Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

watching too much television while sick

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Television didn’t kill my brain. By-the-numbers malaise and a lingering summer cold have been the real problem. It’s still a major effort to focus on anything longer than a few minutes, and there is still a lot of drooling going on.

So yep… i’m caught up on Battlestar Galactica and nearly there on The Wire and Rome, but i have nothing to show for it. (Just dipped toe into Life on Mars and Deadwood is queued up next.) Immersing myself in all of the televised culture that i’ve skipped these past few years has not paid off quite as well as i have hoped. They’ve proven to be satisfying distractions, but i’d be bullshitting everyone to say that all of this passive watching has given me that much insight on current entertainment.

I’ll try to cough something up in the next few days, but my head’s still full of mulch.

what I’m reading 07.01.08

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Officially, i’ve completed more books in the past six months than i completed in all of last year. However, last year i was still reading a lot of stuff without bothering to complete them, especially in the short time that i was still working in the bookstore, reading stuff on breaks or overnight. Despite all of this free time, I’m not sure if i’ve technically read more than before, although it still seems likely.1

Omega Minor and Laura Warholic are at the post office waiting to be picked up. Both of these books were intimidating me with their length. That nagged at me so much that i overcompensated. Over the weekend, i tackled Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles ((Owned it for ten years, but i’ve procrastinated completing it that entire time)) and Gaddis’ The Recognitions.2

Masochist.

  1. This is not just about reaching an arbitrary number. There is a specific reason as to why I feel pressured to complete more books. Fortunately, it doesn’t weigh on my mind as much as it did last autumn, but occasionally, that thoughts of that possible future creeps in. []
  2. Started it once back in 2005, and again in 2007, but have no idea where i left off either time. Here it goes again. []

explanation for yet another quiet period

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Last week, i burned the inside of my mouth by shoving a chunk of scalding hot blueberry cobbler into my mouth. In the days that followed, i would up getting a sore throat and a ringing earache, and could no longer eat solid food. All i’ve done for nearly the past week is play Medieval 2: Total War1 in a stupor.

This was followed by an obsession with the demo of the Spore Creature Creator. I’d post some creations, but i’m not satisfied with any of them yet.

There seems to be a sizable backlog now, but it might be shrugged off altogether because of a friend’s wedding. Kat’s been shanghaied into that shindig for weeks, but now i gotta dress nicely and hang out around a bunch of strangers.

Oh yeah… and we went to the David Sedaris book signing in Baton Rouge last night. I get jaded every so often, talking shit about him being in decline and he operates on autopilot. Last night was a blast. The man knows that treating his readers with respect goes a long way. He was funny and gracious in his chatting with every single person having a book signed. The pieces that he read were familiar, but, eh… i laughed.

  1. as the Franks this time. []

nothing much going on here this Sunday

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Finished Goytisolo’s The Garden of Secrets yesterday evening, before going to a friend’s birthday party. That’s going to be a tough one to compose a post about.

This morning i read some stuff on French literature, only to bore myself senseless with profiles of people more interested in social and political aspects of their novels than experimenting with storytelling. Blach.

News is slow on the internet this weekend.

Dove back into Alexander Theroux’s Primary Colors, but decided to save it for when my attention is more diverted. It was a surprisingly easy read last night even though i was drowsy and mildly buzzed on booze.

This evening, Heym’s The Wandering Jew, a book that i’ve been reading for nearly a year and a half, resurfaced. It had been abandoned halfway through, but it was easy enough to figure out what was transpiring. Now there is only a quarter left. There’s no explanation why this book keeps being set aside.

Who are you calling Pierre Menard, Pierre Menard?

Friday, June 6th, 2008

As someone has who read some Borges, i actually already got the reference that the Stereogum writer was trying to make to Pierre Menard. It just happens to be shorthand for being dismissive of any kind of post modern deconstruction. That story gets invoked whenever someone wants to chop someone off at the knees when they getting a little too deconstructive for the critic’s taste.1 It’s not much better than a jock yelling, “Way to go, Einstein!” sarcastically at anyone evidencing higher thought.

The Pierre Menard comparison doesn’t hold water anyway, in that the story describes an author recreating a piece word by word, exactly, and only changing the meaning by the fact in the period in which it was recreated.2 One extremely fucking salient point about Price’s cover of “Creep” is that he changed the song significantly. This is not the Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard recreation of the Cramps’ 1978 performance at Napa Mental Institute.

I don’t really have a stake in this minor conflict. I’ve been a fan of Eppy’s3 writing for years. Although i hate the vibe of Stereogum, that writer doesn’t seem so bad in comparison. However, he’s guilty of placing a huge target on Eppy for having the nerve to say anything deeper than “Rock on! Free the music!” and changing the context of Eppy’s writing to something other than Eppy intended after Thom Yorke made his comment.

So, almost ironically, the Stereogum writer changed the meaning of the piece by removing it from the period in which it was written, and placed in a different time completely changed the meaning…. just like Pierre Menard, with Eppy as Cervantes. Eppy is no longer the author of his own work, or better yet, the Eppy, a simulacrum of Stereogum™, who is the author of the latter piece, has ceased being the Eppy of the prior piece. The first Eppy no longer has a credible perspective on the reaction to these words, as they no longer belong to him.

Yep… i’m just winging it at this point.

p.s. The point is moot.

YouTube Preview Image
  1. Although i cannot cite specific examples at this time. []
  2. If you have a problem with that, go fight it out with Tom McCarthy and his buddies. They’re bound to have some choice words for you. []
  3. I’m aware of his real name. It’s just not common for anyone to make a reference to particular run of the comic Grendel, and that’s how i choose to keep his identity straight in my addled head []

seeking reasons to blog about music again

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

One of these days, i’m going to write a post whining in detail how onerous blogging about music became for me. The quick story is when my younger coworkers would breathlessly tell me about their newest, most favorite band in the world has just been discovered, and no one else knows about it, and they are going to give this awesome tip that they just read on Stereogum1 as a favor to me making them some cool mixed CDs… only to find that it was a band that not only that i knew about, but may have blogged about before Stereogum… that i was blogging about music before Stereogum even existed.2

Yep, i became a bitter, jealous old man. I can spend hours putting together a mix that seamlessly blended unfairly neglected bands from the ’60s to last week, but it would be brushed off because it wasn’t blogged about on a blog that was essentially an upstart. No, i am not proud of my behavior. There is not much of a record of my hateful lunacy online, but it exists.

The pithy reactionaries theorists and historians never stopped being fun to read, but it became frustrating to read some breathless hype, then became counting the hours and days until my younger friends would regurgitate the very same press release that i read, as if it was a sincere championing of an underdog.

I’m still “stuck” in this same situation, although i’m more of a hermit than i once was.

Finding out more about the different music scenes in Louisiana that existed in various eras still seems like a worthwhile project, but those projects fell behind when i had to move back to Husser. Another member of the Shitdogs passed away in the past few months, so valuable people are being lost. He even turned out to be an archaeologist, oddly enough. It pains me that i didn’t get around to contact him when he was still around.3 This is not exactly a promise to rededicate some of the effort on this blog to those investigations, but this is close enough.

Until that comes back together4 , i might do some more of those blurb things that i was doing the last time i had my shit together with the blog, that lasted perhaps a week or so, before i trudged off in some existential despair because i fell behind in my silly resolution to complete at least twice as many books as i did last year.5

  1. as if i don’t read the internet []
  2. Oddly, none of these coworkers were ever readers of Pitchfork, which seemed more obvious. It existed before i began blogging, so i cannot be as resentful of it, even if the folks at ILX, who all seem to have written for it at one point, have talked more shit about it over the years. []
  3. or that i’m just getting around to acknowledging this. I’ve been a little embarrassed on not following through with that stuff. []
  4. as there might not be many people who are interested in emailing about old, somewhat obscure local bands anymore []
  5. Hot damn! This footnote plugin works after all. I probably should have read the instructions months ago. []

driving blind & dead

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

It’s cheesy joke, but this police report turned up in my news alerts:

Jorge L. Borges, 36, Cumberland, R.I., charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Maybe his real problem was that he was not looking at the road and was focused on the Zahir.

learning how to blog again: wrestling with the Shared Items feed

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

It’s sinking in that using the Shared Feed option in my RSS Reader (GReader in this case,) has been another problem with this blog. Each time i click that Share option, the story disappears from my consciousness. the information is read, but rarely is it engaged, even if all that is done with this “engagement” is a few searches looking up key terms that i don’t fully grasp or exasperatedly commenting that the story was written several months or years before.

Not that anyone cares, but it might be time to remove the Shared Items widget from the page, since i have not used it properly. All it has done is encourage lazy posting.

This isn’t the first time that i’ve figured this out, but i need something to keep me from going crazy with the anxiety of unemployment. Blogging seems to be the answer again.

stumbling in blogging again this May

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Medieval 2: Total War ate my brain again. Firing up the game seemed like a good distraction, as reading and writing was not enough to ward off existential angst about unemployment this week. The only job related email that i’ve been getting has been unsolicited ones about pharmaceutical sales positions. All hope is not yet lost, but the only jobs that i can find are too far away for the price of gas or frustratingly paying less than what i’m currently drawing in unemployment. Something will materialize, but this week, i had to ward off feelings of worthlessness by fending off nearly unrelenting waves of Mongol armies from the walls of Constantinople with a handful of Cossack musketeers.

To make matters worse, when the gaming fever broke, i dove into Mieville’s The Scar… another form of escapism. (I quite liked Perdido Street Station, but The Scar is turning out to be far superior, despite my queasiness at all subjects nautical.) The Scar won out over several other books in the queue, like Queneau’s Witch Grass and a couple of Sorrentino books that i picked up used for a penny.

Nope. That post on Zachary Mason’s Lost Books of the Odyssey still has not coalesced, but please, please buy and read this book. Franzen and Wood can sit around pontificating for months, blowing smoke up everyone’s asses about the state of fiction, yet there is a great debut that has been largely unheralded by most critics. The invocations of Borges and Calvino are very much justified, and i’ve noticed that an Amazon commenter namechecks Nail Gaiman. Mason’s novel is far superior to Gaiman’s novels (again, notice that i exclude his comics) in my opinion, but yeah, Lost Books of the Odyssey is very accessible, and speculative fiction readers who fetishize the New Weird could find a lot to love about this book.

Damn. Maybe i ought just ought to finish that post…

another lost weekend

Monday, January 7th, 2008

There were a few posts from yesterday that were saved as drafts, but they have disappeared without a trace. That’s most peculiar.

The whole of Saturday was wasted tagging mp3s. It wasn’t quite as wasted as that marathon session of game playing the previous week, as some long misplaced albums were recovered from obscurity, but considering that the day was slated for reading outdoors, that was disappointing. I lose all concept of time when i get on one of these tangents. Although twelve hours passed, it felt more like two, even though i could see the light changing and the clock was right in front of me. Music is a very dangerous opiate for me.

Kat borrowed a book from work for me, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. She groaned at the title, as she thought it was a book on how to bluff, instructing me on how to be even more pretentious than i already am. When i explained that the title just French humor, and it’s really about choosing what not to read, she was intrigued, but i didn’t read much of it yesterday, as i wound up writing most of the day.

However, if a fakebook for inflating one’s literary pretentions did pop up, you can be sure that i would read it.