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 337 Autumnal, cardinal-numbered footnotes to quotidian 1st-hand accountability

Dear Internet,

These r fast becoming serialized footnotes to our life ... to our thought prosess ... notes on the making of whatever it is we r making at the time ... November 22, 2013. Our birthday in fact, though most people know it as the d-day of JFK ... & hardly anyone members it as our b-day since we're not on Facebook to remind u. It's a significant milestone in that we r now xactly as old as our father when he opted for an early checkout. Seems like sumthin worth writing home about ... 47.

What we r making right now is the continued transcription of our brother's writings. That's what's on our mind, what we r working thru here. More generally we've bin fascinated lately w/ the idea of journaling & 1st-hand accounts ... been reading Abu Zubaydah's journals that Al Jazeera published ... what makes them so engaging is that they're real ... this is a man the CIA believe wrote Al-Qaeda’s manual on «resistance to interrogation» yet in his privet diarial affairs he spills the beans & his quotidian thoughts give insite into the goings-on of Al-Qaeda & whatnot. We see an imperfect human side to Zubaydah, far from the typical flat Hollywood portrayal of what we think a «terrorist» should b. But Zubaydah is also typical of many young men attracted to such xtremist groups ... from a well-off family, abusive father, sexually repressed, etc. He goes off to university in India, always lives in fear of disappointing his father, repressing his desires (for Coca-Cola, western music, women, etc.). For some 1 that was evidently so confident & defiant & resistant to torture, he sure comes off as weak-minded, amateurish & of flawed & conflicted character in the doodling b-grade poetry of his journals ... something u'd think the CIA would xploit if they really wanted to learn what motivates these idiots.

Abu Zubaydah

Part of the fascination for us is the raw schizophrenic format they r written/ transcribed in [again probly cuz this is a proSSES we're going thru w/ our brother's writings]. We'd b curious to see the actual hand-written notebooks as there r numerous points where he evidently doodled or drew pictures or things that were illegible or crossed out ... these r the juicy bits. Sure we could find the actual journals online but googling «Abu Zubaydah writings» is bound to get us on some blacklist ... tho it seems we already r, as we have discovered the last few times we have flown. We have an appt w/ the Dept of Homeland Security in a few days to hopefully clear this up & get a «global entry» pass so we don't have to deal w/ such harassment.

Our interest in this is far from political. We're into it for the art of it. We're not so much interested in the information as how we axsess it, how we tap into other's minds, specially schizophrenic 1s (Zubaydah's journals r written to future variations of himself). Some of the notebooks or writings of the so-called White Widow have been made public, but those aren't terribly interesting ... just typical rants of someone who has been brainwashed & can't think for herself.

spy vs. vspy

It doesn't matter whether they're good guys or bad guys, whichever side is witch. It's all arbitrarily Spy vs. Spy. The 1st-hand account Esquire gave us of that dude—'The Shooter'—that killed Osama Bin Laden is writing at its best. Why trust anyone else to tell us about it xcept The shooter himself? An author w/ authority to tell 'his story'. & again, it's the human element to his story that is what's fascinating ... that this guy puts his pants on 1 leg at a time like the rest of us ...

«Flying in, we were all just sort of in our own world. My biggest concern was having to piss really bad and then having to get off in a fight needing to pee. We actually had these things made for us, like a combination collapsible dog bowl and diaper. I still have mine; I never used it. I used one of my water bottles instead. I forgot until later that when I shot Bin Laden in the face, I had a bottle of piss in my pocket.»

& it's the little things u remember at such times:

«On the third floor, there were two chicks yelling at us and the point man was yelling at them and he said to me, "Hey, we need to get moving. These bitches is getting truculent." I remember saying to myself, Truculent? Really? Love that word.»

So then we go to reading something like Jason Schwartz & it pales in comparison. Hobby shop xercises cuz he has nothing to write about. Can't remember who it was that 1st told us to read Schwartz ... seems every 1 is talking about him lately, being he has a new book & all ... we ran into Ben Marcus a while ago on the street & he asked in a hushed tone if we'd read him (while looking over his shoulder). Maybe that's what clued us in to getting his German Picturesque (his new 1 wasn't out yet). But for the most part we find Schwartz stuffy & inaccessible ... unless period pieces of tea parties set in antique stores is your thing.

Hob Broun: Cardinal Numbers

On the other hand, we then read Cardinal Numbers by Hob Broun, which is the real deal. Not sure who tipped us off to Broun—maybe it was the NY Tyrant or David Winters—but the bigger question is where has Broun been all our life? Broun was in fact living in Portland, OR in the early 80s, round the time our father lived & died there. Our brother was also there, but we (barely a teenager) had by then exiled ourself to Mexico (coincidentemente, el destino de la semana).

While living in Portland, Broun had some sort of accident that left him paralyzed, so he wrote his last few books using some sort of contraption where he breathed thru a tube. Obviously just the knowledge of this lends a certain conviction & urgency to his writing ... that he had to fight for each word like it might've been his last breath (in fact he died a few years later when the machine that kept him alive failed). We're probly botching some of the details—u'd b better off reading David Winter's account in Writers No One Reads—& it'd b pointless to try to articulate what it is about Broun's writing that makes it what it is ... this is the point, otherwise why even read from the source (rather than just about it)?

As one of his characters says (while driving a Camaro at 100 MPH): «Read and you'd know nothing ever happens to us. Just these little vignettes we're not even aware of.» Another character declares that «Mimicry is not analogy.» His r just words not trying to change the world or anything. U could pick a passage at random to illustrate what it is ... for example this passage caught our eye cuz jackdaws made a cameo in our last post (so this becomes the thread of chronological linearity for our own devices):

«Jackdaws were squawking in the dusk. Hard rain began to fall as Costain (Rod Taylor) came down off the ridge in his linen duster, four cutthroat trout in his bag. A wide Stetson brim darkened features that were already nut brown and fixed in their usual blank expression. They called him "High Wide and Handsome." He opened the loghouse door and saw the stable hand naked on the end bunk. He had Wiley's cock in his mouth and Midnight was greasing his butt with lard.»

The trout is no ordinary trout, but a cutthroat. It's no ordinary house, but a loghouse. & it's no ordinary guy, but a stable hand & not a bed, but an end bunk. These little details r what matters. This piece seems to have been recovered unfinished, some parts marked with notes like «(two pages missing)» or «(remainder of page mutilated.)» ... giving it that raw, unadulterated & unprocessed feeling that we were talking about above (re: the art of journaling). We will b reading more Broun for sure.

Saw Mazzy Star the other night, reborn after a 16 or 17 year hiatus. They sounded solid but not the most exciting band to see live, specially in a big venue. It'd b 1 thing if it was a little lounge where u're sitting at a table sipping cocktails. But standing in the back of Terminal 5 u could scarcely make out the shadowy figures on stage (they play in complete darkness, which makes sense). & the sound wasn't very loud so we could barely hear.

In fact we almost got into a fight cuz we asked some loud & obnoxious couple that looked more like hockey fans than Mazzy fans why they were there—why they paid for a ticket when all they were doing was talking loudly & ruining it for the rest of us. He said we could go up front if we didn't like it & we told him he could go outside. His truculent bitch of a girlfriend got all excited, putting her drink down & rubbing her hands together, saying "is there a problem here?" ... but in the end the guy chilled out & shut up, even apologized to us later in a drunken stupor & the mellow people around us wearing pueblo jackets were thankful.

Like us, our brother had somewhat of an obssesion with Hope Sandoval. In fact, in 'SSES" we're using the name Hope as a placeholder for his real love interest ... or at least the translation of her name into French (Nadine).

& speaking of fading into u, evidently bookstores r returning copies of The Becoming cuz they think it's flawed, ha ha, not realizing the fade in beginning & fade out ending is by design. Has no 1 else tried a fade to white to end a book?

... now it's November 25 in the meatspace of Manhattanville. It's gotten significantly colder, a squall passed thru even leaving a momentary dusting of snow (that u can glimpse in the 2nd to last image below). We've been diligently taking photos out our window every day since the season started to change (minus the week we were in Rome). Last spring we documented the time-lapsed transition from winter ... now we show the reverse of that, the autumnal transition back to winter. Only this time we discovered it's easier to do in photoshop (w/ its nifty auto-align).

fade to winter

fade into winter

& speaking of autumnal decay & stop-motion animation, we leaf u w/ this new one by Diluvio:

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