Archive for July, 2008

Batboy

July 31, 2008

On Tuesday, a schizophrenic man swung a bat at me on the El.

I am not an inconspicuous person. At 6’6″, I do not blend into the crowd. A friend with an artificial leg and another friend with spinal bifida seem to have the same magnetic hold on lunatics. Crazies are also attracted to me for other reasons. I’ve long felt it has to do with the fact that I used to blatantly observe my surroundings. Attentiveness is classic tourist behavior, and it marks you. For years, I was the subject of ministrations from a blend of neighborhood wackos. There was the crazy old veteran who would march — not walk — through the streets, carrying a black flag, and point at me shouting, “he’s a killer.” Then there was the Jesus Lady with her shopping cart and wide-brimmed hat who followed me around to tell me that Jesus lives and he’s Jamaican.

Barbara was the most stalkerish. She felt that Bill Gates was destroying her life. She sometimes came into the student center where I studied to tell me about her beef with Microsoft. Never did I invite her to sit down, but she would make herself comfortable anyway. Once she sat down next to me on the bus, dressed in a pink bathrobe, and began to scream “I’m a bad girl! I’m a bad girl. I’m a bad giiiiiirl!!!” For a time I lived with a Turkish couple — the wife, Betul, was a graduate student in Ottoman history while the husband, Batu, was a drug addicted, picaresque, poet who wandered the neighborhood all day talking to strangers. He once met Barbara. He ran into her and somehow she hired him to help clean out her tiny cell of an apartment. According to him, “the woman” had a wall-sized poster of Bill Gates staring down at her bed, jars filled with rotting onions positioned on the window sill, and a desk calendar on which she had circled Christmas day and written, “Today, commit suicide.” New Year’s was also circled. On it, she had written, “Wake up screaming in hospital.” By the end of his afternoon with Barbara, Batu actually feared her. Since Batu was practically a gang-member back in Istanbul, I found this turn of events somewhat ominous. When Barbara saw Batu and I together, she completely fixated. I thought she’d haunt me for the rest of my time in graduate school. I even once saw her while on a plane to San Francisco. Sinking into my seat, possibly even cringing, I hoped my freshly shaved Foucault head would make me unrecognizable. Unfortunately, she saw through my disguise and began to casually chat me up, telling me she was on her way to Silicon Valley. As she leaned against the seat in front of me, she slowly tipped her coffee cup over onto the person in the row in front of mine. The deliberateness of the “accident” and her placid apology left me firmly convinced that she was a dangerous psychopath.

After a while, Barbara and the others faded. The homeless have always considered me someone friendly and sympathetic to talk to, though, (the best $50 I ever spent was in francs while I was a student in Paris. I gave it to a homeless guy who promised to mail it back to me. Obviously, I knew he never would, but I didn’t mind the three hour pronunciation lesson), and I continued to get mugged. Once, a junkie grabbed the entry-way door to my building after I entered and waved a broken pair of scissors at me. I thought, “shit, the last thing I need is a tetanus shot,” so I gave him the $17 I had on me. Casual muggings became a simple part of the fabric of scholastic life. We students were parasites in the neighborhood — I considered it a justifiable tax. Another time, a group of fourth graders demanded my wallet. I pulled up to my full height and asked, “You’re really going to try to mug me?” Intimidated, they slithered off. Michael the Ex told me I was irresponsible. I should have called the police on them because they would certainly try it on someone else. I laughed and asked him if I should have shouted “This is a citizen’s arrest!” Later, after we broke up, he had no pity when another mugger struck my head with something metal, taking my money and sending me to the ER for stitches. At the time I was already having Michael-related anxiety attacks and Xanax induced dreams where Michael kept attacking me with a wooden stake cut from a white picket fence. On top of the nightmares, the final mugging had left me a wreck. Around this time, the university sent out an email warning students that there was an ongoing rash of male students being mugged.

Crime has decreased in my neighborhood due to a quasi-fascist policing frenzy. There, are however, different kinds of assault. When first about to start graduate school, my lesbian Philosopher friend, Amanda, warned me that my most implacable enemy in graduate school would be straight white women. She seriously counseled me that I would be an immediate target for their bile since I would not make instinctive acknowledgments of their fabled disenfranchisement. And it turned out to be true. My blasé, ‘well, it could be worse,’ attitude whenever they would start bitching or discussing their watered down version of post-feminism used to set them on fire. I did try to be friendly and polite, but the hostility I sparked in them reached a point where the Chair of the Department had to set a rule that some of us in my entering class were not allowed to even speak to one another during seminars. This led to an absurd situation where half the class would take sides (literally, sitting on the other side of the table), refusing to recognize one another’s comments and snidely speaking past members on the other side of the table. One of them, a Princeton graduate (her mother is an Episcopalian Minister; in fact, two of the women who despised me were the daughters of ministers) who always wore a pearl necklace while discussing Psychoanalyic theory and who also wore a huge chunk of gold bullion around her neck, hated me with such a passion that she kept trying to get me kicked out school, venomously spreading a rumor that I had vandalized her car (I did not, but the rumor undermined me socially quite a bit. You can be sure that if I had keyed anything onto her car it would be something far more original than “Bitch Whore”). She eventually dropped out after her very funny master’s thesis about little girls who ‘speak about’ their rapes through dolls failed to impress the faculty. I advised her to try it out on Oprah, instead.

Eventually, I learned to keep my eyes down in public and in ‘the workplace.’ I realized that the less one visibly interacts with the social world, the more one fades into the background. Erving Goffman 101 — act like wallpaper and become wallpaper. This is performativity! Just ask Judy Butler if you doubt me (btw, does anyone have copies of ‘The Judy Zine’ I can see take a look at?). Tuesday morning, I was flush with fatigue. To be honest, I didn’t consider the crazy guy with a bat in ill-fitting, tiny, denim shorts, and an open button down shirt with nothing underneath, to be a threat. Maybe it was because the bat was offset by a nice briefcase. Amazing how one fashionable object in an ensemble can throw people off. He was walking around menacingly, yelling at passengers while gesticulating. I did take brief note of him and I remembered thinking, “ah, nothing’s gonna happen. This is the Brown Line.” When I got up for my stop, he jumped back, registering my height as a threat. Defensively, he swung that bat at me. I was lucky that the top of it hit a metal pole and bounced away before it could make contact, but he was definitely aiming at me. The yuppie who was reading The Prize (I remember he had been reading The Prize because I thought to myself how comforting historical non-fiction is to people), grabbed the guy’s arms. I ended up pulling the bat away from him. I may have possibly shouted “Hey, Fuck You!!!!!,” but I can’t be sure. When we hit the emergency button, the CTA people came and called the police. The schizophrenic guy (this is just an amateur medical judgment but it seems pretty obvious that’s what he was) was carted off.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the incident and my recent public desensitization. I’d been reading Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop lately and have been hating it intensely. Yesterday, however, I reached the part where the gambling guru, Jem Groves, is introduced. Dickens describes Groves’ loud knocking and his “egotistical expressions.” I recognized that the schizophrenic man had been shouting egotistically. It hit me that 14 year old Little Nell, wandering around the city and the countryside, was supposed to be a figure that awakens me – as a citizen – to a continuous sense of vulnerability as well as the lack, not over-abundance, of government regulation of social life under Liberalism.The threat of rape and abuse constantly follows Nell around. If ever she lets down her guard, bizarre shit happens to her, such as angry ugly dwarves emerging from shadowed entryways at her or being tricked into servitude by obese Wax Museum owners. Nell is like velcro to social excesses.

I feel I should seek out my attacker to thank him for knocking some literature into me, but I’m not going to bother since he wouldn’t have any idea what I’m talking about.

The Thinking Man’s Comic Book

July 26, 2008

Review of X-Men Legacy #214
Title: “The Fluffer”

Auteur: Mike Carey
Artist: Didn’t bother to look. Someone shitty.

Just Back From the IML, Gambit Engorges Shaw by Pinching His Tits

It’s been three issues since I last checked in on Legacy, so let’s take a look shall we? As usual, Professor Carey provides me with a lot of food for thought.*

Plot-wise …
OK. I give. I can’t summarize it since this comic requires a Ph.D. in Continuity. All I know is that there were a lot of mental battles, bodies possessed and wills crushed. In my notes I’ve got something about Mister Sinister writing on Professor Xavier’s DNA when he was a little boy as a failsafe to ensure immortality if his body ever died; some woman named Amanda Mueller wanting to obtain Mister Sinister’s powers by killing all his possible host bodies and eradicating his consciousness from the special abilities. Amanda Mueller is immortal, but her heinous body eternally ages (I raised my hand in class to ask Professor Carey if this relates to the Classic film Death Becomes Her, but he rightly scoffed at my philistinism).

“The Black Womb” Smack-Talks Sinister,
Or, Who Says Comics are Misogynistic?
(2008, artist unknown)

Carey, newly appointed Minister of Information, raised an interesting narratological question: What do you do when your book is about a struggle between telepaths struggling to control one another’s minds? Mental battles with mind-rape blasts aren’t the most exciting things in the world. I’d venture to say that they are perhaps the least exciting things you could put in a comic. In the old days, when comics were painted on cave walls and Chris Claremont was popular and respected, he decided that all psychic battles of the will would take place in the “astral plane.” The astral plane, well known to yogis, is a white landscape awash with streaks of color – a veritable kaleidoscope. The duelists would get swords, suits of armor and heavy cod pieces that hid gender – these outfits were tailored physical expression of combatant mental preparedness (a well prepared psychic knew to flatten out his groin area or to bind her breasts for greater protection). At 9 years old, it was exciting for me, possibly due to the gender play, to see that kind of thing. There were stakes to it. An injury on the psychic plane expressed itself on one’s real body. So, as you can imagine, lots of nose-bleeds.

In class, Professor Carey explained that while mind-rape is fun, it needs to be more educational for the lay reader. So, now the characters throw flashbacks at one another. And they quote philosophers:


I love love love when people quote Nietzsche on strength of will. I took a seminar on Nietzsche once, where one of the guys in the class told the professor “I am too much of a Nietzsche-Man to do this assignment.” Well, he got an F. I didn’t do so great either. I received a B+, but don’t think I began to fully grasp the scope of Nietzsche’s brilliance. Thank god (wait, God is dead, right?), I can read comic books to pick up what I missed the first time around.

In addition to referencing Nietzsche on “eternal recurrence,” Professor Carey also cannibalizes Kierkegaard on despair several times in this issue. I’d snark that Legacy #214 reads like a class in Existentialism 101, however it’s a much more advanced course since the syllabus has a special component on “Daddy Issues.”

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that

Mister Sinister claims he is Shaw and Xavier’s truest father figure, not biologically (though he does imply that in regards to Gambit), but that his medical abuse of them as boys gave them ‘the stuff’ they needed to become leaders. That’s pure CC. The one who raped you made you. CC stole it from Wagner, though. Parsifal: “The spear that smote you / can heal your wound.”

Normally, I’d ask CC to get the fuck out of my comic with his enabling violations and indomitable will, but when Carey pulls the some routine as his Dissertation Chair he brings greater tone and sophistication to it — as seen below:

Photograph of My Mother Sent to Marvel Comics as an Artist’s Reference.

During his bear/cub moment with Gambit, the egotist Shaw justifies their high risk sex-play by explaining – using a cryptic reference to Dostoevsky – “I’d rather die as myself than live as someone else.” With the power channeled through his nipples, Shaw saves himself and Gambit while foiling the machinations of both Mister Sinister and the Black Womb. Simultaneously, Professor Xavier is able to cast Mister Sinister mind out of his own. The brilliant artist uses visual imagery — a picture of Xavier as a little boy, striding out of his room — to punctuate the importance of being your own man.

None of this is as important without Carey’s twist. At the end of the issue, we see that the cloning machine Sinister and Mueller were fighting over has spat out an amalgam of them both. The glorious new, Ms. Sinister.

A Moron

With Ms. Sinister’s very subtle SM overtones – the chiq leather bustier and hot pants combo – , Professor Carey seems to be delivering a critique of the Nietzschian Übermensch fantasies of overcoming exhibited by the male protagonists.

Carey hits it out of the park once more. This issue was a masterpiece of coherence. I really despise when overly critical nitpickers try to spoil the sheer genius of Mike Carey’s X-Men run for me. STFU haters.

Secondary Sources:

de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. Translated and edited by H. M. Parshley. New York: Knopf, 1953.

Camus, Albert. The Fall, and Exile and the Kingdom. Translated by Justin O’Brien. New York: Random House, 1957.

——. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. Translated by Justin O’Brien. New York: Random House, 1955.

——. The Plague. Translated by Stuart Gilbert. New York: Knopf/Random House, 1948.

——. The Stranger. Translated by Matthew Ward. New York: Knopf, 1993.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York: Harper, 1962.

Kierkegaard, Søren. Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments. Edited and translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992.

——. Either/Or. Edited and translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy. Translated by Douglas Smith. Oxford, England, and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

——. The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, 1974.

——. Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer. Translated by Duncan Large. Oxford, England, and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness: an Essay on Phenomenological Ontology. Translated by Hazel E. Barnes. New York: Philosophical Library, 1956.

——. No Exit, and Three Other Plays. Translated by S. Gilbert and L. Abel. New York: Vintage Books, 1956.

Solomon, Robert C. From Hegel to Existentialism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

* Please excuse me if this post contains ontological errors, but I had 11 mimosas as well as 1 car bomb shot and 1 las vegas shot before writing this. I vow to never have brunch with hos at a str8 bar again.

Wanted: A Glimpse of Angelina’s Rib Cage

July 14, 2008

On the bus the other day, a guy was explaining to a young woman why he doesn’t smoke pot anymore.

Around the age of 24 all my friends just stopped. I asked my parents about it. They told me that the same thing happened with everyone they knew. My mom says the structure of our brains changes at 24. Pot stops being easy-going. Instead it makes you paranoid.

The point of this was less to inform about the dangers of marijuana and more to highlight the hepcat, yet stable, parentage from which he descends. He would make a good provider for their children, shamanistically knowing when to warn them off the herb. Being a good citizen and taking public transportation, I was subject to a courting ritual. Given my training, however, I couldn’t let his blatant Evolutionary Anthropology go unchallenged.

Because at 24, people start paying off their student loans.

The guy was less than amused by my interruption, though his girlfriend couldn’t stop giggling. I don’t know, maybe she was high. I was on the way to see Wanted during this exchange. Inside, I felt a twinge of anxiety — was I being prophetic again?

The script for Wanted, dir. Timur Begmambetov, starring James McCavoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman, probably would have done really well if workshopped at a USC Creative Writing seminar, “Epiphany in Fiction,” or something along those lines. Loosely based on the graphic novel by Mark Millar, the movie is designed to appeal to 20-something dudes who have been caught in the wage-slave grind of student loan repayment.

Many scenes were filmed on Chicago’s El – specifically the Brown Line – which I take everyday. As a viewer this caused me to feel compromised by the film’s critique of routine. The many defects in editing and directing, however, threw me out of my absorption repeatedly. Some of the cuts were abrupt, though not meant as shock directing. They were simply clumsy, especially when they were underscored by situationally inappropriate Soft Cock Rock. I can’t remember if they were playing Nickelback or Incubus. It was some band like that, humping my leg while I watched.

When The Matrix did this kind of thing a few years back, it was instantly Classic if only for the way it integrated the digital into film. Plot-wise it became a touch-stone for all subsequent millennial movies. Released in the same year as Fight Club, 1999, 20-somethings were habituated into enjoying movies about their own Awakening. To some degree, that’s fine. When you’re waking up to the corporatization of the security state (The Matrix) or coming into consciousness about the Military-Credit Card-Insurance Complex (Fight Club), then fast-paced film uses nihilism for pedagogical purposes. When the movie is about waking up to the awareness of an ancient society of Weaver Assassins – a conspiracy determined by a Giant Magical Loom whose messages are interpreted from textiles – then all you’ve got is the shape of a worthwhile movie with zero content. Once the conspiracy was revealed, you could feel the audience pull their fat asses off the edge of their seats. There would be no subversive content as grist for the mill, so why give a shit? The closest we came to edginess was hearing Morgan Freeman use the word “motherfucker.” That was actually somewhat scandalous.

Angelina Jolie, 15 Pounds Overweight

James McCavoy pulls a Tobey McGuire Spider-Man when his pecs suddenly appear to double in size after his “awakening.” Angelina Jolie appears as emaciated as usual. From her skinny arms and absence of body fat, I assume this movie was filmed prior to her pregnancy. I always find it confusing when those Hollywood starlets decide against farming their eggs out to surrogate mothers. Pregnancy decreases the months they are available for work, and you’d think walking around with a collapsed pelvic floor that looks like Sasquatch just took a dump on the stairs would conflict with the vanity necessary to even want to become one of America’s blank screens. Angelina’s role was sheer cock-tease. There was no famous person intercourse during the movie. McCavoy is simply not a big enough star yet to get to have imaginary sex with her. He’s on the move, though, and I hear murmurings about a sequel. Her character may have died at the end, but I’m sure she can come back as a cyborg. That’s how these things are done.

All in all, my epiphany on the bus really sums up my response to the movie. Use the money you’d spend on seeing it to pay your student loans. If those are paid off, save it for retirement.

After the Disaster: Orwell Sets the Bar Low, So We Still Come Out On Top

July 10, 2008

Margaret Atwood’s novel, Oryx and Crake, (2005) is generally compared to George Orwell’s 1984, which really doesn’t say much for it, does it? Instead of the bugbear being a vague, encroaching, totalitarianism, spoiling jolly old England, Atwood uses the dystopic Oryx and Crake to screech about all the ills she associates with Americanism. These modern U.S. sins include rampant genetically engineered plant and animal life, porn addiction, desensitization to violence, suburban hermeticism, etc. Personally, I don’t mind the occasional rant about America, but I find that when those rants come from uppity Canadians they somehow lose their “edge.”

For the longest time Atwood stood out along with Fay Weldon in my mind as one of those authors people only read because 70s Feminism brought the concept of the Woman Author back to the forefront of everyone’s attention. When I read them, many of the Naiad Press publications and everything ever written by Doris Lessing fit that bill. At best, I expected to lump her in with Virginia Woolf — the Jacqueline Onasis of literature, who wrote stupid things very beautifully. That lurking prejudice is why I always experience a tiny thrill of contradiction every time I read Atwood and Weldon and realize they are among the best of the best. It’s also why I was so disappointed with Oryx and Crake.

Part of the problem stems from the driving contradiction of the book: writing a novel about desensitization entails largely writing about the absence of desire (this was the problem with the second and third seasons of Veronica Mars. Veronica didn’t want anything). The protagonist, Snowman, doesn’t necessarily live without desire – desire is a factor since his issues with having an activist as a mother are compelling – but long stretches of the novel exist to show how he, and by extension, the World America Made, lives in a constant state of numbness. Poor pacing is the side-effect. Chapters are included that solely drive home the feeling of isolation that presses in on Snowman in the post-Apocalyptic wilderness. This same pacing flaw diminished Atwood’s otherwise fantastic novel, Alias Grace, as well (that book was also too in love with historical recreation). In her masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood conveyed the feeling of crushing loneliness within a social world: it was the smart character interaction which created the feeling of desolation that comes after the catastrophe without her having to spend chapter after chapter describing what was on TV one time a long time ago, or what kind of berries her main character likes to eat, or what kind of extensive bullcrap you can get away with telling primitives.

Post-Apocalyptic fiction is big business these days. See Cormac McCarthy’s big dealio, The Road. I think the reason for that is because our culture no longer has a steady measure of ‘the event.’ In nineteenth century fiction, all you had to do is spend a few chapters hyping up the big Ball Lucy would be attending, and the reader would be prepped to expect a big deal. Nowadays, you have to destroy civilization to get readers to think anything of import is going on. That ties into Atwood’s fascination about our fascination with porn — and the best scene of the novel is when Snowman describes seeing Oryx for the first time on a video where she and other underage girls are licking the porn star. She looks directly at the camera man, and, on the other end of the transmission, breaks the frame for Snowman. Without an event-horizon, even suicide is foreclosed as “killing yourself was something you did for an audience” — without the possibility of an event or a social world even death loses importance.

The sensation that post-Apocalyptic fiction is supposed to give you is not one of desire, but of regret. That doesn’t appeal to me. There’s something prim and proper in writing negatively, even if satirically, about dystopia. It amounts to emotional smut. Nostalgia porn, wallowing in the rightness of one’s beliefs. The Apocalypse is too bleak. I am drawn to life after the ‘Fuck Up.’

Janet Sarbanes’ collection of short stories, Army of One, is more along those lines. Up front, I’ve known Janet for a long time and am always eager to read whatever new thing she turns out. Almost all of these stories is about willfully withdrawing from others — getting unstuck. They’re not about how alienation necessarily makes one a better person. Instead, she drives the point home that some people need to fuck up their lives for a “narrative shift” because they glimpse the lack of scale in them. The story “Bunker Mentality” was published in an earlier form at Plum Ruby Fiction. There’s a nice implicit critique of the kind of thinking that goes into imagining the apocalypse:

She felt sorry for the people who readied for the other catastrophe, the biochemical attack, the ones who had stored away flashlights and three days worth of food and water and lined the baby’s room with duct tape and plastic sheeting. Preparing for the wrong disaster is worse than not preparing at all.

There are other catastrophes than the biochemical ones. In Janet’s stories, they involve sticking with a shitty deal. The title story features a third-person “she” whose life changes at the laundromat when she experiences the rapture watching a commercial on TV:

According to the young woman, going into the Army was no longer about joining a team – a team that went around killing other teams – it was about maximizing your full, individual potential. For instance, this young woman had picked a specific career field in the Army and trained specifically for that.

“They really stress education,” she said. “And there are a lot more females going into the Army than there used to be.”

The ad ends with her waving from a helicopter, and a big booming voice read out the tagline: BECOME AN ARMY OF ONE.

BECOME AN ARMY OF ONE. She looked around the Laundromat to see if the other customers had heard the call – if they were standing frozen in their tracks like her, halfway between terror and ecstasy – but no, they kept right on folding their clothes.

That night she walks out on her girlfriend and moves into a North Hollywood apartment complex. The stories deal with people walking out of, or willfully destroying, relationships and jobs. While Janet is blunt, there’s a strain of almost reflexive mockery in her writing as well as a lightness of tone about the urgent matters that others take seriously. At other times the sentences also contain repressed anger regarding things that don’t seem to bother most people. I don’t mind when she also takes on easy targets because even when being scathing she always leaves you a point of identification. Of these stories, my personal favorite is “Warming the World,” about a group marriage commune in the 1970s. The story told through the commune journal, is a fairly blatant attack on those little “limit societies” that self-create in California; the uptight egos and the weak egos that go into making them. California is fodder for mockery, yet in “Dear Aunt Sophie,” Sophie channels Alison Lurie to explain to her niece “California’s a good place to go, because it signals a definitive break. If you stop at Minnesota- or even Montana – people still think you’re going to return some day, but California says you’ve gone as far as you possible can without falling into the ocean. If you’re that motivated to get away, you’re not coming back.”

I’ll have none of the Atwoodian/Orwellian opining so that a critique against the social order can be mounted. I consider that a waste of energy. If you want to critique the social order, go ahead and critique the social order. Stop pissing around to do it.

Janet’s stories appeal to me. The changes aren’t socially important. I don’t think she cares about that. You don’t need the world to end just to have an event. Not if you can find a way to produce a sense of scale for yourself. You can have one at the laundromat or have one by deciding to get in the car, merge onto the freeway and break off from your life.

You can buy Army of One here.

Teaser

July 9, 2008
Give it to Mama

Who is this abominable creature wearing a tube top and hot pants, and why have I fallen for her? She is a hint of things to come.

I apologize I’ve been away for so long. Some of you, Tucker and Emily, wrote me very nice notes inquiring where I was, while some recorded shockingly passive aggressive thoughts to motivate me. Either way, I needed a kick in the pants. I’m up and running nicely again. In fact, today a friend shadowed me on the street, laughing behind my back, as I thoughtlessly sang along to my ipod.

I have lame excuses. There’s a new guy in the office next to mine. He’s an effeminate heterosexual who always leans his head in to ask me about “hot chicks,” and to critique me for drinking caffeinated coffee (“I thought you were going to cut back, ho ho ho ho”). By constantly referring to me as “buddy,” he makes me feel like an 8 year old and reminds me of my step-father. He’s a jack-ass dude bro who refers to me as the ‘uniblogger.’ He’s always complaining that our shared internet connection is too slow, insinuating it’s my fault. The other day when I angrily shouted, “It’s not my fault. I just came back from the bathroom!” he jocularly yelled out to everyone that I was “shitting up the internet.” I know in his own pathetic way he’s trying to bond with me, but I want to explain to him that I have no sense of humor. The more a person tries to force jocularity upon me, the more I shut my door. In fact, I shut it and locked it today. As he stood there knocking, motioning that he wanted to go to Starbucks, I phoned him on his cell phone to explain that I was busy.

He’s only one reason. I’d finally pulled myself together to start writing again, when I jacked up my finger by burning it on the stove and then slamming it in a drawer. It became infected and I had to cauterize it by heating up an exacto knife with my lighter and practicing field medicine upon myself. TMI? Disgusting to you? I have no pity for your sensibilities since I watched The Fly for the first time this weekend and screamed bloody murder when Geena Davis gave birth to a giant maggot.

Posts are coming now that I am fully recovered and steadied to ignore my neighbor. I intend to explain the beautiful image above, as well as to give some notes on Professor Carey’s latest X-Men manuscript. Novaya has encouraged me to write down some impressions of the Dazzler solo series that ran during the 1980s, which I won on ebay a few months back — a sequel to my reading of Dazzler the Movie. On a non-comics related front, I have a post in the works about how Absolutely Fabulous is heavily rooted in Daniel Defoe, as well as some thoughts about Daniel Defoe’s views on how marriage is bad business. I will also be discussing my pick for this season of So You Think You Can Dance, and writing about how a cheap piece of Hallmark kitsch caused me to re-evaluate Andre Green’s psychoanalytic concept of “The Dead Mother.” So, things are in the works and I apologize for neglecting this place.

Mama Gives it to You

And while I’m ready and able to whine incessantly about my finger, my British friend Josef F. (who has fabulous taste in comic book characters, especially given his love for the complete package of Misty Knight, her hair, sunglasses and smack-talk) was recently so injured during rehearsal that I feel like a self-centered hypochondriac. Due to bad choreography, he was hurled into a gate, breaking his chin and a knuckle. That bitch director had him on set for another two hours and didn’t even volunteer to take him to the hospital. I’m all for suffering for one’s art, but certainly not for the Mambo and definitely not for fucking WESTSIDE STORY!!!!! And he’s still performing. Josef is a trooper and, because I am no hepcat, he is this blog’s Musical Consultant, vetting my music video discussion choices. In honor of Josef’s broken face, I will post one of his video recommendations (he’s clearly very high on medication because I had to exercise my veto twice, which I normally never have to do). In the following video, Jay Brannan proves to me again that all gay men are desperate to be housewives.