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#332: kitchifying malaise whilst covering for Hobson & Mikesch in the still bleeding shipping lanes of mathrock horses not following me for far-flung hashtags

From here on out, the Dear Internet bit is implicit. Not that you are no longer dear, but it's hereby implied that audience = Internet. Who else is listening?

We chronicle this for you ... to capture events in time. For the preservation of our species. To keep entropy at bay. For our language to become one with the collective, for lingering hashslingrz. We write this to no one & every one at once. This is our continued manifest ... a novel with no beginning or end. Or rather, a making of such a novel ... which itself becomes the object. The raison d'être.

Chapter 332, this. Mid-october. Leaves changing. Full moon setting at sunrise. Should we assign a date-time stamp for future reference? Tugboats back & forth on the river, moving barges of sand, slinging hash. Listening to The Edmund Fitzgerald—"Horses" ... before they became proper Foals. If only they'd stayed the course, instead of becoming a pop band like any other.

Edmund Fitzgerald

Happens to the best of them. By the time you hear about it, they're done. Not you, dear Internet, but you the consumer. Before the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in Superior in '75, she set seasonal haul records 6 times, often beating her own mark. Thanks to you, we know this. Before your time we had to listen to Gordon Lightfoot to enlighten ourselves.

What is it with horses & math rock? The Horse Lords are not finished yet, although we missed them when they came to town a few weeks ago. They're just getting started. Don't miss the boat.

Perhaps lately we've been making too much sense here on 5cense, chronicling the day to day. In quotidian, pedestrian aphorisms. We'll all die at some point, but language lives on. That's the point. Equestrian language.

Day to day, still plowing through Bleeding Edge. Mostly while spinning (not for knitting but for exercise). Nothing to say about it that already hasn't been said, on Internet. Enough people lately are chattering about the likes of Pynchon & Banksy & Alice Munro. People are cattle, just waiting to be told what to read or see. Where to pee. They'd drink cow piss if someone perceived hip enough told them to do so.

No one told you to read this. Our code is laden with <rel="nofollow"> tags. There is nothing viral here, nothing hip-slung, no gun pointed to your head, no reaching around, no hyped clout to boost the ranking of a hyper-aware satellite site deep-linking back to this, to complete the circle jerk.

stop following me

You are likely here by accident, or your own volition. Volition = accident. Sure, there are 'unique visitors' here, some K a day. But we suspect these are mostly spiders & bots. Do any people communicate directly anymore? Or does posting your status on Facebook qualify as 'keeping in touch'?

We wouldn't know. There are no accidents. There's ideas & there's language & never the twain shall meet.

People don't know what's good for them. Even if it's been dangling in front of them all along. Not that people are necessarily stupid (they are, but that's another issue) ... they often know what's good & healthy, but they can't help themselves. When that man comes on the radio, telling them about some useless information, supposed to fire your imagination.

Let them eat cake. Super-size me. Eat me. The government shut down ... they can do that? The only reason we noticed is because our application for Global Entry was put on hold.

Rewatched Hearts of Darkness the other night (for the umpteenth time), the making of Apocalypse Now (after watching that, redux, for the umpteenth time). Hard to gauge his sincerity, but Coppola thought Apocalypse Now was going to be awful, a monumental failure. Artists should always feel this way. That what we are doing is complete shit.

Coppola gun to head

We tell our self all the time, but sometimes we wish you would say what we do is shit ... not that we'd stop doing it.

We might flip a complete about-face if we discovered that Tao Lin ghost-authored this spot on review of his own Taipei, written under the auspices of Thomas Bernhard. After all, Bernhard died when Lin was 6. Tho more likely it was the waggish David Auerbach who wrote it. Sure if we googled some we could get to the bottom of it. But perhaps it's better not knowing ... just letting the language hash it out. See who gets the last laugh ... who's still standing at the end of the day ... «Tao Lin, who introduced brainless and mindless kitsch into great and noble literature and who ended up committing a kitschy suicide, is now the height of fashion. But Tao Lin has not described malaise at all, he has only kitschified it.»

Kitschifying malaise & suicide, you can do that? Can you occupy a street, or a wall? Can you occupy your self?

Suicide as the ultimate act of self-criticism. Abortion or suicide, we are pro-choice. Why deny the right to write your own final act? Camus said suicide was the only serious philosophical problem, but on the flip-side you can ask, 'why not commit suicide?' What makes life worth living? We need to remind ourselves. For if we are not living by our own free-will, what's the point.

Pedestrian language.

When older gene-rations criticize the younger they always come out the dumbass. David Byrne should've taken a cue from Lars Ulrich, before claiming that you, dear Internet, 'will suck all creative content out of the world'. Be grateful that people at least want to steal your music. Not only will we all die sooner or later, but our money has no value when we're dead. But the art we leave behind carries on. Our language will remain with you (as long as someone pays the nominal hosting fee).

But enough about you, dear Internet. This, this recessed niche, this is about me, what we are becoming. An excerpt from The Becoming appeared in 3:AM this past week. Another excerpt also appeared recently (in print) in LIT. In good company, with Aaron Aps, Heather Christie, Brian Evenson, Johannes Göransson, J/J Hastain, Justin Katko, Joyelle McSweeney, Nick-e Melville, et al. We've got an extra copy for anyone who wants it.

Lit 24

Last month 132 people downloaded The Becoming, 78 downloaded Under the Auspices & 2817 downloaded Ark Codex ±0. Thank you for shoplifting. Even if u r Mr. Roboto, arigato.

We also pinned up some pieces from Sleepingfish 12 on you, dear Internet ... pieces by Scott Bradfield, Gary Lutz, Daisy Atterbury, Rosaire Appel & Elizabeth Mikesch.

The piece by Elizabeth Mikesch is from her Niceties, which we're in the process of finalizing. Here's the cover we came up with ...

Niceties by Elizabeth Mikesch

It will make more sense when you read it. Hopefully it will be available to you by early 2014. We also made some tinny interstitial art for the interior. Here's some of that ...

Server Dance

Server Dance





Siblant Bling

Siblant Bling

Some of you may recognize the above girl with the bloody nose from the back of The Singing Fish, a sort of nod to Peter Markus (Mikesch was a student of his). The other doubled-up, Arbusesque girl is an actual tattoo on Mikesch's skin.

We've also been working on Deep Ellum by Brandon Hobson. Normally we are fairly laissez-faire editorially, but perhaps we came down heavy-handed with Deep Ellum, carving it from 58,115 words down to 40,512. Not necessarily in big chunks either, but whittling little bits here & there, excess fluff, to better reveal the totem at the core. Forgive us, Brandon. Perhaps one day we'll have the redux version.

We first read Deep Ellum in Nepal (when he was calling it Night Bird, in reference to a Chet Baker song). We were already dwelling on substance abuse, overdosing, depression & brotherly love, so Deep Ellum struck a chord, hit us at a good time. It's perhaps a bit atypical for Calamari, pretty much straight-up story-telling, but something about the language is refreshingly devoid of flourish & hipster irony ... Hobson just tells it like it is, shoots from the hip, not trying to be anything other than himself. Here's the cover we made for it yesterday.

Deep Ellum by Brandon Hobson

Again, it will make more sense when you read the book. Deep Ellum is a suburb of Dallas where the book takes place. We've never been to Deep Ellum, but can't imagine it gets that cold ... tho in the book Hobson portrays it as such. So we tried to capture this icy & rusty malaise of urban decay ... the 'beauty in the breakdown.' Astute 5cense followers might recognize the underlying images from D.U.M.B.O.

If anyone is interested in an A.R.C. of either the Mikesch or Hobson book, to either blurb or review, let us know...

<rel="nofollow">... picking up where we left off, in reading Bleeding Edge ... things get interesting around page 165, when instead of the 79th street marina (which we can see from our window), Sid diverts Maxine & March to The Island of Meadows (a land-filled island that actually exists in real-life ('meatspace'), according to you, dear Internet) ... «at the intersection of Fresh and Arthur Kills, toxicity central, the dark focus of Big Apple waste disposal, everything the city has rejected so it can keep on pretending to be itself» ...

For those of you not privileged with a view of the Hudson, there's this nifty site that lets you track, real-time, all the boats currently in the NYC harbor. Boat-bots. I love you, Internet.

NYC harbor

It is from the vantage of Sid's bot, rooster-tailing down the westside to the Island of Meadows, that the following passage is delivered:

«Every Fairway bag full of potato peels, coffee grounds, unbeaten Chinese food, used tissues and tampons and paper napkins and disposable diapers, fruit gone bad, yogurt past its self-by date that Maxine has ever thrown away is up in there someplace, multiplied by everybody in the city she knows, multiplied by everybody she doesn't know, since 1948, before she was even born, and what she thought was lost and out of her life has only entered a collective history, which is like being Jewish and finding out that death is not the end of everything—suddenly denied the comfort of absolute zero.»

... speaking of entropy. We also save our Fairway bags for second lives as trash bags, though we frequent the one on 125th, not 74th. Even if this is unfamiliar geography to you, Pynchon maps The Island of Meadows pyschogeographically to your deep recesses of Internet:

«This little island reminds her of something, and it takes her a minute to see what. As if you could reach into the looming and prophetic land-fill, that perfect negative of the city in its seething foul incoherence, and find a set of invisible links to click on and be crossfaded at last to unexpected refuge, a piece of the ancient estuary exempt from what happened, what has gone on happening, to the rest of it. Like the Island of Meadows, DeepArcher also has developers after it. Whatever migratory visitors are still down there trusting in its inviolability will some morning all too soon be rudely surprised by the whispering descent of corporate Web crawlers inching to index and corrupt another patch of sanctuary for their own far-from-selfless ends.»

Where DeepArcher is pronounced departure. Pray tell there are no corporate Web crawlers here. <rel="nofollow">.


P.O.V. snapshot from the G.W.B.
(en route to NJ where we biked in meatspace the other day instead of spinning in place)

In the last post we speculated that perhaps what defines the naughty years is the sacrifice of nostalgia for instant gratification. And we even mentioned Y2K & what exactly we were doing in that moment. At this point in our reading, Pynchon hadn't mentioned Y2K or explicitly talked about nostalgia or 9/11 (which we also referenced at the end of the post). Before he even writes it outright, Pynchon was ominously paving the way, on the bleeding edge of the information superhighway. To let you chew your own cud, until he gets to the point:

«One cannot help noticing a certain emphasis on instant nostalgia. Nineties irony, a little past its self-by date, in full bloom again down here. [...] It soon becomes clear that everybody's pretending for tonight that they're still in the pre-crash fantasy years, dancing in the shadow of last year's dreaded Y2K, now safely history, but according to this consensual delusion not quite upon them yet, with all here remaining freeze-framed back at the Cinderella moment of midnight of the millennium when in the next nanosecond the world's computers will fail to increment the year correctly and bring down the Apocalypse. What passes for nostalgia in a time of widespread Attention Deficit Disorder.»

Unregretfully, we don't 'miss' things anymore, nor do we really 'look forward' to anything ... not like when we were a kid & cried thinking how much we missed clam-digging on the Oregon coast even though it had only been a week. Now it's 2013 & our event space is super-saturated. When we think of nostalgia, this sentence from Stanley Crawford (whose Travel Notes we are also working on, though it's on the backburner because it's harvest season on his garlic farm) comes to mind:

«Sometimes when I am weary of seeing things in that flat, three-dimensional manner once so much boasted of, two plus two, and all the rest, there seems to be no longer any precise moment when old Unguentine vanished from my life, it seems rather an almost gradual process that went on over many years and as part of a great rhythm, as if, through some gentle law of nature, his disappearance would be followed by his gradual reemergence, that he would come back, so on, so forth.»

<rel="follow">. In the 60s thru the 80s, it seemed more of you hippies were interested in ESP & telepathy. In the past decade 'instant nostalgia' killed any premonition of premonitions. It's no longer even worth making predictions. Nowadays people just want to be the first to report on or tweet something. The surprise is not what it is, but who & how the newsflash was broken. Who discovered it.

It never ceases to shock me how much hair & sloughing skin we generate each day. What is it about NYC apartment living? In Rome (which we must admit a certain nostalgia for) we only swept our floors once a week. Now we sweep 2-3 times a week & it's still never enough. And we need to snake our drain quarterly, rather than annually. And did we mention we dyed our hairs black last week?

Last year at this time we were leaving Rome. Next week we are going back ... just for a visit. <rel="follow">

The other sense we get reading into Bleeding Edge, is that hipster irony (not Napster or spotify) is to blame for the general malaise smothering our culture in the past decade.

That's all we have to say about Bleeding Edge for now (up to chapter 29). Coincidentally, not only is David Auerbach probably the one channeling Thomas Bernhard in the above Lin link, but he also penned one of the better reviews of Bleeding Edge out there, in The American Reader. Not just for Bleeding Edge, but it offers comprehensive insight into all of of Pynchon's opus.

Suffice to say, 300 pages into it, Bleeding Edge could just as easily be summarized in 3 words & a datetimestamp ... by Pynchon carving «T.P. was here» on a tree, in Riverside park. Or by fingering his name in drying cement at the intersection of 72nd & Broadway (what in the 70s was known as Needle Park, another movie we recently revisited, that captures the UWS in full glory before it became Yupper-fied). Pynchon was definitely here, circa 2000-2001. The proof's in the book. The devil's in the detailing. Why Kilroy, anyway?

T.P. was here

You could say the same about any book, that it can be reduced to «[AUTHOR NAME] was here». Or this post, 5¢ense. All we are doing is carving out niches of our existence (& inadvertently killing trees—death by girdling) ... notching author + datetimestamp in the xlyemmed fabric of event-space.

  >> NEXT: #333: Archiving butthole-surfing meme machines in meatspace—"the concept of absence in a life packed full of presence (of experience) is a slippery term to define"

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