Neff Hall II: Return to Neff Hall

This morning I unearthed my Andrew Jeffrey Wright Mr. ET T-shirt, which is a drawing of ET, drinking a beer and wearing Mr. T’s mohawk, beard, and chains:

I was wary to wear it, leery of being perceived as the slightly eccentric, trying-to-seem-cool 10-years-older guy, the equivalent of wearing a shirt for a band that was cool when I was first in college and is still cool now, which all adds up to something annoying and uncool.

(What band would that be, anyway? Unrest?)

(Why do I persist in pretending that I ever listened to Unrest?)

(Would it be Pere Ubu?)

(Isn’t the fact that I want to do a show on the college radio station here the ultimate expression of this still-cool-and-thus-intensely-uncool impulse?)

(Stop saying cool! This whole thing — the entire enterprise of going Back to School (1986)– must be an exercise in cauterizing my ego, or all is lost.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hYqvtHzr48]

And so I wore it. I went to class and made sure to speak twice—mindful of my participation grade—in the discussion of Hamlet. Then I went to the library and looked (for an assignment) at the Early English Books Online database, which is awesome and full of things like this:

 

After class I was walking across “Speaker’s Circle” where an evangelist — though not Brother Jed — was haranguing a group of mirthful, occasionally goading students. There were certainly more sympathetic ears for the preacher than there were for the evangelists who would drive to the Oberlin campus to condemn the students to eternal suffering. “My church has a webcast!” one young woman shouted cheerfully this afternoon. I smiled and continued walking, when my way was blocked by a little dude, probably 19, wearing a beanie in the heat.

“I like your ET T-shirt,” he said. “You seem cool. Are you a student here?” I was momentarily thrown off by the second part of his greeting, so I focused on the first part.

“Notice that it’s not just ET,” I instructed him. “It’s Mr. ET — Mr. T is in there, too.”

“Mystery-T?” he said.

“You’ve heard of Mr. T, haven’t you?” I asked him, suddenly full of concern. He shook his head. “Have you ever seen The A-Team?” He looked very slightly frightened. “You know Mr. T. He’s a muscular black man, with a mowhawk and gold necklaces and earrings?” The kid nodded tentatively, then seemed more sure. I suddenly noticed he was holding a large rolling suitcase. He said again,

“You seem like a cool guy.” Then he put a Bhagavad-Gita into my hands. Because I have severe tunnel vision, I didn’t even see that the whole time we were talking about Mr. T, he was trying to get me to receive his Hindu scriptures! He finally placed the books directly into my hands.

“My dad loves The Legend of Bagger Vance,” I told him, trying to ignore the fact that he was trying to spread his Krishna consciousness onto me. “Do you know that book? Or the film?” I asked him. His face darkened again.

“Is that a Hindu film?” he asked. I told him it was a golf movie with Will Smith, but that it was based on the Bhagavad-Gita.

I handed the books back to him and walked to my Shakespeare professor’s office hours. Then I stopped by my fiancée’s office in the same building, where she was preparing her notes on her afternoon class’s discussion of Judith Butler. Then I ate a quarter of a jar of peanut butter.

My College Radio Application

Dear mom and dad,

I went to college from 1999-2003, where I lived, ate, breathed, and smoked college radio (WOBC-FM) all day every day. Then, with a year left, I dropped out to move to CA to work for a magazine. I worked there for the next eight years. Then I fell in love with a beautiful woman and she got a job in town, so I decided to follow her here and finish my B.A. To my intense delight and surprise, this makes me eligible for a show on [yr station]. When I dropped out of college, I cryogenically froze my radio show and now, eight years later, [cue music bed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_tVZFZ5PR4] my beloved show is going into the industrial microwave on MEDIUM for 6-8 minutes and dragging itself through the halls of the academy once again!

My show (TITLE TK: “WEIRD OLD GUY?”) will be freeform radio at its finest, pushing into the red w/r/t innovation and FUN. Fun must never be sacrificed to innovation. And vice versa.

Music is the bedrock of the show, and I plan to make the most of [yr station]’s rock library, in addition to my extensive personal vinyl/CD/MPEG collection. The best rock — from oddities, novelties, classics, forgotten b-sides, to brand-new singles and previews of bands coming through town. But sprinkled throughout the music will be the true jewels of the show, the multiple talk-based segments. Possibilities include:

• “Walking the Line”
Each week, a different writer (from creative writing profs, to visiting poets, to MU poetry/fiction PhDs and even undergrads) brings in one line — a line of their own poetry, or their favorite poet’s, or a sentence from a novel, or from a piece of journalism, anything — just has to be one line of “literature” for us to discuss.

(Each of these segments will have its own musical intro. Maybe Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” for this first one? Or Johnny Cash, sure)

• “Comics Digest”

A weekly verbal recap of what happened this week in the comics page of the Missourian

ex: “It’s been a tough week for Lois of ‘Hi & Lois’; she’s been home with the measles and her little brother won’t leave her alone!” etc etc

• “Vibin’ with the City Council”

Each week I get a Columbia city councilperson on the phone (pre-recorded, most likely; I have a ZOOM H4N I can produce several of these segs in advance, but I’ll always cue and introduce them live) and ask: what’s the vibe of the city council like this week?

• deranged/brief Self-interviews; fake interviews with pre-recorded interlocutors

• I might try a recurring feature about being a 30 year old dude taking computer science with freshman; I will probably rip lots of samples from my DVD of Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School for this (maybe rent Happy Madison, too…). Find other old undergrads and ask them about their lives, what it’s like here for them

• I have an MU football-related idea that I’ll only tell you if you give me a show with a legit timeslot

• Reviews (with field recordings) of frat party bands (!!!!!)

• as many opportunities for live call-in segments as possible (TBD)

• Guest singles (a guest — anyone from the dean of grad studies to that girl who works at Sparky’s brings in 5 singles and we play them and talk about them)

• tiny, hilarious 5-minute radio dramas

• even tinier, even more hilarious 2-minute radio dramas in foreign languages feat. students in various MU language departments

• Much, much more

• Seriously, so much more you have no idea

• And, as I mentioned above, all of these segs, some of which may happen every week, some once a month or so, will all be sprinkled like cherries and chopped nuts over the wide swath of whipped-creamy dark-chocolate sets of top-shelf weird/funky/great music. Wire, the Fall, Olivia Tremor Control, Pixies b-sides, Unrest, Big Dipper, Deerhoof, Beefheart, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth, Truman the Tiger’s Drug-Hell Singers, Is That a Real Band?, That Would Be Amazing If So, Go Betweens, Soft Boys, Soft Machine, Soft Cell, Soft Bulletin, Don Cherry, Destroyer, Cluster, Tyvek, Essential Logic, Glasser, Wreckless Eric, Nick Lowe, Sparks, Magazine, Melvins, Cardigans, Acrylics, Pterodactl, Fela Kuti, R. Stevie Moore, et al!!!!

Please let me know if you have any questions. I love you.

misc hex dump

JEB: Big sale at Nordstrom’s going on here

CLONE 1: Nordstrom’s possessive?

JEB: Nordstrom’s singular. Just the one up on Geary.

CLONE 1: You’re in San Francisco?

JEB: For a tick.

CLONE 1: What for?

JEB: Involved in a professional creative endeavor that brought me out here.

CLONE 1: But I thought you just moved?

JEB: I did. I’m back for a few days to tie up this loose end.

CLONE 1: How’d it go?

JEB: Today was one of two. Went bad. I knew it was pointless for me to come back here, but they wanted me to, and they paid for my airfare, so I did. It’s a film shoot. I was in the way and trapped feeling all day, going apeshit on the craft services table, chatting up the P.A.s. I ended up going into the office there — unrelated, mostly, to the reason I was there — and asking if I could just do miscellaneous work for them, just to be useful. I ended up editing some blog posts.

CLONE 1: Weird.

JEB: Around four I felt that my alienation had sort of topped out, so I left without saying goodbye. I just got a text from the guy being like, “Where are you? Did you go back?” Made me feel like a stoned fearful teenager. I’ll go back tomorrow. Sorry.

Then I went to Nordstrom’s because I had a gift card and bought a shirt.

CLONE 1: Your bag says Barney’s.

JEB: I changed the name because I was embarrassed.

CLONE 1: Don’t be embarrassed. You went to Barney’s because of the gift card. You didn’t ask for the gift card.

JEB: Walking through the Mission with a bag from Barney’s is much worse than walking through the Mission wearing a shirt from Barney’s.

CLONE 1: How much did the shirt cost?

JEB: More than the gift card.

CLONE 1: How much more?

JEB: Does anyone in San Francisco want to get a quick beer? I’ve got dinner plans at 8:00 or 8:30. It’s about 6:00 now.

CLONE 1: What else?

JEB: I wanted to do a misc hex dump, Dad.

CLONE 1: What are you waiting for?

JEB: …for you to turn up the background

CLONE 1: ok. go

JEB: where’s my beat

CLONE 1: boom tss tropp

JEB: well,

CLONE 1: people now peoplesoft grab a garabedian

JEB: soft pomeranian lefkowitz insaneian

CLONE 1: lobestar rodeo for Rudy (1993)

JEB: Banagrams w/ Rufio’s the only Lucky Peach you’ll need after the sex-change operation.

JEB and CLONE 1: [together] Whoa!!!

JEB: Veiled bra reduction soft is cancerous and bleeding

CLONE 1: Delete the softest tone in that tone poem’s loft hearth

JEB: label labia libel sokal hoax got supersoaked

CLONE 1: mysql childhood?

JEB: radio

CLONE 1: pornstar.

JEB: prada-paseo prado

CLONE 1: destinos,

JEB: reflectos

CLONE 1: island culture deaf squad

JEB: vegan squab; Thanksgiving

CLONE 1: gypsy marijuana trailer coat is dusty warm and febrile

JEB and CLONE 1: [together] Cool!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrw00Amyl5s]

Zombie Night

I cannot sleep
O wakeful maidens of the night
I read the first 50 pages of The Rest Is Noise
I have a painful physical ailment too mundane and homely to name
I live inside the eyeball of a blind guy who once read Mallarmé. TV pilot about a poetry-reading duck who pranks people on TV: Mallar’d. No. People complain about the little Critic (Jon Lovitz, 1995) in their minds. My bigger worry is the noxious accurate fictional vituperative web-only first-time writer’s gloss on my weird experimental hemmhhroidde that they find out about in NY and covertly fedex back to my alter-ego who’s managed to forget his body in a whirling cloud of NYC oxidized mercury children’s museum vegan baloney epiphany swirl.
If it weren’t the middle of the night, I’d fix this for you. But C. Debussy, et al, forget it, miffed and restive maidens of midnight, vexed vixens of the porch-crawl, next time I click on you, you will feel clicked upon. Naked. Girlfriend, I’m not blogging about pornography, I’m applying to an MFA program in Drama, and this is my best shot. Will this work as a pitch as a first-time writer for the web-only category of the n+1 website? I want to write about the way that certain ahh forget it. The problem with nightblogging is all the assholes only read it during the day, or else they’re the kinds of assholes who have noon brains in the middle of the night. Perfect for big-city living. Can I download a widget that only lets you read this when you’re out of sorts and awake when you’d rather be asleep? I don’t get off on knowing about things that you don’t know about. I’d rather we both know about them perfectly equally. That’s my idea of heaven. We both open the perfect book together and understand it without trying. That’s why I feel the soft blade sliding up the curve of my big belly: the editors want me to try harder. The one thing that keeps me going, maybe, is that you still get points for emotions. So if you fuck up and skid out and scarf the last of the libretto jelly watching real youtube of your closest female relative flirting with her best friend joking about placenta breakfast, but you don’t get it, but you feel it like the worst thing, high school play with a boner, wet spot obvious, that helps. You get financial aid for that.

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.]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc4TDx_0k9Q]

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.

Vegan Breastmilk for Sale

Editor’s Note: This blog entry contains the personal, journal-entry-style musings of its author. The diaristic mode is a common one on the “blogosphere,” but critics and pundits still find the time to complain about how boring and pointless it is for people to write about themselves if they’re not living through extremity.  If you are likely to be offended by a first-person bourgeois confessional, you are advised to steer clear of this website entirely, and focus on more immediately pressing global concerns.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11q4hUuZLRU]

I am a tiny bit hungover. As I’ve already mentioned “in this space,” after reading Deb Olin Unferth’s interview with Gary Francione in the Believer magazine I couldn’t think of a reason to justify continuing to eat meat or animal products, aside from “it is convenient and delicious,” so I decided to call a temporary cease-fire until I could think it through. So I’ve been vegan for about six weeks. The first weekend in, I snarfed a cookie at a museum and realized later that it almost certainly contained  butter and eggs. I also ate half of a hot and sour soup before remembering that the delicious floaty strands are of course scrambled eggs. I’ve been pretty solidly vegan since then. I didn’t throw away the leather I own. I drank a bloody mary that probably had worcester sauce that probably had anchovies in it. I put tofu in the blender for the first time in my life. Tofutti ersatz cream cheese is excellent. I don’t like the herb flavor in their “herbs n chives” variety but if you chop up some chives and stir them into the plain variety it’s good. All other fake cheese I’ve tried is gross, except for the stuff at Gracias Madre. Tofurella fake cheese is not vegan. Vegan pancakes are just as good as non. Indian food tends to have lotsa butter and yogurt everywhere. Today I went to a chinese restaurant and wanted chicken and scallops and beef and fish and shrimp and eggs. I ate a vegetarian hot and sour soup that had eggs in it. I can feel myself caving further. I want to buy large packages of anchovies and sardines. And grill a big salmon, and skewer some fucking shrimps. That’s mostly what I miss. Cubes of cheddar bobbing in the ocean, they can drown. Since I’ve been vegan I’ve grown a full, womanly bosom, and my penis is now shaped like a little vagina. My teeth have yellowed and when I poop it looks and sounds like this:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seQDXPDa0J0]

I adopted a dog on a semi-lark and the dog is not vegan. I walk around craving sea bass with my breast pocket filled with crumbled up sticks of “Pupperoni” — basically low-grade beef jerky. I’m still overweight. Pizza sounds good. Factory farming practices commit inexcusable crimes every day. Dudes argue that even the most humane dairy farm is still not cool for the cows. Cows only lactate if they are pregnant? What? How do dairy farms work?

Beer is vegan. So is Scotch. So is my loaf of bread, and my jar of peanut butter. Poetry is not vegan. Some poetry is vegan but much of it is not. Reading the back of the book is not always a reliable indicator. Reliable indicators are impossible to find in the United States. You need to travel to Thailand or Guam to find them. People with genitals tend not to stay vegan for very long. People argue that they’re more interested in human rights than animal rights, so they order steak. It’s possible to think about and work for human rights while eating a falafel sandwich with no cheese or yogurt on it. What board games are technically zero-sum games? Does anyone want to play online Go with me? It’s pretty fun. I’m sometimes on Pandanet as “quailty.” Hit me up.

The craigslist m4m/vegan forum is intense.

What about all the rodents and insects that die when you harvest organic skin creme? The answer is, it’s impossible to go through life without inadvertently hurting some other living thing, but if it’s within your power to avoid punishing some sentient being, then one shouldn’t let the rodents that occasionally get shredded by the creme-thresher justify the punishment of the chicken with its beak ripped off, and so on.

bunrelated   Schuyler:

This morning
one of the dogs killed
a barn owl. Bob saw
it happen, tried to
intervene. The airedale
snapped its neck and left
it lying. Now the bird
lies buried by an apple
tree. Last evening
from the table we saw
the owl, huge in the dusk,
circling the field
on owl-silent wings.

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.

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