Nuclear Thunder

I woke up and chatted with friends about the STP reunion. Then I did a loop-de-loop around my neighborhood to Smoothie King. That's where a high protein banana smoothie awaited consumption. Of course, to get there meant braving the monsoon that started shortly after my walk began. Nevertheless, I made it through the series of "Do I get a taxi now?" and then "Do I get a taxi now?" to finally reach fruit shake heaven. 

During my journey, there was one brief moment where the thunder clapped loudly and sent a flock of pedestrians running for the nearest shelter. I couldn't stop smiling at the strangeness of people running from a sound. I looked up at the sky and said, "Oh, yeah!"

It is now hailing. The cubes are large and bouncing off the glass roof of my balcony. 

If I was out in this, I would not smile or say, "Oh, yeah!" I would probably run for the nearest shelter. I am scared of hard objects falling. Thunder is no problem though. In fact, if I ever had a child I would name them Thunder, the Barbarian.  That is, if my kid named a member of their family Skeletor.

The Climb

Today I climbed past the ridge lined with magnolias and rhododendrons to find a tennis court nestled within the mountain. It was a dirt court with the lines barely visible, but I was excited at the possibility to do a hike and play some tennis simultaneously. Unfortunately, the court was taken by the typical elder, Korean male - loud, brash, and with very little sense of tennis etiquette. 

Although he and his partner were several years the senior in skill level and experience of their female counterparts, he still felt the need to shout during points for the unneeded psych out. An immediate urge to wallop the man, or simply point out that his behavior was against the rules and would result in penalization should he try these antics during competitive play arose, but died as my tongue's ability to speak Korean found nothing but "where is the library?" for verbal swordplay. With my wit freshly dry, I seethed for a few more moments, before walking back up the path. 

Human beings are certainly different all over the world. Some behaviors are particular to a region, and other "cases" can be called their general name no matter what location they happen to affront civilized decency. 

Ironman Campaign

Ironman hits theaters April 30th worldwide. Buzz is already spilling through the blogwaves that the film is - believe it or not - good. Such hype has not come without its share of money toasting. Marvel Comics and Paramount Pictures have jointly given $50 million for the marketing campaign, which includes placement and merchandising deals with Sega, Hasbro, Audi, Burger King, and 7-Eleven.

On a recent visit to Korea, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jon Favreau smiled when necessary and said "I love you" in broken Korean.

Interested in more??? POP GOES KOREA

Radio Airplay for The Slipshod Swingers

Thank you to the DJ's who are already playing Transistor Radio. You have made a good choice. People will listen to your station with a newfound respect. They will send you gifts and fill you with approval. 

If you would like to hear The Slipshod Swingers at a radio station near you, please e-mail me the call sign and location, and I will be sure to contact your local music director.



Monday: 6:30 - 8:41 a.m.

Typically, I wake up in the morning aorund 7 a.m.. I stare out my balcony window at the three nests dispersed in the trees to my left.

Today I look down and see one of my neighbors dabbing the leaves of each tree that lines his balcony with a swab of ointment attached to a branch as long as his arm. At first, I think the procedure is his way of soaking each leaf with an ample suppy of water, but the percision with which he makes sure each leaf is covered, and the unusual dark bandages over the end of the branch where the solution is transmitted from branch to leaf, leaves me wondering if it's for medicinal purposes.

I do not expect to see this happening. On more typical days, my neighbor simply patrols his yard in search of cat droppings. I am slightly pleased to see this new occurence and make note of it with the polaroid you see above.

Since I am now teaching during the days, my next routinal step involves a trip in a taxi to the fifth floor of a building on campus where my office is located. I usually grade papers here and prep for lectures as they make themselves known to me.

Students who have visited my office comment on the neatness of my desk. This may be unusual to them for a myriad of reasons. The most plausible reason is that they think I am a messy person and had expected to see disorganization. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to be messy because disorganization leads to more work and less writing.

There is a badge on my door that designates whether I am "present" or "out of the office". Since I cannot read the Korean script, I simply move the lever back and forth several times simply for the enjoyment that there is something tactile for me to touch, and also to pretend that it will somehow turn into a robot if I fiddle with it enough.

My officemates are into musicals. Since my ex-wife was a musical theater director - and through whom I had the privilege of watching countless highschool performances of "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Sound of Music" - I can't say I am thrilled about these posters or the bourgeois sentiments they represent. In either case, I welcome them as elements of my childhood rather than displeasing remembrances of a marriage gone sour.

Today I look at the posters and envision my first trip to Broadway by Greyhound. My highschool sweetheart and I are walking up and down 42nd Street. We marvel at the people and lights. There is no TRL. Just a Sbarro's. We feast on a pepporoni pizza. We think we are having real New York pizza. We watch Ira Gershwin's "Crazy for You". I dislike musicals, but I am moved by the professionalism of Broadway. "Those dancers are very good," I tell her. "Yes," she agrees, "They are." I express interest to come again. My thoughts are light and buoyant. Only a momentary lapse into how my father would prefer that I study word problems intercedes the moment. I shake this worry with a bite of pepporoni pizza (something I will do on other occasions as well before this is replaced with nicotine) I want to come again. "Let's do it," she agrees. We come to Broadway three more times before the relationship fizzles under the weight of college and more female opportunities. I handle myself badly during the beakup. I send back her letters. Her father expresses his concern in an angry phone call. I grow bitter and tired. I rest on a bunk in my dormitory. I do not go out for a week. I am regretful. I feel this is what must be. I stare at a poem written on the wall. It talks about opening your mind like a door only your thoughts can enter. I like the colors that were used. I purchase some oil pastels and proceed to mark up the entire room. My roommate is not pleased at the sight when he enters. He is courteous though and says he is fine with the new "decorations" as long as I "clean or pay for it" before any moving is done. I agree. I sit back on my bunk. No other words are spoken.

Typically, I do not remember the past at all. At least, not in such detail. Most of my memories come in flashes during walks. I will see a street or car, the way a certain building has had its bricks pointed - and then I am into a different town - I am on the streets of Delaware, I am outside of The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, I am in the middle of a sandwich in a 7-11 on Route 13, I am in a motel in Missouri, I am watching television in my room in Korea.

Now I look out the windows by my office. I enjoy this view and stare at it for a total of ten seconds. It is 8:40 a.m.


These days I am fascinated with numbers. They are so forgiving and peculiar. Where did they come from? Where are they going? Can I be a number? Can you pull me like a ticket? 117 in the produce line. 23 at the bank. 814.78 without a verb. 3.1415179 in my hair. Dare to eat a six. Becareful not to say Stevie Nicks. Beware the octagon. Turn lightly on a Palestinian doctor. Give screws toes to root the outer vector space vehicle. Collapse ghosts in a fuzzbuster. Then count to ten again. The Brahmi way: _ = _+ = ...

Disco Dancing

[reposted from Day of Mostaches by Chris Killen:]

everybody loves disco dancing:

Sadness is a Hallmark card.
Words upon your Melville. 
An orange sunrise you can't swallow.
The voice of a Bengal tiger. 
Rumbles when friends are greeted upon its field. 
Curled spirits to pull a worm and carrot intertwined like script. 
Each passing firefly a hundred and one nights cradled upon its shore.

Lin and Cicero Make Shonkwiler Tired Already

Eric Shonkwiler has described Tao Lin, Noah Cicero, and Zachary German as "morphic field crap" that he is "tired of [] already".

In response, Tao Lin remarked that "[artists] feel bad when you talk shit about something they've created, something they created with no purpose..."

Noah Cicero supported Lin's claims by further exemplifying how critques of independent authors are counter intuitive, since their purpose is to share on a small scale, unlike, as Cicero states, "[an author] who 'gets an agent, editor, has a giant publisher and is seeking a movie deal.' "

Cicero also distinguishes the difference between Bear Parade authors mimicing today's American vernacular - and the brevity in sentence length used by Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein - as a byproduct of the environmental and cultural differences of expatriots living in France examining their speech patterns in contrast to contemporary American authors fictionalizing a country "preoccupied with video games, cell phones, having nice skin, fast food, getting a good nights rest, and having the ability to get boners..."

Although Shonkwiler's critique has received a backlash from some of the authors and their fans, the underlying question still remains: Is the future of writing going to be fiction that relates to an audience, or is it going to be something that is personal, and possibly outside a reader's environmental or cultural understanding?

Cicero posits that an alignment with style and content is based on one's predilections, and is not an aspect of writing that can be controlled by an author.

"If you don't like or can't relate to the content and style, then you probably won't like the story, " Cicero explains on his blog, The Outsider.

Brad Warner, the author of Hardcore Zen, has posited that artists are faced with three possible outcomes: 1) they will create according to their predelections and a) be met with instant success, b) only appeal to a small group; or 3) an individual will write for a particular audience and a) be met with instant success, or b) not.

According to Warner's article "Sing in the Voice God Gave You":

"..Pleasing other people only really matters if you want to be financially successful, or if you’re just the type who gets off on pleasing other people. Some rare artists are lucky in being able to produce art they really personally like that just happens to be what lots of folks want to hear or see. Some artists are just people pleasing types and what moves them is making things that others like. These two types can get popular without really compromising. Then there are those who just want money and popularity and will make whatever’s selling well. Most of these types fail miserably. But a few make it very big. Generally, though, I think most artists produce art that’s never gonna appeal to a wide audience..."

Regardless of the eventual outcome, Warner believes that an individual meeting personal tastes will be happier in comparison to those who are trying to appeal to an audience solely for the purpose of fame or money.

If we are to take Warner's position as valid, then the question of author control is a moot one. Audiences will naturally gravitate towards fictional worlds that are synonymous with their tastes and experiential frameworks. The future of writing is therefore an unknown to be discussed with any plausibility. As such, authors may be better off eliminating prophecies in favor of creation itself.