<= 2000.12

2001.02 =>

[JANUARY 2001.]

armed forces

Up late working on my accursed novella. Here's a summary, consisting of the words I've had to teach Word 2000's spell checker in the past few days:

Retinae, plasmid, metastasized, iridesce, talentless, indie, resect, frisbee, irides, sclerae, rainclouds, palo verde, wireframe, microliter, dorky, Kahlua, eyepatch, macchiato, edetic acid.

I got a survey in my Workshop mailbox today, which is apparently directed to all graduate students. Among other things, it asks me whether I feel that different expectations are placed upon students of color, and whether my thesis advisor has ever sexually harassed me. I don't even have a thesis advisor yet, so there goes one more opportunity for action.

People are making my life easier by sending interesting content. From Grantino, an exploration of the limits of the United States Postal Service.

First, this experiment yielded a 64% delivery rate (18/28), an almost two-thirds success rate.... This is astounding, considering the nature of some of the items sent.... Second, the delivery involved the collusion of sequences of postal workers, not simply lone operatives. The USPS appears to have some collective sense of humor, and might in fact here be displaying the rudiments of organic bureaucratic intelligence.

And from Valkyrie, the new George W. Bush $200 bill and the Dairy Queen that treats it as legal tender. Thanks, folks.

The chili I ate at midnight is coming back to haunt me. I suspect the writing life is kind of always like this, and I don't know how that makes me feel.


cow tse-tung

Today is mp3 day. Two tracks from Radiohead's forthcoming Amnesiac, "You And Whose Army?" and "Pyramid Song," are available here. It appears that the tracks were played at a Sundance-related event and someone was in the crowd with a DAT recorder. So the quality's about what you'd expect, but hey, new Radiohead. In unrelated news, I yesterday received Cows With Guns (5 mB download) via email from Grantino. I don't know where it came from. But like the power utilities, I pass the cost on to you.

"There is not a single person in this state that does not benefit from this."
-California Assemblyman Steve Kuykendall, 1996, immediately after the passage of energy deregulation.

Lengthy Salon article explaining who's to blame for the California energy debacle. (Answer: everyone.) Note that SoCal Edison, at least, was making out quite well for a while. An odd footnote is that state Senator Steve Peace, the chairman of the committee that formed the deregulation bill, was previously best known as a screenwriter and cast member in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

The National Book Critics' Circle 2000 nominees are out. I haven't read any of them because I'm lame and poor and can't buy stuff in hardcover.


ambiguity half price

Visit Amazon via this URL, which can be bookmarked, and a small portion of your purchase gets donated to Planned Parenthood at no cost to you.

We had an anti-Super Bowl party last night. It involved eating lots of California rolls and shrimp quesadillas and watching Iron Chef at Steve's house. While home for the holidays, Steve managed to record a 24-hour New Year's Iron Chef marathon from the Food Network. I know you all are probably hipper than me and are intimately familiar with the show already, but this was a first for me: the Kitchen Stadium lit with flaming torches; the chairman who makes that dashing smile after biting into the yellow bell pepper; the secret ingredient (in this case, peaches) ascending from the smoke-filled pit; the Iron Chefs rising up in front of their portraits, and the poor afterthought Iron Chef Italian who has to appear on the side; the minor Japanese celebrities (including members of Parliament) who they bring in to judge; the backstory they make up for the challenger (in this case, his wife left him and his parents' house burnt down, and he still lost to Iron Chef French).

Time.com interprets this year's crop of Super Bowl ads as the demise of the dotcom era, and of course they have a point, but they shouldn't be allowed to reference "Ozymandias." We also watched that Australian Survivor premiere thing, though I'm safe at home because I don't get CBS.

It's currently two degrees above freezing, which means that for variety's sake it's raining rather than snowing. Oy gevalt.


bathe in bradness

Super Bowl, pooper bowl. It distracts people from CNN. Although if indeed "[s]ports, politics and religion are the three passions of the badly educated," as William H. Gass claims, then I'm not doing any better. But then Gass's views are often elitist and ill-considered, so screw him too. I've started having dreams about bacon.

Something about the weather is messing with the casette deck in my car. It plays slightly slower than normal, so that all the songs shift down about a whole step. Suddenly I can sing along with Black Francis/Frank Black, and when Tom Waits growls it's downright menacing.

We went to see Snatch the other night. It was Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with more elaborately cute editing. Brad Pitt entertained me, but then he usually does; he seems to have more going on upstairs than, say, Leonardo Wilhelm diCaprio. There's that Fight Club-era interview, unfortunately titled "The Unbearable Bradness of Being", where in between the predictable celeb stuff he talks about the Chuck Palahniuk novel vis à vis Kafka, Beckett and Radiohead. We also saw trailers for The Adventures of Joe Dirt, The Brothers, and Saving Silverman, all three being the five-minute sort of trailer that renders it unnecessary to actually see the movie, which is good because I don't really want to see any of those. Until halfway through The Brothers I thought the premise was that they were voluntarily giving up womanizing and turning gay, which would have been much more interesting.

New book on string theory and suchlike questions of the cosmic. It "covers roughly the same territory as Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time," says the review, "with the benefit of 10 years' additional research."

Huh, Guy Ritchie has my birthday.



I prepared fish last night. It seemed to go well, except there were these parts I couldn't cut with a knife so I had to use scissors. It was sanitary; I washed them and everything.

A while back I was curious about who else was using my hosting company, so I poked around the FTP directory to see who's here. It's all local Iowa City/Cedar Rapids stuff, and aside from the usual hardware stores and Christian youth retreats, there's this trio of disaffected young men using Blogger who appear to be undergrads here: diaperedmonkey.com, helmetboy.com, and lonelyelf.net.

Via robotwisdom: Beckett on film. I want to sing that to the tune of Duran Duran's "Girls on Film," and I don't know why. These films do look like an interesting lot, involving the likes of Harold Pinter and David Mamet, and there's some stuff about Beckett's autocratic tendencies (in 1988, after failing to block an all-female Dutch production of Waiting for Godot, he banned all of his plays from appearing in the Netherlands, period).

Dept. of Space Semantics: the American Museum of Natural History wants to demote Pluto from a planet to a lump of ice.


leads, john, i need the leads

Woke up this morning with sore legs and thought, "Oh shit, pain in the legs is the first sign of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome." Then I remembered I went running yesterday. A nice guy called this morning and tried to sell me DSL, which momentarily tempted me because it was 9 a.m. and I was bleary and in my underwear. But after about 45 seconds I decided I was too poor. Then I felt bad because it seemed like I'd been leading the poor telemarketer on; he sounded older and I pictured him as the Shelly character in Glengarry Glen Ross, played by William H. Macy, sad and isolated and sexually unfulfilled and about to do something desperate.

It also snowed again last night. And it was just getting to the point where I could walk to my car without having to worry about slipping on the ice and cracking my occipital bone.

The Useless Trivia Dept. presents this wonderful online dictionary of obscure units of measurement. I had no idea there was terminology in place for most of this stuff. Examples:

degree Quevenne (°Q): a unit measuring the density of milk. 1 °Quevenne represents a difference in specific gravity of 0.001, so, for example, 20 °Q milk has specific density 1.020.

shannon (Sh): a unit of information content used in information and communications theory. The definition is based on the idea that less-likely messages are more informative than more-likely ones (for example, if a volcano rarely erupts, then a message that it is erupting is more informative than a message it is not erupting). If a message has probability p of being received, then its information content is -log2 p shannons. For example, if the message consists of 10 letters, and all strings of 10 letters are equally likely, then the probablity of a particular message is 1/2610 and the information content of the message is 10(log2 26) = 47.004 shannons. This unit was originally called the bit, because when the message is a bit string and all strings are equally likely, then the information content turns out to equal the number of bits. One shannon equals log10 2 = 0.301030 hartley. The unit is named for the American mathematician Claude Shannon (b. 1916), the founder of information theory.

mease: a unit of quantity formerly used by fishermen. The mease equals the number of herring in a basket, roughly 620.

NASA presents pictures of Earth's magnetic field.


separation of powers

Lyse sends in a correction on yesterday's Japanese onomatopoeia:

Actually, to be exact, bon-cyu-bon is onomatopoetic for a curvy american woman's body. Japanese bodies, by comparison, go "sshuu!" I had this explained to me by a 12-year old japanese kid who was comparing our respective heights and other crucial measurements.

Well, Gore's new job makes sense. He'll fit in perfectly as that one professor everyone has: the guy who dresses immaculately and lectures in syntax more dense than most other people's writing, with the result that everyone's afraid to go to his office hours. Can you imagine office hours with Al? I've decided the man resembles a Komodo dragon.

How Komodo dragons mate and take down deer.

In their dreams, rats work out the psychic trauma involved in running mazes during the day. Makes sense to me.

Entranced this week by Modest Mouse's The Moon and Antarctica. I know everyone feels betrayed when their favorite lo-fi bands move to major labels, but seriously, sometimes they don't want to record in basements any more. The lyrics on this one are marvelous. The refrain from "3rd Planet":

The universe is shaped exactly like the earth
If you go straight long enough you'll end up where you were

is actually a pretty succinct explanation of Riemannian space-time curvature and the theory of a finite yet unbounded universe. It's good to get these things in your indie rock.

How to get out of academia before it's too late.


one was magenta the other was blue

If I don't watch it, this is just going to turn into a repository for Chris Offutt quotes. Yesterday, attacking onomatopoeia in literature:

There's no point in using the word "quack." What is that? Nothing else quacks but a duck, and they don't quack, they make duck sounds.

Here's a small collection of Japanese onomatopoeia, which is much more comprehensive than English (e.g., sounds for "walking" and "a screwed up situation"). This list does, however, omit crucial sounds such as sticks breaking (poki), the squeezing of women's breasts (momi-momi), and the female figure in general (bon-kyu-bon).

On to week two of a diet without beef or any other mammal flesh because, hey, no sense in doing things by half measures. It seems to be going well. I do feel queasy and dizzy a lot of the time, but I think that was happening anyway. I desperately need to find more creative things to do with chicken. At one-thirty this morning a group of young men wandered into my parking lot and started screaming in unison:

Runaway train, never coming BACK!
Wrong way on a one-way TRACK!
Seems like I should be GETTING SOMEWHERE!
Somehow I'm neither HERE nor THERE!

Excerpt from Edward Hooper's The River, theorizing that AIDS may have begun with 1950s polio vaccinations in the Belgian Congo. It's kind of long and the prose is a little overcooked (there are also quite nasty descriptions of people dying), but it's a provoking idea.

Why do you give a tanker a cute name like "Jessica" when you know it'll just go and do something like this? Someone needs to keep these things in mind.

Today's spark of brilliance from the time.com message board:

I am frustrated that members of the Democratic party is hanging on to killing babies, before they are born. I can see why most Democrats voted Republican.


pornography? or catholicism?

Chris in seminar yesterday on why all writers seem to hold their pencils wrong: "It's because we started writing as soon as we could pick up a pencil, before anyone could tell us the right way to do it." So if you hold your pencil wrong, feel flattered. Chris also expounded on his new book: "It's due in a week. I have to overnight it in a week. It's an extremely bad book, I think. They don't know that yet. I've been working 12 to 15 hours a day on it. And it'll be out in a year. Christ."

The letter W vindictively removed from White House keyboards.

If you accidentally flushed something up the condenser.

Today's dead people's birthdays: Sergei Eisenstein (would be 103), Humphrey Bogart (102), Django Reinhardt (91).


hanging out the fifteenth floor

The New York Review of Books examines Hooking Up, the latest from Tom Wolfe. Frankly, the review makes it sound perfectly flatulent. Wolfe is desperately trying to stay contemporary, but he's just gotten weird: trying to reduce all literature to an anatomy of class distinction, attacking Norman Mailer's hips and John Updike's bladder. Not that his rivals are doing much better. I saw Mailer speak a couple years ago and he's gone full-out Luddite. When an earnest young CS student asked him if some technology wasn't somehow useful, Mailer replied that but for the invention of the wheel, humans might have been forced to develop their telepathic abilities instead, thus creating a far happier society. Updike, for his part, is still writing about adultery (e.g., "Free," New Yorker, 8 January 2001), and it's gone so far beyond trite that we need a new lexicon to describe it. Great Novelists of Past Generations, you shame me.

I'm dropping the smartass commentator persona long enough to give some background. This whole site sort of started in medias res. Briefly:

I live in a room. It's not a bad room; it's fairly big, and has little separate kitchen and bath areas and everything. I have a futon and four bookcases and a television that gets three channels. But still, it's just a room. This time of year, the weather in Iowa isn't really conducive to leaving the house, so I stay in a lot. The fact that writing as a vocation involves spending a lot of time alone only compounds the problem. I haven't had a face-to-face conversation with a human being since Friday, and that conversation lasted twenty seconds and involved the price of the orange juice I was buying. This exacerbates other difficulties, like the hereditary anxiety disorder I discovered I had last semester (much better now, thanks), which was one of my main spurs to start this site in the first place.

In feeling isolated, I'm hardly alone in the Workshop. A lot of people, in order to come out here, have committed themselves to long-distance relationships and occasionally marriages. Parties do occur on the weekends, and we all make an effort to go out after the weekly workshop meeting, but there's really no getting around the prodigious amount of free time we all have. In particular, I have the dubious blessing of not having to TA any courses. The idea, of course, is that we have enormous amounts of time to sit and produce deathless poetry or prose; but creative work drains certain crucial batteries, and often it seems the only way to recharge them is human contact. Again, I'm not alone here in thinking this.

"So get out of the house more," the civic-minded among you are saying. It's difficult, somehow. As one would expect, the other writers are all funny, intelligent, articulate people; but we're also all kind of introverted and weird in our own ways. We do get along, but there's always a competitive undercurrent. It's much worse in poetry, as I understand it. Since nobody in this country makes a living solely as a poet (as opposed to fiction, where like twelve people can make a living), everyone hopes for post-graduation fellowships, which are more or less bestowed at the whim of Jorie Graham. Apparently it's gotten so bad that Jorie Graham's favorite students are also the most popular, the reasoning being that if you befriend one of her favorites maybe you can get some sort of second-iteration Jorie Graham grace.

It's not that I'm unhappy to be here; my writing is already orders of magnitude better than it was in August. And the school is of course doing excellent things for my putative career - though that word, for this and other reasons, is starting to acquire the connotations of an obscenity. It can just be a weird insular existence sometimes.

To close: the perils of dating artist boys and musician boys. Hands up, everyone who feels an affinity with the personality type.


you know where you can stick those feelings

Katherine Harris, in low-cut strapless black tafetta, is the belle of the ball? Ewwww. Ew ew ew.

Gregory Corso (1930-2001).

A bullet-holed lion excited the dying child
    by yelping two-legged across the floor
    by scratching two-legged upon the door
The witch-doctor plugged his ears - the mother went wild!
The father came home the following year
    threw a week's purse with a curse
    into the witch-doctor's lap that couldn't hear
The wife sat in a corner scrubbing the skin of the lion.
"Make the bed! Make the bed!" he said.
She took the lion to another room
Came back; washed the blood from the door,
    put the dead child on the floor
And cleaned the sheets with a broom.
That night as the father lay sleeping
The wounded lion came in creeping;
The wife ran up to it, and on her knees fell:
"Lion, lion," she said, "my mind is not well."
-from The Vestal Lady on Brattle

Plastic.com: is it hot or not? It could work. Looks like the same hierarchical structure as Slashdot, only everyone says ironic things about pop culture instead of arguing about mSQL versus MySQL or BSD/OS versus ASP/IIS or whatever. I swear to God it's like an unwritten rule that all tech speak has to devolve into the Battle of the Acronyms.

Don't know how it looks in other parts of the country, but today the Internet is slow as molasses round here. Must be those pesky backhoes.


flail to the chief

Today's big primate news, of course, happened at noon Eastern Standard Time. But I don't walk to talk about that, other than to hope that Neal Pollack's protest goes well. I want to talk about lesser-known primate news, like Raju, the trained monkey who rids New Delhi government buildings of other monkeys. (Thanks Felisa.)

The Junot Díaz story in the Christmas New Yorker has made me a convert. I saw Díaz read a couple years ago and thought he was fine and everything, but this one ("The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao") is incredible in all kinds of ways, especially its voice. It simply shouldn't be permissible to mix Chicano lingo with sci-fi dork-speak like this:

That May, Oscar was, for once, in better spirits. A couple of months earlier, after a particularly nasty bout with the Darkness, he'd started another one of his diets and combined it with long, lumbering walks around the neighborhood, and guess what? The nigger stuck with it and lost close on twenty pounds! A milagro! He'd finally repaired his ion drive; the evil planet Gordo was pulling him back but his fifties-style rocket, the Hijo de Sacrificio, wouldn't quit. Behold our cosmic explorer: eyes wide, lashed to his acceleration couch, his hand over his mutant heart.

Does it work? Of course. It's brilliant. The whole (rather long) story is like that, and it's ultimately very moving in that funny-sad way.

Virtual sex: scientific progress marches on. "The doll itself will be essentially passive, but certain key body parts would be motor driven."


curse of the rhinovirus

I suppose one shouldn't expect the St. Louis airport to be a bastion of sterility. Ever since that adventure I've been wandering around coughing and my mucous membranes are giving 110 percent to the cause. Here's what the virus looks like, for those who like their germs colorful.

China sent a monkey, a dog and a rabbit into space? Where the hell have I been? That's one quarter of the Chinese astrological calendar right there. I'm inclined to feel underrepresented on behalf of myself and all my friends who were born in 1978, but then getting a horse into space would be a whole different magnitude of problem. There were snails too, but what does one say about snails?

Scientists make superdense matter by smashing gold nuclei together, the theory being that they can knock protons and neutrons into their component quarks. I'm sceptical. They finally found the top quark - or at least they found the particle trails that are most likely byproducts of its decay - but nobody knows why the damn thing weighs so much. There's also the problem of theory predicting that protons should occasionally decay into their component quarks, but when they got several billion protons together in the form of an underground tank of water and monitored it for months on end, nothing happened. Just on instinct, I suspect that quark theory isn't the end of it. It seems like every time we get close to a complete model, a few inconsistencies crop up and suddenly an entirely new, more basic level emerges. At this point, with all the quarks and leptons and their corresponding antiparticles, we're looking at 24 elementary particles, and that's not even counting massless particles like photons. On a purely aesthetic level it's too sloppy for a fundamental structure, if you ask me.

Time photo essay from the set of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Woo! Rumor has it that the Magnetic Fields are set to score the next Ang Lee film, but I don't know if that's official/public information yet.


peel my love like a funyun

Last night I'm walking back from the laundry room with my basket full of clean shirts and underwear, and there are three scruffy-looking college-age white guys hanging around outside my door. They appear to be friends of my neighbors, who so far as I can tell are nice enough girls with lots of Christian iconography on their walls. As I walk past one of the guys says, "A timetable has been set. In one week and four days the ritual will be performed."

"What ritual?" asks one of the other guys.

"Five Great Dragons-" says the first guy, and then I'm inside my apartment. At first I thought that there were budding KKK members next door, but turns out I've got my terminology mixed up; the Klan term is "Grand Dragon," as in The Punch James W. Sheely, Grand Dragon of the KKK, in the Face Game. Lyse says the people next door are likely just D&D dorks, and since a search for the phrase "Great Dragon" only turns up sites like this, she's probably right.

Did everyone see the Roger Ebert review of last year's Dungeons & Dragons?

And then there are the dragons. What, I asked myself, is their nature? Are they intelligent? Loyal? Obedient? Do they wait for eons in dungeons, until they are needed? Do they eat? Reproduce? At one point Profion releases one from its lair, but he hasn't fitted his scepter with the correct missing part, and so the dragon attacks and breathes fire and has to be skewered by a falling gate. (Its blood flows into a river which begins to burn, just like the Cuyahoga before the cleanup.)

Sites like Stor are why I'm an Anglophile. Their current product is this delightful Java applet that lets you make cartoon avatars of people. So I of course did myself and a couple others.

me lyse poe78

For everyone who, like me, didn't understand why California ran out of power in the first place, CNN explains the deal with deregulation. Succinctly: in an effort to open up the market, companies like PG&E had to sell off most of their plants and start buying power wholesale from other, independent companies. The rest is the brutal logic of the market.

Nasdaq lives, though.


do not take communists to the prom

So Chris is my teacher this semester. He doesn't really look like that picture any more; he has better hair and he's grown a wild and woolly beard. Due to his rural Kentucky origins, his porn star name (first pet owned + first street lived on) is "Pumpy Dirt Road." Also found recently: a riot grrl's paean to Po Bronson and Ethan.

And Ethan with that smile and openness, he is a giver, not as distant as Po. Ethan's eyes bore into me. I want to run my hand along that chisled [sic] jaw.

We kept meaning to bring a printout to class and show it to Ethan, but it never quite happened.

Camille Paglia, a very smart lady and a feminist liberal Democrat, attacks the current state of feminism, liberalism and the Democratic party and is quite eloquent even if you don't agree with her. "Hysterical chameleon" is a damned apt description of Gore on the campaign trail. As a bonus, McSweeney's has assembled a Paglia collage autobiography.

Clinton declares six new national monuments, including 486,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert. There's something more than a little undignified about the man's continued scramble for a legacy, but hey, if he's doing good things.

Finally have my own copy of Belle and Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. The liner notes are so damn cute:

Belle And Sebastian were the product of botched capitalism. It would be nice to say they were the children of socialism, but that would be a fib. They rolled together as loose change is bound to. Change in the pocket of some fat cat civil servant. Who thought up Youth Training to make his boss look good. Who pokled the figures to make her boss look good. Who slept with a prostitute for credibility. We take our hats off to them all.

Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant.


jump up bright paper werewolves

In San Francisco they don't scrawl graffiti in public bathrooms any more; they write URLs, like bushneverwonflorida.com and toostupidtobepresident.com. Also, there's been a man walking around Union Square in a nice suit and sunglasses recalling those aliens with almond-shaped eyes. His sign reads "12 Galaxies Protest Bush Inauguration."

Laboratorium explains those moral copyright notices in British editions of books: e.g., "Jeanette Winterson has asserted her right to be identified as author of this Work." I first ran across this in a copy of Gut Symmetries, which is odd since if I were Jeanette Winterson I wouldn't really want any association, moral or otherwise, with it.

Are we losing those Priceline.com William Shatner ads? They amused me, at least. This article is also entertaining as it contains the most succint indictment I've seen of dotcom marketing.

"A lot of us never understood why William Shatner would have been the spokesman for Priceline," [says Laura Mitrovich, marketer for the Yankee Group.] "A lot of Internet companies did not make ads that we all understood."

Mad cow disease makes it to McDonald's in Italy. I'm also banned for life from donating blood. Related diseases have made it into sheep, elk and deer herds this side of the Atlantic, and now there are dead cows in the American Midwest with uncertain diagnosis. That's it; I'm not eating beef any more. For reasons I can't entirely articulate, this business scares the shit out of me beyond any reasonable level.

More cheerfully, Paul Tatara's Worst Movies of 2000.


beat me in st louis

3:48 a.m., Central time. I'm in the Lambert airport in St. Louis. I've been here all night and will presumably be here until 11:30, when the next flight to Cedar Rapids takes off. Everything tonight got canceled because of fog. TWA said they were very sorry and suggested I find a hotel where I might be able to get a discounted rate. Your discounted rate, I replied, can suck donkey dingaling, only of course I said it mentally. So I'm in the airport. It's me and the janitors. Whenever they walk by they sort of glare at me, which I suppose makes sense considering this is tidy-up time for the airport and here I am slouching around and availing myself of the bathroom and using up paper towels and so on before they have a chance to clean up in the first place.

I haven't slept. I tried for a while but every time I'm about to drop off I suddenly freak out and think someone's going to steal my laptop, or else the recording of the man with the hideously debonair voice comes on and says:

St. Louis county ordinances and Missouri state law prohibit smoking in the airport, except in designated smoking lounges. Please refer to the directory for their location. Thank you for your cooperation.

I get reminded of this like every five minutes. Also there's this pay phone next to me that for no apparent reason periodically emits a tone pitched so high that it's right on the edge of humanly detectable frequencies, so you're never sure if you're hearing it or not. There it goes again. Horrid! Also they just put on a Muzak version of "Something," which is my favorite Beatles song. I can only interpret this as a personal insult to me from the city of St. Louis. Also my throat hurts and I've developed a cough and my immune system isn't really in top form to fight whatever airport pathogen I've contracted.

TWA gave me a baggie to make me feel better. The baggie has dental hygiene implements and a razor and a little trial-size thing of detergent. I don't understand what the detergent is for. I suppose I could theoretically remove my underwear in a bathroom stall and then wash it in the sink, but I haven't gotten that bored yet. TWA gave me nothing else. I guess this is what I should expect from a bankrupt airline. The current location of my luggage is highly unclear.

I ate dinner at a bar called "Cheers." They gave me a cheeseburger and 33 ounces of Sam Adams. I didn't realize that the big beer was 33 ounces, but it was, so I drank it and then the moving sidewalks were amusing so I spent a while going back and forth on those. Then an hour later I got sort of an instahangover and since then I've been reading. So far I've read Ishiguro's Remains of the Day and Abe's Woman in the Dunes. The former was wonderful and I'm kicking myself for not getting around to Ishiguro sooner. The plight of the latter's man and woman was kind of like Beckett's people in jars, only more poignant because something vaguely akin to love exists between the two.

Suddenly a sorrow the color of dawn welled up in him. They might as well lick each other's wounds. But they would lick forever, and the wounds would never heal, and in the end their tongues would be worn away.

What is up with this plaintive ultrahigh frequency dog whistle fucking phone? I think I might have more books on me, but I haven't looked yet because there's all this long underwear to dig through in my luggage. I don't know either.

Now comes the big question of can I actually update the site from the airport. Answer: no, because the pay phones have data ports but I don't have a phone cord. So this will have to go up after the fact, this afternoon, once I get to Iowa City. Happy January, folks.


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