brothercyst: December 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

this will be a week of incredible slothfulness

And I will entertain no thoughts of substance.

Therefore I will be watching movies.

I saw
Apocalypto. I liked the running part. You know, when they ran.

Speaking of Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon was on Cinemax last night. I had forgotten what an awesome and awesomely brutal movie it was. Really the ultimate eighties action film.* [update: No, you know what, I saw it again and decided it sucks except for any scenes in the last twenty minutes involving Gary Busey.]

And Point Break** was on, too. Another of the maybe seven or eight great modern action films. [update: I saw Point Break again, too, and it only gets better. What a delightful movie.]

(A list which also includes: Die Hard With a Vengeance, Raiders of the Lost Ark [more an "adventure" than an "action" film, but still],
maybe Speed, definitely Terminator 2 and Aliens...)

Also, Vizzini is trapped in Prague and becoming a danger to himself again.


* I love how they're called "action" films. I mean, they are, after all, "moving pictures."


** Kathryn Bigelow's
Point Break is the most underrated action film. It contains not only what I consider the single most pleasing chase scene ever filmed (Keanu Reeves in pursuit of a tuxedoed bank robber in a Reagan mask), but also a climactic confrontation between skydivers (one with a parachute, one without) that is uniquely ingenious, at least in my viewing of action movies.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

christmas movies

Having just watched the original Black Christmas (weak, but the young Olivia Hussey is a stunning woman) I want to simply acknowledge that the best Christmas movie ever is Joe Dante's Gremlins.

Home Land

On the bus ride home* I read most of Home Land, which I've been hearing about for well over a year. I've got maybe fifty pages left, but I love it. A Confederacy of Dunces has always had a special spot on the mantle of my heart, both because of its New Orleans setting and because I read it when I was very young, and Home Land is just as funny, just as good (all judgments pending my actual completion of the novel). I've heard other readers express exasperation with its wordplay and seemingly arbitrary plot but I had no problem with any of this. The wordplay is wonderful and patterning of language is almost Nabokovian. Sam Lipsyte is the first modern writer in a long time--since maybe Edward P. Jones--whose writing has made me think, "This guy has it--fully developed voice, talent, maybe genius."


*Fuck Greyhound. A 3.5 hour bus ride turned into 7 hours. First the police had to come on board to take away some horrible woman who refused to get off the bus after blatantly cutting in line. Our surly, trembling-with-rage driver could have handled this a lot better. Beside me a loudmouth obese lady was reading a paperback titled Soulful Strut. Later, we had to get a wheelchair-bound woman on board at another stop, and they couldn't figure out how to operate the lift, so we sat there for an hour or so...until she stood up from her wheelchair and just walked on board. And a great murmur arose as every passenger said to his or her seatmate, "She can walk?"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

moth smoke, bus, sea urchin

A horrible five-hour bus ride home. Caterwauling babies, purple-faced, punching the air...a fat lady belching, softly singing "karma cham-ee-lee-on" along with her iPod...people cutting in the line to get on and angry mobs ejecting them...horrible. I had a pleasant conversation with the fellow sitting next to me, however. I read Mohsin Hamid's novel Moth Smoke during the ride, and it was good. Effective both as a character study and a sketch of class issues in contemporary Pakistan. Its nonfiction counterpart (which is far more gripping and which has dug a comfortable niche in my memory) in my recent reading history is Bernard Henri-Levy's book Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, which explores nuclear-age fundamentalism and terror in Pakistan. I'd recommend both highly.

A while back I wrote about a mysterious sushi bar I had heard about--the "best sushi in the city"--that was up some stairs and had no sign, etc., and I couldn't locate it...well, I found that place. It's by no means hidden or secret, just... unobtrusive. I had the location wrong. I was two doors off.

On Thursday I went there and had astonishing sushi. Sea urchin--"uni"--and toro so exquisite the brain salivates in recollection. (That toro was the best food I've ever eaten. No use to try description.) Have you ever seen sea urchin, naked and raw, prepared for you to eat it? It looks exactly like a bright, orange human tongue. In many restaurants it is gross but in this one it was incredible. With regard to taste and texture--if chilled--it might best be imagined as sort of creamy foie gras ice cream.

Doesn't that sound delicious? If you doubt me, I'll have sushi with you there anytime. You pay.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

kgb blog entry

Oh, I just noticed they put up a thing on the KGB blog about Saturday's reading. Here it is. Cool, very nice. People keep asking about the video...I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE VIDEO. I just woke up from a nap. It's 4 in the morning, I meant to wake up like six hours ago. Also, bad things are happening with the IRS, but I don't feel like writing about that now.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

a short story

I read this short story by Helen Oyeyemi a while back and loved it. I haven't reread it since its official publication, but if it's like it was before, it's awesome. Go read. Something looked in the window as it passed by.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

kgb last night [updated with pictures & dog]

Last night's reading: a success. The crowd was far bigger than I had expected--people were backed up in the hallway outside the bar. The only time I remember seeing the place more packed was for Mark Z. Danielewski when Only Revolutions came out. Also, I have to say I was pleased at how many people I know showed up--EJ (of course), Richard Grayson, Mina K., Mina K.2, Lexy, Knighton, this guy, these guys, and many others to whom there are no immediately obvious hyperlinks.

The whole thing was videotaped and is being edited. Eventually (soon, I hope) video will be available.

It's fortunate that Suzanne hosted because otherwise there might simply have been too much young maleness. Ned read an extended, graphic, wry sex scene. Noah Cicero, as promised, appeared to have a breakdown/freakout on the dais, slamming the lectern so hard it sounded like something cracked--either a bone in his hand or the wood below. Noah,
who I met in person for the first time last night, is very fucking cool. I read two short sections of Fires. Tao went last and read a handful of his poems, including several of my favorites, like this great one.

To the people who couldn't come to the reading but emailed me to buy one of the commemorative proofs: thank you, and I will mail them on Monday. They should arrive very quickly.

Fires is now available to pre-order on Amazon.com.

Here are some pictures [some people are having trouble seeing the pictures but when I click the links it looks fine to me...hm, sorry, well they'll be on the KGB website in a couple days anyway]:

The four readers.

Me reading.

Readers and friends.

Poets Tao Lin and Ellen Kennedy.


A random moment from my company's holiday party.

Dog is blind. Who will help?

Have a relaxing Sunday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

emails with my mom

On 12/12/06, Mom wrote: Hi. Send me a copy of your book as soon as you get your hands onone. I will pay you. I am sorry I didn't buy the used galley that came up on ebay the other day. Wonder who bought it?How are things going? When do you plan on coming home forChristmas? Looking forward to seeing you again and hearing in 1stperson about new orleans and about the movie you were on the set of. Miss you. Love you,Mom


On Dec 12, 2006, at 9:53 PM, Nick Antosca wrote:are you fucking with me? there was a galley on ebay?


On 12/13/06, Mom wrote: Dear, do NOT use that language with me please!!! Love you, Mom No, I was not _________ with you. P.S. You got 6 letters from the IRS! Ouch. One a week or so ago, that i accidently opened thinking it was for me, 5 more yesterday. Do you want me to forward them or open them and tell you what they say? I only skimmed the first, then realized it wasn't mine. Sorry. Let me know what you want me to do.


On Dec 13, 2006, at 9:22 AM, Nick Antosca wrote: Oh sorry, I was just excited and tired. Six letters, what the [expletive deleted]? [expletive deleted] yes, open them please. Is one of them my [expletive deleted] federal tax return???? Or am I being audited? How did you see there was a copy on eBay???

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

soy milk, which i love

Crazy article. I drink probably half a container of soy milk every day. Ian D., please confirm that this isn't, you know, altering my sexual orientation.

books

Okay, for the record:

Fires has an official release date of December 31. It is at the printer right now.

However, there will be some copies on sale at the December 16th reading at KGB.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Orleans to New York

Returned last night from Louisiana. The city is really a husk now. About a third of the population remains, and you can feel it when you walk around. Restaurants and stores close early. I tried to go to Mandina's, one of the restaurants I remember from when I was younger, but it was nowhere to be seen. There are few cars on the street and we passed a number of houses with the telltale markings on them, including one with "DEAD DOG" scrawled in red paint. When some family friends returned to their street after the storm last year, they said there were dead dogs hanging in the trees.

On Friday night we drove around for a while and ended up in the French Quarter. For a time we were on Bourbon Street and for a time we were on other, darker streets. Bourbon Street at night is a surreal place now, more surreal than before. The street itself is bright and noisy and relatively populous, but when you are there you can feel the darkness surrounding you on all sides. One street over in any direction it is dark and empty. I thought of images from The Martian Chronicles when we were there--the towns of human settlers with their noise and carnival lights surrounded by the huge sad darkness of the dead civilization. The "ancient bone-chess cities...the old canals."

Later that night and for the entirety of the night before, we hung out with the cast of Last Resort in Covington (about forty minutes outside of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain). The guy at whose invitation we were there, Danny Franzese, is not only an excellent and hilarious actor but a genuinely nice person. I'm talking above and beyond: the guy is just really fucking cool.

It was (quite characteristically) generous of my godfather Jon to put Ned and I up for two nights, and it was great to see him after so many years. We spent some time with him on Thursday after we arrived, then on Friday he had to go to Florida. Ideally I'll go back to Louisiana in a couple months and we'll meet up again.

Last night I spent five hours on a plane back. I enjoy flying at night. When you descend and are close enough to see not just the streetlights but the soft pools of glow below them, it looks like the earth is leaking eerie green from its center. I slept a bit but mostly I was awake.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Covington, Louisiana

It is freezing. Lingered and observed on the set of the horror movie all night. Turned out at the end of the night we are staying in the same hotel as the cast and filmmakers. New Orleans is ghostly. I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Diala in Rwanda

My friend from Yale started a page about her life and experiences in Rwanda, mostly so she doesn't have to answer email asking if she's alive. It promises to be pretty interesting, go look at it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Set

This morning I went for an amble on the set of a popular TV show. Wandered around the sets that weren't being used. Technically wasn't supposed to be there, maybe. Whatever, though. Dr. Melfi's office was too dark to take pictures. But here's T's bedroom. And Meadow's bedroom.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A night in Brooklyn. Surreal. Furious argument on a train turned into furious argument on a street corner. Someone stalked off into the freezing night. Have to be discreet here. Felt very bad. Then a dinner party, hard to concentrate. Then a bizarre event where people dressed as Rubik's cubes. Then a crowded place, very hot, the air full of STDs as big as horseflies. When we got home, we saw our cab driver assaulted by his next "customers": some hale and swaggering frat boys who kicked his mirror off and hit him. Told a cop who nodded silently.

In the afternoon, I finished the "final" revisions of something which I will now with great relief send to the patient recipient.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

last night & biblio

Last night I was stuck at work late and then went directly to EJ's house because we were going to the Guggenheim. We were supposed to meet my roommate and her friend, who would then be able to wait in the member's line because I'm a member. But EJ and I smoked a lot and she has a problem where, when she smokes a lot, clothes confuse her and she can't decide which ones to put on. And then we were late, and in the cab over we got caught in traffic, and some tourists were ahead of us, and the little kids in the back started waving at us, and we were waving back and making shadow puppets and it seemed to go on for like ten minutes, I think the parents got a bit concerned--anyway, we ended up being more than a half hour late. By that point my roommate and her friend had gotten kicked out of the member's line since they weren't with a member, so they were stuck in a line behind maybe a thousand people. So I felt bad about that. Even the member's line took forever. Inside it was horribly crowded. But I was pretty out of it and had a good time. I had seen the exhibit once before when it opened, but this was like seeing it brand new. Then we left and went to eat, but we ate so much that we got sick. I still feel strange and things echo when I touch them.

Also, oddly, here is Biblio with Fires already. Trevor emailed me to ask when it'll be available...don't worry, soon. The physical books haven't even been printed yet (so, clearly, they won't be by December 15th, although there will be 15 "commemorative" copies printed up specially for the Dec. 16th reading, so if you show up there you can get one). It'll be available online for pre-order in a bunch of other places soon, should be the major ones plus the Impetus website, and by spring it should be available in stores like Barnes & Noble, etc.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Very busy days. A review of Jen Banash's Hollywoodland is on KGB right now. The reading Weds. night went great. Yesterday we had a company party. The president of the company is a large shaggy genius. I think I'm going to New Orleans next week.