Thursday, September 29, 2005

intelligent fish

this may be dipping a toe into roiling waters, but i thought i'd toss out some fishy bits on the subject of intelligent design.

(DUCK!)

yesterday a professor of science & philosophy testified on behalf of parents suing their school district to remove a pronouncement on the design/darwin debate from the science curriculum.
from what i understand of what he said, i think he pretty much has summed up my thoughts on the whole thing, i.e. that while i don't deny the idea of intelligent design, it doesn't belong in a science class. hell, i like the idea of intelligent design (if not its proponents) mostly because i intuitively believe that there's something more going on in the universe than mere physical interaction, even if it's the physics that give rise to the "something". but it's an intuitive, emotional/spirtual grasp of the universe, an ontology, if you will (mysfit may beat me for using that word...at least it's not "epistimology"...eek! i said it!)
in other words, it's not science, which is based on testing theories, empirical evidence, proofs.

solution: add philosophy classes to the public school curriculum. imagine the possibilities.

but the real reason i've brought this up is to gleefully try to convert everyone to Pastafarianism, otherwise known as Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.
it was born when one man, now a prophet (read the interview), having been "touched by His Noodly Appendage", wrote an open letter to the Kansas School Board protesting the inclusion of intelligent design in their curriculum.
a brief statement of the crucial dogma:
  • the universe was created by the invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster, starting with a mountain, trees, & a midget.
  • global warming & natural disasters are a direct result in the decline in the pirate population since the mid-19th century.
  • the FSM continues to guide human affairs with his noodly appendages, & all evidence of evolution was planted. if you trust to the FSM you will go to his heaven, where there is a stripper factory, a beer volcano, & much rejoicing.

RAmen.

(this fish has been brought to you by His Noodly Appendage & the powers of Wikipedia, currently tied with Google for Website Most Like a God.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ah, the old spy-in-the-fish trick.





let us all pause a moment in a cone of silence to gleefully shout in each other's ears in memory of the great Agent 86...





...

...

...

"WHAT? what'd you say?"

"Don Adams is dead. Long live the Don." says mysfit.


i love, & even as a child i loved, Get Smart. it was so deliriously silly & yet seemed so...so cool. i wanted to be 99. though it got a little weird for me later when they got married & suchlike...

it's completely absurd & somehow true to life (with Mel Brooks & Buck Henry writing, how could it not be?), & it still rings true (as is evident via this old post from mysfit) & i still watch it whenever i come across it. i remember a few years ago they had a K.A.O.S. reunion on TVLand, & we watched it religiously all week, every night. mysfit, i think, has that tape somewhere...



& what child of the 80's didn't love Inspector Gadget? how could you not? it didn't take me long to catch on that it was the same voice...


the world is less one more deadpan comedic genius.

who's up for a Get Smart memorial marathon?

or the Inspector Gadget drinking game?

postscript: there's a Get Smart movie in the works, starring Steve Carrell. this makes me happy.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

banned fish

Banned Books Week 2005
Saturday, September 24 through Saturday, October 1

"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
-Mark Twain

Friday, September 23, 2005

so many fish - and they're all mine

i wanted to post something in honor of 10000 fish but it took me this long to figure out what and jenn see beat me to it - so this is in honor of 10,247 fish and counting...

Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray
-by Oscar Wilde-

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.

To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.

The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography.

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.

They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.

The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.

The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.

No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved.

No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.

Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.

Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.

From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type.

All art is at once surface and symbol.

Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.

Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.

When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself.

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

sacred spaces: a response to frank for everyone (my fish)

being far away from the turmoil, i peer in through glassless windows as the sky burns:

sacred spaces

we all have sacred spaces. some of us pack them in shoulder packs and carry the weight of houses on shoulders too heavy for our tired feet. some of us know that special place waits right around the next corner or the next or...

he spoke to me through my closet door, "i want to be considered home" - i wish it were enough.

i've always had homes hiding up stairs and behind tapestry-curtains lined with library shelves
i know that i need physical representations of my identity and
without a tangible alter to my psyche i feel
lost,
unsettled,
even physically ill

- and they painted the door black to keep the evil spirits of NB out - did you know that? one snuck in thru an open window one night and i threw wire shelving at it - it didn't bleed -

you see, i've known this girl jenn since she was born, retroactively knew her before we met and i can tell you that she's always found her sacred place in the intensity of interaction between her and other people - even this conflict is better than the lackluster of apathetic small talk in venues too loud for "real" interactions.

don't get me wrong, i'm not apologizing for her - that's not my job - and i don't think i've ever felt pride about a town just a space, so i'm actually kinda jealous of your reaction - i guess i just wanted you to see some of my understanding (even though you may not read this or i may not post this) - maybe i just wanted to be included (translation: i don't know how to keep my mouth shut)

i also know
that she's been toning it down, trying to see what the world would be like without the force of her drama-magnet at full blast (when i turned off my freak-magnet, i got lost all the time)
that she's never been happy with drama but thrives on intensity
that it's usually easy for her to fit in even if she's never quite fit
that SI is a new kind of challenge

without the feel of "real" interactions nothin is real - not me, not the world, not you

the fact that your sacred place is torturing her is not a comment about you, nor even about the place itself. mostly, we bring our miseries down on ourselves but there's something to feng shui: a place can help or hinder your recovery - a place can define/reflect/deny your identity

"i wrap myself in the fabric of the seventh floor"

the ability to meld your sacred space with the place you live in is amazing
for those of you lucky enough to be born in your sacred place, you have filled your world with you and you are filled with your world - when you breakdown, when something gets loose, the security blanket of family and friends is stretched far and wide for years before you were even born - your children will know that and may not stay - i envy you
for those you us who have to gather our support structure as we go and keep it somewhere inside, home is the most important thing you can call a place

"sok, i'm not any lonelier than i was already."
-mysfit signing off

oh, the places i've been: last part

Love Letter to New Jersey
(transcribed verbatim from late summer 1997, age 17)

I.

I love the boys you've scratched out of
chainlink purgatory
and the madness they rub into my ribs;
They Cadillac down corners, out of breath,
and the late afternoon claws the fenders
like a harpy out for blood and wine.

I was startled by this affection for your
shore-washed chunk of our godly country;
All I remember since I've been around
bears your distressed East Coast expression in tattoos.

I collect the slutty beauty
off the glittered roofs on Atlantic City hard luck
and the red stain it has blown
over one a.m. reflections.

Streets up and through you
all smell the same,
and the pavement rolls in cracks
in sick uniform between the same two curbs
in grand lines that verge short of Manhattan.

The parkway feels like high rushes
up through Exit 120,
till it constricts in Staten Island bridge ramps
and Newark
and Route 287
and tight chaos of taillight and the brake,
but anyway
the dying evenings over the tolls
resound in my eyes for hours.

I am addicted
to all-night 7-11
and the undernoise of WaWa, WaWa,
to white-lit car dealerships that gleam after the overpass
and the holy Texaco off the shoulder,
all in neon celebration of expense--
you know the way they wink like eyes
out at the pike
in the dense early hours of morning.

II.

You know how my bootheels sound
tripping down tree-root-bent sidewalks.
You know the dead ends
and the stale disorder apartments
without air and stacked like old ashtrays.
You know how to fuck it all.

You know how mottled clouds can slip
under thin black cables
that buzz secrets in crosses overhead,
and how waving fog can cloak
the disk of a moon.

You know the waste of public heads
and cold graytone walls that hug skulls--
your bricks can nurture a dry rot
like a tenement cellar in the dark
and clocks doze in no tangible hours.

You know the sweet tangle of Pine Barrens
north of me
and the way they do burn in October.

You know bad reputation.

You know humid summers that suck at my skin,
and the bone boardwalk
that splinters my flesh as it soaks me off.

You know the crushed beach
and how to rape young girls.
You know the ruined sours of old age,
and you know above all

what it is to be stuck.

oh, the places i've been: part 3

an old vision of Atlantic City, for frank.
i may as well get this all out of my system at once.

Conversation: Route 30 East
for the roads that become important on a map.

I feel unsafe in this car
your hand twists
like to snap my wrist
you sink back to leather, tired
you work too hard
and I keep you awake days
you don't talk
so I answer the billboards
flashing backwards through windows:

Starlite Motor Inn
let's run away a weekend
I have a hotel fascination
we'll drink cheap wine
and room service
and peeling pink wallpaper
Are you ready for summer?
I'm holding my breath for heat and sweat
and running down roads, hammered,
till my heart escapes
Custom Hitches
think trailers, white trash,
the far sides of Jersey--
This ain't no lounge act
no, no, this is it,
you smell real
you think I'm damn near perfect
Just say, Hey Beer Man
Yes let's get drunk
ripped-up out-of-mind
piss-beer drunk
or Southern Comfort, or tequila,
shots, rims,
till we keel over warm on tile
Get started
Is anyone listening?
Are you paying attention to this?
the King in Concert
Yes Elvis is alive and dying in Atlantic City
mini-suites
like your apartment?
cramped and threadbare
and sixthousand hot cigarettes like sad poets
New Polish Festival
oh, the strangest things come from the city
we'll see every glittery bit
let's walk all the walks in summer
Collect a piece of Resorts history!
oh no, you have to dig for it
you have to stalk history down
as holy grails as turn-of-the-century cornerstones
Set 4 Life
hey you, kill me quickly please
if I depend on this city's thin blood
for life
Millionaire
I have a clinking change purse
one dollar eight cents
to my name
Spin for Life!
Yes I'm spinning
on the top roof of Ocean One
with an old scene and a moon
I'm dizzy
and I think this's life, yes
music that moves you
Listen! the music throbs
Let's dance, dance to exhaustion
I know you know where to go
I want the gorgeous songs
Earn cash today!
yeah, work, we got to work,
but waiting tables means
so many game-playing strangers
and booths
and Would you like more coffee?
Smoking or Non?
I'm tired--
you ready?
Collect it all year long!
There won't be another year,
not here
more valuable than gold
all the troves in the world
aren't you, you broke trite maniac
yes you try, just try
to be normal
Buried in debt? We can help.
Yes help me
oh please
Born to be wild
Yes I see bikers, roads, dances,
delirium, drinks, days nights
heat smoke fire madmen
balconies Oldsmobiles
and the sea
It's Bacchanal
it means candlelight
and cool breezes on warm beds
and goblets on goblets of reeling delight
cold wine
Music. Action. Attitude.
Oh yes dear, we have it
and know it
and they can't begin to touch us
Atlantic, yes. City, no.
I'll never dig the sea out of my blood.
And you will learn.
Roll with it, baby!
keep going keep going
keep GOING
Follow me to the WIld Side
yes follow me
and you know
though crazy,
though they all said No Never
we're beautiful,
and lovely in the way we live
So roll down the windows,
and here,
now you can drive.

Early Spring 1998, circa age 18.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

oh, the places i've been: part 2

still for frank, another plaintive series of words about a particular place, intact in its indignities.
my goodness, i'm feeling expressive tonight.

Notes from an Indiana journal:

We're not translating classical Greek.
so what color is it?

The world
actually is flat, just
as the ancient Greeks always thought,
& somewhere there's an end to it
where the sun comes up like a rush of hot gold
& the ocean pours into itself,
a perpetual wave--
I've seen the sea in my dreams
& it tells me these stories
of the edge of the world at dawn.

I have no idea what's going on. what really happens post-apocalypse? are we alone? how does anyone else see the world? I see it like me,

like I see it, how do you see it?

I am sick of speaking words, of the words you speak, that speak to hear themselves, you speak I speak to hear its voice-- what are you thinking? I'm so curious--I'm sick of speaking of you telling me what I want what you want to hear.

where are the singers
who wandered down my highway
selling lyrics for favors or bottles?
the road swallows them, toe by toe,
heel to heel dancing to choirs in bright skulls.

there is a thickness between me & the world.
all my thoughts are colored scarves
threading together to make a veil.
I can't see your face.

Once upon a time I danced the dance of seven veils I understood

the movement as I dropped each illusion to create a new one. but I knew even as illusions danced I whirled in the center in perfect time. now I may be tangled but I'm not even sure of that.
I must become narrow to slip through the cracks in your logic.

these days the whole world is green & gray,
like bagpipes.
please don't plug your wires in my brain.

suddenly I love my mother.

the road to cities with names, places of travelers,
four a.m. breakfasts
working with the temporal authority,
a Renaissance sky where Michelangelo walks on air
& visions of highways dance in my head.

February 2000, Lafayette, Indiana, circa age 19.

oh, the places i've been: part 1

for frank.

understanding the desperations & thousands of small indignities are a part of the soul of a place.

so you've inspired me to reassess the painful pointy things of all my locations, going backwards in time.

& at least you finally felt that something i wrote was deserving of response.

so here's a piece, intact & unrevised from its time, from New Brunswick (which is most definitely a real place) for you.

i guess we only reveal our ignorance when we talk of the homes of others.

don't worry, i won't ask you to publish it.

Que ahora: an apology for sleeping through a schedule.

where to begin the morning the day the night the morning the unvented deepdowntown hardcore grief I'm dying (WE ARE DYING) I'm drinking if you begin to think me cynical me cyclical me me me don't care give a fuck give me a fuck (BANG) sketch scratch out the melodrama (IT'S ALL) and I saw you walking & you saw me did you recognize me dance on the inside (UPSIDE DOWN PINEAPPLE OVER THE WAREHOUSE GIRLCHILD STARED AT ME) Welcome please keep hands & tongues inside the poem for a pleasant flight a present fight enjoy the remnant of your state little black box little red cookbook notsolittle blackbird flew into my crown dying & screamed (LAUGHED INSANE & QUIPPED KHALIL GHIBRAN) well that's response for you(r) itinerary as follows: FRIDAY it's my singsong look ma no windows & isn't the bubble gorgeous wine me one glass house when the musical method is more important than ACTUAL (IS A STRANGE WORD) communication well Carolina we have a problem but Lordy look how we sleep in a bottle I'll show you genie if you KISS ME GOODNIGHT pop my cork SATURDAY of myths you never have a morning to spare despise me for this KNOW STREET FURTHER WITH MY EYES CLOSED sunrise piles hallucinations on my head O serenaded sirens water explosion the Presbyterian church is on fire in the dawn witness now-archetypal smoke plume situation THE SKY (IS FALLING) no the mystery source of whitehot marked black coallight infrasctructure of air my God isn't the disintegration of bricks a beautiful thing against the morning CHAOS ENSUES DIVERS ALARUMS FIRETRUCK but what happened to afternoon? I'm so damn tall maybe I'll find you but I never died in Asbury Park & who invited the ocean? I didn't know backstage was so green subvert me in the oldman tribal drums see see how I flail (MY VERTEBRAE ARE M.I.A. DID ANYONE SEE WHERE THEY TWISTED?) but I can't nail you to this floor you're greasy & on the clock with a bluebottle I'll survive (SPLIT ME CENTRALLY LOCATED CARPET PASS HIT PASSED IT OUT WHERE AM I) more information than you ever wanted too damn scattered for a mentor will you be my friend SUNDAY awake wake wake stop presenting surprises to my mailbox I'll beat you with your own lovely rock (THIS IS THE WORD ON THE STONE) days that disappear & cocaine desperate winners she never called as he waited with the wine & only orgasmic chicken remained how many conversations did you have today how many years burned well let's have a dusty vigil & I'll be the sane on a Sabbath (ISN'T THAT TERRIFYING) but wait did he say worth something dead (GOD I LOVE THIS SONG) see see a red flag she's listening to concrete blonde again Oh I'm fortune's flask (SPACE THE SPACE) ach lad you can sleep when you're dead (I'M DYING) what happened to that beautiful thing IMAGE: cold damned cold boy huddled in disaster relief bed gaunteyed witness waste such catatonic karma he watches ananda drip vein by vein into nipples the scheme of brainbattered awake wake wake every song says this better than I ever could wake (DRINK) UP this is all true enter MONDAY ouchouchouch kind of sunstorm system lo the light doth pierce my ears in safety pins I should have been where I wasn't & no one's really talking poetry here brokenwing beauty bird (AND EVERYONE) walk by pay no attention death throes & where would I take him to suffer blackredblueblack so on I heal nothing transcribe poems instead delicious delirious but I'VE GOT CAFFEINE PILLS yellow as a saving grace sinkhole down my letterphoto process of I REJECT YOU how to phrase the fuckoff or bury my bayonets somehow Once a girl spun lifted language contour visionary heartbreak-gorgeous THIS is the way I live wired fugitive mess drift SLEEP dreamshriek can't escape 4 a.m. no matter how fast I spiral spin top world mother save yr little girl mother mary fucker EEEK whence came all these bruises? VIVA LA LUNA I have no idea what's going on god save the TUESDAY surrealists & what's my dear the kettle of time soup (I'M DRINKING IT) yes darling do come by I'll smash you up bestow emblems of your misfortunate mindfuck & comatose already whirlheadwindeyes won't open so write my confessed over scrawl without a sight CAN'T I SLEEP just this once touch bear down hibernate greatcat alaskan voyage of lust you & your silk tundra you haven't heard a GODDAM THING I've said HAILMARYS & complete list of things on which to break the world who let the absurdists cream my pumpkin pie & WHAT'S HE DOING ON MY BED DIDN'T I INSIST ON NO SHAKESPEARE OUT OUT OUT you must forgive me I lost my larynx to the man from Rio & now I can only (SCREAM) gurgle mutter & so forth understand I could have been a Cadillac angel slam could have been but when you licked me awake (AGAIN) I was bitter & it was WEDNESDAY collapse exam? what exam? o fuck but it's all passion relational logic I may be useless but I'm sexy as hell it helps when I locate my ideal (LOVER LOSTLESS) weight in the bonetowns of appetite (IT'S BEEN DAYS) & I'm a cheap drunk this way open microphone dictate conversational anthropology drink thos Jack&gingers till I sing another dustdeal well twist my arm black-on-blacktie bartending mandolin stranger I played your chess oh do you want me too (IF I SO EXIST IN THIS SEX HEMISPHERE) none of them ugly there is no ugly here no don't let me drive (ME CRAZY ME SO PALE STONE) It's morning may I sleep now oh my dear vow there were so many nightmares select the specific in which I hurled alarm into stereo (SURROUND MY VERBATIM SOUND OF TRAINTHUNDER LOCKS) & everything is broken it's THURSDAY & I'm late (CONSECRATED MY FUTURE IN ONE TELEPHONE WEEP WEAKNESS) how to possibly deny the next hour I wonder one thousand what's nexts.

November, 2001, age 21.

"It begins, as most things begin, with a song."

this includes Neil Gaiman's new book, Anansi Boys, which i thoroughly enjoyed during the several hours of downtime at the signing. (er, Mr. Gaiman didn't actually sing. except maybe metaphorically.) not that i'm complaining about the wait, i expected it, & it must be far more daunting for him. besides, i got to recieve a strange look when i told him i'd enjoyed the book, a blank sort of "you read it already?"
of course, i'm never as clever at that sort of thing, & by "that" i mean meeting people who i know (of, at least) who don't know me. i tend to get flushed & lose eye contact. ah well, i can only hope it's an appealing mannerism in some way.

my favorite character in the novel was Mrs. Higgler, i think, mostly because i've known several Mrs. Higgler-type-people, any one of whom i could easily suspect of trafficking with gods.




Mr. Gaiman during the reading.


Mr. Gaiman looking very writerly.

as far as signed editions go, this may be the last of that sort of quest for me, because while it's always nifty to hear words in the writer's own voice, with expressions, it's also mind-numbingly tedious to sit in those metal chairs/stand in line for four hours. it just sort of swallows the evening whole.
now if only i could find my signed copy of Three Dreams & a Nightmare, so i can remember about the gyspy with the cloves under her tongue, i'd be content.

although one thing about being there was that i did get a glimpse of the upcoming hardcover editions of Good Omens, & they're deliciously clever. (personality quiz: which one would you get, the white with the demon & his glass of wine, or the black with the angel & his book? i don't even have to think about that one.)


new hardcover edition(s) of Good Omens.

but all i had was a trade paperback with a strange, Angela-Carter-like cover illustration, which is now signed by both authors, along with an imperative to burn it & helpful instructions on where to apply the match.

thank ye gods for cleverness.

(postscript, later in the day: photos from the ferry voyage to & fro are up at the tourist.)

Humpty Dumpty's song of the fish

it's sort of writer's appreciation week here at this fish, isn't it?
from the realm of the mind of Lewis Carroll, who wasn't actually a real person:

In winter, when the fields are white,
I sing this song for your delight--

In spring, when woods are getting green,
I'll try & tell you what I mean:

In summer, when the days are long,
Perhaps you'll understand the song:

In autumn, when the leaves are brown,
Take pen & ink, & write it down.

I sent a message to the fish:
I told them "This is what I wish."

The little fishes of the sea,
They sent an answer back to me.

The little fishes' answer was
"We cannot do it, Sir, because--"

I sent to them again to say
"It will be better to obey."

The fishes answered with a grin,
"Why, what a temper you are in!"

I told them once, I told them twice:
They would not listen to advice.


I took a kettle large & new,
Fit for the deed I had to do.

My heart when hop, my heart went thump:
I filled the kettle at the pump.

Then someone came to me and said
"The little fishes are in bed."

I said to him, I said it plain,
"Then you must wake them up again."

I said it very loud and clear:
I went and shouted in his ear.

But he was very stiff and proud:
He said, "You needn't shout so loud!"

And he was very proud and stiff:
He said, "I'd go and wake them if--"

I took a corkscrew from the shelf:
I went to wake them up myself.

And when I found the door was locked,
I pulled and pushed and kicked and knocked.

And when I found the door was shut,
I tried to turn the handle, but--"

from Alice Through the Looking Glass.

in honor of Ten Thousand Fish.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"in the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded."

as you may have noticed, we fish are very gleeful fans of the inimitable Terry Pratchett, he of the knowing grin & the sly wink (tricky gestures to pull off with mere typeface) & the inescapably British humor. truly a fantastic satirist, the best i've encountered since Mark Twain.
& since i'll never get to meet Mark Twain, unless something seriously bizarre happens in the Trousers of Time, Pratchett gets to be my favorite, because he looks just like i thought he would & speaks like he writes.
brilliant.






Terry Pratchett, Lincoln Center B&N, Manhattan, 15 September 2005

besides, i have a thing for cute little old men. they're just appealing. i want them all to be my grandfathers & lend me their hats.
er, sorry, wandered off there...

anyway, i don't have too much of the fanboy in me
(of course not, you say, you're a girl)
but this week brings me not once but twice to the land of Manhattan & its Barnes & Nobles for book signings, last thursday for Terry Pratchett, this afternoon for Neil Gaiman, to whom we at the fish owe something of a debt for a number of reasons (e.g. we have blatantly stolen one of his lines & used it shamelessly as the title of this blog).
so what am i getting signed? or, a different question with the same answer, how ever did you get into these authors all those years ago?
the answer is Good Omens, although those bastards (whoever "they" are) aren't rereleasing the hardcover til November, but of course you can't find the old one now), which however much i cross my fingers will probably never be made into a movie. (we should start a letter campaign to Terry Gilliam & convince him that the end of the world is nigh, & it's now or never.)

Gaiman's new book, Anansi Boys, comes out today, & as it happens to be oldben's birthday, i thought, ooooh, there's an idea.

this will probably satisfy any fanboy tendencies in me, since i mostly waited around at the Pratchett signing & could barely hear a word of the speaking bit, & imagine it won't be too much more exciting today. & for some reason it drives me nuts to hear people before & behind me dissecting the works & wandering off into other topics with which i'm familiar, seemingly making me & my tastes into an idiot without social graces. it's the snob in me, i guess.

anyway, i'll be taking the ferry for the first time, & all by me onesy, too...
this could get very interesting.

disclaimer: if you have no imagination, or can't get past the idea of books with wizards or gods as literature, you probably won't really get into these authors. otherwise, L-Space is your mollusk, go forth, etc etc etc.
just mind the librarian, he's watching you.

sing with me: "i am following my fishie"...oh wait, not that one...

"happy birthday to t!!!!!!!!!!" (repeat times three, at least.)

Monday, September 19, 2005

ahoy! we be pirate fish!

ARRRRR!! it be International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day and this here fish be feelin srry for all ye landlubbers out there. By the Powers! ye'll all be keelhauled without a few helpful hints from your matey, the Dread Pirate Scarlett, har t' show you the way! Garrrr! listen up ye filthy bilge rats, grab some grog and soon all ye lily livered sprogs will be settin up the jacks and goin on account.

firs' and foremost, be ye lads or be ye lasses, ye be needin a proper name - one to strike t' fear of davy jones' locker in the heart of all that dare to cross ye path! hearty thanks to me matey, Sealegs Bonny for showin t' way!

me hearties, i canna be helpin ye wi' t' way ye look as i canna be seein ye, but there be pictures all o're t' place, if ye be really wantin to celebrate t' day, ye be goodly inventive and be findin' 'em all on your own!

ARR! here be a wee bit o' help wi' ye's speach - t' help ye fit in as it were:

The Pirate Alphabet
A: Ehhhhhhh? -- "What's that?"
B: Are -- as in "Be ye ready to surrender?"
C: Si, si! -- To a Spanish pirate, "Yes!"
E: Eeeeee! -- "Maaaaaaaaybe . . . "
I: Aye -- "Yes!"
L: 'Ell -- A destination, as in, "To L with you, matey!"
O: Oh! -- "Oh!"
Q: Queue -- A sailor's pigtail, usually tarred.
R: Arrrrrr! -- A general expression of glee.
T: Tea -- A very inferior substitute for grog.
Y: Why? -- To be said in a grumpy voice when the cap'n gives an order.
Z: Zee -- To a French pirate, "the."

if ye be wonderin why it be talk-like-a-pirate day, here be a short history and what we in the know be callin the "Official Site".

well me hearties, i be feelin that thar be enuf for the likes o' you! Happy TALK-LIKE-A-PIRATE DAY!!

be like the squirrel, fish, be like the squirrel

Little Acorns


Take all your problems
And rip em apart
Carry them off
In a shopping cart
And another thing you
Should've known from the start
The problems in hand
Are lighter than at heart
Be like the squirrel, girl
Be like the squirrel
Give it a whirl, girl
Be like the squirrel
And another thing
You have to know in this world
Cut up your hair
Straighten
your curls
Well, your problems
Hide in your curls


for jenn see - if you can, find a copy of this and listen to it

Friday, September 16, 2005

punkfish - a response

so when other blogs have really great posts, i have this tendency to rant in the comments section, and i'm not sure people really appreciate that. so i'm trying something new. this is in response to Henjin's inspired (and inspiring) guest post on tesco's blog and keep in mind this is all just my perspective:

to begin with, you're right: punk is dead

that is the movement, the music (if music can die), not the attitude. the attitude is laying in wait for the right moment, the next great adventure, for its time to cause havoc again. i suppose you might say that it is waiting for a messiah - but then, aren't we all.

for those of us who grew up in the eighties and came of age in the nineties when punk had already made its point, become a "movement" and then a fashion, we had to discover punk backwards - DK was one of my first and i had to get to the beginning in order to realize that, punk had suffocated in its own puke and like all subcultures, it fell victim to the aesthetic principle: if you don't look like us or listen to the "right" music you're obviously the enemy. but that was in the eighties and i was still using kool-aid and permanent markers to color my hair.

by the nineties, as rebellious and violent as the punk-culture had become, you could actually go to HotTopic at the mall and for a few hundred dollars(!!!), come out looking like a street punk - if you hadn't noticed, this is a contradiction. most of the punks i knew in the nineties were strutting around like over-stuffed peacocks and projecting the "fuck you - i'll look any way i like!!" attitude to - well, everyone. these punks were aching for the same meaning, the same release that punks in the seventies fought for: the ability and expression of rebelliousness; but the media and fashion had already gutted the rebellion. (this is definitely not unique to punk - making something mainstream is a great way to tame anything out of the ordinary - it works kinda like kryptonite).

i didn't consider myself punk at this time and in fact i'm not sure i ever have, not even when i had a 4-in mohawk. i'm not so good with labels, you see, and besides i died my hair so much because i wanted to be born with purple hair (or blue or green or or or...). i had punk friends though and one of them (with a tri-hawk at the time) sat me down long before i ever "looked punk" and explained how i was like the seventies punks, the ones who thought too much and decided that the best way to be heard was to stand out and yell.

so where does all of this leave us in 2005? to be honest, i'm not really sure - i've basically lost interest in new music. "punk" fashion is now worn by pop-idols and many would-be punks are listening to techno, trance, house and lounge - some of which, like any music genre, is really good. i know there are still underground punk and hardcore scenes in basements across the country and college radio - if you can find a good one - is still a good, if random, place to find music that hasn't been stripped to fit the crap that mainstream radio pushes between commercials. Hey - there's always internet and satelite radio right?

there's a few punk and rock bands out there that i can still dig - Happy Anarchy for one, Flogging Molly for another, but as a whole it feels like since mainstream music is between waves so is sub-culture rebellious music - afterall, the two mirror each other like evil twins. my advice? listen to whatever you like, it makes no difference to me.

thanks again to henjin and tesco for inspiring this rant.
- mysfit signing out

kind of like gills

ahhhh, Staten Island, magical land of wonder & amazement. as in, i'm amazed it hasn't sank into the sea for the good of the world.
in other words, fishies, good morning, it's time for a healthy rant.
i'm running late for yet another doctor & shouldn't be doing this, but if i don't vent some steam soon i'm going to be kicking people in the teeth all day. metaphorically speaking, of course. probably.
the sights, the sounds, the smells. home of the world's largest dump. the world, mind you. that's a big effing dump. some say you can see it from space.
no center to this place, just a meandering vortex stuffed with traffic lights & side streets so pocked & marred i've had 2 flat tires this summer. if yesterday counts as summer, anyway, & considering it was so hot & humid i thought i was walking through a cesspool i say it counts.
no center, only neighborhoods, provincial & suspicious, full of petty superiorities, barely concealed bigotry, & minor deceptions. this place breeds the worst sort of people. my personality has suffered for being surrounded by this. people can still tell i'm not from round these parts, though, because i say "please" & "thanks" & other such foreign things. (quick disclaimer: i have met some Islanders who are remarkable people, good people with bright personalities, but with very few exceptions, even they are unmistakably the products of this place. & some of them aren't so sweet, after all.)
it costs almost ten dollars to leave this place, by any bridge, & the nearest one--the Goethals--is permanently under construction & so tight that i have panic attacks as the semis swerve & wander in their tiny lanes. this is a test: how close can you drive to a median without shearing off the side of your car?
the population is rude, self-satisfied, & snotty--i thought i knew snotty when i was growing up & faced daily by the uber-nouveau-riche of Margate & the like, but at least they admitted to their snootiness, it was part of the character. here, it's all men who live with their mothers, & controlling, passive-aggressive women, & sarcastic adolescents (ok, that's pretty common to the world at large) & overproduced cosmetic appearances & asshole drivers & shameless oglers & creepy people who follow me home from the local store. i hate walking alone here, & this from a girl who gallivanted gaily through the back streets of Atlantic City at 4 am without any real fear. now i just try to make sure that they don't figure out where i live--i've had to double around blocks, & sneak into my house between passes of that scary pick-up truck...
i have no yard, i have no porch, i have nothing but windows that look out on traffic & concrete.
gas is more expensive than in manhattan, there's a tax on everything, there is one good bar & they infuriated me just last week, but i have to suck up my pride because, really, where else could i go (without shelling out what i don't have for bridges & yet more gas.)
there's no pedestrian culture. the one coffeeshop bores me, because the rare occasions i'm there it's full of--you guessed it--self-absorbed characters impressed with their own specialness. & usually the poetry is terrible. (er, ok, so that's kind of a universal too...)
i have alienated my friends, & i've made no new ones. there are some SI people's numbers in my phone book, but why would i call? what would we talk about? i should be able to say this, not write it to some anonymous websphere.
i feel like living here is showing up the joys i had in life as hollow self-deceptions.
it's like all those years of trying to be a better person have led me to...this.
what a waste.

i had good reasons for moving here. the main one is still the truth: i am here because the person i love is here. & it's still not as bad as the year i spent in Indiana, which takes the cake as the least likely place for me to live, but at least i could get a job there, & there were green & growing things, & a cultural center to town even. & i was only there for one year.
nothing is fresh, nothing is clean. why quit smoking? the air alone would give me cancer.
nothing i need or want in my life is here, except that one big one: i guess i've always been one to pull a fair amount of stupid shit & go to great lengths for the sake of love.
it used to feel more romantic, though.
i can see the future & i'm getting older & i'm bloody stuck here. having got here, i can't get out. 45-mile trips to the doctor three times a week. no job, & not for lack of looking, though i've lost my spirit for it of late. sometimes when i'm going elsewhere i can almost feel the weight lifting as this place falls behind me.
this is a horribly self-indulgent rant, & i'll probably delete it later, but i wake up every morning miserable, oh ye gods another day, & nothing changes or looks like i can make it change. i'm hardly one to sit on my ass about such things, but at what point do you give it up as a lost cause?
why the hell can't i get a job? why am i an outsider still after years of advances? why bother anymore?
i have had many, many good moments here, good evenings, good days--but very little of that couldn't have taken place elsewhere just as easily.

maybe i just miss the aesthetics of New Brunswick, the pedestrian pageant, the juxtapositions of gentrification & what-could-be-antique-if-it-were-restored.
maybe i just miss unpolluted waters.
maybe the parks just aren't enough anymore.

blow this for a lark. i'm going to run away to Bora-Bora & teach snorkeling to rich people.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

fractured fish: a South Street tale

for mysfit, who knows me.

I.

in this place i'm a shadow in windows
paired with half-naked mannequins,
pale porcelain-like figures leaning behind glass--
almost alive, so expressive were they,
looking for your ghost
in those mutable shapes cast in reflections,
a reading of tea leaves,
a performance of sorts.
had you been there you
would have known immediately
by the sequins.

when features change characteristics
& shape, become new faces
under new poses & new frames of hair,
that's called Time,
new designs for the new you
where i know
you would have walked sideways
to see.

out there in the lights i can look
to whomever i want.


II.

in fluorescence & subway light
the anarchist banged his
ukelele,
instigating the street as it
swam serenely past.
he knew, louder than i,
what's to be done
about Authority
& the long slow diseases of Empire.
stripped of civilization we are all
bodies in the flood & in the sun.
i tossed him a dollar to sing
of the death of us all,
because I'm complicit in this,
one drift of the Society
that kills him till he kills back.
"Fuck Authority"--but
a dollar's still better than loose change
when you eat with it.


III.

technology, so mysterious,
seems to offer small enlightenments,
with its acronyms & key gens & cracks,
its cords, cables, plugs & permissions--
it's as if i weren't already
frantic enough.

to go up & down all those stairs,
peering into shadows with each stumble,
techno-jingle-belling in basements
& chasing old friends from the curbside,
i sprawl here, every inch of leg
a something
i haven't said,
a glance gone awry,
a stolen pen,
forgotten batteries.

in red tones & thumping drones,
in radiations of sunlight through
smoke & trees,
i am surrounded by green screens,
blocks of dust & damage
& abandoned window perspectives.
i don't know how to solve your problem,
or even
the smart thing to say,
the goad to the lush places,
the blanket on the ground,
the sand in your eyes as
you look up & down again.

like a counterpoint
behind a structure
of revelations,
these technogical gymnastics
suggest greater things
in a panoply of koan-type questions:
where is the global record?
where does the relationship break down?
why does it ignore the existence of its own parts?

whisper sweet nothings to your monitor
& close the doors,
you alone with me &
maniacal inertia.
a series of rooms lead into
September, fraught with dunes
& lunar landscapes,
the river deltas of the future.


IV.

& on every corner, i failed to locate
myself, failed to find my years like so much
lost change gleaming useless in wet gutters,
knowing that
that was your last quarter.
the straining of a spine towards light:
however many bicyles fill a block
we don't have time to find you.

there are too many
people, bodies
in gaudy tangles
caught up in street currents
like schools of wayward fish,
like clusters in a game of manners.
please
don't stand on my toes, they're bare.

the armor behind curtains, the crystals dark,
i relied on neon to locate myself,
submerged & unspeaking
behind radar & all forms of tracks,
remnants in the concrete,
the first yellow leaves browning
after the tumble--
as the perspective widens
the details
are lost.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

there's a fish on my forehead!


i am the calm center of the universe

i am someone who does not care, nothing affects me

or

i care very deeply about everything in specific, but little details do not bother me in the least

i have purged all resentment from my heart and soul

i no longer care that there are those in the world, yea, in my very own house, who will not give the same level of consideration they expect

i can be anything with this glass of raspberry lemonade and vodka in my hand, slipping down my throat, filling my veins with warm acceptance

i can even accept you taking my life in your hands by talking on the cell phone while driving

if you can accept me calling you an asshole

i am the calm of the gigantic black hole at the center of the universe

i am following my fish

Friday, September 09, 2005

fish chapters

(Part the Fourth.)

Chapter 9: Cape May Jazz

in here
it's a rose-trellis garden

slope-shouldered waiters in white shirts &
black-&-white postcards

that flicker of movement,
that's the drummer

if you are not here
please raise your hand


Chapter 10: homestead

skyline broken-scape
scrap pages collected
out of collective memory,
a state vacation:
in other words,
a View.

you remember you could almost
see the smell of the ocean.
you suspect
i am not coming here for me but
i am not coming here for me.
you indulge in the memory of indulgence.

this is not one or three or five nights
spent wining, promenading,
gallivanting & consuming
& so forth.
it's nostalgia in a particular
light, for nights, & days
preceding nights,

& knowing that this is here
every night
for someone,
& for every someone, a night.
they hang beads & mirrors
& glass
over it all
& you remember.


Chapter 11: bankruptcy.

it's still day out here,
those children who lay siege
to our tower with a tennis ball
& almost unnatural yells
have gone north,
next door & the door after.
i can still hear them.
sun setting left of me,
up here on my geranium prow,
basalmic vinegar stains my skirts.
if i am seated i am invisible,
& i can reflect on my spiderplants
unseen, another pair of eyes
in the trees.

(more scraps from last year's journal of the fish. because what else would i do with them?
for the curious, parts the first, second, & third. so there.)

Bowleg Bill

this is from a pretty darn old American Folklore map we have hanging in the control room. i have no idea who Bowleg Bill is, but i thought this was a fish to share.


Bowleg Bill rides the fish.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

am i a fish dreaming i am a man?

Chuang-Tzu once dreamed he was a butterfly. When he awoke, he no longer knew if he was a butterfly dreaming he was a man, or a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly.
ghost butterfly - from the desk of mysfit's photoshop glee

not sure but here i am again - it's 2a.m. and all's well. the old man cat is laying idly by my feet, dreaming of fish and the fish sings to my-my-my insomnia. i suppose that you may well be prepared: this will be a tangential fish.

a public service message from your friends at the fish:
please donate anything you can to the on-going relief effort in Louisiana. and use your common sense - there are many people who would take advantage of a generous heart and a crazy situation - so make sure that the charity you are giving to is legit and has a track record of helping people in this region. to check on any charity look them up at the Better Business Bureau or CharityWatch.org. Note: Charity Watch is a good place to go if you don't know how to donate or want to find the best way.

fish in the second: There's only 53 days till Halloween!!! and i don't know what i want to be. last year i was an optical illusion and almost ended up in a riot (no i mean a riot - my eyes were watering with tear-gas by the time we slipped down a back alley and got out in the nic of time) - what was i the year before or even the year before that? what are you going to be this year?

due to this train of thought and for tesco, i decided to post this pic of me from halloween past.


tank girl - halloween 01

(i suppose this would be for jenn see and for monkey 0 as well) though keep in mind that it is 2a.m. and a fully-slept mysfit might object to this blatant use of my image.

onto the next small fish: i really miss my mohawk. i've had at least three, all different colors, though black is the best. now though i've got corporate jobs at "good" corporations - you know, ones that make an effort at the very least and i've got to look all normal and what not.

last fish: i had a lot more to say but those damn moths... those damn damn moths. instead here's a picture of a dragonfly that i drew:

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

RIP Maynard G. Krebs

otherwise known as Bob Denver, otherwise known as Gilligan, who died Friday.


Bob Denver as Gilligan.


as Maynard G. Krebs.

thanks to skrambled for bringing this to my attention. i wonder if Mr. Denver was happy with being Gilligan forever. i for one preferred his beatnik side. alas, we may never know.

Monday, September 05, 2005

4 fish

first fish: there's something terribly final about the last toasted marshmallows of the summer.

second fish: why are all the damn-the-spam word verification thingies horribly typer un-friendly?
does that make sense?

third fish: a couple weeks ago, i caught an old-as-i-am episode of Reading Rainbow, & wondered if they'd ever thought of updating/redoing it. & lo, this afternoon's meanderings proved that they have. it was all hi-fi & whatnot, with Lavar Burton going all CGI & crazy maps & poetry & stuff. & a bit of propoganda to boot.

fourth fish: i love Eddie Izzard. i really do. i watched Definite Article this weekend & reminded myself of that fact. (please note: DVD link not region 1, e.g. if you live in the US don't buy it.)


eddie izzard.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

when the fish is dreaming

can one follow a fish through a desert?


Afghanistan.

this image is strangely fitting to the feel of this weekend, for reasons too nebulous to describe. striking, no?

& serendipitiously enough, it's a travel blogger's photo.

just had to express that, crystalize a sensibility in some way.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

early experiemental fish

a little fish whispered in my ear saying, "mysfit's photoshop glee". so here's one original fish, in before/after form:
original

zalu w/o bubbles
the eye/bubble is from a different unrecalled photograph - sorry about any confusion - to be honest i never meant to make a fish.

Friday, September 02, 2005

one pissed off fish

not a whole lot to say right now as this article has taken all the words and some of the hope right out of me as i realize that it is still 2005 and we have till 2008 with this bastard.

let me clarify: nothing in this article comes as a surprise, but it's kinda rough seeing it all in one place and put so succinctly.

sleepless fish

so here it is, 4a.m. and suddenly, i'm wide awake. it wasn't easy either. lying dazed in my bed, i tried to ignore my consciousness, but it was too late - all the tiny, nearly weightless worries add up after awhile and there's no way to sleep in that kind of quicksand. so i finally gave in, got up and decided to take care of those little things my body needs when it cannot find rest (i.e. to pee, drink water, and brush my teeth for some reason - i'd take a shower too, but my downstairs roommates might kill me).

seeing how i was trapped in an upright mood, the fish called to me, whispering my name in the computer hum and so a sleepless fish was born.

he, for that is what he seems to be, is a strange color that is "something like blue".

he doesn't believe in armadillos, but worships seashells.

the definition of a seashell is "the calcareous shell of a marine mollusk or similar marine organism". he looked it up.

he's forgotten his name and would like you to make one up for him.

he's never fertilized eggs and doesn't like eating mushrooms, but looks forward to both events.

he sleeps upside-down to scare the other fish.

he likes rain, long swims by the beach and sea anemones.

he'd like you to ponder this picture of a sea anemone, and contemplate why we are all here.

he doesn't like any species of beetle especially the one crawling across the wall over there.

the moth dive-bombing the computer screen scared the shit out of him, but he won't admit it.

he's got eight fingers and ten toes, even though he has no hands or feet.

he thinks it's funny that the only word the spell-checker could come up for "anemones" is "honeymoons".

he also thinks that if the spell-checker is going to check grammar, he should get to choose what type of grammar it checks.

he's not even sure why i'm writing this.

he's concerned about where that beetle went.

he conquered the cat by attrition and gets really excited about new words, like Coleoptera and insomnious (versions of which he has heard before).

he's going to stay up the rest of the night so i don't have to.