thursday, september 25

lately i have been saying
'i only hope i can remember this'
a lot

hills and forty miles of winding gravel,
the sun up on the crest like
a nuke on the horizon obliterating everything
every little rock a shadow six inches long
stars wheeling unrestricted, dancing over
the possibility of winter wheat

silence and wind,
cactus, yucca, grass and dust
insects, cedars, sky and waiting, watching, careful
utility-line series, electric or telephony
and scattered cattle

music like nothing i have known
guitars and the voices raised
the bars with elvis on the wall,
frosted mugs and chainsmoked cigarettes
in other people's hands
lights and standing singing
between tents and coolers full of beer

a quonset full of books,
all the things i only wish
i had read

kansas thunderstorms through wichita,
past salina all the way through to grey sunrise
the great cutting emptiness of a jet engine coming up to speed
and most of all the girl.

Saturday, September 13

I've been thinking about writing something like a wiki for months now; Brent just goes ahead and does it. There is much to be said for actually exercising your technical skills.

friday, september 12

debitive

between the latin i should be studying
the letters i haven't written
and the places i promised i would go
it might be a while before this space
gets much attention again.

thursday, september 11, raining

soaked? well, not quite
but wet, definitely
not going to dry out for a while

it came to me as i was leaving the house
that i am going to need some rain gear
a really good hat,
that's what i'd like
the kind you could wear
in just about any weather.

zero hero were good last night
and there was a healthy crowd
when i got back to the house
there was this massive,
at least by dry-erase standards,
rant about locking doors and turning off lights
on the message board in the kitchen
for some reason it pissed me off

but i should get used to the idea
that most people are unbalanced
about something once in a while
and i'm no exception
besides, i'm sure it would be a good idea
to be more careful about these things
so i didn't do anything childish and stupid
like, say, locking every door in the house
for which a key actually exists
when i left this morning

and i suppose even writing
"chill." in its place
would be a bad response
although it's kind of what
i want to say to half the human race lately

i was at a party the other weekend,
there was a girl with this expression
of desperation and her voice on edge
saying you've got to do something
people are going crazy

which i guess is true enough
but it always has been and
i'm not sure shrieking about it
is getting us anywhere.

Wednesday, September 10

to treat of things musical

The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash played at the Zoo last night. The sound was awful, which is not necessarily their fault and does not always prevent my enjoyment of a show. They played utterly straightforward, undifferentiated country, which I guess is fine if you like that sort of thing. I left after the first set.

A few weeks ago I ran into KC Barnes, a guy who was intermittently in my German class at Wayne State. It sounds like he's had an interesting life since then. He and his brother play guitar in a band named Zero Hero, doing an acoustic thing with a Weezer-gone-even-sillier vibe. I only heard him play once at WSC, but the demo disc he handed me turns out to be pretty listenable. They're playing at Knickerbockers tonight, so I think I'll at least stop by.

Tomorrow night is back to the Zoo for the Love Evil Funk Quartet, whose name says most everything. After this week I may not set foot inside a bar for several years, or at least a weekend.

Finally, and I want you to imagine breathless exuberance creeping into my voice, the fucking Pixies are reuniting.

Thank you, and good day.

Tuesday, September 9

essay

I spent the balance of last night reading the essays of George Orwell, collected in a thick volume with thin red covers, smallish print, and a yellow ribbon bookmark. I would probably have noticed daylight starting out the window by the time I put it down, if it hadn't already been raining by then.

Orwell is not someone I would want to wind up sounding like, so it is well that any of his style I seem to be copying will wear off once I stop actively reading him. Nonetheless, Orwellesque strings and chains of sentences keep rolling off my brain. They are not especially good, and most of them do not actually have any content, but I guess they'll keep coming for a week or two.

I do not actually want to talk about George Orwell, for all that Eric Arthur Blair was a pretty fascinating individual and reading some of this stuff is several kinds of good. I would rather talk about the essay as a kind of writing, which is something I do not know enough to do in depth. Instead, for the moment, I am going to start a list of things I think are good or interesting essays. I guess it's probably more useful to read and write them than to talk about doing so, anyway.

morning

It is almost 2:00 AM,
and I am still here, typing.

Today was important
and I will remember parts of it
probably as long as I live.

I am not sure that there is
anything to write about this,
and I have no singular revelations
or epiphanies to impart.

This is acceptable, but
it doesn't make for very good copy.

Monday, September 8

eats

We hung out in Selleck Hall for a while last night. The Czechs were cooking, and by the time everyone showed up there must have been twenty people in the room. I only counted seven nationalities, but I feel like I must be forgetting someone. The food was good.

(Stating the obvious: It's common to heap scorn on American food, even for people who eat the stuff regularly and seem to enjoy it. Of course there are sufficient reasons, if you take a narrow view of what constitutes "American food":

They are entirely capable of excellence, but percentage-wise hamburgers and french fries deserve the contempt. So does the bread most people seem to eat, the processed lunchmeat, and the vast assemblage of frozen, powdered, pulped, and overpackaged mediocrities that too many of us somehow live on. There are few things more insipid than what pass for vegetables in the freezer section of your average supermarket, or most of the substances masquerading as cheese here.

And then there's the chain eatery / McDonald's / convenience store obsession with ever more ridiculous portions, the ascendancy of the rigorously formulaic themed franchise, the obsession with any one of a dozen badly understood schemes for "healthy" eating, and all the bad beer. None of this defines American food in any absolute sense, but it sure hell serves to disguise its better elements1.)

I grew up in a family with a deep-seated love of food, a constant awareness of and concern for it, almost a liturgical or sacramental kind of relationship to the stuff. Not necessarily in some mystical sense but in the way it always marked the cycle of the year, the highs and lows of life, the way church calendars used to. I guess you can argue about how healthy this is, or how much of it is overcompensation (how many generations are any of us really removed from constant worry about hunger?) but it makes up my basic experience and it still startles me a little whenever I stumble across something different.

That said, it is only lately that I'm getting the idea of how worthwhile it is to prepare good food and share it. I guess it has always been in the background, but it took me this long to notice.

Friday, September 5

Amnesty? Amnesty?

Thursday, September 4

just ain't satisfied

Sardinas was pretty amazing the other night. The sound was better this time, probably thanks to bigger amps, and so was the playing. It seemed like he did more acoustic stuff. Dynamic range is good.

Eventually, I'm going to install a Bayesian spam filtering system on the server here. By eventually I mean sometime last Tuesday, which is probably going to be an issue.

On another note, I forgot that yesterday was my mom's birthday, and most of my laundry still isn't done.

Other items which seem suited to an unsatisfactory, catch-all sort of entry:

  • Leo's Invention are playing again in Lincoln, on the 13th, at Barry's this time. I don't even know where Barry's is at. Maybe I will find out. Maybe I won't even be in the state that day.
  • I have worn this shirt five times.
  • There is a beginner's Ultimate tournament in Ft. Collins at the end of this month.
  • Internet Explorer still doesn't honor max-width directives in stylesheets, and self-replicating code has been rendering giant chunks of network unusable for probably weeks now. If I were paying attention it would take some kind of major self restraint not to be really pissed at somebody.
  • I have three books overdue at the library and no idea where my student ID is.

wednesday, third september

this place is a fucking mess
an accurate but unflattering
reflection of my state of mind
by which i mean only
that there are things scattered
everywhere and my bed is unmade
not that i feel broken, overwhelmed
or undone — only scattered

i sit stretching on the well used
carpet by my stereo

and the daylight ending outside
turns everything grey
later i know it will all be shaped
differently but for the moment
i am just here and aware
of the one article of faith
that my doubt tests most severely,
thus maybe the one thing i truly believe

that there is sufficiency

in moments unto themselves
connections gained and lost,
redeemed and impossible to hold,
in love imperfectly expressed
in our openness to being destroyed by the world

enough
not promised,
but at least possible.

Tuesday, September 2

Eric Sardinas is playing tonight at the Zoo Bar.

Monday, September 1

serial

I'm going to play cheerleader and suggest that what Saalon's doing over at Daemonsong is really worth taking a look at.

Of course I'm not impartial, but the framework he's using is probably the best way I've seen so far to tell a big story on the web. It's just a new part every couple days, five or six parts to a chapter. Mostly prose, no high concept hypertext or bullshit about anything "non-linear", and it works pretty well. It feels like a webcomic, or an old school radio serial with more meat to it. Even the message board is just a wiki, and I'm not sure how well that part works yet, but it's about as basic and hands-on as hypermedia ever gets1.

So there are some cool ideas there, and the other thing is that Eric's getting better at this fiction stuff, so maybe it's a little uneven and sure you've read more natural prose, but it turns out to be a pretty good story that he's piling up a piece at a time.

Of course Eric's reading this, and so is Brent (who deserves a lot of credit for that framework and for trying to do fiction in much the same way, even if it didn't really fly). So maybe I'm just plugging for some friends here and you can't trust anything I say, but I don't think I do that any more.