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What Is Love? Through The Years

Aug. 13th, 2006 | 07:59 pm

A long time ago

1345

1922

1971

1981

1989

1993

1997

2134

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The John Cheever Post

Aug. 11th, 2006 | 11:50 am

Read John Cheever stories. DO IT. He writes the greatest opening paragraphs I've ever read.

"This is being written aboard the S.S. Augustus, three days at sea. My suitcase is full of peanut butter, and I am a fugitive from the suburbs of all large cities."

"The Crutchmans were so very, very happy and so temperate in all their habits and so pleased with everything that came their way that one was bound to suspect a worm in their rosy apple and that the extrordinary rosiness of the fruit was only meant to conceal the gravity and depth of the infection."

"The Wrysons wanted things in the suburb of Shady Hill to remain exactly as they were. Their dread of change--of irregularity of any sort--was acute, and when the Larkin estate was sold for an old people's rest home, the Wrysons went to the Village Council meeting and demanded to know what sort of old people these old people were going to be."

"Our ideals of castles, formed in childhood, are inflexible, and why try to reform them? Why point out that in a real castle thistles grow in the courtyard, and the threshold of the ruined throne room is guarded by a nest of green adders?"

"Oh I hate small men and I will write about them no more but in passing I would like to say that's what my brother Richard is: small."

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book I read

Aug. 3rd, 2006 | 08:43 pm

My brother is currently, I believe, in Baltimore, hobnobbing with various other nerds of his particular stripe; while I was first disturbed that he felt it necessary to travel hundreds of miles to converse with large men with lackadaisical attitudes towards shaving and "secret" stashes of animated pornography in which girls in schoolgirl outfits with freakishly large breasts and excessive amounts of...fluids get it on, I'm starting to think it might not be such a bad idea. First of all, he's taking a camera to snap photos of the freaks in costumes. Second of all, he might "snap out of it", so to speak, and move on to other, more adult concerns. It's starting to freak me out, how immature he is. Was I that immature at that age? I sure hope not. And if I was, why weren't more people slapping me and saying "get laid" and/or "grow up"?

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to fall into and out of sexual relationships with the frequency of a fly jumping from entree to entree at a summer picnic? And do you also notice that some of these people are not in any way attractive? And they don't have much of a personality to speak of? I certainly knew some people in high school who were most likely swimming in venereal disease. To quote Roast Beef from my favorite comic, Achewood, if gonorrhea were piano these guys would be considered bold and unpredictable new talents.

I've got several grad schools in mind. The problem is I just don't think I've written anything good enough to be accepted. I haven't reached that level yet, and the deadlines are coming up quick. But you can't just pull things out of your ass at the last second when it comes to writing. I know that everything I write makes me better and everything I read makes me better. I read incessantly--42 novels so far this year by my count. And I write incessantly, most of which I throw out because it, well, sucks. A lot of what I write sucks...but now I can recognize that it sucks, and I'm halfway there in figuring out how to recognize how it sucks. However, I can't yet make it not suck. It gets very, very frustrating when the mind can recognize that something needs to be changed but can't yet determine how to change it. But nothing is easy; it's all hard work. If you want to achieve something it requires hard work. This is the first time I've really ever had a specific goal in my life, ever.

I was unmotivated in high school, because high school is not designed to engender motivation. It's a dead zone, mathematically seperated into parts, fifty minutes to a period, 8 periods to a day, with a break for lunch. They yank you in and four years later they squeeze you out. It was all my own fault, mostly. I was not interested in the things high school wanted to teach me. I was doing things like watching David Lynch films and reading Thomas Pynchon and William Burroughs novels. I was interested in anything that was odd. The moment something became popular I scorned it. Not a recipe for popularity, that's for sure.

I desperately, desperately want to get into the Iowa Writers Workshop. That's what I want. I don't care that nothing is guaranteed afterward. Nothing is ever guaranteed. I may write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. I may never publish a single thing in my life. Who knows. I just want to get in. I want to be around people who have the same desires and interests vis-a-vis writing that I do. The English majors here are not serious about it. They've read too much Hunter S. Thompson, who as great a writer as he was had some fairly odious ideas, and think that drugs and calculated eccentricity itself is enough to start a writing career. It's not. There must be talent under it. I'm not saying I have talent. If I have any, so far it's shown itself to be minor. I've gotten second place in the campus writing contest twice in a row. The first time it was probably justified. The second time it was utter bullshit.

It's all about the manuscript, it's all about the manuscript. Three stories.

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The Daily Photo

Aug. 2nd, 2006 | 11:32 pm
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song: Terry Reid - "Seed of Memory

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Some people are nice.

Aug. 1st, 2006 | 10:39 am

I ordered an Andre Dubus paperback off of the massive online used shop that is Half.com and recieved a book of V.S. Pritchett (also a worthwhile writer) short stories by mistake. So I let the guy know, and....

1. I get to keep the Pritchett book
2. He's sending me the original book I ordered
3. I get a full refund.

That rules! I get two books for free! This almost makes up for the time when I ordered Slint's Spiderland and never recieved anything.

Our bat hasn't showed up again. I called up our rental company during a break at work and was in turn given the somewhat ominous message "we'll take care of it", shortly followed by them hanging up. Um....okay. They better damn well take care of it! Those things have rabies! Especially if they seem somewhat insane, like this one did. I was divebombed three times! I wish I could have a cat--that'd take care of our bat problems. There is a hole in our wall that I stuffed with an issue of Time magazine; the front cover story was on that ridiculous Da Vinci Code shit, so it will be far more effective as a bat-proofer than it ever was as a piece of news or entertainment.

We're in the middle of a heat wave here and old people in large metropolitan areas are dropping like flies. In my apartment my t-shirt sticks to my body like it was glued on there and I killed a freakishly huge bug on my wall that exploded when I hit it with a rolled up magazine. Lots of green blood or whatever.

--edit--

This is just about the funniest comic I've ever read. I love Achewood.

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Why....

Jul. 30th, 2006 | 03:16 pm

are there bats in my goddamned apartment? Why is the bat flying around in the hallway? And why can't I find it now?

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Apparently....

Jul. 23rd, 2006 | 04:49 pm
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song: Devo - "Mongoloid"

our school is doing a big "Bring Back The 60s!" theme this year.

So...does that mean the more extreme radical students on campus are supposed to blow up Old Main again?

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This was just posted on Amazon.com this week

Jul. 22nd, 2006 | 03:27 pm

Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.

With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.

As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it's their lives that pursue them.

Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.

Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.

--Thomas Pynchon


Cool. And yes, it is 992 pages. A new book by what is generally considered the greatest author of the past fifty years? It's a big deal...

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survey thingy

Jul. 19th, 2006 | 12:51 am

SECTION 1 [ STATS ]
+ your name: Jon
+ your gender: male
+ age: 20
+ height: 6' 1"
+ hair color: brown
+ eye color: brown
+ your location: 124B south prince street
+ fears: spiders, icy steps

SECTION 2 [ HAVE YOU EVER ]
+ peed your pants? probably when I was younger
+ cheated on someone? no
+ fallen off the bed? yes
+ fallen for a relative? no
+ had plastic surgery? no
+ broke someone's heart? this face ain't a heartbreaker
+ had your heart broken? no
+ had a dream come true? not yet
+ done something you regret? quite a few things
+ cheated on a test? who hasn't? Oh yeah, SQUARES!!!
+ been raped? nope
+ broken a body part? arm

SECTION 3 [ CURRENTLY ]
+ wearing – jeans, ramones shirt
+ listening to – tchaikovsky
+ chewing - nothing
+ feeling - a little tired and hungry. not eating before bed though.
+ reading – salman rushdie - midnight's children, sam harris - the end of faith
+ located - bedroom
+ chatting with – steph
+ watching – nothing
+ should REALLY be - sleeping

SECTION 4 [ DO YOU... ]
+ brush your teeth? yes
+ like anybody? yeah this one chick maybe sorta actually no
+ have any piercing? no
+ believe in Santa Claus? Jesus christ, these questions....
+ ever get off the computer? every so often

SECTION 5 [ FRIENDS ]
+ do you belong to a crew? just the Cutting Crew
+ do you hang out with the opposite sex? yes
+ do you consider yourself popular? no
+ do you trust your friends? pretty much
+ are you a good friend? i'm awesome
+ can you keep a secret? yeah

SECTION 6 [ THE LAST PERSON YOU... ]
+ hugged – hell if i remember
+ IMed – kayla
+ talked to on the phone – my brother
+ yelled at ? – zac
+ fell in love with - nobody
+ turned down - a rakish youngster outside the local spirit-house

SECTION 7 [ PERSONAL ]
+ What do you want to be when you grow up? writer
+ What was the worst day of your life? plenty of candidates
+ What has been the best day of your life? I will refrain from quoting City Slickers
+ What comes first in your life? family/friends. the usual
+ Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend/crush? – not right now
+ If you had an extra set of eyes were would you put them? on my index fingers
+ What do you usually think about before you go to bed? the random crap that runs through all our heads

SECTION 8 [ FAVORITE . . . ]
+ Movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey
+ Song: Pavement - Summer Babe
+ Group: mogwai, pavement, guided by voices
+ Store: used bookstores
+ Relative: grandparents!
+ Sport: football to watch
+ Vacation Spot: anyplace nice
+ Fruit: strawberries
+ Candy: Twizzlers Pull and Peel
+ Holiday: Christmas
+ Day of the Week: Friday
+ Color: I refuse to answer
+ Magazine: Bookforum
+ Name for a Girl: Enid
+ Name for a Boy: Stephen

SECTION 9 [ DO YOU . . . ]
+ Like to give hugs - yeah
+ Like to walk in the rain? not really
+ Sleep with or without clothes on? with
+ Prefer black or blue pens? blue
+ Dress up on Halloween? no
+ Have a job? Cygnus Business Media
+ Like to travel? – indeed
+ Like someone? wow, this fucking survey is insistent
+ Sleep on your side, stomach or back? back
+ Think you're attractive? - i suppose
+ Want to marry? - yes
+ Have a goldfish? - no
+ Ever have the falling dream? - no
+ Have stuffed animals? - no
+ Go on vacation? – not fucking lately

SECTION 10 [ WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT . . . ]
+ Abortion: go right ahead.
+ Bill Clinton: charisma!
+ Eating Disorders: they're not good for you?
+ Summer: can be extremely boring
+ Tattoos: hot on the ladies
+ Piercing: also hot on the ladies
+ Make-up: fine. I sure don't use it.
+ Drinking: makes me feel all wiggly
+ Guys: are disgusting
+ Girls: are pretty. How eloquent!

SECTION 11 [ THIS OR THAT ]
+ Pierced nose or tongue? – doesn't matter to me
+ Be serious or funny? - Funny
+ Single or taken? uh? In regards to what?
+ Simple or Complicated? - Complicated!
+ MTV or BET? BET actually shows videos.
+ 7th Heaven or Dawson's Creek? - 7th Heaven. It's funny-bad as opposed to boring-bad.
+ Sugar or salt? - Salt
+ Silver or gold? - Gold
+ Tongue or belly button ring? whichever
+ Chocolate or flowers? chocolate
+ Angels or miracles? neither exist
+ Color or Black-and-white photos? black and white
+ Sunrise or sunset? - Didn't Buck Swope and Jessie St. Vincent talk about this?
+ M&M's or Skittles? M&M's
+ Rap or Rock? - Rock
+ Stay up late or sleep in? – Stay up late
+ TV or radio? - Radio
+ Hot or cold? - Hot
+ members of the opposite sex taller or shorter? - doesn't matter
+ Sun or moon? - Sun
+ Diamond or Ruby? – ruby
+ Left or Right? right
+ 10 acquaintances or one best friend? One best friend.
+ Vanilla or chocolate? - chocolate
+ Kids or no kids? - kids
+ Half-empty or Half-full? – Half empty
+ Mustard or ketchup? mustard
+ Newspaper or Magazine? - Magazine
+ Spring or Fall? - fall
+ Give or receive? - receive
+ Rain or snow? - snow.
+ Happy or sad? - being manic is far, far better than being depressed. Depression is baaaaaaaad
+ sneakers or sandals? sneakers
+ McDonald's or Burger King? McDonald's
+ Mexican or Italian food? - Italian
+ Lights on or off? - off
+ A house in the woods or the city? There aren't many "houses" in the city....to live in the city you're probably gonna be in an apartment.
+ Pepsi or Coke? - Pepsi
+ Nike or ADIDAS? - ahhh, who cares

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more stuff

Jul. 18th, 2006 | 11:24 am

D.H. Lawrence is a great writer, but he's got the attitude towards sex of a fifteen year-old. It's the whole "I don't want to sully the beautiful girl of my dreams by having sex with her" disease that often afflicts young, overly sensitive guys of that age. To be fair, Lawrence owns up to it but I still think his whole attitude towards sex (which is a large part of his work) is a great distraction.

It's strange how life works. For his whole life, the writer Philip K. Dick lived in near-poverty. At times, he and his wife did not have enough money to pay the late fines on library books. In 1982, he died of a stroke. Since then, 12 of his novels have been made into movies, including, most famously, Blade Runner, Minority Report, The Truman Show, Total Recall, Impostor, Paycheck, and most recently, A Scanner Darkly. If he were still alive, he would be a millionaire many times over. Life just doesn't work out sometimes.

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