Tuesday Roundup

  • Fun Jason Polan project in NYC w/ Esopus
  • I myself have sampled F. “Breadstixxxx” Horrorwicky’s Fish Stew, and can attest to its excellence, and so it’s a great boon that Waffle Songs has posted her interpretation.
  • Sometimes I find myself mentally making epigrammatic observations about the little Nicholson Bakery pleasure-giving tabs that hang off of the good, everyday white nodules of contemporary life. Then, profound web-based solipsist that I am, I think, I’ll write a short, epigrammatic observation about this mental/contemporary phenomenon on my blog. Then I remember the presence of Magic Molly and I stop, because I know she’s taking care of it—she’s got it covered.
  • Don’t be one of those writers who sentence themselves to a lifetime of sucking up to Nabokov.”—Geoff Dyer in the Guardian. (via Juliet.) Is this a crazily brilliant pun on the word “sentence”? I think so. E.g. to emulate or too-slavishly worship Nabokov—on the sentence level of your prose, emulating those rich, sentencey sentences—is to give a prison sentence to your writing?
  • The inimitable A Rockridge Life: “Blanc doesn’t soothe me as hard.” I wonder when her usage of “soothe” is going to catch on  as a national slang trend.
  • Plebiscite returns from hibernation with a generous slice of hilarious fan-fiction based on a “notorious” Bay Area Yelper. Also: Come to MSF this Saturday for Plebiscite’s always classic “Mission Stoned Food.”  Classic!!!!

Red Red Meat

I like/hate it when bloggers say things like…

Welcome, HTMLGiant webtrawlers!

…whenever there’s an influx of traffic from a generous link posted by a generous fellow webtrawler. But I’ll say it anyway: Hi, guys! I also struggle. I also did drugs. I also occasionally write things down and think too hard about the wrong things. My opacity comes just as often from laziness as it does from artfulness, or some fictional thing called “artful necessity”. What??? I’m pulling all this from the HTML Giant media kit. “Just kidding”

I wrote the below to read on Friday and Saturday at Lowerdeck Gallery. As I began reading on Friday night I realized that Breadstixxxx was right, of course, and I should’ve just riffed from the start. Saturday night went better, mostly because I didn’t bother even beginning with the pretense of reading from the page. Non-rhetorical questions for HTMLGiant webtrawlers: don’t you agree that at a “literary event” with, say, four readers, the two that extemporaneously riff and talk off the cuff will be more fun to listen to than the two who read from their trembling and creased laser printouts? Are there mp3s on the Internet of Gordon Lish’s freestyle monologues? Ubuweb? Help me out, HTML Giants!

So anyway here’s the text I didn’t let myself read aloud to a roomful of people this weekend. I was wearing a steak costume:

Continue reading “Red Red Meat”


Clickin on stuff I ended up reading about a woman I don’t know named Amelia’s trip to the doctor. Then I “closed the tab” and read the next thing 0pen in my browser, which was a woman I don’t know named Molly’s experience at the doctor’s!

UPDATE: I discovered this morning that two women I do know, both of whom live in San Francisco, and who[m) I don’t think know each other (though they surely know of each other), both have “food blogs” called “Weird Vegetables” !!!

  1. Kale Daikon
  2. Claudia

All I seem/want to do on this blog is talk about

a.) drugs

b.) how my brain has stopped working

c.) [things I’d write if I weren’t lazy/busy/lobotomized in bracketed italics indicating that this is where they’d go]


Eros and Pedagogy

Terrifying Internet weekend here. I can’t stop. This is the most intense it’s ever been. It’ll be the same thing today. This amusing James Wolcott blog post reintroduced me to Cristina Nehring, whom I hadn’t heard about since I gave a presentation in college inspired by her 2001 Harper’s piece “The Higher Yearning.” (In retrospect, it’s kind of weird that I gave that presentation in a class on “Teaching and Tutoring Writing Across the Disciplines.” If I weren’t two hundred pounds overweight at the time, I wonder if the professor would’ve interpreted it as a “warning signal” that I was sleeping with the students I was tutoring.) (I wasn’t.) ••• Speaking of “narcissism,” there’s no way to acknowledge this ego-bastingly lovely shout-out—from a real writer I read regularly with pleasure—without bringing the bad luck of the autoaggrandizement-aggregator upon my head. But I must acknowledge it; this is what the Internet is for. It’s now folded and tucked safely into the leather medicine bag that hangs round my neck.

personal pan pizza

—Quit drinking coffee, day 4, still feel a little moony, a little spacey, but pretty much out of the woods

—Blog, internet, writing, friends, harmful, peaceful occlusions. Dog just realized “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is a brilliant name for a (brilliant) TV show. Couldn’t get enough of the photographs accompanying this NYT article about The Onion, which is the same as every article ever published about The Onion apart from the photos (they have an office dog with its own cubicle!) and the Wells Tower quote.

"Dummy, the office dog, has her own cubicle."

Harper’s article about the twilight of the newspaper industry is really all about San Francisco and the Chronicle. Haven’t finished it yet. It’s one of those full-spaces-between-every-paragraph ominous/spooky/arty/artful/impressionistic/imperious thought-essays. I like reading about San Francisco.

Still haven’t read Gideon Lewis-Kraus on Matthew Crawford. Semi-randomly picked up Anna Karenina at the blazingly awesome McNally Jackson bookstore when I was in New York. I’ve never read a “great” Russian novel, had just read Pnin and enjoyed the two professors’ conversation about Tolstoy, figured AK was a good place to start. I’m enjoying it a lot, but since then realized I probably should have read four Dostoyevsky novels first. It’s cool. There’s time. That’s next. Also looking forward to following up AK with Elif Batuman‘s great-sounding The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them.

I think something is happening here at noon on Saturday.

What else.

When I drank coffee, I was hot salsa. Now I am mild.


Manivah Thai makes really good Thai food for you, if you ask them to

Brainstorming Session

SHANNON: Maybe we should have called this a barn-storming session!

[General laughter.]

SHANNON: [Cont] No but really, Jacob, you haven’t been updating the admin site, and we’ve all fallen behind because of your laziness. What’s been going on?

JACOB: Well, I stopped being a vegetarian, and it’s really thrown my digestion for a loop. I also started smoking pot again, pretty heavily, so I’m up all night twitching and watching Adult Swim and Hentai instead of sleeping. (Pot, as most of you know, gives me insomnia.) So that cuts into my productivity. Also, I eat so much food, all day every day, that I’m constantly lethargic — I never seem to be able to think. Updating the admin site sounds like a brainless task that even a pot-hungover, obese lethargio  could manage, but it’s tough — you have to gChat with the dB’s—

MARIANNE: The band?

JACOB: I wish. No, that’s my name for the off-site gatekeepers you have to gChat with in order to get anything done on the admin site.

MARI: Hmn! [She’s adorable, she knows it, I hate her?]

JACOB: Yeah.


JACOB: So that’s why.

SHANNON: [Cuts in, is self-conscious 100 percent of the time, I hate her, too, in a different way; do you guys watch that new show “Parks and Recreation”? Aziz Ansari is funny. Will you email me a link to your blog? I’d like to read it!] Well, it’s not an excuse. I’m concerned about you. You need to go to counseling.

JACOB: I have! I’ve been going!

SHANNON: Well, you need to go more.

JACOB: OK. I’ll start going twice a week.

SHANNON: Good. [Shuffles and ruffles little papers and cell-phones and e-books and shit] Last item on our agenda for today is: T-shirt ideas! We need a new round of T-shirts to sell in the store.

B: [That’s his name. “B.”] Today I was walking back to the office from lunch and I had a really intense desire to be wearing a black T-shirt, white lettering, “I hate myself.”


JACOB: Perfect.

SHANNON: In “Plays Well With Others” typewriter font?

B: Nah. Sans-serif, some dumb typeface you’d find out of the box in MS Outlook.

SHANNON: You’re brilliant. B., listen: You smoke weed every day, you eat more food than anyone I’ve ever seen, but your productivity is through the roof! What differentiates you from Jacob?

JACOB: You guys.……..

B: I can sleep when I’m stoned. I can get shit done. Jacob smokes pot to whip himself into a body-conscious frenzy. Dude is incapable of even watching a cartoon when he’s high. All he can do is br—-

JACOB: [Just joking around] Damn, B.!

[General laughter. Laughter subsides, the lights dim, and a film is projected on the meeting-room wall.]

NARRATOR: [Voice-over plays over clips of different whatever I hate you] There are a bunch of reviews out now of The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes (Pantheon, 552 pp., $40.00). This one was probably the clearest. I didn’t read this one yet, though I am “semifascinated” by the author’s blog(s). Benjamin Moser, the new “New Books” guy at Harper’s (taking over for John Leonard, 1940–2009) wrote about it. He also  just published a biography of Clarice Lispector, whose The Hour of the Star I just read because of Sheila Heti.

Ezra Buchla of Gowns believes that his band’s brittle harmonies have a similar effect to gospel music. (“If people have souls, that’s the way to activate them,” he says.)