Fatty

Hey Cutie! Well, if I’m not blogging, I don’t know who is… Best anagram for great is always Greta. I had to write this thing so I took care of other fake-important business and finally barnstormed my way out the house by maybe 1:15. Stopped at cafe number one, where my internet doesn’t work. Drank a single Americano and wrote the thing. It only had to be like 600 words, I just needed to finish a draft, whatever, right? Pay attention to what, ladies, am I right? If only the sports section were full of field hockey, long-distance running, rock-climber recipes, and so forth. Mountain Bike stats, info-graphics about how commercial horseradish is made. Then I’d read it… Ate a clam-filled Peasant Pie. I try to be vegan, and then I stop trying. While I waited for the pie to heat up, I read 2/3 of a framed Dan Leone column about Peasant Pies on the wall that begins with a non-review of a Mark Richard book. (Mark Richard is a Gordon Lish guy. What does that mean? I heard Dan Leone is a Gordon Lish guy, too. What does that mean? I guess technically L.E. Leone would be a Gordon Lish gal. Maybe it just means they took Lish’s class, or were edited by Lish. Code-name Quoinstone’s love for Dan (now L.E.) Leone made me give her a closer look. Those columns are a boon. Real boons. San Francisco is lucky to have L.E. née Dan Leone writing about food in the pages of its best alternative newsweekly. Future generations may shake their heads in wonder.) Moved on to cafe number two, more coffee, realized the draft was fine, realized they didn’t offer internet — it’s more of a bakery than a coffee shop. Plenty of people on laptops, but no internet. This is a shameful description of my current life between full-time jobs. I have a part-time job that requires me to squeeze out 600 words every week or so. [Glances at Jawbone, smiles, casts +4 wagon spell. Begins whistling The Man from Laramie.]

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Barista at coffee shop number one asked older woman I didn’t really turn to look at what she was doing today; woman replied, loudly, “I woke up at one, now I’m going to the Legion of Honor. They’ve got the Magna Carta there.” A pause. “I don’t really know what the Magna Carta is, But I’m going to check it out.” Barista: “It sounds like it has to do with the Founding Fathers.” Onward to the Mission Branch of the SFPL. Sent off my thing. Yelling match, crazy dude, “You stepped on my foot and then took my turn on the computer. I want your name, so I can give it to the spiritual registry of offenders.” Patrons yelled for him to shut up. Elementary schoolkids yelled the same thing at each other an hour earlier on the street. Sent the emails. Went to therapy. If I woke up at one on a Wednesday and didn’t know what the Magna Carta was, I wouldn’t say it so loudly. But this blog entry is essentially the same thing. Confessions. Bought and ate a large container of wasabi-soy almonds. Stopped into a new bookstore called, I think, Press Works on Paper? Can’t tell if there’s more punctuation in there. The store is mightily well-appointed, particularly considering they opened less than a week ago. The table in the center was covered in books lain flat: Andy Fitch’s Ten Walks; amazing-looking Al Columbia book from Fantagraphics; Witz; something old by Blake Butler; something old by Anne Carson; plus I think Nox; a journal called Paul Revere’s Horse whose editor and whose editor’s fiancée I ran into in Whole Foods with my fiancée yesterday. We discussed the price of avocados. I feel like I’m trapped inside a club remix of a Leonard Cohen song; Heather Christle’s The Difficult Farm; Rachel B. Glaser’s Pee on Water; Thin Kimono; the Wave book of James Tate prose poems with Bee in the title; Matthew Zapruder; something by that poet with three names who has a new book I just got an email about. All on this one table. On the shelves were things like The Age of Wire and String and Stories in the Worst Way, a twine-wrapped set of old Penguin Paperbacks, Knopf-published Field Guides to Birds/Sea Creatures/et al. Expensive Japanese and German stationery. Fine-looking art books and prints and bookbinding materials. I told the guy at the laptop/register that I was pretty bowled over by their selection. I think it’s the most fussily — that’s not the word, I don’t mean to be negative, I was impressed by this store. Assiduously? -curated bookstore I’d ever been to. The spectre of Flying Object, or do I mean Walser & Co., I honestly don’t know the difference, and I faltered trying to explain them to the kind dude, suffused the place. Not that I’ve been to either of those places, but I wanted Northhampton to drop-ship a passel of chapbooks to this place. It also could’ve used more from Siglio and Picturebox, but AS I SAY, they’d been open five days.  Nothing from McSweeney’s, either, but apparently that’s because PGW turned up their nose at this store. It also might’ve been nice if they’d had print-outs of Helen DeWitt’s and Bill Knott’s blogs stacked somewhere. I’ve never read a poem in my life. Then I stepped on the foot of an old traveler (angry survivor of the 60s) as I exited, fishing for my almonds. He made an aghastly sound and I said, quickly, “I’m so sorry, I’m nearly blind.” Which is true. I no longer drive during the day. (Haven’t driven at night for a few years.) Tuesday morning around 6 I googled “blind martial arts.” Apparently vision’s not too important once you’re in close contact. Jiu-Jitsu.  I might begin (being is the preferred anagram) Asian grappling (?) once I move to Missouri. I don’t want to buy a gi unless I’m sure. Tonight, packing for tomorrow’s wedding-trip to  Chicago, I am glad I haven’t gotten rid of my leather dress shoes in a fit of vegan indignance. I still feel vegan diffidence even though at this moment my belly is full of pork. Yes, after the coffee and the clams I crashed and caved even deeper. It’s not full of pork, but the pork is in there.

Drubbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb’d

My very close friend Andrew Leland has started blogging for the Oakland Museum of California. He only has three posts up; he has been very shy about it. The link is here. I was with him when he saw that the most recent post had gone up, and he was like, “This reads like a college newspaper column. I hate myself.”

“Andrew,” I told him. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s great.”

“Really?” He said. So self-obsessed, so delicate. “Thanks.”

The blog isn’t bad. He’s trying. He also told me he recently tried writing fiction, because a young lion who edits a young lionesian quarterly asked him to submit something. “Writing fiction is excruciating,” he reports. “I spent a week forcing myself to write 750 words a day. Then I went two months without thinking about it. I returned to the document I had created, and my wonderful girlfriend had to pry the screwdriver out of my hands before I plunged it into my eye sockets.” Writing nonfiction isn’t much easier, he added, but then when it’s done, he feels happy.

Last Saturday, Andrew and I were hanging out at his apartment in San Francisco. I had my tape recorder, and we thought it would be fun to record our conversation. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I transcribed it.

ME: That’s not why dogs are neutered, Andrew. [Laughter]

ANDREW: Just kidding.

ME: I adore your shoes!!

AL: I love you. I wish I could smoke pot

just kidding, that’s not a real transcript. Tonight is the Oakland Standard’s launch party — officially selected by Good Jobbbbbbbbbbbb: The Online Journal of Success as the number-one Friday Night social calendar PICK for Friday, February 4. The Tammy-Rae MacArthur Genius Kutundu-Wajahat Mother Novella Carpenter’s Gothic part starts at 8, then Turf Fienz at I wanna say 9, then Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding DJ (seriously, literally) at whenever everything else is over. It’s free, it’ll go till 1, one is advised to “come through.” One block from Lake Merritt BART. Alcohol, bikes, leggings. At least three generations of Americans, dancing.

Mail Sack

Hi Readers!

Every Week We Here at my blog get almost Thousands of letters, emails, texts, mails, balloons, of all stripes — all of them grammatical, all of them fine. A typo or two here or there is actually healthy — in precisely the same way that a forest fire is healthy for Ecology. You’re interested in What Walter Benjamin thought about Paul Klee? Well I’m interested in what you, the reader, think about Paul Klee! Pretty affectionate, pretty generous, I am, huh?

Let’s take a look at some recent letters.

Dear Andrew,
How come your name isn’t on your blog? It’s pretty easy if you have an iPhone or even a dial-up internet connection to figure out who you are, but you still kinda fake-occlude your identity on your blog. What gives? I heard you’re vegetarian now?
With Real, Romantic Love,
Daniel Coane
Samp Stones, NJ

Heya Daniel,
Joshua Cohen recently “argued” that, to “our” (mine, his, Tao Lin’s)
generation,

transparency is the new sincerity; many of our peers maintain that it’s psychologically healthy, and artistic, to expose oneself entirely online. Anonymity was so 1990s—the Age of Fake Screen Names. Today, only utter exposure can set one free, while the only thing proscribed is regret.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned? Probably I’m just terrified of my boss.
Erotically,
Q.

Dear @Quailty,
Why do you speak in riddles? Isn’t the point of communication to, like, communicate? What’s the difference between a chat-room conversation and a correspondence conducted via USPS on expensive stationery?
Smiles,
Adults Pretending to be Teenagers

Ads,
More like Adults Acting Like Teenagers! I’m thinking about quitting my job.
Lol,
A.

Whoops That’s all we’ve got time for this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Triumpffffffff

A totally new blend of apathy,
super-grateful for your support

Click The Heart icon, <3 <3
as it Depresses, it makes uh Eponymous Sound.

Hot gurgling; Money. The beginning

ahh fuck this Are you writing POETRy??

Gray Ranch must be some sort of code.
the hottest female bloggers love Daria
THIS TEXT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE WORK
I’M BEING PAID TO DO, THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY
SMELLS LIKE PINE

Your lack of ambition doesn’t scan as humble.
It reeks as badly as the strainers’. The effortful b.o. of
Apples and oranges, both reek. Rotten sirloins
v. spoiled honeydew. Daria.

Check out this mountain

personal webdiary

Just bought a $1 used copy of Rogue Male on the Internet based on a one-sentence zero-argument recommendation from a respected reader-colleague-friend (“Read Rogue Male!”). Found out after I placed the order (shipping from Texas cost three times as much as the book) that it was reissued in 2007 by NYRB Classics. I have had this experience before: buying or reading a book and then feeling quintuple-vindicated in my purchase/effort/enjoyment when I find out it’s received the peacock-feather-in-the-face blessings of being brought back into print by Sir Edwin Frank. ¶ I’m pointlessly quitting coffee again; yet another Day Three over here. Feeling it. ¶ Was on a vacation that merged into a camping trip followed by a jocular family emergency punctuated by a quick change of mailing address. I moved in with my girlfriend. This is a major life step. There are two arc-less stories from the past week—one about a 6 a.m. manual-transmission driving lesson, one about my dog’s violent past—that I want to tell but can’t, on the off-chance that the owner of the car I learned on, or my new landlord, watch this space for updates in my life. Hi, fellas. I’m sorry. ¶ The tube connecting my mind and the world that contains my mind has narrowed because I’ve denied it coffee. ¶ The camping trip was great but microecos precluded any attempt to “blog” it here by alerting me to the fact that our camping trip was already blogged—hard—circa 1860:

We had intended to observe Sunday, as we did not the last one, but both my companions wanted to come down to a warmer level and my rheumatism advised the same thing, so we came over the summit and on about twenty miles. The summit is about 10,300 feet; there is snow in banks for some distance, then we sink into a canyon on one of the upper branches of the Stanislaus River and follow down that. We leave the volcanic region and get into one of granite. The canyon rises in steep hills on both sides, two or three thousand feet above the river. We camped at an altitude of about six thousand feet, where it is warm and pleasant. Today, although Monday, we are having our “Sunday,” and are spending the day in washing our clothes, writing, etc. [William H. Brewer via microecos]

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting photos of my new apartment or any of the several spectacular bowel movements I’ve had these last few days. Also been meaning to post photos of my cereal bowl with wet spoon once I’ve drained it of all milk and Golden Flax Crunch; figure you guys would also want to see a few shots of my dog’s spayed genitals and maybe etc etc. ¶ I think I’ll be out of the woods regarding caffeine withdrawal by Saturday.
Love,
“Quilty”

P.S. Ariana Reines’s Tumblr.

Lorin Ipsem

Quilty is my name! Happy birthday, Toadstone Tombstool! It’s Toadstone’s birthday today. Grape mere crackers. TK. You’ve got another hour or two to send Dennis Cooper’s blog a present. I sent him a “crazy” one! Drop-cap hat-tip to mcmouthman. This paragraph is more or less just lorem ipsum to see how this drop-cap looks. Looks nice. Peach pickles is the cracker’s souffle. I put your advisor in floppyjail. Nudity = overrated. Nut allergy? G’night!

Letter to the New Yorker, 4/25/10

To the editor:

I read Dana Goodyear’s profile of the chefs behind the Los Angeles restaurant Animal (“Killer Food,” 4/26/10) with pleasure. A few responses came up in the wake of my enjoyment of the piece, however, and I’d like to share them with you, mostly as a form of procrastination as I messily scarf a container of Pad Thai over my keyboard (“iPad Thai”) here in the empty Sunday-afternoon office

Goodyear’s piece is filed in the magazine’s “Letter from California” section, and it serves its designation well. The reporting feels legitimately Angeleno. I recognize the L.A. Goodyear describes. Madonna’s Escalade, Canter’s deli, Benedikt Taschen. The “multicolored sleeve tattoo,” the pretty girls, the girlfriend become wife. I believed it all. I know you were worried about effectively capturing this atmosphere, and I’m telling you to stop worrying. You nailed it.


In the first scene, at the Farmer’s Market, Dotolo and Shook (what names, by the way! And good call letting them speak for themselves. A lesser writer, or perhaps a writer with fewer word-count constraints, would have allusively riffed on how “Dotolo” evokes “Dorito,” and how “Shook” invokes the early stages in the process of deep frying a foodstuff. But letting these linguistic associations reverberate in the reader’s ear without broadcasting them — like sudden phantom echoes improving the church-organ’s glissandos—was a meisterstroake) seem super stoned. I think it’s all but explicit. They’re “eating a couple of burritos” — does this mean two burritos? One each? Or more? In any  case, It’s a fine ambiguity–a whole burrito, in most contexts, is already a lot of food, so the readerly tension that they may have had more than one each keeps us “hungry for more.”

But were they high at the Farmer’s Market? Or is it the case, as Emily Dickinson noted, that “We never know how high we are”?  We have to wait until close to the end of the story, when they’re catering a party for Tom Munro and champagne, for Shook to ask his line cooks, who have just finished setting up: “Want to go on a long walk off a short pier?”

He grabbed a lighter and the three of them set out jauntily down the alley.

If their befuddled, munchied time in the Farmer’s Market parking lot wasn’t explicit enough, this is all the confirmation the reader needs to know that these chefs enjoy smoking marijuana. And this manner of presenting their highness allows Goodyear to elegantly telegraph the fact that her subjects smoke pot without needing to outright state as much.

However: My daughter works in catering. Is this really the message the New Yorker wants to send to my beautiful daughter? Bethany is fourteen years old and a three-time “Culver City Caterer of the Year.” Does my daughter need to be “stoned” in order to enjoy the taste of duck fat sliding down the back of her tongue?

And when

one woman, when Shook finally had a chance to explain [what head cheese was], spat it out on the table and said, “Oh my fucking God, I’ve been kosher for thirty-two years,”

and Shook’s response is self-righteous merriment, how am I supposed to feel when I realize with a slow shock that the woman depicted in this scene is unequivocally my ultraorthodox wife of thirty-two years, who began keeping kosher on the night of our wedding?

(I don’t feel like doing anything today. Literally nothing. Not working, not not working, not smoking, not not smoking, not eating, not not eating, not community service — remember what Obama said after he was elected? We all need to offer ourselves to the community. If you’ve got hands, you can squeeze a stress ball, and that’s sometimes enough to change someone’s life forever –)

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I read another of Goodyear’s Letters from Los Angeles — her profile of the brilliant LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold — another hip hedonist, another man who puts the “meatlover” back into the phrase “meatlovers’ pizza” (and in turn stevedores the words meatloafers and leftovers into that one [COPYEDITOR PLEASE STET PLURAL POSSESSIVE ON “MEATLOVERS'”])– on about half an hour of sleep, still drunk, in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I’d need to go back in order to confirm that it’s pure fucking catnip from beginning to end, but that’s my memory of the piece. I chuckled uncontrollably into my 7 a.m. cheese sandwich when, on

the day he decided to find the city’s best espresso, [Gold] travelled with David Kendrick, who was then the drummer for Devo. After twenty-seven shots, Gold—sweating, trembling, and talking too loud—met up with [his wife] Ochoa and some friends for dinner. He started to panic and begged the group not to get dessert. When Ochoa ordered tiramisu, he burst into tears, ran out of the restaurant, and took the bus home.

I dipped my white iPod earbuds into my airport OJ so I could smear them across the pages of Dana Goodyear’s profile of Jonathan Gold when I read this. Then I passed the earbuds through my entire digestive tract, like R. Crumb’s ascetic brother Maxon does with those long, awful strips of tape in his Tenderloin apartment in Terry Zwigoff’s perfect 1994 documentary.

But isn’t there a sense that, for all its jaunty pleasures, Goodyear’s Animal piece is just a slim salty slice cleaved off of the real cut, her now six-month-old Gold profile? I imagine I’m wrong when I imagine Jonathan Gold giving Dana Goodyear Dorito and Shake’s email addresses, or even just telling her they’d make for a good story. L.A. is big. So is Mario Batali. It’s not magic that Goodyear happens to be in the restaurant when Batali, several other chefs, Mike Mills (I listened to Reckoning last night twice through, incidentally. Wotta gem), et al come in to Animal for the story’s  conclusion. She knows the ID of everyone in Batali’s nine-person party, down to their “magician.” So she must have come in with them. She wasn’t just sitting alone at a table before an untouched bowl of curried duck hearts waiting for New Yorker–worthy guests to walk in. I’d like to know: Was it awkward for Goodyear to get up from this crowded table and follow the waiter back to the kitchen with their order?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSMnNxedQSY]

With respect and admiration,

Sasha H DeGwiid
San Francisco, Calif.