_____ 1


(superbit transfer)

a product of \
arousers of trousers ltd.
a product of /

i [at] iiiii nu



my new idea: drive around los angeles on friday nights. choose a friend at random. go to their house. using cellphone, attempt to heckle them into the car. drive on. ipod : conversation : every once in a while pile out of the car and do something. repeat. effects: random, constantly changing cross-sections of people i know. something to do. sort of a rolling bar. question: how do i reconcile my desire to do this with the threat of global warming? i'm going to have to buy another terra-pass.


very bad
tiny hope
ecological economics


don't force it. i think i am done with this structure of the page. time to reformat.


torrance: the suburb that never sleeps. me and amy (and my ennui makes three) went pumpkin shopping last saturday night at about nine. i was disguised as a shlump-ass, unshaven, unemployed 20-something deadbeat, €and she was in full asian regalia.

first thing we hit was that ralphs giant over by target, across the street from the madrona marsh, but they only had these tiny pie pumpkins and they were all moldy on the stem. amy touched em and caught pumpkin fungus. i told her not to.

so we sashayed out of ralphs giant and then amy got freaked out by the big dead-body-lookin puppet named joe i keep in the backseat so i can use the carpool lane, so in light of that we went to check out whole foods and were wholly rewarded. i wonder if whole foods and food 4 less started a joint venture what they would call it. half foods. food 4 your hole. anyway, they had pumpkins. amy picked one with a jaunty stem, and then made the mistake of TOUCHING their squash display and four squashes went break-dancing across the aisle yelling "we're dirty now! happy thanksgiving!" she probably also gave them pumpkin fungus. we put em back and ran.

when i got home i put the pumpkin next to the birdbath and so that is the end.


finally my ego seems to be reinvesting in my web presence. that took long enough. so, a mechanical note: most of the picture and video links on iiiii have been busted ever since mike rearranged the file structure and broke my symbolic link to the image archive and i was too disengaged to notice or care. it's fixed now.


my whole thing is, how can there possibly be voting machine companies owned and operated by republicans? huh?


this is going to be a lot of work.


ahoy! the smear boat veterans for truth are abroad in our land. here is some information about them:

what kerry's own crewmates say about him, plus: what these commanders in the ads said about kerry at the time, in his fitness reports
john o'neill: nixon flashback
the howler participates

etc. etc.


i'm going to build a little file here which i will call "evil pundits destroyed." it will feature links to handy references.

1. tucker carlson: john edwards' 'jacuzzi cases'


happy cinco de mayo, everyone. i have a question: have you all turned off your televisions, smoked your newspapers and turned to the internet as your primary information source yet? good. now get on the horn and explain what you've discovered to any extended family you may have in the swing states.

i'm sorry, i should make a joke out of this or something. politics! god! i know. i feel the same way. the world really did end at the millennium, i think.


oh, whoever.




dean or clark? dean or clark.




politics tire me. the arguing. i'm one of those introverts with a naturally overclocked capacity for empathy. i'm a terrible negotiator - my natural inclination is to prioritize the other party's needs above my own. so on the one hand, this makes me very good at debating - i can see any point of view, so people always find me reasonable to talk to. but on the other hand, if for example i start spending a lot of time on conservative websites arguing with them about the war, that empathetic part of my brain starts to internalize their point of view - not so much their arguments as their points of faith. then i have to stop and shake myself and remind myself i that i do have a self and that their points of faith have nothing to recommend themselves over mine and in fact generally annoy or even revolt me.

so i go through cycles. i was trying to have a political weblog for a while - went so far as to write my own version of blogger, just for the practice, wrote a few posts - and then abandoned it after about a week because i can't do that every day. it would break me, and i'm already broken in other ways that i also have to deal with. although i seem to finally be improving.


confidential to whoever just hit my page on a search for "wombat lolita pages": I'M SORRY, I DON'T THINK I HAVE ANY OF THOSE.


confidential to whoever just hit my page on a search for "break dancing tootsie roll" : i'm sorry, i don't think i have any of those.


the greatest gulf
Rosen interestingly asserts that the idea of "state", in the western sense of a complex machinery of government independent of the person of the ruler, barely exists in the Arab world, because an entity as abstract and impersonal as a state cannot be credited with those "bonds of obligation" that define and constitute the Islamic self. This is borne out by fundamentalist websites that warn their followers not to vote in western elections for fear of committing the sin of shirk, or blasphemy: to show allegiance to a secular state, instead of to the Ummah and to Allah, is to worship a false god.

i suppose it's natural for the US to try to manage the middle east with its own interests in mind. in the final analysis, the job of the US government is to get the best deal for the american people. i'm not necessarily against that. i like living in a big house with a good job and a fast computer. well, i would like that.

but is it really so much to ask that it be done intelligently? i don't think it would be that hard. i could do it, after a bit of reading. it's a shame i'm unelectable. speaking of which, i'll have some thoughts on israel, in the fullness of time. that should be fun for everyone.


i've been unemployed for three months. i bought a big box of lucky charms yesterday. i've already eaten most of it.

Asked whom he considered a raghead, Akins said: "Anybody who actively opposes the United States of America's way ... If a little kid actively opposes my way of life, I'd call him a raghead, too."

As for non-hostile Iraqis, "I think they can be brought up intellectually, but it'll take some work because they're still in the Stone Age," Akins said. He appeared startled to hear that Iraqis are descendants of ancient Mesopotamia, a thriving civilization that created the world's first known system of writing and body of law, and that until the havoc of Hussein's regime, Iraq also enjoyed a substantial and highly educated middle class.

- newsday

i wonder how it's all going to turn out in the end.


i find that listening to tool really loud makes me feel better about things for a short time.


it's important to keep a larger perspective here: nobody with any power actually gives a rat's ass about the iraqi people.

not this much of a rat's ass, anyway.


al-jazeera web site hacked (CNN)

yes, but -

"Certainly, it has been hacked," acknowledged Jihad Ali Ballout, a spokesman for Al-Jazeera. He described the attack as "a frontal, vicious attack on freedom of the press" and urged anyone with information about the hackers to contact authorities.

"jihad ali ballout"? that cannot be his real name.


my issue is this: while i agree with the war protesters that the war is about as funny as steve martin's oscar material, i also agree with the conservative commentators (but i repeat myself) that the war protesters are, on average, retarded. i went out to the boston protest last week and was totally bored and unmoved.

mike observed that the left nowadays seems cursed with an inability to stay on topic. please, please, please try to be in touch with your audience. why were these people out on the streets? because they were working-class socialists? because they wanted to talk about budget cuts? wrong, hippie — they were pissed about the fucking war. i don't think anyone even talked about it, beyond chanting "no blood for oil", which is a bit of a cop-out at this stage.

i just wanted one person to get up there and say, "ok - in case you happen to get into an argument, here's a list of the reasons that the administration and bill o'reilly have put forward in favor of us invading iraq, and why they're bullshit. in order:
reason 1: we have to protect ourselves from terrorists.
response 1: in fact, as much as colin powell would prefer you believe otherwise, saddam and al qaeda despise and have nothing to do with each other.
reason 2: iraq has weapons of mass destruction in defiance of the UN.
response 2: do they? and even if they do, if we're going to hold up the will of the UN security council as sacrosanct, i mean... <blank stare>
reason 3: saddam is an aggressive threat to peace.
response 3: so why hasn't he attacked anyone in 12 years? he's not getting any younger. being on the side of justice means you have to take the other guy's first shot before you jump in (with certain very limited exceptions). never start a fight, always finish it. if he steps out of line, put him back in it. was the first gulf war really that scary? even if it happened again, i think we could handle it.
reason 4: we have to save the iraqi people.
response 4: why is that our job all of a sudden? when are we going to liberate burma? what about china? fuck, what about uzbekistan?
reason 5: support our troops!
response 5: you know, we could be invading canada for profit and "support our troops" would still make exactly as much sense as it does now.
reason 6: i want to fuck saddam up! i'm still pissed we didn't finish him off the first time! grr!
response 6: now we're getting somewhere."

this didn't happen. i wanted to volunteer to do it myself, but i don't think that was going to happen either. instead we get all this empty "war is bad" rhetoric. i don't like it either, but christ, some of these people sound like they would have protested WWII. what about this specific war? in the immortal words of eikel, "come on, people — don't just assert. one, two, three, reasoning!"


so did everett eat the gopher or not?


every time i watch go i have a minor conniption over the way timothy olyphant (todd gaines, the drug dealer) delivers the line

"how would you fuck me?"

he says it:

"how would you, fuck me?"

like he's really asking "how _could_ you fuck me?" - "how would an insignificant nobody like you fuck a big important drug dealer like me?" but he just explained how she could fuck him: 20 hits is the legal line between intent to distribute and trafficking. you look at the line on the page, and it's obvious what the intention was:

ronna: "todd, i would never fuck you like that."
todd: "how would you fuck me?"

he's not asking how she could fuck him, he's using sassy movie dialogue to point out (again) that they're not such good friends that he's just going to take her word for it.

the director really ought to be paying attention to this stuff. and now the top is down here, when it used to be up here, and you don't know the fucking difference.


since i mentioned it, tina posted a link to the china photo directory; it then appeared on a china weblog called 'chinaweblog' and then someone else divided them up into 20-photo chunks. so, the internet is scary, and you can browse them a lot easier now. the real photo system is coming.


after 6 months i finally have the vaio back online. this should stimulate growth. to begin with i'll start putting up as many pictures as i can. you should note that the complete world tour photos have actually been up for some time, but they're still quite chaotic - no thumbnails or even descriptive filenames, raw numbered files dumped into directories 500 at a time, vertical shots still laying on their sides. we'll do something about that just as soon as mike finishes his photo display system.


sorry about the nothing new. i was having another one of those months where i really think i'm going to die for the entire month. it's always november, for some reason. this time it seemed like my heart was quitting - if i lay on my side going to sleep it would stop for three seconds and then bounce hodge out of the bed with this one humongous beat and the MIT seismology lab would call up to complain again. my sense of body changed - laying in bed one night i was suddenly aware of the rough blankets touching my feet, but it seemed like i was feeling everything from a point about two inches above my head. one day when i put my arm over my head to hold on in the subway all the blood just ran out of it immediately and it started to tingle.

i've had a pretty good life, i thought, more than you can really ask for - wish i'd had kids though. i finally went to the doctor yesterday and he said i should stop drinking 6 cans of mountain dew a day and not to worry about it. anyway, this thing that happened to mike (m) is exactly the kind of thing that i'm always complaining about.


muttonchop picture.

this was drew's fault.


i am trying to redesign trouserarousal and prepare one of my Lengthy-Ass Mailing List Manifestoes, and anyway am not presently feeling this format. give it a week.



Deck the Halls

Holiday décor installation will begin this week and will be completed by Thanksgiving. This year we will be installing the second phase of our new holiday décor package. Last year's new décor featured oversized ornaments hung at Center Court, 14-pointed stars in Boylston and Huntington Arcades and at Bridge Court, 20' werathes at the Boylston and Huntington Avenue entrances, and oversized gold-leafed ornaments on the new South Garden. This year, the additions will include 18' trees in Belvidere and Prudential Arcades, wreathes in the Prudential Tower and 101 Lobbies, and additional 14-pointed stars to fill in the Boylston and Huntington Arcades. Bring in the entire family to enjoy some of the finest holiday decorations in New England!


and now it's gone here.

apparently mike is trying to compete with me. but his sassy little octopi are no match for the newts.


no updates so far today. i'll make sure and keep you posted.


well, R.I.P. the jesse helms era, anyway.


did you know that rhinocerusses communicate odorifically, via communal latrines? because i used to not know that.

rhinocerons are generally anti-social, and if you are a rhinoceros and happen to run into another rhinoceros while visiting the communal latrine, he will pretend not to see you. my kind of animal.


all right, chickens and beavers. after 14 months i am finally reinstalled in a house with high-speed internet. i apologize for the aimless banality (don't even bring up the infrequency) of the entries over here in #5 i-column the past year. we will now return to our regularly scheduled pelting and egg-scrambling.


i cannot deal with the fact that verisign has sold trouserarousal.net to a domain recycler in hong kong.




so i basically have my old job back. ignore what i said before, about it being lame. this time i'm a freelancer, not full-time, so i have no medical benefits, but at least i can stop feeling guilty about buying food now. i wasn't planning on getting sick anyway. i rest easier — it's not easy to relax when you're committed to paying out nearly a grand a month on your lease for the next year and your only income is selling off the dregs of your DVD collection on half.com. i don't think "barry lyndon" is in high enough demand for this.

on monday night i put the new underworld on in the kitchen while i cut up chicken. thai yellow curry chicken. the chicken didn't know that yet. fish sauce, as an aside, worries me. one minute before it was done i realized that i'd forgotten to cook the rice. it's a big bag of thai rice imported in bulk from thailand, clearly intended for people who know their way around rice — thus, no cooking instructions. so i took a cup of rice, threw it in what looked like a good amount of water and set the burner to "cook that rice". the water boiled off in about four minutes, leaving me with some kind of rice pudding.

i apologized to mike and drew, but it turned out once you threw the rice pudding into the yellow curry sauce it didn't make much difference. dinner: a success. "how long do you think i have to keep this up before i shake my hamburgers-and-bacon reputation?" i wondered aloud.

the new underworld is all right. probably my least-favorite underworld album, but that's no insult.


you would think if henry miller wrote a book called "crazy cock" about lesbians then naturally it would be good, but i guess not.

so, i get back to town and trouserarousal.net is gonna expire. fine. verisign sucks — this i know — because they're expensive and spam me all the time. slap my spam! man, i used to be funny. what happened. anyway, so i submit a transfer request to that flashy new kid on the block, register.com. (i wonder if verisign was pissed when register.com registered register.com - "fuck! why didn't we think of that!") "great!", says register.com. then, two days later, register.com comes back and says "we're sorry (dude), but verisign rejected your transfer request. sorry (dude). maybe some other time." (dude!) so i look all over verisign's website for a link to the "transfer your business to one of our competitors" form, to no avail. so i send them an email saying, basically, "hey, what the dilly-o." no response. i ask (that slut) mikeryan what he thinks. by this time it's like the day the thing is supposed to expire. (that dirty whore) mikeryan says that i should just wait for it to expire and see what happens. i wait. it doesn't expire. i wait another week. finally two weeks later (today) i try to update my amazon picture and, in the process, discover that it's finally stopped working. but it's still in whois, and (notorious skank) register.com still won't let me register it.

so, to sum up, verisign sucks even more than being kidnapped and raped by one of those african guys with aids who thinks that having sex with a virgin will cure him.


halo on the xbox has been more entertaining since i renamed my character Ashcroft. i've been trying to talk other people into all naming themselves Taliban Captive but no luck so far, although mike is now "DICK ARMEY" which is close enough.


i'm having a hard time shaking the feeling that it's a real bad sign when the guys on 'lou dobbs moneyline' start saying shit like "remember that all the best things in life are free anyway".


all right. tiny samples of china, italy and france are up. more later. at this point i'm probably going to start updating the other four columns again, so keep that wall eye cocked firmly to the right.

also, i am happy to report that taco bell.


we fly back to los angeles tomorrow night (monday the 15th, touchdown around 6:30 pm pacific) at which point i'll put up a selection of the pictures and start updating again. i mean, in the morning. 6:30 pm monday in LA is, like, 2:30 am tuesday in london. ow.


china is interesting, but also a little strange. i mean, that stuff really is their language! all this time i thought asian filmmakers were just pretentious.


we get the fox news channel in our hotel room in shanghai. has anyone else ever noticed that american newscasts kind of avoid any mention of where israel came from or the reasons why the palestinians are mad? i guess those motherfuckers are just naturally violent.


new zealand update on, say, tuesday. right now check out the australia pictures.

plus some AVIs. also added one video to the new zealand section.


new zealand update on, say, tuesday. right now check out the new zealand pictures.

some of them may be something less than self-explanatory, so hold out for the email message. but there really is a tiny blue penguin in #055.


put up a few photos.

world tour 2002/america
photos from the road trip. not quite comprehensive enough to resemble being there — for some reason i tend not to kodak the people i stay with on the road; it seems forward — but there are some i like.

torrance infrastructure
new project: photo survey of my old hometown, and to some extent greater los angeles; akin to the boston infrastructure project, to which i also added captions.


trip capsule summaries: to date:

sat 1/5/2: new york, ny: dave & phil's 23rd st pad
sun 1/6/2: spotsylvania, va: alison's town house
mon 1/7/2: durham, nc: ridley & krinsky
tue 1/8/2: charleston, sc
wed 1/9/2: savannah, ga & tallahassee, fl
thu 1/10/2: mobile, al: archaeology conference
sun 1/13/2: beaumont, tx
mon 1/14/2: austin, tx (joanna's)
wed 1/15/2: las cruces, nm
thu 1/16/2: torrance, ca

as it turns out — not that i would have had any reason to know this, before — motels as a rule tend not to carry the local UPN affiliate on their cable system. also, at least in the case of the motel 6 we ended up at outside of charleston on new buffy tuesday, their televisions tend not to have antennas, and if you unplug the cable the local broadcast stations tend not to come in. thus you tend to miss buffy, instead sitting around a drab budget room half-heartedly watching HBO, acutely aware that the buffy signal is actually PASSING THROUGH YOUR BODY THE ENTIRE TIME. hodge kicked a wall.

luckily, when we got to austin joanna had the episode on tape.


trip capsule summaries: to date:

sat 1/5/2: new york, ny: dave & phil's 23rd st pad
sun 1/6/2: spotsylvania, va: alison's town house
mon 1/7/2: durham, nc: ridley & krinsky

tomorrow is a new buffy tuesday, so we have to stay at a motel with cable that carries a UPN station. i just downloaded a list of southern affiliates to my laptop from upn.com so we're more or less covered there. this is the kind of trip we're on. we still have to decide if we want to veer towards the tennessee mountains or the carolina coast down here. leaning towards the mountains: coast belongs to the alligators now.

married life seems to be treating ridley & krinsky exactly the same. the travelogue with the writing that is actually any good will be started any day now. right now you get this.


i understand all of my friends who don't have elaborate web pages so much better now that i don't sit in front of a computer on a high-speed connection all day long every day for eight years in a row.


got my vaio. there was some kind of confusion with the delivery — UPS package trak said i had it in my hot little hands, but i didn't, and momentarily i was concerned that saying "HEY, THIS EXPENSIVE PIECE OF HARDWARE ADDRESSED TO ME WILL BE ARRIVING AT MY BUILDING IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS" on my internationally accessible website might have been indiscreet, but then the doorman showed up with the box and some explanation about where it had been that i didn't understand, and that was that.

these laptops, i tell you, they're getting to the point where the only limiting factor is the size of your hands. so, the first thing that dave, phil and i did when it arrived was install starcraft and play networked games for about 36 hours. had been waiting for that. at one point jeanbot called and i told her that dave had been eliminated hours ago; the computer had waited another hour, letting me linger unnoticed at the bottom of the screen hanging by a very thin thread, and then casually stomped on me with a protoss aircraft carrier, but phil had suddenly turned the tables and was playing the enemy to a standstill with the help of our automatic ally. she hadn't really asked. dave and phil played in shifts until phil finally lost interest after four hours. jean said that people in korea have died from starcraft addiction after they stopped eating.

that night i decided to watch kubrick's "lolita", which i've owned for almost two years and never watched. the first scene takes place in quilty's house, which is littered with champagne bottles and assorted glasses on every available surface. in the shadows these resembled the patterns and shapes of starcraft bases and SCV's. it seemed as though peter sellers was wandering around acting strange while tiny machines mined crystals and built command centers around his ankles. i cried and went to bed, where i saw them building a science facility with a covert ops add-on in the corner of my ceiling. i closed my eyes and they built a terran battle cruiser on my eyelids. i was hit with a burst of the fundamental, wordlessly alien nature of the universe and the true insignificance of everything. i got all depressed because i hadn't done anything for two months and my brain was running a game of starcraft as a background process that i couldn't control and my room was filling up with clothes and empty boxes and dishes. so i got up in the morning and cleaned and did laundry and made my bed and planned the trip some and found an mp3 ripping program for windows and felt much better. then i watched the blair witch project all by myself and got scared. it's rough living in new york.


so what, i stop updating for a month and my hit rate just nosedives. tough crowd. good news: i bought a sleek little vaio for the trip, and it has a modem. should arrive within a couple days. then i'll drop an update reuptake inhibitor in your diet pepsi and everything will seem new again. okay, that probably doesn't make any sense.


job over. living in new york. only modems there. also, computer has no modem. thus, hand to mouth here on the website. actually i'm hiding out in southern mass this weekend, storing my car and picking up some hodge i left behind at the old apartment. back in new york next week, compose thoughts offline and post them here. actually do have some. also, phil drinks an awful lot.


the trap was set. you can get locked into the elevator bays on my floor without your security card; late at night it's death. the only exit is to flush yourself to the lobby; an elevator will come if you call, but only the 1st floor button works after hours. security is redoubled and unsympathetic these days. and as i may have mentioned, my security card isn't even mine — long story. so i'm uploading to the client server, which i can only do from my boss's empty office. (she looks sort of like cate blanchett in the gift, but she's not psychic.) the shortest way is through the elevator bay — whack the button to get in, then access card to get out on the other side. i go through once. try to log on, denied. i go through twice. back at my desk, start composing a plaintive email when — "hey, i bet it's case sensitive." i go through three times. log in successfully, upload the files, pump a little fist. i go through... as the door is about three inches from closing behind me i reach in my pocket for my access card and feel only wallet. quickly, the spirit of bruce lee possesses my body. reflex loops kick in. "haya-AAAAAAA!" i come to rest flat on my belly, holding the door open with millimeters to spare. i wonder if they have security-camera footage of this. the card's on her desk next to the vpn. jesus christ.

i go through four times, smiling, visualizing the flesh hanging off the ribs of the alternate me six months from now: trapped under glass, his access card on elizabeth's desk, his cellphone resting peacefully on his own. two years here and it almost happened to me on the next-to-last day.

strange two weeks. moving. updates coming.



ah, hodge. you are my primary action item.

you are not your bank account! you are not your grande latte! they're laying off 38% of my group today. very gloomy meeting up on 18: "i hope they don't just shut the doors and fill the room with gas." nearly. they're going to call people all day for 1-on-1's. there's severance, so i'm pulling for the call, since it looks like i'm leaving soon anyway. updates as events warrant.

okay, get this. background: i'm paying rent in new york right now, started in september actually. i keep wanting to get down there, but work and my broken car have kept me up in boston until now. i was leaning towards quitting at the end of the month to live in new york november-december and then leave on the world tour with the primary action item in january.

so, i just got laid off, but they're giving me an extra month's severance to stay on until october 26th and finish my project. i feel bad saying so, because so many other people were hit hard, but this fucking rules. i mean, i kind of wanted to come back to this job after the trip, but they weren't going to guarantee my position anyway, and if this is any indication i wasn't going to get it back.

now i just need for world war 3 not to break out.

hodge and i find each other awake and stare at each other sleepily. "in business terms," i say quietly, "you are my primary action item." she blinks at me for a few seconds. "why are you thinking of whacked things to say?" she finally asks. "you should be sleeping."


new sequel: apple orchard of the bowling alley


inside hollywood video, dvd section.

"i saw that once. it didn't give me nightmares."
"did it give you daystallions?"
(long pause)
"you think you're clever, don't you."
(incoherent giggling)


historical excerpt #6:

...but it was the achievement of Zarathustra that he conceived his god as supreme over all things, in terms as noble as the Book of Job:

This I ask thee, tell me truly, O Ahura-Mazda: Who determined the paths of suns and stars—who is it by whom the moon waxes and wanes? How does this work? Do new entries always appear at the top? Why is the date stamp going backwards now? I'd swear that entry was phrased differently yesterday.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 367)


information wants to be twee.


hodge said that there are no recent pictures of her cat, ivy, so she took some.





and then i took some.





remember: the act of observing something changes it.


mr. tremble wonders which is worse, "operation infinite justice" or "attack of the clones". i thought exactly the same thing when cnn first flashed it. they should just swap 'em.

we're all going to die. george and i were talking about what american refugees would be like as we drove in his japanese car to go bowling last week. "afghanistan would get this call from canada," he said, "and canada would say, 'we have all these fifteen-year-old girls here. they're crying about carson daly.' and the taliban would say," pause — then whispering — "'send them over.'"


this can't be leroy's webpage! where are the boxes?


i can't do anything fancy here yet: my G3 is hopelessly offline due to my homeless state and an uncooperative house network here in the ghetto. i have new photos from san francisco and around town. none of them can go up. in the meantime i suppose that i will BLOG. blog blog bloggery blog... i remember playing "blogger", that was the one with the little mousy-looking toadrat that hopped halfway across a superhighway and then stopped to whine about having to do it and got hit by a logging truck. flogger — vely fun, vely sekssy.


bush to address congress — <rustle rustle rustle>


6 [at] iiiii [dot] nu
powered by pico

.!!! .!!!! .!!..!!


what exactly was lincoln thinking?


well, it appears that american public opinion is slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that the iraq war was a mistake.

i hope i at least get some credibility out of this.

key point: 'whoops, a mistake' is clearly too generous a description of the administration's role. the mistake was the people buying into the whole thing, and the democrats buckling under to short-term political fear and going along quietly. the administration itself... maybe it could be described as an error - i still think they probably really believed their own WMD hype. but if it was an error it was a really incompetent, stubborn, easily avoidable, evil error, and anyone even peripherally involved in it deserves to be tarred, feathered and run out of politics forever.

democrats need to come up with an exit strategy before they can criticize? there is no possible exit strategy! that was, you know, one of the major reasons why this was such a bad idea!

the point in rehashing how we got into iraq is not so much that it will help us get out of iraq. it's so that people can come to terms with the fact that our leaders are very bad at their jobs, and act accordingly.

dick cheney just can't let go of the cold war.


shit, i don't think morale is improving.


the gay marriages will continue until morale improves!


could anything possibly be more useless than these anti-drug ads? i just saw one of the newer ones, where the girl's standing on the end of a pier watching someone drown and then wanders off looking disinterested, and the commercial's all "if your friend was drowning, you'd help them, right? if your friend is having a problem with drugs and alcohol... do something."

'do something'! that's all it says! no advice. no phone number. i guess if your friend is a drug addict, you're supposed to throw them a life preserver, pull them out of the lake, towel them off and take them out for some tasty drugs. i mean, that'll cheer them up, right? i think it's a very deft analogy, even better than that whole terrorist thing from last year.


wait a second — the PATRIOT Act II was passed and signed the night after saddam was captured? and i didn't hear about it until now? what's going on?


historical excerpt #17:

A choice having been made, and the dowry agreed upon, a solemn betrothal takes place in the home of the girl's father; there must be witnesses, but her own presence is not necessary. Without such a formal betrothal no union is valid in Athenian law; it is considered to be the first act in the complex rite of marriage. The second act, which follows in a few days, is a feast in the house of the girl. Before coming to it the bride and bridegroom, in their separate homes, bathe in ceremonial purification. At the feast the men of both families sit on one side of the room, the women on the other; a wedding cake is eaten, and much wine is drunk. Then the bridegroom escorts his veiled and white-robed bride—whose face he may not yet have seen—into a carriage, and takes her to his father's dwelling amid a procession of friends and flute-playing girls, who light the way with torches and raise the hymeneal chant. Arrived, he carries the girl over the threshold, as if in semblance of capture. The parents of the youth greet the girl, and receive her with religious ceremony into the circle of the family and the worship of its gods; no priest, however, takes any part in the ritual. The guests then escort the couple to their room with an epithalamion, or marriage-chamber song, and linger boisterously at the door until the bridegroom announces to them that the marriage has been consummated.

- will durant, "the life of greece" (p. 304)



the top 10 movies of 2iiiii3:

10/ swimming pool
09/ spellbound
07/ lotr:rotk
04/ 28 days later
02/ kill bill vol. 1
01/ lost in translation


somehow, we have to get back here. i have been falling down on the job too long. more soon.


guardian: Trading on fear
The National Drug Council retooled the war on drugs with TV ads telling people that smoking marijuana helped to fund terrorism. Environmentalists attempted to take the fund-a-terrorist trope in a different direction, teaming up with columnist Arianna Huffington to launch the "Detroit Project", which produced TV ads modelled after the National Drug Council ads. "This is George," a voiceover said. "This is the gas that George bought for his SUV." The screen then showed a map of the Middle East. "These are the countries where the executives bought the oil that made the gas that George bought for his SUV." The picture switched to a scene of armed terrorists in a desert. "And these are the terrorists who get money from those countries every time George fills up his SUV." In Detroit and elsewhere, however, TV stations that had been only too happy to run the White House anti-drugs ads refused to accept the Detroit Project commercials, calling them "totally inappropriate".


in the words of "get your war on", -Wait, hold up. Just how interesting could that children's book have been? What would it have taken to get Bush to put the fucking book down immediately that morning? Maybe if someone fucking flew the World Trade Center into the Pentagon? Would that have been serious enough???


every time i write a cover letter i put in "my communication skills are just indescribable" and then delete it again after hodge assures me that corporate america is still not ready for me.


so, what's up in afghanistan? anything?


the problem with political dialogue in this country — if you can really call it that — is that everybody is more interested in having their team win than in actually getting the right answer. it's just a big game of "screw the other guy". nobody will ever admit it when they're wrong; critical thinking is not a factor.

what are they teaching in those schools? i guess if you actually taught high school kids how to think their parents would get angry. and anyway a lot of people just don't seem to have the flexibility required to maintain an open mind. perhaps if you got to them early enough; then again, perhaps not.

deep in the marinara trench, huge lobsters sound a gong: the sunset of the monkey draws nigh. algae has had the right idea all along — if you can really call it that.


a couple of long articles about what's really going on here:

"first stop, iraq" (time)
"F___ Saddam. we're taking him out." Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

"practice to deceive" (joshua micah marshall)
The audacious nature of the neocons' plan makes it easy to criticize but strangely difficult to dismiss outright. Like a character in a bad made-for-TV thriller from the 1970s, you can hear yourself saying, "That plan's just crazy enough to work."

i guess they sort of mean well, but i really don't think it's going to work. what happens if we set up democracy in iraq and they elect osama bin laden president? do we respect the process?

at least he'd be easier to find. i think really, fundamentally, what needs to happen is we get off the oil. the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. bush said this in the state of the union and it was a very strange feeling to agree with him.


are they shocked and awed yet? i can't tell.


i think i reached a new low in the annals of unemployment today when i twisted my wrist in my haste to grab 35 cents from under the couch cushions. i'm not making this up.

i guess it's too late now to stop the war to end peace, but i just have some thoughts about all those iraqi-terror links and weapons of mass destructions mass destruction: wtf? what do you think they'll do if it turns out there really aren't any chemical weapons? plant some? make up a bizarre story about how he must have handed them off to terrorists? hope no one remembers to ask?

did you see the video of that marine pulling down the iraqi flag and running up the stars & stripes? that's brilliant, guys. i bet that's al-jazeera's new station ID.


more video.

bex w/ sparklers (2.5M)
pretty self-explanatory.

sneezapoleon (1.2M)
also self-explanatory. no, i'm kidding. see, i had put the hood of dave's puffy winter coat on my head without the rest of the coat, which looked pretty funny, and then i sneezed while george was trying to take a picture of me, and he was all, "i should have taken a movie!" so i was like, "take one, i've got another sneeze coming - " and then i spent a few seconds trying to sneeze until i noticed that george had already started the movie.

mint lemon #1 (3.9M)
george forced me to eat a mint altoid and a lemon altoid at the same time.

mint lemon #2 (3.8M)
continued. what i'm saying is "this isn't as bad as the tootsie roll and chicken pot pie," a reference to a similar incident from a few years ago.

mint lemon #4 (3.9M)
then he made dave do it.

dagny ski jump (0.7M)
so we were watching TV, and there was this SUV commercial where they drive out into the snow and then stop on this mountain road and pull out a video camera, and then, after what i guess is a pause for the audience to obediently go "what the fuck?", their friends start doing ski flips over the road and on down the hill. so i told george to throw his cat over me to dave. (dave says he was making that face on purpose.)

hi dave (1.5M)
hi dave!

peanuts (3.9M)
george was throwing peanuts for dave to catch in his mouth. afterwards george admitted that he was missing on purpose. that last one got him in the eye.


here: putting up some of my AVI video clips. i don't really have any existing infrastructure for those so i'm just throwing them in a directory and indexing them here. maybe eventually they get their own little page.

NOTE 11.17.07: in the process of moving these to youtube. some links will not work.

you can pretty much divide these up into three categories:
(1) cute animals
(2) little ambient clips which don't have much action and basically amount to extended photographs
(3) hodge footage

america, 2001
gopher (3.7M)

new zealand
sheep jam (3.7M)

a nice clip of some rice boiling (0.6M)
tiny blue penguins, part 1 (1.4M)
tiny blue penguins, part 2 (2.1M)
tiny blue penguins, part 3 (3.7M)
the sarcastic koala video (3.7M, not recommended)
mwah (0.4M)
the less sarcastic koala video (3.8M)
a grizzly bear failing to catch a dead rat thrown from the crowd (1.3M)
wombat ass (1.0M)

hong kong
remake of the end of wong kar-wai's fallen angels (0.9M)
soho escalator (1.6M)

shanghai: the pearl line (1.5M)
shanghai: nanjing lu (1.3M)
hangzhou: mouse in the grass (2.2M, not really that exciting)
nanjing: rain (0.7M)
yangtze: dam #1 (1.0M)
yangtze: dam #2 (1.1M)
yangtze: gorge above the dam (soon flooded) (1.8M)
yangtze: gorge above the dam (soon flooded with tourists) (3.9M)
yangtze: barge nose (0.8M)
xian: lively traffic in the muslim quarter (1.2M)
xian: lively traffic citywide (3.8M)

symbolic movie about timeless ruins (1.0M)
symbolic movie about timeless dogs (3.0M)

venice: cone (0.8M)
venice: bells / rain (0.6M)
venice: rain (1.1M)
venice: sidewalk flooding (1.6M)
gondola jam (2.3M)

electric eye (3.5M)
lighthouse (2.6M)

march of the slug (2.4M)
space recycling (1.3M)

hodge starts to crack, part 1 (1.1M)
hodge starts to crack, part 2 (0.9M)

bus travel (0.5M)
my impression of a scottish hill slug (3.8M)
sanity hanging by a thread (1.9M)
american beauty (1.7M)

hodge @ burger king, part 1 (0.7M)
hodge @ burger king, part 2 (0.6M)
hodge @ burger king, part 3 (0.8M)
hodge finishes cracking (0.6M)
just have to conceal her then (0.6M)
avebury ditch (3.8M)
blenheim palace shuffle-dance (3.0M)
she seems better (1.0M)
tower of london bird gaze of death (0.8M)
a picture of the big gate (1.7M)

forest (very green) (3.8M)
a cow (1.5M)
petals (1.0M)

america 2002
let me in, part 1 (1.5M)
let me in, part 2 (3.2M)
freeway (2.9M)
a panda hitting itself in the head with a piece of bamboo, then looking at the bamboo with a surprised and hurt expression (1.2M)


well, at least we've established that drinking won't kill me.


shit cannot go on like this.


historical excerpt #12:

In the early days of the Kyoto period the emperors inclined to piety; some of them abdicated to become Buddhist monks, and one of them forbade fishing as an insult to Buddha. Yozei was a troublesome exception who illustrated the perils of active monarchy: he made people climb trees, and then shot them down with bow and arrow; he seized maidens in the street, tied them up with lute strings, and cast them into ponds; it pleased His Majesty to ride through the capital and to belabor the citizens with his whip; at last his subjects deposed him in an outbreak of political impiety rare in the history of Japan.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 834)


——   ——     — ——      —  —     —  —    ——        —
            —     — —       —   —
    —       —         —       —
        —         —           —
                —               —

NaWebloEntWriMo em-dash count: 29

it was a dark and stormy night. i came home to discover that my novel had already written itself. hooray for postmodernism! the title is '1994'.

i — realized last week that my creative process is — to build things like gadgets, rather than write them — like novels. what form will a novel-gadget take? unfortunately — i think i need to get out of boston — and buy a video camera — before i can — find out.

            —           —       —
    —  —       —  ——     ——      —  —


basically just along for the ride, here. decided to go get lunch (that's always how it starts). went to the elevators, hit the 'down' button and crouched over to tie left shoe. couple seconds later the elevator opened right in front of left shoe. kind of hopped into it while still tying left shoe. doors closed. it went up. eventually cast ashore on 22. decided that was ok — vending machines on 22. bought twix. stuck in back pocket. went back down, got lunch. came back to desk, sat on twix. spent two hours building truck website. finally remembered twix. pulled out warm, flat twix. sight made me hungry. caught twix a rock and a soft, sticky place. left twix on desk to cool. lost patience after 15 minutes, ripped twix open, tried to eat twix. got sticky twix on hands and face. hoping no one comes by.


you know, i hate to bring this up, but colin powell looks awfully white to me.


saturday night, 3 am, during a 7-player capture the flag:
corinna: wait, is ashcroft good or bad?
leroy: he's good. [pause] well, ashcroft is bad, but right now he's on your team.
alex: wow, that really sums it up.



george w bush:
dick cheney:
ashcroft: leroy
dick armey:
colin powell:
condoleeza rice: kitten
tom ridge:
ari fleischer:
george h w bush:
osama bin laden: ed
ayman al-zawahiri:
mohammed atta:
abdul hamid / john walker lindh:
zacarias massaoui:
saddam hussein:
tariq aziz: drew
hamid karzai:
king zahir shah:
mullah omar:
pervez musharraf:
yasser arafat:
saeb erekat: dave
ariel sharon:
tony blair: lukas
kofi annan:
hans blix: george
rudy giuliani:
john mccain:
the midterm elections:
christiane amanpour:
greta van susteren: hodge
wolf blitzer: llisa
geraldo rivera:
joe lieberman:
the maryland sniper: holly
inhalational anthrax: mikeryan
the west nile virus: lauren
: alex
: eric

drew: "hey, the west nile virus doesn't have anything to do with the war on terror."
leroy: "you don't know that."

a hitch: there's a ten-character size limit. going to be a problem with some of these long-ass towelhead names like "condoleeza".


so, has oj found the real killer yet?


everything is pretty final at this point.

feb 24: los angeles > auckland
feb 25: DNS error
feb 26 - mar 10: new zealand
mar 10: auckland > melbin
mar 10 - apr 11: australia
apr 11: perth > hong kong
apr 11 - apr 18: hong kong
apr 18: hong kong > shanghai
apr 18 - may 14: china
may 14: beijing > athens
may 15 - jun 15: european zigzag
: greece
: italy
: south france
: barcelona
: paris
: germany
: benelux
jun 15: chunnel
jun 15 - jul 15: UK
jul 15: london > los angeles

if you want to meet up anywhere in here start planning now.

(UPDATE: good job, assholes.)


the trip


somewhere in southeastern new england — i think it was on I-95 coming out of providence, but i'm not sure because somebody used prismatic sky technology to focus the sun on my forehead for the entire trip and it gave me a huge headache, don't remember much — there's an industrial building whose sign says:

Glaser By Name — Glazier By Trade

that building wins today's award.


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not a single steganograsaur fossil has ever been found.


perhaps we should post the Five Moral Rules in america's public schools.

1. Let not one kill any living being.
2. Let not one take what is not given to him.
3. Let not one speak falsely.
4. Let not one drink intoxicating drinks.
5. Let not one be unchaste.

i don't know, though. chaste makes waste.


on tuesday night as i was drifting off i was thinking about how poorly designed teeth are — if they don't get knocked out, they just rot off anyway — and it really hit home, how not so very long from now we're going to look back on the days before cybernetic body-modification the way we look back now and laugh at the people who lived in the time before, like, electricity. that isn't very precise — depending on what you mean, people have been practicing cybernetic body-modification since pre-history, but you feel like it's ramping up. hell, i have two tooth implants right now. i could probably get them unscrewed and install fangs if i wanted. my dentist is a total twelve-year-old, he'd do it.

george, mikeryan, ed and i had pool night a week ago. in the middle of the second game ed took his glasses off. "all light then," i said. "challie viet cong say we play lough, then we play lough." so i took mine off and immediately cracked in a shot. i was all ready for my career as a myopic-pool prodigy: the dream died when i didn't make another shot for the entire rest of the game, but the really strange part was that it turned me into a completely different person. i talked more, and started making rather rash promises in response to abuse instead of my usual silent sidewise-peer routine. because i felt more like i belonged in a pool hall without the dork goggles on, or because i couldn't see the people watching me any more? the answer is "laser eye surgery".

i notice that more and more — so much of your personality is determined by the physical properties of your body. no one seems to think about it. normally i don't trust my voice. no one in my family has ever been loud since the beginning of time. my normal voice is barely audible on the street. my maximum volume (a) degenerates into a raspy unpleasantness and (b) is still not all that loud. those people who scream at concerts amaze me. and my voice still cracks now and then, unexpectedly, when i first start to talk, which discourages me from jumping in and out of conversations. if my voice was a car, it would be a 1996 honda civic. it beats walking. but two days after a cold my voice goes deep and resonantes in people's ears like the casual observations of zeus, god of thunder. if my two days after a cold voice was a car, it would be a black limo. with a sunroof. models hanging out of the sunroof. clothed, but hastily. and when i have that voice, i use it. i go hunting for people to talk to. and the strangest part is that i actually have more things to say. i can just snap things off at will. perhaps i should seek out a larynx implant.


historical excerpt #7:

Only the records of Rome after Tiberius could rival in bloodiness the royal annals of Persia. The murderer of Xerxes was murdered by Artaxerxes I, who, after a long reign, was succeeded by Xerxes II, who was murdered a few weeks later by his half-brother Sogdianus, who was murdered six months later by Darius II, who suppressed the revolt of Terituchmes by having him slain, his wife cut into pieces, and his mother, brothers and sisters buried alive. Darius II was followed by his son Artaxerxes II, who at the battle of Cunaxa, had to fight to the death his own brother, the younger Cyrus, when the youth tried to seize the royal power. Artaxerxes II enjoyed a long reign, killed his son Darius for conspiracy, and died of a broken heart on finding that another son, Ochus, was planning to assassinate him. Ochus ruled for twenty years, and was poisoned by his general Bagoas. This iron-livered Warwick placed Arses, son of Ochus, on the throne, assassinated Arses' brothers to make Arses secure, then assassinated Arses and his infant children, and gave the sceptre to Codomannus, a safely effeminate friend. Codomannus reigned for eight years under the name of Darius III, and died in battle against Alexander at Arbela, in the final ruin of his country.


Alexander crossed the Hellespont without opposition, having what seemed to Asia a negligible force of 30,000 footmen and 5,000 cavalry. A Persian army of 40,000 troops tried to stop him at the Granicus; the Greeks lost 115 men, the Persians 20,000. Alexander marched south and east, taking cities and receiving surrenders for a year. Meanwhile Darius III gathered a horde of 600,000 soldiers and adventurers[…] When the two armies met at Issus Alexander had no more than 30,000 followers; but Darius, with all the stupidity that destiny could require, had chosen a field in which only a small part of his multitude could fight at one time. When the slaughter was over the Macedonians had lost some 450, the Persians 110,000 men, most of these being slain in wild retreat; Alexander, in reckless pursuit, crossed a stream on a bridge of Persian corpses. Darius fled ignominiously, abandoning his mother, a wife, two daughters, his chariot, and his luxuriously appointed tent. Alexander treated the Persian ladies with a chivalry that surprised the Greek historians, contenting himself with marrying one of the daughters.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 382-383)

i suppose some of those morning-after revisions didn't come through in time.


historical excerpt #4:

Cyrus served wine to his army, and Persian councils never undertook serious discussions of policy when sober*—though they took care to revise their decisions the next morning.

* "They carry on their most important deliberations," Strabo reports, "when drinking wine; and they regard decisions then made as more lasting than those made when they are sober."

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 357)


all right, i can see the boxes now.


historical excerpt #3:

The Ninth Commandment, by demanding absolute honesty of witnesses, put the prop of religion under the whole structure of Jewish law. An oath was to be a religious ceremony: not merely was a man, in swearing, to place his hand on the genitals of him to whom he swore, as in the old custom; he was now to be taking God himself as his witness and his judge.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 338)

remember: to swear an oath is to place your hand on the genitals of God.


historical excerpt #1:

The worship of Ishtar suggests a certain reverence for woman and motherhood, like the worship of Mary in the Middle Ages; but we get no glimpse of chivalry in Herodotus' report that the Babylonians, when besieged, "had strangled their wives, to prevent the consumption of their provisions."

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 247-248)

remember: the act of strangling something changes it.


(note: not really strangling a kitty)


historical excerpt #2:

Pliny believed that this habit of taking enemas was learned by the Egyptians from observing the ibis, a bird that counteracts the constipating character of its food by using its long bill as a rectal syringe.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 183-184)

remember: the act of using your long bill as a rectal syringe changes the observer.


last night we went out to dinner. this morning when i woke up i was hungry again. christ! will this never end?

..!!! !..!!.x


as much as i want to love these lord of the rings movies, there's something deeply wrong with them. the major casting is spot-on: mckellen as gandalf, viggo as aragorn, wood as frodo, all the other hobbits, ladies love cool legolas, gimli's fine, and you can't go wrong with christopher lee. new zealand is totally middle-earth. the effects are just grand.

these movies drag like all get-out. it's not that they're three hours long. i can handle that fine. but the three hours aren't paced or used well. these are the problems as i see them:

(1). a lot of the writing is just bad. they're trying too hard to capture folksy country renaissance-faire talk. sam says everything three times, mr. frodo sir, says everything three times, just like my old gaffer used to say things over and over again.

(2). subtlety. could use a little more. partly in the writing, as per (1) — the ponderous, gay earnestness of every frodo/sam conversation is, how you say, no thanks. i have nothing against sincerity—honest—but this particular brand of earnestness is too ponderous and gay for me. tolkien liked farmers and everything, but he wasn't this big of a dork. also, this day we fight! no kidding - let's hunt some orc.

also in the direction. peter jackson just doesn't — ok i won't be normative. peter jackson and i disagree on which little dramatic moments to emphasize. example: the "eowyn bags a nazgul" scene was edited all wrong — it might be the best scene in the book, and yet it failed to move me altogether. i'm having trouble figuring out what specifically was wrong with it. when you realize that the prophecy says "man", and eowyn's a girl (you're not even supposed to know it's her until she takes the helmet off anyway) — they didn't show the witch-king having a moment of doubt. i think that's what it is. i know it's hard for him to act with no face, but it was just like, here, let me stab you in the face. also, was there any reason to cut that scene into two parts? no.

(3). battle coherence. everything just charges at everything else over and over again. then everybody bangs on each other for half an hour. if i were doing a huge battle scene, i'd take one character at a time and focus on them for a little while: that eowyn scene, then eomer killing an entire troll or something, and so on. aragorn vs. the big uruk-hai who killed boromir at the end of fellowship was an excellent example of this, but legolas vs. the elephant was the only thing in rotk that even approached that level.

update: someone on usenet critiqued the battle better than me:

Plus, I would argue that Jackson screwed up the whole dynamics of that battle. In Tolkien the battle works like this:

- Minas Tirith is besieged. They try to hold, but they fail. The gates fall and the Witch King rides through them. It's only a matter of time now, the world of man has end--
- Wait! The Rohirrim have come! The battle has been turned. The Witch King is forced to turn away from the city.
- But it's not enough. Theoden is slain. And then the Eastern armies join the fray, and Eomer is being pushed back, hope is fading... And crushed. The Black Fleet is seen.
- And thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur's Heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor...

I mean, it's a beautiful progression -- hope and desperation mixed in equal doses until the final, triumphant Return of the King.

In the film, Jackson turns this into:

- The battle starts. They fight. The gate falls. They fight some more. Nazgul occasionally fly by and cause some problems.
- Oh, look! The Rohirrim have come. Great. They fight for awhile. Theoden gets himself killed. Bummer.
- Oh, great. The unstoppable army of the undead has arrived. We can stop fighting now, they'll take care of things for us.

Whether you want a faithful adaptation or not is irrelevant. This is just sub-par.

so the entire movie was either painfully inelegant talking or hundreds of arms flailing. i can take this when i watch the dvds — i just wander around or tickle hodge until a part i like comes on (like when galadriel says "i know what it is you saw" with this smirk like it was lesbian elf porn with her & liv) — but in the theater i go in all excited every time and end up checking my watch. i'm not sure what to do. i still like them, but i have this urge to remake them properly.


two weeks ago i woke up from another half-assed night of sleep and thought to myself, "i wonder if this means i have mad cow disease?" after all, i did eat at that burger king in london. what was i thinking? so i wrestled myself out of bed and looked up mad cow disease warning signs on the internet. warning sign #1: insomnia. so, then i couldn't sleep at all. it became this feedback loop - i was so tired that my brain was malfunctioning, which fed back into my paranoia, and, well, you can imagine.

after two nights of this i got fed up with myself and drove down to newport to have hodge punch me in the face and tell me that i didn't have mad cow disease. "you don't have mad cow disease," she told me. later, after i figured out the way back to her house from a random spot on the coast of rhode island where i had been once, a year ago, before she ever lived there, i was making fun of her spatial navigation skills. "people have different strengths," she said. "you have good mental maps. i'm not a hypochondriac." she had a point.

link of the day: mad cow disease
Thanks to a corporate whistleblower, details of MBD's work on the chlorine issue were leaked to the environmental group Greenpeace. The documents revealed a cynical disregard for human health that stunned even jaded political activists. In one memo, Mongoven complained that environmentalists were using "the issue of fertility as a vehicle to play on the emotions of the public and its concern for future generations... Anti-chlorine activists are also using children and their need for protection to compel stricter regulation of toxic substances. This tactic is very effective because children-based appeals touch the public's protective nature for a vulnerable group... For most substances, the tolerances of babies and children, which includes fetal development, are obviously much lower than in the general adult population. Thus, 'environmental policies based on health standards that address the special needs of children' would reduce all exposure standards to the lowest possible levels.


you nader fans still think there's no difference?


ok, buffy has officially gone phantom menace. which is to say, the only reason i'm still watching is abstract interest in how they decide to wrap it up, because the moment-to-moment writing and execution is largely intolerable.


here's a long article with more on the long-term U.S. vs. them situation:

MuseLetter #132
In November 2000, Iraq announced that it would cease to accept dollars for its oil, and would accept instead only euros. At the time, financial analysts suggested that Iraq would lose tens of millions of dollars in value because of this currency switch; in fact, over the following two years, Iraq made millions. Other oil-exporting nations, including Iran and Venezuela, have stated that they are contemplating a similar move. If OPEC as a whole were to switch from dollars to euros, the consequences to the US economy would be catastrophic. Investment money would flee the country, real estate values would plummet, and Americans would shortly find themselves living in Third-World conditions.

scary shit for those of us with $5000 orders sitting in our indefinite shopping cart on apple.com and no job. the author gets his bias on here and there and may be a total crackpot, but there's a lot to think about anyway.

in the course of reading it i think i finally got a handle on this whole globalization / WTO thing. it may or may not improve the lives of the poor in third world countries - say, from 100% sucky to 90% sucky. but it means that the corporations which presently rule america will expand to rule the world. the argentinian children may get nikes, but what about the pan-african energy corporation? what about the chinese coca-cola? they never exist. competition is stamped out before it begins. new elites don't arise. competing economic systems don't arise. the children of the people presently running the show will continue to run the show. the children in zimbabwe and china will never get to run the show, not even the lucky 1% of them. hence the protests.

the protests may not be necessary any more: the article notes that nations like brazil are already trying to weasel out of the world bank, and our present action in iraq may have the effect of galvanizing the rest of the world (i.e. russia, china and the arabs) to join forces against our hegemony. anti-war protesters, take note: the republicans may have just fucked globalization by accident. count your blessings.

that isn't actually in the article, though, it just sort of came to me out of the air while i was reading it, so it might be wrong. i'll keep reading with my left hand while, with my right, i exchange my 401k for euros and move to new zealand to chill with your friend and mine, the TBP.


deep under the surface, there are rumblings that this is actually not a war of america vs. arab, but rather of america vs. europe. even last year, when hodge and i were in europe — i can't point to anything specific, but you could feel it in the air. i guess in a way it's obvious and openly declared — this whole EU thing. they're ramping up to try and take back economic leadership of the world, to turn the US dominance of the last half-century into a temporary post-war footnote. thanks for keeping the store warm while we got our shit back together, they'll say later.

it's those belgians, especially.

i should start up my history notes again. they're much more comforting than all this geopolitical hooha.


yeah, so there's a car out on elm street that says "UNITED WE STAND" on it now, big white letters on the rear window. i almost went over and wrote "but we're not united" on it, but i didn't have my sharpie with me.

how come i have to unite with you? i think you should unite with me instead.

remember what else is french? the statue of liberty. i guess that's "statue of freedom" from now on.


historical excerpt #15:

This use of man to signify all humanity reveals the prejudice of a patriarchal age, and hardly suits the almost matriarchal life of ancient Crete. For the Minoan woman does not put up with any Oriental seclusion, any purdah or harem; there is no sign of her being limited to certain quarters of the house, or to the home. She works there, doubtless, as some women do even today; she weaves clothing and baskets, grinds grain, and bakes bread. But also she labors with men in the fields and the potteries, she mingles freely with them in the crowds, she takes the front seat at the theater and the games, she sweeps through Cretan society with the air of a great lady bored with adoration; and when her nation creates its gods it is more often in her likeness than in man's. Sober students, secretly and forgivably enamored of the mother image in their hearts, bow down before her relics, and marvel at her domination.

- will durant, "the life of greece" (p. 10)


i hate shopping with my dad because he always talks to the salespeople. me, i could go into business avoiding salespeople. i could teach a class. i find out what i need to know on the internet, and preferably just order it online - otherwise i go into the store, run up to the shelf before anyone can stop me, grab the thing, slap a chloroform rag over its mouth, throw it in a bag and run for the checkout counter. i'm sure salespeople can be useful. the trouble is, once i talk to a salesperson i have to buy the thing, whatever it is, because, while i've learned to say no, it's still real uncomfortable and i prefer to avoid it. an abandoned amazon.com shopping cart is worth a thousand words.

so, for christmas this year i had this brainstorm where i was going to buy new speakers for my parents. for the last 20 years they've been using my mom's speakers, which are these dorm-refrigerator sized wood-panelled monsters that she bought on okinawa back around '65. some time ago - it's not clear precisely when - these stopped making sound. my parents seemed not to care and they remained in service. whose child am i, really? i thought to myself.

so, this year, new speakers. i brought up the idea. my dad had been thinking about it, it turns out. about a year ago our neighborhood's transformer failed in a really exciting way and sent DC out to all the houses, which not even a surge protector can save you from; and so edison had bought us some new electronics. there was a new receiver sitting in the family room unopened. we took it out and looked at it and then went down to pacific sales, which is my dad's favorite place to buy everything, and he talked to the salesperson for a while and we ended up coming home with an entire 6-speaker home theater array.

who had paid for this was unclear. it was supposed to be a present from carrie and i, but i was originally thinking just front speakers and this was a bit more of an expense than i had in mind. luckily, we hadn't gotten our presents yet, so in a flash of accounting brilliance we were each presented with imaginary $250 gift certificates to pacific sales, and grandma covered the rest (i'm not sure she knows about that). merry christmas to all.

we hooked it up immediately and watched the lord of the rings DVD. then i stood in the family room playing CDs through it for a couple of days. then while i was in arizona for new year's my dad mutated back into an engineer, took it all apart again and started going to best buy 3 times a day to buy cables. he's still putting it back together. ah, i thought to myself. i'm his kid.


so today i ate at panda express in the food court. i don't usually like to do that because i feel like the poulet rotisserie people are watching me from across the dining area, betrayed and heartbroken as puppies. this is probably not the case but i can't shake the feeling. did it anyway, though. variety.

so, i was all, "hey, give me some of the..." and the ladle girl's hand shot out, grabbed the 'orange flavored chicken' ladle and gave the pile a preliminary stir. "... beef with broccoli," i said. she paused, gave the 'orange flavored chicken' a last wistful stir, and served the beef.

"and..." she grabbed the 'orange flavored chicken' ladle again. "uh... chicken with mushrooms." this time i actually thought for a second that she was going to ignore me and give me 'orange flavored chicken' - i should note that the 'orange flavored chicken' bin is twice the size of all the other entrees - but she stirred it a couple more times and finally gave me the chicken with mushrooms.

so i ate. i was ready to forget about the whole 'orange flavored chicken' subtext in order to concentrate on the weird bloating feeling i suddenly had, when, as i finished and got ready to get up from my little table, i finally read what it said on the cup, which was this:

Okay, so here you are at Panda. Did you order Orange Flavored Chicken again? I mean, who could blame you? It's sweet. Tangy. One might say irresistible, even. You can branch out another time. Or the time after that.


sorry, i was just savoring the moment. i love it when all five columns line up on the same date, that's all.


they have these signs on the pillars in the prudential food court:


and i keep getting these mental images of the break-dancing purse problem that must have made this necessary —


on saturday afternoon hodge, holly and i went to the 4:35 showing of punch-drunk love at the kendall and then (after some refreshing tacos at the cambridgeside galleria food court) on to the bonobo/dj food/amon tobin show at the paradise on comm ave.

movie: about a month ago somebody told me that paul thomas anderson was directing the next adam sandler movie and i literally didn't believe them. i think "you are so fucking wrong about that, i'm going to go look it up" were my exact words. luckily i must have gotten distracted by some unbelievably sassy little newts before i reached my computer, which happens.

i wasn't sure how i felt about anderson until my old roommate ben lee pointed out that he sucks. granted, he does know enough — say — not to sting creepy music when the phone sex chick calls barry 'barry', but as far as i'm concerned these are basic competencies and you might as well cut out the middleman and date fiona apple yourself. that's just one man's o-pine-yen. that's just one man's starfucking opinion. that's just jackie chan's fucking shuriken. that's just my fucking throwing star — that takes some fucking star-throwing accuracy: just like that spy girl in enter the dragon blowing a knife through an apple. that's just fucking fiona.

that should tell you all you need to know about the movie. moving on to the music: i was actually kind of irritated by amon tobin's thing. you walk a fine line with this live performance of electronic music — if it's an artist i'm into i want to be able to recognize some of the songs, but then again, why pay money to go listen to someone use a club sound system to defibrillate my ears with the same record i was listening to at home? at home i get free mountain dew. on the positive side, they handed out amon tobin brand earplugs with a cute picture of amon on the package. on the negative side, i hadn't had much time with the new album, which wouldn't have been so bad except that amon had apparently heard about it and decided to dedicate his set to cracking my skull with a sonar backhoe projected into my head by fourteen thousand personally trained brazilian super-sonar samba dolphins he keeps in a big tank under the stage and feeds a diet of 200 copies of the new album per day. i guess it wasn't bad.

i actually liked bonobo's stuff quite a lot. the dj food guy had the bakshi/r. crumb x-rated fritz the cat cartoon projecting behind him the whole time which was a little distracting.


historical excerpt #13:

[Iyeyasu] was a man of his own ideas, and made his morals as he went along. When a very presentable woman came to him with the complaint that one of his officials had killed her husband in order to possess her, Iyeyasu ordered the official to disembowel himself, and made the lady his concubine.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 841)




attack iraq
trepan afghanistan
chisel israel
pants france
lasso burkina faso
fillet malaysia
balance the czech republic
unleash belize
denude cuba
finger-bang singapore
penetrate venezuela
rock djibouti
rid vietnam of communists
defenestrate the central african republic


i remember one reviewer (i think it was turan from the LA times) panning fight club because of "pseudo-profundity" like "it's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything." the problem is that that's true. not a new idea, obviously, but the new idea was apparently hunted to extinction around 1974, and it was presented fluently enough, and with verve. turan is stinky.

today's example: i was talking to my ... the example is of the philosophy of fight club in action, not of turan being stinky. i'll start over.

today's example: i was talking to my dad about the christmas flight plan. got those frequent flyer miles now; gonna use 'em. but: some restrictions apply. no free seats free for 4 days before christmas. i guess people finally got over that fear of flying thing. so i'm talking to my dad. "it sucks," i told him. "well, you could - " - here you could hear him looking over his shoulder - " - i don't care that much about christmas, you could always fly out after." "that's brilliant," i say. "i'll do that." "well - " - he's thinking about it now - " - don't tell them i gave you the idea. well, no, i'll admit it." "oh, they won't care," i say, and hang up. and bin LADEN! there are 5 different nonstops available on christmas day. my next best option was changing between airports in washington DC at around midnight on the 20th.

you see? not caring about shit gives you power. why do you think keyser soze shot his whole family? those other people, they're just not willing to do what i'm willing to do. say hi to jesus and marion barry for me, suckers.


wow. web fonts look fly in jaguar. (but graphics same old toad in panda.)


last wednesday i was hanging out in a subway car staring up at the ads and trying not to attract attention when a girl got on at boylston. not a hot girl, but noticeable — one of those rare subway passengers with facial expressions and hints of life behind their eyes and glances.

so we're riding along standing next to each other, and i'm aware of her, and i'm pretty sure she's aware of me for the same reason — we're both voting members of the general assembly of the League of Here We Are On the Subway, La La and co-chairs of the Man, Will You Just Look at These Zombies subcommittee.

ever-popular park street is the next stop; we both get off and go downstairs, outbound. she ends up on the center platform; i prefer the wall side. i end up across the tracks from her. just hanging out. i'm not looking at her; she's not looking at me. i actually hate these situations. if i was more of an extrovert i might develop ways of picking up new friends on the subway, but as it stands i'm an introvert with a girlfriend and no talent for negotiating awkwardness. whatever. i won't do anything.

as i think all this i nonchalantly put my hands in the pockets of my coat. the left one encounters a soft lump of something that i can't identify. i pull it out. it's a pair of black silk panties. whoa, how did those get there? i stare at them in total befuddlement. they're not hodge's — where did they come from? did they come with the coat? did i buy this used, or —

at this point i look up at the girl; she's already looked away.


but then, who really cares?


i drive a white 1991 buick lesabre that belonged to my grandfather. it's not a very flashy car, although once TJ did allow, perhaps to comfort me, that it had a certain pimpin' appeal. it's not the kind of car i would buy — although i'm not sure what is; i drive it because it was my grandfather's, and it was free, but if i _hated_ it i wouldn't have taken it. what i do with it is this: i found a detail that makes the whole thing work, an autobot-logo air freshener from urban outfitters. the red logo floating just inside the windshield of the otherwise all-white car appeals to my white-field web design sensibilities.

so two days ago i pulled into the parking lot of the dartmouth mall here in hodgeland and slid gracefully into a parking space face to face with this little red hatchback; i didn't even really look at it — but there was more to it than met the eye. as she got out hodge laughed and said, "did you do that on purpose?" the hatchback had a decepticon-logo air freshener from urban outfitters.

i was hoping the driver would come out and notice me there, but when we came back the situation was unchanged. cruel fate! "how can anyone spend that long in the dartmouth mall?" i asked the parking lot, and crept smoothly away.


so, crap, well, i'm back here in los angeles, on the internet all the time, but i'm using it like some kind of 45-year-old AOL subscriber for some reason. i can't engage my own stuff or anybody else's that i used to go to all the time, i just check out shit like sports scores and my amazon wish list. i haven't re-engaged my writing style yet either. i have to maintain a certain zen trance to do all that stuff and i think i'm still so so so tired from the trip still. i've been having trouble seeing my LA friends because i have this thing where i don't ever want to leave the house or it makes me want to die. going down the block to 'best buy' is an ordeal. we went to the san diego zoo on thursday and hodge had to spend the first three hours coping with my bizarre, passive-aggressive away-from-home issues, which almost never happens. i'm pretty well-adjusted overall. but five months is a long time to travel.

plus modems suck. i've been using that excuse since new york (see entry a12) but i think it's actually true.

we start the drive to boston tomorrow morning. i'm looking out the window of the den right now, across the street to taco bell and the chinese restaurant (which seems to have changed hands) and the Unprofitable Retail Space. the Unprofitable Retail Space was originally a little ceasar's pizza franchise. then it was some kind of dojo. now it's got a new sign up — "reptile boarding". what does that mean? could be a surf shop — could be exotic pet lockers. no telling.


now unemployed, my psyche sought a new anchor and found the FX syndication of buffy — two hours a night, 6-8. last night i had buffy dreams — one of those dreams that leaves you with the lingering feeling that it was the continuation of a dream from months or years ago, but you aren't quite sure if that isn't just part of this dream. i was part of the cast — this awareness was very meta, it wasn't just "i am in buffy world", i was a little surprised to have become an actor — i didn't get many lines, but i was the only one being nice to spike. we were dropping him off at his place in new york.

even worse, hodge and i were at toys r us yesterday and found a company that makes little hot wheels buffy cars. so now i have spike's desoto, angel's plymouth and xander's chevy from that one "xander apprehends cool" episode.


Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 19:37:25 -0500
From: Lisa Larson
Subject: 911

not only does porsche still make the 911, but on september 11 they released a press release saying it accounted for record profit figures.


on september 12, they expressed condolences but mention of the 911 model is conspicuously absent.




does porsche still make the 911? how are sales?


historical excerpt #9:

Again the Hindus are very cruel and gentle. The English language has derived a short and ugly word from that strange secret society—almost a caste—of Thugs which in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries committed thousands of atrocious murders in order (they said) to offer the victims as sacrifices to the goddess Kali. Vincent Smith writes of these Thugs (literally, "cheats") in terms not quite irrelevant to our time:

The gangs had little to fear, and enjoyed almost complete immunity; . . . they always had powerful protectors. The moral feeling of the people had sunk so low that there were no signs of general reprehension of the cold-blooded crimes committed by the Thugs. They were accepted as part of the established order of things; and until the secrets of the organization were given away, . . . it was usually impossible to obtain evidence against even the most notorious Thugs.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 499)


we were all let down by the cartoon network last night. you were, and i was, and all of the little pot-bellied african children. george had found out that they were actually re-airing the legendary "fire ant" episode of "space ghost coast to coast", in which space ghost interrupts an interview with conan o'brien to follow an ant for ten minutes. that's ten minutes of real screen time of space ghost, crawling on the floor (not even animated), following an ant and humming to himself. in what may not have been a coincidence, this was the second-to-last new episode of space ghost ever produced. but it was on the schedule, so we all went over to holly's place and killed a couple of hours watching citizen kane and the first-ever episode of buffy and the iron chef bamboo shoots battle and the second-ever episode of buffy, only to discover that they had EDITED OUT THE ANT SEQUENCE. the pot-bellied children had to be restrained with a small ziploc bag.




  1. the source, 7.11.1 (hodge & leroy)
  2. russell field, 7.15.1 (boston infrastructure)
  3. nanjing alley, 4.?.2 (world tour / china)
  4. soccer break, 7.22.1 (packer w/holly, mike)
  5. chinatown gate, 6.30.1 (boston infra.)
  6. kelproots, 1.?.2 (torrance infra.)
  7. tummay, 7.?.1 (hodge)
  8. it looks better after i comb it, 8.16.1 (parents)
  9. beacon street 5 minutes before an unbelievable thunderstorm, 6.?.1 (hodge)
  10. charles mgh platform, 8.?.1 (boston infra.)


leroy's homeless year's 72-cd salvage binder contains:

kruder & dorfmeister, k&d sessions (2 discs)
kruder & dorfmeister, dj-kicks
tosca, suzuki
peace orchestra, peace orchestra
tricky, pre-millennium tension
massive attack, mezzanine
underworld, dubnobasswithmyheadman
underworld, second toughest in the infants
underworld, beaucoup fish
underworld, everything, everything
amon tobin, permutation
amon tobin, supermodified
paul oakenfold, tranceport
moby, play
thievery corporation, the mirror conspiracy
deltron 3030, deltron 3030
portishead, roseland nyc live
portishead, dummy
pixies, surfer rosa
pixies, doolittle
dust brothers, fight club soundtrack
radiohead, ok computer
radiohead, kid a
radiohead, amnesiac
belle & sebastian, tigermilk
belle & sebastian, if you're feeling sinister
soul coughing, ruby vroom
soul coughing, el oso
m doughty, skittish
liz phair, exile in guyville
guided by voices, vampire on titus/propeller
guided by voices, under the bushes under the stars
pj harvey, is this desire?
pj harvey, stories from the city, stories from the sea
beastie boys, paul's boutique
beastie boys, hello nasty
beck, odelay
beck, midnite vultures
magnetic fields, wayward bus/distant plastic trees
magnetic fields, the charm of the highway strip
roni size/reprazent, new forms (2 discs)
fatboy slim, on the floor at the boutique
godspeed you black emperor!, f#a#infinity
bad religion, no control
smashing pumpkins, siamese dream
rem, life's rich pageant
rem, monster
rem, new adventures in hi-fi
weezer, pinkerton
kristin hersh, strange angels
tool, ænima
nirvana, in utero
aphex twin, selected ambient works 85-92
aphex twin, ...i care because you do
aphex twin, come to daddy*
hallucinogen, twisted
shpongle, are you shpongled?
tom waits, bone machine
dj krush & toshinori kondo, ki-oku
brian eno, music for airports
autechre, amber
autechre, tri repetae++ (2 discs)
the flaming lips, the soft bulletin
stephane pompougnac, hotel costes: la suite...
rza, ghost dog soundtrack (japanese ver.)
kid koala et al, bombay 2: electric vindaloo
smith & mighty, dj-kicks
dj mark farina, mushroom jazz
dj shadow, endtroducing

(still subject to change)

* my f'ing richard d. james cd is missing


nope, he still hasn't updated. back to masturbating.


sugar excitement with jean and george



Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 13:24:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: leroy king
To: Aaron Mandel
Subject: Re: your mail

i need you to pick one of the following options:

1) iiiii.nu is updated not at the top nor the bottom, but wherever you feel like it.

2) iiiii.nu is always updated at the top, but with the date of the thought, not the date of the update.

3) iiiii.nu is always updated at the top, but with malicious incorrect dates.

4) iiiii.nu breaks all the crappy linux browsers i use in a truly astonishing way and you have no idea what i'm talking about.

well, you know how i get. it started out pretty straightforward. then within a couple of days i became disgusted with the obviousness of it all and started the dates going backwards again. then i had an entry that i just didn't want to smack up at the top where it would stick out like a sore thumb so i put it somewhere in the middle, dated to fit in. so at this point it was a combination of #1 and #3. then i decided to have five columns instead of one, each with its own loosely defined theme, and instead of a weblog make it a gigantic rectangular quilt of text, to be approached more as if it were an image. that's sort of where we are now.


historical excerpt #5:

You rang the Eskimo to meet you at the station — oh he's like milk to you, half Swedish and half Asian.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 398)



Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 20:39:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: juliakim
To: leroy king
Subject: crushed with eyeliner

one day a blush met an eyeliner. they got together and made a new package from estee lauder. except estee didn't like them together because it wasn't conceptually coherent. they did not want to break up so they ran away to thailand where they started a manufacturing plant with other cast-off cosmetics. they decided to manufacture small gun parts, using the free give-away cosmetic bags as cheap labor. eventually they became rich from selling their plant to estee lauder. estee lauder coverted the plant into one for making flavored water (and hiring people from the neighboring now defunct compact disc plant), and the blush and eyeliner used their portion of the money from their small gun parts to buy an island, which they called "blushing eyeland," and lived happily ever after.

On Thu, 27 Sep 2001, leroy king wrote:

> > i can't make anything up.
> try writing a story about cosmetics.



a couple sound bites from political arguments elsewhere:


i have a thought to throw out here. it's not meant to support either side, and come to think of it i'm not even sure which side it tends to favor. but here it comes anyway:

why are (a lot of) gay guys so promiscuous (if in fact they are)? i'm not gay, so i can't know for sure, but it seems obvious to me. it's not because they're gay. it's because they're guys.

think about it. if straight men could, at any time, go out and have anonymous, no-strings-attached sex with hot, willing 19-year-old girls for free, what do you think would happen?

the oklahoma titty rush, that's what.

gay men, abnormally slutty? i think you can drop the 'gay' from that sentence. straight men are, broadly speaking, kept in check by women. gay men aren't. i really think that's the only difference. although admittedly i just came up with this theory one day while i was sitting around.


this is so true, though, that state marriage and religious marriage are all mixed up. the problem i have is that all of this stuff about how marriage is a social or governmental recognition and encouragement of a certain family structure that it has deemed beneficent and superior - my suspicion is that all of that stuff is coming from the religious side of the equation. which is fine, great, that's what religion is for, transmitting thousands of years of culture to the next generation, no problem with that here. but i don't think the state is or should be making those judgments. i think the point of legal marriage is just to recognize that a family exists here. it may not be the best family. it may be a family of flea-bitten alcoholics. but if people want to be a family, i say they're a family. if a member of the family gets hit by a car, the rest of the family ought to be able to go see them. if you're blood, the state recognizes the relationship automatically. otherwise, you need a piece of paper to let everyone know you're family. but i don't think the state ought to be able to decide if your family is good enough to pass muster or not.


etc. etc.


sunday afternoon layover in C terminal, lambert international airport, st. louis: home of the moving sidewalks. long-time readers will recall lambert's moving sidewalks.

so there i am. C terminal. i call my dad on my cellular telephone. "hey dad," i say, "could you put some money in my checking account? i need a dollar to get on the subway in boston and i just noticed that i only have 91 cents on me."

hang up. go check out the moving sidewalks. power walk! thighmaster equals turbo boost! all of the gates down on that end are vacant, so there are no legitimate moving sidewalk users. on my second lap i notice this teenage girl wearing those fishnet forearm gloves and a catholic schoolgirl outfit walking the wrong way while i'm not around. i pass her a couple times. she vanishes, then comes back. finally i come up by her. we're both going the wrong way, so we pass each other really slowly. i look at her; she won't look at me. just loud enough, i start muttering to myself: "these things don't work very well..."

after we're past each other i hear a faint giggle. mission accomplished. i head back to the gate and start fishing through my bag for any change i might have missed. boo-yah! deep in the "exotic change" pocket of my laptop bag, held over from the world tour, a dime. too bad the T raised their prices to $1.25 while i was gone.


historical excerpt #18:

To eat alone is considered barbarous, and table manners are looked upon as an index of a civilization's development. Women and boys sit at meals before small tables; men recline on couches, two on each. The family eats together when alone; if male guests come, the women of the family retire to the gynaeceum. Attendants remove the sandals or wash the feet of the guests before the latter recline, and offer them water to cleanse their hands; sometimes they anoint the heads of the guests with fragrant oils. There are no knives or forks, but there are spoons; solid food is eaten with the fingers. [...] There are a few vegetarians, whose guests make the usual jokes and complaints; one diner flees from a vegetarian feast for fear that he will be offered hay for dessert.

- will durant, "the life of greece" (p. 309-310)


anyone heard any good terror alerts lately? or are we done with that?


mosquitoes. come out in the evenings. suck blood. do they have reflections? i have a hard enough time seeing them at all.

cats. we have three of them here, and none of them get along, so that a complex system of cat-airlock doors is required. catlocks.

humans. there's no shortage, is there? boring.

foxes. three times now, at the end of rock o'dundee - maybe the same one.

squirrels. mrs. h accepted care of the minion, then immediately moved it into an unused room so the cats would not eat it and forgot about it. it died. h and i planted it outside, hoping it would eventually sprout again, but the squirrels, fascinated by the disturbed earth, are digging for china.

selkath. the local blockbuster has two copies of knights of the old republic for xbox, both checked out.

yellowjackets. five on my car twice in a row this weekend. seem to be falling out of the tree. end-of-the-year blues strike seasonal insects, red sox fans.

skunks. the thing i like best about smoking - more or less the only thing, really - is the way it allows you to occupy a whole room with your self, even permeate the surfaces slightly. i bet skunks know that feeling.

racooons. keeping a low profile, apparently.


busted by the hairdressers twice in a row now.

two months ago:

hairdresser: now, do you want the neck line straight or round?
leroy: straight.
[ pause ]
h: who's been trimming you in the back here?
l: uh.
h: it's gonna be round.
l: yeah, i get a little frustrated with my hair sometimes.
h: ah.


h: there's a patch of hair up here on top that's shorter that the rest.
l: well, that's certainly strange.
h: i just wanted you to know, so, i mean, i didn't...
l: no, don't worry about it.


ok, we're at war. where's my job?


i bet the economy would pick up if germany tried to take over the world again. get on it fritz.


historical excerpt #16:

(I) At the opening of the poem the Greeks have already besieged Troy for nine years in vain; they are despondent, homesick, and decimated with disease. They had been delayed at Aulis by sickness and a windless sea; and Agamemnon had embittered Clytaemnestra, and prepared his own fate, by sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia for a breeze. On the way up the coast the Greeks had stopped here and there to replenish their supplies of food and concubines; Agamemnon had taken the fair Chryseis, Achilles the fair Briseis. A soothsayer now declares that Apollo is withholding success from the Greeks because Agamemnon has violated the daughter of Apollo's priest, Chryses. The King restores Chryseis to her father, but, to console himself and point a tale, he compels Briseis to leave Achilles and take Chryseis' place in the royal tent. Achilles convokes a general assembly, and denounces Agamemnon with a wrath that provides the first word and the recurring theme of the Iliad. He vows that neither he nor his soldiers will any longer stir a hand to help the Greeks.

(II) We pass in review the ships and tribes of the assembled force, and (III) see bluff Menelaus engaging Paris in single combat to decide the war. The two armies sit down in civilized truce; Priam joins Agamemnon in solemn sacrifice to the gods. Menelaus overcomes Paris, but Aphrodite snatches the lad safely away in a cloud and deposits him, miraculously powdered and perfumed, upon his marriage bed. Helen bids him return to the fight, but he counterproposes that they "give the hour to dalliance." The lady, flattered by desire, yields. (IV) Agamemnon declares Menelaus victor, and the war is apparently ended; but the gods, in imitative council on Olympus, demand more blood. Zeus votes for peace, but withdraws his vote in terrified retreat when Hera, his spouse, directs her speech upon him. She suggests that if Zeus will agree to the destruction of Troy she will allow him to raze Mycenae, Argos, and Sparta to the ground. The war is renewed; many a man falls pierced by arrow, lance, or sword, and "darkness enfolds his eyes."

(V) The gods join in the merry slicing game; Ares, the awful god of war, is hurt by Diomed's spear, "utters a cry as of nine thousand men," and runs off to complain to Zeus. (VI) In a pretty interlude the Trojan leader Hector, before rejoining the battle, bids good-by to his wife Andromache. "Love," she whispers to him, "thy stout heart will be thy death; nor hast thou pity of thy child or me, who shall soon be a widow. My father and my mother and my brothers are all slain; but, Hector, thou art father to me and mother, and thou art the husband of my youth. Have pity, then, and stay here in the tower." "Full well I know," he answers, "that Troy will fall, and I forsee the sorrow of my brethren and the King; for them I grieve not; but to think of thee a slave in Argos unmans me almost. Yet, even so, I will not shirk the fight." His infant son Astyanax, destined shortly to be flung over the walls to death by the victorious Greeks, screams in fright at Hector's waving plumes, and the hero removes his helmet that he may laugh, weep, and pray over the wondering child. Then he strides down the causeway to battle, and (VII) engages Ajax, King of Salamis, in single combat. They fight bravely, and separate at nightfall with exchange of praise and gifts—a flower of courtesy floating on a sea of blood. (VIII) After a day of Trojan victories Hector bids his warriors rest.

Thus made harangue to them Hector; and roaring the Trojans applauded.
Then from the yoke loosed their war-steeds sweating, and each by his chariot
Tethered his horses with thongs. And then they brought from the city,
Hastily, oxen and goodly sheep; and wine honey-hearted
Gave them, . . . and corn from the houses.
Firewood they gathered withal; and then from the plain to the heavens
Rose on the winds the sweet savor. And these by the highways of battle
Hopeful sat through the night, and many their watchfires burning.

Even as when in the sky the stars shine out round the night-orb,
Wondrous to see, and the winds are laid, and the peaks and the headlands
Tower to the view, and the glades come out, and the glorious heaven
Stretches itself to the widest, and sparkle the stars multitudinous,
Gladdening the heart of the toil-wearied shepherd—even as countless
'Twixt the black ships and the river of Xanthus glittered the watchfires
Built by the horse-taming Trojans by Ilium.
Meanwhile the war-wearied horses, champing spelt and white barley,
Close by their chariots, waited the coming of fair-throned Dawn.

(IX) Nestor, King of Elian Pylus, advises Agamemnon to restore Briseis to Achilles; he agrees, and promises Achilles half of Greece if he will rejoin the siege; but Achilles continues to pout. (X) Odysseus and Diomed make a two-man sally upon the Trojan camp at night, and slay a dozen chieftains. (XI) Agamemnon leads his army valiantly, is wounded, and retires. Odysseus, surrounded, fights like a lion; Ajax and Menelaus cleave a path to him, and save him for a bitter life. (XII-XIII) When the Trojans advance to the walls that the Greeks have built around their camp (XIV) Hera is so disturbed that she resolves to rescue the Greeks. Oiled, perfumed, ravishingly gowned, and bound with Aphrodite's aphrodisiac girdle, she seduces Zeus to a divine slumber while Poseidon helps the Greeks to drive the Trojans back. (XV) Advantage fluctuates; the Trojans reach the Greek ships, and the poet rises to a height of fervid narrative as the Greeks fight desperately in a retreat that must mean death.

(XVI) Patroclus, beloved of Achilles, wins his permission to lead Achilles' troops against Troy; Hector slays him, and (XVII) fights Ajax fiercely over the body of the youth. (XVIII) Hearing of Patroclus' death, Achilles at last resolves to fight. His goddess-mother Thetis persuades the divine smithy, Hephaestus, to forge for him new arms and a mighty shield. (XIX) Achilles is reconciled with Agamemnon, (XX) engages Aeneas, and is about to kill him when Poseidon rescues him for Virgil's purposes. (XXI) Achilles slaughters a host of Trojans, and sends them to Hades with long genealogical speeches. The gods take up the fight: Athena lays Ares low with a stone, and when Aphrodite, going for a soldier, tries to save him, Athena knocks her down with a blow upon her fair breast. Hera cuffs the ears of Artemis; Poseidon and Apollo content themselves with words. (XXII) All Trojans but Hector fly from Achilles; Priam and Hecuba counsel Hector to stay behind the walls, but he refuses. Then suddenly, as Achilles advances upon him, Hector takes to his heels. Achilles pursues him three times around the walls of Troy; Hector makes a stand, and is killed.

(XXIII) In the subsiding finale of the drama Patroclus is cremated with ornate ritual. Achilles sacrifices to him many cattle, twelve captured Trojans, and his own long hair. The Greeks honor Patroclus with games, and (XXIV) Achilles drags the corpse of Hector behind his chariot three times around the pyre. Priam comes in state and sorrow to beg for the remains of his son. Achilles relents, grants a truce of twelve days, and allows the aged king to take the cleansed and anointed body back to Troy.

= =

Here the great poem suddenly ends, as if the poet had used up his share of a common story, and must leave the rest to another minstrel's lay. We are told by the later literature how Paris, standing beside the battle, slew Achilles with an arrow that pierced his vulnerable heel, and how Troy fell at last through the stratagem of the wooden horse.

- will durant, "the life of greece" (p. 56-59)


a lot of the wires are crossed tonight. i was already moody and primed: when i came back from california on thursday, i went out to save my car and, in the process of scraping off the accumulated parking tickets and snow, took off half the roof paint. sony wants a thousand dollars to repair the PCMCIA card slot of my vaio. i lost my house keys. the car won't start, and i'm starting to hate it again.

these and my catalog of other ongoing issues snowballed into one of those "where is my life going" evenings. then i was listening to a live mp3 of 'one' by u2 and for some reason it made me think of the johnny cash cd that paul had in tucson, american IV: the man comes around, where he covers nine inch nails and depeche mode and such, so i got curious about that and looked it up on amazon, and then it turned out that on american III johnny cash covers 'one' by U2. then a while later i was listening to this lisa germano song off the op8 collaboration, and i was trying to google up the lyrics, only was it "feel the bottle in your stomach" or "fill the bottle"? the latter turned up no hits; the former turned up one, from a not-very-reliable-looking transcription by some german guy. so instead i searched for "alcoholic alcoholic" and that turned up an ftrain piece about coming out as a writer. where is my life going?


historical excerpt #14:

The Governor-General, like Monsieur Blum, was an ardent believer in African Evolution. He maintained that natives could be taught anything, given proper training and opportunities. His favourite example was the engine-driver of the special train. Ernest had been H.E.'s discovery when he was Governor of the Ivory Coast. As the boy was an able mechanic he had been sent to France under a Government education scheme, and spent several years in Paris fulfilling his ambition of becoming an engine-driver. Now, fully trained and qualified, he was the living embodiment of the Blum-Reste theory.

Ernest, when not in overalls, was always impeccably dressed, complete with topee and sun-glasses. He professed Christianity and held his unevolved brethren in deep contempt. He spoke a very 'refeened' French, always using the longest words and the most elaborate phrases. Whenever Black Progress was discussed in Government circles Ernest was cited as conclusive evidence.

H.E. was understandably shocked one day when it was brought to his notice that this paragon of civilization had only the night before killed and partly eaten his little brother. At first Reste refused to listen to the charges, but the evidence was overwhelming. H.E., according to usual practice, sent a memo to Guy, passing Ernest over to him for necessary action.

The offender was sent to the Cabinet Militaire for questioning. Ernest came clean. It was the usual story. Ernest was terribly sorry for what had happened, but he could not have done otherwise. It was the anniversary of his father's death, and the ghost of the deceased would haunt him mercilessly unless propitiated by human blood. Also it was not his brother, only his half-brother.

Guy was broadminded, and inclined to take a lenient view of heathen practices when he considered the circumstances warranted it. If you genuinely believed that a malevolent spirit would curse you from the grave, and if you honestly felt it to be your filial duty to appease it by sacrifice, thereby ensuring peace of mind and soul . . . well, it was a time-honoured custom anyway. It was not so very far back in the history of humanity that our own ancestors had substituted first animals and then flowers in place of human offerings. Ernest, nearer the truth than he knew, said that he had seen the cemetery of Père Lachaise on le Jour des Morts when relatives of the dead placed flowers on their graves: "Cela présente une grande similarité avec le cas actuel."

Guy assured him that it presented no similarity whatsoever, and refused to be drawn into a theological discussion, adding that as Ernest was a Christian he should have paid for a Requiem Mass to be said for his father's soul. Ernest demurred. His father had not been baptized. How could a Christian ritual appease a pagan spirit? Guy evaded the question. He admonished Ernest with great severity, saying that he would let him off this time as he was a first offender, but warning him that if it ever happened again no mercy would be shown. A very repentant Ernest swore by every saint in the calendar that such a thing was unthinkable.

Alas for the frailty of human nature! Less than a week later little half-sister went the way of her brother. This time there was no extenuating circumstance. With disarming candour Ernest pleaded guilty to what he described as a péché de gourmandise. Little half-brother had been so succulent that he had been unable to resist the temptation of a second helping.

Guy took a firm view. This must stop. Enough was as good as a feast. Religion was one thing, gluttony another. Ernest was sent to prison to serve an indefinite sentence, while Guy, to H.E.'s dismay, wrote to the Colonial Office asking for a ruling as to what action should be taken when engine-drivers eat their relations. Paris never replied to the note, probably dismissing it as a joke in poor taste.

- mary motley, "devils in waiting" (p. 96-98)

this was published in 1959; i found what appears to be a first edition among the outdoor racks in hay-on-wye, wales, the "village of books" — apparently a cutout from the breconshire county libraries, from which it was last checked out in 1971 — and selling for 50p.


stewart: i'm going to try on the new calvin klein underwear now.
hodge: ok. [ leaves room ]
[ rustle rustle ]
hodge: [ comes back in with a glass of water ]
leroy: these feel kind of naughty.




so all this war talk: aggressor, rogue state, weapons of mass destruction, a more stable international order — (check out my em-dash) — really? you were around the last time iraq staged an offensive war. were you impressed by that? and that was when they were on the receiving end of u.s. weapons, instead of the... other receiving end. what is iraq's evil master plan this time? the "weather dominator"? no, destro... not the big hail. come on (em-dash) worst-case scenario, a weird-smelling scud missile shows up in israeli airspace, in all likelihood landing on jenin. next week when the japanese sail into san francisco bay with the secret naval armada they've been building under the polar ice cap for the last 50 years and declare a "reign of sushi" i am going to (preening em-dash)



CASE_TYPE [ENUM('standard','snapper','2disc SE','unique')]



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historical excerpt #11:

Under the Sung emperors painting became a passion with the Chinese. Emancipating itself from subserviency to Buddhist themes, it poured forth an unprecedented number and variety of pictures. The Sung Emperor Hui Tsung was himself not the least of the eight hundred known painters of the day. In a roll which is one of the treasures of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston he portrayed with astonishing simplicity and clarity the stages through which women carried the preparation of silk; he founded an art museum richer in masterpieces than any collection that China has ever again known; he elevated the Painting Academy from a mere department of the Literary College into an independent institution of the highest rank, substituted art tests for some of the literary exercises traditionally used in the examinations for political office, and raised men to the ministry for their excellence in art as often as for their skill in statesmanship. The Tatars, hearing of all this, invaded China, deposed the Emperor, sacked the capital and destroyed nearly all of the paintings in the Imperial Museum, whose catalogue had filled twenty volumes. The artist-emperor was carried away by the invaders, and died in captivity and disgrace.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 750)


iiiii sports talk! yesterday mike and i were watching the MLS title game, featuring the LA galaxy vs. the new england revolution. what? i got back from europe all pumped about soccer after the world cup this summer and looked up the revolution on the web, only to find that they were the worst team in the league.

tangent: this was the second of two consecutive soccer-related letdowns i had had. when i went over to england i was hoping to locate the archenemy of manchester united so i could become a fan of theirs, since man U had signed a co-merchandising treaty with the new york yankees, and were a similar title-hogging, lamprey-style team. but then nobody would own up to being the red sox of england — manchester city wasn't really the kind of thing i was looking for, and apparently all of the other teams in the league were from london, which kills the underdog vibe americans love so well. then i found out that my family is from ashton, just outside manchester. finally after viewing 16 consecutive hours of world cup footage in a hotel room in edinburgh i admitted that beckham had very nice hair indeed and jumped on the old trafford bandwagon after a single pang of conscience.

sadly they don't seem to be doing quite so well as they used to. anyway. after i checked the MLS standings in late july and wandered off to watch the sox lose some more, the revolution rallied to make the playoffs (the league is so small only two teams are left out), went on a bizarre blind-siding rampage, and wound up in the title game on their home field, at which point i finally heard about it.

it was a pretty bad-looking game — the LA keeper made his first save in the 89th minute — and they lost on a counterattack in second overtime, but you couldn't feel too bad because apparently LA had lost the past three title games and were in danger of being nicknamed the buffalo bills. so yes indeed. football.

the best sport of all is sumo, though. no contest.


and on thursday i order chicken monaco. "hello sir," the owner says. register girl was MIA yesterday, but here she is. "hello, how are you?" "i'm all right," and i sort of chuckle to illustrate. "pepsi?" "yeah," i say. i glance over and the pepsi's already been on my tray for at least five seconds before she asked. "good thing, too," i say. "you would have had to take it back."

i'll probably be back at work tomorrow, but i decide not to come back. i'd rather leave it this way. goodbye, poulet rotisserie. you fed me well, and that's the highest compliment an organism can give.


george and jean and hodge and i are sitting out on the bridge in the public gardens late at night, as young people will. some sort of yuppie club girl walks by, an unlit cigarette in her mouth, and asks for a light. none of us have one. bats fly overhead: talk turns to creatures: hodge and i start talking about spiders while jean and george are talking about earthworms: they drift in and out:

jean: i hate earthworms. THEY DON'T HAVE EYES!
george: it's always the three hearts that gets me.
jean: they're just little tubes of intestines that crawl around underground and then have sex.
george: three hearts.
leroy: (something about spiders, to hodge)
george: imagine bono singing: 'six hearts, beating as three...'
(incoherent giggling)
george: (in a high bono voice) 'love each other!' (mimes pushing two earthworms towards each other encouragingly)
(more incoherent giggling)
leroy: did you just say 'six hearts beating as three'?
jean and george: yes.
(four-way incoherent giggling)


vodka corrupts, and absolut vodka corrupts absolutely.


mr kjamesm has his claws in me again. that whiskeycomes in a $12 bottel and puts yo ut o sleep during the crumb movie a nd makes you forget all about the denoument and getting aslee[ tp to stand up and go hom e at the end ang leave george to his devi eic.es. poorgeorge. guesets.s i was over there at his house wand i drank the entire bottle and i seem to have given away the ability to spell, which used to be my calling card. i would show up and hand it out. i think i should perhaps sign off here.



"picky, picky, picky about semantics today?"
"i don't know if 'picky' is the word."


i've never explained this properly, but trouserarousal was never intended to be my primary site; that was only an uproariously funny domain name that i simply needed to register and use for something. i had just finished asking mikeryan if m-strip could host personal domains (yes) and it just popped out: "i should register 'big pants arousal'. haha. wait wait — 'trouserarousal'. ahahaha!" mike: "no." me: "hahahaha!" and so on.

then i could never think of another good one, so that was it. it's quite embarrassing sometimes; once the downstairs neighbors at ossipee asked "what's your URL" and i literally just turned and ran for it.

there's a story behind this domain too but i'm not going to tell it, because it sounds stupid. at any rate, this is going to be my new primary site, oriented more towards the words, and trouserarousal is going to focus on design and get even more difficult to navigate. good times.



the other guy is always a terrorist. i guess terrorism is like pornography. you know it when you see it. at this point pornography is probably terrorism anyway. i can't keep up. war on terror? that's not even - war on terrorism would at least be... maybe they just like the word terror. but what kind of war is it even supposed to be? war on a tactic? not even a tactic. physical war without holding territory. the question of war to what end, war for or against what, is not addressed.

so when you say war on terror, all you're basically saying is, war against those who are fought.


this, as you know, is the best column of the five.

i've been running out of pants. i wore out my two favorite pairs on the world tour, including the black ones with the zip-off legs that i ripped the crotch out of while posing for a picture on the acropolis. two days earlier i had submitted them to a complimentary hostel laundry service in beijing, which i now realize was a mistake; their total loss of tensile strength and structural integrity was no coincidence. and it's been all downhill from there.

i achieved a temporary abatement of the pants shortage by picking up three pairs of pleasantly zipper-encrusted cargo pants on sale for $10 at structure (i reject thee, "express men") - one green, one brown and one orange. the orange might have been a mistake; i should have learned my lesson with the previous pair of orange pants, but they were the last pair on the rack and i felt like it would be some kind of rebel badge of honor if i bought the orange ones. take that, preppies! you are stiff and republican!

this was the final nail in the coffin of the big-pants phase. they're almost all out of circulation now: most of the denim ones are just too big to wear with a straight face, and most of my other assorted raver pants are dead or injured.

so this morning i was scrounging for pants and realized that for the past week i had been - for no conscious reason - overlooking stack #3, which contained my original pair of big pants: those black jeans from oaktree in the cambridgeside galleria, long closed, that i tried on as a lark and found so appealing that they sparked a three-year big-pants odyssey. i rarely wear them now because both front pockets wore through, but there's nothing else wrong with them. i'm wearing them now.

this isn't what i started out writing about, but we'll leave that for later. this is enough for now.


tonight was my last night in torrance, so i walked up to rocketship park again. this has been a small ritual of mine during my time here. i guess it's a form of neighborhood-worship. i do like this place.

on newton there was one tree straight out of edward gorey — a black skeleton in silhouette, pruned until there were no leaves left, thick short branches ending suddenly in bursts of twigs that all hung upwards, like iron filings on a magnet. lumps closer to the tree in the dark looked like crows, stark against the background of suburban sky glow. i stopped and openly admired it for a while.

near vista montana i started across newton only to jump back as three cars roared by coming from anza. it is saturday night. i considered flagging them down and asking if i could come along to wherever they were going. (i also considered trying to crash this party i could hear coming from somewhere, but i never found it or even quite identified the music.)

a car pulled up just as i reached the park. i went on ahead — i just climbed the whole hill to get here, i'm not vacating on account of you lazy fucks. i checked my voicemail. no messages. i looked out at the sea of light. i took off my glasses — amazing. no focus, but expanded field of view, the light billows up from horizon to horizon, as clear as anything in its way. i stood and soaked it up. some kids, maybe from that SUV, walked right by me, giggling; i ignored them, didn't look. "we're just taking a stroll in the park," one of the boys said a little ways past me. "in the freezing cold!" a girl added by way of "yeah right". i felt a protective affection for the lot of them. they wandered off, probably curious what such an attractive man was doing by himself on valentine's day.

i left through riviera, my old elementary school, which connects to the park. stood out on the playground — this hill seemed so fucking huge! remembered: games of tag, when i was the second slowest runner and always had to tag andy. andy was the slowest runner because he always wore cowboy boots. i was the second-slowest runner because i was over-intellectualizing it. i had somehow picked up the idea that the way to run fast was to take long, loping steps. didn't work very well, but i figured i was just slow. so i'd tag andy. i felt bad, but we have to kill to survive. sorry andy.

i finally broke out of the long steps one day in the fifth grade when i suddenly and for no reason found myself racing jeff russell, the fastest kid in the school, up that hill that seemed so fucking huge. the spontaneous nature of the race tricked me into not thinking, and i just hauled ass. beat him. admittedly he was carrying a rubber ball, which he flung at me in a fit of pique when it became clear he was going to lose, but even so it was a sensational victory. this kid named mike who should have been in the sixth grade already but had been held back nodded and said "stewart can run really fast when he wants to," like he'd known it all along. i had never run even remotely fast before in my entire life.

as i came out of the front gate of riviera that SUV came around the corner and passed me. i walked down the hill and home.


earlier today i realized that it was 1:45 and i hadn't had any lunch yet. as i am a man of action, i went downstairs to get some. i was halfway through the revolving door out into the mall when this five-year-old kid ran up on the other side and threw himself into the crack. at the last second i saw him and tried to pull back on the bar, but it was too late. once those doors are going they have a lot of momentum, and you can't put your feet forward to get leverage because the door goes all the way to the floor; even so i probably didn't react fast enough, and at any rate there was a guy in a red shirt opposite me who was pushing away because this was all happening behind him.

the kid got smooshed. he popped back out after stopping the door with his head and started crying. his mother ran up and gathered him into her lap. the guy in the red shirt came back out, and a bunch of bystanders gathered around. pietá.

meanwhile i was standing there trapped inside the door watching. finally i decided to come out, and started pushing again; at that moment the guy in the red shirt decided that he'd done enough and tried to sneak back through the crack in the door. what the hell! this time i caught the door, since it was just starting up, but he stopped and shot me this MURDERER! look through the glass before he went through.

when i finally got outside it took about a second to realize that i was getting a Bad Man vibe from the bystanders. i heard muttering — "..almost killed that kid.. ..no, not the guy in front of him...THIS guy..."

i walked off. i didn't even ask if the kid was okay. the situation was far too weird for me to deal with or engage in any way. if i stopped i'd have had to apologize. i honestly didn't think it was my fault. it didn't look like any disclaimer along those lines would be well-received. i really wasn't prepared to walk into the teeth of this one, so i bailed. i'd do it again.

afterwards i was so freaked out i couldn't get lunch. i paced for a while and then went back upstairs through the other door, that no one uses.


historical excerpt #10:

It was thoughtful of Shankara to confine his esoteric doctrine to philosophers; for as Voltaire believed that only a society of philosophers could survive without laws, so only a society of supermen could live beyond good and evil. Critics have complained that if good and evil are Maya, part of the unreal world, then all moral distinctions fall away, and devils are as good as saints. But these moral distinctions, Shankara cleverly replies, are real within the world of space and time, and are binding for those who live in the world. They are not binding upon the soul that has united itself with Brahman; such a soul can do no wrong, since wrong implies desire and action, and the liberated soul, by definition, does not move in the sphere of desire and (self-considering) action. Whoever consciously injures another lives on the plane of Maya, and is subject to its distinctions, its morals and its laws. Only the philosopher is free, only wisdom is liberty.

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 550-551)

i seem to have independently invented a good-sized chunk of indian philosophy over the past couple of years without realizing it. at any rate i'm definitely on the same track they are. all that stuff i wrote about the WTC and deconstructing my sensory input in order to see through the illusion of the world, i guess people have been doing that for a long time. and here i was all excited. i just wish they would get off this whole "soul" thing. what the fuck is a soul? nobody has ever been able to explain this to me. it appears to be shorthand for "stuff". fucking descartes. now shankara here, maybe this is an eastern soul-concept that i don't get. probably not though.

also, reincarnation. what? i doubt it. even buddha couldn't quite let that one go, even though it was directly contradicted by some of his other philosophies. "there is no soul. also, your soul will be reincarnated as a leech if you fuck with me. now, on page 511..." "uh, master? if we don't have — " "shut up. page 511 says that..."

of course, at the same time i'm killing off my material desires i was googling up yacht prices earlier today, so la da. i don't actually want the yacht; i just need it for meditation. seriously, though, if i can find a cheap used one or something, i'll buy that instead of a house when the time comes. then i can still move whenever i want.


historical excerpt #8:

When a simpleton abused him, Buddha listened in silence; but when the man had finished, Buddha asked him: "Son, if a man declined to accept a present made to him, to whom would it belong?" The man answered: "To him who offered it." "My son," said Buddha, "I decline to accept your abuse, and request you to keep it for yourself."

- will durant, "our oriental heritage" (p. 429)

"gandhi. i'd fight gandhi."
"good answer."


so i've been sitting around kind of feeling like an asshole ever since i wrote six paragraphs about how little i care about the world trade center yesterday. i don't really mean it that way. last night i got home from work around eight and grabbed hodge to go roam around the alewife T station with me. alewife's like a life-sized video game level — there's subway, bus terminal, taxi stand, six-story parking structure, concourse with a burger king, outdoor bridge underpass, nearby fenced-in swamp, deserted children's playground full of ominously large animal footprints, all-concrete concrete concrete. (adjective, adjective, noun.)

we checked out swamp security, sniffed around the playground a little and then went inside the station so that i could get a double bacon cheeseburger from the burger king. then we climbed upstairs to the roof of the parking structure and i ate my burger and fries off a streetlamp that was conveniently designed like a stand-up table. every time i took a bite out of the burger i had to put it down again quickly or else the corner of the ketchup-covered wrapper would fly up in the breeze and slime the cup.

in the distance you could watch route 2 retreating over a hill like an electric river. i pointed at the lights of downtown boston, in the opposite direction just to the left of the giant housing projects, and observed that we could keep an eye on things from here, in case it blew up. then i forgot i had said it out loud and said the same thing again two minutes later.

i tried to explain to her what i tried to explain here, about the WTC and whether or not it was monstrous of me not to feel like i'd been punched in the gut all week. she couldn't really relate: she's an archaeologist, she's been trained to take a one-inch pottery shard and spin out an entire civilization, water from the wells, maidens combing their hair, stoic puritans fucking behind the woodshed, all of it. show her a plane crash into a building and she imagines, she can't help it.

i imagine too. i just no longer fear death. this is difficult to explain. as a sort of intellectual hobby i've been trying to stop thinking like a human, and i think i might be getting too good at it. stage one is that thing i was talking about a few months ago, where you start looking at cities as though they were coral reefs built by monkeys, which they more or less are. that's become second nature to me now. in stage two you develop the ability to look a person directly in the eye and not make eye contact, instead only seeing the white whites and the black pinhole, a sensory organ rotating around sniffing the light. it's profoundly creepy, and lonely, and desolate, and not at all enjoyable to do this. in stage three you try to deconstruct your sensory stream and realize that nothing is real, sort of like what morpheus tries to explain to neo during all that exposition in the middle of 'the matrix'. i had a breakthrough on this front while i was in san francisco: one night towards the end of the month i was lying in bed trying to fall asleep and it occurred to me that the wall didn't really look like that anywhere outside my brain — for some reason i had neglected ever to focus on my visual stream, because i'm an idiot. i worked on it for a while and made some progress, although it's still so difficult to break apart all the chunks and perceptual shortcuts that my brain constantly creates and focus on the singing of the molecules — what's left? what is this i?

i tried to explain all this to hodge out on the roof of the alewife parking structure but i think it made her uncomfortable so i just gave her a hug instead.


as a child going to sleep at night, before i hit puberty and switched over to picturing the girls in my class naked like everyone else, i would imagine that i was alone on a bleak plain, perhaps injured or sick, huddled under my blankets against a howling wind. sometimes i allowed myself a protective boulder or depression in the earth, sometimes not. it was amazing. i think i had some strange, proto-sexual fascination with illness and injury, the same way girls love horses. there was something warm and wet about it.

when i was maybe four there was this one particular issue of "ranger rick" — you know, the raccoon — where the story was all about ranger rick's animal friends looking all over the forest for him. it turned out he was laying sick in his house because somebody had dumped toxic chemicals in the stream. but you, the reader, knew where he was from the start — it opened with him laying in there, lolling semi-conscious on a pile of leaves, and then cut back and forth between him and his friends searching. i stashed that issue and read it over and over. i didn't care about the anti-pollution message, there was just something about hiding away sick inside a tree trunk that turned my four-year-old self on. i don't mean like i was lusting after the raccoon — i was identifying with him. i really, really liked the idea of being weak and hidden. if anyone had caught me reading it i would have jumped and tried to hide it, like it was a playboy or something. i can't explain — it was a kid's magazine, for christ's sake. no one would have batted an eye, but i was so young i still figured they could probably read my mind and bust me.

years later i found that issue again and didn't understand the big deal. it was just a story.


so i keep hearing about this thing that happened in new york. and the pentagon, of course, but if you go down that road it gets too unwieldy for efficient conversation. "yeah, i'm still really distracted by the... thing that happened in new york and washington and out near pittsburgh. i can't get over... that." you try "the bombing" only there were no bombs. you try "the accident" only it was on purpose. "last week's distributed mayhem weighs heavily on my mind."

it doesn't seem to, though. i'm not sure why. in order to live i accept it as inevitable and unremarkable that people i don't know die all the time; it's a shame, but such is life. is this any different, for happening all at once? should this bother me more than two months' worth of cumulative car accidents? people knew and loved those victims too. the universe rubs on us with great friction.

if people are just shocked, maybe that's why: i don't really shock. in the morning i take great handfuls of mellow and rational and rub them on my chest, inhaling the twining vapours. this has certainly gotten my attention more than the massacre of an equivalent number of, say, rwandans ever has, but i think that may just be because it happened on television.

Q     || ||

would it be different if it happened in one of my own cities? i don't know.

los angeles is like the internet: you can't kill it, because there's nothing to hit. it's like ivy. in a few weeks a patch of freeway would grow over the wound.

i work in the prudential center, which has now been evacuated four times in eight business days: on tuesday 9/11 because it's one of the two biggest targets in boston, on wednesday 9/12 because the FBI was raiding the westin hotel down the street, on monday 9/17 because it was on fire and on wednesday 9/19 because somebody phoned in a bomb threat on "boston".

for a while last november i thought i was going to die. for a couple of nights i had to drink myself to sleep, but i was laughing about that too.


last night we went out to dinner. this morning when i woke up i was hungry again. christ! will this never end?