EDITOR'S BLOG

Welcome to the center of the world. There is no escape.


12.03.04 / CRAFTY IS COOL. ARE YOU COOL?

I think you are. Which is why I urge you not to go to the megamall and boxstores for your holiday shopping this season. Instead I suggest you stop by the Rock Paper Scissors artist collective crafts fair this weekend, 11-5 p.m. Saturday and 11-4 p.m. Sunday, at 21 Grand in Oakland. I think it's free to get in, and the stuff should be priced affordably and anything but generic. A friend of mine, for example, has made journals with covers made from old board game boards. I saw the prototype; pretty cool.


11.24.04 / A PRE-THANKSGIVING OFFERING FROM ANDRE SIMON'S A CONCISE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GASTRONOMY, A USED HARDCOVER COPY OF WHICH, I STILL CONTEND, WOULD MAKE A MAGNIFICENT GIFT FOR A FOOD AND BOOK LOVER

TURKEY (p. 607)

The Turkey provides the exception to the rule that it takes a long time to break down the prejudice of English people against anything new in the matter of food and drink. The Turkey was so enthusiastically hailed and made welcome as soon as it appeared on the tables of the well-to-do people in England, and it displaced in a very short space of time the peacock, curlew, bittern, whimbrel and other fowls of the air and the sea, which figured on most bills of fare up to the beginning of the seventeenth century. One must bear in mind, however, that the name Turkey was first of all given to the Guinea-fowl, so that when we read in the First Part of King Henry IV (Act II, sc.1, v. 19):

'Odsbody the turkeys in my pannier
are quite starved'

one forgives Shakespeare for introducing a name that would have been quite unknown in the days of Henry IV, but one must not forget that he was referring to birds which we know as Guinea-fowls, two or more of which could be cooped in a pannier.

Even later, in the 1633 edition of Dr Hart's Diet of the diseased (p. 78), when we read:

'Turkeys of a middle age and reasonably fat, are a good, wholesome, nourishing food, and little inferior to the best capon,'

it is obvious that the reference was to Guinea-fowls.

By the time of Queen Anne's reign, a turkey was a turkey as we know it, and people had probably already forgotten that the name had ever been that of the Guinea-fowl: it was already then the bird that was expected to grace every board on Christmas Day:

Sometimes with oysters we combine,
Sometimes assist the sav'ry chine,
From the low peasant to the lord
The turkey smokes on every board. (John Gay).


11.22.04 / RECENT SHOUTOUTS FROM THE NEAR AND FAR SIDES OF THE WORLD

Jensen Whelan in Sweden: The snow has come which means I trounce around in these dumb, enormous shoes that depress me.

Tom Bissell in Vietnam: Did you drink snake wine while you were here? Here's some advice: Don't. Ever.

Karen Nicoletti in Los Angeles: If I read one more story referencing "tween queen" Hilary Duff I'm going to have a complete mental breakdown.

Zach Wrobel in Santa Monica: Another damn week is gone from us.


11.19.04 / TOOT TOOT

If any of you for whatever crazy reason actually enjoy my writing (which I've done so little of lately), you might consider thinking about wanting to:

• See my one-sentence story "Hard as Fuck" at Monkeybicycle.

• See my ridiculous review of Stephen Ausherman's new short-story collection "Restless Tribes" at Bullfight Small Press Review.

• See my short story "EP," which is forthcoming in the preorder-able fourth print edition of Hobart.


11.12.04 / UMM ... WHAT IS THAT?

Well I'm glad you asked. That, my friends, is orange Jell-O set in real orange peel and sliced like real orange. I mean, how cool is that?

Well I'm glad you asked.

It is very cool.

Knowing orange Jell-O is quite simple my favorite food in the world, my girlfriend presented a huge batch of these little geniuses to me on my birthday a couple days ago. You can imagine just how touched I was.

So.

In other news, some of you may have notice I've been on a little respite from my doings here at The Glut lately. We'll set things back in order in a week or so when I update with some new writing. Until then, please enjoy your weekend. And if you're looking for a little something to snack on, I highly suggest you prepare yourself a plate of fresh veggies with ranch dip. Maybe some cucumber, celery, carrots, and my personal favorite, radishes. Holy shit I love radishes.


11.4.04 / ISN'T SHE LOVELY?

This poster, a rad gift from my rad girlfriend, is simply brilliant.

In other news (and I will refrain from vicious, unpatriotic comment on the recent election), I'm sorry to say the submission deadline for Bullfight #2 has passed. Lizzie, Sarah and I will be hard at work in the coming weeks as we catch up on reading, so if you've sent something our way, we simply ask your patience — it's some serious tonnage to get through. In the meantime, we are of course considering web subs, so please shoot some of that good lovin' our way.

Oh, by the way, if you're looing for a good, quick meal, I highly suggest Trader Joe's spaghetti and meatballs. Been living off it for days myself ...


10.20.04 / SWEETNESS!

You may have noticed something literally called "the perfect melon" at your local grocery store lately. Having gone 2-for-2 in the past few days on this melon, which is basically a super-sweet, super-ripe, super-small cantaloupe, I unequivocally endorse this bad boy. You will not be disappointed. Apparently, certain brands of this melon even come with a "sweetness guarantee." I mean, how cool is that?

In other news, I learned that the tomato is technically a berry. (And the walls came crumbling down ...)

One last thing: Not much time left to sign up for National Novel Writing Month, which is November. I've now in it for like the fourth year in a row (without having EVER reached the 50,000-word mark), but I'm back again, the glutton for punishment that I am. I think when Bullfight Liz gets back from her travels in the British Isles, we may be having group write-a-thons in the Walnut Creek area. If you're interested in joining us, gimme a holla.


10.13.04 / WHOOOOOPASH!!!

That is the sound of me lashing whip on your writer's-blocked ass because the Bullfight #2 submission deadline is coming up. Nov. 1, y'all. I think it's a Monday.

Also, if you so happen to be sitting in seat 21E on Continental Airlines flight #348 on Jan. 2, I want to trade seats with you. Serious. I'm just across the aisle and up one row. Hook my ass up and I'll throw in a box of a Hostess baked good of your choice.


10.08.04 / HERE IS THE APPLE-PEAR PIE THAT I CO-BAKED FROM SCRATCH

Pretty, no? The addition of 1/4 pear to 3/4 apple was highly improvisational. We chose to use the somewhat lesser-known Seckel pear, and it turned out magnificently. The texture of this smallish, ultra-firm pear gave nice contrast to the Macintosh apples, which pretty much turned to mush. I was so impressed that an entirely pear pie might be next on my agenda.

By the way: Holy shit there's a lot of butter in pie.

Before I cut out, I'll just mention the Pismo Beach Clam Festival is next weekend, Oct. 16-17, and no longer scheduled for early November, which sort of bugs because I'd been planning since June to be there in November (and I still am), so I guess I'll just miss the festival this year. Still might be worth checking out for the rest of you who are within driving distance, though.


09.28.04 / GREAT FIND!

While catsitting at this posh pad in San Fran, I stumbled across a delightful curiosity on the bookshelf: A Concise Encyclopedia of Gastronomy, by Andre L. Simon (Overlook Press, 1952). At first, I was looking for a recipe to make bread (it had a bunch), but as I kept reading, I found myself completely fascinated. Mr. Simon has done some painstaking research, and he displays a very literary wit and almost genius appreciation for the obscure. One entry, for example, we shall find in the section on "Meat":

ASS
Lat. Equus asinus. In times of emergency the Ass has provided most acceptible meat for the hungry, its flesh being both wholesome and nutritious. Labouchere, who was in Paris during its seige of 1870, said that the donkey meat which he ate then was like mutton in colour, firm and savory. 'I can most solemny assert,' he added, 'that I never wish to taste a better dinner than a joint of donkey, or a ragout of cat, experto crede.' In China Wild Asses used to provide sport in times of peace and food for the troops in times of war.

I know, right? Brilliant. Also with nice glossaries of wine and cheese varieties, which I'm sure would be helpful to many of us. This book goes on The Glut's recommended reading list, for sure. Hint: A nice first edition might make a cool gift for that literary food lover friend of yours. Inscribe that shit and your golden!

Yeah, you heard me.


09.23.04 / SOME NEW THINGS

I'm catsitting this week, so if it seems like I'm still M.I.A., it's probably because I'm chasing some cat down the middle of the the wrong way of a one-way street. Some treacherous shit, man. Only to say I'm still a little behind on reading subs. Thanks for your patience, everybody.

In other news, please stop by Bullfight to witness the unveiling of Bullfight Small Press Review, a new Web feature where I, along with editors Liz Tascio and Sarah Charukesnant, will review new or newish books from independent publishers. Partly because we all know how hard it is for small press to get any love from book critics, but more because the three of us like to read, and like to think you do, too, so we hope to help you choose which independently pressed books might be worth your hard-earned dollar.

Hmm. What else? Last night I sliced open a "tiger baby" watermelon and was hugely impressed with both texture and sweetness. The tiger baby belongs in the "icebox" family of watermelons, so named for their small size. They're generally more round than oblong, and also a bit more expensive than your standard watermelon. And how do I pick my watermelons? It's hard to tell using the tap method, I think; basically, I just go for the watermelon that seems heavy for its size. Guess I figure the most dense fruit has highest water and sugar content. OK, then? Happy hunting.


09.15.04 / M.I.A.

Holy shit it seems I took an eternity off, eh? Anyway, I've been trotting the globe a bit — first to Costa Rica, then to Spain, France and Italy — so I haven't been able to tend to The Glut for the past month, and I apologize for not being able to respond to all the submissions that have come in recently. I promise to get my shit back together very soon.


08.16.04 / OFF TO COSTA RICA!

Back in a week. Hold down the fort, yo.


08.10.04 / A PLAY IN TWO ACTS FEATURING SUPERHEROES AND HITTING UPON THE SUBJECTS OF 1) SEX, AND 2) A CENTRAL AMERICAN VACATION

ACT ONE

INT. THE NEWS DESK OF THE EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT OF THE OFFICE OF THE CONTRA COSTA TIMES

(Curtain rises with Calvin at his desk, looking scruffy.)

CALVIN: Sex. Sex. Sex. (Sips coffee.) Sex. Sex. Sex.

(Enter the Justice League of America.)

ROBIN: Holy needs to shave Batman!

CALVIN (looking around but there's no Batman): Um—

GREEN LANTERN (rays shooting uncontrollably from his ring): Aiiieeeeee! (Shoots himself in the face.) Aiiiiee—

CALVIN: Holy shit. (Sips coffee.)

(Curtain.)

ACT TWO

CALVIN: Mmmm ... Costa Rica ...

(Enter Aquaman.)

AQUAMAN (like a jungle cat): It's the wet season, baby. (Drops trou, bends over, has underwear with a picture of a monkey; says, "Tuesday.")

CALVIN: Whoa.

(Curtain.)


08.09.04 / HOT TIMES IN PORTLAND

I was quite the sweaty boy. I guess I never realized it got so hot so far north; brought only pants and longsleeves to Portland over the weekend.

Anyway, my thanks to everyone who came to Bullfight's reading on Saturday, and of course props to the readers themselves — Ryan, Rod, Kevin and Lisa — and their friends and lovers. Also, much love to Kevin Sampsell for all his kindness and enthusiasm, and to Susan Beal and Andrew Dickson for graciously putting me up for the weekend. I'll just quickly mention that Dickson, a truly up-and-coming artist/filmmaker, will be participating in Portland's Time-Based Art Festival next month, and that Beal rocks some seriously rad handmade goods with Portland Super Crafty. Definitely check out their stuff; highly recommended.

So.

Of course, dumbass me, I totally forgot to have some pictures taken during the reading, but I did manage to get these snapshots from 1) right before, 2) way before, and 3) a little bit after, in that order. So.

First we see Bullfight literary editor Sarah Charukesnant lookin' like she's about to lay the smackdown. Shortly afterward, she might have called me "homie."

Then we have Bullfight contributor Lisa Ko at the Half & Half cafe, next door to Reading Frenzy. I think she's taking a picture of a soda cooler. I'm having the iced tea.

Finally, if you've ever wanted to know what all these people look like, here's a really fuzzy and distant picture that likely won't satisfy any of those curiosities. But I can still name everyone you're sort of looking at. From far left are Bullfight contributor Ryan Boudinot, Talking Heads:77 author John Domini, contributors Roderick Maclean and Kevin Sampsell, Angry Man author Frayn Masters, and musician Melissa Underwood.

And there you have it.


08.06.04 / THAT'S MORE LIKE IT

Even though I was weirdly appreciative after getting spanked by Willamette Week (better hated than ignored), I was still a bit relieved to see that the crosstown Portland Mercury had somewhat more positive things to say about Bullfight #1:

"... sprouted in the Bay Area and seems to have its shit together."

Anyway, I guess the rest of you in Portland can see for yourself at our reading Saturday. The lineup includes Ryan Boudinot of Seattle, Lisa Ko of San Francisco, and Roderick Maclean and Kevin Sampsell of Portland. Bullfight #1 cover artist Matt Clark, literary editor Sarah Charukesnant, and of course yours truly, will be there, too. Should be rad. The rest of the info's in my previous entry.

See ya.


08.05.04 / DUMB NOT DEAF

So I get home yesterday and there's this mysterious, sporadic beeping coming from somewhere in my apartment. Takes me forever to figure out it's the smoke detector in my bedroom running low on batteries. Like it does me any good, though, since I've got high ceilings and no ladder and can't reach the thing. It's been going a good day and a half nonstop now, and it's keeping me up for a second night in a row. Realize it's past 3 a.m. right now.

In other news, as I look forward to bringing a contingent of Bay Area beauties (Sarah Charukesnant, Lisa Ko) up to Oregon this weekend to meet up with Kevin Sampsell, Ryan Boudinot and Roderick Maclean for The Reading to End All Readings, it so happens that Portland's Willamette Week decided for the most part to slam Bullfight, saying our debut in print "may at times resemble a good high-school zine." Of course, I welcome criticism as necessity for improvement, but damn, bro, that hurt some considering how much work went into Bullfight #1's design. Everyone had been so positive about the issue's looks — the owner of Black Oak Books, for example, simply said, "You did everything right" — but I guess we were just due for a nice little bitchslapping. Anyway, I still sincerely thank Willamette Week for at least taking a look and giving enough of a damn to kick our ass, and further thanks for plugging our event this weekend. Should be fun. Please come out and play. Again, it's at:

Urban Grind Coffee House
2214 NE Oregon Ave., Portland
Saturday, Aug. 7 @ 8 p.m.


08.02.04 / THE GLUT TURNS ONE!

Exactly 52 Mondays ago, we launched on the ultra-shady mission of "prose and praise of gluttony," and here we are now, with pubes and facial hair and everything, the readership here still growing every month. Just thought I'd say thanks to everyone for sticking with it. Please have some cake today while listening to this piece of radness, Happy Happy Birthday, as sung by an amazingly talented and musical Israeli kid in a friend of mine's day-care class.

Go go gluttony!


07.28.04 / IF YOU'VE SUBMITTED SOMETHING RECENTLY

I just discovered that a lot of recent subs to The Glut and Sexy Stranger somehow have ended up in my junk mail inbox, having been filtered out without my having seen them. I honestly don't know how long this has been going on, so if you've submitted lately and haven't heard back within a week, I suggest you send it again. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and I'll try to read everything as swiftly as possible.

In other news, you may have noticed some downtime at Mitochondria lately. That's because we're hard at work over there putting together the anthology of very short writing to end all anthologies of very short writing: Mitochondria's First Anthology of Rarities & Loose Ends. You can expect it to hit some bookstores later this year, in November or December.


07.26.04 / JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY

1. Per my recent comments on junk writing, I got this e-mail from a copy editor friend of mine:

Last week (and this is the least of the offenses I saw that day)* I ran across the nonword "mediocracy" in a quote. Now, it might have been what the guy actually said, but I changed it to "mediocrity" anyway. Then it spurred an interesting conversation about the true potential meaning of the word "mediocracy," which is what this country's system of government has turned into, what with voter apathy, big business, special interest back-scratching and a general mistrust. Sigh.

*Someone finally typoed "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Jeremy." Hee!

2. It is with some shock and concern that I learned of Xlibris taking over the short-run digital book-printing operations at OPM, where I know a lot of small presses had been producing their books lately at wonderfully affordable prices, although, I hear, with slightly inconsistent results.

Regardless, Xlibris, as some of you may know, is a "vanity press" that prints books and promises fulfillment and marketing while simultanously, in my opinion, gauging self-publishers with extraordinarily high per-unit prices. I suppose Xlibris is helpful for the self-publishers who don't want to do the legwork themselves, but c'mon, if you're going to take the time to write a book-length manuscript, you might as well go the distance and promote the damn thing yourself.

I mean, yes, it does take a huge amount of self-education to publish on your own, but I urge all writers to learn a bit about the trade, so you don't end up spending way more money than you have to. While I'm certainly no expert in the publishing field, please consider me a resource for information and advice before surrendering to the temptation that an Xlibris might offer. Who knows, you might end up going the Xlibris route, anyway, but at least know what other, more affordable, more reliable means are out there. I can at least suggest a printer for you.


07.21.04 / SOME VERY IMPORTANT THINGS

1. After a week of sitting on my stupid ass, I've finally gotten off the mat. I promise to return myself to the fun-lovin' party boy you've come to know and love. Cal-vin! Cal-vin! Cal-vin!

2. Bullfight in Portland! It's definite. Here's the scoop: It's happening at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at Urban Grind Coffee House, 2214 NE Oregon Ave. Those reading are Ryan Boudinot, Lisa Ko, Roderick Maclean and Kevin Sampsell. Matt Clark, who did the bitchin' cover for Bullfight #1, will likely be on hand briefly to do some drawings that some lucky audience members can take home. Also, time permitting, Sarah Charukesnant and I may make rare appearances behind the microphone. After that, you're invited to come drink heavily with us. Just tell me, "Calvin sent you."

3. So, today at work (copy editing is the best!), I stumbled upon a couple gems of junk writing: "Consensus is not always total agreement," followed by the word from nowhere "repavements." As for the latter, I thought it was good reminder that we shouldn't just make up words that we think might mean what we want to say.

4. For those of you Mitochondria fans and fans-to-be, Mito and I are tentatively planning to piece together a sort of "Best of Mitochondria" print anthology that'll including previously published and possibly unpublished pieces. It would be printed in a very limited run, but we just thought it'd be a nice thing to do for Mitochondria's contributors, since the writing there has been so fresh and magnificent. There's no real timeline on this, but be sure to submit something to Mito soon if possibly being in print sounds like your kind of fun. Anyway, please note, this is still in the brainstorming stage. I'll report back when we've made an official decision.

5. Going back to the whole getting-off-my-stupid-ass thing in Item 1, I'll be mailing out Sexy Stranger #5 very soon. Promise. Promise.

6. And as you've noticed, I'm going to start bold-facing extra-important stuff from now on. It's all part of my hugeass plans to bring the A-game here at The Glut.

7. Holy shit I've been up all night.


07.14.04 / BRAINDEAD

Seriously. I'm on this streak of being completely uninteresting and unengaging. If you were to say, Calvin, tell me something, I'd blow it. Might be best to leave me alone for a few days.

In the meantime, here's an updated list of bookstores carrying Bullfight #1. Please stop in and clean them out:

A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books, S.F.
Adobe Book Shop, S.F.
Black Oak Books, Berkeley
City Lights Bookstore, S.F.
Dog Eared Books, S.F.
Needles and Pens, S.F.
Pegasus Books Downtown, Berkeley
Pendragon Books, Oakland
Rakestraw Books, Danville
Powell's City of Books, Portland, OR


07.10.04 / CRAP! REALLY LATE NOTICE BUT ...

... for those of you in New York who'd like to get Bullfight #1 in person, a limited number of copies will be sold tonight at The Tank during the art extravaganza "TAGTEAM," which features tons of new collaborative work done by Spit and Duct Tape Collective artists. The art itself is all priced affordably between $2 and $10. The show is from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. tonight at The Tank, 432 W. Second St., between 9th and 10th avenues. Definitely worth checking out.


07.09.04 / YOU KNOW THE SMELL THAT GETS UNDER YOUR FINGERNAILS WHEN YOU PEEL AN ORANGE? I'VE GOT THAT SMELL RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, sorry about my lack of doing anything over the past few days, whether it be updating this blog, reading submissions, or sending things out in the mail. I've been fighting an upper respiratory infection that's had me a little fatigued. No worries. Doc says I'll be fine.

In other news:

• Straight outta Stockholm, Jensen Whelan's just launched the very promising Journal of Modern Post. The premise is open letters and cans upon cans of whoopass. Head on over and get your letter-writing freak on.

• Here's something I'll just mention right now but elaborate later: The good folks at Bullfight (giggle) are hosting a reading in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, Aug. 7. More detailed info later, but among those planning to be in attendance so far include Bullfight #1 contributors Ryan Boudinot, Matt Clark, Lisa Ko, Roderick Maclean and Kevin Sampsell, plus literary editor Sarah Charukesnant and a certain unnamed shaven-headed and incredibly dreamy managing editor whose initials are C.L. We'll reveal the latter's secret identity at a later date. Exciting!


07.04.04 / A FEW ITEMS

1. Bullfight #1 is now carried by these brave bookstores:

Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck, Berkeley, CA
Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck, Berkeley, CA
Pendragon Books, 5560 College, Oakland, CA
Rakestraw Books, 409 Railroad, Danville, CA
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, Portland, OR

More locations around the Bay Area and the rest of the country soon, so stay tuned. If you want to help speed things up, please proceed to your favorite local independent bookstore and request that they carry Bullfight. When they finally and reluctantly agree, go outside and pump your fists in the air, then treat yourself to the ice cream sundae you so richly deserve.

2. Speaking of Bullfight, we're starting to accept print submissions for our second issue now. The deadline is generously set for Nov. 1, and the issue is scheduled for publication in February. I don't mean to be all high and mighty, but please, please, please send your best writing. Rejecting is no fun for us, whereas accepting creams our very pants. We love it.

3. Something fun for next weekend: Hyphen magazine is hosting its one-year anniversary and issue #4 launch party on Friday, July 9, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Lamia, 3910 Geary, San Francisco. Cover: $10. There'll be plenty of sexy singles roaming freely about the party, I'm sure, and the new issue, which I had the opportunity to see shortly after it was printed, is a good one. Anyway, come out and play. Remember, we all benefit by supporting alternative media, whether it be Hyphen, Bullfight, or whatever.

4. In my dream last night, Charles Mingus chased me around with a rifle. I was also a player on some professional sports team, but I can't remember if it was football or basketball. I think it was football. I might have played defense. Charles never got a clear shot at me, and I was glad he didn't have a shotgun, or a second gunman.

5. A short while ago, I listed my top five underrated inventions of all time: Hand soap dispenser, dental floss, pasta strainer, the slit in men's underwear, and glass. I still stand by these five, but I'd simply like now to add a few:

Alarm clock snooze

The contoured edge of fingernail clippers

Mechanical pencil

The scrubbing side of a dishwashing sponge

The plastic tubing they put on the ends of shoelaces


06.28.04 / HOLY GLUT!

Speaking of gluttony, last night I had the great fortune of hanging with the editor of Hyphen magazine, who, for her birthday dinner, decreed that it would be FRIED FOODS ONLY. Which meant fried chicken, fish sticks, lumpia, tater tots and the like. I even witnessed the re-frying of a Krispy Kreme donut. I was like a proud but useless daddy, watching the women go to town.


06.24.04 / BULLFIGHT'S SMALL PRESS REVIEW

For any of you indie publishers out there, we at Bullfight will be launching a small press review section on our Web site in coming weeks. We'll be formally announcing it shortly, but ... wait ...

Phone interruption: "I'm going to say one thing before I hang up. I'm wearing my Glut trucker hat inside the Trader Joe's in Santa Monica." ("OK.") "Bye." ("Bye.")

... So, where was I? Right. Small press review. Anyway, we'll be announcing it shortly, so this is just a heads up. We'll only be reviewing only fiction for the time being, but nothing self-published. Books will be reviewed by Bullfight staffers or deputees. Please mail review copies to:

Bullfight
c/o Small Press Review
P.O. Box 362
Walnut Creek, CA 94597

If you have any questions, you know where to find me. OK, then? Thanks, y'all. We're looking forward to it.


06.22.04 / GOT CRAZY HICCUPS

It sucks. They're unstoppable. Is there some remedy involving honey or something? Because I do like honey.

Anyway.

The other day, I mentioned to Bullfight Liz, in all seriousness, that "someone ought to make a better ketchup packet." Liz was thinking I meant the mess they make, and that there was certainly room for the implementation of a spout of sort, which is a point well-taken.

But I was also thinking along the lines of how wasteful they can be, and how much work it is to get all of it out, which is pretty much impossible without a dough roller or something. Don't get me wrong, the inventor of the modern ketchup packet should be celebrated, no doubt, but it's just time to step it up, bring the A game.

Anyway, this also got me to thinking, so, what are the top five underrated inventions of all time? It took a moment, but this is what I came up with:

5. Hand soap dispenser

4. Dental floss

3. Pasta strainer

2. The slit in men's underwear

1. Glass


06.20.04 / I'M TOTALLY NOT THE GUY WHO HAS IDEAS IN THE BATH, BUT I WAS TAKING A SHOWER NOT LONG AGO AND THINKING ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF THE WARRIOR-POET

Specifically in relation to the Italian Futurists of early 1900s — the truly gifted Umberto Boccioni, plus all the others whose names sound like fancy pastas, and, of course, the most overrated poet of all time, F.T. Marinetti. It just doesn't make sense to me that a movement so immersed in visual art would choose a pompous, mustachioed, warmongering poet as its leader, and that this movement's philosophy, based in all things technical and mechanical, would be deceived by a writing style that lacked punctuation. It's just sucky writing, if you ask me.

But I'm totally getting off the point, which is the warrior-poet. I was just thinking about how all the Futurists were the first to take up arms for Italy in wartime; how they were so willing to die for the nationalist cause; that even above their art, was their country. These were true warrior-poets.

I guess I'm curious where that warrior-poet mentality has gone, or whether it has surfaced much since. Whether in a postmodern state there really can be such a thing as a warrior-poet. Because when I think of what a warrior is now, I think of a GI in uniform, standing stiff, awaiting orders, not speaking unless spoken to. Discipline and camaradeire. No interest in individualistic pursuits, which can include writing or art.

Really, I have a hard time imagining Marinetti calling anyone Sir.

Whereas the poet of today (I use "poet" loosely) is anything but a fighter. I guess I think of current lit heroes like David Sedaris or Dave Eggers, or visual art heroes like Damien Hirst or Matt Barney, and have to conclude that they're all a bunch of geeks and wimps. Nothing wrong with that. I'd probably fall into a similar category, although I have exchanged my share of punches in the past.

But anyway, all this got me to thinking: What about gangsta rap? I'm of course talking about the real homies. The ones who've seen some serious shit. Is the gangsta rapper the reincarnation of the warrior-poet?

I leave you with that thought.


06.15.04 / WHOOPEE!

A good time was had by all, indeed. My thanks to everyone who showed up for the Bullfight #1 launch party, and my thanks to everyone who was there in spirit, too.

Anyway, not much to say right now, so I'll just mention that The Glut #11 will be up in a few days, definitely by this weekend. Till then, please enjoy these wonderful pictures from the launch party, sent to me by Jose Carlos Fajardo.

In the bottom right corner of the top picture are the few remaining copies of Sexy Stranger #5 that were left after the hordes came rumbling through for freebies. (I'll mail SS#5 out to all you subscribers very soon.) In the second picture, the lovely lady is none other than Bullfight literary editor Liz Tascio. In the third picture, well, that's me. I apparently have this weird apparition thing going on that nobody's yet told me about.

Anyway, there are a bunch more launch party pictures over at Bullfight today, taken by any number of people with the disposable camera that was passed around. Enjoy.


06.12.04 / A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL ...

... is what people will be saying about the BULLFIGHT #1 LAUNCH PARTY. Anyway, just one final mention before it actually happens. And remember: There's no cover! Free wine and cheese! Live music! Hottie girls! Hottie boys! Editors, too! It's 6-10 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday) at Cafe Royale, 800 Post @ Leavenworth, San Francisco. You're coming, right? C'mon, bro, I thought we was tight ...

In other news, I just learned of an amusing little site called WASAW, or Writers & Artists Snacking at Work, where some sillykins review snack foods old and new. Worth a look: snacks.cyberpunks.org.

And in other other news, next weekend, June 18-20, is the Isleton Crawdad Festival, over on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. I think this will be my fourth consecutive trip there. Last year, I brought some handiwipes, and passed a few out to people sitting around me while they made messes of themselves. One woman called me a "true gentleman." I blushed, then sucked out the insides of another crawdad's head.


06.09.04 / GREEK YOGURT, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

Maybe I should listen to my friends more often. Must have been like two years ago when my friend Emily suggested I try Greek yogurt. I was like, Yeah, totally, whatever. Two years later, there I am at the market, it's earlier this evening, and I'm standing silently with a neutral look on my face, just staring at yogurts (which I rarely do, by the way, except blankly, sometimes). Then it just happens: In my basket goes Greek yogurt. It transpired so quickly; not even sure how or why, since I honestly hadn't thought about Greek yogurt, not once, since between that first mention two years ago and just a few hours ago when I turned the corner from frozen foods into the dairy aisle. Anyway, only to say, yes, Em, you were right. Greek yogurt is very delicious.

By the way, about six months ago, I hastily predicted chocolate milk would be the 2004 Comeback Drink of the Year. Well, I'm not sure I still stand by that position. I'm leaning more toward grapefruit juice, with root beer in a close second. We'll revisit the standings again in December, but let's just say I got all kinds of beverages busting Stratego on my ass.


06.08.04 / USED TO BE A MUSICIAN, ONCE UPON A TIME

Still am, I guess, to a certain extent, although I haven't played a paying gig in about a year. Anyway, I was working all last weekend on a new song, an epic that'll run about 10 minutes, though possibly much longer if I keep coming up with new ideas. In fact, the original intent was to write one piece of music the length of a very short album, maybe 30 minutes, give or take, although I shudder to think about doing multiple takes if I try to record the f'n thing. But whatever. I actually had a conversation with a musician friend about this particular song, and it went something like this:

CALVIN: I'm writing a new song. It's gonna be really long.

FRIEND: Is this to make up for the size of your—

CALVIN: Yes.

FRIEND: Jesus.


06.07.04 / WHAT I'VE BEEN CRAVING LATELY

Barbecue. Chicken, in particular, which is odd, because when I usually talk all up on barbecue (and I often do), I'm usually referring to pork ribs, which, right now, for whatever reason, sound kind of gross. Just need a little time apart, that's all.

Bell peppers. Although it's not a recent development, but rather a lifelong love affair, but only with raw peppers. Never really liked 'em cooked. Plus I feel hardcore, like a purist, when I eat 'em raw. Something to be said for purism. Totally the same way with celery, bean sprouts, and carrots. These things must be crisp, dammit.

Gatorade. Although I rarely buy the stuff. I feel like poser whenever I do. Unless I'm totally hung over. Then I just feel like a rock star.

Junior Mints and Peppermint Patties, or pretty much anything combining mint and chocolate. Can't get enough. It makes me sad when people say their favorite ice cream isn't mint chip. Nobody's perfect, I guess.

Blackberries. Not peak season yet, but I still can't get my fill, even if the berries are not quite spectacular yet. With blackberries, it's definitely one of those cases where bigger is better.

Onion. White onion. White onion is tasty.

WHAT I'VE NOT BEEN CRAVING LATELY

Noodles. Of any sort.

By the way, I had the most extraordinary sandwich the other day. It combined, of all things, asparagus, prosciutto, very lean bacon, and cantaloupe (!). All on toasted multigrain. Quite surprisingly delicious. I also had an Orangina, which is something I drink like three times a year. I liked it.

OK, I'm going to do some situps now.


06.04.04 / THE REAL EDITING CLUSTERFUCK

Please read the fictional account at Darby Larson's Blog, then continue reading the fictional account below.

DAY ONE

CALVIN: So, about your story Clusterfuck. I think—

DARBY: You suck.

C: Excuse me?

D: A lot. You suck a lot. Suckalotsuckalotsuckalot.

C: What the hell are you—

D: Shazam!

DAY TWO

C: Hi.

D: Hi.

C: So.

D: I guess I should apologize for yesterday. You don't actually suck. A lot.

C: Thank you.

D: Just a little.

C: I can live with that.

D: And by a little, I mean a lot. Sucka!

C: Why you—

D: Kapow!

DAY THREE

LIZ: Hi.

D: Hi.

L: Calvin sent me because you were being mean to him. He was crying. A lot. He doesn't like to suck. It's his least favorite thing to do.

D: Who is this?

L: Liz.

D: Liz? Ah, you must be the slutty one.

L: Um—

D: Blammo!

DAY FOUR

SARAH: Hi.

D: Hi.

S: Liz sent me because you were being mean to her. You really shouldn't be so mean to her. She's a really nice girl. I think—

D: Hold up, sweetcakes. Talk into the microphone.

S: I said you shouldn't be so—

D: Jeeeeeeeheeeeheeeeheeezus! Just edit the fucking thing, will ya?!

S: Sure.

D: Alakazam!


06.03.04 / BOOZE! BOOZE! AND MORE BOOZE!

This will not be the last time I mention the Bullfight launch party between now and then, but here are two developments:

1. FREE WINE. Cheese platters, too. So get there early, before we run out. I think Cafe Royale's also discounting certain beers.

2. LIVE MUSIC has been added to the evening. We bring you two sets, one with Meric Long and the other with Forrest Day. Both really amazing singer-songwriters. They might even do some stuff together. Yeah, we craaaaazy like that.

So, again, here's the info:

BULLFIGHT LAUNCH PARTY
Sunday, June 13, 6-10 p.m.
Cafe Royale, 800 Post @ Leavenworth, San Francisco
No cover! We'll take care of you, baby!

Oh, and if you haven't already, please pick up a copy of Bullfight #1. Your support will be greatly appreciated, and it'll ensure that we throw more bitchin' parties like this in the future.

And in other late-breaking news, that book-length manuscript I've been working on has had a title change, and is now called "The Moths."

Also, I bring you this wonderful quote from the 18th century, by one Mr. Samuel Johnson:

"A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing."


05.29.04 / I'VE BEEN THINKING A LOT ABOUT FISH LATELY, AND HERE IS WHAT I HAVE TO REPORT:

1. SALMON. The king of fish. Excellent grilled, broiled, souped, burgered, smoked. Though better as fillet than steak. You also have to respect a fish that has a sense of its heritage. OK for canning, although it ends up just being expensive tuna.

2. HALIBUT. My dad loves halibut. We were in Seattle not too long ago, and my dad ordered halibut for SIX STRAIGHT MEALS. Swear. Also good in ceviche.

3. TOMBO. Basically low-grade tuna. My first experience of this fish was in Seattle, although not on the trip with my dad. I was staying in a hotel room with a kitchenette, and I went to the Pike Place fish market and brought back some tombo to cook. And yes, it was as advertised, basically a low-grade tuna. To continue down the path of low grades, I later found myself in bed with an exceptionally unattractive girl. I haven't eaten tombo since.

4. SNAPPER. For a long time, this was my favorite sushi fish. (I've since returned to tuna.) Also excellent battered and fried, and usually affordable, for fish.

5. CATFISH. I'm very fond of this fish, and what it represents as a folkloric creature. Fried, all the way. With some crusty bread. Although I can't eat too much catfish. Anything from murky water will reflect that in the way it tastes.

6. SARDINE. The exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is totally mesmerizing. Plus, of the canned fish, it's my favorite. Rock through those bones.

7. CHILEAN SEA BASS. Which, quite deceptively, is not a member of the bass family, but a toothfish. Any case, a hugely overrated fish. By the way, have you ever seen a live Chilean sea bass? Holy shit. They be some ugly muthas.


05.27.04 / MORE SEARCH KEY PHRASES FOR THE GLUT THAT MIGHT WARRANT A BIT OF DISCUSSION

MIGHTY BOSOM EDITOR: All I know is, several times this month, "mighty bosom editor" has come up as a search phrase, as it also has in the past couple months, which leads me to believe — and indeed I want to believe — that "mighty bosom editing" is a real phenomenon. I have yet to see it for myself, but what I imagine is exceedingly glorious.

PERVERTED APPLE FRUIT: Is another good one, although it doesn't seem to make much sense.

SAMURAI LIQUID MOTHBALLS: Also makes little sense.

SHIT I LOST MY DATE. WHAT SHALL I DO? This one actually hits home. I admit this has happened to me before, 1) because she ditched my ass, 2) because I could tell she was about to ditch my ass, so in a preemptive strike, I ditched her ass, but then later forgot that I had ditched her ass, 3) got so drunk I forgot where her ass had to go or how long her ass had to be gone, or 4) got so drunk I simply forgot what her ass looked like, although I might have easily recognized her face. I'm not entirely uncertain this didn't all happen on the same night.

But anyway ...

While I'm being all alpha male, I'll just mention that I've got a little thingy over at Mitochondria today. I remember showing it to Bullfight Liz a few months ago when I first wrote it, and she liked it, but whereas I considered it a more "quirky" piece, Liz considered it "creepy." Another case of boys vs. girls, I guess. Or maybe I'm just a total creep, and I just don't know it. Anyhoo, you can go see for yourself.

Oh, and by the way, what's-his-name, um, the founder of Found Magazine, is giving a talk at the Cody's on Telegraph at 7:30 tonight. The whole Bullfight gang is planning to be there, too, taking notes, plotting world domination, etc. Y'all should come out.


05.25.04 / SOMEONE'S GONNA EAT KARMA FOR BREAKFAST

To the jackass who broke in to my car and stole my shit: Thank you, truly, for relieving me of such earthly, material delights. I am one step closer to nirvana.


05.24.04 / GRUMBLE GRUMBLE

So, I've learned that a couple good friends of mine are leaving the Bay Area right away, and it makes me sad, because this has been happening so much in the past couple years — old friends move, make new friends, new friends move. Recently, during a heart-to-heart with a friend (although I can't remember who), she asked me, "Why don't you like change?" and I think I replied, "Because I'm a guy."

In retrospect, I have no idea what I meant by that, but no, I typically do not like change, especially when it comes to the people I hold dear. Anyway, I've been a little bummed out the past couple days. Haven't been answering my phone. Just keeping to myself, drinking grapefruit juice and going jogging at all hours of day and night, but also writing a little bit. Here's a bitesize excerpt:

It occurs to me that we might spend too much time shopping at thrift stores. Today, for her, it is a staple gun. The moths must die, she says.

Yeah. Some of my finest writing yet.

An aside, I've found that it's not such a great idea to get your grapefruit juice really, really cold before drinking it. Slightly chilled is best.

And in other news, I've been on a Mexican food tear lately. Like, days in a row. Although the other day, when I tried to order carnitas at a dive in the Mission, they didn't have 'em, which was highly discouraging, and made me question how legit the place was, even though there was a guy outside with an accordian, and another guy with a nylon-string guitar, both speaking really fast Spanish, and eyeing my "American" cigarettes.

OK, I made up that last bit about the cigarettes.

Have a good night.


05.21.04 / INTERESTING WEEK. INTERESTING IN A GOOD WAY.

- Just got back from lunch with Hobart's Aaron Burch, who's passing through the Bay Area on an extended road trip. We had burritos. Mine had chicken.

- Met up (over burgers) with playwright/director Andy Miara, who's writing you may have seen at Haypenny. It appears we may be collaborating on some sort of theatrical production in the next six months. Scary and exciting.

- Found out yesterday (to my surprise since I didn't realize my work had been nominated) that I won California Newspaper Publishers Association honorable mention for Best Front Page Design. No cause for champagne; gonna go for gold next year.

- Hearing from a lot of old, old friends. Looks like my 10-year high school reunion is coming up. But it's not just people from high school. I've heard from friends from other circles, too; folks who've been MIA for years. Seems everyone's thinking of everyone else lately. It's actually kind of nice and cosmic.

- Speaking of cosmic, you might consider picking up the June issue of Scientific American. Hate to plug such a mass-circulation publication, but there's some good stuff in there.

- Finally, just got back my printer's proof for Bullfight #1. It's so very naughty and so very nice. For your own good, you'd better go get a copy.

- And in case you're still reading and you didn't click on the link before, here is another chance.


05.18.04 / GOOD, GOOD

So I'm working through a rewrite of one of my attempts at longish fiction, a novella I call "Bigger The Better." The bulk of it was written in three solitary weeks about a year and a half ago. I've been sporadically editing it, with my latest attempt being the most successful, so far cutting it down to about two-thirds its original size. (I think it's at 22,000 right now.)

Anyway, the reason I thought of it (besides the fact that I'm currently working on it), was that I got an e-mail today from a high school classmate in which he used the phrase, "Good, good." Which is a phrase that comes up a few times in my novella.

OK, I'm going somewhere with this.

Seems this girl I used to date, one who happened to flip through an earlier version of the manuscript, commented, "Good, good? Who talks like that?! NOBODY talks like that." Like I MUST BE CRAZY for using the line.

But I guess I'm not. And she and I no longer date.

OK, I take it back. I'm not going anywhere with this. I'll stop now. Have a nice day.


05.17.04 / ROCKED

A chill weekend in Santa Monica. Saw Mike Watt's new band Hellride, which includes members of Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros. Hate to say it, but they pretty much sucked. Although Mike Watt held down the bass. Per usual.

Anyway, after years of putting it off, I finally decided to try surfing. I got f'n whooped. No wetsuit, which was doable but barely. Got smacked by my board, too. Got a nice little five-inch red streak running down the right side of my belly, and a bruise on my bicep. Ladies were not impressed. Per usual.


05.10.04 / SELECTIONS FROM MY NOVELLA "IF NOT NOW," WRITTEN BETWEEN FEBRUARY 2001 AND APRIL 2002, AND LIKELY NEVER TO BE SEEN IN ENTIRETY BY ANYONE ELSE FOR ALL OF ETERNITY. IT IS A REAL PIECE OF CRAP. ENJOY.

(PAGE 24)

"I want to tell you something, so don't say anything."

"Fine."

"You have to promise not to listen."

"Um—"

She covered my ears with her hands, then (from what I could tell by the foaming at the mouth) she began to yell, cursing my habits and smells and intellectual ineptitude and financial ruin. She did it all in one breath, finally uncovering my ears to let me catch the tail end: "—but I love you."

Right.

We moved from the doorway to the living room to the couch and back to the kitchen, where I gave her head as she snacked on cinnamon graham crackers and sipped green tea, saying nothing all the while, and rushing me out the door afterward. It was 9 o'clock on a Sunday in Berkeley, which meant I had nothing to do with myself, so — paying $2.70 fare and praying for midgets — I took the BART train back to San Francisco.

(PAGE 41)

We watched her boil the water as if she was about to boil something in spectacular fashion; as if millennia of successful water-boiling had, in fact, still left room for experimentation.

Where can you go once the water is hot?!? How can you top that?!? How, goddammit, how?!?

(PAGE 70)

The spring is guarded by a gnome. This particular gnome, the one at Broadway and 11th, might look terrible, but I assure you he's got vigor; he never stops his finicky dance, all the while repeating, "This is my spring, my spring, my spring. This is my spring, my spring, my spring."

He was telling me, this whisper coming from underneath the pavement. I had to get off the street before the gnome started to suspect I was there to take his spring.

(PAGE 83)

I felt nothing. I hung up the phone. I went to the kitchen, where Brigade the cat was playing God with a wheat cracker that had fallen to the floor. I watched as he smacked the cracker with one paw then the other and back, until the cracker crumbled into mostly powder. Brigade stopped, sat up, then surveyed the kitchen for something else to destroy. I walked over, picked Brigade up off the floor, setting him on the counter, from where he immediately leapt into the trash, toppling the basket over. Brigade, sitting there comfortably on the kitchen floor, covered in trash, looked up and meowed.

"You don't wanna spend too much time in there, Brigade."

"Meow, goddammit, meow."

"I see your point." I surrendered. "Stupid is after the fact."


05.09.04 / HIYA

The Glut #10 will be up in a day or two. A very strong issue, methinks.

Finally reading Glen David Gold's "Carter Beats the Devil," which has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years now. It's very, very good, and shame on me for not opening it till now. Suggest you pick up a copy, but only after obtaining Bullfight #1 first.

Other than that, not much else to say, so I leave you with this recent and mildly entertaining e-mail exchange:

CALVIN: When I was kid, my folks took us to Circus Circus in Reno. At a pop-the-balloon-with-darts booth, my brother won a little stuffed animal, no bigger than a fist, sort of a mix between Mr. Potatohead and a dog, and its tag said it was named Chubby Wubby.

When we used to play "WWF Battle Royale" with our stuffed animals, Tigger was my main man, my Bret "The Hit Man" Hart or The Ultimate Warrior, but Chubby Wubby was the king, the Hulk Hogan of stuffed animal pro wrestling. He had a tongue, a little tab of red felt glued on, and when it finally fell off (Battle Royale was no peaceful negotiation), that was a sad day for all.

FRIEND: Not to in any way dampen the importance of your stuffed animal wrestler, but Chubby Wubby for me involved a campfire game where you stuff as many marshmallows as possible into your mouth; with each new inclusion, you must chant "chubby wubby," until your besodden cheeks can stand it no longer and you projectile-spit the marshmallow madness into the fire.

The problem being, marshmallows are gross.


05.06.04 / PROMISE ME YOU'LL COME. PROMISE ME.

BULLFIGHT #1 LAUNCH PARTY
Sunday, June 13, 6-10 p.m.
CAFE ROYALE
800 Post @ Leavenworth, San Francisco

Well, we decided not to intrude on anyone's mighty Friday or Saturday night plans, so we picked an evening that no one would have an excuse to miss. So, please, if you're in the Bay Area that weekend, stop by, say hello, have a drink with me and Sarah and Liz. We're all really friendly. Swear. Plus we're supersexyhot, too, so all you singles out there looking to put some naughty in your nice, you know where to find us.

Added incentive: I'll be debuting Sexy Stranger #5 at the party, too. And I know you can't pass on a freebee. Especially when it's got David Erlewine, Michael Fowler, Leigh Hughes, Lisa McMann, Gwen Mintz, Tom Misuraca, Magdalen Powers, Kevin Sampsell and Jensen Whelan.

Booty call, y'all. Booty f'n call.


05.03.04 / TOO SMART FOR HIS OWN GOOD, BUT TO THE BENEFIT OF ALL

B.R. Cohen's Historical Theories Gone Wild! is over at Bullfight today. It might take two or three reads to comprehend, but it's hellllllllla funny.


04.29.04 / TO THE PERSON WHO GOOGLED "MIGHTY BOSOM EDITOR"

When you find her, please let me know.


04.26.04 / BULLFIGHT #1 IS READY FOR PRE-ORDERS. THAT'S A BOOYAH IF I EVER HEARD ONE.

It's true. Bullfight #1 is a go. I hate to brag, and love to hate, but Bullfight #1 is an exceptional read, I SHIT YOU NOT. I mean, I've proofread the entirety of it FIVE TIMES, and I still love the stories. Here's the lineup:

- Karen Ashburner
- Tom Bissell
- Ryan Boudinot
- Arthur Bradford
- Dennis DiClaudio
- Lisa Ko
- Roderick Maclean
- Kevin Sampsell

... who cover such topics as ...

Cussing in public, hot moms, Blondie, zoo animals, park animals, cooked animals, robot animals, people named after the cast of Happy Days, crossbows and arrows, running out of gas, harelips, time capsules and, of course, sex, dating, dying, lies, genitilia, smoking, and much, much more!

Plus there's wonderful art by Crane Magazine's Matt Clark and the ever-lovely Jillian Wieda.

And remember awhile back when I said I had a Jolie Holland-related secret in store for you? Remember? Well, Jolie's contributed some words to Bullfight #1, as well, in the form of exquisite poems plus a fun (and disarming) conversation with Bullfight literary editor Sarah Charukesnant. (By the way Jolie's new album, Escondida, is due out today; suggest you check it out.)

Anyway, GO NOW, and order your very own copy of Bullfight #1. Please.


04.23.04 / BIT OF SUCKY NEWS

I'm sorry to report that Anthology a Trois, the joint print effort between The Glut and Lamination Colony, is being called off. Mostly on my account. With The Glut and Bullfight and my full-time job, there's no way I can give Aa3 the attention it deserves.

However, the resilient Blake Butler informs me that he will likely continue the project, probably under a new name. For everyone who's already submitted work to Aa3, I sincerely apologize. I recommend that you contact Blake at to see what his plans are.


04.22.04 / JUST WATCHED THE "O.C." FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING.

It's true. I haven't watched TV programming in almost five years. Sure, I see snippets here and there at other people's houses, but I don't have cable or even a simple antenna. All I watch at home are movies. Some people call me crazy. Some people call me smart. But in some cases, I suppose I've been missing out.

Anyway, Bullfight Sarah thought it'd be wise that I go over and sit in on a "girls night," and finally be exposed to this apparent cultural phenomenon, this "O.C." I admit it: I thought the show as fine.

In other news — bigass news — we're only weeks away from sending Bullfight #1 to print. Get pumped, y'all. Here's pretty much what the cover — done by the fabulous Matt Clark of Crane Magazine — will look like:

I'll have more to say about Bullfight #1 — namely who's in it — once I've finished jumping through some legal hoops. I expect we'll have PayPal ready for pre-orders very soon, so please, please, please, stop by the Bullfight Web site regularly in the coming weeks, and help get that project off the ground, and convince me that the past six months of Bullfight-related lack of social life has been worth it.


04.15.04 / I DON'T KNOW IF I REALLY CONSIDER MYSELF "TROUBLED," MAYBE MORE "MELANCHOLY" MUCH OF THE TIME, BUT ...

... I've got a new story up — one I like very, very much — at "Achingly Human: Tales of the Troubled," an anthology of fiction that includes 10 other writers who are totally badass, including some of the heavyweights of web literature; folks like Ben Brown, Aaron Burch, Lee Klein, Shauna McKenna and Claire Zulkey. The site is put together by a former contributor to The Glut, the lovely Miss Savannah Schroll.

Anyway, go check it out.


04.14.04 / MAIL IN YOUR TAX RETURN, NUMBNUTS

Oh. Sorry. Just talking to myself.

Anyway, a few months ago, you might have heard me talkin' all up on that Arkansas black apple. Don't get me wrong, it's still a mighty fine piece of fruit. Right now, though, I've returned to my roots, to trusty Granny Smith. My god, the crunch. And the sour. I like mine chilled.

I actually have fond memories of Granny Smith-eating. Once, when I was a freshman in college, on a beautiful spring day like today, I was sitting in the sun, eating a Granny Smith, and this a really hot, perky, petite but athletic blonde — Laura, I think her name was — sat down next to me and was all like, Can I have a bite? I was like, Sure. So she took a bite, and it was awesome — juice squirt here, juice squirt there, and she was like, That's a grrrreat apple, and I didn't say anything back, but almost was like, Yeah, stick with me and my apples, babe. Then we would have made sweet whoopee, finding all kinds of craziness to do with the apple cork.

But in reality, she just kept chewing, and walked away.

Those were the days.

Anyway, that's my advice for today: Get a green apple, get a hot chick to take a bite from it. Yes, yes, that is my advice.

Ready. Set. Go.


04.06.04 / SOMEHOW I ENDED UP WITH A COPY OF A COMPLETELY RANDOM BOOK

Terry Del Bene's Donner Party Cookbook. An in-depth chronology of the events leading up to, surrounding, and following the most infamous cannibal episode in American history. In it, you'll also find those classic recipes for Brain Stew, Buffalo Tongue, Antelope Pudding, Hardtack, Son of a Sea Dog (Hardtack and bacon grease), and Lumpy Dicks, which actually — it's mush of milk, flour, sugar and cinnamon — sounds pretty tasty. Plus there's some essential 19th-century survivalist info, such as how to cook with buffalo droppings instead of coal.

Ha ha. Good shit. Ha ha. I'm hilarious.

Anyway, for the record, I did not ask for or buy this book. But I have to admit it's a somewhat interesting and informative read. Oh, and if I try any of those recipes, I'll definitely report back, and if you'd like to see some of them, just shoot me an e-mail.


04.05.04 / IDIOT HERE, THERE, ANYWHERE

It's Saturday afternoon, and I find myself at some random coffee shop in San Diego. I'm sitting across from Susanna (you might recall her as The Lady in Red from my Context writings at Eyeshot).

Anyway, I'm filing through stacks of Bullfight submissions when, next thing I know, the chair I'm in, this single-jointed art-deco thing (imagine a champagne glass), decides to snap at the base. A moment and loud thud later, I'm sprawled out on the hardwood floor, and everyone's looking at me.

Well then, I say.

Cafe employees gather around. Radiohead's playing in the background. Susanna's got slackjaw. I'm avoiding eye contact with the two babes by the corner window.

Are you OK, three or four people say.

I'm fine, I say. Dust off my slacks. Move to another seat. I'm a little embarrassed, but the feeling goes away. Drink some water. Smoke a cigarette. Take a piss.

Later, I get a free coffee and a cranberry muffin. On the house. Just for being clutzy ol' me. Makin' a scene and shit.

The end.


04.01.04 / BAD MATH

Actually, you have another 15 or 16 hours to submit to Bullfight #1. (Giggle giggle.) Um, since the deadline in "on or before April 1." I apparently don't understand my own submission guidelines. (Giggles again.)


03.31.04 / CHOP CHOP!

Less than 24 hours to get your print submission in for Bullfight #1, which, I must say, is shaping up BEAUTIFULLY. So finish it up, will ya? And send it HERE. And do it NOW. This is the kind of thing that will get you laid. Promise.


03.29.04 / HAVE NO IDEA WHY THIS JUST OCCURRED TO ME

I was just thinking about this time several years ago, when I used to work in San Francisco, and I was commuting home on BART, minding my own, and sitting a few rows back from these two girls, one of whom was seriously yapping. Like full volume, and fast. Like she breathed words. I must admit, it was a bit annoying, especially after a long day at work, but like most people, it's just something I let alone. There is, after all, something we Americans cherish above all — free speech.

So, there was this one guy, a bit stuck up (you could tell with the shirt tucked, pants up to his belly button), who had finally had enough. He stands up, and starts screaming at this girl, like, SHUT UP! SHUT UP! GAAAAWWWD! It was seriously obnoxious, the way this guy acted. Anyway, he's standing there yelling, the girl's sitting there petrified, and suddenly, as the train slows at the next stop, and the doors finally slide open, three guys, all strangers, quickly get up, grab the man, and toss him out the door, and onto the platform. Huge applause ensued.

Anyway, it sort of made me proud to be an American. Yay, First Amendment, and the ones who try to protect it.


03.25.04 (b) / DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

From Page 48 of the Ball Blue Book, Edition 28, and subtitled, "Easy Guide to Tasty, Thrifty Home Canning and Freezing," circa 1966:

WILD RABBIT AND SQUIRREL

Soak the meat 1 hour in brine made by dissolving 1 tablespoon salt in 1 quart water. Rinse. Follow any recipe for canning chicken, omitting salt.

Notice: In most states the length of time for storage of game is controlled by law. Conservation officials can supply information on this subject.

— My thanks to Karen Nicoletti for showing me this, and for qualifying it with, "Times were tough!"


03.25.04 (a) / THE THING WITH THE THING

Where my recorded voice will do all kinds of injustice to Liz Tascio's poemish piece "Safety." I even programmed a beat behind it to hide my stupid voice. Thankfully, I'll have a good 3,000 miles from Brooklyn when this is all goes down Saturday. But you should go and have fun for me: .


03.19.04 / MORE EXCERPTS FROM LITMUS, MY BOOK-IN-PROGRESS, IF BY "IN" YOU MEAN "DOES NOT VERY QUICKLY"

SHE SMELLS LIKE SOAP. Like she doesn't rinse, and hangs to dry. When I tell her that, she says my teeth are yellow, which is fine by me, because yellow is a color, and not a smell.

YOUR SISTER. No. Your other sister. The way her breasts mash together.

THIS ASS IS A PERFECT ASS. You watched me walk away, and whispered a string of words, two of which, I'm pretty sure, were Perfect and Ass.

THE LAUGHTER STRIKES ME AS ODD. Me hurt and all.


03.18.04 / ON THE OFF-CHANCE ...

.... you find yourself at The Tank in Brooklyn on the night of March 27, and you turn to your date and are all like, "Can you hear that? Calvin's voice is stuck in my head. It's freaking me out," don't fret, it's just a recording of me reading "Safety," a poem by Bullfight compadre Liz Tascio.

I sound like a jackass on that recording. It's f'n awesome.


03.12.04 / FEW MORE SEARCH KEY PHRASES FOR THE GLUT

1. intestinal worm that looks like a monkey (do any worms look like monkeys? I mean, looking like a worm is sort of what makes a worm a worm, right?)
2. grills to have sex with (my barbecue's hot)
3. pirate's booty pussy (this might have been all me)
4. my colon just fell out (holy shit! does this happen?!)
5. cutie nicknames for genitals (for example, Puffy, Drippy, Balls McGall)


03.10.04 / SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL

The artist: Jolie Holland. The album: Catalpa. Brought it home Monday night about 11:45 p.m. By 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, I'd listened to its entirety on repeat nearly seven times, completely spellbound in the timelessness of this music. Also, about four hours ago, the second track, All the Morning Birds, literally brought me a tear of joy. This is perhaps the most honest, beautiful album I have ever heard. I've already gone on Amazon to have copies sent to multiple friends.

There's actually more to say about Jolie, but it's a surprise that I'll leave for later, after you've had a chance to hear this music. Catalpa is, quite simply, IT.


03.08.04 / QUICK WORD ON THINGS IN PRINT

First off, I'd like to thank the good soul who called Pegasus Books and asked about Sexy Stranger. If you're reading this, shoot me an e-mail with your address, and I'll give you a free subscription. Anyway, shortly after the apparent call, I got this e-mail:

From :  Pegasus Downtown
Sent :  Monday, March 1, 2004 6:22 PM
Subject :  SEXY STRANGER distribution

customer called tonight asked whether we had SEXY STRANGER. we don't. she can't find it anywhere. we'd love to carry. please be in touch.

... Hee hee hee. Got a kick outta that one. But anyway, I think this highlights some confusion about the printed things that I publish or will soon publish:

1. SEXY STRANGER is a mini-zine, perhaps more appropriately, a mini-booklet. It measures 2 by 3 inches, is typically 10-12 pages, all short shorts under 220 words. It's cute as a button, and distributed by hand, typically left in the free racks at a few bookstores in the East Bay and San Francisco. It comes out about quarterly. You may also subscribe by sending e-mailing me your address with the words "SS REQUEST" in the subject line. I'll send an SASE, and you'll send a couple bucks back.

2. It's a softcover, 6-by-9-inch, perfect-bound book that will be in bookstores around the country starting late July or August. You'll also be able to buy directly from the website when the time comes. It'll feature high-quality "literary" writing, mostly short stories in the 3,000- to 6,000-word range. Submissions are currently being accepted until April 1. It will be, how do you say, THE SHIT.

One thing I never really mentioned is that I'll take art submissions, too. That means photos, drawings, whatever, preferably black and white. Suggest you send art subs for any of the three pubs to my Glut e-mail. Thanks.


03.07.04 / OOPS

Been so busy with Bullfight the past couple weeks that I never got around to distributing Sexy Stranger #4, except for those copies left at APE. Promise I'll do my rounds today, and hit some usual spots:

• Cody's, Berkeley
• Pegasus Downtown, Berkeley
• Black Oak Books, Berkeley
• A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, San Francisco
• Valencia Street Books, San Francisco

Sorry for the delay. I've be a bad boy.


03.04.04 / RUNNIN' 'ROUND RAGGED

The past few days have been a blur, although I can't say I've done much except go to work and read a ton of Glut/Bullfight submissions. But I did cook beans for dinner, and ate a handful of potato chips, and a handful of chocolate chips. I also shaved my head about half an hour ago. Do you realize how much aftershave it takes to moisturize an entire head? It's a lot. I smell good, though, and heavy, even though it's like 3:30 a.m., and there's really no need to smell this good, or heavy, at 3:30 a.m.

OK, I'm going to stop talking now.

Oh, and by the way, if you're in the publicity department at Matador Records, you really ought to return my e-mail. It's the nice thing to do.


03.01.04 (b) / ROCKIN' OUT TO THE LADIES OF INDIE ALT-COUNTRY

It's silly, the thought of me rockin' out to any sort of country music, but it's entirely true. It began at Friday's Neko Case show on Friday. Her voice was enormous, beautiful as expected, but honestly, my petunia was the woman to Neko's left, Miss Carolyn Mark. I'd never heard of her before, but she got me, and got me good. First thing Saturday, I picked up her latest CD, Terrible Hostess, and I've been listening to it almost nonstop since, with my favorite track being the ass-tappin' opener. Anyway, I finally got around to looking at the liner notes and lyics a moment ago, and what do you know, under the title Fuzzy Slippers, as if stars have aligned, it says:

The second half is for Calvin.

Hah! Love you, too, Carolyn!


03.01.04 (a) / CHILLIN' AT THE POST OFFICE ...

... a couple days ago, and I picked up a 60-some-page paperback in my box. It was from one Jason Norvein Wachtelhausen.


02.29.04 / EXCERPTS FROM THE BEGINNINGS OF THE BOOK-IN-PROGRESS THAT I'VE TENTATIVELY TITLED, LITMUS

8.

Man with a squeaky voice. Genetics is a bitch.

9.

Mother used to collect vases. She dusted them once a month, on the first of each month. It was September 2nd, and I dropped a dead fish in one. Mother beat me for it. She died in her sleep that night.

26.

We're on the phone, and I wait awhile before telling you there's just been an earthquake. You can't see me, buy I'm standing in a doorway.

55.

We're in a mall, marble-like floors and such, and people are everywhere, and you and I are behind a massive support beam, embracing tightly so as not to leave any body parts showing. You're waif thin, and you ask, Do I feel like 110 pounds? I say, I totally have an erection. It's poking you in the inner thigh. You smile, and kiss me on the cheek.


02.27.04 / YOU WILL NEED YOUR RUNNING SHOES ...

... and you will sprint straight to wherever it is you rent videos, and you will rent the documentary Stone Reader, and you will do it now. Essential viewing for the aspiring novelist. Juice.


02.25.04 / THE PAST 24 HOURS HAVE BEEN PRETTY GOOD

Let me count the reasons why:

1. There's mention of The Glut and Bullfight in the latest edition of Poets & Writers magazine, which just hit the racks. Associate editor Kevin Larimer writes, "(The Glut is) not the most refined publication on the Web," and describes Bullfight as "slightly more elegant." Ha! Any press is good press, no?

2. Got the new John Frusciante album, Shadows Collide With People; in fact, I'm listening to it right now. Been waiting three years for this one, and it seems John finally decided to do a professional studio production, which might shock some of his purist fans. Granted, it's easy on the ear, which is to say it's more rockin' and it's got more pop, almost opposite the heart-wrenching, lo-fi, schizoid "art" of his first three albums, but I like it. I think his first album, Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-shirt, is still the best, but Shadows Collide With People's got the goods, too. It almost sounds like John's got his shit together, which, considering his shady past, is something he deserves.

3. Started what will hopefully be a book-length manuscript last night. Tentatively titled, Litmus, Like The Paper. So far, it lacks any cohesive element other than a single narrator. In a sense, it's highly experimental, and meant that way. Which, if you've read anything of mine, is unusual for me. Remember that I come from a background of formal journalistic training. Ledes and nut grafs and shit. Anyway, maybe I'll post some excerpts from Litmus in coming weeks. So you can see how far I've regressed.


02.24.04 (b) / HOLY SHIT

I just realized that John Frusciante's new album was supposed to be released this week. Holy shit. Holy shit. Back in a jiffy ...


02.24.04 (a) / FOR ONE, I AM NO F'N POET

Might have been a few weeks ago, I was shooting the shiz with one Mr. Jensen Whelan via e-mail, and I think I mentioned a poem of mine that I knew would have zero chance of getting published. So, anyway, right here, for you, in what will be the only glory this piece of writing will ever see, I give you:

BURN

Thinking of you: piece of trim, jism in your hair,
I like you so much, the way you seem hungry
after sex, so we sit on the floor, a—

—round strips of aluminum, "This is some kind of meal,"

made of old cheese, and as we spoon the mold free,
you begin to bitch, but then you laugh, say,

Remember us?

Naked by fire.

Then

you point to my testicles, or where they would have been,
had the embers not leapt and landed on my skin,
sharp to the places where we were once connected.


02.20.04 / SELECTED GOOGLISMS

the glut is just not smart enough to handle that
the glut is merely a symptom
the glut is due to particularly good weather in vietnam and indonesia this year
the glut is simply being reconfigured and repositioned in the hopes of getting the cash cow to produce more
the glut is perhaps the worst in the economy
the glut is only likely to worsen
the glut is glorious
the glut is still good for another month i think
the glut is confusing and sometimes even dismaying to newcomers


02.18.04 / A FEW THINGS BEFORE I SAUNTER OFF TO WORK THIS MORNING

1. OK, OK, so I've been listening to Ani DiFranco lately, which I why I'm using words like "saunter." And yes, that's right, I do listen to Ani DiFranco. Shut up, guys. She rocks my world.

2. Yesterday (I should add that I work at a newspaper), I was called "conservative" for not allowing one of the copy editors to use the phrase "imminent doom" in a headline. I was like, "Whatever, Mr. Tucked-In Shirt Boy."

3. Have you seen Lost in La Mancha? It's a documentary about the making, rather, unmaking of Don Quixote by Terry Gillliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys). The documentary itself is pretty entertaining, but what makes the DVD really worth renting is one of the extras — an hour-long talk with Gilliam and Salman Rushdie. It's hilarious and enlightening. They're so intelligent, it makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

4. If you haven't heard yet, SS#4 is already done. I'll be handing out and dropping off a ton of 'em at the Alternative Press Expo this weekend in San Francisco. Also, fliers for Bullfight Review and Anthology a Trois.

5. I almost bought a new bass this week. Which is ridiculous because I already own four. Which is even more ridiculous because my band is on indefinite hiatus.

6. A couple days ago, I got a pretty funny e-mail from Zach Wrobel: "At Starbucks this morning I ordered a 'tall Columbian.' It surprised the hell out of me when she walked out of the bathroom." Ha! Play on, player.


02.13.04 / OOH! CAT FIGHT!

Went to an S.F. Indie Fest screening of Yukihiko Tsutsumi's "2LDK" last night. Hugely funny movie; no doubt in my mind that it'll take home the audience award for best film. Basically, two catty roommates are both actresses vying for the same role; tensions run high and things come to a homicidal head, and so begins an all-out duel to the death. By far the most entertaining thing I've seen onscreen in months; boisterous laughs from all in attendance. Truth be told, it's not for everyone, but if you liked "Kill Bill" or "Army of Darkness," then you've got to catch this movie as it tours the film festival circuit. It's playing one last time at noon Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Roxie in San Francisco. After that, who knows.

In other news, I've dropped off some copies of SEXY STRANGER #3 and Eating Mothballs edition backstock in the Mission at Valencia Street Books and at the New College Valencia campus cafe. I'll be dropping off more copies at some point this weekend, probably at Diesel in Oakland, Cody's and Black Oak in Berkeley, A Clean Well-Lighted Placed for Books and Abandoned Planet in San Francisco, and Bonanza Street Books in Walnut Creek. Get 'em while they're hot.

Again, if you're not a Bay Area resident but want a Sexy Stranger subscription, just e-mail me your address (in the 48 states only, please), and put "SS REQUEST" in the subject header. You'll also get an SASE, and I only ask that you throw a couple dollar bills back to help cover printing and mailing costs. OK, then?


02.11.04 / SEARCH ENGINE KEYPHRASES THAT SOMEHOW LED SOMEONE TO THE GLUT (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE)

10. muddy schoolgirls
9. bullshit repellent
8. flabby breasted women
7. time lapse roadkill
6. my rectum hurt
5. mom ran over a chicken
4. world's most biggest shit
3. nipples historical significance
2. beautiful rectum
1. why am i an asshole?

In sum, we have girls, shits, private parts, and animals run over with cars. The Glut in a nutshell. Mother will be so proud.


02.09.04 (b) / NICKNAMES, THE NUMBER OF YEARS SINCE GETTING THEM, AND THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE STILL CALLING ME BY THEM, STARTING FROM THE MOST RECENT

Bunny, 1.5 years, 1 person
Buddha, 12 years, 4 people
Cal, forever, 4 people

The last one, I should explain, is more of a family affair, though somewhat significant because it so happens that I'm named after Cal Berkeley, where my father got his master's and doctorate. Funny this is, while my brother followed suit and went to Cal, and while my sister-in-law went there, too, and while second and third cousins did as well, and while my first cousin goes there now, it turns out that I am the only one who did not.

Or could not.

To this day, I'm still bitter. But go Bears.


02.07.04 / IMITATION IS A FORM OF FLATTERY?

Seems a lot of names were hilariously dropped this past week, to the utter confusion and delight of Uber readers everywhere; names including The Glut contributors Jensen Whelan and Darby Larson, and Bullfight Review contributors Shauna McKenna and Ben Brown. Some names were real, some were not, and some were imagined. My name, for example, was signed off on a letter I did not write.

Which brings me to a related matter; that is, pen names. Now, I've received some e-mails concerning the submission guidelines at Bullfight Review, which specify that we will only publish work under real names. I've gone back and forth with some folks, happily arguing all sides and maintaining that there is no right or wrong answer to the question, yet standing my ground, but the deal at Uber really shot the issue front and center. So after this past week, I am simply glad to say the debate rages on, and if, perchance, even if I'm just flattering myself, it was partly backlash to my stubborn refusal to accept pen names at Bullfight, then so be it; I'll gladly take one for the team, especially if it's in good humor.

But anyway.

For the record: I am neither Robert McEvily nor Victor Lembrey nor this "Banana Yoshimoto," nor did I have any part in the madness at Uber of late. I did, however, laugh my ass while reading it all, and I can, without hesitation, proclaim that literary humor is alive and well online. I only wish I could have played a part.

So, thank you, Uber and Robert McEvily or Victor Lembrey, and all others involved. Let's do this again sometime, yeah?

Will the real Calvin Liu please stand up,
Yo!


02.06.04 (b) / PICTURE A CHIMP, IF YOU WILL, A CHIMP IN A TUXEDO, HOLDING A CIGARETTE, TIPPING HIS HAT, AND KICKING HIS LEG

Now picture him naked.


02.06.04 (a) / A RECENT E-MAIL EXCHANGE REGARDING MY LAST BLOG ENTRY; ONE THAT STARTED OFF PLAYFUL BUT TOOK A TURN FOR THE ULTRA-REAL, BUT IS YET A GOOD REMINDER TO STEER CLEAR OF EXCEEDINGLY JEALOUS EXES

... I didn't even watch the game. I spent it baking ridiculous amounts of cookies with a couple babes. I think the fact that I skipped football scored huge bonus points for me.

That's funny. I, too, scored some serious points with a girl this weekend by "steering" my attention away from the Super Bowl. Although your choice of activities proved to be safer than a high-speed car chase to evade a psychotic ex-boyfriend who threw coins, stones, an Oldsmobile, and his own body at my vehicle.

Surely, those were some tasty cookies, and perhaps you have some left. Perhaps you received a kiss on the cheek. While I did certainly receive a kiss, the dent in my passenger door does not go over as smoothly as melted chocolate. And I think I may have lost that girl's number in the commotion.

It's a wild life here, and I live it all for The Glut.

Whose ex-boyfriend?! It's not a metrosexual, is it? Dude, this is a dangerous game you play.

Condolences to your door, though. It was a nice door. A big black one.

No, this is not the metro. This girl, a single mother, came to our gig on Saturday. We hung out the rest of the night (very innocent and no nudity at all, mind you) and I took her home the next day. Driving up to her street, she informed me about her ex, who happened to be parked outside her house. That's when the madness began. He walked up and threw a handful of change in the car and was yanking at the window. She was screaming. That started the chase.

He made a threatening phone call to me that night; I don't know how he got my number. Now, I believe, he is in jail.

Domestic violence sucks.


02.03.04 / HMM ...

Well, I've been feeling sick all day from shoveling down too much food on Super Bowl Sunday. Funny thing is, I didn't even watch the game. I spent it baking ridiculous amounts of cookies with a couple babes. I think the fact that I skipped football scored huge bonus points for me.

Take notes, gentlemen. And don't you dare call me a domestic.


01.26.04 / SEXY STRANGER UPDATE

If you haven't discovered already, I've cut the Sexy Stranger No. 3 deadline early by about a month, which also means the issue will be out much sooner, say, early or mid-February instead of mid-March as first planned. In fact, I just finished typesetting the little badboy, so I very well might have it all taken care of this week. Anyway, from here on out, we'll be running with a rolling deadline for submissions, which means an irregular but likely more frequent printing schedule (assuming y'all keep sending your work).

Bottom line: It's all for the better.

In case you were wondering, SS#3 will feature the following badasses: Kerann Christopherson, Michael Fowler, Kyle Hebert, James Tascio, Zach Wrobel, and J. Howard Zeringue. Good folks, one and all. Stay tuned for drop sites.


01.24.04 / FOOLISH ...

... was the exchange below, where I challenged a friend to a faceoff where we'd write 20,000 words by the end of the month. Particularly foolish in retrospect considering these might be the only words I've written since, disregarding a false start on a story about crab-hunting. No, no, not crab-catching, but crab-hunting. Like going after crabs with something sharp and pointy, a sense of manhood in the making. The protagonist would have to wear turtle-shell armor, and maybe a shark's tooth around his neck. Classic confrontation, the guts and glory, nature and survival, or something or other. I guess it might have been interesting to write from the crab's point of view.

Or not.

Which brings me to my next point, which is writer's block, which is why I haven't blogged in a few days. Seems no matter how long I sit down, nothing good comes to mind. Can't even think of an opening word, let alone an entire line.

But in other news, since I have nothing of interest to say today, there was this total cutie pie working the cash register at the grocery store today, and I actually got nervous standing there while waiting for her to ring me up. Doesn't usually happen, but weird things were going through my head, like, Is she judging what I'm buying, and, Do I have to defend my date-ability in front of all these people waiting in line behind me, and stuff like that. Any case, I smiled hugely and awkwardly when she handed me my change, and she sort of looked at me long and not so neutrally, like maybe she had judged me by what I bought, and that defending my date-ability would have been the right thing to do, or maybe she even liked me.

Or not.

And crap. I forgot to buy black pepper.


01.20.04 / THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 21:52:51 -0800
Subject: A challenge.

No, wait. A dare.

I dare you to write 20,000 words by the end of the month. A novella. Think about it. That's like 1,500 words a day for the next 13 days. Totally doable. The weather stinks right now, anyway, so you might as well sit in and write.

Date: Tues, 20 Jan 2004 12:04 AM
Subject: RE: A challenge.

Sometimes you can be silly, for a shaven Asian, but you're on.

Hallelujah.

Holy shit.


01.17.04 / MUST SEE THIS

Back to what I was saying about Asian movies, here's one I just rented, and holy shit, best get your grubby hands on it: Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl (Japan, 1998). Easiest comparisons are to Snatch or Pulp Fiction because Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl is essentially a dark comedy about gansters, but it definitely has its own thing going on, too. Very stylish, very funny, and very Japanese in its themes of loyalty, rank, and perversion.

An aside, I picked up a Crest Complete toothbrush a few days ago, and I must say, this is a f'n awesome toothbrush. The trapezoidal bristle arrangement is far superior to any oval or rectangular shape on the market. Highly recommended.


01.16.04 / THE QUOTABLE GLUT (AND FRIENDS)

From my personal in- and out-box. Boys rule.

"Yes, it is pretty nice, the feel of activated yeast on your fingertips as you knead the dough into dollops the shape of a maiden's buttocks."

"Hah! I remember! the owner of the bare beaver!"

"I envision a palette with a smear of all the colors, then I see a bosom, god help me it is a work of god, and beads of perspiration quiver and shine in the cleft line, and she raises the palate to her chest, and my god she has pressed it right to her skin, mascerating the soft pigment with the seat on her tits, and she takes the palate away and I can see what is now ... and yes, god help me, it is a work of god."

"Hell, I don't my ass from first base most days."

"I wondered for a time whether or not, by locking in to a piece of ass that seems to linger around and pounce when I am most vulnerable, I forfeited an unseen opportunity to meet someone special, you know, in a karmic sort of way."


01.14.04 / IT'S NOT JUST ON ...

... it's mitochondrion. Seriously. It's a word. Look it up. Singular of mitochondria.

What the hell, Calvin?

Swear I'm going somewhere with this. Y is The Glut's latest catch, a new site we're hosting. It's run by one "Mito the Scientist," and I think it's got potential. So go over there and get your weird on. Then come on back, and thank us.


01.13.04 / SHE HIT THE BIG TIME

A warm congratulations to a dear friend and one of The Glut's original contributors, who will soon be leaving the East Bay for bigger and better things, namely as the newest staff writer for the Wall Street Journal. This'll definitely be a lesser place with her gone, and we wish her all the best. She's gonna show 'em what's what.


01.12.04 / JUST ABOUT TO VEG OUT ON THE COUCH ...

.. and watch Wang Kar-Wai's meta-martial-arts epic Ashes of Time, and then I started thinking about how I wish I knew more people who love Asian cinema like I do. It's not even about appreciation, since many of these films can stand on their own regardless of a viewer's understanding of Asia, but it seems, since the mid- and late-'90s when actors like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat started showing up in American movie theaters, that much of the attention has been on the Hong Kong-style action genre. If not, then we typically turn to Akira Kurosawa's samurai films like Rashomon, Seven Samurai and the like, or even his later, more introspective pieces like Dreams or Ikiru.

Don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed almost all of the dozen or so Kurosawa film I've seen, and every once in a while, I do like a shoot-'em-up with Chow Yun Fat, but there's so much more to Asian cinema. So maybe I'm being presumptuous, but here, let me suggest a couple of my favorite Asian comedies that you may have missed, and best of all, they're glut-related:

TAMPOPO
(Juzo Itami, Japan, 1987)
This one's a legitimate classic. It's a modern tale about Japanese food and specifically noodle-making, but it's also a snappy parody of samurai movies and American Westerns. This thing is funny as hell, and I'd be willing to guess that you can find it at a nearby video store. I defy you not to want a bowl of noodles after watching this film. In fact, let's call it a bet. If you're not hungry afterward, shoot me an e-mail with a mailing address; I'll owe you a pack of ramen. You think I'm kidding.

GOD OF COOKERY
(Lee Lik-Chi & Stephen Chiau Sing-Chi, Hong Kong, 1996)
This one might be a little more difficult to find, but it's worth the effort. Stephen Chiau is the king of Hong Kong slapstick, and God of Cookery is his best and most ludicrous film. It's about the rise and fall and eventual redemption of Hong Kong's top chef, which I know sounds somewhat serious, but it's not; this movie is a laugh a minute. Also, there's this glistening piece of barbecue pork that makes a couple guest appearances, and its performance, dare say, is utterly delicious.

OK. We good, then?

Off to watch Ashes of Time now, which, by the way, you might also want to check out.


01.11.04 / PART TWO OF RECENT FAILED WRITING ATTEMPTS: NOTABLE LINES AND SUBJECT MATTER

"Well, you see, there's no rewind button because your vagina's, um, not a friggin' boombox. Christ, it's not like most women wake up one day, and — oh my god! — discover their vaginas ain't pro audio."

The bottling of old-person smell, and technical difficulties therein.

Hunter: "May what you eat be meat."

Getting beaten up by a naked man, and how embarrassing it would be, if it were to happen to you.

"It's chewing up the tape! My vaginaaaaaaggghhhhhhhh!" Click. Dial tone. Wow. That was hot.


01.09.04 / OPENING LINES TO RECENT FAILED WRITING ATTEMPTS

NOT A NATURE WRITER
The ants are everywhere, and they're crafty and quick, and before I know it, I'm swatting at my genitals.

LIKE A WHAT?
Think of kitchen drawers like a group of bachelors, with the one that won't open like the only virgin in the house.

HAS POTENTIAL
Everyone kissing, and all of them sluts.

NOT GOOD AT SCI-FI
The man on the moon wasn't a man at all, but a gibbon. The gibbon imploded, never being able to devise a spacesuit.

AMAZING
I almost didn't eat meat today.

MORE SUBJECT MATTER THAN OPENING LINE
Things said in situations necessitating the holding in of pee.

NOT SURE WHERE THIS IS GOING
A woman will come to this door, and she will call herself Malia. She will be on the short side, she will not have the long hair you like, but you will adore her. She will not speak, nor smile, nor even look you in the eyes. She will not have eyes.

A LITTLE TACT?
I need your girlfriend to keep living with me.

DEALBREAKER
Lifting the covers after passing gas.

CAN'T GET INTO CHARACTER
A little short on money today, I flash my tits at the toll booth.

MEAN-SPIRITED
That's messed up, calling a fat girl fine.

MATTER OF FACT
I was born.


01.06.04 / ON THIS DAY IN SWINE HISTORY ...

... we celebrate the 1936 film debut of the illustrious Porky Pig. This being a site friendly to all pigs, animated or not, I ask that you tip your hat in respect and admiration. Then proceed to the nearest barbecue joint and stuff down a half-rack of backribs. A full rack if you skipped breakfast.  


01.05.04 / ONE PREDICTION FOR 2004

This will be the year that chocolate milk makes it comeback. In a huge way. Just you wait. I mean, this is a drink that's even tasty in its lowfat form. Kickass. You can have it in the morning. Have it in the evening. Not to mention it's nutritious, too.

So, there you have it. You heard it here first. Chocolate milk: rock star of the lowfat dairy world. Also, The Glut's 2004 Comeback Drink of the Year.


01.04.04 / GET IN THE RING

I hope everyone had a bitchin' New Year's Eve, and that, for at least the one night, you revelled in excess, and did The Glut proud. I hope, too, that you've recovered since then, as I, for one, have not. Basically been napping for four days straight. Nursing a bruised left hand, too, but y'all don't need to hear about how that happened ...

Anyway, a bit of news as we rock 2004:

Some of you have by now realized that I'm spearheading a new litmag The web edition launches Monday with a wonderful story by Lee Klein of Eyeshot. The site will update every 3-10 days with new work. Among the first contributors are Kevin Sampsell, Corey Mesler, Rose Gowen, Ben Brown, Shauna McKenna, Mike Topp and Jimmy Chen.

Good eats.

But none of this bull means I'll be neglecting The Glut, since this here's my beautiful first-born. Only to say that Bullfight will be a more "literary" endeavor, in a more strict sense of the word. I'll also point out that I'll be working there in more of an administrative capacity, so submissions won't be coming under my knife like they do here; in fact, I'll probably be the last person to read work sent to Bullfight.

OK? Enough said.


12.31.03 / THE GLUT'S BEST OF 2003

BEST STORY with no dialogue, published online: Steve Guillon's "The Dog Who Smelled of Cabbage" (Surgery of Modern Warfare)

BEST AUTHOR whose old editions are worth looking for and usually not too expensive in used bookstores: Richard Brautigan and Edna St. Vincent Millay (tie)

BEST POEMS about a U.S. state, published online: Jonah Winter's "Texas Poems" (Unpleasant Event Schedule)

BEST CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES touting one's own sexual prowess, published online: "I fuck like Mount Vesuvius fucked ancient cities. I fuck like a kitten in a paper bag: relentlessly, endlessly, futilely, covered in fur." (Adam Kinesis, Knot Magazine)

BEST LIST concerning fruits and the reasons why, published online: Steve McMicnson's "Four Fruits" (Kittenpants)

BEST LINE said to a stranger riding his bicycle in the middle of the night at the corner of Dwight and MLK in Berkeley: "I've got fireworks. You've got balloons. Let's party."

BEST E-MAIL back-and-forth posing as something literary, or vice versa, published online: Matthew St. Amand's "Xavier Lipshitz & International Intrigue" (Eyeshot)

BEST THING TO BUY with $24 in quarters when the cashier's a total babe: A single bottle of zinfandel

And that is all, folks. Hope you enjoyed The Glut's mighty, final post of the year. Be safe tonight, and I'll see you again in 2004.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da,
Calvin


12.30.03 / SOME THOUGHTS ON ERIK SATIE ...

... because I've been listening to his solo piano pieces almost exclusively the past week or so, particularly his Gnossiennes (1890) and Gymnopédies (1888).

Satie is, of course, a major figure in modernist music, but when we start to talk postmodernism, well, that's where his place is the history books gets tricky, and we know not whether to hail his contributions or slap him for lack of foresight.

Oh, Calvin, why so serious, you ask.

See, when people think of Satie, the first thing to come to mind would be his early Gymnopédies, and rightfully so. The Gymnopédies are wonderful. But what concerns me is not Satie's earlier work, but the later work. Singularly, his musique d'ameublement (1920). Musique d'ameublement, quite frankly, opened the floodgates to very bad things.

So what is musique d'ameublement? It translates to "furniture music." Simply, it's music intended to be played during an intermission. Music asking the listener to "take no notice ... as if the music did not exist." Background music.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Musique d'ameublement is the forerunner of Muzak, the stuff of elevators, grocery stores, and call waiting. The unabashed bastardization of music. And where we have Muzak, oh my sweat, we also have the two evilest genres of all time: easy listening and smooth jazz.

Ack!

All right, maybe I'm overreacting, but honestly, what is it in the hearts of men that propels them to make such meaningless art? I ask you. What?! What?!?!


12.29.03 / OUT WITH FRIENDS FROM THE OLD EAST BAY 'HOOD ...

... some of whom are now devout New York City expats. So when I found some crayons, this is what I drew:

I showed it to everyone, and the expats nodded like, "Well, duh," and the locals were like, "Oh, puh-leeease," so I took the paper back, and then I did this:

And I was like, "Booyah!"

OK, OK, I'm the first to admit that NYC's the first place I go when things get boring in dear Cali, but you gotta admit, what I drew is pretty funny. Like, hella funny.

West Coast,
Represent


12.26.03 / LAST TIME I WENT FOR DRINKS ...

... which would have been yesterday, we played darts, my rules. Here's what I decided:

1 win - hamburger
2 wins - with cheese
3 wins - with fries
4 wins - with soda

With the loser buying. I walked away with a cheeseburger. Bulls-eye, babe.


12.22.03 / BEEN SOME INTEREST IN DJUNA BARNES ...

... since mention of her novel Nightwood a couple weeks ago. Upon suggestion, I was considering an essay on her, only to find that the Djuna Barnes papers at the University of Maryland, the one major collection, is currently closed while they transfer everything to microfilm. So my essay will have to wait. But I did find these wonderful Djuna and Djuna-related writings online:

The Book of Repulsive Women (1915)
Chapbook by Djuna. Entire text online.

Ladies Almanack (1927-28)
Djuna's guide to expatriate lesbian life. "Patience Scalpel" is Mina Loy.

Djuna journal excerpts (1926? 1927?)
"Simon" is American sculptor Thelma Wood, Djuna's lover and the inspiration for the central character in Nightwood.

"Circuses and Spectacles: Public Culture in Nightwood"
Laura Winkiel's essay from Journal of Modern Literature.


12.21.03 / SO BAD, IT'S GOOD

Have you seen A sci-fi film made in 1980 and set in, of all futures, 1994. The music industry is basically a Big Brother. Probably the worst piece of musical filmmaking I have ever seen; easily one-ups Rocky Horror. The music is bad, the acting is worse, and the set and costume design is f'n atrocious. There's enough hairy chest and butt-huggering to last a lifetime. I highly suggest seeing this thing, but by no means sober.


12.20.03 / I GOT A BAG

And when I say I got a bag, I mean that literally — the bag that was got was a brown paper one, about lunch-size but taller and sturdier, the kind that the grocery store bagger, for example, will put your ice cream in to make sure it keeps during the ride home.

Anyway, come time to unload my groceries, and I noticed that across the bag, in big, red, plain letters, it said, "Keep it cool."

Yeah.

I sort of paused with the bag in my hand, nodded, and was like, "Good advice."

I know I've been pretty tense lately.


12.19.03 / FRIDAY MORNING, IT IS

Which means waking up to the torrential whizzing of a leaf blower. And with it being the part of season where there are many leaves to be blown, and with my living in a rather large complex, the noise seriously doesn't stop. But the worst part is that I necessarily associate the leaf-blowing machine with the leaf-blowing man, which is terrible because he's just doing his job, making his way like the rest of us, but I can't help but dislike him and the racket he makes. So whenever I pass him in the parking lot, no matter how hard I try, I can never bring myself to smile or even wave hello. Which is why I don't make eye contact anymore. I just walk swiftly by.

Not proud of myself.

Bad Calvin.

So, what else? In this midst of the leaf blowing this morning, I was flipping through, of all things, Rudolf Arnheim's Entropy and Art: An Essay on Disorder and Order (1971). It's interesting if overly academic, as many things are that deal with the psychology and perception of modern art, and it's not something I'd suggest as leisurely weekend reading. Anyway, what intrigues me this morning is not the professor and his entropy theory, but rather how this book is broken up into two parts, just about midway through (at the 36th of 64 pages), with the first sentence of Part II being:

"Here the investigation could stop."

Which, in my opinion, is such a great writing device. Clear signal of digression. Almost like you're getting two different writings in the same book. A lot like Dave Eggers suggesting that a reader might close A.H.W.O.S.G. at Page 122 for a good novella instead of the entire novel.

Yeah, I know. People who write are cool.


12.17.03 / AS I REVISIT YESTERDAY'S THOUGHTS FOR A MOMENT, I'D LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT ...

1. I did not call my boss "Toots" today.

2. A hooker did not appear in my fiction writing today, although "Toots" did.

3. I did not have salmon, but in its stead were THREE kinds of meat — beef, turkey, chicken — and I'll just have to be OK with that.

So there.

An aside, I'd like to point out that on this date we observe the centennial of the Wright brothers' first powered flight. That's right, folks: Dec. 17, 1903, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Big day. Good a reason as any to celebrate.

Which means today I attempt FOUR meats.

Oh, if only Orville and Wilbur could see me now.

I remain,
The Glut


12.16.03 / SOME THOUGHTS BEFORE I RETIRE THIS FINE EVENING

1. It is generally not OK to refer to my boss as "Toots."

2. Hookers are showing up an awful lot in my fiction writing of late.

3. Don't overanalyze.

4. Turn the heater down, and to "auto."

5. I'd like to have salmon tomorrow.

Flannel jammies,
Off To Bed


12.15.03 / JUST THINKING ABOUT THE TIME ...

... that she, having met me five minutes prior, took me by the hand, led me into the bathroom, dropped her pants, sat on the toilet, offered me a Tums (orange; I accepted), said something like, "Tell me about your novel," then began taking a piss.

Whoa. Was that seriously like a year ago? And I still have no novel? This is getting ridiculous.


12.14.03 (b) / ICE SLIDING: WHAT'S THIS? YOU'VE NEVER BEEN?

The other day, I was trying to explain to my coworkers the concept of ice sliding. Something the boys and I used to do in our early teen summers. It's where you sit on a block of ice and take it down a grassy hill. A bit like sledding, I guess, only not as fun. Probably never went faster than 10 mph.

Anyway, I always figured ice sliding was a Bay Area phenomenon, but my coworkers, mostly natives, just weren't getting it. Their biggest question was where the block of ice came from. They were imagining a young Calvin buying a bag of ice, letting it melt in the bag, then sticking it back in the freezer to form one large block. I assured them that this was not the case. I'm not so sure everyone believed me.

Then we all went back to work, and I never spoke of ice sliding again.


12.14.03 (a) / SEE, THERE'S THIS REALLY TALL GIRL NEXT TO ME AT THE SALSA BAR

Then there's me, minding my own, filling my little sauce containers, might I say impressively, without a single spill. So the tall blonde taps me on the arm. She points at the bowl of jalapeños — the bowl clearly marked JALAPEÑOS — and asks, "Are those jalapeños?" I sort of stand there a moment, plainly confused. All the while, this girl's waiting for my answer, so I clear my throat and reply, simply, "Yes." Tall girl goes, "Oh," and then she smiles this weird smile. By weird I mean it's well above eye level.

I may have forgotten to smile back, you know, in my desperation to flee.


12.12.03 (d) / NEITHER SLEET NOR SNOW ...

... nor any of this weaksauce Bay Area rain stays this courier from his appointed rounds. In other words, Sexy Stranger's in San Francisco. Get your SS#2 copy at these bookstores:

• Abandoned Planet (Mission)
• Valencia Street Books (Mission)
• A Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books (Opera Plaza)

Remember: If you're not in San Francisco or the East Bay, the easiest way to get a copy of Sexy Stranger is by mail. Just go a few entries down to read my instructions.


12.12.03 / HAVE YOU ...

... taken your vitamins?
... paid your bills?
... done your pushups?
... done your situps?
... done your dishes?
... called everyone back?
... called the birthday boy or girl?

Because I have. Big time. Gonna be some peaceful-ass sleep tonight ...

An aside, here is the song of the moment: Ali's Waltz, from Beth Orton's The Other Side of Daybreak. Beautifully and honestly written. I've had the one song on repeat for a good thirty minutes or so. Can't say the rest of the album compares, though. Mostly strange remixes. Too bad. But if you're in the mood for a goddess singer-songwriter, might I suggest some Gillian Welch? Her latest album Soul Journey is as solid as they've come lately. But that's just me.

Yo.

Another aside, it seems our What Say You? section has been a bit slow lately. Now, for some reason, I've had this curiosity about people's "shit lists" lately, so c'mon and send me yours. We'll throw 'em up with the letters, real nice-like. Dig?


12.11.03 (b) / THE TROUBLE WITH STUBBLE

I shaved this morning. I hadn't in about two weeks. Wouldn't call it a beard, but I've shaved my head about four years now, usually every two or three days, so two full weeks of facial hair is really a lot for me; almost a fu-manchu thing going on.

Now, hypothetically, had I met a darling little sex kitten in the past couple days, she would have seen me looking not my normal self. And, hypothetically, if we were to go out this weekend, I'd be all clean and shaven. Would she be disappointed? Wouldn't it be funny if she was? And what if I asked, "Do you want me to call you in two weeks when I get my facial hair back?" And what if she replied, "Yes," then walked away?

Wouldn't that be hilarious? I think it would. You know, hypothetically.

These are the things I think about.


12.11.03 (a) / THE DREAM I JUST HAD; WHAT IN SWEET BEJESUS AM I DOING UP AT FIVE IN THE MORNING?

So I'm back in college. Have a date with some superhot girl. I'm sneaking into her dorm. I'm on the right floor, looking for her room number, and then it hits me: "Frisbee. I want to play Frisbee." I leave without finding the girl, and then I'm on this luscious lawn, and I'm throwing around a Frisbee.

The thing is, I don't even like Frisbee. No more than superhot girls, anyway.


12.08.03 / SS#2 IN THE EAST BAY

Sexy Stranger No. 2 is now available at the free racks of these fine East Bay bookstores:

• Cody's, Berkeley
• Pegasus (Shattuck), Berkeley
• Black Oak Books, Berkeley
• Diesel, Oakland
• Bonanza Books, Walnut Creek

More on their way to San Francisco and elsewhere. Check back.

For information on how to have Sexy Stranger No. 2 sent to you, see below.


12.06.03 (c) / LOVE THIS LINE

From Djuna Barnes' Nightwood:

"She wanted to be the reason for everything and so was the cause of nothing."

Wow. Easily one of my favorite sentences ever written. Too bad Djuna's been so obscured since Nightwood was first published in the mid-1930s. I mean, this is a woman who, back in the day, was championed by the likes of T.S. Eliot and Mina Loy.

I'm not necessarily saying you should go buy this book (good luck finding it, too; the last edition I'm aware of was published in 1961). But I can see why she was once held in such high regard.

For me, it's all about that one sentence. When I first stumbled on it, I must have stopped and read it a dozen times, until I had it memorized. That was almost nine months ago. I still think about it constantly. So here it is again:

"She wanted to be the reason for everything and so was the cause of nothing."

Yeah, baby. I'm pumped.

Booyah,
Rhymes With Hooyah


12.06.03 (b) / GET SEXY

I concede that Sexy Stranger is San Francisco Bay Area-centric, except for the limited copies that have made it in the past to Seattle, Philly and elsewhere. Many of you living outside these areas have asked how you can get a copy, and I've generally had no real, large-scale solution.

Now, I'm particularly proud of SS#2, and I really want you to have a copy all for your sexy self, so I'm ready to cut you this deal:

In the subject header, write: SS#2 REQUEST. In the message field, just type in your name and address (U.S. only; sorry), and I'll personally send you a copy of SS#2. You'll also receive an SASE, and I ask that you send back a dollar or two (honor system; cash is fine), to help cover printing and shipping.

If you're feeling generous and send $3-$5 (or more; every penny helps), we'll call it a subscription, and you'll get the next year's worth of Sexy Stranger, which should be 3-4 issues. Plus I'll throw in any future special editions, such as the Eating Mothballs Fiction Prize issue. Sound good?

Hippity hop,
Calvin


12.06.03 (a) / WOULDN'T CALL IT AN OBSESSION WITH TIN MONKEYS; I JUST THINK THEY'RE PRETTY FRIGGIN' COOL

Excited but exhausted; just finished typesetting Sexy Stranger No. 2; should be able to find it in Bay Area bookstores by next weekend; also in places around the country in coming weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Overall, I have to say that SS#2's a humdinger; great stories by all. But that's not the half of it. I've dispensed with that bland old cover; gone fully apeshit this time out; put up a picture of a tin monkey. (You've probably seen said monkey all over this Web issue, too.)

Now, I've always been partial to regular tin monkeys, you know, the ones that play the cymbals in that really fast, punk rock sort of way. And the high-end ones even walk around and tilt side to side. Love those things.

But this one we got here ... this one's got wheels. But he's not merely a bicycIist, but a tricyclist! I mean, how cool is that?

He was just sitting there on a window sill, ready to be wound up and let loose, just beckoning me like unrequited love. My friend Laurie, the dear monkey's owner, watched me like I was crazy. After I'd taken maybe a dozen snapshots, Laurie might have even told me to "chill on the monkey."

Good thing, too, because I was drunk enough to take that monkey to bed. Training wheels and eveything. Ooh la la.


12.04.03 (b) / TWO CHILDHOOD FLASHBACKS

1. My older brother painted the name Suckbutt across the handlebar of my first bicycle. (To this day, he swears he has no idea why.) I rode everywhere, proudly showing off, skidmarking the sidewalks with this thing called Suckbutt. I must have been like 6 years old. Totally oblivious.

2. Once, I Windexed my dad's entire collection of Doris Day and Peter Paul & Mary records; must have taken me an hour or more; thought I was doing my dear papa a favor by cleaning his dusty LPs. Got 'em so shiny and spotless. Got crazy spanked after that.

Sound of music,
My Paddled Ass


12.04.03 (a) / HAPPY BIRTHDAY ...

... to these three looming figures of art and literature past: Wassily Kandinsky, Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Carlyle.

Speaking of, have you read Carlyle's Sartor Resartus? One of my all-time favorite titles (means "tailor retailored") but also one of the most impossible reads I've ever come across. It's been sitting on my bookshelf since 1997, dog-eared somewhere around Book I, Chapter II, which, quite appropriately, is titled, Editorial Difficulties. No kidding. For example, I quote:

"[It] has come about that now, to many a Royal Society, the Creation of a World is little more mysterious than the cooking of a dumpling; concerning which last, indeed, there have been minds to whom the question, How the apples were got in, presented difficulties."

Exactly. And that little biscuit's just a fragment of yet a longer sentence in only the "Preliminary" part of Sartor Resartus. Dare say, if there's anyone out there who's actually finished this beast of book, I urge you to drop me a line and tell me what the hell is going on.

Oh, and in other news, I recently discovered challah. Among the tastier of breads. I've downed three loaves in the past seven days.

Like butter,
Toast


12.03.03 / ONCE YOU GO BLACK?

Keep your eyes peeled at the grocery store for what's known as the Arkansas black apple. A highly recommended fruit. Deep red, almost purple in color (the darker, the riper), crisp like a green, sweeter than a Fuji. I've been singing this apple's praise all day. Powers of persuasion led one friend to reply:

"This is wonderful news. I've gotta get my hands on one."

Another cried suspicion:

"Are you secretly an apple salesman? Do you work for the International Apple Board? Damn you! I'm starving."

In sum, this apple's a fighter. Apparently good for cider and cooking, too. Go and get some. One a day, right?

Doctor,
I Am Not


12.02.03 / EGOMANIACAL IS MY MIDDLE NAME

Not that anyone should care what happens in my life, but I think an editor's blog is a great idea. It's particularly noteworthy for you writers. For example:

You see an entry titled, Things I Need: Sex, Job, Prunes.

So you hold off on sending that story titled, Things I Got: Hot Girlfriend, Winning Lotto Numbers, Bowel Power.

See what I mean? The window to my very soul. I'll shower you with joy, crash you with despair. Hot diggity.

And, um, other than that, I guess I might have occasional music and movie recommendations, reports from my cooking experiments, and observations about everyday and otherworldly blah. Yeah? Yeah.

Gravy,
Calvin


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