31 March 2006

The stats page for this website lets me see all the key words that users type into search engines to wind up at my site. For example, on February 9 I had an entry about the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Discovery Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. So when someone out there in cyberspace entered “dead sea squirrels at discovery center” into Google (which someone did)—they got bounced to me. Other terms, like “window bastard” have a more inscrutable connection, but whatever.

Here are my Top 14 for March:

  • “def sesquipedalian”
  • “how do I shoplift?”
  • “what is a rives”
  • “two turtles humping picture”
  • “dreamt of pinhead”
  • “guardhouse floorplan”
  • “best curses for shaver burn”
  • “the girl who shoplift”
  • “beer can windchimes”
  • “that’ll teach you potato”
  • “beat up my boyfriend”
  • “tatterdemalion spirit”
  • “whistling hobo alarm clock”
  • and my all-time favorite, what-the-hell-is-this? search term:

  • “without pooping 370 days”

  • 24 March 2006

    Machpelah Cemetery, NYC

    In my culture, the most famous person to die on your birthday is called your alterpartum. Kind of like a patron saint, but without all the weird religious crap. For example, if you were born on August 30, the day Charles Bronson died, he would be your alterpartum, and your parents might name you “Charles” or “Bronson” or “Lt. Velinski, The Tunnel King,” which is the character Bronson played in The Great Escape.

    Also, your alterpartum’s birthday (which would be your dagnascum) is a time for traditional games, reflection and pilgrimage, if possible. That’s why I made the trip to Queens this morning to pay my sunrise respects to Harry Houdini, who died on my birthday (Halloween), and was born on March 24, 1874—or was he?
    After a visit to your alterpartum’s gravesite or memorial (their totenploe), it is customary to build a sacramental mourner (or keent) on the nearest freeway onramp or access road. The keent is typically fashioned from a large scrap of abandoned industrial carpet, but you can also use an old trenchcoat or a beach towel.

    This particular keent was standing in the morning shade when I got to Machpelah Cemetery at dawn, which means: what the fuck? I got there at dawn. Did someone (another Scorpio, by the way) build Houdini’s keent yesterday, which is totally not cool? Or did they drive up and make the thing at, like, a little after midnight, which is technically legal but still kind of fucked-up? I wish I knew.

    17 March 2006

    The noontime steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC

    16 March 2006

    Austin, Texas, and the Soul Coughing prophecy

    I am going to Los Angeles
    to build a screenplay about lovers who murder each other.
    I am going to Los Angeles
    to see my own name on a screen, five feet long and luminous.

    Soul Coughing

    That’s exactly what I did. Whoa. Except I came from Los Angeles. Originally, I mean. And I didn’t write a screenplay or anything like that. But I did hit South by Southwest for the world premier of the documentary Slam Planet. This shot is taken from the mezzanine of the theater. In the white rectangle is: my name. It looks small here, but the white rectangle was probably about: five feet long. And it’s obviously, definitely luminous. Uncanny.
    This is the inside of the Texas State Capitol dome, which, as everybody in town will tell you, is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

    I love Austin, I love the nation’s largest urban bat colony, and a shirtsleeves stroll down 6th Street is a fine change after a NYC winter but: I do believe Texas should just secede or shut up already.
    There you have two stars of “Slam Planet": reigning National Poetry Slam Indy Champ Anis Mojgani, and two-time National Poetry Slam Team Champ Celena Glenn. Maybe Anis is taking off his glasses because the fog machine is kicking in on the Party Bus that ferried us to the premier. Or maybe he’s about to wreck the karaoke machine, also on the bus. Or maybe he’s contemplating his last few fleeting moments of pre-movie nonfame.

    10 March 2006

    This is very, very wrong

    …which is probably why this guy is so very, very popular with you people. Yes, the much-loved “Anonymous” has sent me a third shopliftwindchimes cinema exclusive (scroll down to Dec. 12 for his first flick, THE ITCH, and to Jan. 16 for his second, THAT’LL TEACH YOU).
    This new film, CONFIDENCE TRICK, was shot, once again, on stop-motion webcam and stars, once again…a potato. The rumors that “Anonymous” is a weirdo teen, an NYU professor, or a semi-famous filmmaker are definitely worth looking into. For you, I mean. I reckon I know already. (Total running time: 3 minutes 10 seconds/9.7 MB.)

    No, Anonymous is still not me. I still wish.

    05 March 2006

    Day Two at TED: The veep and the poet have a moment

    AL: So then I said: “The senator from North Carolina can bite the buttons off the backseat of my taxicab anytime!” The whole Congress was cracking up!

    RIVES: Pretty funny story, Al. I really wish you’d flashed that sense of humor back in 2000. You might have won the election.

    AL: I did win the election, bitch.

    Day Four at TED: The pep talk

    AL: You’re a killer, do you hear me? You’re a killer on the mic, an animal—you’re a fucking rock star! You are money tonight, baby! You listening? Pay attention when I talk to you. Now let’s finish this! Category 5! You’re Category 5, homie!

    Three and a half minutes later…

    AL: Now, see—what did Der Goremeister tell you?

    Standing ovations are for closers.

    And then finally…

    Al: Listen—me, Matt Groening, Jeff Bezos and Thomas Dolby are having a little poker game later on. We’d be honored if you could come.

    RIVES: I’d love to. What’s the buy-in?

    AL: It’s $25,000, but don’t sweat it—that’s what tax dollars are for. Just bring a hooker and some blow for Tom DeLay, if the bastard even shows.*

    That’s right: poet Rives and Al Gore have a secret.

    *Some quotes may be taken slightly out of context. The former future President of the United States turns out to be a quick wit, smart as hell, and he taught me more than a thing or two about stage presence and charisma. My thanks to photographer stud Robert Leslie for the pics.

    01 March 2006

    Small. Yellow. Cuddly.

    That’s a banana slug, folks, second-longest slug species in the world and beloved mascot of one of my alma maters, UC Santa Cruz. I’ve been told there are fewer of them around nowadays, but I found this guy after about five minutes of searching in my old “secret” hunting ground. And they still scream when you bite them.

    Four things that did not exist when I went to UCSC back in the 1930’s:

    1. Cell phone reception, in the woods or otherwise.
    2. Fraternities.
    3. Grades.
    4. Shaved armpits.