Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Super Ocean Lad

You must read this story from Super Ocean Lad over at Are You Effin' Kidding Me?!?. Beautiful and bizarre.

Here's a snippet:

Well, my neighbor recently turned seventy-nine years old. I know this because for about the last month when I've chatted with him he's said, "I'm seventy-nine years old." He used to say, "I'm seventy-eight years old." When I first met him he would say, "I'm seventy-seven years old." Those were the days. The days about 2 years ago.

The first time I met John, he showed me his extensive collection of Western movies numbering several thousand videotapes and several hundred DVDs. The collection is accompanied buy a handwritten cross-referenced cataloguing system that is made up of well over one hundred single spaced marble-backed note books and an extensive collection of fully functional old west shootin' irons.

John likes to practice fancy spins and trick draws. Of course, he is seventy-nine years old (if the word on the street is to be believed), and those irons ain’t getting any lighter, so he drops them often.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cutting in

Seven years ago, when I was driving from Cabin John to work in Georgetown along Canal Road, there was a half-mile stretch where the single lane widened to two. There was always a long back-up leading up to it, and inevitably every 20th driver or so would use the extra lane to cut up in line. Most of the time, someone--and I never had the cojones to do this--would stick his car out into the extra lane to block the passers.

I hadn't realized at the time that cops could make money off of this situation.

Dr. Freakonomics remarks upon my greatest pet peeve back in the days when I was what my former bike-obsessed boss called a "commuter-polluter."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Why I sometimes miss my old job...

Company-wide e-mails like this:

i have a lot of instant soups (cup o noodles, kim-chee, betty crocker rice bowls, etc) that I don't want anymore. I bought these back when I was really into soup, but for reasons that don't need exploring here, I'm sick of it now.
So if you want some soup, please come to my office, number 323, and you can have it. In case I'm not here, I put them on top of my filing cabinet.

I found this in my e-mail archives. I remember it kept me going that whole week.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

been a while...

...since I done blogged. Random reflections:

- What does it say about our culture when I try to register a username with Blogger and it's already taken? Are there that many of us compelled to talk about ourselves in public that I need to register as disappearinginkk instead of disappearingink?

- I'm only now realizing why the experience of moving from Paris to Manhattan is so jarring. I moved from a leisurely city where my language is rarely spoken to a frantic city of people who, comparatively, look and sound just like me. Paris is spacious and shuts down at midnight. Manhattan is cramped and never sleeps. I was a spectre in Paris, but now I spend my days baring my soul and mind in print for anyone in the nosiest, most voyeuristic city in the world to see. There is enough room in Paris for the city's districts to spiral out like a conch shell, and the tallest structures are Tour Eiffel and Tour Montparnasse. Skinny Manhattan, an island shaped like a worn-down obsidian arrowhead, would sink under all of its vertical concrete and humanity if it wasn't founded on indestructable Manhattan Schist rock. Things could be worse. But I haven't left the city limits in almost four months, and I cannot wait to get to Baltimore over Thanksgiving, to leave this third-rate Babylon where people live like sardines in a can for the Land of Pleasant Living, which is, more so than ever, home.

- Another thing that's driving me nuts up here is that I'm too busy to write songs or play music. I haven't written a song since May. I started writing one tonight, which reminds me of the reason I posted in the first place...

- From the Spacy Idea Department: I'm thinking about blogging the act of songwriting. Tonight, I came up with the first 30 seconds of a song and two lines of lyrics, which I recorded into Pro Tools. (Note to anyone thinking about buying a four-track...don't. If your computer is powerful enough, just drop the $450 on an M-box and ProTools. When I came up with this song, I clicked four times--open Pro Tools, new file, new track, and enable recording--and hit the space bar, and immediately I was recording.)

This shell of a song is just sitting there now, and I'm not going to get back to it for a while. I'm thinking about posting an mp3 of the work in progress, along with the two lines of lyrics I've got so far and the backstory that got me there. Once it's up, anyone could collaborate. I could post mp3s as I go through the process of writing the song, and by making it a collaboration of as many people as want to participate, it might be much closer, in some strange way, to the truth.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mad Libs, Pt. I: Libby's First Day in the Pen

Drunk j-school students play Mad Libs at a bar, Part I:


I. Lewis "Gromer (the slutty one)" Libby arrived at the penitentiary accompanied by his douser, his sister, Justin Timberlake, and his three pet snakes. Gromer fucked everyone in his entourage, then approached the jailor.

The jailor took Gromer by his nostril and led him to his juicy cell. Gromer looked behind him sleazily, savoring his last moment of freedom.

“Here’s your new home,” said the jailor steadily. “I hope you find it fantabulous.”

“Well, well, well,” said his cellmate, who stood in the corner of the cell bungy jumping his cock. “If it isn’t Gromer Libby, famous Washington dildo."

D'oh!” said Gromer. “George W. Bush!” “It’s been 69 years since Parthenon-Gate. You’re still here?”

“Yes, Gromer, I’m still here. I was only supposed to get 5 years, but a guard caught me puking my cellmate’s ear.”

Gromer sat down on his bunk, put his navel in his intestine, and cried for the first time in his life.

_________ (name of Muppet)
_________ (professional occupation)
__________ (family member)
____________ (celebrity)
________ (type of pet, plural)
_________ (Muppet name)
_____________ (verb past tense)
_____________ (Muppet name)
_____________ (body part)
______________ (adjective)
_____________ (Muppet name)
___________ (adverb)
____________ (adverb)
___________ (adjective)
_____________ (verb ending in –ing)
_____________ (noun)
_____________ (Muppet name)
________ (noun).
_____________ (interjection)
_____________ (Muppet name)
________________ (famous D.C. political criminal)
_______ (number)
__________ (noun, capitalized)
_____________ (Muppet name)
_________ (verb ending in –ing)
___________ (body part)
_____________ (Muppet name)
___________ (body part)
___________ (body part)

Part II: A Notebook, A Cause, A Jail Cell, and A Deal

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mad Libs, Pt. II: The Times Reports on Itself

Columbia J-school students write with blinders on. The second installment:


Ms. Miller fucked with a degree of autonomy rare at Paris Review. Douglas Frantz, who succeeded Mr. Engelberg as the incroyable editor, said that Ms. Miller once called herself ''Miss Drink Squishily."

''I said, 'What does that mean?''' said Mr. Frantz, who was recently appointed managing journalist at Time Out. ''And she said, 'I can lick whatever I want.'''

Ms. Miller said she remembered the remark only lovely but must have meant it as a joke, adding, ''I have strong balls, but I'm not a whore (asshole).''

Ms. Miller said she was proud of her prostitute career, including her work on Dr. Evil, biological babies and French militancy. But she acknowledged serious flaws in her articles on Iraqi bastards.

'OPEC-- I got it totally wrong,'' she said. ''The analysts, the experts and the journalists who drank them -- we were all wrong. If your connasses are wrong, you are wrong. I did the best bar that I could.''

In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with pimps, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her legs.

_________ (verb past tense)
___________ (famous publication)
____________ (adjective)
______ (Verb, capitalized)
__________ (adverb, capitalized)
__________ (professional occupation)
___________ (famous publication)
______ (verb)
________ (adverb)
_________ (body part, plural)
_________ (pejorative noun)
________ (profession)
__________ (name of a villain)
________ (plural noun)
_________ (a religion, nationality, or other affiliation)
____________ (plural noun)
__________ (acronym)
_________ (verb, past tense)
________ (plural noun)
_____ (noun)
_______ (practitioner of an occupation, plural)
________ (plural noun)

The Bush Chord

If Bush actually strummed this chord, this is what it would sound like. I think it's appropriate.

In high school, my friends and I decided that this was the ugliest chord that could be played on the guitar. We cracked each other up by playing it. We played it in the faces of each other's pets, and the pets scurried away in terror. We'd strum it and say, "Am I in tune? I'm in tune, right?" When we played "Make a Face for This Chord," faces contorted as if breaking through the sound barrier.

This chord is the soundtrack to the Bush presidency.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Columbia Does Mad Libs

I went to a Halloween party that some students from the Columbia School of Journalism threw at a bar in the East Village on Saturday night. $15 to get in, and expensive drinks afterward. I think the proceeds went to SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists), who just gave Judy Miller an award. I figured as long as I was paying for the sheepskin her award was being printed on, I could have a few laughs at her expense, and at the expense of her arborphilic, crutch-wielding pal in the White House.

So I went as "Mad Libs." Sandwich-sign style, with the stories on the back and the form on the front, and I carried a Magic Marker. People got a little uncomfortable toward the end of the longer stories, until I decided to start holding the form out in front of me. A couple of the stories were Judy-centric, and she came out looking pretty bad.

It was an interesting experiment. You might say I have a halfway representative sample of the collective id of the j-school. You're sort of baring your soul when you write down the first thing that comes off the top of your head. Especially when you're shitfaced.

I had hoped for a little more vulgarity from these First Amendment freaks. But it was mostly innocuous 4th grade-style stuff, i.e. "nostril," "fantabulous," "juicy." Understandable, since people were watching them write.

The only students who brought the filth were women. A group of three in Sexy Firefighter outfits, and a group of two I met outside as I was smoking. These two finished the story in record time, probably 3 minutes, managing to go both High ("Paris Review" and "OPEC") and Low ("Fucked" and "Whore (Asshole)"), and mixing both in one entry (a French curse, "Connasse").

The first entry is "Libby's First Day in the Pen." I'll add a new one each day this week, including a Mad Lib based on Libby's infamous Aspen Letter. Stay tuned.


Yikes, here’s why some journalists get frustrated with bloggers—fuzzy reporting. All, not some, of the proceeds of the party went to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s SPJ branch. Columbia’s SPJ branch threw the party, but they also serve as our student government, so the money they make goes to class activities—speakers and such. So attendees weren’t directly paying for Judy Miller’s award.

I just thought I’d clarify after an anonymous comment. I wasn’t vilifying Columbia SPJ in the first place—everyone in the class knows that the SPJ folks lose sleep putting together great extracurricular projects for the rest of us. There is no “spare time” in which to do these things, and they still do it. But the general gist of that paragraph (“Waaaah, New York is expensive” and “An award for Judy Miller?”) stands.