Thursday, October 9, 2008

live on wfmu

Dan and I in the WFMU studio with other Seven Second Delay fans last Wednesday.

Listen to the show here. They reviewed some Manvswild lyrics and talked about stuff. It was... fantastic.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

atlantic city

Stoned, the wad of money not lost to the casino digging into the side of my thigh, falling asleep on a ledge next to the 21st story window after watching the lemming waves do their thing, thinking about how the transvestite hookers could've possibly known that I'm half-Irish and not a rounded whole, I woke up at 10am to the sun and Dan's whispering and then, at Trump Marina, where the cocktail waitresses were a little older but brought us more than one drink an hour, Pete won $760 at blackjack and roulette. Jenny and I followed his lead for a little while and everything was coming up Milhouse until we all stopped playing...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

all my heroes are suicides

David Foster Wallace hung himself.,0,246155.story

Here's part of his commencement speech to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College:

"As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.

This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in day out" really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration."

The death of an author is a strange one. I never met the guy (Liz did, read her blog, it's great), and I've only read a few of his essays ("Consider the Lobster", "Big Red Son", "Up, Simba"), but I feel closer to the man than I did to, say, Elliott Smith. Wallace's writing was funny, empathetic (read "The View from Mrs. Thompson's", his account of watching 9/11 unfold from the living room of an elderly woman in the Midwest), and projected a truth that seemingly fell from either the stars or directly out of his ass. Truth nonetheless.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Occasionally, the metadata sent by book publishers won't include a description of the book. If it's not available on Amazon or the publisher's website, I get to write my own. I'm especially proud of this one:

"The true crime tale of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, who murdered his pregnant wife and two young daughters and blamed it on hippies."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

broad street sirens

Walking down Broad Street on my lunch break, I came across two women, or rather, they came across me. I looked up from the sidewalk and there were these pythonic twins with shiny hair pulled back in taut ponytails and matching black pantsuits sucking in the abundant sunlight. The moment I looked up, they simultaneously turned their faces towards me. Their eyes were striking; echoes of purple came from somewhere (probably their accessories or something, but I like to think magically). My heart leapt...shit was weird. Then they started talking to me.

"What's up, what's up? You a student?"

I stammered, said something about working in the big building behind us.

"Beautiful day," they said, at the same time, in the same cadence.

Then they crossed Broad Street. I sat down on a concrete ledge next to Washington Park, pulled out a cigarette, and watched them walk. They disappeared behind a white van in front of a bank and that was the last I saw of them.

Friday, August 22, 2008


The copy editor I report to, an atypical middle-aged man (leaves Word of the Day comments on his own Facebook wall, wears giant black-framed glasses and has a strong interest in surrealism and film music) sends me a daily email containing notes on the work I did the previous day. They are informative and well-worded. Here's an excerpt from today's notes:

"Any book with a plot involving vampires should be categorized as Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy: Paranormal. That generally applies to werewolves, too."

I just like that he was able to use the phrase "generally applies to werewolves".

I'm up for a salaried position along with a girl who started the week after me (might be worth noting that she wears a scarf in August and seems like the type who would call it a "keffiyeh"). The position is pretty much same thing I'm doing now (indexing/copy editing), but with a tad bit more responsibility. It will be nice to cut up the day with different things to do, considering the tediousness of indexing. It will also be nice to make some more cash and (possibly) have some lowly orcs to order around.

Here's some music for you:

The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (2006)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

a couple of albums

Langhorne Slim - Self-Titled (2008)

I saw this guy play when Two Gallants opened for him at the Empty Bottle in Chicago a couple of years ago. They blew him away onstage, but his new album is great for listening to on the train. Folk music from Langhorne, PA.

Thurston Moore - Trees Outside the Academy (2007)

Pioneering noise guitarist, founding member of Sonic Youth, friend of J. Mascis, all-around cool dude. I listened to this album constantly when I drove a delivery van around Union and Morris counties for the Summit Hills Florist last year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

nine to five

Graduated college two Thursdays ago, started my new job as a copyeditor/indexer for a prominent audiobook company the following Monday. I’m on the 16th floor of an ivory tower in Brick City, an open office of orange and green and lots of light coming in. The coffee machine here is much fancier than the one my boss was so proud of at my internship. Tall and silver with blinking blue lights and a built-in dispensary for used coffee pods – that’s what they’re called, “pods”, like a thousand rows of coffee bean clones in a field somewhere in South America - it's the Close Encounters of coffee machines.

Anyway, first week was last week and it was a good week – since then, they’ve moved my desk to the middle of the office, away from the picture window that displays a much different view of Newark than seen at eye level. Ornate churches rising up next to tenement buildings, the Passaic River snaking through the streets and out to the Hudson, the rolling hills of the Oranges, Millburn, and beyond. A little discouraged. Lube me up with a view, teach me what I need to know, and throw me in the basement. But that's OK. My discouragement has to do with more than my Milton-style exile to the middle of the office, but I won't get into it now. Until tomorrow...