brothercyst: July 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

walken + codex s

Long strange weekend. Very strange. Not over yet. Look: Christopher Walken cooking a chicken.


Yesterday I had the opportunity to look over a copy of Codex Seraphinianus. My friend David at the NYPL set this up. You can't take the book out but you can look at it. I only had about twenty minutes so I'll probably go back and pore over it again sometime. It really is lovely.

I only had my shitty camera phone--the RAZR is terrible; never buy it; you already know this--but I took some pictures. The quality is terrible but if you are curious about this strange book, which is written in a language of the author's creation (and it may be gibberish) click on a few and you will get at least an idea of what it is.


Recursive bird hatching

Strange chicken

Strange fruits and vegetables

Death/life procedure

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Man, I cannot wait to see this movie. Paul Greengrass is getting up there with Park Chan-wook as one of my favorite modern directors.


Tao Lin sent me some questions about my HuffPo Noah Cicero piece from yesterday. That Q&A is posted on 3 AM Magazine HERE.


Interview with Lexy Benaim of the Harlem Shakes; is good; mentions Fires. Their EP , as I've said before, is a very good one...


Look at this. But how are they defining "obesity"? Using the body mass index? Hasn't the definition changed during the time period shown?

In other news, I've begun writing a novel about the "obesity epidemic" in America.

Monday, July 23, 2007

new Huffington Post post + strange WWII dream

I wrote a profile-thing of Noah Cicero for Huffington Post.

Everybody who reads this site already knows who Noah is and has maybe read some of his books. (You can download Treatise for free, you know.) But ideally some HP readers will get an introduction.


Memorable dream last night. Dreamed I was part of some espionage group that was infiltrating a compound in Nazi Germany. It was kind of a park-like place, laid out like Yale, with big quads and then buildings with many rooms.

We had entered the complex of buildings undetected and had to move stealthily. Nazi soldiers were always coming down the halls.

The thing was, a lot of rooms were often empty, but they had been set up for meetings that had been canceled or something. It seemed the Nazis ate a lot of desserts, because the tables were covered with bowls of whipped cream and strawberries and plates of delicious cakes and pastries. I just kept eating these delicious cakes and creamy desserts.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Midnight Picnic finished, sort of

It has been a long two days. Most notably, I finished what I think is the showable rough draft of Midnight Picnic. I sent it to my most trusted reader, the dedicatee of Fires, who loved about 90% of it and hated the other 10% and wants me to cut the specific subplot/subtext he hates.

He might be right but I don't think he is right. (I also, for what it's worth, don't agree with the "kill your darlings" edict. That is MFA talk.) To get a second opinion I have to find another reader who would be attuned to this book. I don't want to show it to most of my male writer friends, I think--they're mostly Martin Amis, Bret Ellis types who don't seem predisposed to get into...what the fuck should I call this...I'm not even sure...

Anyway, I need a strange reader.


Also, spent yesterday wandering around a soccer tournament. There was a lot of free food and it was sunny. But I smoked too much and felt sick after. A pounding headache that lasted for hours. The barbecue probably didn't help much either. But I feel better now and it looks lovely outside.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

home + suicide

The irritation caused by delays and obnoxious fellow passengers (I hated the guy I was sitting next to on the flight today) on my return to New York was mitigated by the fact that the waiting allowed me to read and nearly finish Peter Singer's Rethinking Life and Death, a book that came out almost fifteen years ago and made some cogent and reasonable arguments for a reevaluation of the "sanctity of life" moral ethic, saying frankly that (among many other things) not all human life is of equal value and that it is reasonable to harvest organs from humans who will never regain consciousness even if they are not "dead."

He also writes at great length about the right of incurably ill patients to exercise control over their deaths and says that physicians should be allowed to assist in well-considered suicide efforts. I agree with this but I wonder (because he doesn't get into it) how the new ethical code he describes would deal with physically healthy patients who request assistance in taking their own lives. Well, you say to yourself upon reading the previous sentence, if a physically healthy person wants to commit suicide, then he or she must not be of sound mind and therefore incapable of rationally making the decision to commit suicide; psychiatric treatment is the answer here. But what if the person is of sound mind? Should people only have agency over their own deaths if they are incurably ill? If a healthy, sane patient goes to a doctor and says, "I'd like you to prescribe enough painkillers to me for me to commit suicide... If you don't, I'm still going to kill myself--maybe, say, with a handgun, in a sort of half-assed way largely based on what I've seen in movies--but I'm asking you first, because I'd like to do it painlessly and in a way such that the end is smooth and assured..." then is the doctor ethically obligated to prescribe the drugs? (Of course not. If I go to the doctor and say, "Prescribe me Ritalin. If you don't, I'm just going to buy it on the street, where it might be expired or tampered with," he's certainly not obligated to do that if in his medical opinion I don't need Ritalin.) Are there any circumstances in which a physician might be ethically obligated to assist a patient who isn't terminal or in agonizing physical distress in taking his or her own life?

Of course, the question underlying the one I posed above is whether there is ever a legitimate reason to take your own life if you are not terminally ill or in unbearable pain. (Also, does anguish--sadness, loneliness, self-loathing, etc--count as unbearable pain?)

So--is there?


Maryland was pleasant. Ate a tremendous amount of apple/blueberry pie and pork tenderloin sandwiches (Singer would not approve, being a strong proponent of the animal liberation movement, apparently), and had mexican food with a neighbor/former classmate from many years ago.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Briefly back in New York this evening; will leave again tomorrow for my grandmother's 90th birthday party.

Iowa: highly pleasing. Iowa City is a college town with good food. Impetus brought me out there, took me out to eat a lot, then we went to Prairie Lights Bookstore and did a reading. A lot of people came; it was a success. People from Boundoff. Other people--college students, some high school students. A chef. I can't remember. Everyone was nice. I signed like twenty-five copies of my book. The reading was for this radio show, which is on the Iowa affiliate of NPR. Then they interviewed us--mostly Jennifer and Willy, since it was about the press. The show is called 'Live from Prairie Lights,' but it's not actually live. It'll be broadcast, then available online, in the next week, I think.

After the reading we had a delicious meal of triple-grilled Kobe beef with bleu cheese mashed potatoes. This was really excellent. My publishers know how much I like food. This is good. Then I just sat around in my hotel room. Impetus arranged all this and it was very large and good.

I saw a copy of the Daily Iowan while I was there. Apparently it is a student-run newspaper that publishes in the summer--astonishing. Vanessa Veiock wrote a review of Fires; it is rather bracingly enthusiastic.

On the plane I read over Midnight Picnic and did some editing. All is well. Life is good today and yesterday was also very good. This is a good month, except when people annoy me.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

from Midnight Picnic
the beginning of a chapter in the second half of the book
click, then enlarge

Friday, July 06, 2007

A nice short story by Bobby Farouk.

Anyway, we took him upstairs, promising a reunion with his family, and when he sat down Williams shot him through the left eye. Something went wrong with that because he stood up, pointing and shouting at us.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

i'm ashamed

i went to see Transformers. it's just a bunch of...devices...squirming.

and saying things like, "GIVE ME THE CUBE, BOY."


but life is good...eventful. mentally eventful. working on a new novel. working on Midnight Picnic. (soon presentable in rough form.) and i keep having strange encounters on subway cars.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tonight's reading at McNally Robinson was very crowded, at least 60 people in the audience, and the bookstore is nice. I liked all the readers. I signed a lot of copies of Fires. I like signing books.

Any pleasure I might have derived from this very successful reading, however, was imperiled by an audience member who attended, sat quietly in the back throughout the entire event, and then berated me on the street afterward with furious accusations. I'm sure it didn't help that this person, who I usually like a great deal, was the basis for a character in the story I read. All in all, an evening as problematic as it was rewarding.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

gmail chat with helen oyeyemi

me: i need something
i dont know what it is

helen: what?

me: i think it's love, or unmitigated worship
or just money

helen: wowwwrrrr
it'll come, i expect
find something to fill the time
like maybe you could read all of proust

me: i need a lobster roll
every day

helen: sounds good