+ u will no u5 by th trail of ded az we log flight hrs til R bi-coastal journel overlaps blog 2 = 5oundtrack of R lives


[1/22/2022> fla5hing ba¢k 2 th 1st ½ of 2003, picking up ware post #984 left off... getting in2 territory ware we startid 2 blog on 5¢ense, just naught R day-to-day journal]

January 11, 2003 – NYC [we posted pics of NYC from around this time period on Sleepingfish/Calamari]
My new year resolution is to write more in my journal. My new year resolution is to write more period. My new year resolution is to not make resolutions. So all is nullified. Life tromps on. Here are the resolutions that [Bedder-½] and I came up with together

  • Pay off Bedder-½'s student loan
  • Save up $5,000 to go to Asia
  • Derek lose 10 pounds, Bedder-½ gain muscle lose fat
  • Cook in 4 to 5 times a week
  • Drink less alcohol, drink more water
  • No red meat – eat chicken and fish once a week
  • Derek publishes a book or chapbook
  • Practice guitar
  • Make more love
  • Don’t worry and be more positive

But these mean nothing. And we are already breaking them. We drank a lot last night because [G] came in to town. He and [S] and S’s brother are staying across the street at the Hudson. The others hadn’t come in yet so it was just us and G. Hung out in the Hudson library, with the fake books and the cows. G was drinking a lot and trying to get us to drink with him with much success. There was so much to catch up on that conversation just went all over the place. [G's a childhood friend that we went to Jr high shcool with in Mexico]
     Eventually we ended up Hell’s Kitchen (the food was actually incredible). I’ll have to reflect a bit more to make sense of it all. The weekend has just begun and now its Saturday morning waiting for everyone to wake up. Was reading Georges Bataille Blue of Noon which is fascinating in its perversion, and actually well written. Hard to keep all the girls straight though.
     A small press called Neshui vaguely offered to publish Poste Restante but the details were sketchy. Although I sent him the complete manuscript three months ago (after an initial query letter), the letter he sent back to me did not seem personal and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a photocopy, or if they're a vanity press. He called my submission a “novel” first of all, and the cincher is that he mentioned he would want $2.50 for his editor to proof the manuscript. When I looked up his catalog, most of the books were available on Barnes and Noble or Amazon online. But they were not promoted that well, at least on the internet. When I went to Barnes and Noble in person I didn't find any of the books. There is one collection of Hungarian poetry that seemed successfully, was in the NY Times book reviews and I found some write ups on it, and pieces published in Exquisite Corpse and others, but I am still skeptical that it is a scam. Nevertheless, I asked for a contract, we’ll see what it says.
     Been busy at work. Still fighting fires on the Customer Care front, and also taking on new Production tasks. But redoing the entire user guide and FAQs is really what is taking up my time. I am frantically trying to get caught up, seems like that is always the case. But I am enjoying being busy I guess. I enjoy walking to work with all the other productive people of the world, walking by CNN after I watched them on TV and seeing them for real, sitting behind the glass off-camera on 6th ave, you cant help but to sense that this really is the center of the world. A week or two ago I ran into Steve Birchfield (my old boss at Acentre) on 6th avenue. It was weird. We had coffee and caught up. He’s an interesting guy, driven with a lot of energy. He spoke highly of me, and mentioned numerous times how much they valued all the writing I did for them in so little time. Weird to think back on those times, in that crappy office, next to the stinky bathroom doing all that Lotus Notes shit, just to make a buck. It put things in perspective and I felt proud and respected.
     Tony Mottola left Sony and that is not good for us as he was one of our big advocates on our board of directors. Our budget for this year is still in negotiations but supposedly it is nothing to worry about. Lots of other out of control politics in the office, Frank (Dik’s replacement) is already making enemies and driving a wedge being the tech team and the production team, and pulling the second line guys away from Customer Care. Every one is getting edgy, and with release 2.5 looming and nobody prepared, it does not like its going to be a good month. I just try to take it one day at a time, and try to pry myself from caring about my Customer Care obligations and switch more over to Production, but at the same time I see all the crap associated with that role, having to be a diplomat between the naggy marketing girls, and the overworked artists.

January 26, 2003 – NYC
The spell of freezing weather has been snapped. It hasn’t broken freezing for a few weeks now. I just walked down to the Hudson and it looked more like a massive glacier than a river. I got some great shots of the ice buckling up next to those gnarled metal structures. Ice and steel structures [see below].
     Just finished writing “Catch With No Release” and have completed other pieces which will make up Bodhi Circu[it]s [that we published a year later as Bodh[i] Circu[it]s/Alg[a]e[bra] D[ra[in]]. I have also resurrected the dormant “Holy Pozole” a.k.a. “Pozole Alimony” which nowadays I’m calling “Lasso Calculus” [still not finished]. I got an e-mail from Andrew Levy after submitting some pieces to Crayon. I guess he’s pretty well-known in the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E circles. He didn’t officially accept the pieces but I sent, but liked them and is urging the other editor to accept them. Just got the proofs for “Birdman Delegates Guardian of Zoo” which is coming out in Café Irreal. Otherwise I have been sending out a lot of stuff without much luck.
     We finally hired this guy Bryan Hall to be the Customer Care manager, so my CC days are numbered. I’m already doing more and more production stuff, coordinating a lot of rich media banners for MSN and Yahoo. 2.5 slipped a week to Feb. 11. I will go out to L.A. the first week of February for 2.5 and also to train the Customer Care guy. U of A is ranked #1, they beat Kansas yesterday in a great game. The super bowl is in a few hours. Bedder-½ is making sauce. Last night we saw “Lagaan”, an Indian film that is a few years old, it was intense. Makes you want to move to India. Such an uplifting film, no qualms about the corniness, just good clean fun (not even a kiss, and no killing).

[the Hudson iced over in 2003, back when we still used 35 mm film]




February 9, 2003 – NY (LA)
I always seem to miss the snow. And get stuck with sucky airport experiences. I was supposed to go to L.A. early on Monday, and went to Newark. We boarded our plane and then sat at the terminal for a few hours going nowhere. Even though I was only given one boarding pass, our plane made a stop in Chicago where evidently the weather was bad. NY was beautiful weather. They finally let us off the plane but wouldn’t cancel the flight and wouldn’t redirect us through another city as it was ATA airlines that was based in Chicago so all their flights went through midway.
     I couldn’t do any work because I didn’t have my laptop… another story in itself, suffice to say I was frantically working until 10 p.m. on Friday night to get my shit done for my L.A. trip so I wouldn’t have to work the weekend. When I went to transfer my files over to my laptop it blue-screened and wouldn’t even let me reboot. It was insanity. So I couldn’t do anything except of course write poetry (mostly BC/AD pieces), woe is me. Plugging my ears at even increments because of a faulty fire alarm. Trying to coordinate what I could via blackberry and cell phone. By this time people had arrived for the next ATA flights and they were trying to consolidate flights. It was a scrum of stressed people bombarding the agents with insults and demands. I was told previously that since Chicago was closed we didn’t have to worry about catching our connecting flights, since all the flights were delayed. And being that my continuing Chicago > LAX segment was the same flight number I wasn’t too concerned. But when there was a slight lapse in the scrum, I asked only to discover that my Midway > LAX segment had been canceled. Which of course, when other passengers overheard that, the scrum ensued. Finally got it all sorted it out and by 5 p.m. or so they finally let us back on the plane saying that we were going to make it after all. This was much to the dismay of the new arrivals who couldn’t understand why we got to board the flight and not them, and didn’t seem to get that we had been there all day and our bags were already on the plane. At one point, there was a standoff with some irrational old woman that necessitated bringing in security. So after the fight to get back on the plane, we sat there for another hour (there were people who had been on the plane this whole time that were on the continuing segment to LAX and were unaware that they needed to change their tickets and freaked when I told them). And finally after all of this, they announced that Midway was closed again. Had to get off and join the throngs demanding a refund or rebooking another flight. Chaos fed by sheer incompetence, mother nature withstanding. I managed to by-pass the lines by calling the 1-800 number, then caught a $70 cab ride back to the city and got home after 8 p.m. A long day of travel to go nowhere! A kind of performance art in itself.
     But at least I got to spend one more night with Bedder-½ in our own bed. A meal at Baluchi’s. Next morning my car came and I did it all over. This time (after a long line and one agent working because they all up and quit, e-ticket machine not working, etc.) we made it to Chicago, but couldn’t park the plane as there were no open terminals. Sat on the runway for over an hour. Then we sat longer once we unloaded as they loaded the baggage wrong, and needed to re-distribute. But they were having problems finding workers as it was too cold….??? This is Chicago, wasn’t that in the job description? Made it to LAX finally, had to wait forever for my car since my initial reservation was all fucked up since I was a day late. At least I rebooked my hotel. Went to the office to touch base with everyone, went to Mexican food with Jim. Jim was salivating all over the waitress (female) and at one point I thought I had reached the limit of extreme L.A. vanity, when Jim casually asked the waitress (who had very large, firm breasts) “so are those boobies real?” and she casually clutched her cleavage and said “are you kidding?” But after she walked away I realized what she was clutching was her necklace, and the question Jim had actually asked was “are those RUBIES real?” So Jim is insane as ever. Telling me about all his drama, about how he ran in to his old boyfriend Roberto when he was on ecstasy (or a more hip earlier derivative of) in a London nightclub, intermixed with catching me up on all the pressplay office politics.
     Stayed at Le Meridien, which is sheik, yet cozy, except the lobby smells like a sweaty old man or a wet dog. The next day I met my replacement Bryan Hall. Ends up he is ultra-Right, totes a buzzcut and Hawaiian print shirts, lives in Orange County, total beaut. But whatever, I don’t care at this point, and I think he will be fine for the job, it is more of an HR issue. He kept asking my opinion on the current war situation, the space shuttle, ground zero, etc. and he was a fanatic with model planes and American flags, and dramatic poses of firemen clutching flags, etc. already decorating his desk. I guess he had taken offense to Glenn’s wall-sized blow-up of a grainy hidden camera shot of the trenchcoat guys first entering Columbine. Or maybe it was Glenn’s “I love Iraq” t-shirt. We told him during his interview that he needed to accept diversity and understand certain artistic freedoms, and he said he was “down with it.” Hmm, we’ll see. All I know is there is no three strikes here. This is the last straw. I am a producer now.
     So I had to sit with this Bryan guy a lot and get him up to speed with the finer art of Customer Care. At the same time handle my piling producer duties that I had to manage on a borrowed laptop, and touch base with the QA guys on all the recent user guide and FAQ changes, and shake hands and kiss babies, hang out with the temperamental sensitive artists, etc. One of my big new projects that I am taking the lead on is creating a “technology portal” that will consolidate all existing hacks and tools into one useful site that everyone can use. So I had to sit with Brian Kaino, and Brian Hull and Craig Johnston (straight from the X-files hacker stereotypes) to get up to speed.
     Wednesday I think I worked late and then drove around and couldn’t find anywhere to eat where I didn’t have to valet park so I gave up and went back to the hotel and ordered room service. I was mesmerized by a really boring car chase. This guy driving 25 MPH on the freeway with hundreds of cops “chasing” him. It dominated the whole news hour. His windows were fogged up (supposedly they were smoking crack) and they would slow down and put on the turn signal and then turn it off. I was hilarious. I couldn’t stay awake to see the outcome (anticlimactic I’m sure) and next morning they said nothing of it on the news. When I asked around the next day, I guess this happens nightly in L.A. I had weird dreams about it, this pathetic going through the motions, dramatic (but not dramatic) car chase dominating the news hours.
     Thursday night Jim met me at Le Meridien, and agreed that it did smell like a used mop. We sat in the bar watching the infamous Michael Jackson interviews. I am speechless. He is probably the cultural freak phenomena of our lifetime. Talk about metaphor for current society, Michael sums it all up. He is a martyr, never experience true reality because of his infamy. He is stuck (in infinite denial) in never-never la-la land.
     When I got back to Newark, I had just missed the third snowstorm of the season. So now I have missed them all. But I did see the aftermath. Backlogged through the Lincoln tunnel, my maniacal driver screaming and talking to himself in Hindi. Back to the land of True Grit. Beautiful New Jersey, land of industry, were things of practicality are actually created, shipping containers are piled to the sky. Beautiful graffiti covering every blank surface. Gritty, salty sludge caked on everything. A polar opposite from L.A.
     Yesterday Bedder-½ and I walked all the way down to the village. The scenic way. Ending up at the Bowery Poetry Center across from CBGBs where we saw Andrew Levy and Steve Benson. Andrew was a pretty good speaker, he read some more accessible stuff. Nothing earth shattering. I went up and introduced myself afterward. Trying to do the right thing and network with other writers and poets. It actually wasn’t too nauseatingly pretentious. Steven Benson, on the other hand was earth-shattering. His delivery was an anxiety-ridden, fragmented, tension-building stream of epiphanies. All improvised. Very inspiring, I have renewed faith in spoken word.
     Afterwards we met So Young and Lisa (her infamous wine expert friend that she met on an airplane and then followed up on the casual invitation that most in their right minds wouldn’t do). They were already semi-sauced from an $88 dollar bottle of wine, but nevertheless we had exotic drinks at Leshkos overlooking Thompkins square. Then we went to Haveli’s which was pretty good, a lot better then it’s 6th street counterparts and not so tacky.
     The theme of the recent issue #10 of Aught was to submit pieces inspired by past works, and out of the 6 or 7 pieces, 2 of the authors referenced my piece "Oxygen 8" as their inspiration! That was weird to see others emulating me. I have been corresponding with one of them, Chris Sawyer, and also been corresponding with John Byrum from Generator press (who although didn’t publish my entire chapbook, wants to publish a few pieces). Looking back through last months journal entries, looks like I forgot to mention an important event… Mining in the Black Hills was accepted for publication by Linguablanca! Linguablanca is an outfit run by Jukha Lehmus in Finland. Besides some other avante garde and visual stuff, he has some great photos and other artwork. Shooting for a May publication date! I finally got the contract from Neshui, and after reading it over, and being put off by Bradley Hodge’s vague and elusive correspondence I opted out. He was giving 10% royalties, which is not bad I guess, but when I looked around at his other books the marketing for them was horrible and it required you to be a self-promoter… so then what’s the point and why not just self-publish? They were on Amazon and Barnes and Noble but that's not difficult to pull off. Oh well, was hard to say no. But lesson learned is be a bit more picky and research the presses more before submitting…

February 18, 2003 – NY (Albuquerque) [we posted pics from this New Mexico trips here]
Went to Albuquerque. More airport hell. It took us an hour and a half to get to JFK. High security traffic. Our driver was a maniac. Bedder-½ almost threw up. He was trying to take short cuts through neighborhoods that only made it worse. Our plane was late which set off a chain reaction of late flights. Had to run to catch our flight in Minneapolis (or was it Detroit? All these airports are starting to look the same to me). Finally made it to Albuquerque. Great to see [R and M] and their new house. We stayed up late catching up and eating good salsa.
     Next morning we had breakfast burritos and then toodled around Albuquerque, drove around some neighborhoods to get and idea of how people live there, cruised route 66 (Central ave.) and ate a late lunch at the Church st. café. Ate outside! It was nice to get some sun. Afterwards went to some dive bar and had drinks. And after drinks we went to church! An old catholic church on the plaza. Mass was in English, but then there were these mariachi guys and all the songs were in Spanish. It was weird beign in a church though and I had a panic attack and started sweating. Bedder-½ was laughing at me at first. The more freaked out I got about sweating the more I sweated. Even Bedder-½ was kind of shocked as she usually doesn’t see my full blown sweating attacks, and now she knows what I’m talking about.
     I got some stuff, milagro crosses and candlesticks, more virgen of Guadalupe paraphernalia, a rug, pozole, a few jars of salsa, a Taxco silver ring with anasazi designs. We went up to the base of the Sandias to see what those were like. Tucson is a lot like Albuquerque. Not as dramatic surrounding landscape, but better in other ways. It is higher. The signs and culture along route 66 are unique. Closer proximity to other areas like Santa Fe. Which is where we went the next day. Walked around the plaza, bought some more stuff, ate at the plaza café and had pozole and tamales with green chili. Saw that church with the famous spiral staircase. It is a pretty amazing staircase that it is unbelievable that some carpenter built by himself. [we used a photo of this staircase in The Luminol Reels:]

Lots of great galleries and shops. Eating pinon nuts. Stopped in Madrid on the way back. Funky town like that whoop whoop movie meets Jerome, AZ. Bizarre novelty shops run by cyber hippies. Dogs everywhere. Crystals and tourquouise and Milagros and route 66 signs. Drove along the backside of the Sandias and then through the pass.
     The next morning we found out NY was getting slammed by some storm. The worst storm in decades. The 4th worst storm in history. Foot of snow with another foot on the way. Our plane was cancelled. So after many times calling busy or on hold got through and changed it. At least we had an extra day in the sun. Went and checked out some nearby petroglyphs. Inspiring stuff. Then went back and helped R build a deck. We had to set the foundation, burying the concrete blocks and getting them level. Bedder-½ and M were off shopping.
     Left back here early this morning. Our original flight was to Houston and then JFK, had to change it to some ridiculous flight to Minneapolis, then Milwaukee and then Newark. That was the best they could do. We went through hell when we got to the airport trying to get all boarding passes together. They botched it up big time, and Northwest blamed Continental and Continental (the Milwaukee Newark leg) blamed NW. Finally got out of Albuquerque to Minneapolis, but then the next leg to Milwaukee was being delayed for maintenance reasons. I finally talked our way on to a direct flight to La Guardia, but then when we got to that gate it was also late. Waited and waited and now finally we are here and there is ridiculous amounts of snow on the ground. Huge piles in the middle of avenues, lining the streets. It is going to be a pain for sure. But really, this was all confirmation that traveling sucks. But New Mexico was pretty cool and we both missed the Southwest. We saw the Westminister dog show the other day which also made me yearn for a place where we could have a dog.
     Reading Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins. He is on his skeptical high horse that is kind of annoying, but definitely a lot of interesting insights into science vs. superstitions. Tired now. Need sleep.

[more pics from this New Mexico trip here]


February 28, 2003 – NY (Omaha)
Monday went to Omaha again. Only this time I was going as a producer. Went from work to Newark. Of course my plane was a bit late, so I got to Omaha late and Chris and Jim didn’t want to wait around for me (they were coming from the other coast). Stepped outside of the airport and it was less than zero degrees. So cold that it is beyond the sensation of cold and just hits your lungs. Went to the embassy suites just in time for happy hour. Of course Jim’s crazy mom was there. Good to see those guys. Chris and I had some work to do though. Afterward we went to the casino. Played some blackjack and quickly lost $20. Just loitered about losing pocket change. Jim’s mom won a bunch of nickels.
     Didn’t sleep for shit. We got home around midnight and I was tired and even started to fall asleep, but then I couldn’t sleep. It was unbearably hot. I turned off my heat and even contemplated putting on my air con. I tried opening the window but it was like a vacuum outside and it was like the outside came gushing in to the room. The weirdest thing is that at two in the morning or so when I looked out the window until the desolate expanse, there were these two rabbits that were like screeching fuzzballs jumping into the air and kicking and scratching the shit out of each other. It was definitely a lucid, yet surreal, moment. I had to pinch myself. What the hell were these rabbits doing out in this cold and this time of night in a snow covered parking lot? Around 6 in the morning the alarm in the room next to me started going off and nobody was in there. It was driving me crazy. I had to get up to call the front desk since my phone by the bed was broken. Took them forever to get it shut off. There was someone else’s used washcloth hanging in the shower. Nasty reminders of previous tenants.
     Tuesday went to West in their new location. I was documenting the whole experience with a video camera. We were doing a video shoot for Customer Care. Chris was the director, I was the cameraman. Jim was to do the interviewing. The other purpose of our trip was to give them a sneak peak at 3.0 and also solicit their feedback. We threw our scripted scenarios out the window in favor of impromptu interviews and double-jacking their calls (so you could hear the customer but only see the agent). It was kind of fun. But it was unbearably hot. The call center was like a beehive of human activity amidst plains of freezing desolation. A few times I had sweating attacks and had to go outside to cool off.
     Chris gave the 3.0 presentation and did a great job. We got a lot of good feedback from the agents. Filmed some more. Then Chris and I had to call into the Production meeting on Jim’s little cell phone. I got all flustered and incoherent when it was my turn to speak. I’ve been pointing all these things out as I’m thinking it might be therapeutic. Not like I haven’t had these panic attacks and sweating attacks before. Its been going on since my college interview at Santa Cruz, so I guess you could say effectively my whole adult life. So at this point it is not something that will likely change, but something I should just accept. And maybe when I accept it it will probably go away. Easier said than done.
     It was a quick trip. Jetted out that evening. Went to the airport with Chris and Jim. We played Galaga and Ms Pacman while we waited. Of course my flight was late. Little jet with the male flight attendant that I had on the inbound flight. Was reading Thomas Pynchon and staring down at the circuits of light. The network of Midwestern cities. Very tired. With all the other fatigued businessmen. Cabbed from Newark to NYC. Tried to talk to the cabbie but I don’t think he spoke English. Had a sneezing attack. On the turnpike, through the Lincoln tunnel. Getting used to this. Not good.

March 6, 2003 – NY
Drinking Woodchuck cider and eating lime Tostitos. Very quiet. Earlier we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and back as well as all through downtown and Chinatown—down through Little Italy, funeral processions, down Mott St. forsaking Dim Sum, searching for food ending up at a French Brassiere Les Halles. Then across the Bridge, along with the masses taking advantage of the first clear day above freezing since last October perhaps. Now “writing”, waiting to go to the Realistics. Not sure what to write. Inspired by reading Crying of Lot 45, but also humbled, wondering if I could ever write that good? Mostly “writing” visual stuff lately, not enough time for a story. I wrote another feature for pressplay magazine, the “Art of Feedback Guitar”[see below] and have also been writing song reviews.

But the “Portal” is really what is consuming my time. Last night we watched “Devdas” … a classic Bollywood movie. They are churning out some gems. Way overly dramatic and cheesey, but unbelievable production and sets, and something about them that just kicks Hollywood's ass. I want to go to India.
     Earlier in the week we went out with Kimi and Beth. That time of year again. This time Kimi brought along this guy Malik that used to live in Tucson (where they met) and now lives up in Harlem. Nothing changes with Kimi and Beth, she is all grown up and wears shawls like her mom and they are both so new agey it is weird to see them in New York. I met Malik later in the week for lunch since he works on 39th st. Kind of an interesting guy. Not sure what he is doing with Kimi. He is a tall handsome guy, well-traveled, nice.
     Not sure what else to say. Feeling very zen.

March 26, 2003 – NY
Spring is finally here. We are at war. I'm listening to Pet Sounds. I just don't see what other people see in it. I am PDFing and transferring a lot of extranet documents so have time in between to write this on my laptop. Its been a while I'm sure, since my last confession. As usual. Haven't left town in a while which is good I guess. Last week all the LA folks were here. Glenn [Kaino] had some art show up in Harlem. Two pieces, one giant sand castle, and another that was a suburban house replica being chased by a meteor. The whole posse showed up—Daniel, Chris, George D, Jeff Hurlow, Rick Albano, Alex Luke, Micah, etc... not necessarily just for this show, but for a "portal" meeting that we had here on monday. Actually a lot of them were in Miami before NY for the URB festival. But it was cool that Bedder-½ got to meet them so she could put a face on them. Chris was here most of last week sitting next to me, so we got some work done. We went to Soundtrack of Our Lives thursday night after sushi at Yama. It was a great show. Chris got some great pics and I did a write up for it [that we reposted on 5cense]. The next night Bedder-½ and I went to Sigur Ros. That was an amazing show at Radio City, but the audience was annoying. Earlier in the week we went to Nobu. Eating lots of good food. Seeing lots of good shows. The biggest news is that I am an uncle again! [J and S] had their baby, HER name is [K]. All is well although S had to deliver with a C-section. What else. Bedder-½ is a bit happier with her job after a talk with Alessandra to let her know she is leaving after this IBP paper she is working on now. For a while there she was at ends and looking for other jobs. She needs to stick it out. But come fall a change may be brewing. Our landlord, or Elena, our landlord's sidekick told us yesterday that Gunn wanted to sell the apartment! If I knew we would be around in NY we would definitely buy it, but things are so up in the air right now. We'll see what happens. Our building management is also going on strike, so no doorman or service people and a giant rat parked outside our building if it comes to blows. Went out for Ethiopian food last night with Jack Vaughn. Have I mentioned him yet in my journal? We have gone out a few times. He's a funny cat. Ended we hooked him up with Max Cannon and Max is going to do a show on Comedy Central. Jack is from Tucson, friend of Rusty's, they had the Slimstyle label together, and then Jack came out here and works now for Comedy Central. He is very spontaneous and whimsical and always has funny stories.

April 14, 2003 – LA
Sitting in my room at Le Meridian. Just got “home” from work and its 9:30. I am wearing shorts. Its been in the high 80s. When I left NY on Monday it was just starting to snow, and I guess they got pelted with a blizzard right after I left. What is it with me and flying and snow in NY?
     So I have been here since Monday. Leaving Friday. Usual drill. Have back to back meetings scheduled every day. 3.0 meetings, FAQs, User Guide, K-base, teaching Mike McMullen Robohelp, Music Programming meetings, meeting with Brian Kaino and crew about the Intranet development, Meetings about the Resources site, etc. Pulled in all sorts of directions. But its good to be busy I guess, and the crew in LA is fun to work with.
     This morning I woke up and American tanks had rolled in to Baghdad with little resistance. They showed celebrating Iraqis congregating in the main plaza, and then they started climbing a big statue of Saddam Hussein and cracking away at it with a sledge hammer and trying to pull it over with ropes. I watched the whole thing unfold, while I was working out, eating my room service granola and fruit. Eventually they solicited the help of American tank that first put an American flag, pulled that down, then put a pre-gulf war Iraqi flag, then pulled that down, that pulled down the whole statue, it didn’t fall all the way, they had to yank more until they dislodged it from his base and throngs of Iraqis stomped all over it and pulled the head off and dragged it through the streets. The symbolism of it all was pretty amazing. It would have been cool if the Iraqi people could do it themselves, but they had to solicit the help of the US marines. I felt like I was definitely watching something historic, yet haphazard and unplanned, they were just making it up as they were going along.
     What else. Tried to read Michael Brodsky We Can Report Them on the way here (and actually before) but couldn’t get in to it. Also a Burning press anthology. Didn’t win the New Michigan award, but Ander Monson (of Diagram) excepted some more of my pieces for Diagram, “pieces” that I didn’t even think of as pieces, but exhibits from 23 Text Tiles, and the Endnotes from 23 Text Tiles (out of context from the pieces in 23 Text Tiles). Got my published version of Gestalten and also had solme online publication in Rife.
     I am so tired now that I am falling asleep while I am writing this.

April 16
On the plane now back to NY. Supposedly its rainy and cold, but shaping up just in time for my arrival. It was a busy week, lots of meetings and different projects, but got a lot done. Last night I went to Chris’s house for dinner. His wife Mary Anne made a mean chili. It was cool to be in a suburban home for a change. I guess. Weird to be in the Pasadena area though, still associate that with Kevin, though I’ve been in LA enough since that I am starting to lose those associations and build new ones.
     Will probably have to work tomorrow to get caught up. I’m always striving to get caught up. It seems I’m assuming more and more of the work. Thursday also had a producer’s lunch at Bossa Nova, and Queen Latifah was sitting at the table next to us with presumably her girlfriend. I don’t know if I would’ve noticed if Chris didn’t point her out. I’m oblivious. Or I just don’t care enough I guess.
     I have to take a piss. Need to lay off the coffee. I finished my Burning Press anthology so I have nothing to read besides maybe the inflight magazine. Was doing some work, writing copy for “hooking pressplay to your home stereo”, and I have other stuff I could be working on, but its too hard without spreading my shit out.

[And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead @ Irving Plaza]

April 26, 2003 – NY
Last weekend saw And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. Outstanding show. I took pictures and did a write up [again, reposted this on 5cense]. Starting to get caught up at work, but when you finish one thing something else comes along. My Inbox perpetually has 50 messages in it (actually right now it is more like 80) I am constantly trying to clear it. Some are naggy ones with vague follow-up required. My desk is piled with papers. I tried to get some of those stupid file stacker things but all that does is organize your mess so you can procrastinate even more. I just shuffle papers in order of importance in a big pile and try to get through them. Its entropy. With curry and wasabi and coffee stains all over my papers. Peanut shells all over the carpet. Right now I am just downloading and burning music. Red House Painters. Listening to the new White Stripes that we don't have on pressplay. And the new Radiohead that we got straight from Capitol but has not been released yet. Reading Gary Lutz [little did we know we'd re-issue Stories in the Worst Way 6 yrs later + she'd become a co-librarian @ Calamari Archive!]. Always reading Borges. Read this great little book The Father Costume with text by Ben Marcus. Great hybrid of art and fiction. Saw 24 Hour Party People, wasn't that impressed although it was an interesting idea, just wish it was more about Joy Division and New Order.

May 5, 2003 – NY
Its that time of year where I am miserable due to allergies. I don't sleep more than a few hours at a time until I wake up with my head stuffed up and sneezing and dripping. Allergy medications only add to the misery, making me feel like my lymph system is full of wet concrete or chili oil. They only cure is to suffer my penance. I'll try eating a bit more eat and seeing if that helps. Definitely got my fill last night when we went to [J and P]'s for our annual Brooklyn BBQ. Actually the last time we saw them was a year ago at their wedding. Not much has changed except they bought a place near Prospect park and Bigfoot [their cat] got older. I guess right after we saw them last they got jacked up on cocaine and smuggled a bunch of drugs to Aruba or some Caribbean island (we were looking at pictures, but it was a resort like any other so you can't tell). Since then they have been trying to get pregnant, but they still smoke pot every day, if not other drugs, and drink, and she smokes, and then there's the prozac and all the other anti-depressants she is on, so is it any wonder they can't? Its probably a good thing anyways and they don't have the willpower to clean up their act and despite that she is a lung doctor (that surprisingly as it is, heads an intensive care unit!) thinks there is nothing wrong with smoking and justifies all their behavior defensively. And then J grills as to why we don't want to have kids? Saying all the stupid people are breeding? Case in point, yes. But let the stupid meek inherit the earth. But anyways, it was nice to get off of manhattan for a few hours. And got a chance to read Gary Lutz on the subway, who is one of the better writers I have read in a long while. He is beyond twisted, never read something where what it's "about" becomes more about how it's written.
     Saturday night we saw Longwave at the Bowery Ballroom, who were great. Not exactly entertaining, but very tight. And something very sincere about the singer, and he has a unique way of singing a bit Strokish, but more articulate and clear. Good song-writing. Before the show we got chicken and rice and beans at the Cafe Habana in Nolita, which was incredible. We actually went to the dive next door.
     Earlier saturday, [G and her husband J] met us for brunch. They were in town for the weekend and just called me up on friday night. Haven't seen her since high school or even before. It was weird. We reminisced a lot, she is more emotionally scarred, broke in to tears at least twice when we were talking about Kevin. Her husband was a great guy, english professor at university of Michigan whose specialty is Joyce, although I didn't get a change to talk to him much about writing.
     Woke up in the morning and wanted to write a short story. based on how many dollar bills were in my wallet, so I got up and checked. Ended up writing "Being on a Raft" in a few hours. Very happy with it. I should use such props more often.
     Going to see the Libertines tonight at Bowery Ballroom. Lots of shows. Did I mention the no-smoking ban has been in effect for a month! Definitely makes for better nights out where you don't feel gross and shitty the next day.

May 6, 2003
Libertines rocked, although they could stand a bit of practice. They were playing so furiously that they were a bit out of control, and perhaps were trying to play outside of their ability.And of course they were all jacked up on who knows what.
     I was just walking home from work and was walking in front of the David Letterman marquis when some nasty blonde flashed her tits right in front of me. They were grossly enlarged and her nipples were pierced. Tourists. Her boyfriend was across the street taking her picture.

May 11
Went to see the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs on Thursday night at Irving Plaza. Before the show met up with Jack and finally met his girlfriend Gabby. Nice girl, works for Elektra. We at Yama. The first band was amusing, they dressed up in absurd costumes (the guy had udders for a penis in one outfit) and displayed sides like karaoke on acid. The second act I also don’t know the name of and were a fill-in since the original supporting band canceled. All I know is they were from L.A. and were completely horrid and evil. Their music sucked (bad heavy metal), the singer was a pathetic twirp and the guitarist was some violent asshole who wanted to pick a fight and was spitting on everyone. They were all wearing red eye make-up to make themselves look even more sick and evil then they already were. The only person in to it was some rasta guy who was thrashing around lashing us with his dreads. I couldn’t bear it after a while and had to step to the back.
     Bedder-½, Jack and Gabby hung in though and maintained our decent spot for the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. She put on a great show. Karen O is a good performer, but there are subtleties in her voice that don’t come out live. And they could probably stand to have a bass or more backing. But was definitely entertained by her antics, as her fishnet stocking became more and more unraveled, by her post-punk retro get up.
     Friday I finally did it. I took a sick day and did nothing. Besides write a few stories. Elimae expressed an interest in must the final paragraph of “Being on a Raft” which I just wrote. I wrote a few other pieces in this vein “Anticipating the Encore” and “We Keep Reminding Ourselves to Remember” and am working on some others. Here is “Anticipating the Encore” since it is somewhat autobiographical of lately:

We are all puddled together, awaiting some sort of affirmation. It is only when you let go of something important do you notice the untied laces and debris underfoot.
     We long to be so close that the actual music is muddled and the high-kicking performers end up watching us. This is when I realize I am sweating, and begin to really sweat.

Yesterday we rented a car and drove out to the Hamptons. Just to check it out for ourselves. Stopped in a few of the villages, and stopped at a few beaches, went on a few of the hikes. Didn’t go in the lighthouse though as it was a rip-off. Saw some cool stuff walking around. Near the tip there are these bogs with rusty water and big-leafed plants. The ground was really spongy and sunk underneath each step. On another hike we saw the “walking” sand dunes, and I saw cranberries in their natural state for the first time growing in a little swamp. The weather was off and on, but mostly kind of foggy and misty. Near the water you couldn’t distinguish the horizon. Water and air just meshed together.
     Ate Lunch at the infamous lobster roll (which was not worth the hype, at least based on the fried clams and clam chowder). It was just good to get out and drive. And it was really fun driving back in to the city. Cruised by our old place on 89th street which we haven’t been back to since we moved.
     Now I still suffer and I have something in my throat that won’t go away. Sounds like the words to a Starsailor song. I just hope the lump doesn’t fall in to my lungs and turn in to pneumonia because this feels like what happened last time. I feel fine otherwise, just all fucked up because of the allergy medication (this week its Allavert and Sudafed) so I don’t know what is what.

May 23, 2003 – NY
Big changes, early this week (May 19th to be exact) Roxio bought us, so now we are Napster!!! How ironic is that... we were created to battle Napster, and now we ARE Napster. I actually got wind of it Friday night when David sent me an e-mail about how Roxio was close to buying pressplay. So the whole weekend was spent wondering what that meant, and Jim called me but couldn't elaborate.
     Monday the deal was official and we were debriefed in our staff meeting. Basically its business as usual except now we are "Napster" and we are owned by Roxio instead of Universal and Sony. So all around its a better gig (when people ask me where I work, I won't have to say "it's like Napster" because "it IS Napster"! I guess will get the full debriefing when Chris Gorog, the Roxio CEO, rolls in to town next Tuesday with his entourage to give us the spiel. We won't use any of the Napster technology. We are just going to slap their logo on our product and call it Napster. We will prop up Shawn Fanning in a chair and say he is our spokesmen. It is a total hypocrisy and everyone is so quick to forget but whatever, I don't care. It's just a job. All I have to do is search and replace "pressplay" for "Napster" everywhere.
     Got more pieces accepted in Moria and Word for/Word. Its five o-clock on Friday before memorial day weekend. I am going to leave soon. First I have to take a crap.

May 25, 2003 – NY
The other night I woke up in the middle of the night and it bothered me that Kevin’s ashes were still in my closet. Not that I blame that for my recent insomnia, but it just seemed long overdue that I do something with his ashes. We are actually honing in our plans to go to India and Nepal next December, but it seemed appropriate to just spread his ashes through New York. We woke up this morning and set out. Scattered some through the grating and on to the subway tracks. Buried some near a tree in Central Park near Columbus circle. Then got on the subway and carried his ashes down to the West Village where we continued on walking. Cut over to the Hudson. There was a dock going out to the pumping station where they pump air in to the Holland tunnel. We poured his ashes into the wind, the wind scatted them into the river below, forming a white cloud along the top that slowly sank to the silt below. That was about half of the ashes. We continued walking, past the trapeze artists and skateboarders. Scattered the rest of them on a point in Battery park that juts out in to the Hudson. The current was running strong out to sea. The site wasn’t far from that ancient Irish burial ground where a wedding was taking place. And also not far from the World Trade Center site. Kevin’s ashes would join all the others. The Hudson is America’s Ganges.
     We cut across the walkway that goes along the WTC site. Lots of gawking tourists as usual. We explored downtown and ended up at Les Halles, our usual downtown weekend retreat to eat [years before Anthony Bourdain wrote kitchen confidential]. These annoying tourists from South Dakota provided entertainment. Acting like hotshot French food and wine connoisseurs. Speaking with exaggerated French accents, “I am going to call moi Stock brokér.”
     Afterward we hopped the Staten Island ferry, reliving Walt Whitman and accompanying Kevin’s ashes out to sea. Watched the water swirling in our wake, and the statue of liberty and the fading Manhattan skyline. Didn’t get off the boat in Staten Island. Just stayed on for the return trip.
     Yesterday we went to Arthur avenue in the Bronx. Took the subway up to Fordham avenue which was actually more of a cultural phenomena than Arthur avenue. Arthur avenue, or actually 187th street at Arthur avenue, is the Italian area of the Bronx. It is more authentic than little Italy in Manhattan, but still perhaps not as cool as Boston’s little Italy. But there were a lot of cool pastry shops and markets, and café bars with foosball tables. Bought some fresh pasta and Italian sausage, and some bread and cookies. Ate at this place Mario’s that was classic. Classic décor, white and black and yellow, Michelangelo marble statues. I had lasagna that was the best lasagna I have ever had.

June 2, 2003 – NY
Saw Matthew Barney's exhibit at the Guggenheim and it blew my mind. We didn't see any of the actually Cremaster films in full, but the exhibit touched on all of them, and showed excerpts from all of them so it was a good introduction. Not only was it conceptually sheer genius, the execution was mind-blowing. I can't imagine pulling together a project of that magnitude... 5 feature length films with Rockettes choreography, renting out the Bronco dome and blimps, organizing a motorcycle race around Isle of man, covering a bar with vaseline, etc...and to see it in the framework of the Guggenheim was pretty incredible as he had converted the whole space as part of the installation, from a climbing wall going up the inside, to vaseline gutters spiraling along the railing. Everything was so white and plasticy or vaseliney and antiseptic and his use of color is unbelievable. What can I say, it was mind-altering.
     We walked through the park even though it was sprinkling (the weather has been sucky this whole past month). The park was lush like a rain forest. The Trump ice skating rink was supposed to be a fair, but there was an inch or two of standing water that made it look surreal.
     Been writing a lot more flashes. I wake up in the middle of the night and jot them down, then do a lot of reworking. Or on the way to work I will think of something, and stop and send notes to myself from my blackberry to rework later. I have dozens of these that I let age, and when they are ripe I finalize and revise and rewrite and revise until they are perfect little gems.

June 14, 2003 – NY
So yesterday I was hanging out in Washington Square waiting for Bedder-½ and Jack, when who should I see but Zeke Zagar, riding his skateboard, and "pimpin his juice" with his Jamaican sidekick. He has completely lost it. When he saw me, there was recognition, but he started giving me the rundown all over again, I'm married, I had a kid, the kid had cancer but now he's better, I live in a house in Woodstock, "I have a skateboard ramp and a 24 track studio, you should come u and see my house."
     "Um Zeke, we went up and spent the weekend at your house last year. We met your wife and your kid and skated on your ramp and saw your studio." Zeke struggles to remember. His mind is gone. But he looks pretty good. Shaved his Bin Laden beard off. Went on a tirade about how he could be president, and starting comparing himself to Che Guevara. Then he promptly left saying he was playing with Gil Scott Heron.
     Bedder-½ and Jack showed up and we slopped on noodles, then went to the Boston Comedy Club... Jack invited us to the insider comedy roast. We didn't know any of the comedians, but Jack told us in a couple of years these would be the ones that were famous. It wasn't open to the public, you basically just had to fight your way through the door and show how hip and cool you were (helps that Jack was on the list). The main comedian they were roasting was "Patrice Oneal" (sp?) .. a big fat black guy, and that was basic gist of his jokes, that he was fat and black. There was a whole panel of comedians, none of whom I had ever heard of, but I guess one Colin Quinn (sp?) has his own show on MTV. It was mostly insider and industry jokes... and it dragged on and on, but was interesting.
      Last weekend we had Biswa and So Young over for eggplant parm and drank mojitos and played cranium. We got to start planning our India trip.
     The most recent rumors are that both Apple and Real are bidding to buy Roxio (and Napster).. not sure how much truth there is in that, and not sure what that would mean, but the writing is definitely on the wall, and even Jim (our director of HR!) told me I was smart when I told him I was looking for a job, and that I should be.... so who knows who I will be working for next week. But all of this got me to thinking (after I was woken up at 2 a.m. by what sounded like an atomic bomb but was probably a car crash) that I should write a book about "a personal history of listening to music" .. starting with 8-track and going to digital downloads, highlighting certain albums and how it effected my life... [although we haven't written this book yet, we did write this piece for Quarterly West (in the context of releasing the unheard tapes: Confessions of a Cassette Head: Redubbing The Unheard Tapes] This was also inspired by reading Camden Joy and realizing that music writing is not what it used to be in the day of Lester Bangs and the other Rolling Stones writer that had the liberty to be personal and creative. Whenever I write something for pressplay (er, Napster) any instance of "I" is scrubbed, and I am not even given a byline. They would be a series of connected shorts stories, like one about my obsession with the Cure Pornography and what the vinyl experience was like [+ at this point we collaged the Roxio + Napster logos together in our journal:]

June 23, 2003 – NY
So, once again, writing at work. Not that I was busy this weekend or anything. Spent all day yesterday going through old tapes and recording anything worthy to MP3. Threw out bags full of old tapes. Recording all my old stuff to MP3, stuff that I don't even remember recording. There was one whole jam session where Kevin was singing (if you could call it that), it was weird. Not sure what I will do with it, but good to have digitally just for prosperity sake [14 years later we released these as the unheard tapes]. Some of the tapes were already ruined.
     Reading Ben Marcus. He's brilliant.
     Saw Turin Brakes last week. They played an acoustic set, so musically it was a bit dull, but man, his voice is good. Its even better live.
     Jim is here today. Glenn is coming tomorrow and he scheduled a 6 hour meeting with me. I have been getting hints at it, and just got more precursory info from Jim, the jist of which they want me to move to LA... that will take some thinking. Never thought I would live to see the day. But with this shitty ass weather, and the utter ludicrousness of how much they are selling our apartment for has been making us think otherwise... just think of what you would get for for $350K in L.A.? You could have a house with a pool and a yard. Of course you would have to drive to work and everything. Will definitely take some thought, and will have to fit in with Bedder-½'s plans. She is getting a lot closer on her Science paper, and found out they are in the clear as far as the competing lab they were afraid of getting scooped by. A colleague went to some seminar and found out that they are just getting their knockout mice now (something bedder-½ has had for months now). They are pretty close and she will be looking for another job, but she also just got a training grant, so is rooted in for a bit longer. And with us having to move by October. Its hard to say.

[July—December of 2003 in post #988]

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