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Above: Tiny utilities found during Games of Nonchalance / Jejune Institute; tafoni at Pebble Beach State Beach California / Bean Hollow State Beach California

2009jan01. Deuce of Clubs: Happy New Year.

2009jan07. If you are in the sf bay area and can spare roughly two hours, you should visit the The Jejune Institute. Here is the text of a recent craigslist ad:

To those dark horses with the spirit to look up and see ... a recondite family awaits.

At The Jejune Institute.
580 California Street #1607
San Francisco, CA 94104


You too can enjoy the splendor of a life enhanced by the Jejune Method. A free introductory workshop awaits you at the nearest Institute Induction Center. Just drop-in during normal business hours, as well as Saturdays between noon and five o'clock. Simply approach the reception desk and tell them you are here for your free introduction to the Jejune Method. You will then be handed a key to the future.

Once you have completed this brief induction process you will begin to notice an enhancement of your natural abilities. Your intuition will increase. You will begin to notice the divine occurring around you, in a thousand minuscule ways, constantly. All the time. And those minute details will lead to other more significant observations, and so on. Ad infinitum. Until your entire universe is transformed forever.

Your free initiation session awaits.

There is a similar invitation in video form. I recently attended the induction center with a friend of mine. I am highly recommending this experience. You should bring at least $1.25 [you will need to purchase an unspecified Thing at some point], some paper/pen/pencily-type items, and a cellphone or a bunch of quarters for payphone action. Are there any payphones left? Here's my patented stripollage™ of the event.

What you get out of the experience depends on what you put into it. My advice to you would be not to read anything more about it ... just go, and see what happens. I'd like to say more about it, but then it gets into this weird meta-meta territory and no one needs that right now. A note: my suggestion would be to get there before 3pm. Good luck to you, and let me know how it goes.

2009jan16. Defiling the Eucharist on the rise! I may have mentioned this before, stop me if you've heard it ... I was in a wedding party eons ago and the gal I walked down the aisle with actually palmed the Eucharist, pulling it out later from her sleeve while we were all kneeling on those kneeling things, whatever they're called (The Eurkneelers). it made her approximately 20% hotter, actually. I don't know that that's actual defilement, unless she took it home and shot a hole in it or the like. Then she'd have to request an audience with the Pope to ask for absolution and zzzzz etc etc. Religion, so fascinating.

2009jan17. Matt Taibbi on Thomas Friedman: A B-3X = Swedish girls like chocolate.

2009jan28. Adam McEwen's Untitled (Dead).

2009feb10. For some reason I have joined the Facebook facespooks. I'm not sure why this is, since the whole thing creeps me out with creepiness. Well, in any event, now you can be my friend and we can run up the grassy hill holding hands and singing a friend song la la la, la la LA la laaaaaa laala before the tracking dogs are released. In other news, I drove an SUV with a fully-loaded trailer to LA, so I get the non-rollover merit badge now.

2009feb12. Dear Yelp: You used to be cool, but now, you can die. Your shakedown tactics are sad, and the internet does not like sadness.

2009feb27. Excerpts from Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern (2006), by Joshua Zeitz. NYT: review plus first chapter.

It's easy, in retrospect, to lose sight of just how radical the flapper appeared to her elders. Until World War I, few women other than prostitutes ventured into saloons and barrooms. As late as 1904, a woman had been arrested on Fifth Avenue in New York City for lighting up a cigarette. It wasn't until 1929 that some railroad companies formally abolished their prohibition against women smokers in dining cars. [pg 6]

But if the flapper faithfully represented millions of young women in the Jazz Age, she was also a character type, fully contrived by the nation's first "merchants of cool." These artists, advertisers, writers, designers, film starlets, and media gurus fashioned her sense of style, her taste in clothing and music, the brand of cigarette she smoked, and the kind of liquor she drank ‒ even the shape of her body and the placement of her curves. Their power over the nation's increasingly centralized print and motion picture media, and their mastery of new developments in group psychology and the behavioral sciences, lent them unusual sway over millions of young women who were eager to assert their autonomy but still looked to cultural authorities for cues about consumption and body image. Like so many successor movements in the twentieth century, the flapper phenomenon emphasized individuality, even as it expressed itself in conformity. [pg 8]

Now, with America fully mobilized for war and thousands of doughboys in starched uniforms flooding Camp Sheridan, Zelda found herself one of the mostly hotly pursued belles in the state. Army aviators stationed at Camp Taylor honored her with elaborate aerial stunts and flyovers above the Sayre household, until an unfortunate pilot crashed his plane and died in a futile attempt to win Zelda's affections. [pg 19; similarly, Lee Miller]

Before he met Zelda, he had been involved with another young Montgomery belle, a fellow Catholic with whom he once visited St. Peter's Church to pay penance. After Scott had cleansed away his sins, his girlfriend stepped into the confession box and ticked off a number of minor transgressions against God and man. When she finished, the priest asked, "Is that all, my daughter?"
"I ... I ... think so," she replied tentatively.
"Are you sure, my daughter?"
"That's all I can remember."
"No, that's not all, my daughter," he answered severely. "I fear I shall have to prompt you ... Because I heard your young man's confession first." [pg 26]

Though the Klan particularly deplored "the revolting spectacle of a white woman clinging in the arms of a colored man," more hum-drum violations of Victorian propriety also vexed members of the Hooded Empire. In Evansville, Indiana, William Wilson, the teenage son of the local Democratic congressman, remembered that Klan riders ruthlessly patrolled back roads in search of teenagers embroiled in wild petting parties or improper embraces. "They entered homes without search warrants" and "flogged errant husbands and wives. They tarred and feathered drunks. They caught couples in parked cars ..." [pg 74]

In 1922, Julia H. Kennedy, an official at the Illinois Department of Health, claimed that girls from small towns outside of Chicago and St. Louis were conducting themselves with even more reckless abandon than their big-city sisters. Among their other offenses, these small-town girls drank homemade concoctions like white mule and lemon extract from flasks that they tied around their necks. [pg 79]

In later years, the Round Table was commonly remembered as a venue for highbrow discussions of highbrow ideas ‒ the intellectual nerve center of 1920s America. It wasn't so. As Ross admitted to the notorious Baltimore wit H. L. Mencken, "I never heard any literary discussion or any discussion of any other art ‒ just the usual personalities of some people getting together, and a lot of wisecracks, and quoting of further wisecracks." ¶ Clever friends telling clever ‒ and self-referential ‒ jokes over lunch would never have caught fire had not the key players all been connected in some way or another to the press. [...] This almost shameless promotional collaboration quickly transformed the Round Table participants into parlor-set headliners. By the mid-1920s, tourists were dropping by the Algonquin around lunchtime just to steal a glimpse of New York's allegedly sharpest minds. [pg 84]

From the 1870s to the 1920s, roughly half of all female college graduates opted out of marriage entirely, compared with only a tenth of American women on the whole. [...] In these years, it was common for educated middle-class women, particularly professionals and social activists, to forge so-called Boston marriages ‒ long-term domestic partnerships that were acknowledged openly but lacked any real legal standing. [...] The Victorians didn't feel particularly threatened by these domestic partnerships or by more casual romantic ties between unmarried women. For one, few medical or scientific experts envisioned rigid distinctions like homosexuality and heterosexuality until the late nineteenth century ‒ the age of eugenics, social Darwinism, scientific management, and taxonomy ‒ when all the natural world suddenly seemed fodder for rigorous study and classification. More important, unmarried women forming close bonds with other unmarried women didn't pose a fundamental threat to the Victorian gender code; married women in the workplace did. ¶ The same forces that revolutionized sex, romance, and courtship in the early twentieth century shattered this Victorian world in which women could openly nurture emotional and physical ties with one another. By the 1920s, it was completely normal for girls and boys to disappear with each other in the dark recesses of parked cars and movie theater balconies. It had become abnormal for two women to do these things together. [pg 119]

Years later, when asked how she emerged from obscurity to become the world's most important designer of women's clothes, Chanel said it was simple. "Two gentlemen were outbidding each other over my hot little body." [pg 134]

But as working men and women lost control over their political and economic lives, they flexed their muscles in the purchase of shiny new things, an activity that seemed to hold out the promise of a new brand of "democratic" citizenship. Upward mobility was redefined as the right to dress like the Rockefellers rather than earn like the Rockefellers; the ownership of commodities replaced the ownership of labor as a mark of social achievement. More and more, the personal became political. ¶ In effect, Americans embraced a new definitions of freedom that hinged on participation in a burgeoning consumer economy. How "democratic" this new order ‒ and how "free" the average consumer ‒ really was was open to debate. A social critic for The Atlantic Monthly worried that "individuality, in the sense of a man's distinct personality, in the material domain, is becoming an increasingly rarer phenomenon. We are forced to a common standard. Even those of us who have not material objectives cannot be non-conformers. For the few are powerless to escape the brand of eighty millions. We are socialized into an average." [pg 171]

Where Colleen Moore bought a mansion, Clara [Bow] purchased a modest seven-room Spanish bungalow made of stucco for $15,000. She filled one room with dirt, so her dog would have somewhere to play at night. [pg 239]

Shortly after World War I, Boy Capel ‒ the great love of Coco's life ‒ wed another woman. Months later, he died in a car crash in southern France. Coco drove to the site of the accident and wept. ¶ In 1926, she introduced the "little black dress." She told close friends that she had put the whole world in mourning for Boy. [pg 285]

2009feb27. Friday Freeday.

2009mar03. Since Amazon's tip jar no longer works, I have added two monetary options to this page and they should show up to the left unless their car broke down: a free-form "donate" button, and a $1/month "subscribe" button which is automatic and saves you the drudgery of trying to find me each month to give me a dollar. Can anyone live on $1 a month? No. Why do you ask such silly questions? It is impossible. It is a trifle, a tiny thing. Let us say you spend $280 a month on sex workers. Why, $279 would probably be nearly functionally equivalent. Would you miss $1 of sex work that much? I don't think I would. The same argument could be made for alcohol, drugs, and health insurance. Don't insure one of your fingernails, each month. Rotate. There are riders for this.

One day I will draw some of my own buttons, but for now, we'll go with the canonical shiny horse pill design so loved by everyone. 2017: Hahaha Paypal buttons no.

2009mar13. Friday thing.




2009mar28. I wrote a song for you. It goes exactly like this:

Let's all go to Gimlet Town.
We can let our hair down in Gimlet Town.
Nobody's a square in Gimlet Town.
Gimlet Town.
Gimlet Town...
[spoken word breakdown]
It is a drink that is shared, between two people. It is a drink that fosters a sense of belonging. It is a drink of community.
It is a gimlet.
[thunderous orchestra crash]
Well they told me you moved out
And you sure as hell didn't tell me
So I went home and made some gimlets
And turned on the goddamned TV
I'm in Gimlet Town.


2009apr07. So the "MUNI" light rail vehicle stopped right in front of us and we were the last to board and it was packed so we were standing on the steps, nearly pressed against the doors. I was toting along a book bag, a new kicky addition to my wardrobe that all the ladies were grooving on ‒ and we had had a pretty full day in the city. I was sort of out of it, and just wanted to get home, but we weren't moving. There were no buzzing noises etc like BART when someone is blocking a door, so all of us in the vehicle slightly craned our necks and looked around hoping to discover the cause of our delay. Finally the driver jumped outside and we're all thinking "oh, here we go, someone's going to get it" and he comes right over to where I am and points out my book bag is resting on the door push bar. A) Ever since the first time I got on a MUNI, I've hated the design of these things and thought it would be pretty easy to accidentally activate it during typical packed rush hour nonsense B) I'm not easily embarrassed, but there is nothing I hate more than people who get in my way when I'm going from A (not the "A" I've just mentioned) to B (not the "B" you're currently inside of, all snuggly). So to have held up an entire light rail vehicle ‒ even if it was only for a half-minute ‒ filled me with a deep something-something that really got my goat, because again, it was because of this cockamamie bar thing. And all of those people, coming home a half-minute later now ‒ what about their lives? Have I changed them for better, or for worse? Do they come home later to barely miss the gun-toting robber? Or do they give their loved one just enough time to finish putting the frosting on a post-work cupcake? The worst thing, the most horrible thing, is that I'll never know what happened. All my stories, lost. C) There was a gal sitting facing me ‒ we locked eyes after the doors closed and we were just staring at each other full-bore. Hers were gray, she looked Russian. It went way way past the "perhaps someone should look away" stage. We ended up going out, dating for awhile, living together, growing old, having affairs, travelling a lot ‒ we both died around the same time and then the train started moving.


2009apr07. Mail.

what is your store phonenumber?We are doing a projectin school please contact us.

1 888 717 7517. Thank you!

2009apr07. Cocaine-carrying jungle camp semi-subs.

2009apr18. Excerpts from one chapter of Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of Renowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity, and Rotten Luck (2002), by Paul Collins.

And everyone knew that William Ireland wasn't clever enough to write well in his own modern tongue, never mind forge a document in Elizabethan English. They would have been right on the last count, if only they could see it. William couldn't forge a document in Elizabethan English, as his love letter to Anne Hathaway demonstrates:

O Anna doe Ilove doe I cheryshe thee inne mye hearte forre thou arete as a talle Cedarre stretchynge forthe its branches ande succourynge smaller Plants fromme nyppynge Winneterre orr the boysterouse Wyndes Farewelle toe Morrowe bye tymes I wille see thee tille thenne Adewe sweete Love

This was the work of an ambitious but inexperienced youth who mimicked old writing by arbitrary additions of double consonants, replacing i with y, and tacking e at the end of words. It wasn't Elizabethan dialect. ¶ It wasn't any dialect. [pg 36]

On Christmas Eve 1795, the London Times ran a notice that Miscellaneous Papers Under the Hand and Seal of William Shakespeare was now ready to be picked up at Samuel's house. [...] The obvious target for ridicule was Ireland's bizarre spelling, and on January 14 a journalist at The Telegraph happily "discovered" another letter of Shakespeare's:

Tooo Missteerree Beenjaammiinnee Joohnnssonn:
Deeree Sirree,
Wille youe doee meee theee favvourree too dinnee wythee meeee onnn Friddaye nextte attt twoo off theee clockee too eatee sommee muttonne choppes andd somme poottaattooeesse
I amm deerree sirree
Yourre goodde friendde
Williame Shaekspare [pg 40]

By now the public had accepted the notion that William had been behind the forgeries, and for some time William had been receiving inquiries from interested collectors: did he still have any of the old Shakespeare forgeries lying around? Perhaps he would like to sell them? The manuscript of Vortigern, say? Might he still have that in his possession? ¶ Oh yes, William would reply. It just so happens that I do. ¶ It just so happened that William always had one in his possession. For ever since the forgeries had been exposed, and become a subject of morbid literary interest, he had been quietly doing something almost dazzlingly postmodern in its sheer ingenuity and conception. ¶ He was making forgeries of the forgeries. ¶ No fewer than seven "original" copies of the manuscript of Vortigern surfaced after William's death, along with a whole array of other copies that he made of the Shakespeare papers. Each is utterly authentic in appearance; it is impossible to tell which is the original and which is the copy. After all, the collectors were getting them straight from the source, and besides, who'd ever heard of a forgery of a forgery? [pg 51]




2009may08. Mail.

Why does the box of Target candy I bought say Soduim instead of Sodium?

It is a mistake. The mistake is this: you bought candy from Target. Unless you meant this Target. That was also a mistake. Writing me: yet another mistake. YOU HAVE MADE THREE MISTAKES ALREADY! YER OUT!

You have been dispatched. You may go now. Thank you, your services are no longer required. Use this cardboard box [Here the escort agent will proffer / coyly waggle a large, sturdy cardboard box to the party in question] to clean out your [desk / cubicle / rolling station / cash box / lair / locker / can / orb]. A [security guard / gang of 19th century pre-teen detective-assisting street toughs / Belinda Carlisle impersonator / person of unspecified gender wearing a bulky high quality penguin costume / space security guard] will assist you to [the door / your car / Moline / Airlock "B7"].

2009may15. Friday.

2009may28. Winsom Whole Wax Beans. Edgett-Burnham Company, Newark, New York.

2009may29. Ingredients: reduced fat milk, Reese’s® peanut butter cup ice cream (Reese’s peanut butter cup ice cream (cream, nonfat milk, Reese's® peanut butter cup pieces (milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milkfat, lactose, soya lecithin (an emulsifier)), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, tbhq and citric acid (as preservatives)), sugar, corn syrup, whey, n&a vanilla flavor, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, annatto color), peanut butter ‘n chocolate ice cream (cream, nonfat milk, peanut butter chunky ribbon (peanuts, cottonseed and/or peanut oil, high fructose corn syrup, salt), sugar, corn syrup, whey, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), chocolate liquor (processed with alkali), cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, polysorbate 80), Reese’s® peanut butter sauce (peanuts; peanut oil; sugar; contains 2% or less of: cornstarch; salt; and hydrogenated vegetable oil (rapeseed, cottonseed, and soybean oils)), Reese’s® peanut butter cups (milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, non fat milk, milk fat, lactose, and soy lecithin and pgpr (emulsifiers)), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, and tbhq (preservative)), hot fudge sauce (sugar, corn syrup, water, partially hydrogenated coconut oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, cocoa (treated with alkali), nonfat milk solids, modified food starch, salt, sodium bicarbonate, potassium sorbate-as preservative, natural and artificial flavors, lecithin, propyl paraben ‒ as a preservative), whipped cream (whipped cream (cream, milk, sugar, dextrose, nonfat dry milk, artificial flavor, mono & diglycerides, carrageenan, mixed tocopherols (vitamin e), to protect flavor, propellant: nitrous oxide), Reese’s® peanut butter cups (milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, non fat milk, milk fat, lactose, and soy lecithin and pgpr (emulsifiers)), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, and tbhq (preservative)).


2009jun02. Blue Goose Mountain Fruit, Penryn Fruit Company, Penryn, California.

2009jun12. Friday.

2009jun21. Actual instance of "cool vampire" from back during Flapper era: Ivory Soap gloms onto fashion revolution. HEYS YOUSE TEENS, WE GOT YOUR "LINGO" AND WE'RE "HEP" TO YOUR "THREADS" DADDY-O NOW BUY OUR SHIT

2009jul28. With recorded music in its infancy, German confectionery conglomerate Stollwerk AG tapped into the freakish synergy of synethesiasts to ask an unasked question: what if you could taste music ("What if you could taste music?")? Then they answered it with the 1903 debut of the foil-covered chocolate record. A record ... made out of chocolate. That you can eat. Or listen to. Or listen to, and then eat. But not the other way around. Unless you have two records, then you could do both things at the same time. Not much is known about this early audible confectionery product, unless more is known. People sat around for awhile eating/listening to records but then they had to go fight wars and this scrumptious technology was quickly forgotten. Decades later, a Berlin resident named Peter Lardong re-created the chocolate record after finding an early-20th century children's chocolate record at a flea market (it was delicious). He is the subject of this German television video segment entitled Chocolate Record Schallplatten aus Schokolade. He patented the process in 1987 (if you can access the actual German patent [#G8704611.3], please drop me a line). I figured little chocolate curlicues would be flying off the needle, but I was mistaken. Ronald Landuyt, a Belgian chocolate maker, also makes chocolate records but I couldn't get the video to work. Second Hand Songs indicates that Ronald has a shop in Knokke, Belgium. Finally, here is a three-part series on chocolate records along with a bonus single: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | single

The Routledge guide to music technology ‒ Thom Holmes; pg 292
Encyclopedia of recorded sound ‒ Frank W. Hoffmann, Howard Ferstler; pg 298
Intertwining ‒ John K. Grande; pg 163

2009jul30. Mail.

I took a quick look and found the application, DE202008003639U1. The pdf is kinda boring, no pics of the chocolate record, all in german, and only two pages. I'd send it to you, but this fucking email web form is ... well ... a fucking email web form. Try this link.

Thank you! I wasn't able to view it online, I ended up clicking "save full document" and then allowing cookies so I could escape infinite captcha city.

2009jul31. BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO "HANG TIGHT" WITH AMERICA. Greg Palast already covered some of this. But you know, let's keep acting like this was yet another anomaly and that all the good the government does is worth occasional silly things like this. "HA HA WE SUB-CONTRACTED TERRAMISM" "Okay! Now let's see justice!" "HA HA OUR HANDS ARE BLOODIED/TIED HA MAYBE 50 YEARS FROM NOW WE'LL MAKE A HALF-FACTUAL PLAQUE OR SOME SHIT"

2009sep11. I took a road/train trip through PA NV CO UT MI CA OH IN IL NE IA AZ WI. Travelling through large expanses of America re-acquainted me with numerous sub-cultures which I had forgotten about, and the sheer goddamned delight of feebly scrabbling around fly-over states for acceptable foodstuffs. 2500 miles on the train, 4500 miles in the car; highest 114 degrees, lowest 53. It was sunny. Flat tire. It rained. Dead battery. Things happened. Things didn't happen. Some random observations follow; I also updated the Travelling Cross-Country By Train page with photos and a semi-large chunk of extra text.

I now have an additional reason to non-love these places. No power outlets. They're all capped. So no cellphone charging. No battery re-charging. No portable autoclave autoclaving. Also they have something called a "rest stop" which is not a rest area ‒ it is a "private/public" co-whatever I didn't read the sign. The one I went to was: (A) 2.5 miles off the freeway in the exact wrong direction (B) "Sponsored" by Chevron (C) Actually just a Chevron gas station with the standard day-glo sugardrink/HFCS fakefood store bolted on. But: one rest area had real glass mirrors, not the usual useless metal ones that do not allow me to check myself out and re-confirm that I am hotter than a thousand suns. FINAL GRADE: D

I took a lot of photos of clouds. They don't hurt anyone and are nice. The ones in Colorado kicked all the other clouds' asses but don't tell them that. [sigh] I liked all the clouds in every state equally. I would like to live in the clouds but that is currently physically impossible. I wait, patiently, for science. FINAL GRADE: A+

That is some jaw-dropping visuals there, is what that is. I should live there someday. FINAL GRADE: A

I was in the Mystery Hill gift shoppe looking at all of the horrible t-shirts that weren't of the awesome Mystery Hill arrow. I didn't go into Mystery Hill proper. I got a call on my cellphone while I was there, but it was set to "NO BOTHERING" and the operator silently took the call and filed it in my "missed call" box. Two hours later, I listened to it. It was my friend, calling from Mystery Spot, located five hours away. He was asking if I wanted a t-shirt from the gift shoppe, which he was in, but he hadn't/wasn't going to visit the Mystery Spot proper.

I took a Nevada logo sign survey here "for a free cold drink." I told the guy about my Utah rest stop experience. There really wasn't room for jazz free-form improvisation on the survey form. I had to bend my answers a lot. "Which would you rather eat at: family style or fast food?" "Uh, not fast food, and 'family style,' to me at least, means stay away." [FX: pause; pen hovers silently above unchosen options] "I guess just put 'family style.'" They're always BOXING me in, goddammit man, BOXING ... ME ... IN. The final question: "What would you like to see listed on logo signs?" "Abandoned buildings. This way to see the gas station that's been sitting empty for ten years." [FX: pause] "Hahahaha, yeah, they're not going to put that on a logo sign. Just leave it blank." To his credit he wrote it in. The man then opened the cooler which contained many cold drinks, one of which was now mine forever. I chose the bottle with non-dayglo transparent fluid. The state partially hydrated me that day for semi-answering their broken poll. I forgot about the bottle for awhile because I had three gallons sitting in the front seat, another three in the back. If you drive anywhere in the desert without boatloads of water you are a dumb dummy who is dumb. FINAL GRADE: C-

The car I had had a radio plus a slot which I imagine was some sort of new-fangled inoperative cheese slice dispensary. Radio is still the shining jewel it has always been; it seemingly continues unaware that the last ten years have actually happened and that it's next to obsolete. "We will play you the same 40 songs over and over and over; your personal music player holds probably ten, 20 songs at most. [SFX: Several obnoxious sound effects] KDED radio." There is also a lot of bible-reading radio out there. I would start listening to a station thinking that I was in the middle of some noirish detective drama and after awhile realization would fold over my brain like a warm blanket, smothering it. 300 miles later I'd forget what I learned and the loop would repeat. I also heard a few horrible pop song fragments repeatedly, it was like I owned them already in my head for free and didn't have to buy the record at the store. It was PIRACY OF THE MIND. FINAL GRADE: D

I saw a shooting star. In Iowa. FINAL GRADE: A++

There was a huge traffic jam on the other side of the freeway. A truck had fallen on its side because it was sleepy. There was also a service truck there that was righting it; somehow they place bags under the truck and inflate the bags. It made me laugh for approximately ten miles. "Inflatable ... BAG ... hahahaha" FINAL GRADE: A-

I got my crispy car quota for the trip filled when I eyeballed a completely charred car carrier on the side of the freeway with a full load of also-charred cars. It was a trend. "Dude, seriously, everyone is doing this." [FX: combusts] FINAL GRADE: D

While following this on the train, I looked longingly at the water. When driving back via car, I stopped at a really nice rest area along the river and put my hands in. Right then the same train went by and I felt sorry for everyone on board which could have included me if I time-travelled and didn't know it. This paragraph is dedicated to them (and maybe me), the non-Colorado River touchers. FINAL GRADE: A

Vega$ is a hole. My intention was to just glance off the Northern outer crust of Vega$, and get some food and gas and get out of there before I was swallowed by a doomed housing construction project. Unfortunately I'd become real picky about my vacation eating over the last month. Pizza. Deli. Anything other than a chain shop/strip mall/Chinese (it's hard to find a good Chinese place without electronic guidance. I did mention that I don't have one of those goddamned Iphones, yeah? The general rule I live by is that it is very hard to screw up pizza and pancakes, and very easy to screw up Chinese). Good fucking luck in Vega$, the whole place is one big strip mall. You can find a wealth of non-familiar/non-chain gasoline stations, though. All the same, I do not wish to gas up at a business called "Funny's." I finally found a decent pizza shoppe in a half-dead strip mall, initially being attracted by the enticing proposition of a panederia next door which turned out to be the empty shell of a store. The first time I was feeling talkative during the trip, the pizzamakerperson was not, though I did learn that they've been there five months. Just go down Rancho Drive and take three rights at the 217th strip mall.

The emptiness of Vega$ is hard to explain. Photos don't help. The streets are huge. The grid intersections are huge. All of them. Pedestrians can go die. Out on the edge of maniacal growth, I saw a traffic light with an actual left turn arrow, something that largely escaped the city's attention back when growth was even more redlined. Glimpsing that arrow was like seeing an astronaut in an inoperative spacecraft gain inner peace as the ship hurtled helplessly toward the sun. Watch me earn the big bucks on the Las Vegas City Planning Commission: "Duh, it could be square blocks filled with shiny wholesome beige corporate shit? And it could go on forever? Wait. More lanes."

Finally, I was in a Las Vega$ gasoline station being pitched by a dinosaur ‒ I pulled out my wallet while walking through the store and three guys in different areas of the store had their eyes glued on it. Maybe this happens everywhere and I just had a little confirmation bias thing going on. Or maybe when the entire city you live in wants a piece of you, it does things to your head. Also there is gambling and monied sex. FINAL GRADE: E--

There are a lot of abandoned gas stations here. FINAL GRADE: B+

I had a shake at Denny's. A lot of people had the cowboy hats. It was the only thing open. It was a small town. I like visiting small towns. I like getting the mixing cup, it's like a bonus meal. Shakes are meals. I left. They stayed. FINAL GRADE: B

I forgot to check "don't use toll roads" on the internet route mapping service and I ended up taking a turnpike when using a non-turnpike would have added ten miles to my trip. My mistake, but still: turnpikes are a wholly managed experience that I do not like, above/beyond the extra cost. Walk into a "service plaza," travel 200 miles, and then walk into the same damned plaza. It's magical and so comforting! There's absolutely no chance of popping into a swell run-down diner or the like. In the future there will just be a single restaurant chain in America with two menu selections: FOOD and DRINK. "I'll have one food, please. Oh, and one drink." Sleeeeeep ... sleeeeeeeep. This ends my original essay on the homogeneity of stifling modern consumer culture. Clarice & Jasper will now hand you your complimentary gift bags. Thank you. Thank you. FINAL GRADE: D-

I used to creatively crop photos in-camera to remove all traces of civilization from nature-type shots. Now I make sure they're in there. It was like lying ... to myself. Such a self-liar.

You find out the funniest things when you visit your family. I would have missed out on a few experiences had that happened. Like the time I did that thing? No, wait, I'm thinking of someone else. FINAL GRADE: C-

I like roundabouts; several have been popping up in my "home state" and elsewhere. The problem here is that Americans are too stressed out trying to score the last few bucks from a system about to fall on its face. The merry-go-round goes faster and faster and then you encounter a traffic calming agent that is shaped like a merry-go-round and well, I don't blame you for not following the directions and smashing into someone else, really. Actually yes I do. You suck at driving. Chill out. FINAL GRADE: A-

Two trucks tangled on a reduced-lane highway in the rain; one truck went left, the other, right. The highway was elevated, so they both plunged into giant ditches. The one on the left went straight and came to a stop; the one on the right jack-knifed which tore up a section of the container. Jack-knifing: trucks still do it. FINAL GRADE: D

Sometimes when I stretch I end up grabbing one finger of one hand with the other and I torque it while stretching and one day I'll probably accidentally break it. FINAL GRADE: C-

Yosemite is always spectacular, but this time I also wanted to drop into the valley and hit their cafeteria, since I had been on an oatmeal/fruit tear for way too long. A dynamite gal at that ever-growing Lee Vining convenience store/gas station told me that the valley was closed because they were running a managed fire. Bad timing. FINAL GRADE: A-

Two ravens flew past me, about 20 feet in the air. I could hear that one of the pair had squeakier wings than the other. Age? Oil? I do not know, but it was the first and probably last time I'll hear something like that. Divine. FINAL GRADE: A+

Every time I go to Yosemite they're always standing outside the camp store yammering about how they're going to tackle Half Dome using only their sense of smell and two straightened fishing hooks for hands and they've got all the latest nano-resistant Totalflex™ Shimmerpodjam® gear strapped to them in dynamic places and you walk by them feeling like a cigarette snuffed out in a plate of scrambled eggs but secretly you want to have sex with all of them but one at a time real slow like, you're not a sexglutton. I think they're hired by the park to remind all of us to strive to reach our full potential, perhaps sex-wise. FINAL GRADE: B-

That was one of the themes of the trip. One time I went with friends to a tricked out open-air concert space in the deep undergrowth of Detroit with all sorts of old carnival ride signage and the like. It was an amazing place. But the MC was not good. It made me appreciate good MCs. Later some of my other friends decided that ten years was a long enough time away from multi-player cooperative games and they shanghai'd me into playing "Rock Band," a video game in which you pretend to play instruments. It made me appreciate musicians so much more, with the notes, and getting the right notes, though these notes were fake. Conversely, apparently some musicians aren't good at rock band because Rock Band is too precise, like a drum machine. No one should have to be a drum machine. That's why there are drum machines. There were non-official Rock Band accessories like lasers and lights and whatnot and the light bank that was nearest to my head was moving in an arrhythmic manner, making noise that kept me off the fakebeat. Then something happened; after that, my friend got back from a break and wondered out loud why the light bank was not working anymore and I lied in some fashion. I asked my friends what the Japanese were playing now that the US has caught up to 2003 and they looked at me with stony silence. I got passable grades after awhile; then I went to a family member's house and went back to sucking on "Rock Band"'s apparent predecessor, "Guitar Hero." FINAL GRADE: B

First the niece tap tap tap tap then my sister BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD then back to the niece tap tap tap. It was funny. FINAL GRADE: A

This is insane. It seems to take way too long. The same two switchbacks over and over and over. Maybe I'll grow a pair one day and take the quick way down. You know what I'm talking about. Old Crazed Syphilitic Miner Road or whatever it's called. Following that there's the flat-out section through Almost Yosemite. That takes three days. I don't get it. FINAL GRADE: C

Dubuque has public wifi but you have to click on a website every hour or so. Though I am obsessed with advertising I still don't understand how it works on people ... I would think that something like this would make you dislike the websites you have to click on, even though they're sponsoring your porno e-glide. Active v. passive. I didn't even notice, I left it in another tab. Also I was hangin' out in Dubuque but all the shops had closed for the day so I didn't get my Dubuque-oriented business taken care of at all. Dubuque. FINAL GRADE: C+

A worker bee at a Pennsylvania turnpike service plaza gave me a truck tire gauge when I asked for a tire gauge at a car-based filling station. The ticks start at 100 psi (man those are some bloated ticks) whereas your modern car tires get up to about 40 psi tops. It was big and heavy and could be used as a weapon on a train (see Travelling Cross-Country By Train). I took it to the car to have a few moments with it to wonder what it would be like to be a trucker and to express admiration, from one object to another. When I finally handed it back the worker smiled like everything was super-fine even though I said "I have a car, this is for a truck." I think it was that thing that happens to people in the service industry wherein they've gone through the motions for so long they stop reading faces and listening to people or even themselves (ex: flight attendants and their garbled "in the event of a water landing" etc pre-flight safety announcements). FINAL GRADE: C

There are warning signs in Nevada that I can't remember ever seeing: DUST HAZARD. "Dust hazard? What kind of wimpy shell of a person needs a sign warning th ‒ OH GOD MY EYES" When you lose your vision on the road, you should gradually pull the car over and stop. After the first time, I was ready; I closed the vent as soon as I saw the sign. But it wasn't fast enough and sand started scraping holes in my eyes again, digging in to survive the harsh desert winter. There was an exit sign as well, and a driveway coming up, but it was oddly at a right angle. Okay, that's how they do things out here. Took the exit, careered right into what looked like a pre-staging area with lots of official signs that I could only see the outer shapes of, quickly stopped the car, splashed a gallon of water on my face. Composed myself, toweled my face off, and found myself staring at the guard shack for an Air Force Base. "Yeahhhhhhhh ... I'll be leaving now ..." The incident will be filed in my permanent record. I had the same dust problem a third time about an hour later, but it wasn't as fun as this one. FINAL GRADE: D-

I got here in the middle of the night so I pulled over on the street, took out a pillow, laid back on the pavement and watched the stars for awhile. Rhyolite is the remnants of a mining town about three miles outside of Beatty. There was no one around, no sounds; I could suddenly perfectly hear all of the little whirring and clicking my camera goes through during normal operations. Occasionally I could hear an insect bullshitting another ... grasshoppers, intermittent buzzy things ("SEX! SEX! I AM HERE! TIME FOR SEX! I AM VERY GOOD AT THE SEX"). Then the sun came up and I explored the abandoned town and associated outdoor art gallery. I took a photo holding the penguin's hand of the giant penguin & miner statue, same photo as ten years ago so I can laugh at how I've aged. It is a funny. The olding. FINAL GRADE: A+

Most of my time in Hershey was spent within walking distance of the Hershey factory; 50% of the time the odor of chocolate lingered in your nose. Sometimes there was a much smaller accompanying scent of puke in the air. But across the street (Chocolate Avenue) from one of the factory's exhausts the scent was 100% Hershey Cocoa. I stood there awhile. Also I hadn't eaten anything except oatmeal cookies/bars for two days and I went into a pizza shop (Bricker's Ponessa Pizza and Restaurant) at 8:30pm and they were closing at 9pm so no slices and back to oatmeal. I came in the next day and ordered a slice; the owner sent over another slice free because of my unfortunate timing the previous day. I camped in a park that had an insect/frog chorus so loud I used earplugs to go to sleep. It also had fireflies which more than compensated for the Croaky McBuzzy Choir. FINAL GRADE: B

When I was last here the parking lot was for a casino which had been renamed. This is my guess since it wasn't "Silver Slipper Casino" anymore and there was a slipper on the sign. But the casino has magically turned into a hardware store, which means it's twice removed from the sign so can I have it now? FINAL GRADE: A

My original intention was to "check out" this area and camp overnight, grabbing a much-needed shower. I stopped in at one of the campsites. Campsites now seem to have "hosts" which I don't remember from back in the day but a friend has indicated this has been the procedure for awhile at campgrounds. Host: "We're having a problem with Africanized bees right now. They are attracted to any water source. They've set up bubblers away from camp to help draw the bees away." I went and grabbed a campsite, got out, and pretty much immediately a bee landed on my pants where I had spilled some water earlier. "Maybe that's a coincidence, and in an unrelated thought, boy it's time to go look at stuff far away from here." I didn't even take a shower, which was dumb at 104 degrees. I stopped at several trailheads and got about halfway down the paths, eyeballing petroglyphs and bright orange rock and sand and tafoni and striped rock and etc before turning back because it was 114 degrees out and I know my limits. I saw only one other person tackling a trail. Too hot. I got back to the visitor center and hung out under the aircon for an hour. Then I left instead of camping for several reasons. The bees came in at about 20%, heat 30%, didn't get around to packing anything but oatmeal 30%, some other junk 20%. FINAL GRADE: A- (see me after class about the bees)

This trip reminded me there's a lot out there that no longer makes/never made any sense to me and that jobs are getting harder to get.


Whoa nelly these liquid lurchers are a real corker I'll tell you what. Built with reinforced, beautiful pivot points and miracle "plastic" body. Should be in the Louvre. All other drinking birds are for sucks and heathens. Shame owners of now-inferior '47 Glub-Glub. Confuse your friends, start a riot.

2009oct09. Friday. You should not work on this day.


2009nov02. You are invited to a party. It is in two hours. You do not have a costume. An hour and a half later, you finally decide to make a costume. What do you do what do you do. Then, after making your "costume," the hours fritter by and you are never actually told where the party is. This is good, because then no one will see your stupid last-minute costume.

2009nov05. Are you ready ... for the LOG CHALLENGE (LOG CHALLENGE)? The beach at Sutro Baths used to be host to thousands of severely-dressed mens and womens who gaily frolicked betwixt the pools of the Baths and the coast of the unforgiving, relentless Pacific Ocean. Sitting within ash-falling range of the Cliff House is a large split boulder.

The crack has a secret, though, if you are inquisitive enough to look or if you can see this entry on a web browser. A small, handy log has been pushed by the relentless, unforgiving Pacific Ocean into the depths of the crack. The crack gets smaller farther inland ... the log fought back valiantly ... but eventually it was jammered right in there real good as if it belonged there like "welcome home, log" and "Oh, thank you I'll just hang my log scarf on your boulder hook" just like that [3x Bonus: Diagram this sentence {including this aside}].

I tried to brace myself against the sea wall and kick it out with my mighty feet, but even I was no match for the jammering. ARE YOU? Can you unjam the log? TAKE THE LOG CHALLENGE! Winner will receive one (1) log.

2009nov13. Friday.

2009nov20. I miss cellphone hot dog. Does anyone have cellphone hot dog? Cellphone hot dog.

2009nov26. Friday Freeday. Early But Late Edition. Some of it I squirreled away in June as a hedge against the harsh winter. Now I have unearthed these treasured electronic acorns and we will feast in earnest. Except the ebay auction. Ebay is sitting on untold riches with their humongous archive of Photos/Text About Stuff That's Being Sold but like most larger companies they wander around the Cash Forest blind, occasionally bumping into a dollar tree. Ebay hears the rustling! Oh, to have eyes. Well, at least the Killing Joke video is still there. Ebay I will be your eyes! Okay ... it's like the band is playing in front of these billowing swaths of fabric, and there are occasionally fade in-out shots of stern-looking peasant folk holding various farm implements and delicious stalks of wheat ... I think it's supposed to represent on some level the 1931 overthrow of the Spanish Republic monarchy which was replaced by the creatively-named Second Spanish Republic which was then replaced by a five-gallon tub of spackling paste. Does that help, Ebay? I don't know why the drummer both looks and is dressed like Dexter of the TV show "Dexter" mid-serial killer elimination, Ebay. I just don't know.

2009dec02. A brief programming interruption here – QI, the BBC comedy panel game television program hosted by Stephen Fry, has started on series "G." Thursday's episode features a certain "John Hodgman" person whom you may know as the living embodiment of the hated Microsoft-controlled computer machine in a seemingly-endless series of television advertisements in addition to his books and/or appearances on the The Daily Show. You can find every single episode on the internet if you are a crafty person. I have included clues below to some of the more recent ones.


2009dec15. Girls Who Love Boys Who Love Boys: Inside the Midwest's first celebration of all things yaoi — where the screaming never stops. Girls who love boys who love boys who are countries dress up as boys/countries for panels.

A panel for Hetalia: Axis Powers is almost entirely occupied by girls in quasi-military uniforms. Hetalia tells the story of twentieth-century world politics with each country represented by a pretty boy. The panelists make a few half-hearted attempts to introduce themselves to the uninitiated ("I'm America, and I'm Russia's bitch because we're in debt"), but they can't resist acting out their roles. Spain and China show up late and get glomped by Italy and Japan. Italy cuddles on Germany's lap. France gets down on bended knee and proposes marriage to England. Slowly, the non-Hetalia fans file out of the room.

Spain and China? They were glomped.

2009dec21. There is a Charlotte Gainsbourg video that features Beck. It is here. It is directed by Keith Schofield. On November 19th, the photographer William Hundley pointed out that an image used in the video ‒ a skateboard perched on top of four delicious hamburgers ‒ was incredibly similar to his own hamburger-lofted skateboard photograph. A flickr fracas ensued, and eventually the director contacted Hundley and put his name in the credits for the video.

The video also contains a few seconds of a scene with an astronaut whose head is entirely comprised of delicious pancakes.

This image is incredibly similar to an image that appears on the website as a tribute to National Pancake Day in 2006:

The owner of is a friend of mine. I don't know if he has any demands for the director, but what I do know is this: I was able to just ask him if I could use the photo on my own website (, and he said "yes." Asking: an innovative system for showcasing the work of others without generating ill will.

Note: is a wonderful way to salute the quiet dignity of our domesticated companions by dressing them in clothes that require saluting. Try Petsinuniform ... today.

2009dec25. Friday. It is another ordinary day, unless we spice it up with rum. Or naked people. There are choices in life.

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