I used to know them. Possibly all of them. Sometime after moving to HelLA, when Google Earth was still a new product, I made a flythrough of all the places I’d lived. A few were approximate, and I’m sure I started only notionally in HelLA before the litany of addresses in the Bay and UK – Unit 1, women’s co-op, Dwight, funny summer sublet that the dead guy from Sublime had rented, Piedmont/Oakland, MLK couch, the Mission, Ward, Warehouse, Fyfield, Iffley, North Oxford, (redacted), Goldhawk Rd, West Ken, LES, UWS, West Village, East Village, Brooklyn, aaaand back to WeHo. And then the list continued – midcity, Silverlake, Echo Park. And now, my ultimate fear, back to the suburbs. As if all the in between places didn’t happen. (Apparently, I do in fact know them all still. But that’s not my point.)

Which of course isn’t true. This isn’t the leaving of Ox, or even the leaving London despair of present and future purpose (though return still looks slim). This is a move cross-town to save time, lots and lots of time, for people large and (more importantly) small.

The tangible scars of my past can live again. Not the burns or pierces or tattoos – the BOOKS. No longer in boxes in the basement, the selves that rose and fall, lived and died, and folded tens of thousands of pages over to varying depths. Who failed to read, and failed to fold, chastened, even humbled, by the staggering expanse of unread pages. On bookshelves, freshly ordered for delivery in 10 days.

A walk up in the wet from a bar I’m fond of, but never lived at. A last hike tomorrow, I think, more meaningful, a thousand loops later. Likely without the 35 pounds, though. Toddlers don’t experience nostalgia, I don’t think, in the ways I do.

Though, I think we’ll come back to look at the mustard flowers.

Database paths
Wednesday November 29th 2017, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Miscellaneous, Truly,Rubbish Tags:

Really? That’s what I have to spend my time on? When GoDaddy changes (without any warning) the path to the database? Glad I finished reading other people’s job applications (there but for the grace of god, etc.) before I spent time fiddling with that.

Old dogs, dead dogs, farting dogs. And a comment from a dead friend celebrating 20 weeks of pregnancy. Literally and figuratively lifetimes ago.


And so the last weekend of a decade passes thusly. Errands, work, walk, drinks. Eat, narrative, more narrative. Walk, errands, play, narrative, eat, drink. Bustling, walk, music, drinks, eat, narrative, drink.

Much reflecting of late, as the decade ticks around again, but he looks up at me. Not much by way of conclusion, nor thoughts that add up to anything in particular. I’ll take it, I guess.

3 bucks a post
Wednesday February 01st 2012, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Boozy,money,Rubbish Tags:

That’s the price for TPT, if I continue posting at the appallingly intermittent rate of 2011. I have a few premiums, though, if you call now, provided by local restaurants and businesses who also accept my special “fringe benefits” card, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Private self-indulgent blogging needs your support!

It’s pledge drive time on KCRW, always a reason to tune out, when I’m not listening with the public radio equivalent of rubber-necking at a tragic accident. The forced cheer, the feigned mirth, the good natured jesting and collegiality, and the perfume of insincerity mixed with sickly sweet smell of real fear is (courtesy the smell-o-radio in my otherwise unremarkable car) rather compelling. First of the month but not first of the year, so deep in obligations that ever smaller accomplishments are beginning to seem ever bigger, because I don’t think I can (convincingly) get there from here. I’m not sure what it looks like to phone in a large public lecture, but I (or rather, the public) may well find out.

“I said is this contagious. / You said just drink it up….I thought the past would last me / but the darkness got that too.” It’s a fucking amazing song, Leonard’s Darkness from the new/old Old Ideas. But the rest of the album doesn’t measure up, which is a shame. It’s an OK album, but some of the “old ideas” are perhaps not as old as this idea, which trots out the darkness at the center alongside getting old and passing time and caring and feigning and loving tied up neatly with a sweet organ solo and a backing chorus.

Back to my red wine and my n+1 (though I’m annoyed that the guy who didn’t hire me a decade ago, for a job I wasn’t qualified for and didn’t really want at an institution I don’t respect, cowrote a piece. Between McGurl on zombies and now the digital humanities zombies on [whatever the fuck it is they’re on about – haven’t read it yet], my cherished sense of “in”ness from reading n+1 in 2006…well…I liked them when….owned the first album/issue….may have to stop wearing the t-shirt. Sigh.

one up, one down
Saturday May 21st 2011, 7:59 am
Filed under: damn,exit pursued by a bear,fear,hangover,HelLA,maudlin,Rubbish,Work Tags:

Not even that, really. I know deadlines are flexible, but this is fucking ridiculous. The lesser has one that’s quite positive, the greater one that’s quite negative, neither has two, nor answers, though I imagine they’re coming, soon, this week. Just after the Rapture, then, which might turn out to be conveniently timed. Ah, failure, my favorite category. Or, worse, indeterminate mediocrity. Thinking on driving home yesterday, “I don’t want to be famous, I want to be remembered.” Which doesn’t answer the question of scope or scale or quantity, but there you have it. Yet, I suppose much like the cancer that has come back, after all these years, to YCTNW’s family member, at least shit can move forward. I hold out hope, knowing it will hurt worse, having sent a potentially ill-advised (because reactionary) email. And a summer that will be filled with labor, though of spirits high or low it’s not entirely clear. Or perhaps that wine shop in Queens beckons.

filling time
Tuesday June 15th 2010, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Berkeley,friends,memory,Rubbish,tired Tags:

I’ve gotten better at filling the time, at allowing myself to fill it. I never used to fill time, but rather felt the desperate imperative to do something with the time. Maybe because time has stopped seeming quite so precious? Because there’s been so much more of it, relatively speaking than at 18, 19, 20, that I accept the Hum(e)an fallacy that there will continue to be more of it? I was so bad at being alone that i trained myself to be very, very good at it, as she once observed. A minor but substantive difference from the Interpol lyrics, “training myself not to care.” I always care. It’s in caring that the rage, the despair, the apathy, and the love all happen. I suppose I filled time then, too – witness the days upon days that i lived that I can’t quite figure out what the fuck i did with them. Pre mobile phones, pre Internet beyond the odd dialup, what the fuck did I _do_ with all that time? I read my socks off, i listened to music like it was air to breathe, i wrote in journals, and fell in love, in Like, and spent endless hours with friends….talking? What did we talk about? Evenings of sky vodka shots and swapping tracks on stereos with cd changers, and what did we talk about? Days at wall berlin, endless cups of coffee, reading the newspapers and books and playing chess and talking about…..? Why can’t i remember what social time was, unstructured social time, precisely that thing that seems to fade as you become an adult, lose control of more and more of your time, make unironic plans for small events months in advance. Dinner in august? Sure, let’s pencil that in. A letter in yesterday’s haul thanking me for listening, for letting her cry on my (once [in]famous) bony shoulder, for evenings when she talked and talked and I was the one to reply, with that “ticking tricky mind” (thanks for the description, babe. I’ll cherish it, though I haven’t thought of you for even an instant for years and years.) Really? I don’t recall. Literally half my life ago, but it feels more recent, the scale skewed by childhood vs. adulthood. But, really? I don’t recall.

another title in another hall
Wednesday May 27th 2009, 12:28 am
Filed under: Boozy,libraries,New York,Rubbish,self-indulgent,tempest in a teapot Tags:

Just finished Obama’s first book, Dreams from my Father.  Powerful shit.  I might have enjoyed it more if it weren’t a work read, a trained bear gig for some dinner for those who donate, the ladies who lunch, in just over a week. A follow-up ready to contextualize Obama’s books – Gilead, and maybe Netherland, and if I get really desperate, some Shakespeare – for those who lunch.  It’s not how well the bear dances, it’s that the bear dances at all.  And thus I’ll choke myself with a necktie, do the gel-based equivalent of brushing my hair, and appear as a bright-young-thing for the donors.  Got my NY tickets, so those of you reading there (don’t think any, actually), open a slot in your calendars, as I’m there to work (once I apply properly to the fucking Morgan.  Tomorrow.  Really.) and there to drink and wander and even be a little alone.  Once a year, maybe, last time to Ingerland a few weeks before YCT (YCTNW? Yummy Co-Teacher Now Wife?) arrived for weddings et al, and we gallivanted, most pleasurably.  (Apologies to the grad student who gets sputtery everytime I accuse her of gallivanting when visiting home.  It’s so uncharacteristic yet so apt as to be irresistible.)  Alone.   Not that I’m ever alone, nor that I really want to be alone.  Merely that there’s so much me that sometimes some time without the safety of the us to return to is necessary.  Having lived so much of my life without a safety-net (not that you’re safe), that the seemingly simple act of walking a sidewalk without someone to turn to, immediately, is a reminder of all that came before, all that’s both past and infinitely formative.  I don’t know if I can describe it, babe, and I know you’re likely reading this, or will eventually.  It’s like music, I think.  I don’t create it all the time (and certainly not as often as I’d like, but that’s a different fucking story), but when it strikes, it’s something I have to chase.  For the certainty of the uncertainty, if anything, for the knowledge that I’m unjudged, there, excessive commas and all.  I can work on the manuscripts, drink and dine with the friends, and wander familiar landscapes alone and unalone at the same time, and it’s not that it’s more me, there, not that I can find something I don’t have, but rather be reminded of the vibrancy of all that I do have, of the validation of all the decisions I made and make and believe in.  He says, putting “London Bound” from the album “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” on.  (And, could you ask for a more me title, a more me album?  Hah.  Fuckers.  That was mine. You owe me one.)  I dunno.  A bottle in but only lightly tipsy, a day of petty productivity, but productive nonetheless.  The poor shadow of philoboozo tomorrow, a solid theory book a chapter at a time with a solid friend, but lacking, somehow.  He’s up to it, I’m up to it, and it lacks all embarrassment or self-consciousness, but it really needs a third to give it that swing, and it just ain’t got it quite yet.   “Englishman in New York” says random.  Nicely played, random.  And thus to bed, really, a book down, a day older, tickets to a place that is a past but not The past, even as belief in such a thing slowly fades and is replaced by the impossibly beautiful present of The now with love, Love, and everything in between.  I go not to find, but to remind and remember, I go not to be judged, but to continue a life that I don’t need to judge.

wisdom words
Saturday September 13th 2008, 1:08 am
Filed under: Boozy,change,leaving,Miscellaneous, Truly,Rubbish,self-indulgent,Work Tags:

An (ex)colleague with words of wisdom, “always wise to let the job say no, rather than decide for them.” He’s right, of course, and knows that I want it for all the wrong reasons, and knows, too, that it’s extremely unlikely that I’d ever get it, and knows, too, what it is to want to be somewhere else. I don’t have the radical contingency of only three septembers ago, Sept. 2005, living in NY, working a crap job, knowing my work was better than anyone else’s but not how to sell it. I fucking learned how to sell it, and sell it but good, to exactly the people who were buying. Which connects up to the fear of doing this again – I don’t have a whole lot more work, so what exactly am I selling? Is it about the work or the reputation, the perks of a job that fucking rocks in North America, or the job done right, and exactly how much suffering goes into any of that? It used to be all about the work. That didn’t work so much. So, resting on that, I made it all about me. That worked, but the work got a bit lost. What’s left, what’s next, and what’s so awful about the ‘sure thing’ of jumping through the right hoops for the next 3 years, and seeing the other side of tenure where I am – a top 25 R1 school, public, where the weather’s lovely and you can get Ethiopian food at 3 in the morning if you really fancy. Hard to be the victim some days, ladies and gents, but so it goes for your not-so-humble narrator. Knock back the last of the wine, fingers sore from the guitar strings and a profound lack of callouses. Good sign, that, the making beyond the criticism, condensed to and represented by a review for a major journal I’m supposed to be writing. What we talk about when we talk about criticism….

return, reverse

Coming to the West Coast used to be a visit, a destination of excitement and desire, frustration and elation, promise, release, and a certain drawing out. Hit the ground running, a radical shift from “my” life to “my life”, if that makes any sense, which it really doesn’t, but I’m none too fussed about the matter as no one really reads this, and I’m jetlagged regardless. Returning to England meant workworkwork, clear out desires and distractions, and return to the work that was always at hand. But this last trip, this last return (to where?), clarifying. Back here, recommendation letters to write before the end of the week, comments on papers delayed since June, articles to write and book reviews and page proofs to check and a class to prepare. Workworkwork. Jumping through hoops I’m unconvinced by, knowing I (we! oh lovely we.) desire to return, to move to England, to stay there, to return, as I promised myself, in triumph, not hamstrung by visas and limitations, but properly. So it’s 9am and it feels like early evening contemplative hour; it’s time for a second pot of coffee, but a drink feels about right. Warning: Travel May Clarify What You Want.

Tuesday June 03rd 2008, 9:44 am
Filed under: procrastination,Rubbish Tags:

Apparently, I’ve drunk at 6 of the 10 oldest pubs in the US. Not too bad, but they’re all Johnny-Drinks-Lately compared to The Turf or The White Horse. OK, alchemy and Chaucer call. As does coffee.