Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The people here stand and move on the ground. They are as small as they could be and their clothing is simple and pocketed and I want to call them farmers. Dirty faces, weathered hands, feet wrapped in hardened leather. Smaller and smaller they seem, their tasks performed and faces without emotion. They are of the Earth.

The stuff resembles a magnificent fungus, mushroom-like caps and stems and it sparkles. Little bits of blue and red. An abundance, and it is their food. I see one of them bend to it and then hand to mouth. His hand dips into one of the pouches tied to his belt. The other one brimming with the stuff, he pulls from this one a shimmering handful of dust and lets it fall to the place whence came his meal. He moves on to another patch of food and takes it, pushing it deep into his swollen pouch. Dust fills in the gap. And again. And each of them doing the same.

The rain comes. It falls from the sky sparsely, but the drops are larger than seems natural. At once, the majority of the small people head in the same direction. Others shelter themselves as best they can and still others stop altogether and stand motionless.

The stuff shoots up out of the ground. Fountains of it and there is more than before. Into the air and then settled and ready. Wherever there is the dust, it is absorbed and changed and exploded.

And so are the people. I see them now as they are; as gathering mounds of the most precious and rare that cycle and cycle into something more than they ever could have been and then into nothing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Power Cleanse

“Am I really gonna puke again?” I thought.

The answer was yes.

I asked myself the same question every ten minutes for the next several hours and got the same response. After that I stopped asking; it was just assumed.

Four hours into it I was quite delirious and my thoughts drifted back to the kebab I had eaten right before getting on the train in Brussels. I thought about them explaining my death to my parents, that the disease vector was a pita pocket filled with shitty, rancid meat.

It went on like that for two days. Erika would check on me and bring me water, which I would promptly throw up. Twenty-four hours into it I reached agreement with my body: I would expel everything I’d ever eaten and it would not die. Throwing up became as regular as breathing. I got used to retching over the toilet for half an hour and not producing anything.

The thing about food poisoning that no one tells you is that you have to mind both ends. This is because no one can think of an eloquent way to say that you will strain so hard to vomit that you will shit yourself.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The End of Free Recovery

In college, in the dorms, his roommate would drink Tang.

Rob had been there with him when the roommate discovered the powerful psychotropic effect that the orange beverage induced. Just the smell of the powder, he had said, sent a cascade of recollection through his mind. He would suddenly be privy to details surrounding toys, days, people; all for which he had no context, no reference.

Then it would be gone. And as the fragments of his childhood fused back into his subconscious, Rob could see the pain in his roommate’s face. Fighting a losing battle against badly wired neurons and misfiring synapses seemed an excruciating thing. Never, Rob had thought, was the roommate more desperate than when he was coming down from one of these trips.

Rob could understand this. In fact, he thought the roommate lucky. To find a way back, if only for a moment, was something of great value. To him, it aligned with the idea that we spend our lives trying to recreate the happiness we felt in the womb.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let's Be Professional!

This fucking guy.
This fucking Macy’s mannequin, with his off-the-rack shirt and tie combo and bold colors that are supposed to exude confidence.
“What five words would you use to describe yourself?” he asks.

“Does well-hung count as one or two?” I think to myself.

He looks up from his clipboard and I know the interview is over before it begins. I straighten my tie and look him in the eyes.
“I would say that I am hardworking, a leader, ethical, creative, and uh…” I pause enough between each quality to make it seem like I’m really thinking about it, so that he thinks he’s asked a good question. “I can’t really think of the word for it right now…” I stall. “It’s like when…I’m a really good communicator and I speak well to others and…”

He stares at me blankly. I look at the ground.
“I know there’s a word for it…” There is a long silence.
“OK,” he clears his throat. “Well I have your resume and…”
“Articulate,” I say. “I’m articulate.”
He stares at me a moment longer.

“Well, we’ll call you.”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The brief existence of Elgin Clark

Elgin Clark did not at first like American football, but he liked to think that he could appreciate the strategic nature of it.

There was, he had always thought, something inherently and particularly American about the sport. Maybe it was that he felt that they used sixty or seventy men to do a job that could be done by less than half as many. Or perhaps it was the fact that an American football game was, to him, eerily reminiscent of the earliest American Civil War battles, which were attended as though they were sporting events by socialites and their families.


In a tactical, practical,
personal, political,
evolutionary, primitive
power is information.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's Busines Time

I realize now that doing business is very much like the mating rituals that we do.

Please keep in mind that in writing this I do not mean to profess any proficiency or even adequacy as a salesman or as a cocksman. This is just, I suppose, what I have seen work. In business and with the beautiful babies.

You have to start off by projecting that the deal (or the sweet, sweet vajee) is the farthest thing from your mind. It's "Tao of Steve;" that bit about how when he's hanging out with a woman, he's just hanging out. If there is business (of either variety) to be done, they're going to have to meet you at least half way. Because, after all, you don't need them. You can walk out the door, nothing having transpired, and be completely even keel.

You can't be in a rush to be finished. No one likes to be hurried; it tends to sour things. Give the other person the spotlight for at least their share of the time.

The less you have to talk, the better. Ask questions that project genuine interest and demonstrate that you have, in fact, been listening. It's all about them. Keep them talking.

That, or never stop talking.

Regardless, say everything with conviction.

Eye contact is everything.

Make them buy every inch they get.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Speed Enforced!

Everyone who lives in California has, at one point or another, seen the stupid "Speed Enforced by Aircraft" signs.
Like this:

I understand what these signs mean; that if you're speeding and a CHP plane overhead sees you, they will radio to a car to come pull you over. I get it. It's still stupid and always makes me laugh. Why not "Speed Enforced by Battleship?" I would think to myself, passing by.

So, I made these.


Some folks may have noticed an uncharacteristic spike in the frequency with which I have been bringing up the idea of time travel as of late. I would be lying if I said it wasn't on my mind.

Shkeve and I have expended a considerable amount of mental energy trying to forget what we think we know about time travel and open our minds to what it might be.

I'm convinced that Shkeve has traveled through time. My explanation is to follow.

Several weeks ago, before all of this, Shkeve asked me in complete seriousness what I would do if I could time travel. Not like if I had a magical DeLorean kind of time travel, but within the confines of how time travel might theoretically be possible.* The idea being that you can travel backwards in time to any point in which your Time Machine is running and only to those points. I don't remember if I had an answer, but if I did it was profoundly underwhelming. Shkeve talked about how he would build in a failsafe; how he would keep the minute after he first turned the Time Machine on clear (by never traveling back to it or using a point in that first minute to travel back to the moment he turned the machine on) so that whatever happened, he could go back and have at least a minute to turn the machine off and prevent any time traveling from ever having occurred. (Nevermind that this particular failsafe plan would leave Shkeve with a double of himself and a stiuation that might escalate quickly into a terrifying battle.)

Several days later, a film called "Primer" found its way to the top of my Netflix queue and subsequently into my mailbox. When I watched the film several things happened. The first was that I became obsessed with understanding it from start to finish. The second was that I had a burning need to discuss it with several people, the most urgent of which being Shkeve. Then I became convinced that the Shkeve I was talking to that night about the practical strategy and failsafe planning for time travel was, in actuality, Shkeve (1).

That probably shouldn't make sense. Regardless, I have rarely gotten the satisfaction out of a film that I have out of "Primer." I have watched it at least 6 or 7 times and spent at least as much time discussing it with some very intelligent and fascinating people.

If you can suspend disbelief, be it practical or physical, and allow your brain to conduct the thought experiments that inevitably accompany viewing "Primer," any reasonably intelligent person will have an enjoyable time viewing and, I hope, discussing the film.

*I'm no physicist, but the concept makes more sense than a flux capacitor. The idea, as I understand it, is that IF you removed certain PROVEN theories to the contrary, it might be possible to travel backwards in time. I won't go into relativity or try to explain this, but let's just be clear that we are talking about something that MIGHT be possible if some rules were bent that more than likely can't be bent.