Sunday, May 22

The upstairs neighbors are having a work party or something. It looks like they're installing a drip irrigation system in the back yard. They've got music on loud. Phish, Led Zep, Floyd, lots of the Dead. It might be a Pandora station, but I hope not. Lately I'm taking a dim view of algorithmically determined music selection, or at least a dim view of Pandora, which has entirely taken over the public-audio landscape around here and seems to exhibit an ever-narrower imagination. All of the easy choices rendered automatic. Radio minus the human element.

I should have offered to help with the irrigation system, but I didn't. A couple of us went camping up at West Mag last night. My first trip of the year. It was windy and I barely slept and I've been feeling strange all day: Tired, old, stiff, kind of spiritually dislocated. So now it's pushing 5 in the afternoon and here I sit in my laundry-cluttered bedroom drinking the last of the Black Label and thinking I ought to go out but I'm not sure where exactly "out" would be.

Rusted Root is playing now. I have cooked and eaten a "vegan sausage" on a tortilla. It tasted nothing like a sausage and not altogether like something made out of plants. The whiskey is almost gone. I am thinking untenable thoughts about the present and too-accurate ones about the past. Boulder, Colorado: How am I doing on that sense-of-place thing?

friday, may 20

i'm a little bit drunk walking downtown. it's early summer or late spring, one of the two. it's been raining for a solid week, the way it so seldom does here that you don't quite believe it when it's going on. the afternoon's hailstorm has leaves plastered all over the bricks on pearl street. the creek is higher than it's been in a year, or at least it seems that way. the sky is dramatic.

the summertime crowd is taking over. less student, more transient and family scene. the busking has gotten better. a person over the age of 23 can stand to go into the bars again. some nights at least. i find that i'm out of the habit anyway.

at the bookstore i buy a book of poems by sam hamill. it comes to $7.04 and the guy tells me seven will do. i leave with an intact dollar in my pocket.

Tuesday, May 17

Jason Scott on Facebook:

People aren’t just eating Facebook’s Shit Sherbet of overnight upgrades, of lack of guarantees and standards, of enveloping tendrils of web standard breaking. They are shoveling it down. They’re grabbing two crazy handfuls of Facebook every minute of every day when they’re not forced to walk down a hallway or look up from their phones or ipads or laptops or consoles. They’re grabbing buckets of Facebook and finding ways to shove it down with one hand while pawing around for a second bucket.  People have bought the fuck in.

...

The old saw is that people don’t understand that Facebook doesn’t consider the users their customers – they consider the advertisers their customers. Make no mistake, this is true.. but it implies that Facebook takes some sort of benign “let’s keep humming along and use this big herd of moos to our advantage”. But it doesn’t. Facebook actively and constantly changes up the game, makes things more intrusive, couldn’t give less of a shit about your identity, your worth, your culture, your knowledge, your humanity, or even the cohesive maintenance of what makes you you. Facebook couldn’t care less about you than if it was born in your lower intestine and ripped out of you in the middle of the night.

Sunday, May 15

A partial inventory of things found in one of those blue plastic tubs from my parents' basement, where I threw a bunch of stuff the last time I had to move in a hurry:

Pile of mid-1990s birthday cards from Aunts and Grandmothers.

Some notes from a highschool physics class.

The Gulag Archipelago, a Harper & Row edition translated by Thomas P. Whitney. Purchased used; gives no indication of having ever been read by anyone.

Pirates of Venus, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, in a University of Nebraska Press Bison Books edition. A sample:

It seemed to me that I descended thousands of feet and yet I had seen no sign of the city. Several times I heard creatures moving through the trees at a distance, and twice I heard the hideous scream of a targo. Should one of these monstrous spiders attack me—well, I tried not to think about that. Instead I tried to occupy my mind with recollections of my earthly friends; I visualized my childhood days in India as I studied under old Chand Kabi, I thought of dear old Jimmy Welsh, and I recalled a bevy of girls I liked and with some of whom I had almost been serious. These recalled the gorgeous girl in the garden of the jong, and the visions of the others faded into oblivion. Who was she? What strange interdiction had forbidden her to see or speak with me? She had said that she loathed me, but she had heard me tell her that I loved her. That sounded rather silly now that I gave it thought. How could I love a girl the first instant that I laid eyes upon her, a girl concerning whom I knew absolutely nothing, neither her age nor her name? It was preposterous, yet I knew that it was true. I loved the nameless beauty of the little garden.

Two badly folded maps: The United States, and a National Geographic insert titled "Heart of the Middle East".

Manila envelope with a chai recipe written on it in green ink.

The Artful Astrologer: Aquarius, by one Lee Holloway (hardcover, 47 pages; includes photographs of David Lynch, Geena Davis, Carol Channing; price sticker on back: $4.99).

Travels With Charlie, by John Steinbeck. Seems to have once belonged to my Great Aunt Anna Mae Brenner.

Classics Illustrated no. 144 - The First Men in the Moon, apparently printed in 1969, and given to me some time in the early 90s by my 4th grade teacher, Mr. P, who owned a nearly mint-condition set of Mars Attacks cards and made us memorize poems and constellations.

Draft of a paper on the wartime political involvement of Kenneth Rexroth and Weldon Kees, which is not good but which is also not quite as bad as I'd remembered.

Several 1980s issues of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Analog.

Blue folder containing: Resume mentioning both chainsaws and Unix (but no actual work experience); Peace Corps application packet (never started); Pile of Latin quizzes (considerable red ink). One of the latter contains this fragment of attempted translation:

she herself young branches and tender shoots
for the bull
cuts with an unaccustomed hand

Pile of unused aerogrammes.

Legal pad full of drunken ranting:

that fucking stack of exams
is like 9 miles of mountain
to climb before a morning
that is going to come
before you even want to
think about the things that
daylight always drags up

Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels With alternative readings from the Manuscripts and Noncanonical Parallels, edited by Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr.

Small stack unused bluebooks.

An empty folder titled "Student Government Stuff".

A ticket stub for Qantas Flight TN 102, AUCKLAND to LOS ANGELES, seat 22K.

Monday, May 9

You want to know how I know our civilization is fucked?

Because on Wikipedia, when I went to look for an article titled "List of obligate carnivores", I found nothing, and yet right now I am looking at an article titled "List of My Little Pony Characters".

It comes to ten thousand words.