Listening to: “Skullcrusher Mountain” – Jonathan Coulton

So I’ve been diving whole-hog into this Infinite Summer thing. Have you heard of it, blogs? Basically it’s a summer-long, communal reading of David Foster Wallace’s giant, giant book, Infinite Jest. I mean 981 huge pages, tiny lettering, plus 96 pages of endnotes, written in even tinier lettering. And it’s full of passages like this:

So on 1 April, Y.D.A.U., when the medical attache is (it is alleged) insufficiently deft with a Q-Tip on an ulcerated sinal necrosis and is subjected at just 1800h. to a fit of febrile thrusive pique from the florally imbalanced Minister of Home Entertainment, and is by high-volume fiat replaced at the royal bedside by the Prince’s personal physician, who’s summoned by beeper from the Hilton’s sauna….

I’ll stop there, because the sentence goes on for another half-page paragraph. You get the idea. It’s tough going. But in between all this jargony gobbledegook (which may be some people’s thing, but not mine) are wide swaths of real brilliance, and those are what it’s worth pressing on for. In any case, I know I’d never finish this book in my life if I wasn’t adhering to  Infinite Summer’s bi-weekly page count deadlines, with a whole interweb’s worth of blogs and tweets to bolster my reading.

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Listening to: “Deep Red Bells” – Neko Case

I don’t know who these people are. The pissy one might be me. I drew it on the T.

eheh

Have you noticed that it’s stopped snowing? It completely slipped past me. Next stop: spring thaw for realz. In the garbage on Linden Street today, there was an honest-to-heck safe, like the kind you lock jewels in, that was a-sploded on top! Looks like a layer of concrete plus some other shit. Bank heists in Allston?

I’m really sleepy. I have work to do. So why am I in the Valley of the Blogs? Happy April!

Listening to: “Bad Days” – The Flaming Lips

Hi, blog. Long time no see. I’m sick of dealing with reality at this particular moment, so I’m retreating into your virtual catacombs. Well, I don’t mean reality, per se, so much as The System. Bills, insurance, parking meters, dirty dishes, job applications. That kinda shit. Which actually, is sort of the opposite of reality. I prefer real reality. The kind that doesn’t come in a can.

And when I find that unprocessed stuff, I’ll be sure to give you a holler.

……

I snapped a picture of this grafitti outside CVS in Allston. According to Wikiquote, it’s a Native American proverb:

lasttree

……

Did you know:

Microwaved coffee isn’t so bad.

THE MORE YOU KNOW.

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Howdy ho, Blogodomes, and welcome to a new segment I like to call “Gross Intake! Things My Dog Tried to Eat Off the Sidewalk in Allston.”

tucker

(Past favorites have included: A chicken bone! Poop! A dead rotten sparrow! A cockroach! A used condom! And my personal fave, a pickled sheep foot!)

Our inaugural, first-edition, #1, collectible post is a doozy:

Frozen vomit. Yes. Frozen vomit. It was caked in some snow. Don’t we all love the end of winter break.

For future “Gross Intake!”s, stay tuned right here. The sundry BU kids, indie kids, bums, crazy people, restauranteurs, and freelance artists of Allston are always dumpin’ new and exciting waste on the sidewalk, the garbage men are always failing to pick it up, and Tucker’s stomach continues to be shockingly resiliant.

Listening to: “Another World” – Antony & the Johnsons

Greetings from the heart of the Northeastern Seaboard’s Neverending Blizzard ’08! It’s already put me on postpone for 2 plays this weekend–luckily rescheduling is set to occur. Can’t afford to miss out on writing assignments this month. You know that old carol “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, etc. etc.”? Yeah, I’m the one who hasn’t got a ha’penny and needs some god-blessing.

Still, I think I’ll always have a Pavlovian joy response to snow days, even when I’ve got no work or school from which to play hooky. Last night Tuck and I holed up at Ryan and Rog’s and watched Mad Men and had Schnapps-spiked hot cocoa, while the snow piled up in drifts over Brookline. The mutt definitely digs the snow–sometimes it even makes him forget his debilitating fear of the Green Line–all old smells covered up, fluffy whiteness belly-high, and the whole world fresh and up for grabs. He leap-runs through deep snow in winter the same way he does through the tide in the summer when I bring him to the beach. I wonder what the beaches must look like now–totally surreal, no doubt. You never really see the image of snow falling on ocean waves.

Today out my bedroom window I saw a scrawny guy standing in a full Santa suit on the sidewalk, just chillin’. A girl walks up to him and–I shit you not–sticks her hand down his woolly red pants. And we’re talking deep–like, grab-the-dude’s-dick-and-flail-it-around-a-bit deep. Santa didn’t seem particularly aroused, but it was hard to read the eyes buried between the beard and hat. I’m telling you man, only in Allston.

Alright, time to go dig out the ol’ car so I can get to Cafenation and get some actual productive freaking writing done. I’ll leave you with an image of what I wish I were doing this fine, snowy evening:

Listening to: “Everybody Say” – Takka Takka

So I’m driving to Central Square tonight, stopped at the stoplight at the Harvard Ave/Cambridge St intersection. All of sudden, in the purest sense of the word “sudden,” this dude comes running in the direction of my car at high speed. He’s got this crazed, determined look in his eyes. My first thought is that he maybe just stole something and he’s weaving through cars in the street. But he doesn’t dodge my car, he comes straight for it.

Next thing I know, this guy has jumped on my hood, vaulted over my windshield, and then I hear his feet pounding across my roof, the metal buckling. Then he hits the hood, leaps to the pavement, and is off down the street before I’ve hardly had a chance to lay on my horn.

WHAT THE FUCK? Does this happen to other people? In life?

Part of me thinks it’s kind of awesome, but a larger part of me is pissed off about the shiny new dents on my roof. This after my license plate got stolen two weeks ago. Does my car have a giant “Kick Me” sign on it?

……

Other recent weirdnesses:

I was in New York earlier this week for an interview (!) –fingers crossed. Anyway, yesterday I’m sitting at a Starbucks in Midtown, talking to my friend on the phone. There’s a valet guy sitting next to me, marking stuff on cards. I get off the phone, I’m reading some books I fished from the dumpster behind the Strand (By the way–WTF Strand? Throwing away books? Gross.) And the valet guy says, “Excuse me, miss, but do you believe in God?” And I say, simply, “No” and go back to my Collected Yeats. Luckily he didn’t proceed to try to convert me to whatever-the-fuck, but it was one of those weird beginning-of-a-one-act-play type moments.

Then there was the guy in the line for the bathroom, who tried to guess where I was from. “North Carolina. No… North Dakota! No… Kansas! Wait… Alabama! You look like an Alabaman. Am I right?” Apparently I was giving off some kind of Southern/Midwestern vibe?

And finally, tonight in Central Square, the dude standing outside Phoenix Landing blowing bubbles infused with cigarette smoke. When I first saw them, I thought maybe they were starting to freeze in the air because it’s so fucking cold out all of a sudden. Then some college-looking chick popped one, and I saw the smoke dissipate into the air.

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I went to the anti-Prop 8 rally in Government Center last weekend. I hadn’t been to a protest since the antiwar march back in 2003. I worry that protests/rallies/etc. don’t do that much good, but considering the national scope of this one, I feel like it made an impact. I’d say more about Prop 8 and all the shittiness associated with it, but I think the public outcry against it, in cities and towns across America, from all ages, creeds, and sexual preferences, speaks for itself. And besides, whenever I talk about it I just get really really angry to the point of incoherence (One of many reason’s I’ll never go into politics–or PR). For more on the Prop 8 madness, I’d point you to my friend R.’s blog post on the subject, which is much more even-handed and eloquent than I could ever conjure. Anyway, here’s a pic of the goodness at City Hall last weekend:

prop 8 rally

And hey Blogland–if you share my rage on this issue: SIGN THE PETITION

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Been working on “World’s End” again. The weather last week was appropriately apocalyptic to put me in the mood. If anyone has any insider info on working at a CCTV headquarters, it’d be much appreciated. I’m worried the story is getting too introspective. Maybe the first person format isn’t ideal. I say this having recently picked up Salinger’s Nine Stories, which may as well be plays for the way he manages to convey so much interior life without actually going inside any of his characters’ heads. Brilliant.

I’ve also been reading Lonesome Traveler, Kerouac’s quasi-autobiography of his West Coasterly days. He’s not a big fan of periods or commas–we’re talking 2-page long sentences–and I’m pretty sure the original draft (12-foot long typed scroll, that is) of On the Road was a whole lot of really long sentences before his editor got a hold of it. I wonder if a more traditionally punctuated version of Lonesome Traveler wouldn’t net it some more readers. It’s a tempting project, anyway.

T. and I saw Ira Glass do a thing in Northampton last weekend–gawd I love him. He talked a lot about the style and format of This American Life, and how he went about it. Of storytelling, he said: “It’s not about reason, it’s not about logic, it’s about motion.” And my little tattooed heart melted. He also said that Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights was “very Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3,” and called otters “puppies of the sea.”

I could just die.

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Alright, time to get back to writing and not drinking any hot beverages, because some landlord-and-National-Grid wank has led to our gas being turned off. Le stove, il ne reviendra jamais, jamais.

Today was an unusually collectively drunken Friday night in ol’ Rock City. I mean, every Friday night in Allston is collectively drunken, but tonight is one the nutsiest I’ve seen since the BU kids moved back in August. Maybe everyone’s still celebrating election fun? Who knows.

Anyway, having just returned from my jerb–seeing a play, that is (btdubs-Pinter is so badass)–I was not in on the boozelry; but I did get to overhear some singularly classic lines whilst walking Tuck around the block. A sampling:

GUY: …And then I said to her, ‘I may suck at flip cup, but you suck at life.’

—–

DUDE 1: Dude, we’re gonna rage so hard.
DUDE 2: We’re gonna rage SO HARD!
DUDE 3: We’re gonna rage even HARDER, because we know there’s pictures being taken!

…and then my dog tried to eat a condom off the sidewalk. Like I said, classic.

…….

Went to see the Decemberists last night at the Orpheum, which was about exactly as totally amazing as I had hoped it would be. Colin Meloy was in an uncharacteristically jubilant mood, on accounta happy-yay-election-future! It was an experience, watching the swarm of hipsters in the audience slowly learning to square themselves with all this newborn optimism.

Having tossed a life-sized cardboard cutout of Obama into the audience midshow (“He belongs to the people!”), the band closed with “Sons and Daughters,” a sort of let’s-all-run-away-and-build-a-utopia song. It was written smack in the middle of the Dubyah tenure, but now it’s got a whole new color: let’s-all-stay-here-and-build-a-utopia! I was up in the balcony, but I watched Colin call the floor audience onto the stage, where a massive sing-along of the refrain (Here all the bombs fade away) ended the night. I’ll admit, I got pretty choked up. Oooh, someone got it on tape:

OK, OK, I swear I’ll stop with all this Obama mushiness and return to our regulary-scheduled snark n’ bile next post.

I like the sound of that… Snark n’ Bile. That should really be a dog food brand or something.