Saturday, February 26, 2005
if only we had this when we were naming thomas and william. both are waaaay down in popularity. of course, so is josh. and lonanne isn't even in there. louann had a brief run in the 60s, but seems to have fizzled in the 70s.
for wolfe: looks like they found the BTK killer. you can rest easy now dave.
(ed. note: for those unaware, here's the history on the BTK killer)
Thursday, February 24, 2005
barry hannah (the current mitte chair at texas state) has an interview in the paris review (only a snippet available online unfortunately). i went to his workshop several weeks back. he truly sounds like a baptist minister in full tilt, scourning God and sinner alike with every pause, every word. thrill me, he tells us, every time. i'm with you all the way. just thrill me.
matthew derby on the arcade fire. a co-worker ripped funeral for me a few weeks back and they are every bit as good as this review makes out. there's a dirge-like, marching quality to their music. you feel like banging your own head with a drum stick and running into, through walls. i'm almost always blind-sided by music i love. the stuff i see a long ways coming (interpol, franz ferdinand, who else?) never fails to disappoint. bluh, i think. or, ok, yes, but still, no, not down where i feel it. and then i hear something like arcade fire and i think, yeah, ok, yes, yes, yes.
updates in no particular order
charles d'ambrosio came to our mon. night class. he had a mini-workshop before and talked about his latest story in the new yorker (up north). he brought galley copies and showed us all the revisions he made. it was helpful in the sense that we got to see the 2000-some-odd words he cut and he discussed, at great length, the revision or rewriting process (which isn't really a process so much as triage). it's still stunning (or perhaps reassuring) to find an established writer just as curious and excited and troubled and humble about his work as you are about your own. then tom talked about death for what seemed like an eternity and I made a vain and cruel attempt at mimicking his triangle on the board. people laughed. then he got me back with a zinger. "i always try to think about how i would fuck up this story," i said, trying to be cute about the way i "analyze" fiction. he said, "we don't have that much time, do we?"
lonanne turned 34 last thurs. we went out of town to groom so we didn't get to celebrate much. i took her to interpol last night along with kyle and ramona and mike d. they were better than i expected although the lead singer's voice still reminds me of the b-52s guy. or maybe r.e.m. (ed. note: full disclosure requires that joshmag inform you that although he will say he never really liked r.e.m. or the b-52s, he did enjoy bits off fables of the reconstruction and one song off that losing my religion album and he danced like a jack-ass to love shack at the kappa sigma house in the spring of his freshman year.). i fucking hate r.e.m. i know i'm supposed to like them. everyone likes them. i'm sure this is a deficiency on my part and apologize for my clear lack of (whatever kind of fucked-up) taste.
i just hit post and didn't mean to.
i'm officially transitioned over to IT now. i love IT. you basically adopt a siege mentality in IT. everyone in the organization hates you and blames you for just about everything that goes wrong including the phones and the climate control. you, in turn, think all the "users" are stupid and will usually assume some level of incompetence when dealing with any sort of support issue. most problems end up getting euphemistically referred to as "user training." you break out into geek talk whenever bizdev types roll around and then you make fun of the engineers (at least we're not that bad, etc.). you develop a camaraderie that eclipses all work and you start to act like a unit in the army. you don't care about the stupid war. you care about getting your buddies out alive. you work b/c you can work and you want to work and you know that no matter what you do, one day, an executive is probably going to fire you b/c you accidentally deleted all their email on the exchange server. things couldn't be better. really.
Monday, February 21, 2005
the transitory orbit, the falling down life
the same old death song
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
people are paying honest money to have someone else rip their CDs.
finally, a summer job for william!
brentwood baptist church sign (2/15)
"The Bible is God's Love Letter"
Monday, February 14, 2005
my good friend mitch (note blog on left) recently chastised me in an email about los stinky boys being nominated for a grammy (or two or three...sheesh, they could have been nominated for twelve) and asking if i didn't regret the error of my hipster/snobbish ways (ed note: joshmag has been rather harsh on los lonely boys in the past). i told him i stopped caring about the grammy's after whitney houston was nominated for something like eight of them when i was in high school. go listen to "saving all my love for you" if you can find it. oh wait, no, that's not right. i never gave a shit about the grammy's. this year, however, it's finally sunk into absolute irrelevance.
an alternate take on valentine's day (and marriage)
Around 270 A.D.—according to one tradition, at least—St. Valentine, a Roman cleric, was imprisoned for his opposition to Emperor Claudius' decree that young men (his potential crop of soldiers) could no longer marry. Valentine performed their ceremonies anyway and was thrown in jail for his obstinacy. His belief was that marriage is too sacred a rite to relegate to the incompetence of state bureaucracy. And, on February 14, he was executed for that belief.
hmmmm. there's an idea. take the rites of marriage away from the state. or should we kill a few more clergy first?
nice, high-level debate btwn. hitchens and ali on iraq. some good points about the strains of neocons and the nature of the various forces attacking us in iraq. i do agree with ali that the majority of our current attackers are actually ex-baathists and that zarqawi and even al-sadr were minor players in their end game, but still, i don't understand how the analysis continues to be zero sum. i.e. it's all islamic fanaticists or it's all secular baathists, etc. can't they collaborate? they seem to be, at the very least, sharing weapons. minor point, but an important one. the secular and religious boundaries are not inert in this particular front and it's dangerous to assume in either direction (zarqawi's not irrelevant nor is he the whole story). in either case, i think it's a mistake of the left (to the extent that they do this...moore in particular) to lump all the various factions into a sort of populist resistance movement. none of these terrorists (and i do prefer that term to insurgents) have the best interests of the iraqi people at heart no matter if you agree/disagree that the u.s. does. they have no problem killing red cross workers and election officials. honestly appraising these forces doesn't necessarily acquit the united states, but it does help to clarify the issues. also, i'm still curious where we would be in this process if kerry had been elected. any takers?
for kyle: another great interview with neal stephenson. the baroque cycle is def. on my summer reading list.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
my old friend mitch has a blog now. i shouldn't say now since he had a blog way back in 1998 and then others along the way. this is his latest one. he calls it a politically incorrect white trash blog even though most of the white trash talk is nonsense, or cover.
i've known mitch for probably twenty years (since i was around 14). he taught me jeet kune do and wing chun (sometimes seen around here as wing tsun) and filipino stick fighting and quite a bit of other fairly unbelievable stuff, all at a time when i needed it; when i was going to a school surrounded by barbed wire and metal detectors and getting the living shit kicked out of me once a week. i only say unbelievable because most people who know me would never think it possible that i ever boxed at a broken down gym in pasadena or got in fights (real fights where noses were busted and the hope of someone breaking it up wasn't certain). listen, buddy, you might be saying. we've all been in scrapes and watched the karate kid, etc. no need to bust out the bar stories. i agree. there's nothing more boring, even to myself, than dredging up old glory days or how you beat up some cuban bully in the eighth grade. still, it's a part of me and mitch was a life boat at a time when there weren't too many around. the world moves differently when you're that close to the edge, close to letting go, losing hope, when teachers and parents and friends can't do much of anything for you except shrug. i tell you this now, my seventh grade year at deedie junior high over by the ship channel in one of the roughest neighborhoods in houston was the closest thing to prison i've ever experienced. i mean prison like gangs and stabbings and not wanting to even appear to be a candy-ass white boy. ass-wipes. that's what they called us. i've been hard on mitch in the past, perhaps we've been hard on each other, wanting more, expecting more, having lived so raw for so long and, of course, being the generally disagreeable and contrarian sorts that we are. but he taught me how to throw a solid left hook and stand up like a man in the face of my darkest demons long before anyone else would or could have. it's good to be reminded where you come from every now and again. even if it doesn't always fit.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
you are divorced, divorced, divorced
what's the use in writing mediocre mfa fiction when stories like this are readily available?