Archive for July, 2009

My Letter to Netflix

July 31, 2009

I have been thinking and I believe that there should be a shuffle option for Netflix. Many people go through spurts where they put a line of documentaries or chick flicks or ____ (some genre) films on their lists, and theyd like them to be arbitrarily mixed up, much like people feel about their iPods. I am not good with technology, but it seems like it should be pretty simple? If you do it, I think you should just put on the bottom, by way of credit, This was Itinerant Daughter’s (obviously not what I wrote) genius idea.
PS Excuse me if this doesn’t fit under the category of “Business Development”; I didn’t know where else to put it.

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Things I’m Thinking About Instead of the Lecture

July 31, 2009

1. The fact that my copy of Infinite Jest, which I had overnighted to me (via FedEx) from my house, is stuck somewhere in a FedEx warehouse in Baltimore because, the website claims, of “incorrect address” (no!) and I am terrified it will get lost somewhere in the warehouse or in transit and I will have to mourn my copy.

“Why don’t you just get another one?”

“Because that one is MINE.  It’s where I put the orchid petal to dry it.  It’s where my notes are.  It has a life, and if one of your children gets lost, you don’t just buy another one.”

2. David Foster Wallace is quickly gaining iconic, and beloved (important differentiation) status in my mind, and this is…scary?

3. On August 31st, in the HBO documentary series:
Youth Knows No Pain: Follows filmmaker Mitch McCabe, the age-obsessed daughter of a plastic surgeon, as she journeys through America’s $60 billion a year anti-aging world.  In this “Alice in Wonderland” tale, McCabe spends two years traveling across the country visiting doctors and experts, living with a cross-section of characters from Minnesota to Texas who have gone to varying lengths to “beat the clock.”

4. Ted Hughes, and Sylvia Plath, specifically in light of:

“Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other’s face” (Hughes)

And Assia Wevill, of course.

5. The fact that when I went to the grocery store last night, I wanted to buy an avocado, and noticed that all the rock hard avocados had stickers on them that said, “RIPE NOW,” which is a fucking LIE!  I can tell you’re not ripe, and just because you wear a little button saying you ARE doesn’t mean I’m going to be fooled into believing you.  Asshole.

6. Shoes

7. I’ve never listened to This American Life and I feel super inadequate for this reason.  I always plan to and it always gets away from me.

8. I don’t know all the details of the Henry Louis Gates case, and insert consequences drawn from #7 here.

9. Calvinball, from Calvin and Hobbes

10. All the things I’d like to write that “later when I have time”, which…never? comes.

Image Craving

July 31, 2009

kate-moss-faceI am not at all a Kate Moss devotee, but I do think she was quite spectacular looking in her youth, before her face started to look a little haggard and her body a bit beaten.

A Master of Insults

July 31, 2009

If you listen to Bob Dylan’s music, you can hear many a great jab. The cheery lightness that seems infused in a lot of his music seems to overshadow some of the more vitriolic comments. Sorry to go all cliche on everyone’s ass, but I still think one of the sentimental Hate Ballads (or…schadenfraude ballads?) is Like a Rolling Stone, in which he kicks Edie Sedgwick while she’s doped up and down.

“Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.”

Not to mention Positively Fourth Street, far less poetic and adorned but straight to the heart of the matter:

“You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, “How are you?” “Good luck”
But you don’t mean it

When you know as well as me
You’d rather see me paralyzed
Why don’t you just come out once
And scream it”

Or about the Masters of War:

“Even Jesus would never forgive what you do”

This is a man on whose bad side you do not want to be.

I would like to name my daughter Edie, because two of my most beloved cultural icons are Edies, but they were also both irreparably fucked up, and so my friends tell me I cannot do that. But I can give her that middle name.

I am in a rambling mood, partially inspired by and inspiring the writing about Bob Dylan. As my teacher said this morning, “Somebody please stop me from talking!”

Residents of the Uncanny Valley

July 29, 2009

My dear friend PS (who you may remember from the Zoloft egg conversation) introduced me to the idea of the Uncanny Valley. Yes, Uncanny in this context is meant to imply all the Freudian. In his own words, the Uncanny Valley is populated by, “things that are a certain distance away from us that are sort of creepy and yet we’re comfortable with them because they remind us of something…a nostalgia, perhaps…like cabbage patch dolls=our childhood. They remind us of ourselves, of humans, but a little too much to be comfortable so they create a sort of revulsion.”

He contradicted himself, I see, but I hope it makes some sense, nonetheless. We’re comfortable with them yet they create a sort of revulsion, a kind that might make us a little nauseated but we aren’t totally turned off. Like the visual/psychological equivalent of whole milk, for many.

Things that Exist in the Uncanny Valley

Amanda Bynes

Puppets that are human-like (the cast of the now-defunct Avenue Q, par example)

PS: Toy Story — approaching uncanny

Baby chimps in diapers

Artistic renderings of babies, and even just infants themselves, seem to fall quickly into the Uncanny Valley. Have you ever seen that infomercial for the program Your Baby Can Read? Absolutely the most uncanny thing I’ve ever seen. One year olds READING! Terrifying.

www.yourbabycanread.com

Boy bands

Dolls that come to life (Twilight Zone’s Talking Tina, Chuckie)

Stephen Hawking, and other computers that read
The guy next to me in this computer lab just audibly farted…

Image Craving/Good Night

July 29, 2009

Speaking of artists, and muses, and madness…

by Camille Claudel

by Camille Claudel

Je vous aime. Bonne nuit.

Theme of the Week

July 29, 2009

I am feeling: tired, inadequate, weepy. Three faculty members of the program read aloud tonight, and I had one of those, “Dear God, I should not be allowed near a typewriter or a pen or an inkwell, EVER” moments. One man used the word “rhapsodic” and my heart melted. I had forgotten about that word. Our faculty members (all brilliant and intimidating) bombard us with their choice of readings, tight, profound little tearjerkers, sidesplitters, pontifications on Love and Life and Death…things that make you think.

But I come back to my room and no rhapsodizing for me. I stare at the word count on my manuscript and feel immediately and entirely depleted. Everyone says it is good, but it feels…lacking. Maybe it’s Tuesday. Maybe my headache is getting in the way. I think about my boss and my ex-boyfriend, the way he mined my persona for idiosyncratic nuggets, for Inspiration (that ephemeral bitch), and called me Gala, after Dali’s wife and muse. It sounds laughable now. I remember the man on the street in Paris who wanted to draw my face (not in Montmartre, Mon Dieu), and the way my friend said, upon seeing him sketch, “I think you should be a muse…for an artist.”

But one cannot be both an artist and a muse, right? You’re either one, or the other. So maybe I’m going about this all wrong. Maybe I’m supposed to abandon the practice of creating myself and focus on nurturing the creative spirits of others. I’ll make tea for sculptors and pray for avant-garde filmmakers to have hallucinogenic dreams. I’ll pretend not to notice when a painter examines my profile, and though I don’t think of myself as “pretty” now, there is still time. “I’ve never met a writer’s wife who wasn’t beautiful,” Kurt Vonnegut said. If I become beautiful by being the object of artistic scrutiny, then I can marry a writer, maybe, and help him up when he stumbles, drunk, hold his clammy arm to steady him over the threshold of our beach cottage.

But this is wishful thinking, I know. The “writer” in me longs to be free of words, of the urge to wrestle to communicate, a losing battle, always. Never is it more apparently sad and invigorating and overwhelming than it is here, at writing camp.

And the cafeteria food! Oy vey.

The Visual Equivalent of Writing Camp

July 28, 2009
dsaofijopesirfjapsoidfjalwekjra osidgjpvoasidfjpaosijer sdf;lK !!!!!

dsaofijopesirfjapsoidfjalwekjra osidgjpvoasidfjpaosijer sdf;lK !!!!!

A Goodnight Poem

July 28, 2009
Goodnight, Moon

Goodnight, Moon

“In my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-

journey on the highway across America in tears

to the door of my cottage in the Western night”

~Allen Ginsberg

Why So Sleepy?

July 27, 2009

I always anticipate being prolific at writing camp, but in reality, my brain sort of turns to mush, and all the talk of craft and prose and narrative arc makes me crave stupid shit like US Weekly and shopping.

I’ve been thinking about starting a new category recently, and here it is: really awesome insults! Or, should I write: Really Awesome Insults! The first is from our dear friends, The White Stripes, from their song “There’s No Home For You Here.”

“I’m only waiting for the proper time to tell you
That it’s impossible to get along with you
It’s hard to look you in the face when we are talking
So it helps to have a mirror in the room.”

Burn, Jack White. Burn.