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Echoes and Mirrors » 2008 » September

Archive for September, 2008

ugh, critical analysis is a rewarding devil!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I just wrote an eight-hundred word essay about Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool”. I’m just good like that, but I find it ridiculous to necessitate page-length for an analytical/critical essay. I could have written the essay in a much cleaner manner in one page, but have been forced by the goddamn university system to drag it out for three pages.

The ironic part is that I chose the shortest poem I could to simplify the analysis and screwed myself on material to analyze. I am triumphant, however. And I don’t have to read forty lines of meandering description.

And this pedantic breakdown of poetry ruins it for me, so I find myself a little depressed (L’petit mort, like after sex!) once the words have been dissected to the point of stupidity. Do people really need to have the subtle choice of words explained to them? I find it all quite natural and the need to be verbose and longwinded about it to be unnatural.

A picture of a uterus does not help me understand women more than I already do.

I get to write one of these in-class next week: I hope I can find something in the book worth exploring (and I’m able to properly dissect to their exacting requirements) in an hour and some change.

Once I get it back with a grade, I might post it.


making fun of people!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

A bailout of a different sort. I disagree with Jessa Crispen: it is decidely funny and necessary.


The riots should start in about a week, if we’re lucky.

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I’m breaking down a bit and am going to mention the bailout fiasco. It’s a flaming herpe on the blogosphere right now and the S&P 500 is sinking like a big unsinkable ship. The Dow has had it’s worst day in history. I’m slightly amused by this. The blame is being spread far and wide, landing mostly on the Democrats.

I find myself lucky enough to be paid by a very secure employer and my bank is probably one of the safest around.

That being said, I hope those damn Wall St. kids get what they fucking deserve for being so irresponsible. Sometimes the best punishment is to simply not assist. Parents do this to their college-aged children regularly after they figure out that all the money is going to pot, pizza and beer. I could care less if it were seven billion or seventy trillion: the idea that an authority figure will bail you out when times get tough is a bad impression to make.

And I doubt that any of these executives will be destitute and homless because they didn’t get the bailout. Less rich, sure, but that’s their own damn fault. The Free Market prevails; with the benefits come responsibilities. If you fail, you fail.

I’m secretly hoping for some seriously wicked societal collapse in the near future.



Friday, September 26th, 2008

Somali Pirate Seize Ukraine Ship:

NAIROBI, Kenya — Somalia’s notorious pirates have staged perhaps their most brazen attack yet, seizing a Ukrainian ship in the Indian Ocean full of arms bound for Kenya’s military, including dozens of battle tanks, maritime and diplomatic officials said Friday.

They stole tanks. Ruminate on that for a few minutes and say Arrrrrrr with me.


tidbits (because I’m at work and you should be too)

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Apparently some insane fuel-shortage struck Georgia last night while I was taking an algebra exam. And I have half a tank right now. Considering I fill up, roughly, every two weeks, I’m not that worried. Unless there is no gas next Friday, which might upset me a bit. And they regulated the prices, so it’s not really as if people are trying to get their gas before the price goes over $5, they’re just trying to get some before it’s all gone.

Terrible days ahead. Cue The Road Warrior.


PBR still sucks, though!

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Toward Freedom, In Defense of Hipsters:

A counterculture is a social group for-itself, conscious of themselves as different, as distinct from “mainstream society”, as promoting a competing vision of how to live. Hipsters are simply not this. They are a subculture, a social group only in-itself, labeled and described by others, differing from the mainstream only haphazardly or unconsciously, because a large number of its individual members as individuals happen to choose to differ from the mainstream in the same way.

As such, as a group that does not consider itself a group, whose members continuously loudly disaffiliate themselves from it, hipsters are by nature incapable of having consciously shared beliefs. And this is why a critique of hipsters as “not believing in anything” is utterly disingenuous. What they are being faulted with
here is not having an ideology, a set of beliefs that bind them together as a group and allow them to express common goals and aims. Hipsters, as a subgroup ashamed of their own existence, cannot have an ideology. In this sense it is true – in fact, axiomatic – that hipsters as hipsters don’t believe in anything. This is also why this fact simply does not matter.

A very well-written analysis of the don’t-cares and the oooh-shiney kids in response to Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization (which I mentioned before). The justifications for the vintage clothing are debatable: a lot of those zany “80’s tees” cost more than normal, cheap clothing. Unless they really are wearing $2 shirts from Goodwill. Then I just call that being somewhat fiscally responsible.

The hipster is a modern backlash against the tradition of being a radical while still being squeezed into the mold. While a punk or a hippie (and I mean real hippie) cannot interact with authority or older folks and is somewhat alienated from certain segments of society, the hipster is not. Because they are nothing more than a lost, quirky kid. Older generations look at them and say, “give’m a break. They’re just confused.” The punks on the other hand scare Baby Boomers and the hippies are useless to them.

I think there is a bit of a charade happening with the hipster label though. It’s being used in a “faux-poser” kind of way. Liken it more to photocopy or facsimile, except the copy is nicer looking (but less favored) than the original. And considering that everyone in their twenties possesses some of the traits, it seems that there is a threshold where one ascends into hipsterdom and is thus expelled from the group. The feeling I get is that to remain in the group you must maintain an equality. Punks can be as extreme as they like (or could, at one time) and will still be considered ‘in’. The same goes for hippies.

Identification is disavowal of inclusion. So they’re kinda like the CIA!


oh, the anecdotes I could tell, but won’t

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Unfulfilled Aachen john demands hooker refund

An Aachen man who failed to reach orgasm during his €30 ($44) session with a prostitute has accused her of unfairly taking his money, according to a bemused police report on Wednesday.

The john and the prostitute agreed on the fee for the 20-minute service in an Aachen alley, but failed to pick a specific goal for their undertaking, the police report said. When the man did not have an orgasm, he accused the woman of having a faulty “egg timer” that went off before he could. He then demanded his money back.

When the prostitute refused to cough up the cash, he called the police. However, the officers were unable to mediate the situation successfully, and the man filed charges against the woman.

“The criminal case for fraud will now proceed, as the fronts remain hardened,” the reported concluded.

It’s my view that he was paying for the time not an expectation of concluded service. Considering that the contract was verbal, it’s hard to determine whether or not she was unable keep her end of the bargain. Given the service, there is a certain expectation.

It would be cost-prohibitive (valuing time as money) to agree to anything except a set time for service, however, especially given the fact that such a service requires payment up-front. This isn’t an auto mechanic who can hold your vehicle as collateral in case you cannot pay for the service provided.

* I couldn’t resist -it was either hard or rigid that were going to get abused here.


Those Crazy Bobbies!

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Pinellas Deputy Smells Booze; Pasco Peers Get Ride Home

Daniels then saw the car pass vehicles in a no-passing zone, the report states. By the time he managed to catch up with the vehicle, it had pulled over in a turn lane at County Road 611 and a passenger, Pasco County Deputy Kent Hentschel, 24, was urinating outside the car in full view of other motorists, the report states.

Try getting away with that if you don’t wear a badge to work. Come to think of it, I saw a funnier version of this story; it was called Super Troopers.

Taser Use in Man’s Death Broke Rules, Police Say

The lieutenant who gave the order was placed on modified assignment, the statement said, while the officer who fired the device was given administrative duties.

The statement said that the officers at the scene had called by radio for an inflatable bag as the events unfolded, but it had not yet arrived when the man, Inman Morales, 35, was struck with the device and fell.

Modified Duties? That sounds fishy. The overzealous use of tasers in leiu of shooting people is ridiculous. The ever-more liberal interpretation of necessary force is sad.


Manuscript submissions and the Literary Malaise

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

It’s about that time of year again. I’ll probably attempt 3+ subs a week for the month of October, mainly composed of work rejected by others. There is new work to mix into the lot and revisions of older work to reintegrate. And an updated CV to include among other things. Writing the cover-letters and tailoring the manuscript to each market’s particular guidelines is tedious and boring but constitutes a necessary evil. And I’m not even counting online submissions, each with their own file-format and nit-picky goodness.*

I remember seeing some blog concerning the zaniness of rejection letters; I’ve never recieved one that wasn’t exceptionally polite or a simple stock rejection slip (with the occaisional signature splashed on it). On the other hand, I’ve drunkenly sent some bizarre/mean rejections out in the past.**

Trying to get published like this while working full time and going to school full time is a pain in the ass. I haven’t even written anything new in week, let alone finish some of the stuff I’ve started (much of which requires some dastardly research on topics such as Beruit) except essays for my Sociology class. The requirements for said essays don’t leave much room for observations outside of the written material but you can interpret much of it how you please, provided you can qualify your statements. I happen to be very good at creating interpretation and analysis out of thin-air (bullshitting).

I’ve had four pieces accepted this year (two still awaiting publication) and one of my professors told me to send one of my essays into one of the school’s publications. She proofread the crap out of it and I lost points entirely on her strict style preferences such as using dashes instead of commas or parenthesis. One note even said that the comma before an ‘and’ (such as x, y and z) isn’t optional anymore (did they change that in the new MLA handbook? Are you fucking serious?); I raised an eyebrow to that, but I’m not really going to argue it. Most of the notes were of this nature. Which I can understand because I write much more fiction (and esoteric creative non-fiction) than I do college essays and have a habit of trading strict prescriptivist grammar for something a little more comfortable and functional. There was even a note to change ‘they’ to ‘he or she’; I call shenannigans. Or changing ‘You’ to something else (by restructuring the whole sentence, normally!); I do believe I intended the ‘you’ in an personal, almost accusatory, manner. Trust me.

There’s also the Sand Hills Writer’s Conference here at ASU every spring, which I didn’t attend this year but plan on attending in 2009. I have my reservations though, because much of the work in it is so fucking bland.

So I guess I’ll get the ‘ol printer warmed up, start scoping out worthy targets and matching them up with appropriate material and schedule my saturday afternoons for the clerical duties that come with writing.

* I am picky about Hobson’s Choice submissions, too, so I understand it and do my best to adhere to the guidelines. It really makes the editor’s work that much easier.
** Because I’m a dick.


Be there or be square

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Galactic will be at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on Saturday, October 25th.

Variety Playhouse is a nice venue located in Little Five Points. There’s a bunch of quirky little bars and restaurants and a bunch of ‘indie’ stuff there. And a really pleasant park with walking trails and stuff. Good place to spend a day, weather providing.

I’m planning on wasting my day there with a secondary motive of littering the place with Hobson’s Choice #5 (will be finished this weekend). Last year Zine-A-Palooza was held just up the street from Variety Playhouse, and it sucked.