Tricky Wicket

Evoking a crisp country morning, with wool at your chin and the smell of wet hay.

[INT: Office. Four people sitting around A DESK. This is a JOB INTERVIEW.]

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Now if you don’t mind, may I ask a couple of questions of you folks?

I really appreciate the time you’ve afforded me here, and I’m super interested in the position, but I need to make sure that Georgia National Trousers Inc. is the right place for me. Yeah, you know, environmentally.

Okay, so first thing: I ride my bike to work. Is it going to be a problem for me to just kind of lean it against my desk?

Yeah, in the office.

I mean, it’s a really nice bike.

Don’t worry, it sort of folds up.

Into, like, a smaller bike.

Okay, yeah. The stairwell totally works.

Would you say the dress code here is pretty casual?

I’m not thinking anything crazy, it’s just I have this weird thing about shoes. I can do them for like ten minutes but after a while they really start to mess up my energy flow.

Now, part of my lifestyle is polyphasic yoga. Is that going to be an issue?

Really?

Weird, there’s like ten studios in Minneapolis.  

Okay. So it’s this thing where you do yoga, but for only about four minutes every hour. Super not a big deal, I’m just going to need a soundproof space, nothing more than twenty square feet.

Yeah, soundproof.

Well, that’s more for your comfort. Sometimes–not always–but sometimes it gets a little primal and I can’t really be held accountable for what my subconscious tosses out. I’ve been told there’s a lot of stuff about race, I guess?

But again, it’s just four minutes every hour.

Now do you guys have recumbent desks?

Who generally DJ’s the office soundsystem?

Really, none at all? Okay.

What about apple cider vinegar service? Is it delivered or should I just submit that as a reimbursable?  

What about employee open mic nights?

Your aura is darkening, so I’m going to speed this up a little.

If I wanted to set up a sort of sunlight simulation chamber around my workspace, would that be a problem? I get super crazy seasonal affect disorder sometimes.

Um, my pet pug only has one eye, and so he gets pretty anxious when he’s alone. Can I bring him to work with me? He’s super in touch with his emotions.

If you were to express the work environment here in one Power Ranger, which one would it be?

That’s a Ninja Turtle, but I think I know what you mean.

Again, I want to thank you again.

Just one more question: if I were to just sit at my desk all day with Outlook open on one of my monitors, and quietly and steadily doing the low-level tasks that come my way, could I just coast through my days clock-watching and fucking around on the Internet, hoping that someone in the office says anything at all about a book or an album or a movie so I can re-engage that part of my brain again for just ten minutes, and maybe slip in a tiny bit of literary theory into the conversation, just so I can pretend for a moment that I hadn’t wasted years and thousands of dollars of someone else’s money in school developing analytical apparatuses that I’m starting to worry just ended up making me less happy and more alienated from society as a whole and left me with a whacked-out sense of esteem and a set of really oppositional and iconoclastic tastes?

Great, yeah.

I’ll start on Monday then? 

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Things People Do Not Say

1. In a lot of ways, Sufjan Stevens reminds me of my father.

2. Can you do that thing, where you drum along to the song with two pencils?

3. Don’t worry, it happens all the time. I always forget to tell people that I’m gluten free.

4. To be honest, we hired you because of that baja hoodie you wore to the interview.

5. While I do enjoy anime above all other genres, I will admit that I prefer the dubbed versions to the subtitled ones.

6. If this small-press literary journal is going to succeed, we need to stop organizing the issues around vague thematic clusters.

7. Okay, my blog is, on its surface, about organic food and maximizing our organizational potential, but really, I recognize it’s about howling existential dread.

8. We’re having a Twin Peaks and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne marathon.

9.  As a Californian, I always say: whatever, it’s just a fucking burrito.

10. I’m sorry. I do not have any pictures of my corgi.

No. 4, In Bitter Sharp

GloSymCoWee Has Started!

Total Collective Note Count for 2012: 239,264,288

The Foundation for Frivolous Endeavors is pleased to herald the kickoff of Global Symphony Composing Week! GloSymCoWee is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to symphony composition! Participants begin composing on the first Friday of November. The goal is to write an extended musical composition of four movements (or 48 minutes) by 11:59:59 on the following Thursday night.

Valuing sheer volume of sequenced sound over musty old ‘craft,’ GloSymCoWee is a symphony composition program for everyone who has ever thought fleetingly about composing an entire symphony but has been scared away by the years of theory, practice, and thought involved in the endeavor.

Let’s face it: anyone can write a symphony, as long as they keep putting notes on staff paper. It’s not rocket science! Remember that Mormon woman whose derivative erotic etudes, based on Liberace, were adapted for the London Philharmonic Orchestra? She’s a millionaire, now!

Our ultimate goal at GloSymCoWee is to devalue—no, democratize—formal musical composition to the point of shabby volunteerism, so that sad interns are playing behind Amanda Palmer for free. Make all of your friends sit through your meandering sonata, because you listened to some Sibelius once, and that pretty much qualifies you.

If all goes to plan, graduates of music academies will feel that their training was totally in vain, a quaint but common skill, fodder for the ‘hobbies’ section of their resume.

Because: the Internet and shit!

Go Forth

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Our lady mason jar,

hewn fresh lumber barge.

Our tincan coffee cup,

Jean tight railroad cars

 

Reliquary as berry stand

In melon sugar shoes,

Pasture river firework kiss,

Hitchhike sweat to bruise

 

Young Dylan whittle Whitman

Leaves/grass and shit

Bootheel knobknee boxcar bourbon

Prayer, shrink to fit

My Boss Orders A Hamburger

Hey, uh, didn’t we, at some point, discuss the possibility of a hamburger?

You weren’t copied on that? Oh, well, I’ll make sure that gets to you. I’m going to need it immediately.

Now, I think it’s probably best if the hamburger was transported from the kitchen to this table. Can you make sure that someone is responsible for that? You’ll be the point person on this, just make sure that it gets done. I’m just so busy, there are so many things, this whole situation, is really a mess.

Exactly. Right.

You know, this is how these projects are continuously made more complicated, as it’s unclear what condiments are standard. Chef Morrison over at Burger Mountain includes caramelized onion, and the whole thing is a mess, I’ll tell you, because it’s not made clear early enough in the process.

Uh huh, well, let’s get to that in a second. The point is that I think we’re really going to have to be very explicit with these people and make sure they’re looped into the process when it comes to condiment deliverables.

That’s how we come out looking like heroes here. It happened like this at The Carolina Grill, and they’re still singing our praises over there to this day.

Well, that’s probably not relevant to you, necessarily, at this juncture.

What’s that?

Oh, just ketchup please.

That Amazonian Chief Guy Sure Looks Sad. He Should Take Some Ayahuasca. I Hear That Shit Is Dope.

You see that picture of that old South American Indian online?

No, not Mexico.

I think it was like, Brazil or Peru or Paraguay?

My friend Caleb shared it. He’s really down with um, social issues, you know? All his shares are about, like, feminism and gay marriage and the ninety-nine percent.

You know those pictures that look like motivational posters? A lot of things that look like that, but they’re photoshopped.

He was so mad about Chris Brown performing at the Grammys, for instance. You should have heard him! He was all like “Michael Vick can never work again, but we let Chris Brown on the Grammys!”

Caleb’s good, man. Totally committed to the cause, man.

He has a pit bull.

Wears a bandanna.

No, the pit bull wears the bandanna.

I think he’s an organizer for Greenpeace?

Caleb. Not the pit bull.

He collects signatures and stuff. The only thing that’s scary is that he can be super convincing, you know, because of his job? Last time I hung out with him I ended up paying for the whole pizza, ha ha ha.

Right, so the Indian guy.

Yeah, he’s wearing, like, a yellow feather headdress, right?  No shirt, and he’s crying his eyes out.

Just weeping, yeah. He’s sitting at a city council meeting or something, hearing his, like, fate, I guess.

Yeah, without a shirt.

I guess they didn’t have that sign up. No dude, I shouldn’t joke about that.

It’s fucking sad, man.

I think, like, developers were going to take over his land or some bullshit. Building a nuclear power plant on top of his homeland, and his people are going to have to find somewhere else to live.

And dude, those people have been there for thousands of years. It’s not fair at all. We could be building windfarms and stuff, but we’re polluting and destroying everything. What the fuck is wrong with us?

Dude it made me feel so bad.

Have you ever been down there?

I have a friend, yeah, he went down there last summer. He tried this ayahuasca stuff.

It’s a tea, but it’s also the most powerful hallucinogenic substance known to mankind. This guy said he tripped his sack off. Saw God as a bird in a cosmic tree who was calling to him from his own inner moral core.

If you were that chief, you could be taking that stuff all the time.

Dude, drugs literally grow on trees down there.

No obviously it won’t change the power plant thing.

That’s still totally fucked.

The Serialized Adventures of a Victorian Dandy

I’m sorry, I’m not sure I quite catch your meaning.

Pip?

Who is that?

Oh, is that published in All The Year Round?

No, I don’t subscribe to that, or any serial, really.

Too many advertisements and notices.

But don’t give anything away! I should not want the experience spoiled by any foreknowledge.

Oh, yes. I loved A Tale of Two Cities. 

Absolutely.

I just tend to wait until it’s out on book.

And then I just tear through them in a weekend. I think I prefer them that way.

You don’t have to wait until the next month to see what happens, you know?

Wimsatt and Beardsley

I mean.

What did you think?

Right. The whole project, as I conceive of it, is supposed to mirror the feeling of terrifying existential boredom, in a sense, which is why there’s that droning multimedia aspect.

Yes! Ideally, the headphones do pinch your head. I’ve soldered them so they’re undersized. See here?

Did you catch the demi-echo in the opening section, though? I figured that, in particular, would be right up your alley.

Well, structurally at least, that part is supposed to mirror Wordsworth’s Prelude. Remember we had that conversation about it last year?

No, the 1805 version. It’s more germane to the unfinished opus sub-theme of the first section, I guess, because there’s the whole promise-of-a-young-artist thing to it?

Which is why there’s also all those references to the pink lasers, as a counterpoint.

It’s from VALIS.

It’s a Philip K. Dick novel?

Um. Well, it was his last book; he called it an exegesis. Some total wacko stuff about time travel and Christian revelation. From this really fragile moment in his late life where he was paranoid about FBI intervention, suffering all of the speed that he’d done earlier and having these illusions of grandiosity.

I guess, no offense to you specifically, but the ideal reader catches that, I think. It’s not like, the most obscure thing in the world, is it?

But anyway, that part ties up with the Pet Sounds reference in the fourth canto, and also how the narrator is called Hawthorne.

Well, it is sort of Nathaniel Hawthorne, obviously. Led Retter, the love interest from the penultimate aria-comic-strip, is a spoonerized jab at Scarlet, for sure.

But also, you know how Hawthorne is this palm-tree American Dream suburb where the Beach Boys grew up, right?

It’s okay. I think enough people will catch that one.

Don’t worry about it. It’s not essential to an understanding of the work. There are still plenty of in-text gestures in that direction.

How about this one: you know how the second section’s alternately titled Angels in the Infield?

Right, yeah, but also…

Well, Enfield?

Infinite Jest?

Hmm. Have you ever stood right under the Brandenburg Gate? Preferably at dusk?

No? Huh.

In the lighting design, yeah.

Remember, when you were a kid, those rumors about how Tropical Fantasy was actually controlled by the KKK? How it was laced with a sterilizing agent, and how it was sold almost exclusively in black and hispanic neighborhoods?

Tropical Fantasy.

It was like, a supercheap sugar-water thing in all sorts of colors. You’d get them at the bodega.

Corner store.

I guess that was a Brooklyn thing.

Anyway, that’s in there too.

This Monster Truck Rally Is So Late Roman Empire

Guys, do I even have to say it?

I mean, it’s pretty self-evident at this point.

Right?

The Superdome?

Oh salve, Marcus, I’ll meet you at the Colosseum, tomorrow?

Just need to hit up the baths first. They’ve got this new slave girl, Britanica, and she just really gets me. A muse with the olive oil. And, frater, take my word: some serious tittays on her. Makes Poppaea Sabina look like a total gorgon by comparison. Anyways. Colosseum. Tonight should be off the chain. I hear they ordered 9,000 wild animals fresh for the slaughter.

Yeah, from the African colonies. Some really wild stuff. Horned beasts and striped cats and all of that.

I hear they’re just going to hack the fuck out of them with pikes and stuff.

That’ll demonstrate our Eternal Imperial Power, and in no way illustrate a wayward decadence foreshadowing an inevitable decline!

No, dude, it’s like the trailer derby.

Well, there aren’t animals, I know. I wasn’t being literal. I mean, in this extended sense of a collective decadence. Look at these overfed people in their conspicuously comfortable sweatsuits. Just wheeled up in their oversized SUV’s, straight into pay parking, waddled onto the escalators like Temple Grandin’s cows, man.

Advance Auto Parts presents The Grave Digger.

Tire-shaped earmuffs.

It’s totally Roman Empire, right?

I mean, gigantic spectacle in a big building, at least, for the thronging masses gorging themselves, except here it’s super-chilled ten dollar Bud Light can-bottles?

The thirst for destruction?

Cheering?

Mercy Me, Did Some Sort of Athletic Contest Occur Of Late?

What noise from the streets below!

You’d think that the premiere of The Rite of Spring had just let out, that racket! Listen, it’s echoing off the brownstones!

No, no. I’ve been in all night. Perfectly isolated. Listened to the Fresh Air podcast earlier.

Now? Procrastinating on the Sunday Book Review. Some dreck about Westerns, of all things. Apologist pulp-craft lip-service. Spare me, Sam Tanenhaus.

This carousing outside, though!

My skull is thrumming like early Steve Reich.

No.  Philip Glass.

No no. Pardon me. Definitively Glenn Branca.

Football, most likely, isn’t it? I remember now. There was a display in the Trader Joe’s window. A nacho bowl or some such pun.

Have you had the edamame guacamole, though? Shamefully good.

Right. I guess it’s that time of year. It’d certainly explain all of the red/white/blue frippery out there.

Well, here it is: imagine a sudden bovine stampede coursing down Main Street on Independence Day. In one of the flyover states. An apple pie and popcorn in paper bag kind of town. The mayor and his smiling beauty queen wife, sitting on the back of a loaned classic Cadillac, are pulled from harm’s way as a bookish schoolteacher shouts, authoritatively for once, “Old Mr. Daniels forgot his gate again!” Herds of slow moving cattle, draped in patriotic bunting, crowd the sidewalks. That was Court Street today.

The worst has yet to come, of course. Tomorrow there will be that awful responsibility to have witnessed whatever vulgar, cobbled-together trash they’ve conjured for the half-time show. An aging icon, some irony-free corporate sponsorship, or maybe a scripted unscripted gaffe to drive up the Youtube replays. Not to mention the stunt advertisements.

Of course I will. I’ll check Gawker later. I don’t want to be construed as elitist.