Friday, December 31, 2010

What I'd like to do

I'd like to, in 2011:

-Meet some interesting people.
-Write on this blog.
-Improve this blog.
-Get a new, better job.
-Read more.
-Forgive and reconcile.
-Improve correspondence.
-Maintain and work on existing relationships.
-Finish at least one short story.
-Watch old movies.
-Maintain physical fitness.
-Spend less time being afraid.
-Make a positive difference.
-Save money.
-Be with A as much as possible.

[Please excuse the hackneyed conceit of this post; it's mostly for posterity]
[This concludes 2010, in which this blog posted 10 times per month, every month. Check the archive]

apologia

-I'd like to apologize to Uncle Dick for making fun of him for liking Heineken in 2009. That was completely out of line.

-I'd like to apologize to Femi for punching him in Ouaga in 7th grade. That was mean and utterly unprovoked.

-I'd like to apologize to my mother for those teenage years where I was mean and nasty and generally difficult. I don't know where my head was.

-I'd like to apologize to M for not accepting her invitation to the Prom junior year. I was confused.


-I'd like to apologize to myself for not trying harder in college. It didn't really come together until it was almost too late.

-I'd like to apologize to Allan because it didn't work out.

-I'd like to apologize to my father for having a short temper sometimes. I love you anyways.

-I'd like to apologize to A for saying that the day we spent together at the ICA peaked at breakfast. It didn't.

-I'd like to apologize for not taking the time to complete this list. My attention span is lacking at times.

And all the same, how can I wish that anything had gone differently? I'm right where I want to be.

Just wait and see, cause the rest is yet to reveal itself to me

This was the year of independence.
Depend only on love and the ones who love me
This was the year of confidence.
The self is strong, believe it and see it
This was the year of Allan.
My task: conquer 2011

Monday, December 27, 2010

Scattered

So I've come to have a preternatural calm about me in bad situations. I can make things better if I can be calmer than anyone else. The calm can be easily mistaken by others for acumen or intelligence. Really it's just a defense mechanism. Stay calm, we can build off of calm. I didn't panic today when the snow interfered with my plans. I pursued the matter to the fullest extent that I could, then pulled back, made a strategic decision to go to the movies, that was that. Allow the calm to fill you. You can't change anything by your madness and rat-like scurrying.

Friday, December 24, 2010

We'll wake up bright and early

Woke up this morning to the sound of coughing and the need to bang keys. That's the most beautiful sound I can think of, keys rattling against a bed of Nick Cave music. Sun coming in, but not streaming, more like trickling through the condensation on the storm window. Why is light always streaming in fiction that you read? Streaming is not the only mode of light. Keep those keys moving, no time to stop. And maybe that's what these fiction writers are thinking, they have to keep the keys moving. There is no bread on the table if the fingers aren't tapping. It's so much fun to hear them tapping as you watch the words march forth on the screen, as I am doing now.

JD does long form posts much better than I do; witness this oneThis is the way the post ends Not with a bang but a whimper.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pepper soup

I have a way of having my faith restored. There is a way. There is a will. I will go on, if I can will it. Will you wish it? Will I? I thought you'd never ask.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Voici

I want to collaborate with people.

For the French, the word collaborate must be politically charged, even now.

I had conjured an image for Maréchal Pétain, that perhaps his experience in World War I had scarred him so much, he had been cut so deeply that he felt it necessary to take any and all measures as to be totally insured against another war as senseless as the first one. I'm mostly sure now that I was mistaken. Pétain was, from all appearances a petty junior Fascist, who was eager for the appurtenances of power. I want to know more, but this is the summary judgement.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Then 'tis like the breath of an unfed lawyer. You gave me nothing for't

If I did not pursue this, I would regret it always. This means there are no options. Varying tempos, and crescendos, and changing rhythms, yes, but the course is plotted. There is no going back from here. I won't be a fisherman telling stories about the big one that got away.

I will not brook regrets. I will not carry them with me.

I love those conversations where you get turned on to the limitless possibilities that lie ahead. They keep happening now, with all sorts of different people. They spark me. I could do anything. Anything!

I'm plastic.

You just have to make sure you're not overwhelmed by the possibilities. Sometimes I have to ask her to give me three choices, and then I can pick. Me knowing that I won't be offending anyone, and relieved of the burden of winnowing, that is the efficient me.

Can't help myself, I want you and nobody else

In the manner of a diary entry:

I spent December 11th in the company of A. We walked the streets of Washington. We remarked on Millard Fillmore's official portrait. My face eventually hurt from laughing. It was a day to remember.

The bar has been set high.

Monday, December 6, 2010

stacks

* Being in the library to work on a musicology paper that I had no hope of comprehending in my numbed, utterly distracted state. This was me. I'm still that person.

*The grimy desks are the same, the aged volumes institutionally bound are the same, the powerful musty smell of books has not changed. Why should it have?

*I remembered that I had loved this place powerfully as a sanctuary, a place to play at being an academic and reading and writing for long hours till the bubble of restlessness burst.

*It always feels good, still, to pick out a volume or two, take them home for free. They might never be read, but say, what if one day I take a sudden, strong interest in John Donne? I must equip myself ahead of that day that we await with faithful anticipation.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

He had a certain brashness to him

The end of November. It was a fine month all around, all will agree. I came closer to finding out where I'm headed, this month.

What I'm trying to say is, I've got freedom and my youth. What I'm trying to say is, I'm in a happy spot. Here's to another glorious year! [years start on December 1st, right?]

[The business with the exclamation points is really getting out of hand! I need to be careful, or I'll start using them without thinking! WITHOUT ANY FORETHOUGHT! Can you only imagine?! That would be like throwing a party and charging your friends 20 dollars to get in to the 'VIP Section'! Say it ain't so, Joe!]

Monday, November 29, 2010

No Good With Secrets

Tonight he was the master of salmon. Whirling in the small but uncramped kitchen, pasta was boiled, and fish sauteed a little too long, but with a gentle intent. Lovingly the onions went over low heat with sherry and capers, just enough care given to keep them from burning before the liquid arrived. Crackling skin gave up billows of smoke from the cast iron, but no harm was done. The sweet tangy sauce played against the bedrock fish, lapping at the edges, eroding a little, but not having its way fully.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rupert, Destroyer of Loaves

The dog has been into the bread, again, and I'm much less angry than amused. He has a fondness for all things that people eat, but for bread especially. He sits there in the kitchen, without any shame, awkward as always, with the evidence in plain sight. Empty paper sacks, or plastic bags with three slices left, and the rest having disappeared into thin canine air. I can't help but laugh in amazement.  What goes through the mind of a dog at times like this?


By the way, check out our new blog:

http://refugeinreason.blogspot.com/

To you I'm a symbol or a monument

The pace is what frightens me.

Following people who knew half as much as they should, but twice as much as me at the time.

Acceleration is the best, when you're throwing extra fuel on the engines, and they're throwing the power right back at you, all ankles and thighs flashing, stick your tongue out as fast as you can go.

We went back there and I could remember everything, being nervous, being properly insane in youth, being entirely unready for anything; memories flashed at me through trees and down twisting paths to the river.

Monday, November 22, 2010

4 Months

Places I have lived or spent time in growing up that could partially or fully be considered my hometown:

*Boston, MA
*Ipswich, MA
*Groveland, MA
*Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
*Bamako, Mali
*West Newbury, MA
*Cannon Beach, OR
*Portland, OR
*Grenoble, France
*Medford, MA

[In approximate reverse chronological order by date of first contact]

It's a list. I'm nothing if not transient.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Out of context, floating free in time and space

I have a feeling that F. Scott Fitzgerald had the opposite problem. He had too many people that believed in him. There's a quote on the back of my book that even says “You are a great writer. Believe it, not me.” I'm getting the feeling throughout this book that Scottie [that's what his intimates call him] was given to believe that he was a great writer a little too much [this is another problem, his abuse of italics in the text]. He has too much confidence in himself as a man of letters. He believes too much in his own powers of description. He is also clearly pretty snobby about being an American expatriate in Paris, and is eager to show how much he knows about this lifestyle, much the same as Hemingway.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I guess this new fare hike means that I'll ride my bike

Aspirational Marketing

Goal:

blue leather,
back of a
chauffeured town car
to the salon
Christophe does your bangs
for a [who's counting] grand
or two

Here:

blue leather,
back of a
commuter train seat dilapidated
Girls on their way
to nothing jobs
try to dress the part
doing hair in vaguely oily
mirrored window sheen

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Get a stew goin'

I love cooking, but sometimes the prospect of all those ingredients having to be put together by just me, working against time and hungry bellies, is completely daunting. Daunting enough to make you give up. This is why I always make soups or stews.

Nothing has to be timed or perfected, or cooked just so. Everything just comes together in a big, soupy mess. The soup is the most forgiving dish known to cooks, save grilled cheese. No doubt there's an art to getting the broth to taste good (or appropriate?) and getting the vegetables to have just the right bite, but what tastes better and is so consistently easy to assemble, if not soup. If not soup, then what?

I will spare you the answer. It's soup or nothing. The joy of the warm, savory broth. The satisfaction of adding some arcane ingredient which won't actually figure in the taste, but makes you feel like an expert all the same. Soup, which nourishes our bodies and contains enough salt, when done right, to pickle our organs. Soup, the signature dish of fall, the autumnal enterprise of slightly shivering city-dwellers. It does a body good.

[Also, a good part of the conception of this post was how much I like to hear my fingers clattering on the keyboard while the words simultaneously appear, marching ahead on-screen. Strunk and White advise that you should delete or heavily edit things you write for these reasons, but they were writing before the existence of blogs. So I will have my cake and post it too.]

[Brackets are so much more entertaining than parentheses]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let's Talk About Feelings

What I have tried to say, on more than one occasion, and usually stumbled over or mangled, is that I want the opportunity to have a future with you. I want you in my life continuing into the future, lingering, ongoing, more than just the present. I want a chance to know you and love you for a very long time. I want time to grow with you. I want you to be with me.

Have I made myself clear?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

in love with love and lousy poetry

Opening Ceremony

Isn't it funny, what you notice?
Her hair falls around her face, short,
not too much cared for.
Skin, in this light, is scarred with blotchy teenage battle-wounds.

Eyes with a magic laugh in them,
that she does not bother to guard from view.
Doesn't shy from looking at you
Doesn't need anything from me, but wants my attention

Full of life,
full of knowing everything
You anticipate her presence in every moment:
She's there,
where she wasn't before

hurry, hurry, hurry, before i go insane

toe-stepping

uncomprehending streetlights
looked askance at a dim,
hazy talk about nothing really [don't you just tend to agree with people]

we three blanketing someone else's car
philosophical after half-a-bottle [only]

she burned me with a cigarette,
And I didn't even notice she was there.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

en briques

Koller/Saroyan

Maniac is me
want it now
and perfect
like bricks
one
on top of the
other.

the mason's plight,
ours too:
No thanks
for making what is perfect.
Does his job too well,
dies unhallowed.

intricate machinery of mortar
all that's left
to put to our faceless names

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rambling again

I've made a huge mistake, find myself being drawn intractably into maw of a terrifying, uncomprehending bureaucracy whose only end is to perpetuate itself profitably. Don't assume that profit is valued over perpetuation.

* * * * *

How can you ever hope to produce something great when the way you conduct your business is so narrow-minded? We are looking for cogs, not people, and we will gladly numb your personhood into nothing if you yearn to be a cog, find your place, catch the same notch on another cog, again and again in increasingly arcane shades of meaninglessness. You will take consolation in HAVING BEEN OF SERVICE.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sketch 1

W- The face of the popular girl from high school, thirty years on. The eyes still have the girlish twinkle. There are some lines around them, but not many. Even in her late forties, she still has kept some of that spark about her. She wears skirts short enough to draw the eye and introduce a vague question involving dress codes and seemliness, one that fades. She tends to say 'blahblahblah' to quickly gloss over something that doesn't need to be pounded out in detail.

Her whole aspect is a double entendre, and begs another question of how to interpret her. Is she the attractive older woman who has held her power to turn people's heads? Or is she rather the desperate fortysomething who has, frighteningly, never changed? [Would I be considered an anti-feminist boor in some circles for the manner in which I pose these questions?—A separate question entirely, you will agree.]

[bracketed digressive interspersals doing anything for you?]

I saw a shock of gray emerging at her hairline yesterday and was struck by how well the dye had done its duty: I never once considered how old she must be. It was all I could do not to stare at it after that. Does she know that I have guessed at her secret? [A hint here at the secrets we all keep in plain sight and we think people don't notice. They must have, though, no?]

These questions I'm inclined to pose about her make her one of the only people in the department who is truly interesting on her own merits. What happened to her? How did some part of her become arrested in a stage of growth, before it was fully mature [I am presuming, but what is life without presumption?]? I can only hope that it is not one of the darker mysteries that is hinted at by the evidence. Assumption: she married young to a high-school sweetheart, felt trapped, but stayed in it, and acts out in barely perceptible ways to assert her lost freedom. And who says you can't judge your elders and postulate their life stories based on appearances and surface perceptions?

Monday, October 25, 2010

the beginning in the middle

I wish I could just wrinkle my nose and furrow my brow, just so, acutely as I do, and make it go away. Famine in Niger that goes unnoticed, any thought of HER, and the legacy of fear in her wake in my life.
This is written not to memorialize my love and pain for HER. That would be to succumb to it, and that can no longer be tolerated. This is written to write HER out, drive HER away from the gates like the ragged horde before my vanquishing knights—words. It is not so simple as that, you may be certain. And yet, it has to be. It has to be spelled out, in black ink, on ruled white paper, in certain terms that leave no room for maneuver: NO MORE.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

cars as brogues

I surveyed the lot. 5:30 on a Wednesday, there was no doubt that R— would still be lurking in the office. Her car must be amongst the last picked-over remnants in the stew pot parking lot. Which one?

Consider the source. Micromanager, another one of those people who seems to have a work face they put on every morning, giving you the eerie feeling of talking to the face, not the person. There must be a car for her here, one that fits.

I saw it clear, like icy water in a steel sink: the Honda Accord nestled in a corner spot.

Moderate luxury without ostentation.
Modernity without hipness.
Practicality without ugliness.
Comfortably, tenaciously situated right in the middle.

That it was beige went without saying.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

'give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgments'

You will come to know all this, that Martin Cronin was a good man, not entirely without fault, but meek and honorable. That he could be hard-hearted at times is true, but this is immaterial to the question at hand. That he could often be short-tempered and petulant, none of his intimates would deny, but whom among us is fit to cast these stones at a poor man, departed as he is, and unable to speak on his own behalf? You, who so well know the measure of this man, will not presume to judge him for his acts. As events unfold, all will come to see that the charity dispatched to Cronin was not freely given, and was not without peril, and that his willingness to trust to strangers was to be his undoing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

an Allston hypothesis

In response to a query from John B

Interesting topic for sure. I don't really have any data about Allston, so whatever I say is based on anecdotal evidence. I found relations between the students and the other residents to be mostly harmonious, although there's definitely sort of a sense that actual human interaction is to be avoided. This is not really stated by anyone, but it's an unwritten rule. When you see people on the street who are maybe hispanic, brazilian, or older asian people, you both ignore each other mostly, I think. It's basically respectful, but you're really acting like the other person is not there. In that way there are two separate worlds. People don't mix too much. Each group has its own stores and its own gathering places. The places that the groups have in common are probably limited to liquor stores, fast food joints, thrift stores (sometimes), and some ethnic restaurants where students might interact with the mostly immigrant community.

It's also interesting that while the students are certainly better off financially in comparison to the immigrants, they are also mostly interested in living on the cheap. There's definitely a certain type of person who is drawn to the neighborhood, usually more thrifty types among students. This may be a large part of the appeal of Allston; it's relatively cheap for Boston, and by taking advantage of some of the institutions that the immigrant communities have brought with them (cheaper ethnic restaurants, laundries, and groceries) students can save money. I also think that the privileged type of person that you find at BU, for example, might consider living in Allston something of an adventure. It offers cheaper living, ethnic flavor, and something of an art and music scene, plenty of bars, without the dangerous, violent urban side that places like Roxbury and Dorchester have. It makes you feel like you're "slumming it" in relative safety. And if you ever get tired of Allston, there's also Brookline right nearby, which is comparatively white and affluent, and probably even safer than Allston.


I do think, though that a lot of the students (and to a lesser extent, the immigrant community) don't give any respect to Allston as a place, precisely because they are usually not long-term residents. They are more likely to leave trash on the streets, break bottles at random, and make noise at night, because they sort of don't consider Allston a real place. It's just a place where the poor immigrants live and where people go to party and temporarily live cheaply during their college years. It is not, in this mindset, deserving of respect; it's not a 'real' neighborhood. I'm sure that this is also partially because people often come to Allston to visit the bars, and so are intoxicated. This is unpleasant for people like me (and I imagine for older, long-term residents), who just want to live quietly, go to work, and occasionally enjoy some of the many restaurants.

I hope that helps you some. Let me know if I can provide any more information, or if you want me to expand on any of these points.


-Allan

Friday, October 8, 2010

I used to live in Pittsburgh, now I live in New York

-What was that sickly sweet smell that flashed through the train car? I narrowed it down to blue cheese, bourbon, or my own sweat fermenting.

-Please notify a crew member if you plan to vomit at any time during today's trip. You will be swiftly dispatched.

-Bernard's bald head and teeth gleamed in the advertisement's photo, and seemed to welcome the inference that earning an MBA in Philadelphia would be safe for a black person.

-Gleaming against the murky dusk, the repair bays stretched efficiently into the middle distance.

ROYAL SONESTA

-Eternities spent in station stops were really only a minute or two, and the train bolted down the line so quickly that it had to slow to keep from reaching the line's terminus too early.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

event horizon

I could only hope to not be this good at worrying for the rest of my life.

"We have changed plans."

This strikes the ear funny, if you let it. Maybe we haven't changed our own plans, but inadvertently changed the plans of others by our unwitting actions. The words don't discriminate. Plans have been changed, though, by us. We have changed plans. Keep repeating it, it sounds absurd if you keep at it. We have changed plans. It could also be that we are now in possession of changed plans, as in We have changed plans. We've come to be in charge of them, who knows how. You hadn't considered these notions, had you?

"...so flowers, except in the common-noun sense (he knew birds liked them, as did bees), sent no message to Keith's blue eyes." -- Martin Amis

How clever

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

cryptic, now is it?

Try as I might, I would be unable for some time to commit to a serious regime of verbal economies.
I had been warned that as a rule, one should beware of people who treated others according to a sliding scale of preference and status. A person wholly kind and honorable will treat everyone with kindness and honor, so this line of thinking went. Aren't we always, though, making exceptions to rules, for ourselves and for those we want to love? So I now saw her through this lens. That, and she was something of a fabulist. She only did it sometimes, I covered. Andrea is different, though. This assertion I have based entire worlds on, worlds. She really is genuinely nice. This could not be denied, either, for based on it were other worlds, presumptions, years of life tenderly lived in advance. These were not to be undone under any circumstances. She's not an airhead, she's substantial, unlikely to float away on an unfortunately timed thermal. This is no joke, either, I am not what's called an unreliable narrator. Self-deceit is for the birds.
I would say I was proud of being a good soldier for her, but that wasn't really the case; I didn't need to be the good soldier because I wasn't even thinking about it very much. She crossed the street, and looking back, smiled and waved again.
Her smile is close to me, always.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

with my ear to the ceiling

/;.


first things first, always

dream a little dream of me

shouldn't i quit it with all the rhetorical questions?

the writer

over his shoulder gleamed the radically bald and goateed visage of trent dilfer, professional yes-man former pro athlete

as preston is my editor and my witness, i will not see this post through to its logical termination


not alone by choice, by myself only because i want to be

from her to eternity

Mass Bay 153, OK to go!

pewter pot

The audacity, really, of these train advertisements is what's appalling

intention

fatwa

it has none

lackluster

Mr. B— felt deep in his bones that Contador was a coward and Schleck had been wronged. His mind could never change on this point; it was as a closed book. This was his strength and greatest weakness: consistency.

....could only fumble at the expression "God helps them who help themselves."

cars shark-like, marauding more than driving...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I put all my books in a box

if i could digress for a moment, and i will, how can you make a biopic about someone who's 26 years old, the facebook guy? he hasn't really lived long enough for us to judge whether his life has had meaning. plus, isn't it still entirely possible that facebook could end up being something of a fad, along the lines of say...myspace? i'm just saying, it's not like he's gandhi, he's a smarmy, opportunistic 26 year-old who happened to have a good idea. why the need to lionize him and analyze his life so much? perhaps i'm jealous because i'm 24 and i haven't invented facebook yet. nope, that's not it. i'm jealous that john updike got a story published in the new yorker when he was 22, but i wouldn't want to be this facebook guy.

[does anybody read these things?]

-allan

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Year's Model

I feel crazy today, thought I should write it out

Last night I
drowned in a sea of tapioca and tequila

Usually do not feel scorn

Ashamed, unwed

Do not have a kinship with the job,
fall in love with a cubicle

The blown-out umbrella on a platform in Salem had aimed to break
my heart
but it had no claim after we
laid eyes on
stacked railroad ties

* * * * *

I loved her I love her I will love her I have loved her It's her I love I can't not love her I am loving her usually do not feel this way, maybe that's a lie, I tend to love, Allan forms strong attachments with people that is the hallmark of him. He has to love others and bring them close to exhale into their ears twenty years of talk love breath fear anger beauty. This specimen talks too freely it wants to captivate people and inflict on them its oversized useless brain.

People laugh as they please to, People all want to be writers, People know everything there is to be known child please

Sunday, September 19, 2010

That you weren't wrong

So if life is so hard, what makes it worth the while? It's the people, it must be. These people everywhere, I love them, they're imperfect and so worthy all the same, or because of it.

And how I missed her but then she would say these magic things that floated in and out and in my head. They were little things but that nothing was precious, it's trivial, but together these things accrete into everything that you have together, really a huge collection of tiny things. That's how I came to think of it, anyways.

I found it so funny that I could hang with them even on subjects that I didn't care about, or TV shows I hadn't watched in years. Could I help but interpret this as evidence of some kind of social intelligence now in my possession? It didn't used to be like this, high school was a long time that I don't remember three quarters of.


I was reading a Bret Easton Ellis novel, which I didn't understand at all. It was about people whose lives have become completely empty, and the flashes of human emotion that seep through into their days at the cracks. The emotions, when they're present, don't seem natural at all because the default state is a void. His next book was better by far, even considering the dark themes and the parts about people living empty lives, it felt warm and supple by comparison with the icy, nihilistic rigor of the first novel. Poor Bret, I'd have to say. It must be awful to even be able to write emptiness so realistically. I'd much rather not be able to write well about empty people. It might rub off if you're not careful.

Monday, September 13, 2010

in memoriam, fragments

Memories, they define us. It hurts to think of having only memories left to us when someone is gone. It is a final state, defined against our will. It hurt me today to contemplate this love that can live only in the mind.

I hate sad songs, never knew this until now. They are a poor substitute for what we miss, a false comfort. They seem profound, but reveal themselves as charlatans on close inspection.

Tennyson:
"Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.

I trust he lives in thee,
and there
I find him worthier to be loved."

Barthes:
"November 16th
Now, everywhere, in the street, the cafe, I see each individual under the aspect of ineluctably having-to-die, which is exactly what it means to be mortal. --And, no less obviously, I see them as not knowing this to be so."

Silence is my default mode, as it is everyone's. Why should this not be so? If there is nothing to say, silence prevails as part of a natural order.

RIP Tyler

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ecola

This place is my birthright. If you could understand what it means to me . . .

Sometimes I try to understand everything at once

Sometimes I try to understand everything at once:

Everyone else, to a man, was saying Good Luck, but I preferred to tell her Congratulations to be leaving that harried, always rushing place that took up so much of her life. Good Luck? An insult almost to her. I expect that she'll do good things; luck shouldn't have too much to do with her trajectory after she's gone from here.

* * * * *

My father became obsessed temporarily by the prospect of capturing the twin rocks as we saw them. It strikes me that they may have held a certain mystical taste of the past, to him.

* * * * *

Bad news for you: I got a twitter account. If I started saying the word 'tweet', though, it would feel like giving in. Twitter is entertaining. It gives me little doses of people whom I think are funny. Is this so frightening?

* * * * *

A full life, that's nice. If I come off disjointed, it might be on purpose, have you considered that? Do you answer these questions? I try not to bother, but I care just a little too much, you can tell.

* * * * *

Short on time, long on options. Shortfalls I fear are the ones that cut between you and I, but at least now it doesn't seem like there are many of those. Look at your picture and be happy, not regretting anything that has happened in the long stretch of time behind. Happiness doesn't come without peril, but I pray this is right, and I think it is.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Because the drum line's goin' wild in the San Francisco streets

A swirling mess of elbows and backs, while you try to avoid seeing yourself in the mirror for fear of embarrassment on your own behalf. Strangely attractive people all over the crowded room, being somewhat self-consciously quirky.

The gentleman at the front likes to remind people periodically of the evening's title, "Soul-le-lu-jah", which is not as clever as he might have hoped upon further review. The music is loud and archaic and punchy, stunning. There is a crush by the end, and we emerged dazed to greet the fresh air.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

à bientôt

Moving is done. I was a little sad to leave that apartment, because I had moments of great joy there, lots of good memories. It will have a place in my heart going forward. Now the relief of being done moving will settle in, and I can move on to new targets for my ravenous pastime of needless worry. I'm half kidding here, but you get the point. It's nice to not have to think about moving anymore. There's a new job ahead, and a new place, and new friends, but I'll miss the way I lived this last year, it was fun. Good-by, Allston, see you around.

[note: I won't miss the Green Line, the noise from the bars and the bar-goers, the shoddy windows in my place, the disgusting floors, or the sirens on weekend nights]

Windwhistle sentences, Part Two

*I had trimmed my beard in preparation for receiving visitors.

*His observed indifference to photography seemed callous at first.

*Michael wondered if they had yet marked the sound of his felt-tipped pen rasping against the page.

*It was unfair, now that she mentioned it, for him to have expected that the profession would be received in any other manner.

*The autumn was coming soon, the sweater season, and with it innumerable chilly days until the spring anniversary.

*He fingered his joints in mournful anticipation of the arthritis that was to come decades hence.

*The clips on the line continued to rap their senseless cadence against the flagpole long after the families had departed.

You set my soul alight

-Moving in is like a burglary in reverse.

Clever, utterly devoid of meaning, or both? You be the judge.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Windwhistle sentences, Part One

*Martin wished she had given advance notice of her visit, so that he could have made his expectations far too high to meet.

*The crown of the rock was encumbered by low clouds and a crowd of puffins.

*He took his frigid feet as a sign he had long overstayed his welcome in the shady nook.

*Caressed by the ever-present breeze, his feet carried him to places he could not have expected, even as he wished he had.

*The refrigerator laid ice cubes four at a time, and Mary grew tired of the private joke she replayed in her mind when they fell, clattering.

*He wondered fruitlessly if her claim that it was different this time around was only a feint, though he knew it to be genuine.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

/\<>/\

It feels good to be with your family. It's right.

It feels right to be good. It is good to be right. My friends across the aisle will agree it's good to be on the right when the shoe is on the other foot.

Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it must be always right.

Do you see now how the squire tied himself in a knot?

The word love gets thrown around a lot at graduation.

Have high standards and they must be met, must.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Check potatoes, stir

I left the truck running as we switched positions. So this is it.

Demure brown chairs stacked high in the back.

Don’t tempt fate by counting your chickens before their eggs are all hatched in one basket.

I couldn’t tell if I was smelling fresh bread baking or the celery-colored paint from last night.

That I have intuited things they couldn’t find out through hours of hard research.

I think it gives me comfort to know that I could always switch email clients. Even though I’m with Outlook now, I could easily change to Thunderbird, and that might make a big difference.

Dreams of domestic bliss, being cheeky about other people’s friends, private jokes with my lovely partner.

Gates of the Old City

Tell me it's your broken faith now baby
Don't lie and say it's coffee you're makin'

Oregon is insanely beautiful

There exists a coffee called "Double French Roast"

My feelings have not changed

I'm still making up things to worry about

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Aren't you a friend of Van Buren Denby?"

I don't like fawning in literature, let's be clear. This is causing a huge rift between myself and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He likes to fawn, in a way that I've seen Hemingway do also. I'm 50 pages into Tender is the Night, and already I'm conceiving a very strong antipathy towards the way Fitzie sentimentalizes a character named, absurdly, 'Dick Diver'. Has there every been anyone in the history of Western civilization named Dick Diver? No. It's a stupid name, unrealistic to the point of distracting me from the story. Fitzgerald is good with the lyric stuff; maybe he should have been a poet. His fascination with every aspect of Dick Diver verges on obsession.

Dick Diver this, Dick Diver that, Dick Diver is the only American man in Paris with repose [apparently this means he doesn't touch his face at restaurants; who cares?], Dick Diver is great at parties, Dick Diver is a fascinating dinner companion but runs away if you try to monopolize his attentions, Rosemary fell in love with Dick Diver the moment she saw him, Dick Diver's children were educated in France, Dick Diver, Dick Diver, etc. etc. (Have I said Dick Diver too much? Let me say it again, Dick Diver. Now you know my pain). Really far more than I need to know about this character at this point in the novel, and an embarrassing amount of affection shown for him by the author. Hasn't he heard of understatement? And did he know that the name of this character would torture me? He seems more than happy to repeat the name again and again, as if he knew it would get under readers' skin. It's starting to feel like work to read this for my book club, which is unfortunate. I'm committed to finishing it, but I wouldn't mind reading something I'd enjoy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

how do you vary sentence structure in a cover letter?

I have a hard time dealing with confrontation, a hard time to make a decision. I use humor as a sort of social lubricant, smile and laugh at all the right places, but it doesn't always work, and it makes me feel fake sometimes. I'm never not hungry. People's parents usually like me. I don't do very well at meeting new people, but I like to do it. I can't stop starting new books. I ask unanswerable questions of my television. I make jokes that only I would get.

These are the things that maybe you don't want to know about me, but maybe you should.

I am a person. I am a whole. I am not to be used only for good times.

I worry a fair amount about everything. I go hot and cold sometimes and am short with people I love. Inevitably regret it, but still, I think it's how I am. I know too much about living cheaply, but I always live well. I scoff at people who can't spell, but forgive the fault at will. I love talking to old friends, even when it makes you miss how things were. I want to tell people how much I love them, but usually can't. I like knowing smiles. I'd like to hold on to being 19, or 22, or 24, but not cling desperately. I mouth words when I type them in personal communications; this may look unseemly when I'm in public places. I'm not very good at sleeping anymore. If I'm serious, it's probably because I don't want to be the guy who always tries to be funny and is never serious. I tend to hold doors for people all the time, but I'm nervous about the interactions this entails. I don't know how to look at people in the hallways at work. I pray for things that I think I need. I want to write effortlessly. I want to live a good life, and be loved.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Then the radio to Heaven will be wired to your purse

Your way about things. How you sort of lean in and smile and say "This weekend?" How you make time to kiss me (you're so busy, it's an honor). Your mock surprise/super-excited look upon receiving a gift. The way you just look at me and smile a little during pauses in the conversation. The way you are. How I can't help but want you around. How you honestly seem to know something about everything. How you wouldn't let go of my hand, that first night you held it.

That's why.

welcome to the working week

Aware

Slowly the moon is rising out of the ruddy haze,
Divesting herself of her golden shift, and so
Emerging white and exquisite; and I in amaze
See in the sky before me, a woman I did not know
I loved, but there she goes and her beauty hurts my heart;
I follow her down the night, begging her not to depart.

-D.H. Lawrence

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

non sequitir thoughts on "King of Kong"

I was struck by Billy Mitchell saying early in the documentary that he once had someone draw an analogy for him. What kind of person doesn't even draw their own analogies, I asked myself. The analogy itself was also less than stellar. It should have been obvious then that he was crazy, but I gave him too much credit for having a family. I allowed myself the thought that the director of the documentary might be manipulating me, but it still seemed obvious that Steve Weibe was the better man. It did give me pause to wonder, however, why he wanted to be involved in competitive video gaming so much, when he had so much aside from that world, and the people in it were so petty and sort of small.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Roundheads vs. Cavaliers

Shorn of my flowing locks, I will have to rely only on my considerable charm in my daily quest to win friends and influence people.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Notes on Roth; meaningless to most anyone except for me

-Isn't so much associating with Nazis a little over the edge, even for Lindbergh?
-Indictment of Americans for how easily they are tricked by the false modesty of a Lindbergh. Some have claimed this is a roman a clef against the Bush Administration. Parallels my dears?
-225 - His portrayal of the honest, striving, protective parents working together to keep their families safe is moving
-227 - Sandy: "You Jews"
-228 - Homestead 42 sinister because it is so unnecessary. How in the world can Bengelsdorf and Evelyn et al. not see through this? It is transparent as a thinly sliced cucumber.
-230 - Sandy is in throes of rebellious young adult period but, this is to an extreme level. Again, how can he justify saying "you people"? Who does he think he is?
-Communal news-watching/listening. Is this completely gone? Exception of Super Bowl and election night. Any others?
-Does Winchell not fear for his own safety?
-What do we make of Herman's assertion that there are still good men in this country? Is he right? Are the good men (Roosevelt, Ickes, et al.) being swept away in the wave of Lindberghism?
-226 - "This is our country!" Realization that Bess is right, though, and it's always better safe than sorry in these matters, as European Jews learned in the worst possible way
-Symbolism in Alvin's absence?
-241 - "historical fears of a persecuted people" They are historical fears for a reason! Is Bengelsdorf naive or perverse? Both?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Scrabble words

REI -- an erroneous English form for a former Portuguese coin

CWM -- a cirque

SI -- ti

BO -- a pal

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lorne Michaels' Couch

I have been away from the blog.

With good reason.

I went swimming in Walden Pond and the Atlantic Ocean.

I ventured into the Allston Cafe with A.

I ate quiescently frozen confections.

I piloted a bumper boat.

It was a fun weekend, as you can tell from my dry, adjective-free descriptions.

It really was a good weekend.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Something Against You

So pub crawls are stupid, I just decided.

My lentils are refusing to cook easily.

The rain was welcome, but came down so hard that I was forced to close all the windows.

Bret Easton Ellis's second novel was much better than his first; also his second name is much more pretentious than his first and last names.

Amanda was sorely missed this week at the office.

We made the mistake of assuming there would only be one Market Basket in Wilmington; there were two in close proximity.

A luggage store would not have been my first choice to fill the vacant retail space.

The mustard contained VINEGAR, MUSTARD SEED, SALT, SPICES AND TURMERIC.

The purchase of spray starch was inspired by A.M. Homes.

Eyes on a sweet potato look alien and unfriendly.

Any whiff of cool air is welcome, whatever the source.

Müller looked 35 at 20 and scored 5 in '10.

.ﬡ

Monday, July 5, 2010

Miracle Man

I'm a catch, what are you?

Some other kind of trite fishing metaphor?

I'm a catch, but I hope not to get hooked; it might hurt.

Don't want to fight an angler with a pole.

Let me determine my own fate,
Lady of the Lake.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Drifting

Do you ever have that sensation of wishing that it was the beginning of the weekend again, when there was so much potential, such a chance of monumental things happening?

I believe in the sand beneath my toes

Do you ever worry that you're not getting anywhere, and then realize that maybe it doesn't matter anyway?

Sometimes you have to laugh, or you’ll cry. You might just have to resign yourself to the fact that fate has you in its grip, and you don’t have much of a choice. Might as well enjoy it, it might be lovely after all. Maybe this is all just a game. Don’t be sad.

Sometimes I email myself stuff from work. Ideas and all. I never do anything with them, and they're almost always bad in hindsight.


Hi Allan:
I have no idea when we will be back - he should be coming out of
customs and all by about 4:15 or 4:30 I imagine, that is if the plane
is on time. Then it's about a 5 hour drive home.


Rice of Viet Nam - www.khoinguyen.com - We are big supplier rice from Viet Our factory packing standard HACCP



these are just thoughts

Alex Trubitsyn

to Allan, Alison, Maria
show details Jun 30 (2 days ago)

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Why do people like that one so much?? Is it cause it's thin an everyone had to read it in school????

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

scribblings

-Bulgakov's life and how it informs the novel
-First paragraph of chapter 32
-Behemoth: absurd, droll
-Why Pilate is so tortured?
-Is Azazello, or even Woland, a sympathetic, likable character?
-What happened to Hella?
-The greed of the citizens -- witness Berlioz's uncle grab for the apt.
-Absurdity of Bengalsky: symbolic of enforced institutional stupidity of Soviet life
-Kinship of Pilate and Master? Tortured brilliance
-Meaning of Mark Ratkiller
-Why did the devil come to Moscow? A lark? To teach a lesson?

time yet for a hundred indecisions, / And for a hundred visions and revisions

The Skype does not make me feel totally at home. Something off-putting about it. It's a hybrid. There's the disconnectedness of not being with the person physically, just like a phone conversation, combined with the responsibility in a personal interaction of maintaining some control over your facial expressions and reacting properly in some way to the other person's comments. It's almost the worst of both worlds. It does sort of alleviate that thing of trying to not talk over someone on a long-distance call where you have to pause and see if the other person's going to speak. It's much easier when you can see if they're going to speak. And of course it's nice to see someone's face whom you haven't seen in a long time. It was lovely just now to see A over the Skype line, precisely to see her reactions to what I was saying, which is exactly why I'm saying I'm opposed, because people can see my reactions. I'm not saying it's not magic, because there is clearly black magic involved in Skype, I'm just saying I'm not totally comfortable with someone else seeing my face during a long-distance conversation. Usually when I'm on the phone I pace back and forth, look in the mirror, generally am not presentable to others, because I know no one can see me. This is different, you feel as though you have to "prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet".

The whole thing brings to mind the part in Infinite Jest where Wallace discusses the invention of video-phone technology and how people eventually decided they didn't want other people seeing them, and created lens caps for their video-phones with tableaus on them meant to deceive the person on the other end of the line. It's interesting how prescient that seems now.

Phantom Pt. II

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone, and this house just ain't no home, anytime she goes away.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Second-grade fresh

The inaugural meeting of the International All-Russia Skype Book Club is tomorrow. I'm excited.

Рукописи не горят

Monday, June 28, 2010

I won't wait

Day of signifiance:

bought new sheets
cleaned the floors
watched two world cup games
cooked some rice
rode my bike to grocery store
got to bed on time

the upshot here is that I did go outside and I did shower. So the day wasn't a total loss. It was the most useful Sunday I've had in some time. I think Waylon Jennings/Johnny Cash were right; there's something in a Sunday that makes a body feel alone. Kept busy on this one, though and did labor whose fruits I can enjoy for the rest of the week, so I really can't complain.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lift up your hearts

I've decided at last that I like seltzer. If this comes as a shock to you, please don't be offended. I've only just arrived at the conclusion myself; there's no way you could have known. Think of it this way: every time God closes a window, he opens a bottle of seltzer.

Peace be with you.

And also with you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do I dare to eat a peach?

The car rocking forward and back in the driveway last night.
The cycle screaming through the Esplanade this morning (back on the old racing wheel).
The trope in literature about how mournful a train whistle always sounds.
How nervous he was to see her, even after they had contracted a certain intimacy.
The almost infantile fears people have when others leave; That which is not here now may be gone forever.
How easy it is to talk about trust and how very hard it is to practice it.
If you're a train conductor you can't be embarrassed by the sound of your own voice.
The graffiti read: "Sorry Chris". A farewell.
The look of amused mock-awe and surprise on her face when she is presented with something.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

An afternoon spent laughing

-We'll start with a quotation of one of Barthes' parenthetical references which struck me:

(A squeeze of the hand -- enormous documentation -- a tiny gesture within the palm, a knee which doesn't move away, an arm extended, as if quite naturally, along the back of a sofa and against which the other's head gradually comes to rest -- this is the paradisiac realm of subtle and clandestine signs: a kind of festival not of the senses but of meaning.)

This is from A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes, published in 1978. It's an amazing book. It describes in minute detail all the sensations of being in love, simultaneously from a detached philosophical perspective and from the perspective of one who has been in love. Barthes has been a lover, but is viewing love in a cold, dispassionate, academic manner. The juxtaposition of the two within the book is fascinating.

-The way it feels to wake up an hour before the real post-time, and put a pillow over your head, with utmost confidence that you'll be able to get back to sleep. So much confidence that you don't know you have confidence in it; you experience it as knowing you'll get back to sleep, as a fact. How many things can we really know with this kind of certainty? These moments are valuable when they happen, because they are so rare.

-Feeling of waking up in a cluttered, dirty apartment, wondering mostly why? Why bother with all this again? This feeling had passed by the time I was showered and getting dressed, but I remembered the panic there was in it. Not getting anywhere is what it felt like. This coffee cup I left on the corner of my desk was there when I went to bed last night, it is still here this morning; Nothing ever changes, nothing I do means anything. I don't know why the feeling passed so quickly but I was happy to let it go. Something in the bustle and work of getting dressed and ready to leave felt significant enough to reassure my nervous heart.

-Heaven help me, but the best thing I did yesterday was to let myself pass out at 11. I always wake up too early on Saturday anyways. This time I was prepared, though. Woke up at 6:30 feeling well rested, and I thought it had to be about 10 until I looked at the clock. Went back to sleep until 7:45, when I woke up with about 8 and a half hours of sleep under my belt (It's only 11:30 right now, and I've been up for four hours. What a lark!). It felt great, and it makes for a day of limitless potential, which I will now proceed to squander.

-Emptiness of the train seat that was full a minute before. Now, sun shines freely through a window that had been obstructed by the face of a stranger. She is gone now, to God knows where. I'm almost sad to see her seat unfilled. I had nothing to do with her, why do I grieve her absence? Is it that any trace of a loss hurts us as humans? Was it the way the light fell, that it just looked sad? I don't know, but it hurt me that she was gone. Human emotions are baffling.

[semi-appropriate lyrics that I was thinking about on the train while pondering the above incident:]

The person across from me, sitting in her train seat, reminded me of you.
And I looked out, past her cheeks, through the glass light conduit. The sun had sunk, disappeared into New Jersey; Oh why don't they have phones on these things?

What can I do? I'm stuck thinking about you.

Did you know my sweet, yeah that I once took the liberty of watching you in your sleep?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

KoS installment 4

"I know of only one way to walk," she declaimed lustily, "And that's with my feet on the clouds, and my head in the ground, as if I were an ostrich."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

etc.

I will not be cowed. I am not afraid. Etc.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Coyness is nice, and coyness can stop you from saying all the things in life you'd like to

May was a momentous month. It was long, hard sometimes, easy others, pretty. I liked you, May of 2010, you were solid. Thanks for the memories.

This is basically just to keep up with my self-imposed baseline of 10 posts per month for 2010, but I was hoping to maybe stumble on some truth in the process. Doesn't look like I've succeeded, does it?

I bought four books at the Rodney's closing sale yesterday. The titles:

-The Rising Sun in the Pacific 1931 - April 1942 (History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, volume 3) by Samuel Eliot Morison

-Salvation in Death by "J.D. Robb"

-Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game by John Feinstein and Red Auerbach

-War Diaries: Politics and War in the Mediterranean January 1943 - May 1945 by Harold Macmillan

I bought the Morison volume because it was a pretty nice hardcover edition and I had previously done a book review paper on his Leyte Gulf volume from the same series. His stuff is very readable and heavy on facts, so it seemed like something worth having around, to get to sooner or later. I bought the "J.D. Robb" book as a joke, mainly to tell A that I bought it next time I talk to her, so we can laugh about Nora Roberts and her insane productivity. Yes, I am the kind of person who drops two dollars on a paperback "futuristic suspense" novel just to use it as a conversation piece. So sue me. Also, I had noticed that the book makes a pathetic, mainly symbolic attempt at playing it coy about the true identity of its author. I quote: "J.D. Robb is the pseudonym for the number one New York Times bestselling author of more than 170 novels including the futuristic suspense In Death series. There are more than 300 million copies of her books in print." As if there is anyone who would buy this book and not know who actually wrote it. Plus it says copyright Nora Roberts 2008 inside the front cover. Don't insult my intelligence by still attempting to maintain the facade that your about the author section could still deceive people. The Red Auerbach book I bought because he's bound to have tons of really good stories, and the guy is one of a kind. There could never possibly be another Red Auerbach. I bought Harold Macmillan at least in part because everything in the store was fifty percent off. Exactly what do I have to lose in buying an enormous volume of per·spic·u·ous·ly detailed diaries of life and war in the Mediterranean during the years 1943-1945? Space in my already cramped apartment, you might say. Well so be it.

Did I mention that every book in the store was fifty percent off?

I'll leave you with a spot of appropriate Housman, the first two and last verses of "The Chestnut Casts His Flambeaux". Good luck in June.

The chestnut casts his flambeaux, and the flowers
Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away,
The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers.
Pass me the can, lad; there's an end of May.
There's one spoilt spring to scant our mortal lot,
One season ruined of your little store.
May will be fine next year as like as not:
But ay, but then we shall be twenty-four.

...

The troubles of our proud and angry dust
Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Shining steel, tempered in the fire

Truths (subject to debate)

=Stop trying to make me care about college baseball, ESPN, I continue to not give a rat's ass. There is just no more room in my brain for caring about more and more obscure and meaningless sports. Clearly your business plan involves expanding forever ad infinitum, but I cannot be bothered to care about the College World Series and the "Road to Omaha". I mean, come on, they use metal bats. What is this, Little League?

="There's laughs and fun up where the conversation flows". I used to think about this song in a completely different way, in a wishful thinking kind of fashion. It's different now.

=You can't make coffee strong enough for me. I will not fall in line.

=Obviously everything will be fine. Obviously. Why can't I remember this, though? When I need it most, I forget it.

=I bought two CDs yesterday at Newbury Comics. Jeff Buckley and Saturday Looks Good To Me. Does that make me anachronistic?

=A place where the temperature is forever lingering between 65 and 85 degrees F with a cool breeze whenever you need it. This would be a lovely place, a place I would gladly call my home.

=There are a lot of bookstores in Metro Boston. A ton. It's sad when one closes, but I think we're dealing with an embarrassment of riches here, really.

=Haven't you ever wanted to cry, just to get rid of it? Happens from time to time, and it would be nice to be able to cue it up and cry at will. I'm not ashamed to say that it really works. It's a concentrated flush of emotions leaving you all at once, and it feels great when it's over.

=Dirty Old Town. The Pogues. It is beyond lovely. Give it a chance, in spite of the bad teeth on display in the video. The note of defiance is important, otherwise the song would dissolve into gooey sentimentality.

=Bullet points make things easier, but they feel like a cop-out.

=Thanks for the kind blog words, JD. I wish my attention span was long enough to write the nice long-form posts like yours.

=Reading, how important it is. Don't stop reading! Television is fun, but it's mostly junk food. Feed your brain with books.

Friday, May 28, 2010

KoS installment 3

An anthropomorphic train-car full of giant apples seemed suddenly plausible, as his head's thoughts shifted from the sublime to ergotic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

KoS installment 2

I like to cast a party like I cast a lost-wax sculpture; spruing and metal-chasing are not only to be understood in their literal senses, you know.

Special Thanks to Orson Welles & Paul Masson

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

KoS installment 1

Her predilection for high-fashion clothes and low-rent apartments led him to believe she was a horse of a different color, entirely.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Everyday I Write the Book

This is a beginning, not an end

This is not an exit, it's an entrance

This is my life, and I have the power to make it what I want it to be


"The way you walk
The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh
In four or five paragraphs
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks"
-Elvis Costello

Thursday, May 13, 2010

untitled

The time is flying, going away so fast.

I want everything all at once. I want more time. I want to run as fast as I can the whole time, not just in spurts. I want to look into the water, and see what Roni Horn sees. I want more than I have, always, and I always will. I want it all!

Humanity is not enough. Perfection I desire. Perfect life, perfect body, perfect job, perfect relationship. It's not there yet.

A stream of consciousness flowing forth. Good company.

This is bad.

I got more than I wanted, and then forgot about that, and now it's not enough. Why can't it be enough? Don't you remember wanting these things [that you now have] more than anything in the world? Don't you remember promising that you'd finally be satisfied if you could only have that one thing, that one time, please? It's not enough, it can never be. I want all, all the time.

lots of stuff
shower
blogski
basketball game
the bruins better not blow this

Alex: no dont worry
just look up outside tomorrow
it should look roughyl the same

I feel good though.
Can't help but feel so good. Things fall the right way sometimes, they really do. I just can't handle uncertainty. It throws me, and I can't catch myself quite fast enough.

Alex: coudl the players vote to get it changeg


If she is, I need a bit of info, like what grade level and subject area.


I refuse to explain myself.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

days go by, I don't know why

The ends of days have been better than the beginnings lately. I had this fear this morning, that I had no control. It was a dream that bled into the morning and threatened to destroy any chance of having a good day. Events were running their course without my input. I was an actor in the play of my life. The actor doesn't write the lines, or create the scenery, or direct the action. He is a puppet, moved by others and bent to their will.

It was frightening, and the terror I felt pressed down on me, clamoring to be heard to the exclusion of all other thoughts. Everything reminded me of my fear, that I would be passed by. A wave washed over me, and in it was everything I hold dear, racing over me, through me, and past me in a flash before I could grab hold of it. For the life of me, I couldn't make it right. I knew I shouldn't feel this way, and that I would feel fine later on, but the immediacy of it was the worst part. In that moment I could not escape, and it was an awful thing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Whoop, Jug! I love thee

These thoughts gave me comfort just now:

-There'll always be more plantains to cook.

-You can always just go for a run.

-Life will always go on.

-I won't be 48 for another 24 years.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Am I asleep or awake?

It's beautiful today.

It's OK to cry.

It's wonderful when you're here.

It's a crime to forget these lovely things I've known.

It's a letter you ought to write, to let someone know you're thinking of them.

It's your life.

It's worth it, and worth fighting for.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Continuing my habit of posting lyrics when I can't think of anything else to write

I think I fell in love last night
I think I'll make the same mistake twice
Got my dreams to consider though
Jimmy crack corn
and I don't care at all

-Looker

Check it out, it's a pretty cool song

Saturday, April 24, 2010

one sentence blog post

The fire in her eyes as she railed against Ernest Hemingway's misogyny and the flatness of his female characters was almost more than I could bear.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Adventurous

I felt the wind on my cheek coming down from the east
And thought about how we are all as numerous as leaves on trees
And maybe ours is the cause of all mankind
Give love to make more, try to stay alive
-Rilo Kiley

Monday, April 19, 2010

Some days, they last longer than others

But really, it was a fantastic day. I'll run it down, if I could. And since I have final say on all decisions related to this ole blog, I will. That's right, I said it, I have full editorial control, and I'm exercising it right now. Witness:

-Woke up too early, only about 6 hours of sleep. That's unfortunately becoming the standard for weekends.

-Watched TV for a while, then had an interesting conversation with Allan about the rules we live by in society, and how none of them really matter in the end. There's nothing that you exactly have to do, we concluded. (Italics mine, obviously)

-Headed out to Market Basket. It was crowded, but cheap, as always. I purchased a pork roast for the future, and some bison hot dogs, which, hot dogs being hot dogs, will probably taste the same as hot dogs made from any other meat.

-Swung by Alex's on the way back to drop off a gallon of cheap milk and some blackberries.

-The sun came out. Allan cursed its appearance for not having come earlier.

-Unloaded, did some dishes, played some scrabble.

-Worked on a mix CD for Ms. A. Russell.

-A nice run through the park, then down Commonwealth and through some of Brookline then back home on Harvard.

-Quick shower, watched Scary Movie with Allan for a bit, then grabbed the car and picked up Guru at the T stop.

-Drove to the Kendall Square area. Guru and I met Daniel at Helmand, maybe the only Afghan restaurant in Boston, although who knows really. Dinner was really good, chunks of lamb in a spicy, rich tomato sauce with lentils and peas and rice, followed by this amazing pistachio-cardamom ice cream with pineapple and figs. All in all a very rich and extremely satisfying meal that left me just a little too full.

-Walked out in the rain to a little Turkish cafe/pizza joint. The lady there made us coffee, and then was genuinely surprised when we turned down cream and sugar. Nice lady, her.

-Said goodbye to Daniel and Guru and I drove off to Coolidge Corner to meet with Alex, Maria, Allan, Anmol, and Lanthi for the event of the year. Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero live, in person, to take questions before a late showing of the gloriously bad The Room.

-Wiseau was rude, lacked charm, and was nearly incoherent, clearly inhibited by any number of recreational substances. That said, he is one of the most fascinating people I have ever seen. I could not take my eyes off him the entire time (my video will follow at a later date, once I've had time to process everything I saw this evening). Greg Sestero smiled serenely throughout, but gave one-sentence answers to any questions tossed his way, and pretty clearly did not want to be there. One of the most interesting things to consider was the obvious psychic trauma of promoting your heartfelt, serious, but truly awful movie as a "black comedy", when it would be clear to even a child that this film was meant to be taken seriously, but never has been. It's sad in a way.

-The movie was fantastic. It was bad beyond your wildest dreams of what a bad movie can be. Awful dialogue, senseless plot, bad acting, pointless exterior shots of San Francisco that probably take up about a quarter of the movie, pointless characters, complete lack of continuity, overall lack of connection to reality. All the same, the extreme badness of it is compelling. And I urge everyone to see it. You can borrow my DVD.

-Decided, as did everyone else, to skip the Wiseau autograph session, at least partly because we're all a little scared of him. Walked home boisterously talking about our impressions of the film and atmosphere in the theater (Rocky Horror Picture Show type-stuff, probably at least 75 percent of the audience had seen the movie enough times to be able to quote lines and throw plastic spoons at the screen at appropriate times).

-Everyone parted ways. I walked out in Brookline to get the car and consider a few things. It was chilly but great for walking in a sweater. Thought about the nature of love and how you're the only person who can decide if you love someone, pretty much.

-Came back and laid down not one but two blog posts.

It was a great day.

Eyes of an angel

I like to lose myself in these pop songs and little poems. Remember what it feels like to be lost? Pour yourself into something bigger; that's dangerous, you might get swallowed up in another. Forget who you were when you started. Isn't that everything we do? Give ourselves away to get someone's self back in return.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I dreamed you paid your dues in Canada

Random thoughts on Thursday evening:

-I'm quite familiar, from my train commute, with a very narrow swathe of Eastern Massachusetts. I'm quite familiar, from my whole life up to this point, with a much larger swathe of the same.

-If the world is fallin' down, it may as well crash with me.

-I've never completely understood the phenomenon of people hanging out in bars. It's cheaper to drink at home and you don't have to be surrounded by a crowd of sweaty strangers. No-brainer, right? Is it just that they make really good settings for sit-coms?

-Never knew until this year how good Brussels sprouts and plantains are. Where have you guys been all my life?

-Once you quit making excuses for yourself, losing weight is much easier. Obviously I'm young and it's easier for me than someone say 25 years older, but still, once you stop all the rationalizing and get into some good habits, losing weight isn't the hardest thing to do.

-I'm really not comfortable with people cursing out loud in public places. It's still so off-putting to me. Not that it offends me personally, but I'm offended on behalf of the sanctity of a public place. And embarrassed on behalf of the person doing the cursing. You really do come off looking like a fool when you do that. And I'm not a prude, but it is offensive. We have certain standards in our culture. When you go and curse all the time within earshot of the polite, reasonable people who are simply going about their business, you are breaking the rules and lowering the bar for everyone.

-Went for a fantastic run today at the Appleton Estate. Treadmills are very convenient and all, but they can't hold a candle to a nice hard run in the woods on a brisk spring day. This in spite of the heavy odor of manure.

-It's good to be alive.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

seriously

Zalex Ztrubitsyn can't tell an M-16 from an AR-15

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Something in the way of explanation, belated

A plowed field with little puddles in the furrows that overtop their banks, reminders of the deluge a week past. Like a memory of it but not the real thing. Sad in their way of reminding us of what's gone and can't come back.

An older man walking down a concrete path to his car in the company lot. Weathered blue jacket and work pants, he drives home to an empty house, falls asleep alone to wake tomorrow and go to work again.

The way the light falls on the train approaching sunset, slightly dulled yellow-orange, passes over it and makes shadows on the other side.

Empty streets in the dusk where no one goes. Open doors left open unattended and broken windows uncared for.

The open expanse of the harbor at Lynn, blue-black and soulless, looks like it goes on forever.

These things I saw from my window. They were sad, but didn't sadden me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"50% deep, 50% bullshit"

Occurs to me now that my life is going great. Just fantastic. I could not, should not, ask for more. And yet it seems to be the default human condition to never be satisfied!

Want more, get more, find something that's better than what you have, because what you have can never be enough. I'm trying so hard to break free of this mentality and the constant inferiority that it entails, but it takes a lot of effort and conscious striving to realize that what you have is good. It's enough and it can be great if you would only take a moment to look at it and see it in front of you.

I think I could be happy this way. Without too much, but surely with enough. It's like the saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". That only works if you don't let yourself be overtaken by the thought of having two birds, and constantly longing to have them. You still have a bird in your hand, and that's dinner tonight!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mediocre poetry, part who knows of many

Lines in the sand,
Lines for the T
Heavy screeches on the tracks between here and points west:
Newton Lower Falls, Coolidge Corner.

Where are you tonight?
Do you sleep?

Do you dream of Waban, Woodland, Maverick?

I am in all of them,
Waiting for your train to arrive

looking for you

Peg

Right now,
I can barely tell if I'm sleepin' or awake.
In a little while
It'll be the morning.

You won't remember bein' lost
In the after-hours,
Take my number down
Write it on your hand
Call me in the morning.

Which of these worlds is going to find you?
Is gonna remind you what you have to do
And why do you feel that you're being lied to?
Why don't you feel like anything new?

Peg,
It's almost winter time,
Is it snowing where you are?
Wait another hour,
It'll be the morning.

-Lyrics: Saturday Looks Good to Me
Transcription: Me

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hot Property!

Thoughts on the weekend ahead:

-73 degrees F ought to be nice. I'll count each of them as a blessing.

-I should try to live in the present a little more, and not think about next weekend on Monday.

-The rain will stop eventually, won't it?

-There are a great many things to live for in the world. Warm spring weekends are one of them, though not the most important one at the moment.

-I'm winking at myself. A private joke.

And ladies too— they will not let me have all fool to myself; they'll be snatching

My idea, which I had articulated so poorly, was that there are a great many sad moments and a great many happy moments in a given lifetime. Usually though, the happy moments outnumber the sad. The sad cannot be denied, but they are overwhelmed by the happy. However, a person who experiences sad moments is not automatically defined as a sad person. When you're sad, you should be sad, and not be afraid of it. When you let it out, it hurts, but then it's gone, and your soul is lightened. We keep so many things hidden inside because we're afraid of them, we're afraid that there are certain emotions that aren't manly, or that are shameful and shouldn't be felt. How untrue this is! If you are capable of feeling something, it must by definition be a valid emotion. Do not be afraid of yourself.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gangway for foot cycle!

The value of good conversation. Letting go of anger. Giving thanks for blessings. The value of love. Spring and all. Acceleration. Good comedy. Walking for hours on end. Talking and talking and talking. Old friends who come back. Beauty everywhere, beauty mixed with sadness, but so much beauty.

Don't be angry. Don't be sad. We're almost there.

Driving at night on empty roads full of life, singing at the top of your lungs. Burning up inside to see you sometimes.

What a life

Sunday, March 21, 2010

musing

There's nothing like the spring. Any other season, you can have it back. There's nothing like the spring.

And I was just thinking, you really shouldn't tell someone something because you think they want to hear it. It's a dirty trick. If you love a person, you need, and they need, for you to be able to tell them the truth.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have sav'd my life.

Being on my lunch break at work, and not having too much else to do before 1:50 pm, I thought I'd post a list of some of my favorite periodical titles, whether absurdly obscure, or just humorously titled, that I've encountered working in the Checkin department.



-Portable Restroom Operator - Basically everything that could remotely be considered an industry has its own trade paper. This is one of them. There's a lotta dung out there that needs to get moved and disposed of, and this is the magazine for the people who are out there on the front lines every day.

-Australian Clay Target Shooting News - The title really speaks for itself, like an absurd Sci-Fi channel movie (Sharks in Venice, anyone?). The thing that gets me, though is how small the target audience must be for this publication. How many people subscribe to this? 500? 1,000? Can't be too many more than that, can it?

-Journal of Civil War Medicine - Not that funny a title on its own, until you notice that it's published by "The Society of Civil War Surgeons". Sorry guys, it's not 1863 anymore. You can call yourself "Civil War Surgeons", but you're really just 20th Century People who have way too much time on their hands.

-Millionaire Corner - For those issues in a millionaire's life that ordinary commoners just wouldn't understand. As I remember, this publication concerns itself mainly with telling millionaires about things that other millionaires enjoy, and that they should therefore enjoy. And I think it goes without saying that you have to be a millionaire to subscribe.

-Mythprint - I think the lithping English professor/mythologist who thought of this title is still patting himself on the back to this day. Mythprint! Get it? Mythprint! No, seriously, do you get it?

-The Avant Gardener - My favorite, and another one, in the vein of Mythprint, that's just a little too clever for its own good. Really, guys, you've outdone yourselves. Let's scale it back a little. Once again, though, everything you need to know about the magazine is right there in the title. Looking for cutting-edge horticultural techniques? You've come to the right place!

Monday, March 8, 2010

a thought or two for the evening

There's not enough time in the world to do everything. There's not enough time to floss every day, read books, magazines, and the vast internet, work out, eat healthy, clean the house, visit with all your acquaintances regularly, and take day trips around New England.

There are a million different forces pulling us in all sorts of disparate directions every minute. The best I can do is to work hard and be myself. Some things I won't get to, and I have to make myself believe that that's all right, or I will explode from the worry that I forgot something, or that I'm missing some essential part of my life. It's OK! You can't be all things to all people all the time. It's enough to be yourself.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

semi-tongue-in-cheek

They line up for

McDonald's.

They crave a drink of

Grease.

They crave a glance at their

Death:

The 400-pounder unloaded
from a bench seat by the paramedics.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

sake

Spring is in the air
Nothing's really fair
But I don't care

Robert Frost's lines
are often filled with rhymes

don't worry about it

Sunday, February 28, 2010

More sad than angry, really

The thoughts going through my head of a Sunday morning:

Why do people go looking for trouble so much? There must be something in you that knows that if you bring a knife out to a bar and you're going to be doing some drinking, the odds are pretty good that you might end up using it. And where does that get you? Where? There's something so base and idiotic about the enormous pride that humans have. So what, you protected your reputation? You're going to stab someone to prove how tough you are?

How can this ever leave anyone better off? Someone gets stabbed, and you keep your reputation for being tough. And where has that ever gotten you? Back in a bar, getting in a fight, and stabbing someone

To uphold your reputation.

Which meant nothing to begin with.

It destroys me, the lengths that people go to to prove how tough they are, how they're 'hard'. What's better, you back down and let it go, or you pull out your knife and stab someone? You're going to jail, they're going to the hospital at best, dead at worst. Where does that leave us? What did you gain? It burns me up to even think about this, because I can't understand the mentality of these people. And I have to live here, I have to try to mind my own business, I have to stay off my street when the bars are closing, I have to watch out so I don't get pulled into your fights, your trouble, your stupid pride. And yes, I chose to live here. I don't have to live on Harvard Ave, where there are 10 bars in a mile radius. But you don't have to bring a weapon to the bar with you. You don't have to pick a fight. You don't have to be here! If you're going to the Kells on a Saturday night, you're probably a certain type of person who knows that fight might break out, and welcomes that possibility. But goodness gracious, you don't have to stab someone to prove how tough you are. Leave my neighborhood alone, for the love of God.

And it burns me too, the pride that people take in this kind of thing. There were people last night, gathered at the police lines, hooping and hollering. As in, the people who got stabbed got what they deserved. As in, someone's going to the hospital, but we kept our rep! To me that's beyond the pale. People are celebrating that they've sacrificed a human life to their pride. What is wrong with us? I know this doesn't happen too often, I know that I live a safe and privileged life, but I cannot let this stand. If one person dies, in Boston, for the sake of pride, it's one too many. It's not fair to take a life for your reputation. Live and let live.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

strange abstractions that come out of my head from time to time

I'm not afraid to be myself. I guess that's the biggest thing. It feels like being free. It feels like I'm finally coming into my own, like I'm right where I ought to be. And maybe that means recognizing that there isn't anywhere in particular that you have to be, and that right where you are is just fine.

Feels great,
Affirmation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

For you biting zealots here's a quote

"I'm irresponsible, and I have no fear. It's a great combination." -A

Monday, February 22, 2010

ditto

He gathered the strength
in his hulking legs
High-school athlete, Saturday star
all triceps and sinew
he prepared for the moment of glory

Muscles tensed, gaze fixed on his object,
He grasped the carton and slung it heavily into the delivery truck

I can only write poems on trains

Things that run and roll
Trains, balls, coins,
Coil around the loop in the tracks,
Fall gracefully through a suspended ring,
Score a point

Help me rush, rush to God-knows-where
Let me see in you things that aren't there
I love you

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe!

What I've come to realize, or at least I hope I have, is that I have nothing to lose in this situation, so I'm pushing all my chips into the middle. To use an uncomfortably hackneyed poker metaphor.

If you don't know to what I am referring, don't worry, because I'm the only one who does. I'm just putting this down as a little reminder to myself, and for purposes of posterity. We'll see how it turns out.

And because I don't like to go too long without a blog post.

And because I want to get better at writing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pens that won't run out of ink, and cool quiet and time to think

I was thinking recently about how we are constantly stimulated wherever we go. It seems to me this leaves little room in the mind for our own thoughts. Where does your mind go when it is constantly under assault by a thousand different kinds of media. Print ads on the subway, iPods in your ears, television at home, podcasts during work hours, even something as innocent as a book or magazine to read on the bus ride. To me, it all seems to be taking away from the time we have on our own, to think, to consider deeply.

On Friday evening I had something hopeful on my mind that I wanted to think about. What I realized, though, was that in my normal routine, I don't really have any time to consider things. I'm often in a hurry, and I'm almost always being stimulated by something exterior to my brain. I had to turn off the TV, and the music, and the lights to even have a chance to process the thoughts I had wanted to process. I was completely surprised by the fact that in my normal day, I don't really have time to think things over. I hadn't budgeted my time for that, and I wasn't even aware of it.

It seems to me that we often lose sight of how much stimulation we are forcing our minds to endure. It's important to think about stuff! Give yourself some time, unstimulated, to go over everything that's happened to you thus far, and consider everything that will happen. It's a lark! It's also something that is essentially human, and that we need to be sure not to lose.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

You are tearing me apart, Lisa!

-Don't be afraid

-Portmanteaus can get ugly fast. Have you seen MANswers?

-Yourself or a body double like you

-I wouldn't say my mind is exactly fertile, but I do try to practice crop rotation and plant some legumes

-Evaporation doesn't get enough credit for the important role it plays in our lives

-The embodiment of death is the smiling, pink, chubby face of Glenn Beck

-B-R-E-V-I-T-Y

-We really shouldn't be afraid of anything that won't kill us

-I bet if I quit drinking I could drop 20 lbs. just like that

-It's the company you keep

-Ashton Kutcher was enthusiastic, and the writing was tight. Along with the Jon Hamm episode, best couple of SNLs in a long time

-It's a strange thrill to meet someone with whom you have a great many things in common. Like arriving at an oasis in the desert, which analogy I am almost completely unqualified to make

-The Room: beyond your wildest dreams of how bad a bad movie could be. Unspeakably bad

-"Dance with me, beneath the circuitry"

-Unattributed quotation