brothercyst: June 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

OFF TO MAINE, THEN MASSACHUSETTS

I'm going to Maine in less than 48 hours to spend the 4th eating cheap lobster and being lazy. At the same time, I have roommates moving in and roommates moving out. I'm trying to write something like three different things at the moment.

Check out this euphoric review of Public Enemies from the Times.

Bernie Madoff got more time than Al Capone and Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, says the Daily Beast. Good. He really deserves to suffer atrociously. When you're stealing money from The Innocence Project...

I was once in a meeting with a brainwashed corporate sociopath who had worked with Madoff and his sons at NASDAQ years ago. The sociopath was shocked at the revelations. "I thought Bernie was the most ethical, scrupulous guy I'd ever met," he said fondly. "Never in a million years... God, Bernie was just the most decent, intelligent guy... you know, when they came to his door to confront him about it, he just fessed right up? No excuses, nothing. I think that tells you something about an essential core of decency in the man."

Everyone else in the meeting, most of them the sociopath's subordinates, was staring at him, incredulous. In another meeting not long afterward, he would speak empathetically of the poor folks at AIG that were getting demonized for giving exorbitant bonuses to superrich employees after receiving bailout money. The man seemed impervious to incredulity.

I'm going to Readercon July 9. I believe I'll be on a panel called "The Killers Inside Us" with Elizabeth Hand and Paul Tremblay.

David Smith's retirement party was tonight. David is a terrific, eccentric, smart, funny guy whose presence at the library I'll miss a lot, as will many, many others.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ORANGE LIGHT IN BROOKLYN

I reviewed The Hurt Locker for Film Threat. If it's playing near you, go see it. It's really good.

Last night I got off the train in Brooklyn at Atlantic Pacific and something weird was happening. The sky was going crazy. The clouds were these gorgeous soft puffs of color with red light suffusing them, and it stretched across the entire sky. Everything was bathed in orange light. People were stopped on the street taking pictures. Cops were getting out of their cars.

I took a few pictures with my BlackBerry but it didn't really capture the color or scale:



But ASB came out of her apartment and took a better picture that more effectively captures the light, although still falls far short of the actual experience. That's my head at the bottom:



Then we had beers and Kobe beef burgers.

Today, I started reading Bridget Jones' Diary.

My friend and former classmate/comedy group member Rob Spiro is pictured in the New York Times today for Aardvark, his company.

Friday, June 26, 2009

EDWARD GOREY'S "PORN" STORY

Edward Gorey wrote a book called The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary
that is a little different (but not that different) from his other books. I've been meaning to link to this for a while.

More details here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RECALIBRATING CIRCADIAN RHYTHM; MOVIES

That was my project for this week. When I was working a full-time day job, I would sometimes stay up until after 6 a.m. because I knew that getting up to go to work on Monday would force me to stay on a roughly normal schedule. But now I can't do that anymore. So I'm trying to be disciplined and actually wake up early each morning.

I spent the first three days of this week totally dizzy, with a pain in my right torso and a constant sense of fatigue. Now I'm a little bit better. I need to eat a lot more; I think the problem was that I wasn't compensating enough for the constant free snacking I used to do at work, and the drop in caloric intake contributed to the dizziness.

Mating got very boring; I stopped reading it. Now to pick the next book from the top of my stack. Also, don't go see Transformers 2; go see The Hurt Locker. My review should be forthcoming on Film Threat.

Tonight I saw Michael Mann's Public Enemies. I loved it.

Here's some crappy interview stuff about it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

SLIGHTLY DIZZY AND RAINY; NEW HAVEN REVIEW

I woke today around 2 p.m. with a slight sense of disorientation. Since then I've been dizzy on and off. I assume this has something to do with sudden changes in my diet, sleep patterns, and neuroenhancer use. Also I have slight, persistent pain in my left chest which would be mild enough to ignore if it didn't vaguely remind me of the pneumothorax I experienced at age 17. I went swimming both yesterday and today; I now swim twice as many laps per day as I used to when I had to hurry because I was skipping out of work. It's a very pleasant feeling, and not difficult. After 30 laps or so, another ten feels the same as five and five feels like two.

Today it rained again.

Brian Slattery at New Haven Review wrote a very positive post about Midnight Picnic.

MOVIES OF INTEREST

The red-band trailer for Thirst.

A new and more detailed Inglorious Basterds trailer.

The Hurt Locker. Saw it and liked it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

NIGHTSUMMER CONTINUES

Slept around 8 a.m., woke at 1. It rained all night. New York is still plunged in a sort of thin dusk. I did some writing, read Norman Rush's Mating, which seems terrifically written so far but we'll see how it plays out, and did revisions on what I had written.

I'm following the events in Iran pretty avidly. I hope you are too. Here's one of the best videos I've seen.

Some reviews and articles are out for Helen Oyeyemi's new novel, White is for Witching. (Great cover.) Here's one and here's another. I haven't read all of this one yet but I will, and what I have read seems excellent. If you haven't read her terrific first novel, The Icarus Girl, do so now.

John Crowley and Elizabeth Hand got into a brief discussion of Midnight Picnic in the comments section of this post, which is sweet.

I'm going to ReaderCon in July as a guest.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ENDLESS RAIN

So, not having to go to work is pretty interesting. I've been doing lots of writing. It's unclear to me when I'll have to start looking for regular income again. Sooner than the distant future, but not tomorrow. I'm anxious about it, but very glad to be free of invoices, expense reports, and the Thursday Morning Meeting (if I never hear the phrases "quick and dirty" and "soup to nuts" again, it won't be long enough). I bought a printer. It's already nearly inconceivable to me that I used to have to wake up before 11 a.m. Last night I went to sleep at 8 a.m. Unfortunately the weather has been so gloomy these days that it always looks like night or dusk outside my window. Rainy night or dusk, at that. I have some trips planned for later this summer...Maine, Massachusetts, and the Dominican Republic, at minimum... but I wish I were taking them right now. It's disgusting outside, and it has been, without exaggeration, for weeks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

WORLD TAKES

I read World Takes by Timmy Waldron last night after having bought a copy more than a month ago. It's awesome, really funny and really good. I got around to reading it in large part because I recently heard Timmy read from it when I read with him and Jackie Corley (Word Riot published the book) at Freebird Books a few weeks ago, and the stuff that he read was great. One thing that's interesting about the book is that the writing seems to get better and better as you go on, and the stories (esp. the longer ones) get increasingly interesting for narrative and character, so you're just reading to see what happens next. It's also really funny. And the stories are very diverse. The last (long) one is a very Saunders style story, and some that come earlier are almost like Alicia Erian stories.

Best stories: "City Limits," "A Song for Orphans," "The Gary Game," "County Line," "Sipping Soda in a Combat Zone."

You know where the title comes from, right? That enormous sign on the bridge outside Trenton, NJ, which reads "TRENTON MAKES... THE WORLD TAKES." Bitterest sign ever!

Friday, June 12, 2009

THIRST

I saw Park Chan-wook's Thirst yesterday. It's based on Zola's Therese Raquin but with vampires. It doesn't come out until July 31 and my review won't run until around then, so I won't say anything except: Amazing.


Thirst, Trailer *박쥐 from Imagebakery on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA INTERVIEW

I wrote a piece for Film Threat about interviewing Francis Ford Coppola for his new movie Tetro, which is a weird, vibrant, flawed, gorgeous-looking film that's absolutely worth seeing if it's playing near you. This was my first interview, which was interesting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CUT!

I got laid off yesterday. I actually wasn't there. I had gone swimming shortly before 11 and found a ton of missed calls and texts on my phone when I got out. "Where are you??" "You need to get here right now." "Half the group is gone. You missed all the crying." etc. Flexible hours always were the sweetest part of that job.

So by the time I ambled back into the office, all the other laid off people were gone, the survivors were standing around shell-shocked, and my tearful manager told me I had to get my stuff and go to HR for my severance and benefits conversation. So I did, and that's the end of that job.

It's too bad. It was a good job with lots of perks and great benefits, they treated artists and writers well, and I really liked most of the people I worked with. Any job is going to have its drawbacks, but as far as day jobs go, this was pretty much an ideal one. (When I got hired four years ago, I thought I'd probably be there six months.) Now it's back to living like a college student again.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

MY FAVORITE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE OF ALL TIME

Was just published.

Make sure to watch the insane slideshow.

I also like the new video for MGMT's Kids, at least the non-animated two-thirds of it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

THUNK

Ryan Manning interviews people for his blog. He interviewed me the other day.

I interviewed Francis Ford Coppola this morning. More on that later.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

DIFFERENT LIVES

Had a drink this evening with a friend who had a very different, and much more hardcore 2009 so far than I have. I knew he was out of the country for a while--but somehow I didn't know he was in Baghdad. I had some catching up to do. He was writing for Time. But here's a bit of a piece he posted on Huffington Post:

One of their platoons had been on patrol when they came across some Iraqi Army soldiers who had caught a boy, he looked about fifteen, who had just set an IED. The Iraqi soldiers told him: you set it, you defuse it. So they sent the boy across the road where he crouched and began trying to defuse the bomb he had just set. It was at this point that the American platoon leader arrived, and said to them "What the fuck are you doing--" And then the bomb went off.

PLAYGROUND IN THE FIRE

Here's a short story I wrote called "Playground in the Fire" published online by The L Magazine.

This evening I saw Francis Ford Coppola's new movie, Tetro. Some comment about that forthcoming in Film Threat. I also saw a blow-up at work. I'm living in Then We Came to the End, truly. I'm going to have to find a new place to swim. I've been living on borrowed time for months--many months. I think the last two days have been the most stressful of the year. Mostly because somebody needs to tell me about something and that person hasn't done it. I've really pared down my life in the last few months, though. No more timewastings; no more sofas and smoke clouds. Did anyone read the article in the New Yorker about fiction programs? I'm about to get my housing arrangement settled--I think. Very relieved.