November 27, 2002

to enter the thanks

I am on Friday mode, which directs me to the Friday room for Modern Short Story, which is different from the Monday and Wednesday room. I find that class is already in session and they are watching a crazy video with puppets fighting to Indian music. I am perplexed until I realize that today is not Friday, that this is not my class, that we are not studying warring tribes of puppetry. I fear tardiness and hoof it to the real room, until I remember that on Wednesdays we don’t have class until 3:00. I should feel somewhat embarassed, but this is the Wednesday before break and no one is here to witness my follies.

Once again campus has become the belly of a ghost ship. Spectres drift through the timbers and a janitor stands guard at the clothing donation box. A bottle of Coke explodes upon the floor outside the photography room. I notice, for the first time, a faculty member that looks like a short and crinkled version of David Bowie. At least the network is fast when no one is here.

I desire an exit from these walls, a freedom of three tenths of a fortnight that will allow me time to finish writing my fifteen page short story and prepare an hour long presentation on Steven Pinker’s studies regarding innate faculties of the brain. Both are due on Tuesday.

November 26, 2002

something fishy in boom town

iraq inspectors don’t want journalists

The weapons inspectors say they don’t want reporters in tow because then they won’t be able to do their job properly. The weapon inspectors fear that journalists may jump the gun and report that no WMD’s have been found, even though off-site data analysis needs to be done before that can be known to be the case. Or known not to be the case, as the case may be.

Iraq is more than happy to let the geeks with notebooks crawl all over everything. Iraq usually has one of the most oppressive press policies known to man.

Figure that one out.

November 25, 2002

pak chooie unf

Porrasturvat is the coolest game ever. You get points for pushing people down stairs. The more they hurt the more points you get. My highest score so far is around 60,000. Be sure to turn up the music. Props to Mr. Elness for the find.

On a completely unrelated note, here’s a Flash music video about robots that push people down stairs.

So much for studying.

an open letter

An open letter to the jerk that came up with the Security Advanced Research Projects Agency… you know, the one that’s gonna mine your credit card transactions, telephone and travel records and e-mail under the possibility that you’re a terrorist. Don’t worry, though, because Rumsfeld says you’re not worried. You’re not worried right? No need to debate this, right?

Dear Pentagon,

Fuck you you fucking fucks.

Yours truly,


An open letter to record companies, who shut down P2P music sharing sites, refuse to expose their financial practices that enslave musicians, and are trying their damndest to rewrite copyright law to make sure you can go to prison for archiving shit on media that doesn’t get all scratched to hell and suck.

Dear Record Companies,

Fuck you you fucking fucks.

Yours truly,


Any more letters that need to be sent?

kraken synapse snap dragon

I am intoxicated by this city. The wide sea-vistas of Duluth effectively make me feel small in the grand scheme, but in Minneapolis I am huge among these shimmering glass pinnacles. This is mankind’s playground. It was built for me, for my approval or disapproval, as appropriate.

A few vagrants try and shake us down for change. At first I am amiable, listening to and rejecting their requests. Then one large reeking fellow follows us for three minutes, bumbling over his words and never expressing his purpose. His lack of direction makes my empathy melt away and I wish I was carrying a blade to do away with these foul beggars. They did not pay admission. They have no right to bask in the golden glow of this modern symbiosis.

On the balcony during the Ben Folds concert there is a man. He sweats through his white dress shirt as he conducts an orchestra with his drink. Sometimes he hollers encouragement and sings along. Sometimes he pitches over the railing. He is always theatrical.

We are looking for a bar. Not one bar in particular, but a place where we can sit down and chat over beer and fries. There is an Old Chicago, but we have one in Duluth so it holds no great appeal. We try a place called Brother’s that is advertised on the radio. It is in the basement of a building and has pool tables, rock walls and insufficient lighting. Sweaty flannels and bare flesh dance together on a blinking dance floor. We have been transported to a house party. We leave. Brother’s is a cool place to get drunk if you are eighteen and have a fake i.d.

The Fine Line is having dance night as well. Repeating lines and thumping bass leak into the street and drown the vagrants clambering up from the gutter.

Finally we settle for the Loon Cafe. We get a table and I order two hard ciders for a staggering total of ten dollars. The waitress does not give us separate checks, so in the mathematical chaos that follows I steal my glass. That’ll learn her a lesson.

A day passes. Before going to Don Pablo’s to meet my friend’s parents we find a shopping cart outside Galyan’s. It has a narrow wheelbase and I ride it into the swamp. This same scene could be recreated in any suburb across America, excepting the suburbs that lack swamps.

That night we attend the Cabooze for an Umphrey’s McGee concert. Many exclamation are uttered at the outlandish drink prices of this ex-biker bar. Cobwebs smother the display bottles. $4.50 for a Hard Cider. $4.75 for a Hurricane (at Grandma’s in Duluth, $4 will drown you in a pitcher of the stuff). I beat all my friends and pick up a Long Island Iced Tea. The bartender tells me it is $6.75. My choice is between getting drunk that night or feeding an entire Iraqi village for a week. Utilitarianism fails. Again. This is not a kind weekend for the Greater Good.

During set break a woman by us will not stop talking. After fifteen minutes of jabbering she decides she isn’t drunk enough. In her absence the floor is noticeably quieter. The band appears and plays complex rhythms until everything is bright and quiet again.

I wake up. The televangelist keeps telling me not to spend another night with the frogs. Sleeping with frogs makes one take for granted the moving of God in our mix. When he belches forth something astounding he cites a passage in the Bible as proof. It’s refreshing to know that there have been so few advances in sociology, psychology and philosophy in the last 2,000 years that a self-refuting, paradoxical, hypocritical piece of absolutism can still be true. It gives hope that even my trashy writing will survive me.

In the end I’m not convinced by his arguments, but he says that that’s because my heart has grown hard to the will of the Lord. I say it’s because I’m hung over, but he doesn’t listen.

November 21, 2002

the dollar

“Hey, I found a dollar.”

“A dollar, eh? What are you gonna do with it?”

“I’ll probably invest it. That way in 100 years I’ll have… three dollars.”

“Hey, three dollars will buy you a five dollar whore in a post-apocalyptic world.”

November 20, 2002

revert to default



I think it’s safe to say the windsurfing season is over.