March 26, 2009

I lost my voice this week as a result of being in my first serious sand storm. I got a sinus infection that after a few days affected my throat. Some of my Beijinger friends told me that maybe I was "too frail" for Beijing, as if I somehow lacked the proper organ for inhaling the Gobi desert. At least, I didn't call in sick, which I think won me some points with the boss.


March 23, 2009

The Parkway (1997-2009)

"After more than twelve years of serving the great cultural crossroad of Oakland, the Parkway Speakeasy Theater will be closing at the end of business day, Sunday March 22, 2009."


March 18, 2009

1. Listened to the (Devil) Rays and the Pirates the other morning. I love baseball radio over the internet. Walter Lew turned me on to this a few years ago. It's not like China cares much about baseball. I still can't find out if their own league is even happening this year; even though, the Chinese national team beat Taiwan 4-1 in the World Classic.
2. Oakland is Thick with Fours is now up on PennSound.
3. Coffee is just about everywhere in Beijing. The little shop where I buy my morning "meat-stuffed bread" sells it for 2 kuai. There are 4 or 5 coffee shops along my walk to the subway, just three blocks from my house. And my workplace has just bought a pretty fancy automatic single cup coffee maker for students, in addition to the more pedestrian Mr. Coffee style coffee maker in the teachers' office.
4. Mark your calendars. May 1st is the 9th annual 21 Grand benefit art sale. If you can, go buy something.
5. zero-zero-seven-bang. . . ahhh! In China you can make a whole late night out of that.
6. I still want that yappy dog put out to pasture. That or killed; I honestly don't care which at this point.


March 17, 2009

It's Core of the Coal Man's birthday. Let's celebrate and show some Jorge love by taking the time to listen with our actual open ears.


March 14, 2009

Mr. Stroffolino

March 14, 2009

1. There is someone in my apartment compound that has a small dog (I'm guessing Pekinese since I'm in Peking [Beijing]) that barks the entire time that the owner is away. Judging from the dog's barking patterns, the owner works the graveyard shift. I somewhat sympathize because I remember Jorge telling that he once had a dog that went batshit crazy when he left his apartment. But there is no California farm for a crazy Pekinese to retire to, so I need to learn to block the dog out sonically, like I do the train that runs not too far from here.
2. Am no longer thieving my internet connection. This wasn't exactly voluntary. I think the guy whose internet I've been using moved out.
3. Working on something called Great Coat. Collected, it will maybe make more sense. That is, this is what I'm working on. This is what I'm doing.
4. Chekhov's collection of short stories Ward No. 5 turned out to not be so great for the subway ride into work. Have traded Chekhov for Haruki Murakami's The Vanashing Elephant. This might be a lateral move on the subway scale.
5. On the fantasy baseball front--hoping Mauer gets healthy, but this is why I drafted a second catcher (Molina, who bats above 300) just in case. I was thinking of drafting Kurt Suzuki as the second catcher. Suzuki's going to be awesome this year.
6. Dreamsong #355 breaks my heart.


March 9, 2009

from Brian Strang:

Hi All:
Please come to my reception on March 23rd, 7-10 at
Lanesplitter Pizza and Pub4799 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA

17 of my paintings are hanging there, some old and some new, and there will be FREE PIZZA and snacks. If you're not familiar with the place, Lanesplitter has great pizza and a good beer selection. If you can't make the reception, the paintings will be hanging through March.

Some paintings and a statement for the show are up on my site, Sorry Nature:

Hope to see you there!


March 6, 2009

Jeffrey Schrader wants you to know about this.

March 6, 2009

1. Bathroom books right now are Berryman's Dream Songs and Kasey's Breathalyzer. I am convinced they go together somehow, but am slowly formulating my argument. In the mean time, I am confused by the number "A623" that appears above the title of K. Silem's book. How did they arrive at that number? How is it advantageous to Edge's book-keeping? (I'm not being sarcastic).

2. I haven't drunk a single cup of tea yet. Seems like I should just for good form.

3. I wish more folks would come forward with their failed visual poems to Geof Huth.

4. When told that I needed to wear ties to work, my dad went through his tie collection and sent a shit-ton of his ties to me. My dad clothes-horsed for a good part of his career. He just gave me some of the ties to carry on the tradition. There were some NICE ties in that box.

5. When you send letters, you get letters. Those of you on my letter-getting list, they'll be coming soon. Not on my letter-getting list? Write me a letter at the address on the right.

6. My iron wok has rusted, but I am not convinced that that is such a bad thing. Is there a study out there about cooking off of rusted, but scraped clean, surfaces?

7. I am the only one in my Beijing circle who cares about baseball.

8. When we reach our goal (not clearly defined), my boss gives us beer. We've had beer twice in a month. I wish I knew what we were doing right, so I could repeat the rewarded behavior.

9. Valerie Solanas.

10. My Latin is rusty as shit. I'm going to work my way through Wheelock again, just for funsies. Brandon might apreciate this.

March 6, 2009

Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners.
--The other Uncle Bill


Lei Feng Day, 2009

Learn from Lei Feng. Do
something nice for
someone else

March 5, 2009

I lost my internet connection for about 20 minutes during the draft. There are a few players the computer chose for me that I most likely would have passed on, but here's my fantasy baseball draft results:

C- Joe Mauer (Min, .328)
1st- Jason Giambi (Oak, .247)
2nd- Kazuo Matsui (Houston, .293)
SS- Mike Aviles (KC, .325)
3rd- Chipper Jones (Atl, .364)
OF- Maglio Ordonez (Det, .317)
OF- Hideki Matsui (Yanks, .294)
OF- Milton Bradley (Cubs, .321)
DH/Utility- Shin-Soo Choo (Clev, .309)

P- Tim Linceum (SF, 18-0)
P- Roy Hallady (Tor, 20-0)
P- Randy Johnson (SF, 11-0)
P- Scott Baker (Min, 11-0)
P- Aaron Harang (Cinci, 6-0)
RP- Kerry Wood (Cleveland, 34 saves)
RP- Mike Gonzalez (Atl, 14 saves)

Bench- Nick Swisher (Yanks, .219); Yadier Molina (St. L, .304); David DeJesus (KC, .307); Jack Cust (Oak, .231); Edgar Renteria (SF, .270)


March 4, 2009

Ron Silliman wrote: "There is a meme going round – identify the 20 books that first caused you to fall in love with poetry."

Q: Am I really in love with poetry?
A: No, I make art.
Q: Is poetry art?
A: Yes, sometimes.

March 4, 2009

Jack Kerouac, Tristessa (Penguin, repr. 1992). 96 pages.

My favorite line and perhaps the best example of Kerouac's refusal to edit is simply the straight-forward "I lost track of my thought there--" (56).

A roman a clef where Old Bull is played by Uncle Bill Burroughs. Tristessa seems too real not to be, which attests to Kerouac's skill as a story teller, if nothing else--but I think maybe more here.

The book is divided into two parts: the first happens over the course of one night and is a consideration of our connection to everything in overtly Buddhist terms--the chicken, the dog, the thugish El Indio junkie . . . ; the second, a narrative on the dangers of attachment (love?), jealousy, and their consequences.

Kerouac mixes morphine, Catholicism, drunkeness, Mexican poverty and Buddhism somehow in what seems like equal measures--all while slowly breaking our cynical hearts.

This is a great subway read.