Monthly Archives: October 2010

Liveblogging our reading of the Official Voter Information Guides for the General Election (SF, CA), Nov. 2, 2010, 7 a.m.–8 p.m.

Good Jobbbbbbb’s 2010 Endorsements

Before I became faithful to this blog around 2007 I was a member of a group blog called Crude Futures with two friends. A post of mine from 2005 now makes me cringe (along with pretty much everything else I wrote there, or anywhere else, except for select emails that have since been deleted by their recipients). “Liveblogging my reading of the Official Voter Information Guide for the Special Statewide (CA) Election” [2005] betrays my near-total lack of political consciousness, but it’s a drop in the bucket of my own sub–Ben Franklonian attempt to better myself, a nice way to force myself to learn a bit about the issues at stake in the election. So, in honor of whatever shreds and dregs of democracy I rescued by doing it in ’05, I have resolved this cloudless, moony Sunday afternoon to do it again! Then we’re going to go see Escape to Witch Mountain at the Castro.

NOTE: Elucidations, corrections, and solidarites will be provided by my girlfriend/flatmate, Gerhard Richter’s Daughters (GRD). She holds the pamphlet, I hold the keyboard.

Happy Halloween!

Prop 19

Nineteen is Gerhard Richter’s Daughters’ lucky number! She is teaching the second chapter of Infinite Jest in her class on “waiting,” and one of her students wants to discuss this statewide ballot measure in his final paper!

19 legalizes marijuana under CA law. GRD keeps sneezing. It’s OK to “transport” weed for personal use? I guess that means if you need to bring it to your uncle but don’t want to smoke it yourself. 19 will bring hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to the state and save lots of penal cash. We are already intimidated by the size of this pamphlet. There’s too much to go through. As adorable as it is, maybe this isn’t really a couples activity.

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving are also against Prop 19. “Allows drivers to smoke marijuana until the moment they climb behind the wheel”? Looks like there’s no breathalizer test for mj. My stepfather told me in full seriousness when I was 14 that he thought being stoned made him a better and more careful driver. Rimpletide told me that whether 19 passes or mj becomes legal in some other non-distant future election, the big tobacco companies are going to swoop in and I’ll be drunkenly buying “Marlboro Greens” from the corner store and smoking them alone in my bus stop shelter at 3 a.m.

Can’t tell how prop 19 will jeopardizes jobs or school funding as “con” argues.

We’re voting Yes on Prop 19 [Laughter]

Proposition 20

Redistricting congressional districts. GRD: “I don’t understand how you’re supposed to know who to believe!” I take some grapes out of the fridge and put them on the table. We both eat some grapes. GRD: “MUNGER JUNGER IS THE SOLE BANK ROLLER OF 20”!!!!

“Jim Crow economic districts”!??! We are going with our guts on this one. Munger Junger seems wrong. Carl Pope says no on 20, so does George Soros. This is as bad as just blindly following the Bay Guardian.

No on 20. No on Munger Junger. Oh well.

Proposition 21


GRD: “Proposition 21 is fun. Ready?”

State parks! Wildlife programs. Best part? Free admission and parking at all state parks! Boomtown!! “Why would you ever not want that”? Con says park funds get diverted to other things. Oh well. Fuck cars, yay parks, happy halloween, yes on 21!

Proposition 22

This one sounds confusing and boring. Silence descends.

It says that states can’t take local gov and transportation funds. OK, we’re done, that sounds good, but wait, “this is one of those propositions that sounds good but is filled with hidden provisions that hurt taxpayers.” Ouch! “Schools lose over $1 billion immediately”! Also firefighters get shafted? Health-care hit? Yowch! What about those local gov and transportation funds!! “Don’t be mislead by opponents’ scare tactics”!! fuck!!!! Firefighter against firefighter! You can’t fight firefighter with firefighter! We are lost.

Just tried to read through the legislative analyst’s analysis. GRD suggested we use a “life-line.” I will restrict myself to whoever is on gchat right now. I am relatively new to using gchat so there is usually a kinda paucey krew. Let’s see:

me:  hey rimpletide

I am on a game show right now
and I need your help answering a question
[Laughter]
[conversation redacted; he didn’t know anything about prop 22! we’re still lost]

Just reread the longer pros and cons. still can’t decide. Leaning toward yes on 22, but it’s shaky. In the interest of getting it all on paper let’s give prop 22 a provisional yes.

UPDATE: Rimps comes through! “prop 22: allows cities to keep redevelopment and transportation money safe from state government borrowing. some local governments (and police departments) are for it, but almost everyone else (teachers, firefighters, against). looks likely to fail.” so, um, we are voting NO on 22 [?]

Proposition 23

Seems pretty slam-dunky. Times are hard but the clean air laws should only be getting stricter, not the other way around. GRD and me say NO on 23!

Proposition 24

Knee-jerk says yes on 24: let’s stop tax breaks for wealthy corporations. The con is confusing: they aren’t really tax breaks? Voter fatigue is setting in. Yes on 24.

Proposition 25

Mean mommy-law to stop legislators from being late with their budgets. They will miss one (1) yummy dessert for every budget that is late in getting passed. The stakes feel low on this one. GRD’s apathy is a mirror for my own. “My brain hurts.” Yes on 25. Maybe. Yes.

Proposition 26

I am a knee-jerk liberal? Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Phillip Morris funded this measure, which will allow them to not pay fees that address adverse health effects of their products? What? GRD and I are overwhelmingly opposed to Prop 26. Happy Halloween.

Proposition 27

Mungo Jerry is back!

Maybe not.  But this one is related to the Charles Munger Jr. measure re redistricting from before — ole Prop 20, that classic chestnut. Knee-jerk reactions differ here: GRD has fallen hard for Prop 27. I smell the same gambits and ruses I’ve always ferreted and sniffed out in my long and distinguished career as a legal cartographer. No but seriously folks, no on 27, I have no idea why. GRD dissents. [UPDATE: checking our work against the SFBG. We’re doing pretty good. They say YES on 27. I defer to their and GRD’s wisdom]

U.S. Senate

GRD: “Will you tell them that I hate Carly Fiorina?”

Me: “Tell who?”

GRD: “The world” [Spits hot chocolate all over my leg]

Do not vote for Carly Fiorina. Big Bad Barbie Boxer is the clear choice. 400,000 emails from Obama in your inbox can’t be wrong.

Governor

Why are there only four jokers we’ve never heard of listed in the governer’s race page? Are we missing a page? What’s happening?!?! Ah: Jerry and Meg are candidates who haven’t “accepted CA’s voluntary campaign spending limits and therefore have the option to purchase space for a candidate statement.” Bummer. Go Jerry!!!!

Lieutenant Governor

He lives kinda near us? 4104 24th St? Right next to Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers. I’ve never seen him in Noe Valley.

Go Gavin!!!

I guess that’s his campaign headquarters address. Still

Secretary of State

Weird how Christina Tobin (Libertarian) wrote her statement in the third person. Marylou Cabral (Peace and Freedom) wants to lower the voting age to sixteen! Debra Bowen (Democrat) seems fine. GRD: “She’s NOT fine, and you wanna know why? Because she already has the job, and the state’s falling apart!” Let’s go for the green party civil-rights lawyer down on Snowbond St. in San Diego. Ann Menasche, give her a shot, why not? VoteAnn.org!!!!!!

Maybe Bowen’s doing an OK job. In all honesty, I’m probably gonna vote for her when the time comes. GRD might give it up for Ann, though. GRD: “She’s cute.”

Controller

GRD: “Oh, this is the person who’s doing a bad job.” Takes care of all the cash. OK OK OK we’ve been doing this for HOURS LET’S JUST PICK ONE

Andrew “Andy” Favor: “Pro-business, freedom. Frugal.” That’s the entirety of his statement. Libertarian. Evokes the old Nuprin ad campaign. Except it’s funny how there’s a comma after business. Are pro-business and freedom linked? Frugal is kind of its own thought? Maybe stronger to change that comma to a period: “Pro-business. Freedom. Frugal.” Do yourself a “Favor,” buddy! 😉

It’s all about the democratic incumbent, John Chiang. He’s the bomb. Love that Chiang. Always

Treasurer

Maybe somebody from Twitter could be Treasurer. Just kidding, GRD is hogging the voter guide. She can’t stop talking or thinking about Robert Lauten (American Independent). He sounds like a minuteman to me. The sun is setting. This forest isn’t safe after dark. Please let’s just pick one and move on. GO BILL LOCKYER (Dem.), GO!!!!

Attorney General

Kamala Harris doesn’t have a statement for the same above-stated reason Meg and Jerry don’t. Oh well. She’s got my vote! Nota bene commenting will remain OPEN on this post, let me know if you disagree with these “assessments”

Insurance Commisioner

Where to begin. Dave Jones. The end

Superintendent of Public Instruction

A nonpartisan office! Which will keep GRD and me honest. We have to actually look at these folks’ statements.

I think Larry’s statement was stronger, more convincing. Tom wants to expand Phys. Ed requirements — a big strike against him for GRD. Larry Aceves has our vote [wink]

Board of Equalization

Looks like we’re in District 1.

Betty T. Yee! “Yee yee”!!! District 1 is the best!!

Justices of the Supreme Court

This seems impossible to decide based on the data this pamphlet offers. Tani majored in Rhetoric at Davis. I am going to break the rules and see what the SFBG says. [Pee break] Uh, they don’t even have it on their list of endorsements? I’m going to decide in the voting both. Or text WholeFoodzzzz

OK, time for da local measures! We’re going the distance! We’re getting punchy!

For the local stuff GRD will be typing and “I” will hold the book. This is scary!!!!!!!

Continue reading

Advertisements

Let This Hangover Be Not Wasted

I’m in a book club with a whole bunch of pseudonyms: Jeremiah’d, Paulie Groundphones, Li’l Broheim, Shampoosie, et al. Maybe their pseudonyms should be taken from the book we’re reading, instead of from the jovial thin air above, since the book is already populated by hundreds of perfectly named minor characters. But I’d want an hour with Hilary Spurling’s Invitation to the Dance to produce halfway decent analogues for each of my book club’s members. Last night was one of our most rollicking meetings to date: The spirits flowed liberally, and by the time Shampoosie had to leave for her engagement, the atmosphere had (sonically speaking) pleasurably devolved into this sort of vibe:

I got vague half-permission to record the meeting’s minutes here. I was astonished by how much beer I’d been served, and how easily it flowed into my massive gullet. Just before he was shrouded and bundled off to bed, Li’l Broheims, our hosts’ beatific infant son, staggered around the cacophony clutching a baguette nearly as tall as he was, grinding fine cheeses and flatbreads into the fine carpet. Maybe a less-hungover observer than I am could turn a nice analogy comparing Li’l Broheims to a drunken British soldier like those depicted in Anthony Powell’s Valley of the Bones, the book we’d met to discuss.

His pose is supposed to subconsciously remind you of Lou Reed holding his guitar in the video above. And it's cute to picture him as a moustacioed infant with a giant baguette cannon. I know this isn't an English soldier's uniform. Manet's painting appears with kind persimmons from Manet's garden © SKRONK, INC

But not this guy. Because I AM TOO HUNGOVER TO DO ANYTHING. Which is all I wanted to say in the first place. So today being a low-volume work day I’ve just sat here hitting the internet harder than I have in a long time. 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., I’ve probably stood up three or four times, once to retrieve a pallet of Thai food from the overpriced (dance-club atmosphered) restaurant next door.

Among the many things I clicked on today, I finally had the chance to read Elif Batuman’s review of Mark McGurl’s book on the rise of MFA culture, “a study of Planet MFA conducted from Planet PhD.” Then I read Molly Young’s review of James Franco’s debut collection, which in turn linked me back to Batuman’s review of the 2004 and 2005 Best American Short Stories. I don’t have anything interesting to say about any of these book reviews. In both of Batuman’s essays, Joyce Carol Oates comes off as an exception to the rule of timid, tepid, guilt-imprisoned contemporary short fiction. In both essays, Don Quixote is the canonical first novel that successfully performed the literary innovations that four hundred years later are still being called innovations. And in both essays, she urges fiction writers to expunge the guilt and shame in being a contemporary writer in the face of global suffering, to shun the imperatives to write about

(A) nostalgic and historical subjects; (B) external, researched subjects, also sometimes historical; © their own self-loathing; and/or (D) terrible human suffering

[N.B. as a lover and collector of typos, that copyright symbol is about as awesome as it gets—unless it’s some kind of metadroll joke I’m too hungover to get?]

[Pointless Full Disclosure: I recently purchased from this writer her “favorite red chair, as well as two lamps, an ottoman, a saucepan, a carpet steam-cleaner, some geranium-scented laundry detergent, and approximately eight pounds of rice.” I’m also babysitting her car for a few months, it seems SUPER relevant and important to add. Buying a writer’s soap or borrowing her car unfortunately doesn’t transmit any of her intelligence to their new owner — although I wonder if some reptilian part of my brain wants to pretend that it does. The same goes of course for adopting a great writer’s dog, something I also did with no improvement to my critical faculties. Or, shit, I bet lots of editors, myself included, egoistically and falsely absorb some of the brilliance of a piece they’re editing, even if their edits mostly involve the introduction of typos and tautologies. The connection between leading a good life and thinking and writing well — I wonder how big that gap needs to be. It fluctuates. Brilliant assholes; generous buffoons; everyone in between. Eating Elif’s rice won’t help me think clearly about literature. Neither, apparently, will getting an MFA.]<—– (<(“the ghosts of deleted paragraphs rattle their chains from the margins.”)>)

[Once I’ve fully left my job,  I wonder if I’ll start writing Tao Lin–style fan fiction about Keith Gessen, or hosting this blog on a domain with my full name on it, etc.]

[What would that last “etc” refer to, I also wonder? Going on the Tao Lin diet? Buying my own car? Moving to Alaska to teach comp at Juneau Community College with Gerhard Richter’s Daughters? Starting a weekly jogging club with Benjamin Cheever, Sam Frank, and Haruki Murakami?]

[Please don’t make me try to say anything else about anything I’ve read. Please don’t say nasty things about me on the internet. Or about Ariana Reines.]

[Paul Groundphones recently demanded that I read Jacob von Gunten as soon as humanly possible, which I did, and I can’t think of a better example of a work of art that’s feels simultaneously both “pointless” and essential; that’s quite so beautiful in its pointlessness. I love the wry, skillful incompetence of Walser’s narrators. I haven’t finished the novel yet. I’ve never read Stendhal.

EXTRA CREDIT:

  • My novel will read like a press release — for life itself!
  • What do you guys think about psychoanalysis!
  • Goodbye!!!!!!

“The Indie Yuppie”

Christian Lorentzen:

What would have happened to Kurt Cobain if he had pulled through his depression and come out the other end to experience the joys of fatherhood? He may well have stopped touring, moved his family to a co-op on the Upper West Side, had a few more kids, applied his considerable literary talents to writing prose, mellowed into the drollery of prosperous middle age, developed a taste for smoked mozzarella, and become a New Yorker staff writer. In the final analysis, Kurt Cobain and Adam Gopnik are the same person, and all of us are that person, too. Me and you and everyone we know.

Drafts

I’m cleaning out my email “drafts” folder, where memos to myself often get recorded and then lost forever. So here are some things for internal use only that I don’t want to forget. I have absolutely no idea what many of them are referring to; these entries have been marked with a [??]

  1. Shandong, 10th and webster in Oakland. vegan dumpling, knife-cut noodles
  2. eddie current suppression ring
  3. tiffany
    anna paquin [??]
  4. twin peaks
    aqua teen
    muppets
    kenneth anger [??]
  5. Tom Noonan’s THE WIFE and/or WHAT HAPPENED WAS

  6. Nancy Newhall’s 1952 essay on the caption in Aperture (“The Caption: The Mutual Relation of Words and Photographs”)
  7. cute story [??]
  8. ayurvedic medicine
  9. john lilly
    risible figure in 80s omni mag
    50s progenitor of dolphin intelligence [??]
  10. guilt about not standing up for injustice, but also celebrating the kind of apolitical love of beauty that helene wnated [sic] [??]
  11. “Hall believed in some kind of mystical benefit of enemas…and at the end of his life he became addicted to them…It sounds pretty stupid, and it was…and it was this foolish side of those self-taught, self-adopted metaphysic ideas that cost Hall his life.” [????]
  12. http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/15355275
  13. sutherland [??]
  14. – tent
    – sleeping bag
    – Sleeping pads – Ridgerest or thermarest
    – tarp
    – extra flashlight?
    – non-cotton socks
    – warm hat
    – maybe some kind of non-ceramic camping bowl or mug, whatever
    – extra big bottle(s) of water
    – TP, Wet Ones?
    – bottle of bulleit bourbon
    – lunches for (sunday)/monday/tues/wed/thus + snacks
    – 1-2 loaves of bread
    – pb/j
    – cheez
    – nuts and dried fruit
    – pre-ground coffee
    – etc
    – headlamp
    – blanket or pad for the dog
    – Pillows
    – sunblock
    – that bag of pot?
    – warm clothes
    – bowls, mugs, utensils
    – water bottle
    – hikey shoes
    – dog
    – dog food
    – water dish
    – biodegradable shitbags