I set out late today

I set out late today with a slow & dull brain, crackly joints, baggy eyes, and furrowed brow. I was ready to apologize if I offended anyone’s sensibilities, tripped over any dogs, or walked in front of any cars – I would surely be in the wrong. But something else happened.

While I was staring blankly at my feet, the guy in front of me in the line for the cash machine talked to me as if I weren’t one of the walking dead. I shuffled my feet, pointed at a building or a bird, & grumbled. He commented on how nice the weather was (windy, cloudy, occasional sunbreaks – he has clearly been in this city too long . . . or for just long enough).

I was reading the Times’ comics over a piece of pizza at Pagliacci’s, when a girl who worked there came up and asked if she could read her horoscope over my shoulder. She compared our horoscopes, I attempted to not sound stupid, & our chat even continued slightly beyone the point where I couldn’t provide her with my rising sign.

I stumbled up Broadway and read the white board outside of Bailey-Coy Books, the opening sentance of a book is written there every day & if someone can tell them what book it’s from, they receive a 20% discount. “The idea was that he would keep driving until the money ran out.” I went in and declared, “The Music of Chance!” The bookstore employees were bemused by my enthusiasm.

People in general were just friendly to me today, as if I had the charm turned on and didn’t have a dark cloud hanging over my head.

The first couple of times

The first couple of times that I sat down to compose the cover letter, I got all blocked up & depressed & didn’t want to do it. So every day when I wake up, I plan on getting to it, but haven’t even opened the file. It’s been a week now. (Okay, it’s probably been more than a week. But let’s just say that there’s been only one full Sunday-Saturday week involved in this procrastination.)

So my fair weather jacket

So my fair weather jacket is tan & I have a pair of jeans that are tan as well. If I wear both at the same time I look pretty silly. I bought the jacket in Edinburgh after I lost the one I’d brought with me. Things were fine when I was traveling, because I was self-conscious & so would catch myself if I tried to wear both at once. I’m not really paying attention here in Seattle, on my home turf. So I occasionally catch myself strutting around wearing what looks like a tan pants suit. I take off the jacket, hide it in my backpack, & try to remember whom I’ve encountered since going out, wondering how my comical appearance colored the conversations.

Anyway, it happened again today.

At the big bookstore chain,

At the big bookstore chain, I look for Running After Antelope by Scott Carrier in the Essays section and then in the New Releases area. It’s not there, so I go to the information desk. The only person at the information desk is another customer waiting anxiously for someone to stop by and help him. I walk over to the checkout desk and find an idle cashier. The other customer follows me and waits timidly for the other cashier to become available.

“Can I help you?” the cashier asks me.

“I’m looking for a book called Running After Antelope. Can you tell me if it’s out yet?”

My cashier passes behind the other cashier, to a different computer. “Running After Antelope, I like the sound of that title.” He types in the query and says, “We have four copies.” His coworker finishes her transaction. He turns to her and asks, “It says, ‘Biography C’. What does that mean?”

She responds: “It must be ‘C’ as in ‘center’ – between the escalators.”

He turns to me and says, “Alright, let’s go find it.”

He leads me to the biography section and starts skimming the titles. I wait for a few moments. His confident posture degrades into a confused stare, and it becomes apparent that his efforts have bourn no fruit. I get my bearings, and notice that we’re looking at books on Rimbaud, Rockefeller, and Roosevelt. I start walking beside the shelf, backward through the alphabet. My cashier follows, eyeing the books suspiciously. When I get to the beginning of the shelves, but not the beginning of the alphabet, I turn the corner and pace up the other side of the shelves. I slow down as I find Camus, Carter, and (between them) Carrier. I reach up and touch the spine, “Here it is.”

The cashier’s confused expression perks up. “Good eye,” he says.

“Thanks,” I answer. He returns to the checkout counter, having satisfied another customer.

The other day I went

The other day I went to see Pleasures of Urban Decay, a film about Ben Katchor, at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival. The shots of New York were really nice – rainy & kind of grayed-out, like the shots of New York in Katchor’s strip.

Anyway, since then I’ve been going through the Julius Knipl books & they’re so good. The stories are all mood & environment.

Seeing him draw was pretty amazing. He draws & fills in the washes really quickly, like someone writing.

The cardboard sign that the

The cardboard sign that the man on the corner outside Pacific Place is holding repeats the key points of the manifesto written on the back of his jacket in magic marker: “Frye Art Museum and Seattle Police are commies! You are a liar!”

[Correction 5/19/01: The man’s jacket and sign actually refer to “Fry Apt” not “Fry Art Museum”.]

A little more digging reveals

A little more digging reveals that Hiroyuki Nishigaki, author of the previously mentioned How to Good-Bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?, has a bit of a web presence. Regarding American politics: First he describes George W. Bush as a “young charming giant brown bear who has not grown strong and sharp claws yet” (this theory is supported by the dreams of a woman from Palm Beach by the way). On a radio talk show, he prescribes his butt clenching excercises to Hilary Clinton.

This stuff is amazing. His loose & lazy grasp of the English language is augmented seriously kooky ideas, frenetic stream-of-consciousness, & Burroughs-style cutup writing.

I recommend that you start here & then review his recent usenet postings.

List-making & Negative space. “The

List-making & Negative space.

“The moment comes when a yawn, a buzzing fly, an itch seem the only treasure there is, precisely because completely unusable, occurring once and for all and then promptly forgotten, spared the monotonous destiny of being stored in the world memory. Who could rule out the possibility that the universe consists of the discontinuous network of moments that cannot be recorded, and that our organization does nothing but establish their negative image, a frame around emptiness and meaninglessness.”
-Italo Calvino, World Memory

I lied when I said that books and things aren’t as inspiring or revelatory at 5.

The nature of revelations is contrary to the nature of list making. And besides, the list of revelations gets too long to remember. They’ve become just another routine event – like shaving, having an earthquake, Halley’s comet, falling on your head, explaining the latest developments on Friends to a Dutch teenager while walking through a wheat field to the smallest commercial distillery in Scotland, or eating ice cream.