Dreams were THE albums that defined the early 90s.
¢ It's raining. And when it rains, the termites sprout wings and emerge from the ground in full force. And when the termites come out, the geckos have a field day. Here, I caught some of the action on video. And now I swear there's monkeys and/or bushbabies fucking around on our roof. Oh, we also cast our absentee ballot for Obama after dinner. Joe the plumber can suck it.
¢ White on white translucent black capes. Back on the rack.
¢ I posted 3 more by Kim Parko on Sleepingfish N. That makes 3 + 1 + 1 = 3. Consider the seeds planted. Speaking of seeds, our real ones are sprouting. Eggplants and squash and chard and onions. If I disappear for a while, I'm in Mombasa. Far from a vacation though.
¢ Call me a hypocrite... the first Calamari book is now available in Kindle format. Stay tuned for my manifesto justification.
¢ I seeded the webbed reincarnation of Sleepingfish with pieces by James Reich and J.A. Tyler.
¢ Frogs and baseballs and other unidentified falling objects are raining consistently on our tin roof, sounding like a geiger counter, a punctuating soundtrack reminding us of the otherwise overlooked existence of peace. That some things have no proof. And where we live now there is no street name or number to our house. Just how Bono says.
¢ Second installment from our Dertu trip.
¢ First installment from Dertu posted (getting there).
¢ Back home with a belly full of mac and cheese from our new home away from home, what I call The Nursery.
¢ Heading off the grid into the nomadic lands of Eastern Kenya for a spell. Here's the report from when we went there about this time last year.
¢ Hung out with some creatures out in the tea plantations of Banana Hill yesterday. Last night it rained all night. A Hard Rain, as Dylan would say. All sorts of other heavy objects, monkeys even, are falling and scampering on our tin roof. Our seedlings are soaking and brooding.
¢ I might not be writing much lately, but I'm developing plots (a.k.a. we might not have our goat, but I did buy a sack of goat shit. For fodder).
¢ Supposedly I am in this Pirated Poetry Anthology. Not sure what the point of it is or why anyone would buy it except to see their own work in there. Maybe they are trying to make Guinness for the Largest Circle Jerk with Unknowing Participants. Funny thing is I don't even write poetry.
¢ I've heard that I have something in the new Denver Quarterly, though I haven't seen it, and likely won't for some time. Those damn Somali pirates seem to intercept anything headed for Kenya. I think it was an excerpt I sent them from Marsupial, the bit about surveying a swamp with my father. I did survey swamps in Georgia, but not with my father. My father sold airplane insurance.
¢ Top animals searched for in September on 5cense: dead dog (220), baby gorillas (214), leopard (208), ape (118), gorilla (84), hyena (71), foals (41), lion (41), elephant tattoo (40), giraffe (39), irish sheep (25), warthog (25), buffalo (20), monkfish (20), bear (16), barbary ape (15), zebras (9), snow moneys (7), camels (5), ostrich (5), langostine (4), octopus tattoos (4), shoat (4), white ape (4), black rhino (3) and goats in trees (3).
¢ Today is the end of Ramadan (Eid ul-Fitr) and a national holiday in Kenya. I'm going to celebrate by getting a hoe and a sack of shit.
¢ I'm reading submissions now for the next iteration of Sleepingfish, which will be webbed and international.
¢ Went to the 11th Annual Nairobi International Book Festival yesterday. I'm sorry I missed the opening parade or "roadshow," that would have been something to see. It was in a mall, of course, you entered through a food court no less. Once inside it looked like a regular bookfair, decent number of vendors. The book scene in Kenya is driven almost entirely by curriculum, lots of children's books and educational books. I picked up a copy of Kikuyu Folktales. There was supposed to be a reading by Muthoni Garland and Martin Njaga, put on by StoryMoja, but neither showed up. Joshua of StoryMoja kept us entertained while we waited by telling us, in an animated fashion, a story about kitchen utensils, and then some obnoxious white slam poet woman subjected us to her spoken word and being that I was in the front row inches from her I had to smile and nod and clap the whole while. I hate nothing more than slam poetry, especially when it's white people trying to pretend their black.
¢ Our vehicle needs to travel through these waters to get to us.
¢ Holy shit! What are y'all doing over there? I'm trying not to care here but when our bank (WAMU) goes down and our credit cards are being declined ... "It was an implosion that spilled out from behind closed doors into public view in a way rarely seen in Washington." For real, I can feel the ground shaking all the way in Kenya.
¢ Warren Fry summed up Michael Peters perfectly in this review in Brookyln Rail: "... when the mics are off and the books are closed, all the switches are still on."
¢ Took a break from 5cense to blog on Jess's food site today.
¢ I received an official assignment today. One of the lines in the contract says: "A reference to a specific time for the performance of an obligation is a reference to that time in the place where that obligation is to be performed;". That place is a temporary office I was given. I've never had a job before with my own real office.
¢ We relinguished our notorious "pink hippo," so are now sans vehicle, awaiting our own which is in the "high seas".
¢ Our Malawi plans were foiled. Not surfing, not venturing upriver to find out who's in charge.
¢ A strange thing about living here is that my red wine cycle corresponds to the American caffeine cycle, and vice-versa. Went to the park today. Didn't see any cats, but saw more of what we saw last time, in addition to warthogs, hippos, baby ostriches, thuggish babboons, crocs, terrapins, etc. We had a guide this time, from the Turkana region. At one point I found myself asking him, "so you know when a zebra is pregnant, but couldn't tell when your wife was pregnant?"
¢ This is where I'll be blogging all day Tuesday, and then right after flying home via Paris.
¢ No joke. And I'm smack in the midst of Infinite Jest. Still in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Still feel like I'm just getting to know him. Like he could be my brother. Yesterday I got a tattoo that says SSES. It may as well have been JEST.
¢ I just woke up from a dream where I was trying to figure out how to apply a gas station awning as a design element to this site.
¢ My vote for the best writing on the web.
¢ The saga continues: spent another day taking the goitrous maid to the hospital, to essentially get an appointment to then schedule surgery. The chaos and ineptitude were beyond words. Jess also got Mr. J. an interview with a good security firm. What sort of thanks do we get? Our ex-landlord that neglected them in the first place making all sorts of demands on us and keeping our deposit. Click your heels three times and say "there's no place like home." Headed for JFK tomorrow, so might be offline for a few.
¢ I downloaded the free track from the new Byrne/Eno album and it is everything. It is definitely more poppy than Bush of Ghosts, and Byrne sings, but it's catchy as hell. I am downloading the entire album but it is going to take over seven hours.
¢ It has been 30 years since David Byrne and Brian Eno made My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, quite possibly one of the best albums ever made. They know have a new album, Everything that Happens Will Happen Today. Unfortunately I'm having troubles downloading it here in Kenya. Maybe I'll be able to get it in NYC in a few days.
¢ The next installment of our tour of the darker side of Nairobi.
¢ Looks like I'll be coming back to NYC next wednesday to briefly surface for air. Doing some blogging for the airfare. I'll be at the Brooklyn Book Festival on the 14th at the Calamari Press table.
¢ I just hung a hammock, quite possibly the best tool for reading. I remembered from my climbing days how to splice two ropes together using a double-figure eight knot.
¢ Waking up for the first time in our new place surrounded by huge trees and a lot of air and light. No electric fences, not even locks on the doors or gate. And dogs that lick us and laze about instead of barking from cages. The backyard trails off into infinity. It feels like being in a hunting cabin in the middle of Nairobi. I'll see if I can get around to taking some pictures.
¢ Been off the grid, living in between. In a better place now. Oh, and I just got a blue mosquito net. Insecticide treated bednets are a great invention.
¢ Back from our "vacation" in Mombasa. Here's the full report.
¢ Last night I crossed the river to come back off the mountain, running a roundtrip marathon. I stopped to get a drink at a kiosk and Jack Nicholson (acting a part) was tending the bar. He turned the tables on me and asked for a pistachio ice cream and I served it up for him. He responded by saying, "gracias bump." Headed to Mombasa early tomorrow morning. I leave you with the Barack Obama song by Cocoa tea that they play on the radio here, not sure if they play it back in America. Oh, and still no goat. Though, Eugene Lim was kind enough to review my Marsupial.
¢ I actually wrote something this morning. Even dug up my trusty tracking sheet that tells me what I've written, where I've sent things and what's been published. First time I've done that in who knows how long. Is this the life of a "writer"? I've also been working on some illustrations for Blake Butler's Ever. If you are a nice, maybe I'll post some here.
¢ I just met Valentino Achak Deng, the subject of Dave Egger's "novel," What is the What. Like, for real! I haven't "read the book," yet as I've had my reservations, like (aside from my own immature rival-press jealousies) if it's Valentino's autobiography, then why is his name not on the cover, but it says "by Dave Eggers"? And now meeting Valentino, and realizing that he is very articulate, I really wonder why he didn't write the book himself? I'd rather hear it from the horse's mouth. Regardless, having met him (and the chief of his village in southern Sudan, Marial Bai), I'm intrigued to read the book now, hopefully it has been kindled, and it's all for a good cause to support the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. Dave Eggers is coming to Nairobi in a few days, maybe I'll meet him too? Like, for real!
¢ I must admit I was a bit skeptical (read snobbish) when people said, "don't worry, Nairobi has sushi." Well, we went to Furusato last night and I'm happy to report that it was better than most places in NYC. It actually made me wonder how much cover-up and doctoring goes into Manhattan sushi (for example, the tuna was fresh and brown (not bright red like it usually is in NYC)). Your nose and tongue should be the gauge as to whether the fish is fresh, and there was nothing fishy about it. I even had raw shrimp and squid, something you don't usually find in NYC. And it's the next morning and I'm fine, and I've been drinking tap water and eating everything and am feeling healthier than I did in NYC (read, my poop has been nice and solid).
¢ Went for an long run. Just when I was feeling lost in the maze of coffee plantations and estates, passing camels, goats, ostriches and children that wanted to hold my hands while I was running, I came across some place called Paradise Lost that reportedly had stone age caves and waterfalls. Not sure how far I ran, but was gone over two hours, so must have been 15-20 miles.
¢ It's refreshing to have AlJazeera here instead of CNN. They are running this great series called Africa Uncovered, which focuses on this grass roots media organization from here in a Nairobi slum called Slum TV.
¢ Speaking of Obama, we're not in Kansas aymore.
¢ We saw Ken Park last night. I guess that's one advantage of being here, it was censored or never released in the U.S. It's definitely over the top with underage sex and graphic incest and general debauchery, but it had some good moments and good character sketches. It was rated PG-13 here!
¢ Obama's brother might live a few kilometers down the road from us, but he lives in a different world altogether, from us and Barack.
¢ Fuck the Olympics, the No Colony issue #1 launch party is Fri Aug 22 at Barbes in Brooklyn. I am seriously bummed I won't be there, looks like a great line-up of readers. If you are anywhere close to Brooklyn don't miss it. Blake Butler is even shaving for the occassion. If you're not in the area, at least buy the issue, all sorts of good people are in it, including yours truly.
¢ New identity I've acquired in the last week: 2-year Kenyan Visa, Republic of Kenya Identity Card, UN Rec Centre ID, Nairobi Diplomatic Duty Free ID, Commercial Bank of Africa ATM Card, Kenya Interim Driving License, Safaricom SIM Card (2).
¢ I waged battle with a grotesque and obese retired clown that broke into the abandonded flat I was squatting in. I hacked him with a stone axe and pushed him over the edge where he splattered and puddled to liquid grease near an ice cream truck. Jess and I were leaving for Africa the next day, so I think this gross, obese clown represented America. I didn't feel anger towards this washed-up clown, but was aggressive in killing him because it was in self-defense and I wasn't sure what he was capable of.
¢ Michael Otieno has struck again.
¢ Hanging out at the UN Rec Centre, which has awesome wireless, Olympics on TV and a pool. What more could you want? Just got back from going to the Kwani HQ in Westlands in some office complex at the end of a dirt road. I'm meeting Binyavanga himself on Wednesday.
¢ I was attacked last night by a demonic creature foaming at the mouth with gnarled, gnashing teeth and orange hair. She was easily sedated by making an incision along her spine and rubbing salted mud into the wound. I woke up and the dogs were barking and mosquitos buzzing.
¢ I'm 1/8 of the way through Infinite Jest. Although the last 100 pages of the book are footnotes. Infinity (sideways 8) = 1/0. A jest it is.
¢ We took a break from watching the Olympics (they show mostly track and field and football here) to go running (Jess biking) through some coffee plantations and came across some lake you can go fishing in and four eagles perched on a rusty swing set. Afterwards I tandooried a whole chicken on a rusty grill. This morning I drove a borrowed landcruiser (thanks P and C!) with diplomatic plates on the wrong (left) side of the road, shifting with my left hand. It rubs you the wrong way for ten minutes then you get used to it. Had lunch with some folks from Teachers Without Borders. Just now the power went out but we hardly noticed as we already had candles going.
¢ I started reading Blake Butler's Ever (with a Calamari eye). In reading it, I was reminded of a great song from a great band of the late 70s, The Light Pours Out of Me by Magazine. I have a remake of the song that Peter Murphy did, but I haven't been able to track down any Magazine albums since I gave up my vinyl.
¢ "It remains unclear, ultimately, whether the narration’s strained, inarticulate nature is due to the narrator’s own unreliability, or whether he’s a typical product of the setting, an alien landscape located in the Southwestern U.S., a place where sense cannot be guaranteed, the previous generation lacking both authority and advice (even when it claims otherwise)." (from a review of Lewelling's Tortoise in the Review of Contemporary Fiction).
¢ We've been without power the whole day. Nothing else to do but read. Computer is on reserve power.
¢ I dreamt that a bunch of us formed a roof by combining our umbrellas. On the way to work, a troupe of monkeys crossed our path. Unlike humans, they can climb over electric fences with apparent ease.
¢ The InsideOut Literary Arts Project has been fostering literary arts among Detroit youth since 1995. It has also been the day job for Peter Markus since its inception. They are currently raising funds, please help support InsideOut and in the process support brother Markus in this important work he does. I myself just paypaled them $25. It was easy, even with a janky connection from Nairobi.
¢ Got a green bike with a Kenyan flag on it today. Watching Kenya vs. Mexico in featherweight boxing. I'm wearing a green Mexico 68 Olympics sweatshirt.
¢ Recovered our bags and gradually getting hot-wired into the nodal network of Nairobi.
¢ Made it to Nairobi! Though we have little more than the shirts on our backs and this computer. They lost ALL our bags. We also don't have an internet access so not sure when I'll be able to post this. All that matters is that we are here.
¢ In the introduction to Roberto Bolaño's Savage Detectives, he urges his fellow poets to abandon the coffeehouses and hit the road. Fifty pages into it all he talks about is hanging out with his fellow poets. Nothing is worse than writers writing about writers and writing, except maybe poetry about poetry. I think I will abandon Bolaño when we hit the skyway tomorrow. Not worth it's weight.
¢ Today is our last day in the US of A.
¢ Met Hannah and James (of Venus Bogardus fame) at some biker bar in Madrid of all places, then we went to Cerillos to hang out with some goats, llamas, horses, dogs and cats. They gave me a copy of their new CD Tourist which sounded really good on first listen.
¢ Finally got around to posting our cross-country travelogue.
¢ Made it to Tijeras, New Mexico where I'm peeing along the perimeter of our land.
¢ In Vinita, Oklahoma staring at yet another Wal-Mart sign.
¢ On the road somewhere in bumfuck, Ohio. Headed to Motor City. I'll have more to say later, suffice to say we are always mortified when we set foot out of NYC. Not that we miss it, oh no.
¢ I have some things in the new Fourteen Hills which I just received in the mail. Thanks go to Rae Freudenberger and the editors. I've only had time to browse it, but it looks interesting.
¢ Raymond Federman, Davis Schneiderman and Lidia Yuknavtich give new meaning to cook books and deconstruction theory:
¢ I got some more ink done. I'd take a picture but it's wrapped in bloody gauze and saran wrap and photos of fresh tattoos are janky. All it is are 3 cocentric rings on my right forearm. We got skirt steaks afterward at Buenos Aires. I also bought some new Sambas. This time the traditional black.
¢ Our New York existence is 99% liquid. Some guy put a deposit on my desk and is supposed to pick it up today. Then there will be no more chunks in our soup and our flow will be laminar. Check.
¢ Erik Davis says Marsupial is a "twisted and mercurial mind fuck that reaches into your guts and twists them into animal balloons."
¢ You know you've sold out when your litrag is in Tarjay. Fuck. All the Calamari is there, including chapbooks. Target's web design is better than Amazon's though, I like the way this looks, wrong as it is.
¢ Ian Usher's disappointed? Sheesh. We've made less than 0.4% of what he got for "selling his life," then again we didn't include our jobs and our friends. What a douche bag. Why would anybody want that guy's life? I've still got my desk left though, a hard sell being that it's really a bar. What does that say about someone when their writing desk is a bar? I admit I was inspired by Hemingway, not so much in the drinking, but in that he wrote standing up. If anybody reading this wants my bar/desk, I'll pay you $1 to take it.
¢ Viva España!
¢ Salvador Allende just bought my bed, table, bookcase and printer! Okay, maybe not Allende but the guy that plays him in this movie. Thanks Ramiro!
¢ The internet is physically liberating. I'm simultaneously selling all our furniture on craigslist and uploading my digitized life onto the web to store. I've been backing up my files for 3 days now to Amazon S3 (using Jungle Disk) and have 5 days to go. Then all I will need in the world is a computer to tap into it. How did we exist before?
¢ I've been going through my papers and notebooks to throw away or store or bring. I'm finding notebooks with cryptic notes scribbled from deep sleep that I don't know when and where I wrote them but they seemed important enough to write down. Things like, "Ran into a guy identical to my brother, but he didn't speak English."
¢ Shit, did I mention my book is available?
¢ Trip report from our drive north last weekend.
¢ I shaved my head to honor the first day of summer. When I was done I tossed out the shears that I've had for almost 20 years. Exactly 30 days left in NYC. Jess left to Bamako and then Nairobi today to scout out a home for us and our goat.
¢ We got kindled: after all that deliberation, ends up someone gave us a a kindle... thanks Sonia!
¢ I get caught with Marie-Y's pants down in latest Cafe Irreal.
¢ I've been working on a textual descriptor for Marsupial (required for SPD, Amazon, etc.) and after writing a bunch of dumb things, decided the only thing worth saying is that it's "a fragmented novel about somebody out of place within the cathartic context of the making of a movie overseas."
¢ Harp & Altar 4 is up. I've got two things in it from Marsupial: one about Mary X and another about Bernard. Speaking of Marsupial, I've got 6 boxes worth sitting in front of me. I'm not sure what to do with them. If you're reading this, most likely one will appear in your mailbox soon.
¢ A possum is nothing more than a large narcoleptic marsupial rat.
¢ Goatly Liquidation round 2: We dug deeper into our closets to bring you a belly trimmer, a fondue pot, a creme brulle torch and more books...
¢ Marsupial: Our Mother for the Time Being is at the printer, I should get it back any day. In anticipation, here's the cover and opening excerpts.
¢ Just watched Permanent Vacation, Jim Jarmusch's first film. A few observations. Most of the background ambient music is Javanese Court Gamelan that he slowed down. I still have the exact album that I ripped from a cassette that I originally recorded from a record that I checked out from the Mountain View Public Library back around the time that Jarmusch made the film (1980). It's even better with all the vinyl nicks. I'd post it here but it's 20 minutes long. The scene towards the begining where he visits his home that the Chinese bombed, is the abandoned smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island. Strange because we just were visiting the ruins last weekend. I took a bunch of pictures, but here's the one that I liked the most where you can kind of see it in the background to the left. It has some great footage of NYC in the early 80s.
¢ [In reference to Inland Empire], Lynch sometimes offers a clue in the form of a quotation from a translation of the Aitareya Upanishad: "We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream. This is true for the entire universe."
¢ We bought some land today. Two acres worth in New Mexico. Trees and dirt. It's the first "real" and permanent thing I've ever purchased.
¢ I sold my bike today. I've got almost two months left here but figured I would quit while I was ahead. Eight years riding in NYC and I've managed to survive. I should get a T-shirt or something. Matter of fact, in my adult life of riding my bike to work, I've been hit a few times and had some close calls, but never where I literally didn't land on my feet. I can say that now.
¢ Kool-aid is Kool-aid is Kool-aid.
¢ Goat Rodeo Kick-off Sale: the first step in our exodus is to liquidate our wordly possessions.
¢ I sliced and diced and soldered chapbooks like a mad goat yesterday. I'm thinking maybe for the last time, so the ones out there could become limited editions (hint).
¢ 25,506 people visted or stumbled on this site last month. What were they searching for? "dead dog" (1130), "castles" (866), "lion dog" (286), "5 pointz" (250), "boobs" (213) "graffiti" (175), "kigali" (172), "baby gorilla" (170), alhambra (158), egon schiele (156), gorilla (155), leopard (151) and "foals" (107). The more entertaining ones come at the bottom of the list. The other day I heard someone utter "goat rodeo". I didn't know it was an official term until now, all I know is it most accurately describes what is going on at this site and if I was ever in a band I would call it Goat Rodeo. Or I want to work somewhere where goat rodeo is the top Bullshit Bingo word instead of "low-hanging fruit". I like it so much I just created a blog for it to rival clusterflock.
¢ Fifty-one days left in NYC.
¢ I downloaded the last installment of the Ohle video from his reading last week. Here's all three in order. Coincidentally, I found out the day before the reading that I will be picking up David Ohle's Motorman from 3rd Bed. So if you're looking for a copy, you'll find it soon from Calamari Press. I can't think of a book I'd be more thrilled and honored to have in the catalog, besides maybe Stories in the Worst Way by Gary Lutz, which I'll also be carrying!
¢ Put a new 2 GB RAM chip in this machine. Pain in the ass, broke a #00 phillips doing it. Next up, Mac OS X Leopard.
¢ I just finished the last proof of Marsupial. Sending it off to the printer. Maybe I'll post some excerpts soon.
¢ Part II of David Ohle reading the neutrodyne-settler sex scene from Age of Sinatra.
¢ Ran 9 miles around the park. I'm feeling a seasonal itch to up the ante on my running. Not that I'm training for anything in particular. I was hoping to run the Safaricom marathon, but I won't be in Nairobi by then. Running from lions and rhinos would be a good incentive to keep moving I'd say.
¢ Video of David Ohle reading from Age of Sinatra last night at Issue Project Room, reading the Neutrodyne-settler sex scene between Ophelia and Vink... the first part of it anyway, enough to wet your flocculus. I'll try to post more of it later.
¢ The new issue of Kwani-ni?, ‘After the Vote,’ is hitting the shelves, in Nairobi anyway. It is a collection of dispatches from the Concerned Kenyan Writers group.
¢ I've been shooting these interviews at work with Pete Ondeng. Ends up his extra-curricular activities including Project54Tour and authoring a book called Africa's Moment. Here's some extra inspirational footage I got of him talking about his book.
¢ The only thing I am superstitious about is spending money that I find or didn't earn. This morning I found $5 while I was running. I kept it in my pocket seperate from my wallet until the first person I saw asked me for money.
¢ A man walking on the sidewalk today asked me where the nearest gas station was. Anywhere outside of NYC this question might make sense. I was at a loss for an answer.
¢ I posted some pictures and videos from our trip last week to California.
¢ "I think we're gonna need a bigger boat," is my new mantra.
¢ Forgot to mention but while I was in California Blake Butler interviewed J'Lyn Chapman for Bookslut.
¢ Trickhouse: Mighty, mighty. Letting it all hang out. Where "all" includes the likes of Sarah Veglahn, Peter Markus, Julianna Spallholz and Christian Peet, and curated/edited by the dynamic duo of Noah and Selah Saterstrom. And being that the one thing Spallholz's Tucson piece didn't mention (besides La Parilla Suiza and the Kon Tiki bar) was Calexico, their Feast of Wire CD is the freebie of the day to the first person that asks.
¢ I've got 4 boxes of the new zzzfish stacked here. I'm too busy to "release" it right now, but if you read this and paypal me $8.88 I'll send you a copy. Normally it will be $13 plus postage. Or, the freebie of the day is PI, the screenplay & The Guerilla Diaries by Darren Aronofsky.
¢ Back from California. Soaked in hot springs in Calistoga, lunched in San Francisco, ate cheap Pho in Sunnyvale, ate fresh strawberries in Watsonville, fireside outdoor lunch in Carmel, cruised down Big Sur, Jess taught a class in San Luis Obispo, we went to a wedding in Yosemite valley and capped it off by going to the top of half-dome (without the handrails in place). If I have time I'll post some pictures.
¢ Interview with Venus Bogardus. And speaking of Ohle, mark your calendars New Yorkers, he'll be at Issue Project Room on May 23 with Brian Evenson. Going to California tomorrow for a week or so sans computer, so no updates or freebies.
¢ Instead of My Life for Sale, I'm calling this My Life for Free. All you have to do is tell me your favorite line from the book or CD when you get it. Maybe at the end I'll compile the results or something. Today's freebies are double-CDs in the comedy vein: Mike Birbiglia's Two Drink Mike & Dimitri Martin's These are Jokes.
¢ Freebies of the day:
¢ "All around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces. Bright and early for their daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere. And their tears are filling up their glasses, no expression, no expression. Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow, no tomorrow, no tomorrow. And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had. I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take. When people run in circles, it's a very, very mad world."
¢ Freebie of the day: I've got some extra copies of The Ecstasy of Capitulation by Daniel Borzutzky. First 2 people to email me get them.
¢ In preparation for our move, I'm starting to get rid of excess stuff. For starters I have 4 extra copies of John Olson's Backscatter
¢ Pushed the redesign of a website I've been working on live today. Strange thing is the internet connection in our office crapped out, so I did it from Madison Square park with two freelancers, one in Quebec and the other in Austin. The first I saw of it live was outisde on the street. Funny how things are "built" these days and where they are located. Speaking of which, if you think my day job sounds cool, it could be yours. We're hiring for my replacement now.
¢ Foals tomorrow night (4/24) at Bowery!
¢ 100 days left in NYC.
¢ I haven't checked out Kevin Sampsell's new book, and probably won't have a chance to for a while, but Creamy Bullets is a hell of a title.
¢ Three randomly idle questions asked of me today by complete strangers: 1) A woman called my cellphone and asked if I was a graffiti artist. 2). On the corner of 34th and Lexington a man asked me if I was Jewish. 3). In line at the post office, a man asked me if I knew "what the Knicks needed most next year"?
¢ I got doored today riding my bike to work, which is not even noteworthy as it happens daily. I let loose a slew of obscenities as usual and turned around to see who opened their cab door on me and it was the CEO of the organization I work at. If that happens in a dream what would it mean?
¢ Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty? Much as I hate cellphones, this is a great article on the importance of cellphones to the impoverished and displaced, interesting not only for the innovations taking place in "user anthropology" as it affects human-centered design, but also how in our increasingly nomadic and transitory world, the cellphone is becoming the fixed point of identity.
¢ I have some work in the new Journal of Experimental Fiction #34, "A Report from the Front Lines".
¢ Dick Palace took inventory of some Marsupial words I sent him and said them in another way in Lamination Colony. There's some other mangled and unmangled texts and songs and other goodness there too.
¢ The fine art of Elephant self-realization:
¢ The init-capping of "God": this comes up in every issue of Sleepingfish. Is it just me or is this a ridiculous and offensive convention? I deem that Goat should always be written as such. Init-capping god says that your Christian god is better than all other gods. It's as stupid as naming your dog Dog. I always feel like I need to tiptoe around people that write god this way and don't want to insult them by asking them to change it, but then thinking about it, writing it that way is insulting to anyone that doesn't believe in a Christian god.
¢ It seems to me the most useful application for the Kindle is for people living in say, Antartica or the Amazon, where it's hard to get books. But "it works everywhere" to Amazon means big urban areas in the U.S., excluding all of Montana and Alaska. When will book portability ever catch up to the portability and accessibility of music and movies?
¢ Colony Collapse Disorder Podcast featuring Miranda Mellis towards the end, right before Thurston Moore.
¢ Some very contemporary Kenyan Fiction: The Road to Eldoret by Tony Mochama.
¢ I think Andrew Richmond has left our town for another one. We had planned on going to his going away bowling party but, as usual, I flaked. Sorry Gus. I went to his virtual site to see if he had really gone and got all wrapped up in this post on Mr. Rogers and Koko, but found no evidence that Gus had truly left. Maybe he made that shit up so he could get free shots at The Gutter?
¢ I tried to read Malone Dies this morning on the stairmaster, but I felt too much like a gerbil on a wheel. It's bad enough that Beckett writes likes a gerbil on a wheel, but to be living that sort of life while reading about it is too much. I need to get unstuck from this wheel before I can get Beckett. Right now I need escapism. That's two strikes against me for the trilogy... can I redeem myself with the Unnameable? It does help me to understand where the likes of Lopez and Lewelling are coming from though. But is it like understanding natural selection withouth reading Darwin? Beckett's memes are being propagated by imitators. His memes are not words or ideas even, but instrumental music to put your own words to.
¢ I've been at the State of the Planet conference for the past two days. I created a channel with some clips of Kofi Annan's keynote speech if you didn't get a chance to go. I'll be putting more up there as I get the chance.
¢ Robert Lopez and Miranda Mellis will be at Mcnally Robinson tomorrow (Wednesday) night in NYC.
¢ I listened to Jeffrey Sachs for two hours today at work, and he's so engaging (regardless of what he's saying) I'm going to see him after work tomorrow night at the 92nd Street Y. He spends so much time reading and speaking that I wonder when he has time to think about about what he is going to say next. If you're in NYC, I suggest you check him out. He'll also be at the State of the Planet later this week.
¢ Condalmo posted an excerpt from Marsupial called the Adjoining Room at Calico Hotel. It's a dream sequence about a cat with a nerve disorder I knew once named Ziggy. I dedicate it to the memory of Ziggy.
¢ Speaking of Kwani?, this is a piece by the founding editor, Binyavanga Wainaina: How to write about Africa.
¢ I've been reading and enjoying an old issue of Kwani? (3). It's raw and rough around the edges, unfiltered, which makes it all the better. I'll have to move on to issue 4 now that it's available. Matter of fact, since I last checked the Kwnai? site a few months ago, they've completed updated it and added a blog and all sorts of other goodness including the launching of this Generation Kenya site. Good to see all is thriving on the literary/arts front in Kenya.
¢ Jess posted some pics from her recent trip to Hanoi. Yes those are dogs. Sad.
¢ Some people like to add "in bed" to their cookie fortunes to make them more interesting. I've taken to adding "with a goat". Like just now my fortune read: "You have an ambitious nature". Without a goat is boring. When I was young we had a goat. We also had a dog. We went on vacation. When we came home there was the dog in the backyard. And just two goat ears. I laugh about it now but obviously I never got over it. My future holds a goat, mark my words.
¢ The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair is coming up on 3.22. I wish I could make it.
¢ I started to write a brief note to recommend Minor Robberies, and it turned into this peregrinating procrastination.
¢ Not sure if I've ever mentioned it on here, but there's this band out of the UK, Venus Bogardus, that's obsessed with David Ohle. The album is out now on iTunes, I for one am going to get it. Here's their musical rendition of Motorman.
¢ I think pretty much the whole night last night was spent dreaming that I was making salsa. Dicing and slicing all the necessary ingredients. It was an endless task and I become so absorbed in the process of making the salsa that by the time morning rolled around I don't think I was too interested in eating it. I think I dreamt that because I was reading some about the Slow Food movement yesterday. Speaking of Slow Food, this was poignant... "Only intellectuals love poverty. Poor people love luxury." If you took this samba (not salsa) proverb one step further and said only the rich, with their luxuries, can afford or have the time to be intellectual, it really leads to some spiraling logic.
¢ Angela Stubbs interviewed me for Bookslut. Thanks Angela!
¢ Okay, there's peace in Kenya. Now get ye on a safari! It's good for their economy. It's good for animal preservation. It's a good time (here's our pics and videos from a few months ago). I can't recommend it enough and you'd have the place to yourself.
¢ Sleepingfish goes public, is now a billion dollar industry.
¢ I meant to work on Marsupial this morning, but instead I wrote this.
¢ " ...I'm laying out my winter clothes and wishing I was gone, going home, where the New York City winters aren't bleeding me..." -Simon and Garfunkel.
¢ Irana Douer, whose art graced the cover of the last Sleepingfish, has some art for sale. Besides the cover of Sleepingfish, I also have another one hanging in my living room that I never tire of looking at. And they are quite affordable.
¢ I just read my 300th submission for Sleepingfish. We've accepted 15 so far. Yesterday somebody at work (dayjob) described his job as banging his head against a wall: it hurts most of the time, but 1 out of 10 times your head breaks through. My sentiments exactly.
¢ I think i have it figured out now, the name of the novel I'm working on. "Our Mother for the Time Being," is the more concise definition. But the word that is being defined is Marsupial. So the titile is Marsupial: Our Mother for the Time Being. To me and you, we can just call it Marsupial.
¢ I posted another Foals video from last week's show to YouTube. Now I have a whole Foals channel going.
¢ Tortoise is now here.
¢ I've been calling Our Mother the Fish that for so long that that is what it must remain.
¢ In anticipation of James Lewelling's Tortoise, here's an excerpt.
¢ Foals rocked the Bowery Ballroom last night. At one point the guitar player threw up all over the place without skipping a beat, such talent and dedication to the craft. Here's a video of the encore, Mathletics (that's Jess and I requesting it). The quality is not nearly as good as the ones I took before as I was using my shitty digital camera.
¢ Excited as all hell to see the Foals tonight at the Bowery. Here's some footage from last time they were in town.
¢ I finally saw There Will Be Blood yesterday. I thought it was flat in all respects. It didn't go anywhere. We also saw Paul Thomas Anderson's first movie Hard Eight a few nights ago, and thought that was much better. Of course nothing beats Magnolia.
¢ So it's been a few weeks since I started my new day job (hence why I haven't been saying much here, that and the continuing saga of our court battles with our ex-landlord which are now thankfully over). I've been blogging some on clusterflock about bamboo bikes and such, and I'd like to start highlighting some of the cool stuff Millennium Promise is doing on their site, start a blog even, but I'm still in the redesign phase. There's a lot of bullshit I'm finding out, like who was at the star-studded Gucci fundraiser on the UN lawn and most impportantly what they were wearing, and how the funds for Madonna's Raising Malawi are funneled through her Kaballah cult to instill Kaballah values in Malawi teachers. I just threw up a little and had to swallow it. Next thing we know Tom Cruise will open a Scientology docking station in Africa for the spaceships to land and "save" African souls. It's really not that much different.
¢ Matt Everett on the forthcoming Tortoise: "Lewelling is a patient, crafty writer, building up his story slowly, as if by accidental accretion, the minutia of human experience laid bare with a pleasing revelatory exactitude. Absurd, impossible conclusions are frequent, but only in denouement do events themselves become fully unreal, and by the time they do, reality seems no less strange."
¢ They might be more than Giants. That wasn't luck. That was divine intervention. Acknowledge it.
¢ Erpen are 'Dad and Lad' artists Anthony and Nathan Pendlebury.
¢ One of the first things I ever wrote (seriously) was just published in the new Willow Springs. Two people told me that the cover image looks like me. There's a helluva piece by Blake Butler in there too, that you can read online.
¢ The coolest find at AWP was The Singing Knives by Frank Stanford that Lost Roads reissued. I don't see it for sale anywhere yet though.
¢ I'll be mongering books tomorrow at AWP in NYC. Stop by and say hi. If you can't make it and want to see what it's like, skype me at 'bayorwhite' for a live feed (assuming they have wireless there).
¢ "Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around." -Terrence McKenna
¢ Jess is airborne right now en route to Tanzania. Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania. I went to bed last night thinking about Kilimanjaro, in particular Hemingway's Snows of. I dreamt we were traveling somewhere and I was going back to our hotel room to get something. I had to traverse around these cliffs to get there. On closer inspection, the cliffs were made of stacked crates that were full of file folders. The file folders were jammed with papers and other bits of raw information. I was thinking it was absurd, that there was no way Jess could be expected to climb this. I was forced to climb straight up because it was easier. I ended up on top of this precarious spire of crates of file folders with nowhere to go (a reoccurring theme for me, a legacy fear from my climbing days). It swayed and I jumped off on to the top of this neighboring skyscraper. I dwelled on the fact that this action was irreversible, that I couldn't simply jump back on the spire how I jumped off. I was looking for the fire exit to go in so I could go back down. Jess called me and asked what I was doing up there. I said I was trying to get down. I think maybe I was that lost leopard.
¢ Lost in translations: two days ago I got word that Miranda Mellis' The Revisionist would be translated into Italian. Today I got word that Norman Lock's Land of the Snow Men would be translated into Japanese.
¢ DIAGRAM 7.6 is tardy, but worth the wait.
¢ I was invited by a complete stranger to some writing conference that involved "speed dating with editors," which amounts to giving an on the spot 10-minute critique of a writing sample. This would be interesting if it was a bad dream, but I'm pretty certain this is for real. To tie in with my previous flash, this couple-to-be (in two hours) met in a speed dating session.
¢ Went to a fancy rehearsal dinner last night with all these rich white people. The groom's mother got up to get everyone's attention, and when she spoke it was to tell us all about an Obama rally we needed to go to. When I got home I had dozens of emails from virtual strangers promoting their own causes, books, readings, useless information supposed to fire my imagination. I can't get no, oh no no no. Hey hey hey, that's what I say.
¢ I started working at Millennium Promise today. The coolest thing is I get free lunch every day. Who said there wasn't such a thing?
¢ I read Mike Topp's Shorts are Wrong yesterday in the time it took getting from the Dakota to Canal Street and back on the C train. Though on the way back I took the A and switched at Columbus Circle. The koan about the boner was a classic. If you scroll down, you can find it here. And there's an associative interview I did with him here.
¢ Dreaming of rabbits, ostriches and "Charro Jul" on the Annandale Dream Gazette.
¢ A story of mine, Capturing the Shadow Puppets, was translated into polish on the Minimal Books site.
¢ I was walking up 9th avenue after drinking my last beer at Heavy (and there was much rejoicing) when I saw a guy wheeling boxes and thought, that's probably what I look like (minus the dolly, what a concept!) lugging books to the post office. The boxes said 'NY Tyrant' on them which didn't immediately register with the beer buzz and the excitement of leaving my job. When I got home my suspicions were verified by an email in my inbox: NY Tyrant III is here with the likes of Lutz, Lish, Kimball, Ames, etc. There is a release party for it, also on 9th ave at Bar Nine on January 19th. Unfortunately, I have a wedding to attend to that night, at some swanky social club on Gramercy (and there was much rejoicing).
¢ Dolphins join our culture club: evidently we are not the only ones that accessorize.
¢ Taking a break from fish mongering to monger bear pelt.
¢ I had jury duty today. Perfect opportunity to read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, a fascinating study on how things become popular (in epidemic proportions). It tries to be scientific, though a lot of times with these things it's hard to distinguish between cause and effect. Do cigarettes or hush-puppies make people cool, or are already cool people attracted to cigarettes and hush-puppies? Human behavior is incredibly complex (as are the viruses which he often compares them to), and I kept thinking about chaos theory. Sometimes it seems truly random to me that something becomes hip and there is no justifiable reason for it. Strange that Gladwell doesn't go into chaos theory, or for that matter ever utters the word "meme" which is really what he's talking about here is how memes spread non-linearly.
¢ I've read a few books (of fiction) and manuscripts lately plagued with pop-culture name-dropping and brand names, ugly words like Wal-Mart and Starbucks and McDonalds and Chevrolet. It's distracting for me to read a page with words like that. It's like looking at a photo of an otherwise beautiful landscape or street scene and having ugly signs and telephone wires and cars in the picture. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't care what the story is about, I can't get past those words. Worse are the words Bush or Iraq, which I've been seeing a lot lately. I read to get away from such things.
¢ In anticipation of J'Lyn Chapman's forthcoming Bear Stories, here's some swag to tie you over.
¢ I started hosting this blog on it's own server in Jan 2007. That month I averaged 57 unique visitors a day. In March 2007 I averaged 152 visitors a day. By June I was up to 262 a visitors a day. By September, 434 visitors a day and then in October, 531 visitors a day. December saw 485 visitors a day. Sometimes I wonder who these people are. 1155 of those visitors last month were searching for "dead dogs". 9 people were looking for "stinky pussy". Only 1 person was looking for "sad art".
¢ Invisible: An interactive visual poem collaboration by Eduardo Recife & Adriana de Barros to the music of Digitaria!
¢ In lieu of a best of 2008 list, I give my Read on Location < 2008 list.
2008 daily ARkive[r]
cuRRent & ARkiveD 5¢ense bLOGjects
cuRRent & ARkiveD 5¢ense bLOGjects
(c) 2008 Derek White / Sleepingfish / Calamari Press