Category Archives: Various, Miscellaneous, Etc.

Scattered Notes on a Two-Day Trip

Sidewalk Siamese cat. Front yard aloe vera gone mad. The smell of red dirt on the warm breeze. Falling-down shacks, glass hotels. “I’ll buy you a drink.” “What’s your name?” “Sam.” “Sam, buy me a drink. Hell, buy me a drink right now.” “How old are you?” “Twenty-one!” The line on Congress Avenue for the new Robert Altman, the wide lanes up to the capitol building. The former lesbian bar. “That poem always sounds dirtier when I read it around alcohol.” “These are the last two poems in the book, so you know how it ends.” “We have water for marathoners when they come through.” “Apparently this water is reserved for someone, but I’m just gonna take it.” The hotel room’s cubicle-height divider. “We are very blessed that we live in an eclectic city.” “This stuff is in our blood now.” “America is a pretty weird place, in a way that is frankly infuriating to write about.” Taking a “read first, name later” approach. “I can’t be the only person who’s walked through the fiction section of the bookstore and said, ‘Oh my god, look at all this crap!'” “Just because we see differently doesn’t mean we should all stop looking.” A genre’s attempts to mask the fact of its own conventions. The work of world creation. The opening lines of Adam Bede. Girls love it when you give them anything pink. “It’s all completely organic. Like compost.” Moral hangovers. The avenues of pimping without shame. Driving without headlights, driving needing every light in town. The relative scales of ruination, the relative sizes of avatars. “I was born to write novellas. I was born in the wrong century.” Bookended entry and exit points. “His bio says he was on the New York Times bestseller list. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.” The last waves of bats down by Town Lake. The brush of their wakes as they skim by overhead. “These are my words, and this is my mouth, so theoretically there shouldn’t be a problem.” “That was the lady in trouble. The formula of this is a guy in trouble meets a lady in trouble. And then? There’s trouble.” The search for better coffee on foot along the highway offramp. The reflection of the moon on the wing, the plane in a holding pattern, a flashlight tracing the riveted seam. “We’re at the airport, looking for a place to park the plane.”

Sleep Shake

One of the Magnetic Poetry Kit poems I read last night at Happy Ending as my risk, which I transcribed from my refrigerator ten years ago.

cool red milk
a pound of finger honey
one heavey cry
sweat juice
a rust sausage
sweet beer

put them beneath
an incubating apparatus

easy as pants

Local Man

Back in May of 2003, I had the brief and glorious indignity of being Local Man—that is, a picture of my head was Photoshopped into one of someone else’s torso (and gross sweater, and kitchen, and Gene Kelly poster, etc.) for the illustration for the article “Local Man Ruins Date By Just Being Himself.” At the time, the piece seemed to disappear pretty quickly, but not only is it still on the Onion Web site, here, I was delighted to discover the other day that it is also on pg. 135 of Fanfare for the Area Man: The Onion Ad Nauseam Complete News Archives, Vol. 15.

Short-Short Written on My Lunch Break Beginning with a Line by Shanna Compton

(The original, here.)

“Quick, grab the Kodak,” Wilhemena stage-whispered. “Someone’s flummoxed Bill.” Always such a busybody! But Bob’s agile mental perambulations indeed had snookered this girl’s husband under the foldable card table laid out thick with hot dish. “Cut him off,” the rude gal snorted into our hostess’s eager ear. Bill’s eyes bugged. “Oh, this is too precious,” Wilhemena hooted, fever-pitched. Bill barfed a rude stew: cranberry daquiri, vodka tonic, Senora Traffico’s Frito pie; Carmine’s Instamatic flashed and clicked; I blushed like a whore in church. Thus floundered the Kickboxers’ virgin picnic, circa aught four, the year the leaves stayed on the trees all winter. Remember? The television weatherman implied circumstantial millenialism nightly, aping John of Patmos through to Easter. And the picnic? That was that, such as it is. That Kodak smacked sorry William’s state senatorial aspirations. The sad sack sublimated his sorrows in the book of Mormon Saturday nights, trannie hookers down on Alabama Avenue Sunday mornings. I couldn’t hack it. See you later, what-all remaining tatters, his and my done-for marriage. I heard tell the old fool shacked up out in Vegas with a latter-day Brazilian elbowgrease saleslady, jointly hawking second-hand snow monkeys to perennial unwitting Norwegian tourists, but I pay no never-mind. I read scripture. No reminder necessary. I’m a cheek-turner.

Brita Wine

Pulling the cork out slowly. What’s that funny crunching sound? Did I break it? No, no, it’s just the wrapper scraping against the cork. No wait, look, it is broken. A little corner of the lip of the bottle is pulverized. Yeah, that’s broken, I’ve got glass dust on my fingers. How the hell did that happen? Goddamn those fuckers, I didn’t get a receipt! What to do? What happens when you drink glass dust? That has to be bad for you. We could put it through a strainer? No, that wouldn’t catch it. What about that yogi who ate a whole car really slowly? Does your liver filter glass? Put it through the Brita! Is that a relatively old filter? Yes. Do you have a new filter? Yes. The charcoal will catch all the glass. What’ll it taste like? Zima! No, Bartles & Jaymes! Regular wine, except no tannins! Sweet wine! Pour out all the water first. Science! Get your camera! Is it going through? It looks, like, more purple. You guys go first. It tastes like regular glassless wine. Normal non-crunchy wine. (Wait, why did this idea spring so readily to mind? Oh right, this thing.)

Q & A

So did you make it to Central Park at 8:30am yesterday?

Uh, close enough. More like 9:15 or so. (Some A train troubles.)

And did you finish?

I did!

What was your time?

Christ if I know! After starting late (see above), I had to kind of rough it, running on the cobblestones and hills and rocks and roots around the great river of thousands and thousands of walkers. I’m just happy to have reached the finish line without twisting my ankle.

Was it hard? Was it emotional?

I found it difficult to connect with the real reason why we were all there—the reality of the disease itself, and the lives it wrecks, felt masked, buried underneath all the cheering, and corporate sponsorship, and chances to win new sneakers, and free wristbands and sugar water and meringue cookies and Special K. As I was running by a group of women who all appeared to be walking in memory of a mutual friend they’d lost, I overheard one of them saying, “…and it’s a beautiful day! What more could you want?” I thought to myself, a cure?

The worst feeling, though, was going to the Time Warner Center on Saturday to pick up my bib and T-shirt. At the registration table, the volunteer helping me said that although they had plenty of “In Celebration Of” back signs, they’d run out of the “In Memory Of” ones. “That’s really depressing,” I said. I could’ve been misreading him, but the look on his face made me think that until that moment he’d been thinking of this only in terms of pieces of paper, not in terms of lives. “It is depressing,” he said.

Did you run with Sherri again?

She couldn’t make it, unfortunately—too crazy with work. But I met another runner, a talented filmmaker and photographer, on the way to Central Park; after talking for a little while, I realized that she and I, years ago, were in the same section of intro. photography in college. I love it when that happens.

Hop! I forgot to make a pledge in support of your participation in the race! I really wanted to. Can I still?

Yes. You have until October 31. You can go here, and do it on the web with a credit card, or you can write a check (I put some info. on how to do that here).

I can see by the weird, exploding, boiling thermometer-of-blood animation on your Komen page that you’ve met your goal. Congratulations! Should I still make a pledge?


I don’t have fifty dollars. Can I support your run with less?


I have a blog. Can I link from my blog to your Komen page?


I have friends with e-mail. Can I e-mail them a link to your Komen page?


Hey I sponsored your run already! Do I rock?

You do indeed rock, sweetie!

I’m making a pledge in support of your participation in the race today! Right now! Do I rock too?

Yes you do, hon! Thanks for your support.

Race for the Cure

On September 25 I’m running again in the Komen New York City Race for the Cure. Want to support me? The easiest way to do so is to go here and make a donation electronically.

A donation of $50 is the smallest of the pre-set levels, but you can make a smaller donation too. After you click on the “Make a gift!” link—just beneath the red thermometer—and come to the page that says “Please pick a contribution level,” down at the bottom of the radio buttons for donation amount options is one that says “Other Amount.” Every pledge of any size counts.

If you don’t want to make a donation on the Web, or don’t have a credit card, you can also sponsor my run with a check. Just make it out to to Komen Greater New York City, making sure to credit my name in the memo line, and mail it to:

Komen Greater New York City Race for the Cure
PO Box 9223, GPO
New York, NY 10087-9223

Here’s an illustration that I borrowed from a Komen pledge form PDF:

You can even support my run with cash if you prefer. Just give me the donation the next time you see me in person, and I’ll hand the money over to the Komen Foundation folks when I sign in the morning of the race.

I’ve set my goal at $550, because that’s how much ten super amazing lovely friends helped me raise last year. It’d be awesome to meet that goal this year or even surpass it. Money for education, screening, treatment, and research saves lives. Thanks for your support.