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.
Before I became faithful to this blog around 2007 I was a member of a group blog called Crude Futures with two friends. A post of mine from 2005 now makes me cringe (along with pretty much everything else I wrote there, or anywhere else, except for select emails that have since been deleted by their recipients). “Liveblogging my reading of the Official Voter Information Guide for the Special Statewide (CA) Election”  betrays my near-total lack of political consciousness, but it’s a drop in the bucket of my own sub–Ben Franklonian attempt to better myself, a nice way to force myself to learn a bit about the issues at stake in the election. So, in honor of whatever shreds and dregs of democracy I rescued by doing it in ’05, I have resolved this cloudless, moony Sunday afternoon to do it again! Then we’re going to go see Escape to Witch Mountain at the Castro.
NOTE: Elucidations, corrections, and solidarites will be provided by my girlfriend/flatmate, Gerhard Richter’s Daughters (GRD). She holds the pamphlet, I hold the keyboard.
Nineteen is Gerhard Richter’s Daughters’ lucky number! She is teaching the second chapter of Infinite Jest in her class on “waiting,” and one of her students wants to discuss this statewide ballot measure in his final paper!
19 legalizes marijuana under CA law. GRD keeps sneezing. It’s OK to “transport” weed for personal use? I guess that means if you need to bring it to your uncle but don’t want to smoke it yourself. 19 will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to the state and save lots of penal cash. We are already intimidated by the size of this pamphlet. There’s too much to go through. As adorable as it is, maybe this isn’t really a couples activity.
The Mothers Against Drunk Driving are also against Prop 19. “Allows drivers to smoke marijuana until the moment they climb behind the wheel”? Looks like there’s no breathalizer test for mj. My stepfather told me in full seriousness when I was 14 that he thought being stoned made him a better and more careful driver. Rimpletide told me that whether 19 passes or mj becomes legal in some other non-distant future election, the big tobacco companies are going to swoop in and I’ll be drunkenly buying “Marlboro Greens” from the corner store and smoking them alone in my bus stop shelter at 3 a.m.
Can’t tell how prop 19 will jeopardizes jobs or school funding as “con” argues.
We’re voting Yes on Prop 19 [Laughter]
Redistricting congressional districts. GRD: “I don’t understand how you’re supposed to know who to believe!” I take some grapes out of the fridge and put them on the table. We both eat some grapes. GRD: “MUNGER JUNGER IS THE SOLE BANK ROLLER OF 20”!!!!
“Jim Crow economic districts”!??! We are going with our guts on this one. Munger Junger seems wrong. Carl Pope says no on 20, so does George Soros. This is as bad as just blindly following the Bay Guardian.
State parks! Wildlife programs. Best part? Free admission and parking at all state parks! Boomtown!! “Why would you ever not want that”? Con says park funds get diverted to other things. Oh well. Fuck cars, yay parks, happy halloween, yes on 21!
This one sounds confusing and boring. Silence descends.
It says that states can’t take local gov and transportation funds. OK, we’re done, that sounds good, but wait, “this is one of those propositions that sounds good but is filled with hidden provisions that hurt taxpayers.” Ouch! “Schools lose over $1 billion immediately”! Also firefighters get shafted? Health-care hit? Yowch! What about those local gov and transportation funds!! “Don’t be mislead by opponents’ scare tactics”!! fuck!!!! Firefighter against firefighter! You can’t fight firefighter with firefighter! We are lost.
Just tried to read through the legislative analyst’s analysis. GRD suggested we use a “life-line.” I will restrict myself to whoever is on gchat right now. I am relatively new to using gchat so there is usually a kinda paucey krew. Let’s see:
me: hey rimpletide
I am on a game show right now
and I need your help answering a question
[conversation redacted; he didn’t know anything about prop 22! we’re still lost]
Just reread the longer pros and cons. still can’t decide. Leaning toward yes on 22, but it’s shaky. In the interest of getting it all on paper let’s give prop 22 a provisional yes.
UPDATE: Rimps comes through! “prop 22: allows cities to keep redevelopment and transportation money safe from state government borrowing. some local governments (and police departments) are for it, but almost everyone else (teachers, firefighters, against). looks likely to fail.” so, um, we are voting NO on 22 [?]
Seems pretty slam-dunky. Times are hard but the clean air laws should only be getting stricter, not the other way around. GRD and me say NO on 23!
Knee-jerk says yes on 24: let’s stop tax breaks for wealthy corporations. The con is confusing: they aren’t really tax breaks? Voter fatigue is setting in. Yes on 24.
Mean mommy-law to stop legislators from being late with their budgets. They will miss one (1) yummy dessert for every budget that is late in getting passed. The stakes feel low on this one. GRD’s apathy is a mirror for my own. “My brain hurts.” Yes on 25. Maybe. Yes.
I am a knee-jerk liberal? Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Phillip Morris funded this measure, which will allow them to not pay fees that address adverse health effects of their products? What? GRD and I are overwhelmingly opposed to Prop 26. Happy Halloween.
Maybe not. But this one is related to the Charles Munger Jr. measure re redistricting from before — ole Prop 20, that classic chestnut. Knee-jerk reactions differ here: GRD has fallen hard for Prop 27. I smell the same gambits and ruses I’ve always ferreted and sniffed out in my long and distinguished career as a legal cartographer. No but seriously folks, no on 27, I have no idea why. GRD dissents. [UPDATE: checking our work against the SFBG. We’re doing pretty good. They say YES on 27. I defer to their and GRD’s wisdom]
GRD: “Will you tell them that I hate Carly Fiorina?”
Me: “Tell who?”
GRD: “The world” [Spits hot chocolate all over my leg]
Do not vote for Carly Fiorina. Big Bad Barbie Boxer is the clear choice. 400,000 emails from Obama in your inbox can’t be wrong.
Why are there only four jokers we’ve never heard of listed in the governer’s race page? Are we missing a page? What’s happening?!?! Ah: Jerry and Meg are candidates who haven’t “accepted CA’s voluntary campaign spending limits and therefore have the option to purchase space for a candidate statement.” Bummer. Go Jerry!!!!
He lives kinda near us? 4104 24th St? Right next to Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers. I’ve never seen him in Noe Valley.
I guess that’s his campaign headquarters address. Still
Secretary of State
Weird how Christina Tobin (Libertarian) wrote her statement in the third person. Marylou Cabral (Peace and Freedom) wants to lower the voting age to sixteen! Debra Bowen (Democrat) seems fine. GRD: “She’s NOT fine, and you wanna know why? Because she already has the job, and the state’s falling apart!” Let’s go for the green party civil-rights lawyer down on Snowbond St. in San Diego. Ann Menasche, give her a shot, why not? VoteAnn.org!!!!!!
Maybe Bowen’s doing an OK job. In all honesty, I’m probably gonna vote for her when the time comes. GRD might give it up for Ann, though. GRD: “She’s cute.”
GRD: “Oh, this is the person who’s doing a bad job.” Takes care of all the cash. OK OK OK we’ve been doing this for HOURS LET’S JUST PICK ONE
Andrew “Andy” Favor: “Pro-business, freedom. Frugal.” That’s the entirety of his statement. Libertarian. Evokes the old Nuprin ad campaign. Except it’s funny how there’s a comma after business. Are pro-business and freedom linked? Frugal is kind of its own thought? Maybe stronger to change that comma to a period: “Pro-business. Freedom. Frugal.” Do yourself a “Favor,” buddy! 😉
It’s all about the democratic incumbent, John Chiang. He’s the bomb. Love that Chiang. Always
Maybe somebody from Twitter could be Treasurer. Just kidding, GRD is hogging the voter guide. She can’t stop talking or thinking about Robert Lauten (American Independent). He sounds like a minuteman to me. The sun is setting. This forest isn’t safe after dark. Please let’s just pick one and move on. GO BILL LOCKYER (Dem.), GO!!!!
Kamala Harris doesn’t have a statement for the same above-stated reason Meg and Jerry don’t. Oh well. She’s got my vote! Nota bene commenting will remain OPEN on this post, let me know if you disagree with these “assessments”
Where to begin. Dave Jones. The end
Superintendent of Public Instruction
A nonpartisan office! Which will keep GRD and me honest. We have to actually look at these folks’ statements.
I think Larry’s statement was stronger, more convincing. Tom wants to expand Phys. Ed requirements — a big strike against him for GRD. Larry Aceves has our vote [wink]
Board of Equalization
Looks like we’re in District 1.
Betty T. Yee! “Yee yee”!!! District 1 is the best!!
Justices of the Supreme Court
This seems impossible to decide based on the data this pamphlet offers. Tani majored in Rhetoric at Davis. I am going to break the rules and see what the SFBG says. [Pee break] Uh, they don’t even have it on their list of endorsements? I’m going to decide in the voting both. Or text WholeFoodzzzz
OK, time for da local measures! We’re going the distance! We’re getting punchy!
For the local stuff GRD will be typing and “I” will hold the book. This is scary!!!!!!!
There were lots of tech-sectory people (pasty, iPad-smooth skin; 29–31; strong core strength wrapped in a thin sheen of Pirate’s Booty softness; boring clothing) holding small dogs on leashes near the two Bauer’s bus stops on 24th St this morning at like 7:15.
There’s no other answer: it must be bring your puppy to Google day!
And yet, it is the very rhythm of what is read and what is not read that creates the pleasure of the great narratives: has anyone ever read Proust, Balzac, War and Peace, word for word? (Proust’s good fortune: from one reading to the next, we never skip the same passages.)
The Internet’s energy and carbon footprints now probably exceed those of air travel… perhaps by as much as a factor of two, and they are growing faster than those of almost all other human activities.
Griffith helped implement the electronic ink technology that the Kindle uses, inspired by the reams of paper he saw glutting Australia’s landfills. Now he’s working on wind power, sponsored by Google, to offset the Internet’s damage to the planet.
(Did anyone else find the photocollage illustration of Griffith—crazy hair, large/athletic/eccentric genius—along with a few superficial details of his life — child sports prodigy, professor-parents, MacArthur grant…—to be reminiscent of David Foster Wallace? I haven’t finished the piece yet (I hate reading reading diaries that obsess over or even mention how much of a work the writer has or hasn’t read, how sleepy the writer was while reading what he’s writing about, or how sleepy he is while writing, or where he was when he read the thing he’s writing about, or at what hour,what he was eating. In other words…) (Griffith lives in the Mission.)
And he also shares with Wallace the ability to extend his considerable what I think of as “formal” intelligence beyond its normal boundaries—to places of deeper feeling and compassion. In Wallace’s case, this meant applying (or maybe combining) a linguistic and philosophical and deductive/(mathematical?/rigor and) intelligence toward (or with) a sensitivity to suffering, sadness, pain, (art); Owen’s thesis in his profile (not that I’ve finished it) is that Griffith is the rare inventor who considers the social, political, cultural, and environmental obstacles to a problem’s solution, rather than focusing exclusively on technology.
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”