Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"We Do Things At Night In The Club, Roy."

If there's one thing I love above all others (or "loev abvo al otters", as the case may be) it's paperwork - which makes this week the greatest week of my life. For a true paperwork lover - such as myself - the opportunities afforded by a period such as this only come along once a lifetime! Or more, I suppose, depending on how many times you attempt to pry doctoral degrees from the wizened, grasping hands of a large public university. It's as though they have a finite stack of the damn things that they were counting on for nutrition and a fuel source in the coming winter.

Fortunately, I am able to get an early start on all sorts of paperwork-related matters, as energetic entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes have taken to calling me very early in the morning, attempting to make me as entusiastic as they all are about various services the nature of which escape me. Doomed to failure, they are, I regret to say. If I were as clever as this person these little chats might even be amusing. But I'm not. I'm just trying to enjoy my fever dreams of Federal form number nine-million-and-whatever, the one establishing that nothing in my thesis has been tested on defenseless forest creatures.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Status Update: Still Moving To Australia

That's right: Australia. The go-to reference here is, as always, the CIA. What's not to like? Unfortunately, although the spooks have updated the look of their website quite a bit, they don't seem to be inserting much editorial commentary between the statistics any more. I recall with particular fondness their informative "Five Reasons Guyana Sucks Compared To The US", their declaration of CIA headquarters in Langley as an independent state along the lines of the Holy See, and their initial denial of Factbook space to Azerbaijan on the grounds that it had been "fabricated from whole cloth by Syndicalists". It's hard to find good interns these days.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This Shape We're In

Research remains obdurate, pollen count is through the roof, feral squirrels have lined up in front of the part of my window that extends aboveground and sit there, eeking. The sound of drums is faintly audible, and long experience leads me to believe that they will be arranged in some kind of a circle. Rent is being raised, and a maximum of two pro basketball games remain. Current burn rate implies bankruptcy around the beginning of August. I get no thrill from champagne, which in view of the aforementioned burn rate is a good thing, but still.

There's nothing else for it. I'm just going to have to move to Australia.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

They Also Pledge To Send Me A Large American Flag

So, I just received the greatest piece of junk mail ever: an offer to join something called the Republican Presidential Task Force. I was deeply nonplussed to learn, from no less an authority than Libby Dole, that
Your accomplishments place you among the less than one percent of [name of state elided] Republicans that will be awarded Platinum Status during this crucial time for fulfilling the Bush agenda for our Party and nation.
Bollocks similar to this regularly comes my way from the Democrats, I think on account of a brief and ugly involvement in the lower echelons of the union to which I belong. However, I have no idea how I got on this particular mailing list. Needless to say, I am delighted: if I send them a check for some ridiculous amount of money my name will apparently be "permanently etched on one of the last remaining panels of the Founders Wall in the Honors Courtyard of the Ronald Reagan Republican Center on Capitol Hill".

It's a weirdly tempting offer, if only because it doesn't seem like it's part of the party platform to solicit funds from non-resident aliens and, unlike the AFL-CIO, they don't seem to be interested in selling me a credit card. Plus, who knows whether my newfound status as a staunch Republican could help me in awkward border situations. On the verge of being unceremoniously slung back across the Atlantic, I could brandish my Republican Presidential Task Force lapel pin at the homeland security types and instruct them to unhand me in the name of Sen. Dole. Moreover, if they don't believe me they can just go ahead and check the Founders Wall in the Honors Courtyard of the Ronald Reagan Republican Center on Capitol Hill - then they'll see what's what.

I don't have my copy to hand, but I think Hunter Thompson wrote a bit about joining the RPTF or some similar cabal in Better Than Sex. Of course, he was also trying to become a Perot delegate at the time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"I Have Toys, But They're Mostly Cat Toys"

The Craigslist "Best Of" section has been thrust into inactivity for the last month or so, seemingly by this: perhaps the greatest personal ad of all time.

It's from the Bosoton branch of Craigslist. Ha, if you have a moment to spare from your rampant clowan-flinging, you should swing by with a couple of rottweilers and rescue this poor lady from the tyranny of Winky.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Boy The Earth Talks To At Great Length

At the risk of this developing into a theme, more on Deadwood, for no better reason than the fact that myself, a friend, and said friend's on-demand HBO were up until 5 AM last night ploughing through the first eight episodes of the second season. My jaw, as I walk along, is still scooping up tasty debris from the sidewalk, and until I catch up on my sleep my vocabulary is more or less restricted to the word "cocksucker".

But there is a reason for posting. I found the text of the recent New Yorker profile on series maven David Milch, here. The New Yorker pays by the syllable, so it's on the long side, although that can in part be attributed to Milch's style of extemporania (not a word, but a discarded title for this blog) which goes like this:
"Darwin wrote about accidents of evolution - he called them 'sports' - species which turned out to be superadaptive in whatever environment they discovered themselves in. In social terms, those are civilizers. Intuitively, I knew that there had to be a Bullock, and when I read about him it was like" - he snapped his fingers - " 'I met him on the river.' And those guys - those sports - are what made the country great. Bill Hickok was another guy like that, men who were absolute mysteries to themselves. And my dad was that way, too, a complete mystery to himself - someone who would engage in purifying acts of kindness but done in such a contorted fucking way, in no way that could ever be rationalized. There's no way my peculiar set of adaptive characteristics could have survived except in that crucible."
We also learn that the character of Al Swearengen is drawn from history, rather than just having been given a funny name because he says "fuck" quite frequently.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Accent Was Like A Bucket Of Guilty Water

Many of my days are spent attempting to avoid disappointing groups of cryptic Russians. I have the utmost esteem for the archetypal Russian character, particularly the wry outlook it provides on circumstances of crushing failure and despair; however, it is often difficult to tell whether a particular Russian is regarding you in this sort of weary way because of anything you've done, or just on general principle. In such situations, work-related paranoia can strike deep and creep into your life, even the situations normally thought of as sacred.

For instance, when the part of the day is reached when I can simply no longer be bothered with the things I am supposed to be doing, I slink off to the bar and moodily sip a seven-and-seven through a neon bendy straw. There are many things that can be accomplished at the bar, none of which involve proper work: arguing about things, gambling, watching sporting events, trying to look tormented and artistic while inscribing napkins with poetry that subsequent analysis reveals to be not only unrhyming but in fact illegible. While I am doing these things, the sound of a Russian accent hits me like a bucket of ice water would, if the ice water had somehow been imbued with guilt by some sort of alchemical process. I am reminded that I should be back in this festering basement in case the latest weary look was actually a sign of some character failing on my part. I leap up and run frantically from the bar, scattering tables and staff in my wake, diving from balconies if necessary. It is very bad to sneak up behind me and say something in a loud Russian accent when I am skiving off work.

So thanks, SuomiChris. Thanks a lot. You have taken years off my life with your whimsical Russo-Finnish schizophrenia.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

"I Stand Here Before You Today Beholden To No Human Cocksucker"

The no-longer-linking-here Hungbunny has a kind word for The Sopranos. While there's no arguing with The Sopranos, I wonder whether the UK has been exposed yet to the magic that is Deadwood. If it hasn't, there is no justice; after all, UK stations picked up Six Feet Under, and that began to bore my tits off midway through the second season.

For a representative sample of Deadwoodania, these folks have done the public a service and produced an edited version of the show. I was surprised to learn that fully 53 minutes of an hour-long episode contained no profanity at all. The remaining seven are fun to listen to, because swearing is fun.

(Incidentally, Ian McShane is just unbelievably good in this show. In terms of sheer menace, he makes James Gandolfini look like the moppet from Jerry Maguire.)