F I N D E R "Now where did I see that, you know--that, oh, come on--it was somewhere near a graphic--I think . . ."
This search engine is for you, my friend.
A R C H I V E In terms of the Internet, there is no out-of-print. Here are posts that, like so many tattoos, seemed like great ideas at the time (which was often 2:00 AM as I recall). They're archived not because they're worth preserving, but preemptively--because you'd surely run across them elsewhere. As usual, Stewart Brand was right: You do own your words.
S C R A P S These are observations and rants from other times and other places. Neatly packaged as "Essays," they are, in fact, a greatest hits compilation culled from monthly columns, articles and--yes--essays. Inclusion here is driven by two dynamics: Either the piece pleased me greatly or resonated with the readers. (Sometimes both happened at once.)
C O N T E X T This site's theoretical photo collection. Like my extremely casual relationship with social media, I think I'm failing to understand the intense need to show strangers my photos. Dear god, in years past, all one had to do was feign illness to get out of those inevitable after-winter-holiday dinner parties that culminated in 123 mind-numbing slide carousels. Tell you what--If I've got something that absolutely needs exhibiting, it'll be here (although "here" may eventually point to Flickr).
A D D R E S S Click to send me email. While fawning kudos are almost guaranteed to elicit a response from me, well-reasoned differences of opinions are also welcome. I love the smell of debate in the morning--it reminds me of coffee. No, wait: That's because I'm drinking coffee. Anyway, you get the idea. Important: Make sure you replace the "AT" and "DOT" with the real things before you press "Send."
F E E D The subscription link for this site's RSS feed. I'm always reading about whole segments of users who can't seem to get their heads around RSS. And I, in turn, can't get my head around that. Paraphrasing Douglas Adams, RSS is your cyber-pooch who's fun to be with. Every morning he bounds out of the front door and brings you back an edition of The Daily You. What could be clearer?
While this site has been in suspended animation, I certainly haven't.
Over at culturehack.me there's a soft roll-out of a new, unified CultureHack website. And by soft roll-out, I’m suggesting that it’s best to see the next six weeks or so as a kind of beta test.
The question you’re not asking (though my ego insistently clings to the delusion that you are) is Why? To which the shortest possible answer is Twitter (the second-shortest response, however, is the much more pleasing to me: Fucking Twitter.)
Over the years, I’ve distributed content across an array of sites via a number of platforms and hosting services, including most recently the soon-to-be vaporized Posterous. And why is it about to vaporized? Because–wait for it–Twitter bought Posterous for the express purpose of shutting it down. So yes, Twitter is the reason I'm now at culturehack.me. Fucking Twitter. (It really is more pleasing with the adjective.)
The impending demise of Posterous has forced me to migrate a number of my sites elsewhere, and in in doing so, I decided to centralize the stuff I’ve been posting–well, the things worth preserving anyway. This time around, I’ve created one place for the iPhoneography, book excerpts, essays, political punditry, recent entries in my Twitter stream, rants expanded from tweets and, of course, my blog.
So yeah–you're cordially invited to my newest virtual atelier, brought to you by the crack Business Plan Division of Fucking Twitter . . .
Does the new site compile everything I’ve ever tossed online with trademark hubris and insouciance? Of course not–are you insane? Instead, I’m treating this centralization as a kind of reboot. The legacy content there can be thought of as a curation prior to moving forward into new territory. (I’ve given a lot of thought about what this terra nova might be, and there will be screed on that in due time.) But right now, it's me editing myself and blatantly eliminating the boring, the thin and the dated. And also–it goes without saying–anything that’s become embarrassing. Screw the inviolate rules of perpetual posts with retrofitted strike-throughs: I’m talking image management-cum-manipulation here.
A word of warning at the outset is indicated–lots of things there remain to be tweaked. For instance, in many cases, the multimedia links didn’t survive the migration from Posterous and will need to be tended to manually. So yes, there’s still a thin coating of construction dust on almost everything: typefaces, kerning, formatting and, of course, the aforementioned videos and music. (But to balance things out a little, there’s also the delicious New Site smell that we all love so much.)
I’m making April Fool’s Day my deadline for getting this fit-and-finish stuff done–which pretty much gives the game away, don’t you think?
So once again, in case you blew by the new address, you can follow my ongoing adventures at:
And while we're discussing changed addresses, know too that I'm also getting rid of my Internet provider and with it all of those legacy Mindspring email addresses. (Better to fix everything at once, rather than endless serial changes.)
Going forward, my email is being handled by Google (thus detaching it from any ISP) and my new email address is:
And that's it, really. Against all odds, I'm not dead and--at the time of this writing, anyway--still tattoo-free and more-or-less in command of my faculties and what I've always insisted in calling my prose "talent."
In which the Author tentatively integrates his distributed cyberself . . .
Clearly you can see that I am bleeding
Clearly you can see my clothes are torn
Clearly this demands an explanation
Only I can offer none
My other life . . .
Analysis has failed to find a motive
Hypnotists have failed to beak the code
Journalists are camped out on my doorstep
Perchance that I might slip and drop the key
My other life . . .
I slip away to my other life
With no regret or remorse
Happy and gay in my other life
No need to wake me Monday morning
From my other life
--Lloyd Cole, "My Other Life "
In case it isn't noted, your attention is called to the new additions at the top of the right-hand sidebar. There you'll find both daily and occasional updates that feature material that (to me) doesn't necessarily fit into whatever it is this blog does. (Posts like this or maybe even this one.)
I'vealso added "Playlist" to the right-hand sidebar, which links to my selection, programming and annotation of songs over at Blip.fm. This list of tunes will be growing--thus, if you're interested in my Other DJ Life, periodic visits to "Playlist" may be indicated.
Currently there remains artifacts of cross-posting between this blog and the Posterous account. This represents a period of testing to make sure this integrated scheme would actually work. Going forward, new and exclusive Posterous material will dynamically push the cross-posts off the sidebar and three distinct types of content will be displayed, each according to their own posting rhythms. At least that's my hope. If in practice creating a link-hub to Distributed Me proves not as intriguing as it initially appears, then I'll simply pull the plug and the song demos will once again take their place at the top of the sidebar.
This integration isn't really about visitor convenience or online brand management; I'm operating on a more intuitive level--feeling my way to something I can't quite articulate. Perhaps, since the material really does differ in each source, I'm hoping to create the cubistic 3-D of a Hockney polaroid montage, hoping that epigrammatic daily observations juxtaposed to less-frequent, Tumblr-esque notes, links and media and then parked next to the longer, improvisational essays here might create a kind of triangulation that could be interesting. Or not. We'll just have to see . . .
Update: I've also added "Bricolage" to the right-hand sidebar. It links to CultureHack, Tumbled--a digital commonplace book for stuff that catches my eye as I careen through the InterWebs.
Wherein the procrastinating Author discovers a deeply disturbing piece of website design . . .
I'm not gonna feel
'cause I never have
to see you again;
I'm not gonna feel
'cause I never have
to see you again . . .
I'll tow you out to
the side of the road
and I'll shake you once
by the hand;
Wait 'til the bus comes
to scoop you up off
of my land . . .
"Never Have To See You Again "
I have a first-cup-of-coffee tradition that I try to observe every morning: The search for a delaying tactic to keep me from entering Writing Mode; something that prevents me from wading waist-deep back into The Book while my caffeine level is optimized. Today I decided it was of utmost importance that iGoogle, Popurls and Inquisitor for Safari match each other--as in each service being the same shade of gray. Before any further manuscript revisions were possible, it suddenly seemed essential that a cross-service, monochromatic harmony had to be established. I figured this would buy me at least 30 minutes before I had to start channelling The Author--and I was right. (Since I've been writing the book, I've discovered in myself a hitherto unrealized-but-inspired talent for delaying tactics. Who knew? And so yes, matching my Google home page to both my news aggregator and expanded function search pop-up seemed whacked even to me--thrilling so, in fact; the sort of behavior that would cause friends to cross to the other side of the street on mere suspicion of the project.)
Anyway, after some geeky dicking about with the appearance preferences of Popurls, chromatic parity was established with Inquisitor. Which meant that I'd only need to find a complementary gray theme for Google and my sad little plan for temporary desktop domination would be realized. Mwah-ha-ha. Or something like that--whatever a procrastinating, bush-league Dr. Evil might say in similar circumstances. Thus I zipped up to the Google theme directories where I eventually settled on Chroma Pencil Lead as the gray that would make writing once again possible.
But that's not what this post is about; it's just writerly backstory. I already know I'm eccentric, so there's no need to solicit your feedback concerning my various tics. Rather, I want to share what I stumbled across during my latest instance of Putting Off Writing: A Sarah Palin theme for Google, the major portal to the world's assembled knowledge and opinion. Here, have a look:
My cat has become impressively adept at miming WTF? and in this case, I second that emotion. The massive cognitive dissonance of linking Palin (a) to knowledge of, well, any kind, and (b) to inherently divergent opinions is best conveyed by this simple thought experiment: Imagine Fred Flintstone and Dino as mascots for Cincinnati University's School of Paleontology. Like Gloria Foster said in The Matrix, 'it bakes your noodle . . .'
Full disclosure: I just took down my Obama lawn sign; I'd left it up for a full post-election week as a sort of motionless victory dance. However, my horror at the Palin Google theme has little to do with politics or partisanship. Palin, the the Far Right's Mean-Girl Chauncey Gardner, has declared war on The Smart--here carefully defined not as the opposite of Dumb, but, rather, as the rejection of Willful Ignorance. (Or, in the manner of "Low Information," that appalling, politically correct description of those who won't pull themselves away from television reality shows, let's simply say that Smart can seen as the state of being "Informed.") And so it follows that Smartness transcends political party.
In which the full moon causes the Author to channel Creem-era Lester Bangs for no good reason . . .
Deep down within me words move in phrases
Frozen and still ‘til they decide
To melt and drip over the pages
Until that moment they live inside . . .
When my words are hiding between the lines
Then I’m afraid they won’t hear me call
What if they fail me without a sign
What if they hardly surface at all . . .
--Lucinda Williams, "Words "
I think I lost it
Let me know if you come across it
Let me know if I let it fall
Along a back road somewhere
--Lucinda Williams, "I Lost It "
I'm learning how to live
without you in my life
--Lucinda Williams, "Learning How To Live"
There's a handful of recording artists who never disappoint--well, almost never--and Lucinda Williams is long-time a member of that exclusive club. Since her self-titled third album, she's never let me down (the count starts there because I've never warmed to her first two releases; I like my blues shouters with more authenticity than she was able to muster in those early days). Even when the roots contingent of her fan base bitched about West, I appreciated what she was doing and admired how she pushed past the genre stances that had endeared her to fans. Given the polarizing affect of West, the country-rock regrouping of Little Honey, Williams latest release, is its least surprising attribute. In a way, it recalls World Without Tears--a similar retreat into the tried and true after the more experimental Essence. But where the homecoming of World Without Tears left Williams' considerable songwriting talents intact, she arrives at Little Honey without the baggage that has provided inspiration for her best work.
Reviews needn't be structured like murder mysteries, so let's cut to the chase: There's a fine EP buried in Little Honey. But unfortunately there's also that other 40 minutes of music. The songs neatly fall into four categories: Lucinda In Love, Lucinda Dispensing Advice To Other Pop Stars, Lucinda Classics Old and New, and, well, a Lucinda/Elvis Costello comedy routine. The problem is that most of the new material is the stuff of B-sides and bonus tracks. And trust me, it almost physically hurts to admit this . . .
The quality of the Lucinda In Love material suggests that Paul McCartney was right all those years ago--it's a world filled with love songs that are indisputably silly. And while I'm pleased Lucinda is personally happy these days, there's good reason why great art rarely (if ever) flows from Being Happy. Happy has few nuances, which is a polite way of saying Happy is one-dimensional, which is also another way of saying that Happy is conflict-free, which is yet another way of saying Happy lacks drama, which is bad news if you're trying to write four-minute lyrical narratives. No conflict, no narrative--and I have no patience with songs that don't evolve across their verses and recontextualized choruses.
CultureHack, Tumbled Cultural core sampling and sidelong glances at pop debris. An improvised miscellanea for those with more oblique and idiosyncratic tastes; a digital cabinet of curiosities.
CultureHack, Tracked See this as yet more context, albeit sonic: A slowly growing list of annotated songs added to online rather than in a Moleskine. I make no assurance about the absolute quality of these tunes, only their ability to resonate with me--often in unintended ways.
Formal Absences is a theater-piece companion to the forthcoming CD release, The Formal Absences of Precious Things, and Formal Absence, a novel. This sidebar section will feature the most recent versions of the song demos as they become available.