Friday, January 7, 2011

Juliet, Naked - Day 7

Well, I haven't read any further. I've done work (good.) I've posted to Facebook (meh.) I've blathered about politics (pointless.) Mostly I've engaged in rancorous debate - no, that's not right. "Debate" is too formal a word. Mostly, I've argued like fighting pit-bulls with people on baseball sites who think steroids should disqualify players from the Hall of Fame (utterly, moronically pointless.)

I'll try to read more over the weekend, though I am currently devoting most of my free time to final mix of (yet) another CD. Which seems a reasonable anecdote to tell. At last year's Snake Whacking Day (another story altogether) I presented Paul with a special mix that I put together for his 40th birthday. Every year Paul mixes everyone a birthday CD, and way back in 1992 it was Paul who sort of set me off on this weird little "document your life by embedding secret, mostly impossible to discern messages to yourself into mix tapes of other people's art" project. My first mix tape made for public consumption - that is to say "not for a girl I was infatuated with" - was titled "I Am Paul's Dog." (That's a reference to a comic book from the early 90s, if you care.)

Anywho, I made Paul a 40th birthday mix and I gave it to him at Snake Whacking Day. At which point Squid, who I have also known nigh unto forever, asked "where's my birthday mix?" Now who feels like an ass? No, more than usual. So I have set about over the last month to mix Squid a CD, because he has a point. I'm currently running final track listings for that CD. (Yeah, see. I spend HOURS on track orders, blending the run time from one song to the next, maintaining some undercurrent or theme. I'm a complete OCD fucktard about that sort of thing.) When it's done, I'll write that up separately.

But that's why I haven't read any further in Juilet, Naked. I can't read about music geeks and their amazingly fucked up emotional and psychological compulsions because of my own music geekery and psychological compulsions. Yeah. I'm like that sometimes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Divination in the time of cholera

What's a gaming system without an expansion pack? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing! Just think of how quickly you'd get bored if all you ever did was wander around slaughtering kobolds all day. (The kobolds are not unlike the Irish that way.)

Previously on Buffy we defined our dice-based text selection algorithm, to no small applause from the audience. Today we proudly announce our first expansion pack, in which we add a couple more rolls - dude, just roll the dice a couple more times and sort it out; this ain't rocket surgery - and move past mere text selection straight on into full-fledged bibliomancy.

Bibliomancy. Oh Christ, look it up. Wiki is your friend.

Unable as we are to settle a singular "holy text" we have set our divinatory range to include the entire library. Initial rolls to select a given text for a given day are identical to previously-on-Buffy text selection. Once a text is chosen - or chooses us... MWHUHHAHAHAHA!!! Um...

Once a text is chosen, another set of multiple 20-sides choose a page, and a 6-, 8- or 12-side selects a paragraph. As required, one can add a final roll for sentence if so desired.

Today's Random Koan of Destiny comes from...

Zone 4 (Philosophy & and other hubristic texts), Shelf 3, Book 44 (The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten - 100 Experiments For The Armchair Philosopher), page 38, paragraph 6. (Beginning the count at the first full paragraphs actually takes us to the first paragraph of page 39, which is just fine by me. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and so apparently do my dice.)
"So when Mary sees colour for the first time, the world will appear a new way for her. But is it true to say she will know anything new about it? It may seem natural to say she now 'knows' what red looks like. But sometimes our ordinary ways of talking can blind us to the subtler distinctions a philosopher should take care to make."
Initial Cogitations and Ruminations:
  1. Damn, this might actually be functional! I'm a genius.
  2. Squid's First Axiom (The Document of POPGUN; self-published 1997) - "Subtlety is overrated."
  3. Sam's First Corallary to Squid's First Axiom (POPGUN Hadith and Commentaries, unpublished) - "Brutality is it's own reward."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Juliet, Naked - Day 2

There are three authors that, when I read them, both enchant and dismay me in equal parts. They are, in no particular order, Chuck Palahniuk, Chuck Klosterman and Nick Hornby. All three of those guys hit me in a very particular way. All three fascinate and disturb me in an all-encompassing, soul-shattering sort of way, usually at the same time. (The fascination and disturbing, not all three authors at the same time.)

On the one hand, each of them resonates with me at the deepest level. Each have the ability to turn out sentences and phrases and entire paragraph blocks that scan as if they were simply running dictation from my subconscious. Each seems to write from a place where I have lived some not insignificant portion of my adult life. (That place is probably most readily summed up as "indie rock scenesters from the '90s.) The overwhelming reaction when reading their novels and essays is identification-at-a-distance, and a sort of pride that someone is capturing this part of the world, this part of *my* world so elegantly, wittily and effectively. Reading either always provides a jolt of vicarious pride. "Yes! This is right. This is it. This is what we were about!"

At the same time, I am equally repulsed by the experience. If Nick Hornby, who lives in England and probably never set foot in any of the clubs or loved any of the bands I sweated and swore for, can effectively convey, with near perfect tone the fact of being there, and sweating and swearing for them nonetheless, that sort of explodes the idea that the experience itself was notably authentic. It suggests that the experience, absent the particulars - that my *life*, absent the particulars - rather than being spun up organically from cause and circumstance undeniably my own, was actually pretty close to "of a form." It suggests that my life probably has more in common with the "mass produced in China," "lowest common denominator" lives I so detest in say, Oasis fans, than I would ever want to acknowledge or believe. It drives a nagging suspicion deep into the gut, a little demon voice in the ear repeating over and over "the only difference between you and 'N Sync fans was that you tuned the radio dial into lower bandwidths; mere form, not function."

Which is to say, it tells me that I am no a beautiful and unique snowflake, and that makes me want to go destroy something beautiful.

All of which is a rambling attempt to frame my state of mind when reading the first few chapters of "Juliet, Naked." (In my first sitting I've made it through the first listen to Naked on the beach.) On the one hand, I already *heart* this novel, in the same way I just more or less man-crush on anything Hornby writes. I know these people already. I've known them for decades, even though I just learned their names last night. I know them, and I am them. These are my people, my tribe. Obscurantist musical obsessives. Occultist devotees to the healing and destructive powers of rock and roll. Socially awkward misfits whose strongest connections to other human beings often occur via chat rooms, BBS and "social networks." Yes. I know these people. Fuck me, how I know these people.

On the other hand, I want to pike Nick Hornby's head, burn his bones and salt the ground we sink him into while chanting the Latin equivalent of "get out of my head, you limey bastard; get out of my fucking head!"

With that said, the term "Croweologist" is fantastic. Even more so if you've ever spent three months attempting to explain to a sweet little strawberry blond with the most perfect Savannah-area lilt exactly why Superchunk's "Foolish" is the greatest break-up album ever recorded.