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Monthly Archives: November 2005

on landlords  §

When I moved, I had only been in my apartment for six months and I was an ideal tenant: never a disturbance, always paid my rent, nice to everyone. Plus, I cleaned from top to bottom before I left. I spent two whole days cleaning a little studio that wasn’t even dirty to begin with. The place was spotless — spotless and without a speck of dust anywhere — and smelled of lemon scent and bleach. It was as pristine as the day I moved in six months earlier.

Nevertheless, my landlord took $150 from my deposit for “general cleaning” before returning me the rest. Santa Barbara = the worst place on Earth to try to find housing. They charge you $$$ for application fees, you can’t get a studio for less than $900, the deposit is as big as the @#$% rent, and when you leave, no matter how short your stay or how clean you left the place, they shaft you to the tune of $$$.

Stupid fucking California leeches. It’s not like they need the money, owning 293482369328493284 units that they rent out at $293482037503294803298423065y732098403284 a month. They’re just a bunch of wining and dining greedy bourgeois bastards that will be the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes — a revolution led, god willing, by brown unamericans that will gleefully slaughter their white wasp asses.

This has been my rant on capitalism, California, and deposit money lost.

not knowing but still breathing  §

First snow of the season seems to have struck. It was hardly a storm at all, but at least it happened, and it has left me feeling a little better, and also a little wistful. I can’t help but think that maybe it’s time I got myself drugged up with neuroaffective treatments because I’m just not onboard with the project of the marketplace right now.

All of this cold-weather mobile living talk has me wanting to be a nomad and drop out of the market economy. But I’ll need solar panels first.

I really, really, really disklike capital modernity. And without a doubt, apathy is creeping in at the edges. My edges. I am beginning to wonder whether I care about any cause or idea at all, or whether in all truth I now see the human race as a half-dozen-billion foregone conclusions asking me to bow politely in keeping with an arbitrary behavioral coda that suggests the underlying presence of a collective kind of insanity.

Why, exactly, is life important, suffering bad, poverty hurtful, or liberty desirable? Why anything? I know that these are dangerous, simplistic, and un”help”fully nihilistic questions. But no-one seems able to answer them anyway. Why, exactly, shouldn’t I shoot a room full of coffee shop customers, either with paintballs, a camera, or a shotgun? Why, exactly, shouldn’t I do the same to myself?

Why shouldn’t I set myself on fire in the middle of a lake or tie myself to railroad tracks while covered with a metal ramp to cause a derailment with my own body mass? Why shouldn’t I explode a bomb in an amusement park to send roller coasters flying through space in the way they seem to want to do so badly?

What, exactly, has Bin Laden done that’s so wrong, or Jimmy Carter done that’s so right?

Once you stop cheering for a team, the game is rather uninteresting and ridiculous. And if you’re not really playing in the game or playing for any side, the selection of a team as your own champion is really, at the heart of things, arbitrary and capricious.

The one remaining genre of art, of the avant-garde, that has been woefully underdone is the one that involves wanton mass manipulation or termination of human lives. It has been done to some extent (9/11 for example), but it is the one avenue in representation and exposition that has not yet degenerated into pure advertising and simulacra.

stupid fucking shit  §

Feminism as a project is dead.

A lot of thirty-something through fifty-something women out there flailing around manaically, rabidly foaming at the mouth at nothing in particular because despite having “won” every “battle” they ever set out to win, they find themselves largely at the same point at which they started: unfulfilled and somehow deeply insecure about being women, feeling small in the face of the universe and mistakenly believing that it is because women have somehow “lost” something to or because of men.

Not true. There is nothing inherently wrong or less powerful about the position of being a woman. The hollowness and lack of fulfillment you feel are not the result of being a woman in a man’s world. Your lack of empowerment is not the result of a patriarchal society. I know you’re positive — absolutely positive — that this is the case. You’re sure that I just don’t know because I’m a man and am therefore not subject to all of the same unique and sublime tragedies and miseries of womanhood, that I am a king living on my throne, built on your backs and intended to reign for a thousand years over the hapless bodies of the female slaveity.

No. Though you won’t believe me, I am unyieldingly comfortable in the assertion that the hollowness and lack of fulfillment you feel is the result of being alive in a modern, godless universe. How are women so naive as to think that death, taxes, emptiness and war are the result of male impulses alone? Where do they get the notion that men are somehow powerful enough to have overcome all these themselves, happy instead to foist them on the unsuspecting female component of the population simply in the interest of amusement?

The feminists (stupidly) wanted jobs. Well they got them. They actively fought their way into a repressive, dehumanizing economy only to find (shock of shocks) that they felt as repressed and dehumanized as working men always have. Then they ceded parenthood, convinced that it was the lack of a biological imperative to reproduce and bear young that gave men the transcendent power that women (mistakenly) attribute to us. They got what they wanted — less family, no children, no relationship responsibilities — only to find (shocked somehow once again) that they now felt as alone as men always have. Over and over modern women have rejected the priveleged esteem in which men once held them. They have rejected it in its entirety and have fought determinedly to live like men — and now in their astonishment at the unhappiness of such an existence, they assert wildly that we are lying to them about what it means to be us, because for all those decades they were sure that we lived like drunken monarchs, yet now, living as men they simply feel like isolated paupers. And so it is that now it’s not at all clear what women want; they have no idea what sacred cow to fight next, having killed nearly all of them and felt ever worse, rather than ever better. They begin to simply descend into a diatribe on the desire to dominate, or even to eliminate, the choices and lives of men in general.

No feminist will believe me, but I can say with confidence already that once the last man has been killed or put into the grave — once you have spitefully eliminated us all and the world is full of nothing but a sisterhood of wiccan earth mother overcompensating females — there will still be death, taxes, emptiness and war. Congratulations, you have discovered the Chinese puzzle of modernity fully two hundred years after the men you hate so much found themselves trapped inside it.

Yes, even without men you will still all get wrinkes and sags, and eventually rot and be eaten by worms. You will still feel unhappy about it because (yet again, shock of almighty shocks) it wasn’t the attention of or the standards of men that made you fear the loss of beauty, it was the mortality that it portends that made you quake. And yes, before you do die, you will still want the ameneties — roads, medical care, clean water, the rule of law — and you will still find yourselves fighting (only now much more brutally and vindictively, in that way that only women can) when you disagree. And like the poor, hapless men whose lives you wanted so badly, you will have no fucking idea what any of it is for.

The feminists just don’t get it: it’s not that they’re unfulfilled and scared and unhappy because they haven’t won yet. There is nothing to win. Men are also unfulfilled and scared and unhappy, perhaps even moreso now, having been repeatedly betrayed by fully half the human race. No girls, you are in for the sad shock of your lives: unfulfillment, fear, and unhappiness are simply the spoils of having been born an intelligent life form in an empty universe.

You will die.
When you do, you will not have done everything you intended.
You will not own everything you wanted.
Those things that you do own will bring you no peace.
And you will not be at peace with everyone you loved.
You will not have answers to everything, or even most things, that can be wondered.
You will not be beautiful as a corpse; you will stick and you will rot.
And even your ugly corpse will not remain for long.

This is not the law of men or the fault of men, no matter how badly you want it to be. Surprise! You, too, are human. And then you die.

amerikazak  §

I don’t really belong anywhere.

I hope all the people who google me professionally take a moment to step out from under the sign hung around their neck and think about their lives, the ones that will be over before any of them know it.

Life is too short to do the right thing and life is also too short to do the wrong thing.

And yet life is also too long to live through.

I don’t believe most people about most things. It’s not that I think everyone is lying. It’s that I think nearly everyone is too stupid to realize that the things they’re holding up for the public to see aren’t actually the truth.

Have you been fooled? I haven’t. But I bet you think I have. I’ll just bet you think I have.

made it this far i suppose  §

Well, well, well… Salt Lake City.

It’s cold. It’s such an amazing change from southern California. For me it went from midsummer to winter in exactly one day of driving. My entire sense of the world has changed with the seasons. I don’t think it will ever feel like anything but midsummer to me in southern California, no matter how much time I spend there.

No, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Unlike other people, I am not after endless summer. Summer has always been my least favorite season, since I was a small child.

So what now? Two priorities:

1) Money
2) School

I have to complete my school applications. The department has been quite harsh with me, but last night I received an email message that was for the first time a little bit reassuring. I suppose it’s worth it to keep pounding away until I get it right.

More pressing is money… I have none. I have exhausted virtually my entire world of financial means just getting my ass out of southern California and to a place where I know I won’t starve/go homeless if my financial world falls entirely apart. Now I have about 3-4 weeks to rebuild it utterly. We’ll see how that goes, or whether it’s even possible or not. Some things, like my beloved collection of SparcStations, will have to go. Before that happens even, I will have to pay my eBay bill.

It’s strange to be here again. It’s strange to be here with my girlfriend. I love her. I love my family. Why is it strange? I don’t know. The meeting of very different worlds. It brings out the full personality split in me — the one that lives in the soul of every person who has ever left the faith and culture in which they were raised for “enemy” ground.

There is frost out. I will either hit the island or the university today. Either will make me immensely happy. But first, morning caffiene.

almost gone  §

Almost gone from Santa Barbara. Another day or two. Problem is, I don’t know what I’m going toward. I can’t help but feel as though I’m wasting time and energy… but I don’t know what else I could (or should) be doing.

I love the tone adopted by my old department at school: harsh, unhelpful, mean-spirited, even. They keep calling me a fool, as though trying to make me panic or crumble or something by impressing on me the seriousness of grad school.

You’d think they’d realize that no-one can possibly take grad school as seriously as they take life, and right now I don’t even seem to be taking life all that seriously, all things considered. These people are a joke. All people are a joke. All things are a joke. A joke. There are a million productive things I could (and probably should) be doing, not the least of them at least trying to keep my bills paid…

…but at the moment, I’m just as likely to shoot up a room full of people for the joy of blood as I am to pay a bill. I feel like a full-on sociopath, a full-on lunatic.


They made me. They all made me. Now they can put up with me.

career choices and coffee  §

So here I sit in a coffee shop working. (Again.)

It’s supposed to be some kind of dream job or something, right?

The funny thing is, despite having been a writer now for eight years, despite having written and had published six books of my own, I mostly feel like I have no idea how to be a writer and like I’m not quite sure this is the career for me.

For a while, I thought the easy answer to such uncertainty was that I definitely wanted to work in publishing, just not as a writer. That train of thought suggested quite clearly that in all actuality what I wanted to be was an editor (after all, the one is undoubtably the alter-ego of the other). Having spent the better part of a year as a full-time editor rather than just a contract lackie, however, I’m now quite positive that I really do not want to be an editor.

What do I want to do? Is there a career that I a) like and b) understand how to do anywhere in this morass at all?

I call myself a writer on my tax forms and it’s where most of my income has been generated since I was basically a kid, but I’ll be damned if the label doesn’t feel strange on me, like hat that doesn’t match my face or a sport jacket three sizes too big. Do all “writers” feel so strange about what they do?

It would be nice if I could at least make a comfortable (as opposed to an uncomfortable) living with it.


to all the people who ever asked…  §

…the question: “Why can’t you love me for who I am?”

The answer is simple. Did you ever consider the obvious possibility that some things are simply not loveable?

I am always surprised at the assumptions about reality that are implicitly encoded into the questions that people ask and the statements that people make. What if what you do is not loveable? What if it flies in the face of loveability? If you do what you can to push people’s buttons, perhaps it’s time you saw through the pretense and faced the fact that revenge makes opponents, egos breed enemies, right makes not only might but also loneliness, and so on.

Some things are (gasp) not loveable. Are you really, truly shocked by that statement? Did you really believe that there was somebody, somewhere, that would love everything, even the most base thing that you could possibly do? More to the point, ask yourself: as one person among nearly seven billion people, do you feel that you warrant affection, above and beyond the others? Are you the person that complains about the beloved whores while sleeping alone? If so, you’d better think hard before you complain again.

If you are not loveable, then you have no right to expect to be loved. Period.

Next time you (yes, you) are ready to ask why someone can’t love or “accept” you for who you really are, ask yourself a couple more basic questions first:

Are you really loveable?
Are you really acceptable?

Given the choice among all the people on Earth, would you love you?
Given the choice among all the people on Earth, would you accept you?

Will you provide a reasonable return on the affection that people invest in you?
Compared to all the others?

If not, then **shut the fucking hell up and be glad of what you get.**

Stupid fucking egocentric self-centered redundant Americans.

vanzo  §

I always feel as though I’m losing myself.

Scratch that, I always feel as though I’ve lost myself.

It’s the sensation of knowing that you’ve forgotten something not only important, but cherished, like the incantation that will bring your childhood back, or the phrase of notes that will open the morning up like a doorway and let you walk through, step from now into your nicest memories.

It’s like the air was cleaner and more invigorating in the past, like realizing that it’s been years since you really breathed and that’s a damn shame because you thought breathing a very pleasant, rewarding thing to do.

It’s like standing outside a wall forever pretending it to be a door that will open to you shortly.

It is a kind of cynicism and disdain. It begins somewhere behind the corneas of your eyes as you walk along the sidewalk, step, step, and spreads until you don’t believe a thing that you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, in particular if it’s someone who’s supposed to be on your side, because you know that traitors are only really bothersome if they’re betraying you.

On a grey sidewalk on a grey day in a grey snowstorm in a grey overcoat I was born again and I haven’t touched the dreams since. They are poison, and their only antidote is a cigar and a hard drink, taken daily, for the rest of your life.

“We’ll get you. We’ll get you yet,” you can hear something under the hum of the present say, and you know that not only has it come to get you, but that it already got you long ago and now it’s just playing, planting suggestions to give you pause, to make you wonder if you really are still free for just long enough to suffer when you realize that you aren’t and never were in the first place.



big strange deep  §

It’s raining outside. Raining like a bastard. I like it, except that there are no covered patios in all of fucking southern California. Right now I am tempted to begin to find all sorts of new uses for the term “god forsaken” but I’ll just let it go since there are at least a few little red leaves lying about the brickwork.

I’m told that there are tons of leaves on the ground in Salt Lake City, where I’ll be in a few days. Good news, but it’s tempered by the fact that (I’m told) Utah as a whole is in the midst of one of the longest “warm spells” in state history and is decidedly not fallish anyway, in spite of any leaves that have sacrificed themselves to the cause.

I have no money. I don’t know how I thought I would support myself once I quit my job — I didn’t think about it, I suppose, I just had to leave since I was actively losing money by keeping it and continuing to pay rent in this town — but things are coming to a head now. I have (hopefully) my security deposit, which I’ll be getting back when I land at my parents’ house, plus one high-end camera and one aging Volvo. Those are my only liqufiable assets (my only assets, really) in the entire world.

The rest is just me, in the flesh, a capital non-being (and, of course, the squishy bits don’t count for being in our neoliberal utopia). I was always taught that it was a noble thing to “contribute to the world” as an adult by engaging in some sort of productive enterprise aligned somehow with your talents. I begin to doubt that the world cares. I’m not at all sure at this point that I care. The “dream” of returning to school for a Ph.D. begins to seem a lot like the process of quitting my job without having another lined up: a lot of smoke and fury followed by a lot of “Oh, shit!” emptiness.

I’d write if I had something to write. Often I’m convinced that I really do have something to write, but usually when I sit down and actually try to make things come out of my fingers, all I get is the petering out of a particularly banal stream of shit.

Could it be that my native role in life is merely that of laborer-consumer?

I don’t know. I really don’t.

The Starbucks, which doubles as corporate office for half of America these days, myself included — simply because of its monopoly on functioning, reliable, inexpensive internet access outside the home — has just installed a series of study tables, each seven feet long and double-sided, surrounded by seven chairs, topped with two built-in desk lamps, with a series of outlets in the middle.

Given Project Gutenberg and projects at Amazon and Google to scan whatever printed matter they happen to come across, and given the near-saturation of Starbucks with students and tie-wearers, I think the new desks, which are decidedly un-coffeehouse-like, are the material manifestation of the new library-space paradigm: “In the future, he said, all places will be libraries, and all of them will have an infinite number of books. It won’t matter what you do for a living or where you go or what you eat or when you sleep, no matter what you’ll always be at the library, and you’ll always be living through the library.”

Or whatever.

I have to go to Los Angeles now.

on love and bodily fluids in a murderous world  §

The biggest pathological manifestation of modernity is broken love: people will descend into a million different sorts of self-destructive, self-sullying, disgusting behavior to cope with the fact that nobody loves them (or to obtain “alternate” forms of love on the deep unconscious assumption that they can’t have pure, positive forms of love) while at the same time refusing utterly to let anyone love them, for fear that any attempt at love is merely marketing and self-interest on the part of its provider, not substance that can be relied upon.

It hurts very much to see everyone that you love (at times including yourself) hurting, self-destructive, and also, at the same time, unable to accept or believe in the caring of others. But the disability is justified by the fact that all others share the same pathology and are thus equally incapable of caring.

Thus, ultimately, we are all frauds, and we are all self-destructive, and we are all self-sullying, and we are all lonely and disgusting.

in a starbucks in another place i’m leaving  §

It doesn’t need to be any kind of secret, my confidence is shaken, and I’m a bit crestfallen about University of Chicago, a school I’d really fond feelings about until recently.

I’m a bit lost right now, not quite sure what I want to do. For the longest time I was sure I was ready to play the power game, but now I sort of think that I don’t care that much. It begins to feel like the time in Alaska in an RV (that’s the plan anyway) will be more than just “time before school” as it was before.

I don’t know. It’s not like I can afford anything right now anyway.

I do need to keep my eyes on the prize JUST a little bit longer though, and be sure to get SOME sort of applications pile submitted, so that I have options if I arrive at a-year-from-now and realize that I really, really, really do want to go back to school.

But for the moment mostly I want to wake up to grey mornings in the middle of nowhere and trudge off through dewey, green foliage with a camera in my hand, a diet soda in my back pocket, and a few memories floating through my head to keep me company.

In the meantime, I can offer all of the youngsters the following advice about school:

– School is a way out of jobs, but it still leaves you needing a way out of school
– All schools are either friendly-but-unimpressive or impressive-but-bourgeois
– Always pick up and save all of your papers, no matter what
– Decide early if you are going to play the power game
– If you are, don’t indulge in silly classes, PLAY THE GAME, because you’re competing

and also the following advice about life:

– It takes all kinds, but only a few kinds aren’t isolated and/or have the joy of others’ company
– We first killed God and then we killed science; now we have nothing
– You can therefore use anything you like as scripture, so find meaning where you will
– But you must stipulate that others will think you inferior/crazy/evil
– You will miss things, all the time, painfully
– You will not have them back
– You will drink a lot of coffee, a lot of soda, and a lot of alcohol
– You will never have enough dewey, green foliage with camera in hand mornings,
– never,
– ever,
– ever.

damn  §

My life is falling apart.
I am ready to punt.

can’t explain it  §

For some reason today, I’m tremendously sad. I don’t know why. I wish it would go away. I have work to do.