brothercyst: July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008


It is old, it smells bad, there is no legroom, someone might cut your head off. What the fuck?? This is absurdity.

Transcript of interview with a witness.


Huh. Hel sent me this video. I wouldn't say it's good, exactly, but interesting. I wish the "women" would shut up so I could watch the Worm though.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


So many ways to express authority over other humans, aren't there.

For example, one day at work we might hear a super-rich senior partner say, "You're welcome!" with no sense of irony in response to a subordinate telling him, "Hey, we finally completed all those weeks of excruciatingly dull work that resulted from your insistence on a fairly trivial change to an arcane part of our internal procedures... thanks so much for suggesting the change."

And then another day we might read in an otherwise pretty unremarkable New Yorker article that Chinese prisoners in Mao's reeducation camps were regularly beaten on the head with nailed planks and, twice a day, forced to sing "The Howling Song," which goes like this:
I am an ox-ghost and snake demon.
I am guilty, I am guilty.
I committed crimes against the people...
If I speak or act without permission,
May you beat me and smash me.
Beat me and smash me.
Every so often they bounce together.


Diala interviewed by Guardian newspaper. At the beginning and then about four minutes in.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Girl with Clipboard: Hey, will you make a free call on my cell phone to Senator Charles Schumer and ask him to support [some green energy bill]?

Me: Yeah, sure, I'll do that.

She gives me the phone and I make the call. As I give the phone back, an astoundingly tall man wearing a sandwich board proclaiming himself a faith healer walks by. The girl stops him.

Girl with Clipboard: Hey sir, will you make a free call on my cell phone to Senator Charles Schumer...

Faith Healer: Yeah, cool. Takes the phone.

Me: (to Faith Healer) Hey... TeDevan. Rocketman. I know you.

Faith Healer: (squinting) Oh... yeah...

Me: We did a reading together, years ago.

Faith Healer: Yeah, at the Gershwin Hotel.

Me: Yeah, you told my girlfriend you could heal her with your penis.

Faith Healer: Oh... that's taken out of context.

Me: No offense was taken. (Pointing at sandwich board) What's all this?

Girl with Clipboard: (Gesturing at phone) Hey... hey? It's ringing?

I walk away, confused but vaguely exhilarated.


When I remember recent conversations, sometimes I can't remember who I had them with. Most weeks I spend time with maybe one or two people but in the past two weeks, especially with vacations, I have interacted with too many people.

Today I was trying to remember a conversation with somebody that I had on Friday night. I could picture the person and the person was blonde. I knew I was hanging out with someone on Friday night, but she's not blonde. It took me ten minutes to remember that on Friday night she was wearing a blonde wig. On Saturday at a birthday party I saw too many people in one place--people I didn't expect to be there. This fucks up the circuits in my brain. On Sunday it rained and I ate ice cream. I accompanied a friend shoe-shopping.

The last summer I lived at home, when I was nineteen, I never left the house and after a while, my dreams started to reflect my daily life--sitting around the house, having surly interactions with my mother. Soon I literally couldn't distinguish between dream memories and real memories, and I'd be annoyed with my mother for things she'd done in dreams.


I have a new rule for myself. It does not apply to writing projects I have already started, and fortunately it doesn't prevent me from working on any projects conceived but not yet started. The rule is: all writing projects will be completely or partially based on dreams.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I was just watching this short film by a group called Unisex Youth Helmet. At first it seems rather shruggish, but the end really delights me. That fucking monkey is so pleasing. I just watched that like four times, what the fuck.

dactylo from unisex youth helmet on Vimeo.
Cuil, a better search engine than google?

Well, probably not, at least not yet, since it doesn't have blogsearch, newsearch, or image search. And it seems kind of buggy. Sometimes I'll search for a phrase, get zero results, search for the same phrase again, and get a ton of results. And Wikipedia entries seem buried within the results--they should be first or nearly first.

But still, intriguing.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A pretty fascinating New Yorker article about the battle between E.B. White and children's librarian Anne Moore over Stuart Little.
So close to being finished this chapter. Friday I took a personal day from work to take care of a bunch of random noise and then I wrote a lot; Saturday I did very little, I was depressed; today I don't know what I'm going to do. Last weekend was better than this weekend. Last weekend was Los Angeles--no single spectacular event occurred, but the weekend was pure pleasure from beginning to end. I don't think I've enjoyed myself that consistently for a long time. I stayed with Russell and we hung out with Jesse. It was great to see everyone--all the transplants from New York seemed so much happier in L.A. I saw a lot of former classmates, most of them Suite 13 members, like this person and this person. The weather was gorgeous. It felt like the visit lasted four hours and we did five hundred things but were never rushed. Yesterday when I was anxious and depressed I uploaded the videos I took and--as I now do with all my trips--made a very very brief montage. Click "watch in high quality" if you want to watch it because the quality is already pretty low. Okay, today I am going to get brunch--that's what I'm going to do right now. And then I'm going to write.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I fell for a painfully obvious ruse and now I'm out $100. Fuck.


Struggling to finish last unwritten section of baffling, vexing novel project. Here are the last sentences I wrote: They exit Momofuku Ssäm and run west, along 13th Street. There are body parts on the street—knees, feet, jaws, pieces of heads.

Well, someone has put ancient Suite 13 prank videos on YouTube. I haven't seen these in a long time, and I watched one or two and was glad my face doesn't appear much. Here's a montage that will mostly just puzzle you if you aren't already familiar with Suite 13, although you do get to glimpse the "egging the college Jeopardy bus" project. Huh. I taped that. [UPDATE: Looks like they were already taken down. That was fast. Somebody must have objected...]

I saw the Dali exhibit at MoMA last night. Anyone know the name of this painting? I forgot.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Yes, okay, as everyone says, The Dark Knight is a terrific movie and I will watch it again. Except for the last scene. Spoiler warning. That scene with Harvey Dent and Jim Gordon and Batman at the end is bizarrely tedious, on-the-nose, and full of lame lines ("Will you please stop pointing that gun at my family!??"). And Batman suddenly develops great difficulty using grammatical contractions.

But I must also acknowledge the film's many, many great moments: The Joker's pencil trick, the bank heist at the beginning, the Hong Kong scene, the "SLaughter is the Best Medicine" truck and its somersault, the interrogation room scene btw Batman and the Joker, the stomach bomb (cool!), the burning mountain of money, the hospital scene with the Joker cross-dressing as a nurse, the ferry boat "experiment", the battle at the end with clowns and dogs and the SWAT team and the Joker--and maybe one or two I'm forgetting. I really liked it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My insomnia has gone away but now I just don't have time to sleep. I slept on the plane for four hours Monday morning.

L.A. was great. More on that later. I read Quentin Tarantino's new script while I was there. We wandered urban canyons and looked down on amazing cityscapes and I was duly, truly impressed. I saw old friends. It was a pleasing time.

I wrote a lot in a notebook.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Me linking to blog post imitating me well enough to be me.
Went by the studio of a sculptor named Ursula von Rydingsvard yesterday, very lovely and impressive. Giant sculptures made of cedar.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


my friend who is a girl asked me to transmit her memo to boys:

attn: boys

it matters to show up

and to call


Diala told me I don't post enough--I should post something.

Dessert. I had a dream about desserts.

Sanity. Thank god for swimming, it has made my head right, I can sleep and think properly.

Galley. I've been reading through the galley of Midnight Picnic. There's a feeling of anticipatory happiness and dread when you read your galley.

Money fear. Have spent money unwisely; have none this month. Going into credit card debt.

T-shirt. I want this "Reading" t-shirt but my nemesis already bought it, so I can't.

Dad. My dad came to town to work on a Buchla, an obscure/inscrutable instrument used to create the first electronic symphonies many years ago.

Book. Writing a story now about kids who explode.

Friends' writing. A lot of friends have given me things to read recently--stories or excerpts or full novels. They were all really good. It's kind of humbling.

L.A. Going to Los Angeles tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Spent the last few days at a house in Massachusetts. Kind of sick now, sore throat, general fatigue. Ate some maple-slathered bacon, took a lot of baths, saw turkeys, wrote eleven pages. What else? Not much. Had vivid dreams.

Came home and found some galleys for Midnight Picnic in my mailbox. Pleasing.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


from Strangelets. The last chapter is written, but other chapters remain unwritten. for big

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I've had an unpleasant couple of days, doing a lot of scowling, my grimness only alleviated by three things: 1) a writing project I'm working on 2) swimming 3) Whitest Kids U Know sketches on Youtube.

Ned introduced me to #3 the other day. It's rare that I laugh at sketch comedy, but I find many WKUK sketches funny enough to watch repeatedly. They remind me of Suite 13--the now-defunct sketch comedy group of which I was a member in college--in their foulness, loony digressions, and semi-competent acting. For no good reason, here are some that I particularly enjoy.

Abe Lincoln sketch. The guy who plays Lincoln is great.
Leg Peeing sketch. Presidential assassination is a theme in WKUK sketches.
Period sketch. I laugh out loud at the end.
Opposite Day. Reminds me for some reason of Pre-taped Call-in Show. Less smart but funnier.
Dinosaur Rap. Music video, not a sketch, but I love it.

For some reason they do very funny banter between Presidents and their wives.
JFK and Jackie.
Lincoln and Mary Todd.

And then there are these two sketches, which seem at first to be crudely amusing one-note jokes, then take nice left turns.
Dirty Dating Game.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Today has been a fairly depressing day so far. But I do find this image of my friend LP from this weekend pleasing. On her roof with sparklers.

photo taken by this fellow


Thomas Disch died this weekend. An excellent author (Camp Concentration was his most famous novel, probably) who was a close friend of one of my professors... So it goes.


oh! oh! I want it!

thanks B.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

After watching these clips posted by Lizz Winstead on the Huffington Post where two feminist bloggers get embarrassingly shitfaced and convey to their appalled interviewer both implicitly (through behavior and tone) and explicitly (through comments) that they don't think rape is worth reporting, Tom posted this simple and fairly elegant theoretical breakdown of the problem of how to encourage the reporting of real rapes (without appealing to altruistic abstractions) but not incentivize false reporting.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Don't know how this came to be, but fair enough--that's cool. I just came downstairs. It's the Fourth of July. I can hear fireworks. I'm eating sardines. Today I swam for a long time after waking up very early on Tom's couch and then writing in his living room on Google Docs for several hours. Last night we went to a gun range and fired rifles for a while. I must say, the safety and security precautions there were not very rigorous. Not only is the safety speech at the beginning cursory, but there's one "instructor" for like 12+ people and he failed to notice that a couple of those people were not even remotely sober. Nor did he seem to mind people firing the rifles one-handed while videotaping with the other hand.

I feel good today. Tomorrow spending the entire day working on something. I wish I had a building with a lap pool that was open all night. That would solve everything. Insomnia... everything.
Shithead dead.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I have water in my ears. Seem to have become addicted to swimming. (I'm sure it will pass.) Every day since last week, sometimes twice a day, I've gone swimming for as many laps as I can physically do without throwing up. (Not that many.) The right side of my neck aches from turning my head to breathe. It seems to affect my general perception a little. I feel slightly dizzy or unstable the rest of the day, when I walk around at home or on the street or in the office. It's weird. I'm not sure if I'm having a harder time thinking--I can't tell.

Not smoking anything anymore. Eating only healthy things, mostly. I haven't written a lot of Strangelets lately but it's close to done (the first draft) and might be completely awful.

Weird things are happening. I was sleeping at my hyperactive friend's apartment last night. The apt is absurdly, almost pathologically messy, and is roamed by two huge, territorial monkey-cats. They jump on the dresser and just clear it off, knocking anything there to the floor. Bottles of wine, notebooks, anything. I left my phone there and they knocked it off sometime around dawn, waking me up. I reached behind the dresser and retrieved my phone--but it didn't work. I started grumbling and cursing the phone and the cats until my (charming and amazing!) friend, also in the room, woke up and got impatient with me, saying, "Look, my old phone was exactly like yours, just take that one," which annoyed me because obviously I didn't want a phone that looked just like mine, I wanted my phone with all my numbers and messages in it. But my friend kept saying things like, "Can I just say something? You're being stupid. Take my phone!" so finally I sighed and said, "Okay, where is it," and my friend reached behind the dresser where the cats had knocked my phone and retrieved from the cluttered, filthy floor a phone identical to mine. "Wait, it was there?" I said. "Don't you see that you've got my phone in your hand, and this one that I thought was broken is your old one?" And it was. I don't know, it seemed pretty surreal at the time.

Tom and I are going to a shooting range on Thursday, I think.