Sunday, December 17, 2006


The sun here is a crystal skull. It only ever raises a hand-breadth from the horizon, blowing out long shadows behind the blinkers. The surf breaks and mends, then rakes and rends, turning pebbles over in its mouths like words of seaweed wadded sibilance. My dog likes to fight as I walk him, so we berth wide to get to the beach. My mum's story of how her old neighbour used to stare out his yard window with nightvision goggles, to watch his dog foul our grass and watch Louis bark his territorial anxiety, keeps me away from those who'd delight in Louis' spasms. Louis convinces me that its the rest of the planet that's a bad dog; not him. But still I must cuss him and push his belly to the ground. How can I find space between his snarls to tell other walkers just how mean he isn't? We both come home with saltscurfed feet.

This book I'm reading is monumental. It's all bleached bone and gray. Pared, barren prose leaves such space for the reader to complete the picture, to put their own eddies in the dust, images often repeated with a slight change in their ordering. The word 'blood' is on every page, somehow making it lean and honest. And it makes me think of the book review below, and how a stern, unforgiving frontier novel like this really is much like the hyperbole drenched sci-fi genre. Both stipulate the most incredible of conditions, inducing the most remarkable of responses, exposing all extremities of character. Men fight gods here. The narrator, the tekhnos, the nature, the atavistic logos, and always always the reader. In this one, the prose allows little compassion, I can feel these people pushing against me, my observation, my presence, as if I am the only reason they reckon under such misfortune. The problem now is that I should have to read this quick if it's to become the Christmas gift I bought it for.

Victoria always makes me think of castration somehow. I'll cut this short for now, but I'll try and come back with a fairer idea of why it strikes me so.

Friday, December 15, 2006

scrapbook DEC 15th

k. new format. friday (if i post) ll be the quick-writ thought-scrapbook. i'll try and keep it pretty loose and casj, and hopefully it'll endure longer than the word-of-the-day feature i eventually yawned at... (though if you have any particularly pertinent or strident words, please post... i collect them)
  • Madonna is a youth vampire.
  • a dawn to cauterize the rent night
  • blogbituaries? RIP Mac, Onechildleftbehind etc.
  • moisturizers? dermatological ballast for the overclean?
  • wine rings on the computer
  • lost/found note to my mum: '...mostly because immediacy is more of a removal of self than its delivery: its too late to make any decision in the present.'
  • Wedding Crashers sequel: Christmas Crashers?
  • spitting into the rain, does anyone else feel compelled?

BROKEN TELEPHONE OF THE WEEK (I have little ears): Foaming Bath Groins (grains)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "He went to get spastic down by the waves" - my mother

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Book Review by In One Ear and Out Your Mother*

Which contemporary novels are we compelled to venerate above all others? Which books give us hope for the future of the form, exhibit most forcefully the backbreaking labor of ambitious authors to shatter the mold of aesthetic ennui and knee-jerk postmodernism which makes a mockery of "literary fiction," novels whose fervency and zest give back threefold what the reader puts in? In periods of readerly crisis and exhaustion, I can always turn to Ballard's *Crash*(1973) and *The Drowned World*(1962), DeLillo's *Libra*(1988), Clive Barker's *Imajica*(1991), Gene Wolfe's *Book of the New Sun*(1980-83), selected passages from *Gravity's Rainbow*(1973), Gibson's *Virtual Light* trilogy(1993-99), and perhaps with the greatest pleasure of all, *Blood Meridian*(1985) by Cormac McCarthy. These are all books that remit huge returns on their investments, becoming a vicarious collaborator in our sufferings, harvesting the anguish of the 20th century.

*Blood Meridian* clocks in at 337 pages, yet seems much longer, each chapter crammed with so much force and baroque ambition as to overwhelm the uninitiated reader, pummeling our sensibilities with its bloody license, its terror-networks of human splatter, its lines of lit glycerin, its miles of pain. Initially, Captain Glanton's regiment of scalp-hunters seem little more than bloodthirsty pilgrims of hate, an ignorance-cult borne of excess and syphilitic mind-rot. But more vitally, they are the war ensemble of Judge Holden's theology of martial gamesmanship, itself reducible to a few happy bylaws:
1. Men are born for games, and war is the game that swallows up stakes, rules, players, all.
2. There is no mystery to war, for war is god.
3. War is thus the truest form of divination.
Most brutal case of Hobbesian one-upmanship you will ever read....

I'll try and resist the obvious and reflexive comparisons of Judge Holden to Ahab and Iago and MacBeth and the Miltonic Satan. The word McCarthy himself uses in Chap. XXII (pg. 309) is "mutant," hypothesizing a creature specially adapted to the primeval wastelands of the American Southwest, a nomadic barrister of martial law incarnate, a pure demigod risen from some antediluvian vomit-bowl, one whose Mars-haunted spirit has internalized the whiteness of the whale, and is prepared to externalize this principle by whitening the West into a boneyard calcified by Judgement.

Clive Barker once remarked that he took it personally when something died, but the Judge takes this precept even further, convinced that nothing on this earth shall be permitted to die without his permission, without his blood-stamped ratification. His knowledge and his works are listed in the insanity provision of the criminal code, his running shadow itself half-way toward becoming an occult artifact. By the end of the novel, ageless and sleepless, he becomes less a mutant or demihuman than a pure principle or Intelligence, a roving nexus of judgement beyond origins or ends, Ares Unbound.

In my own experiences as a reader, the Judge is one of the few authentic father-figures I'd be willing to follow into the desert, a posthuman prodigy whose martial consciousness is lodged in the atavistic as much as in the epistemological, a true avatar of post-millennial ethics that must be reckoned with by all 21st-century readers. As Harold Bloom noted, *Blood Meridian* is far more important to us today than it was in 1985 (or even the 19th-century where it is set), helping us to calculate the number of the beast in, for example, the ruins of war-torn Kosovo, as in any future site of genocidal bombast....

The Kid is a recurring figure in McCarthy's fiction, an orphan and drifter fallen into bad company, yet vouchsafing some blurred trace of empathy in the bloodthirsty maw of Glanton's paramilitaries. It is this shred of "humanity" which the Judge condemns as a betrayal to the regiment, a heroic disloyalty to the Hobbesian principle of universal conflict, in the end providing an apologia for the Kid's penultimate, er, shall we say liquidation?

*Blood Meridian* is also a linguistic odyssey whose shadowy vocabulary recalls the work of certain SF fabulists who construct an alien language to reconnoiter their imagined worlds. (It is not surprising that McCarthy is such a revered figure in the vanguard of contemporary science-fiction; the novels of Jack Womack and William Gibson in particular simply wouldn't exist in their current form without his influence.) The difference is that most of McCarthy's "jargon" can be found in Merriam-Webster's, and the ambitious reader may want to prepare a glossary before embarking on this great novel; my own list includes: acacia, acequia, alcalde, almagre, aloe, anchorite, archimandrite, arroyo, artemisia, azotea, bagnio, baldric, bodega, boleta, bungstarter, bursar, cabildo, caisson, cartouche, chaparral, chattel, cholla, corbel, cordillera, coulee, crinoline, dorys, dragoon, egrets, enfilade, esker, fandango, farrier, felloes, filibuster, fulgurite, fusil, galena, guidon, gypsum, hackamore, holothurian, ilex, isomer, jacal, jakes, javelina, jornada, kiva, lazarous, lemniscate, littoral, malabarista, malpais, matraca, Monroe Doctrine, mortice, nopal, ocotillo, palmilla, paloverde, pannier, playa, plover, porphyry, presidio, pulque, pumice, purlieu, quirt, rebozo, remuda, revetment, sacristy, saguaro, sally-gate, scantling, scapular, scow, scree, scrog, selvage, slurry, solpuga, sotol, spall, specie, sutler, suttee, swale, switchback, tamales, tern, thrapple, tumbril, tyrolean, vedette, viga, vinegarroon, weskit, whang, wickiup, withers, yucca, and if you've read this far, it should be clear that I have no life to speak of...(!)

*lifted from Amazon without consent

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


the strangest thing, here in victoria, plane rattled out of the black sky to strike the family at the airport. i, zombie, go to bed with fine dog hair on my palms, hearing the plops of renegade raindrops against the window. the yellow house buffeted by the wind, mithering crows huddling under the eaves on a whistling phone wire. the gusts, not cold, but salt-wracked and with a resinous edge sharpening against the tousled pines and our belfry's cornices. get up to a thrown bucket of golden sunlight, and boot up for a walk, trees still ruffling. approach the beach, sepia flushed clouds obscuring the low-watt sun. a rainbow astride the city. the wind shorn thorn trees huddling the bluffs like cold-hassled pigeons. pockets full of fresh crushed rosemary, i lean over the cliff, into the wind, tears streaming, teeth dry from smiling. a daredevil wind-surfs over the laboradite waves -a plastic knife dorsal fin- tacks and follies over the lathering green ponies. william burroughs' rifles in my head, repeating: Who is the Greek youth smiling at? He is smiling at his own archaic smile. For this is the smile that happens when the smiler becomes the smile.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Things are more like they are now than they ever were before - Dwight Eisenhower

I like generating axioms or heuristic phrases, some are pretentious and others pithy. I don't live up to them, or even really aspire to, but they have a certain soothing quality.. and I like to leave them behind in places (like scrawled quickly on the underside of a floorboard I'm installing, for example). 4 or so years ago, one hit me with some force: Time is not a measure of distance, but of consequence. The whole point of it was to convey the primacy of evolutionary progression to -and through- consciousness, now today, I read about something called The Law of Accelerating Returns in The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil (I've wanted to cut out some portions to place here for some time now). Here's the thought provoker (or relativity resetter..):

"What determines whether time speeds up or slows down? The consistent answer is that time moves in relation to the amount of chaos. We can state the Law of Time and Chaos as follows:

THE LAW OF TIME AND CHAOS: In a process, the time interval between salient events (that is, events that change the nature of the process, or significantly affect the future of the process) expands or contracts along with the amount of chaos.

When there is a lot of chaos in a process, it takes more time for significant events to occur. Conversely, as order increases, the time periods between salient events decrease.

We have to be careful here in our definition of chaos. It refers to the quantity of disordered (that is, random) events that are revelant to the process. If we're dealing with the random movement of atoms and molecules in a gas or liquid, then heat is an appropriate measure. If we're dealing with the process of evolution of life-forms, then chaos represents the unpredictable events encouraged by organisms, and the random mutations that are introduced in the genetic code.

Let's see how the Law of Time and Chaos applies to our example. If chaos is increasing, the Law of Time and Chaos implies the following sublaw:

THE LAW OF INCREASING CHAOS: As chaos exponentially increases, time exponentially slows down (that is, the time interval between salient events grows longer as time passes).

This fits the Universe rather well. When the entire Universe was just a "naked" singularity -a perfectly orderly single point in space and time- there was no chaos and conspicuous events took almost no time at all. As the Universe grew in size, chaos increased exponentially, and so did the timescale for epochal changes. Now, with billions of galaxies sprawled out over trillions of light-years of space, the Universe contains vast reaches of chaos, and indeed requires billions of years to get everything organized for a paradigm shift to take place.

We see a similar phenomenon in the progression of an organism's life. We start out as a single fertilized cell, so there's only rather limited chaos there. Ending up with trillions of cells, chaos greatly expands. Finally, at the end of our lives, our designs deteriorate, engendering even greater randomness. So the time period between salient biological events grows longer as we grow older. And that is indeed what we experience."


Pretty sweet, eh? I've got a few problems with it being called a 'law', as there's at least one cosmoverse of unknowns among us arrogantelope.

Also, found this and it could be mildly construed as related but DEFINITELY worth the buffer time to load. It's awedropping!

Friday, December 08, 2006


Nostrils awing and fetching the air, an air of a sweated humus deep-sweet and ruddy, Nadia breathed it through the gapped window. The headrest in front smouldered lavender as gusts worried hooks of the old lady’s hair. The last petrol station now just a retinal splodge of crouched oil; spattered guard-rails tonsils to the retreating city’s constant feed of traffic; the murk-draped greenscape suddenly billowed in as view, bidden by the cedar-scrubbed aroma. The trees shuffled closer to the narrowing road, beginning to loom. She watched them smear the pane for a measure, her dad’s hearty phrases colliding with the maggoty echoes of the hospital left behind. Soon a note of affected satisfaction in his voice told her they’d arrived, the car’s tires agreeing in gravel.

“We’re here mum,” John repeated. “Goldstream Park. Sit tight while Nadia sets the chair up for you.”

Nadia locked with the woman’s watery eyes, bright but submerged, nickels flashing from a staid millpond. “The salmon, grandma,” as if answering the unasked. She wondered at her father’s ability to speak to this hidden woman, his voice a reply only to itself. She bit her lip back, a ward of criticism: how else to speak to a ruined foundry? Jocularity emboldens the seekers, not the trapped. “Perhaps we’ll even see some other wildlife. It’s been a while since you’ve been here…” She stooped to shift the slight body to the chromium-alloy chair. It was no harder than lifting a frown to a smile. Her father returned from the parking validation, the rental car wept its doors firm and they made for the footprint-pitted path.

John walked a marked pace ahead, his height stiffened by his long coat. His was a parade ground, inspecting those straight-backed Douglas firs, attending majestic. A vast hall of heroes. Their mossy festoons could not soften his eye. From crooks of boughs, sword ferns dripped like verdant, shade-laden lanterns. Connecting the earthbound to the ethereal, he thought. Their columnar support vaulting the doming sky. How ageless the arborous responsibility! How their efforts belied all strain. He paused, and from his chin through to his fists he stretched his bowed spine, a motion of habit, not supraliminal form.

Nadia’s gaze swept low the ground, negotiating the gnarled snags and mudded depressions. Grandma’s weight rattled through the wheelchair, resonating something in her hands that remembered bird bones in a shoebox lined with tissue. A musty trunk of sensation opened, its yawned lid revealing… some cave of sluggish, groping motility, bestial and blind. The ancient woods seemed to recoil, its pride retreating to expose dank spaces between the trees, spaces where things fed. A salmon carcass, innards outer scale as if combed through by its own delicate ribs, leered from a brittle shrub. Grubs writhed indecipherable from its cuttled flesh. Such proximity to the touring human passage kept the higher-order predators at bay, she thought, furthering this vermian glut. And there we were, feinting revulsion but meaning jealousy. Everywhere, the autumn blanket rustled a pocket above an undercurrent of mycologic mucus, sinking into loam. Tendrils beetled through fallen debris, sucking on a rot inherited. Those sweetening aromas just a byproduct rising from the openings of those feeding. One end eating the other eaten. Torsos of the mighty lay in charnel digestion, saplings springing from them like sprigs of mint.

A woman who looked as if she was wearing too much perfume picked along the riverside path, binoculars swinging from her turtled neck. Her calls to children too old to require them mingled with the croaks of gulls. She gassed a smile past the trio with a distracted glance, and hurried on. Blanched chum salmon cluttered the stream like languishing tea-bags. Fowl slashed at the attainable amongst them, the ones who’d furrowed their redds and spent their roe. Dippers rimmed the rippling runnels, fervently poking about for egg caches. Further upstream the rutting continued. From somewhere behind came the cry of “Eagle!” While Nadia and her father plumbed the tannin waters, the old lady’s scarf-fastened head turned tropically.

The light was light, Francine thought. The balds caught it in their stirrups as it bore them high. These days, gravity seemed to miss her body as it fell. Nadia, tall like her father, regal features cowled by black hair, her presence here lustrous, and what a life ahead. Francine went back, back to matter, to steam from a kettle and mouse slurps around a kitchen table. Light conversation as weigh-scale to life’s vexations. Back to when John was Nadia’s age, a young man, homecomings rarified by schools and girlfriends, terse words and church bells. He was apparent now -just in front of where she sat- hands on his hips and jigging for a laughing Nadia. A joke! He was grey himself, grey but robust. And here, in this wooded place, quiescent despite the roiling waters and hording nature-gaggers, life could again be lauded. Lifted up as a chalice. Up, up into the canopy. Up into that blue, blue air.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I have a habit of putting things in my pockets. Since the smoking ban here, I've taken to squeezing out the last of the tabacco of each smoke and pocketing the filter for later refuse. This is my environmental stand. It only really makes my pants smell (as I readily forget about them, they tend to build up) and probably contributes to global warming more than it helps curtail littering (people start avoiding me, creating additional greenhouse gases in their efforts etc., therefore avoidance = global warming). The problem is, each pocket has become a not-very-nice environment in and of itself.. on any given day you might find (which would lead me to say 'I can feel that, why are you looking in my pocket?'): half open sachet of pepper (just in case I need to use the other half later... what?), bottle caps, another cigarette filter (please, these aren't butts, important distinction I feel), coffee stir sticks, a hell-phone bill, a fork, pen & paper, not my wallet, someone else's lighter, wire, a necklace, and these days cold fingers.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A variety of names spoofing Snakes on a Plane were told to me the other night, and now I can't stop trying to conjour up new ones... The two told me were Shark on a Rollercoaster and Ferrets in a Stationwagon (which, if it were a 'Jeep' instead, I'd have a few stories for you).

So, this is probably a web-wide phenomenon, but how about:

  • Polar Bear in an Elevator
  • Squids in a Lingerie Store
  • Mexicans at Biftek (based on a true story)
  • Fruit Bats at an AA Meeting
  • Eggplant in a Bubble Bath
  • 8 Year-olds at a Carpet Emporium
  • Stingrays in a Fromagerie
  • Couscous on the Metro

Also, I've been worrying over this question for a while: if on a raft with 5 or 6 people, floating aimlessly and without hope of being saved, would you eat the vegetarians first or last?

also, please welcome my oldest known friend James to the blogging world!!

@ @ @

Oops, sorry James, fixed the link (but left the syntax bizarre).

Can't... stop... thinking... of this flogged-to-death issue (these ones are a little scarier):

  • Unicorn in an Accordian
  • Porcupine on a Tricycle
  • Pureed Carrots in a Prom Dress
  • Hypodermic Needle in your Porridge
  • Nicole Richie in your Shower
  • Crayon all over the Fiscal Quarter Budget Review Presentation
  • Tabasco sauce on the Toilet Paper
  • Peanut Butter in a Hair Piece
  • Vengaboys on the Morning Car-Pool Stereo
  • Dripping AC Unit Above Where you are Eating Your Ice Cream

Ok, I lost the plot a bit there, maybe I'll have more once I calm down a bit.. Hope today's great for everyone.