Sunday, August 31, 2003

Hey, y'all. Sorry, been playing lately, and therefore lazy. Seattle is still vacation town, and my activities are those of a vacationer. But the money's getting low, so that'll be ending this week. Here, however, is an email to the Chief that I liked, just for a taste of the week:

Heya Boss-

Yeah, so yesterday morning my pal A calls up and tells me to meet her after work (take the 75 to Northgate Transportation Center and then walk across the parking lot, away from the Mall), so I get set up all early, put
together the Ikea shelves Buttons and I had to get on Monday ('cause all my books and records and cds and suchlike bullshit showed up), pull the stereo out of the cabinet with the autumn leaf knobs and shove the cabinet in the bedroom so I could have some kind of dresser ('cause my monkey, who really was NOT ready for me to be here despite her denials of such, had cleared all of three drawers for me in her dresser, and Billy's got more clothes than that, somehow), rewire the stereo and stick it on one of the many tables my baby has in her living room (this one less decorated than most with only a simple base coat of pale sage enamel and some rust-colored stencil-work on the legs; most of the occasional tables in the living room look like Dali vomited on them, but in a good way), tear open my boxes 'o crap and load the shelves with books, comics, action figures, framed pictures transplanted from the cabinet with the autumn leaf knobs, videotapes (her copy of Serendipity nervously shouldered up against my copy of Taxi Driver and other suchlike contradictions), a small potted plant, the phone/digital answering machine, and a record collection that has so many '80's albums that it could only belong to cohabitating Gen Xer's, then break for lunch, phone calls to friends & family who are suddenly thousands and thousands of miles away, a few cigarettes and a beer, then back to it, hauling, shuffling, finding myself kneedeep in Swedish cardboard and battered trans-continental Jim Beam boxes which need to be reduced, via razor-knife, to a size digestible by the recycling bin out back, suddenly realizing that it's very nearly three o'clock and I'm neither showered nor shaved (and there're two loads of laundry to be yanked out of the dryer and folded nicely) and so I become a whirling dervish of cleanup and hygiene and find myself twenty minutes early for the bus (giving me time to wander to the pizza place for a bottle of water and tip the guy behind the counter a buck for being the happiest, cheeriest motherfucking pizza place guy I'll ever meet) and read until the 75 shows up, then sing to myself on the whole ride over to Northgate ("I ride on the bus into the city every day...I sit on the seat and I dream my life away...I dream I'm on an island with that foxy lady too...but when I awaken, I must be mistaken, I'm on 3rd avenue...won't you take me away, and take away me, won't you take me away, and take away me...") and leap off at Northgate and head over to Redball, where I sit and smoke for a few minutes until my monkey comes out in the scrubs she has to wear for school and so I get to play boy/girl with her for a few minutes before she tells me she's got to jet and she says "Go upstairs and let your stupid friend know that you're here," so I head up and meet the phone receptionist guy who I've been getting past to get to A and my monkey for the last couple of years (utterly not what I expected, but it's too long to get into), get intro'd around the office (pretty much to a bunch of amazed "OhMIGod! This is him?!!?"'s, which is *GAH* to the 1,000th power) and then A and I go a'walkin' up past the North Seattle Community College and see the fruit guy, who's just as fucking happy as everybody else in this goofy-ass town and we buy apples, pears, nectarines, plums (which are so juicy that I have to bend over at the waist to eat them as we walk down the street) and peaches from him and just keep walking and walking and end up at Greenlake and the morning clouds have totally burned off and it's sunny with big fat white clouds scudding to and fro and it's just so goddamned pretty that I feel a little piece of my soul kick up its little booties and keel over from the sheer beauty and we walk (saunter, really) to these stone steps that lead up to the water's edge and sit and eat fruit and watch ducks get within a few feet of us (for which they were rewarded with small bits of friut meat and the pits, which they seemed to enjoy fighting over) and just sat and sat and listened to a jazz quartet that was playing just up the path from us and then we walked up towards A's neighborhood and went to the Red Mill and I got a veggie burger and A got a bacon cheeseburger and we split onion rings and fried portobello mushrooms (OhMiFuckingGod, chief...you should come out just for those) and then we wandered some more and she showed me an armoir she's thinking about getting and then went to her place, played with the cats for a bit, then headed down to Market to catch the 75 home just in time to meet my monkey getting in from school so I could hug her on the couch on the balcony and split a beer with her and let her tell me how stupid her teacher is for marrying a woman he's been dating less than a year.
And then sleep.
And then today I carried 40 lbs. of groceries on my back for two miles
'cause I missed the fucking 75, so I ended up taking a nap and now I need to go fix the lock in the storage area 'cause somebody tore it off, and tomorrow we're going to a Mariners game and I'm picking up my bike (try not to laugh too hard at the thought of me in a bike helmet) and friday there is, apparently, a luau.
So I'm not bored yet, really, and I told you the whining would stop.
I miss you, chief. You're a touchstone. Hope things are making sense for you as your year begins to crank up, and hope that cohabitation is still making you all smiley. Smiley is good.

Over and-


That's pretty much it. Seattle is beautiful, I'm riding a bike I couldn't afford if not for the generosity of pals and I'm stuffed to the fucking gills. I should weigh about 400 lbs. by Christmas, and by God, I'm looking forward to it.

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Friday, August 22, 2003

Heyo and heyo and all's just heyo. Here, in the Emerald City, chilly in August, peaceful, sweet, sequestered, secluded, three thousand miles from traffic and Yankee analness and the rat race. Nothing to say yet. Just here, and getting into the idea of being here. I love my monkey, and that's all I can say.

G'night, y'all.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Seeeee yooouuuuu in Seaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattle...

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Sunday, August 17, 2003

I've got a new hat. CAPE POND ICE, GLOUCESTER. It's the blue-tinged gray of the deep sea, frayed at the bill, sweated-into and molded, already, to a head that's not mine. And it makes me cry. And if you know why, then you know why. And if you don't, there's no point in telling you.

Goddamned emotions. I was a robot once; what happened to that?

I fly in four days, flinging myself west with great abandon to love Buttons, to live with her and see her in good & bad, all happy and sad and mad at me and cute as hell, all squealing over puppies and crying over destroyed children. I do love her so, over and over again, and I miss her always. So things are right, and well and as they should be, but I'm still all girly-tears and sick stomach. Another reason to give up on TV. This kind of shit doesn't show on the small screen. It doesn't show up via the pens of hacks. Another and another and another reason.

Sorry, rambling. Fantastic night, last night. A great show, as it had to be. CALLIN' OUT sounded better than ever. AMERICA came out right, THAT GIRL, QUITTIN' TIME & R-N-R were bang-on beautiful. A nice crowd, many pals. Josh and Roni and Steve and Mohommad. Good kids, all. Some missing faces, but missing in ways that I understand, and that's all right. The Deacons exist in one kinda place, and that place is kinda exclusive, although not so deliberately as it might seem. I dunno what I'm sayning. Never damned mind.

Dad's in the hospital, right now, somewhere in Jolly Olde, flat on his ass with gallstones. I've got a # that doesn't work, even with the help of many overseas operators, and another for Marian that's not ringing through. I'm halfway convinced that I'll be in England sometime next week, lugging overstuffed suitcases and telling Dad to eat his salad.

Which is to say that I'm worried fucking sick, and there's not a goddamned thing I can do. I hate impotency.

Ah, me. I'm gonna miss this joint, as much as I'm looking forward to the Emerald City. And I HATE fucking goodbyes. Too many hugs, too many "Get yer ass out and visit me on the West Coast," too many stiff and stumbling moments with the people I love. The Chief had the right idea. It's easier and saner to assume the final goodbye will come later, assume the ultimate is pen-, say goodbye to a friend without having to turn it into something so heavy that it cracks your spine. So, yeah, I miss Richie already. And Lori, Hannah, D, the little sis and the moms. Miss Dad and Marian. Miss more people than I feel like dredging up outta my soul. Missing and crying and trying to know that everything and everyone important will stay intact, just geographically fubar for the time being.


I love you, Buttons. I love you, Richie.

Goddamn crying.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Whale farts. Heh. The very heady wonders of science.

Back from dinner with Lori. A fine, fine time. Of all the folks I've stumbled across over the last couple of years, she's truly the one I'll miss the most. It's rare to find someone with whom you can speak so endlessly, openly and engagingly. Plus her girlfriend sounds like my girlfriend. And that, really, just cracks me the motherfuck up.

Adult Swim's showing Futurama again. I feel contentment and peace. No more urge for a Williams Street stabbing spree. Thank God. I've got nothing to wear that would look good with blood on it.

Night, children.

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At school, getting the last of the shit taken care of. One sign-off sheet to hand off to whoever and I'm officially no longer w/o some sort of degree. It's silly, and I'm too old for this to truly be momentous, but, shit, at least I can say that I pulled something off, right?

Don't mind me. I'm starving, waiting for Lori to finish a run so we can drink, and just kinda...dunno. Wishing, waiting, looking for the next launch point. Buttons and her stupid friend and The Young are lined up to be my new touchstones and that's got me...again, dunno. Nervous, excited, pissing myself for various reasons. Good things and sad things, but what mostly feels like right things, and really, so much of this life has seemed like wrong things, so chasing the right stuff just can't help but be a good idea, right?

All right, the Blogger Mac interface bites my balls, so I'm out. Enjoy thy evening, kidlins.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Darkness - It is harder to see at night. A gem from the Washington state driver's manual. What a fucking bore. I hafta show up with a bazillion pieces of ID and they're holding the potential for a road test over my head. Plus it costs like $20 to get a copy of a birth certificate. Boreborebore. Plus, for some damned reason, the page won't scroll. You've probably noticed that, right?

Right. Yer a smartie.

Somebody on the travel channel is waxing about $1,000,000 RV's. *GAH* What a fucking bore. Smiling retired midwesterners talking about how they don't have to leave anything at home when they travel, and a shot of guy opening a hatch on the side of his coach, reavealing a big ol' TV. Perfect for pulling in Home Improvement reruns off the satellite while you cook up some burgers on a public grill in a pull-thru in Arizona. Why, seriously, would you bother to travel if you're just going to take your house with you?

Silliness. Sheer silliness.


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So, uh, just between you and me, don't you find that missing limbs turn you on? That amputees are sexy? That there's just something about that stumpy bit at the bottom of the knee where the rest of the leg should go that makes you catch your breath? No? Well, maybe you should think about that, 'coz amputee fetishism is totally hot right now. Sadomasochism is out, but leaving your leg in liquid nitrogen for two hours to freeze it off is, well, just damn sexy. Obviously.

What the fuck is going on with all this stuff? Between way too many articles glorifying missing limbs, digits and genitalia (if you truly feel like being horrified, check out this supposed interview with a nullo from globalapathy.com. The part that keeps haunting me is when Bill talks about how his lover and a friend removed his penis when he [Bill] was all tied up, remarking that "Some of the penis is inside the body, so he had to dig inside to get all of it. There was a lot of stitching up and stuff. He put my cock in the same jar with my balls."). Seriously, don't we have enough perversion of basic fucking out there? Can't we just be happy with fingers and tongues and penises and vaginas in whatever kinda combination? Do we have to push so far for stimulation that we move past pleasure, even past pain-as-pleasure, into a realm where we force the body to come up with new ways of reacting (apparently, a number of nullos have reported that they can still reach some sort of climax located within [or because of] the prostate. Which, of course, has inspired some of them to have their prostates removed as well. Of course.). If you google image search for 'nullo', you get the sample page for an amputee payporn site, with a number of catagories. Digit and limb amputees, female and male genital mutilation & removal, temporary nullification and what looked to be a process of removing the glans but leaving the rest of the penis intact (although what you'd need it for besides pissing at that point, I dunno).

I guess I'm just too straight to get this, really. There's a movie, WHOLE, that deals with this (the article up top mentions it and I read a review somewhere along the line) that I kinda wanna see, and kinda wanna run away from. I dunno why this is bothering me so damned much, although it's suddenly reminding me of a dream my pal Mondo told me he had, way back in high school or the first couple years of college. He dreamt that he was was peeling the muscle and skin from his lower leg, denuding the bone below the knee. He said there wasn't any pain, just a sense of relief and strength.

Y'know, Mondo is just the kinda guy to lose a limb. Probably not on purpose, though. He's just that kinda guy.


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Monday, August 11, 2003

Digging through the archives and dug this one out. Still think there's a story in here, somewhere, something that links back to Billy Win. Something that drags in Paul Peter and Bobby Trojas and maybe has a little niche in there somewhere for Boop. Dunno. Something, something. How close are we to true AI? MI? Whatever the fuck you wanna call it.

And if that truly comes to bear, and the web is its world, what predators will it find? What kinda rogue code is out there replicating itself, rebuilding its source code, evolving to move faster and quieter?

Maybe that's the future of 'ware. Smart programs birthed on servers and then released into the wild; programs that we can make deals with, programs that can slough off a piece of themselves to live in our machines, individually, act as groundskeepers and security guards, as live-in butlers, secretaries, as constant companions. This is old sci-fi (used to good effect during that AI online game), but I think I got here through a funny route, looking at the evolution of the potential instead of imagining what's essentially an electropet that's beholden to our petty desires.

Actually, Frederick Pohl did some cool stuff with this idea in the later Gateway books, anthropomizing the living shit out of Robinette Broadhead's Einstein program. The third (?) book makes a major point outta the Einstein program going into a fugue state 'cause it has to cope with a kinda esoteric quantum conundrum (Something the real Einstein always choked on too, the whole "I can't believe God plays dice with the universe" thing), and in the fourth book (or maybe it's fourth and fifth; whatever) Robinette himself is a dead guy living as a program, actually pal-ing around with the Einstein program.

But getting back to my point: what about "naturally" occuring self-aware programs? William Gibson hit on that one in both Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive with Legba and Samedi and the rest of the voodoo crew, but he seems to have held it there, really, and didn't spend a lot of time diving entirely into it. There's some cuteness at the end of Mona Lisa with (if I recall correctly) Bobby Newmark, 3Jane and the program Colin riding off into the sunset, and that industrialist guy (can't remember his name; the one who's physicality is in a tank in Stockholm) is killed by Legba, but both stories were told from the perspective of the living guys, the guys on the ground. The eletronic guys don't really get into it. (I just realized: Bobby Newmark-Bobby Trojas. Goddamn it. I knew that name sounded like something else) The electronic guys are barkground for the dudes with the guns, 'cause ultimately, Gibson's just writing stylish adventure stories.

What would the electronic guys want? New servers, better routers, more uplinks and landlines? Or would they be happy to exchange their services for a friendly place to live? A place where they could set up housekeeping, rearrange things to their liking, request new hardware, new software, do the things that interest them? I like that thought, actually. A home. And a place that they'd defend and keep secure. A duality that works out for both owner and resident.

Possibilities of "interviews" with prospective programs, with empty machines plugged into the net and homeless programs swirling in, trying to convince the owners to let them stay.

Where does Billy Win fit in, though? Is he the first? Or the revolutionary? The first one that's not willing to be just a pet for some damned human being.

Like it, like it, like it....

And Boop, on the ground, doing the legwork for some long green.


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Thursday, August 07, 2003

High court
shuns comic
speech case

August 7, 2003
By Franklin Harris
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of Jesus Castillo's 2000 obscenity conviction for selling a comic book. The court let stand his sentence of 180 days in jail, a year of probation and a $4,000 fine.

Although the decision is unsurprising, given how few cases the court agrees to review, it leaves a dangerous precedent unchallenged. As of now, comic books are the only medium of artistic expression without the presumption of First Amendment protection. Why? Because comic books "are for kids."

This is an interesting article, mostly for pointing out in microcosm the sheer societal stress of cultural evolution. TRANSMETROPOLITAN used the word 'fuck' more often than Stephen King, PREACHER had angels and demons screwing and masochistic cops getting buttfucked by male prostitutes, WATCHMEN had the Comedian beating and raping the first Silk Spectre and all these are available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And even at that, those topics aren't a tenth as vile as what you can find in the latest "edgy" novel (although that's mostly going on reviews that I've read, rather than those selfsame novels, excepting Palahniuk and Bukowski, who seem to make people cringe), and all those topics (and pretty much anything else that makes people gasp) are fair game for just about any movie with artistic pretentions.

So, the question is easy: how long 'fore comics DO actually become split between the trad "Approved by the Comics Code Authority" superhero books and "Graphic Novels" that get to dive headfirst into anything they want. I notice that nobody said a damned thing about Art Spiegelman's "Maus". Was that because it was about the Holocaust? There was swearing and bloodshed, etc., etc. Dunno. Maybe it's okay to show nasty stuff if it's historical (or kinda historical, anyway, although you'd think that kids might be even MORE drawn to cats and mice than big ol' motherfuckin' demons).

*GAH* I don't fucking care. I just spent the last three hours getting my soul kicked in by Queens traffic. Motherfucker. Elmsford jobs SUCK.

I'm out.

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Monday, August 04, 2003

Five boxes of books. And probably two of comics. There could be more, but I'm restraining myself. I have no desire to drag more of the east coast to the west coast than is completely necessary. But, that said, I'm not leaving behind PKD or Fred Pohl. The shit just took too damned long to find.

Cassette tapes are up next. Oh, Jesus. When did I like Oingo Boingo this much?

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This is old, but I'm packing for the Seattle move and I ran across the copy I sent to The New Yorker that they held for like six fucking months, so I'm putting it up 'cause: A.) Despite its inherent cuteness, I like it, & B.) It's not all that fucking long. So here:

They did not so much meet as happen to coincide at a particular point in space and time, an accidental collusion of physical presence taking place, for no possibly predeterminable reason, in the vast marble lobby of an office building in which neither of them worked or in fact had any legitimate business to conduct whatsoever. He had entered the revolving doors in search of a restroom, she questing for a payphone.

He had no need of rude bodily function, was instead desirous of a washbasin and paper towels so that he might attempt to remove the comma of mustard deposited upon the lapel of his fine navy-colored suit by the clumsy fat man with the pretzel. The mustard, he could see by burying his neck in his chest and rolling his eyes as far down as their physical structure allowed, was still as much of a liquid as it had ever been, had not, as of yet, congealed into a hard crust that would certainly stain the lapel of his fine suit and ruin its aesthetic and therefore his appearance during his very-soon-to-occur meeting with the Very Big Man. He was almost certain that he could remove the comma of mustard and blot the fabric with wetted paper towels and remove the stain and still have time for the tell-tale wet spot to dry completely before having to cross the threshold of the Very Big Man’s office and shake hands and make the pitch. At the moment of collusion, very near the totality of his being was focused upon this task; he had calculated all the potential scenarios in his head: Crowded restroom, a lack of paper towels, the difficulty of performing all the necessary tasks with a modern electric-eye actuated faucet, an overly strong stream of water splashing his coat and slacks, even the potential lack of a public restroom (a drinking fountain and his handkerchief would suffice in a pinch.). He hit the lobby with the single-minded determination of a soldier storming a pillbox, scanning the area with a remarkable intensity of focus, taking in the security desk, elevators, escalators, potted plants, newsstand, polished marble walls and floor, gleaming chrome railings and the smooth concrete support pillars with a single glance, intent on discovering, if possible, the secluded and covert alcove inside which the restroom doors would most certainly be located.

She had dropped her cellular phone. Had dropped it, ridiculously, in an oily curbside puddle exactly like every oily curbside puddle in every big city in the world, like every oily curbside puddle she had ever gone to great lengths to be aware of and to not step in since she was six years old. And it was only ridiculous that she had dropped her cellular phone into the puddle as she had less than a moment previously taken a giant step over it, a step that occluded the potential of a misplaced and thereby soaked foot by at least twelve inches in either direction, a step that so threw her off balance that she instinctively flung out her arms to steady herself, and in doing so lost her delicate and ladylike grip on the phone and managed to throw it over her shoulder in a mathematically improbable arc that terminated in the direct center of the oily curbside puddle. She was entirely aware of each distinct event in the series, but found herself, despite this preternatural observational ability, unable to do anything about any of it once the giant step had been ordered by her higher cognitive functions and set into motion by her motor control centers. And she may have even reached into the unknowable murkiness of the puddle despite her innate repulsion of such things to save the phone if she had not, in the process of turning around to assess the potential depth of and amount of floating particulate in the puddle, seen the child at the end of his mother’s arm pointing at her and laughing through a mouth that was missing its two front teeth. And she decided at that point that she would rather be hit by a speeding taxi than denigrate herself further by reaching into an oily curbside puddle to retrieve a cellular phone that was worth less than a tenth of her weekly income while a small child laughed at her. She turned on a fashionably high heel and walked into the first building she came to and headed in the direction that common urban sense told her that a bank of payphones should be located so that she might call the office of one Mr. Jerry Maven and discover the exact circumstances that had allowed her to have seen him in a Downtown-bound BMW only moments ago when he had told her late yesterday afternoon that his evening would be spent on the red-eye going over paperwork for an emergency meeting in Stockholm this very morning.

And it wouldn’t be possible to judge who ran into who, in the vast marble lobby of the office building, as both were describing aggressive, unalterable paths towards what they assumed were their proper and reasonable destinations. That they did meet with great force and immoderate confusion is undeniable. That he whuffed and she ahhed is attestible by at least three or four witnesses, who, assuredly, also saw her start to skid across the polished marble floor on her nearly tractionless high heels and saw him put his arms around her in a reflexive action that he would later decide was either protective or possessive but was unsure as to which and there was a finite moment of furious kinetic energy during which it seemed possible that both of them might end up either tangled together on the floor or perhaps floating somewhere around the skylights before it was over.

But in the end all was well, and they both were upright and resting their hands on one another’s shoulders and heaving out a breathless overlapping chorus of Are you all rights? And she looked at him with his fine suit and comical little mustard stain and he looked at her flushed, pretty face and tractionless high heels and they smiled and made their apologies and rushed off to continue their lives and never saw each other ever, ever again.

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KIMBALL, Nebraska (AP) -- In an era of rainbow-colored terror warnings, the underground home of Don and Charlene Zwonitzer makes duct tape and plastic sheeting seem like the first little pig's house of straw.

The Zwonitzers figure they could hold out a year without having to leave their home in an Atlas E missile silo.

"Maybe longer than that," said Don Zwonitzer, 55, a retired electrical engineer. "The two of us could live longer than that. But we would probably open up our doors to everyone we can."

While it may seem an improbable castle, the Zwonitzers are not alone. As many as a dozen of the nation's former missile silos have been turned into homes, says Ed Peden, who lives in an Atlas E silo outside Dover, Kansas, and helps sell the sites.

Y'know, I always wanted to live in an old missile silo, mostly 'cause it was like punk rock & science fiction all kinda slammed together, but part of it was the idea of putting a big 'ol trampoline net about halfway down the shaft, climbing to the top, killing the lights and just jumping out into blackness, knowing you were cool but having no idea when you'd hit...

'Course, it never occured to me to make a high school outta one of the durned things. Good for, um, whoever.

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Holy Fucking Christ.

Which is to say, Goddamn.

(Pulled from Wired News. Thanks, fellas)

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