Friday, March 31, 2006
Vandal Racing Team (Our Graduate Engineering program's 1600cc Open Wheel, Internal Combustion Racing Team) has moved their car out of the shop. I think they're ready for engine testing.
Our two other good teams, Vandal Rugby and Vandal LaCrosse, are looking good right now. Rugby has a scrimmage against Central this weekend in Ellensburg.
When we were checking out, a woman asked me what day it was. I said it was the 30th. She looked at me with a chuckle and said, "I'm here for a memory test. That'd be a good one, the date."
Sometimes think, I miss Seattle. There were readings every night, and good poets everywhere. But then I realize I went to one reading a month in Seattle, and two a month over here. An old advisor and I were talking about this the other day. He felt the same way about his old home of Chicago. Then we realized that since there are fewer readings here, attending every one is easier and more important. We both go to every reading because there ain't many, and usually its a little fuzzy how long until the next one.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Architecture? What the hell was I thinking? But can I really bring myself to teach English the rest of my life? Am I the only one who wants to skip the education phase? I could just run away and live on a National Park. I love learning more than anything, but I am learning the least in college. I don't care how to cross-hatch a wall while drafting. I don't care about complementary colors. I don't care anymore. I just want to live, to simply exist. I just want to roadtrip to some back-country beach in Mexico and stay forever.
I hate the news. Not because it's all bad news, but because it's all pointless. I don't care what ex-cop beat up an ex-Marine in a bar in ________. I don't care how the economy is. I can still eat. Besides, real news is always ignored: humanity has absolutely no compassion for its own. I just don't care about a shooting in ________ anymore. How does it affect me? It doesn't at all. And somewhere I forgot to live deep. To enjoy life. Even while I was having an amazing time this weekend, with my birthday, and even with a reading I've been stoked for all semester on Thursday, I am lackluster.
And don't even get me started on the American Dream. That frantic stressed-out desire for more so one can retire early and live slowly. Isn't that what I'm doing? I live slowly and cheaply with a job at a camera store. I have a school to keep me occupied, a few addiction I am able to support, and a couple good friends. I don't need or want anything else. Why would I? I have it all. I have it all. I have it all.
But something is calling my name somewhere. I must find it. I must befriend it. I must keep it.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfexion X - the one I saved for my birthday - with some Port (of course), followed by some of my favorite foods, the rest of my cake, hookah, and a night of foreign movies and South Park - all accompanied by company to die for.
Bucer's here we come!
As sprawling and repetitive as the country it analyzes, this poem embodies both the random luck and brutally focused dream of America. Using elements of multiple poetic forms - haiku, found poem, epigrams - this expansive work remains surprisingly successful and focused. It returns time after time to succinct thoughts and images, but this poem spends most of its pages in long-lined stream-of-consciousness musings on inter-epigrams.
Often compared to Whitman, McGrath has steps beyond him by, like his colleague Duhamel, embracing the built environment along with the natural American landscape. The built environment refers to seven strata of production - Products, Interiors, Structures, Landscapes, Cities, Regions, Earth - and McGrath touches on all seven as often as America itself has. He breeds insatiable laughter and forces the reader to expand. One of his main points is this: "To understand America you must understand / the kinds of community we are and are not. / To understand America you must understand the dream." But his more poignant points spill out of the interplay of natural and artificial: a squirrel’s heart seized up in a trap, the absence of toddler and teenage pigeons in Chicago, and my favorite - the mailman planting a mailbox that will grow into a post office on a street corner.
Contrasts - like these between the natural and the built - hold the poem together: on the most fundamental level the piece strains at both concise haiku, and expansive long-line musings; the love and hate he feels for pop culture and American history is one of the main themes; the essential contrasts inherent to discovery - lack of knowledge coupled with the empirical, the feeling of Americans if winged invaders colonized us, inadvertent offences due to simply not knowing any better - repeat throughout the piece; the contrast between his wife and him - he being the worried "bread-winner" at home at his desk writing, she being walked to and from the El on her way to the 9 to 5; and most apparently the contrast between what he wants to be and what he is. This final contrast between want and reality is the most basic to Americans. This is the American dream. This is the American nightmare. They are lovers - no, they are the same.
McGrath encapsulates America in the sprawling/concise manner in which America has contained itself. This poem succeeds on almost every level. The only thing that did not personally work for me was the sheer volume of space taken by epigrams in the last two chapters of the poem: it is a little thing I didn't think worked as well as it could have. However, this poem is still astounding - it crashes smack into the American psyche stunningly. This piece is based in Chicago but is broad enough to be unequivocally American - any city, any state. I suggest this work, found in Spring Comes to Chicago, to any interested in American poetry.
I learned of Black's failings when my friend got back from Mexico. We had never had any Black, but apparently all his school friends had been using his place to party for two weeks while he was gone in DC then Mexico. They left a bottle of Black behind, next to our bottle of Blue. We helped ourselves to a taste-testing. People call that Scotch?
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Sherman Alexie Old Shirts & New Skins
Louise Glück The Wild Iris
Carolyn Forché Gathering the Tribes
WS Merwin The Pupil
Mark Strand Selected Poems
Campbell McGrath Spring Comes to Chicago
A manuscript a brilliant poet friend sent me.
Burgess' language is fascinating.
Alexie's optimism is infectious.
Glück is Glück.
Forché's seriousness matches her style perfectly.
WS Merwin is powerfully depressing.
Strand's Elegy for my Father is incredible.
McGrath's flippant nature is fun.
Oh dear sweet Jesus, this manuscript is genius! Breathtaking!
Punch's are my favorite cigars for five reasons: they're such a smooth smoke, they're good until they get too small to hold, their availability is incredible, they don't cost much, and they were my first.
Now, for purely flavor, the list would be different. The Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfecxion X would be on the top. I have a few of these in a friend's humidor. I was saving one for my birthday tomorrow, but he went to Mexico. The cigars he went to Mexico for are also high on my list of flavor favorites: the Monticristo No. 2. The most bought and sold cigar in the world for a reason, and the best shaped cigar there is. Stupid embargo.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
If we really care so much about the Oriental Iraqi citizens – enough to support the war, or enough to support the withdrawal – why only them? If we really care about the citizens of the world, why just the Iraqis? Why nobody else? I’m probably as pissed about Iraq as the next person, but that’s the least of the human rights violations I see on this list:
Burundi: State sponsored torture, executions, and violence.
Chad: Overflow of Darfurian fighting. Refugee camps bombed.
China: Thousands of rural civilians starved to death. No rural medical attention available. Sweat shops. WalMart.
Colombia: “Over the past week, FARC-EP have killed at least 20 civilians in two separate massacres and an attack using gas cylinder bombs.” That’s illegal. Who cares? Who’s going to stop them?
Congo: Fighting still left over from 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Cote D’Ivoire: Civil War. Thousands dead – civilians and soldiers.
Darfur, Sudan: State sponsored genocide. Remember Rwanda? No we don’t. If we did we wouldn’t let Darfur continue. Mass rape. Rape camps. Girls as young as 8 years old (confirmed) forced into sexual slavery. Mass starvation. Civilians attacked by: the government, the Janjaweed militia, the rebel militias sworn to protect them (for food). Upwards of 400,000 dead. One more every four minutes. How many dead are enough? The graves are already full and the rivers are choked with bodies. How long is enough time for us to react? Is since February 2003 not enough time? Is it avoidable? It was as recently as November 2004. Now our opportunity has passed.
Earth: Oil dependence. Lack of common sense leading to violent intolerance in every country and city.
Guatemala: Transgender and sexual orientation based violence.
India: AIDS epidemic. Slavery. Sexual Slavery. Child prostitution.
Indonesia: Papau invaded by Indonesian police and military. Student demonstrators (America would be lucky to have student demonstrators) seriously injured or killed.
Iran: Sexual orientation based violence.
Iraq: Citizens killed by foreign forces and internal demonstrators. Torture. Beheading of foreigners and those helping foreigners.
Mexico: Gender based violence and rape.
Nepal: Police brutality against transgender people and anybody deemed sexually deviant. Thousands “disappeared” by the government in the past few years.
South Africa: See Nepal. Not as severe.
Southern Sudan: Government backs out of promises used to end the 21 year civil war. The treaty was signed last year.
Uganda: Expulsion of foreign press.
UN: Has done nothing to meaningfully fulfill its mandate since formation.
USA: Killing of Iraqi citizens. Torture of freedom fighters. Imprisonment of innocent people. Innocent people on death row continuing to be killed and posthumously freed of blame by a DNA test. Homeless killed by teens. Rape. Gang wars. Police brutality. Government sides with Cuba in opposing a new UN Human Rights Council. Drugs. Sexual Slavery. Child prostitution. Parents forcing children into – or out of – abortions. Racial violence. Class violence and hatred. Apathy.
Citizens of Humanity focus on political boundaries rather than feeling compassion for human beings, fellow homo sapiens. Why do we, as Occidentals, continue to tell the Oriental world, to paraphrase Hotel Rwanda, “You aren’t even niggers. You’re dirt. You’re less than human.”
How quickly we forget that “No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” - John Donne, Meditation XVII
And we are deaf to its tolls as the death tolls rise. Where is outrage? Where is anger? Where are either justified anymore? Who cares about getting cut off in traffic, people’s heads are getting cut off the world over. As humans, we have a responsibility to the only race there is: that of humanity as a whole. We have a duty to educate ourselves, and protect our own. The dark areas in media coverage scare the shit out of me. It’s frightening how much we don’t know, but when the media doesn’t know either, that terrifies me more. And it occurs more often than I would like.
This is in no way a complete list: these are based on incomplete reports from the last week alone. Visit HRW.org for more.
I know I'll never grow up anyway.
I'll end up being a combination of Matt Parker and Trey Stone.
Don't get me wrong, I'm really looking forward to finally getting to cook Beef Burgundy without bribing one of my friends to get the wine for me. But beyond that, I'd like to stay 20 another week please.
My parents are coming over for my birthday.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I've had it since January and haven't started reading it until now. I can't put it down! It's amazing!
Opening line of "The Bob Hope Poem:"
"These elephantine snowflakes sashaying lazily earthward look about as likely as three dollar bills."
On March 30th McGrath comes to Moscow to read.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006
My birthday is Saturday. The 21 run. The 25th. Doc says only one glass of wine. This is my glass for wine.
I'm going for some Yellowtail.
LMP2: The new #6 & #7 Porsche RS Spyders had problems. Both dropped to below 20th at times for repairs, but this car is fast. The #6 had a third place overall spot, and was closing in on second, before a spin out at Hairpin curve kept them from the flag with about a 1/2 hour to go. They still placed second. The #37, with Liz Halliday and the Fields on board, took the class win ahead of the Porsche after starting last place on the grid, 32nd of 35. (I love seeing a privatering team take down Porsche, one of the most storied manufacturers in motorsports history) 3rd went to the #41 Zytek Lola. The Mazda retired due to overheating, the #7 Porsche due to Mechanical problems - drivetrain I think it was.
GT1: WOW! The #4 took it, followed by the 009 1:29 back on the same lap. But after 12 hours of racing, the fight for third place between the #3 and 007 was literally down to the final corner. Tomas Enge may have blocked Max Papis a little, and Papis almost spun him out on the final corner, but didn't, letting the 007 Aston Martin take the 3rd spot.
GT2: Amazing. Utterly amazing. After 12 hours of racing, the top three cars were separated by only 49 seconds, the top two by 5.365 seconds. That's close! The #50 Panoz took it and performed beautifully the entire way. In the straights, next to a GT1 Corvette, the Panoz didn't loose an inch. These cars are finally here. Second place went to my favorite Porsche team, Flying Lizard: the #45 took the podium while the teammate #44 took 4th. Third went to the #62 Ferrari. They would've had the win if the didn't have a problem with one of the lug-nut guns in pit lane which added 15 seconds to each stop, and about 5-7 minutes overall. Unfortunately, the #21 and #22 BMWs had problems, both dropping out. The #21 was doing very well before a brake problem that kept them in the pit for a few hours, then a gearbox failure did them in. The #80 Panoz took 5th, showing just how strong these cars are. The highest placed Spyker was 7th. Wolf Henzler's Porsche retired with a gearbox failure.
Overall: This has never happened before: 1) a Diesel has never won a race of this caliber, 2) an Audi LMP1 car dropped out of a race (The Audi R8, in 70 some races, never retired once), 3) the top three cars - #2, #37, and #4 - were from LMP1, LMP2, and GT1: three classes on the overall podium hasn't happened since... I don't remember it ever happening at Sebring or Le Mans.
The Race: Started with 35 cars. After 12 hours, 21 cars finished. It wasn't a bloodbath like I predicted. There was only one contact penalty to the 007, and most of the 14 retired were due to driver error or mechanical problems: thankfully racing is still a respectful sport. Flying Lizard showed very well, but the focus in GT1 was definitely on the drastic off-season turnaround of the Panoz cars. It's great to see them doing well finally. In GT2 the battles were incredible all day. Both the #3 and 007 cars had problems and still ended on the same lap, fighting to the final corner. In LMP1 only 2 cars finished. Disappointing, but Sebring is a tough course. In LMP2 the #37 was magical. Loved seeing the only woman in the field take the #37 car home, claiming class win and 2nd overall.
Friday, March 17, 2006
LMP1: The #2 Audi, then the #16 Lola, then the #1 Audi, then the #20 Lola. I think the Lola's are running more fuel at the start, which would slow their qualifying times to put them where they are, behind the Audi's in qualifying.
LMP2: The #7 Porsche, then the #6 Porsche, then the #37 Lola, then the #33 Courage. Even though the #37 got penalized and shoved to the back of the grid, if their car can handle a few slight bumps working through the slower cars off the start they are strong enough to take a podium.
GT1: The #4 Corvette, then the 009 Aston Martin, then the #3 Vette, then the 007 Aston. The Corvettes seem to be running heavier on fuel at the start, then they could pull ahead during the first major pit stop. If they can keep the Aston's in view, they're in a good position.
GT2: Um.... The #50 Panoz, then the #62 Ferrari, then the #45 Porsche, then the #51 Panoz. I balked at picking a non-Porsche, American (Ford) powered, American body with an Open-Wheel driver as the winner, but them and the Ferrari have been best. The 45 has been doing well, but the 23 and 31 have a great shot as well. Could get a surprise podium from the #21 BMW as well. Wide open, as always, this category will have great racing.
Overall: The #2 Audi, then the #7 Porsche, then the #16 Lola, then the #1 Audi. The #20, #6, and #37 - if it makes it through the pack - all have good shots at a podium. I think the Audi's will take it, but the battle for P2 & P3 will be intense.
Prediction: Massive carnage. The new Lolas, Audis, and Porsches will be out for the win at all costs. With the #37 at the back, it'll want to get up front real quick to take down a Porsche, and it could shake things up as it passes through. There is a 30 second difference between the Pole 1:45.828 and the last qualifyer at 2:15.173, and GT2 has 16 of the 35 cars in the race, the fastest GT2 car was 18 seconds slower per lap during qualifying - that is a lot of traffic for the faster cars to manage.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006
A get well soon card from grandma.
2c stamps in a get well soon card from my parents.
$10 worth of Taco Time gift certificates in a get well soon card from my aunt.
A free Time magazine.
A prayer rug.
It came with an ad where a lady says she prayed to Jesus on it and received $46,000. Judging by the hair, with inflation this would be around $75,000. I'd be willing to part with it for twenty bucks / obo though.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
I need some sand. And a roadtrip. In a convertible.
Friday, March 10, 2006
As writers, artists, or architects, at some level we create simply because we think we’re better than everybody else.
This is not to say my work isn’t built on predecessors of incalculable greatness – because it is. But my work is not their work. My life is not the sum of the lives of my predecessors. My life, my work, is something separate. Influenced by them, I travel different paths, move to different heights – not greater ones yet, separate ones. I am nowhere near as good as some of those who came before me: Thomas, Cummings, Thoreau, Eliot, Conrad, Hemmingway, Richard le Gallienne, among others. But I still fit my own skin best.
"SUVs are all toasters."
What is it for you? What work is like a mirror you reinterpret every time you come back to it? I'd actually like to know.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
He said, "Good writing should be a mirror. The reader reads it, puts it down, then comes back to it later with a new set of experiences, interpreting it differently. That's why Prufrock is so good. We discussed it in class a month ago, but my interpretation has already changed since then. How could it stay the same when I have changed?"
I'm now ready for cookies, milk, and the underworld of Vice City.
I have no problem stopping - I do that every day. I have problems not starting up again. I'll stop for good next week. It's just gotten so expensive, you know? I really mean it this time. I promise.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I don't think it's lazy to quit editing while you're ahead. I think what we put on paper, the free write or rough draft, is purely cries. Editing will only take its cries out. "A poems veins and capillaries cannot stand up to a heart transplant," but by cutting off an arm, the other arm can become much more skilled. The balance between edited and raw is the hardest balance I've come across yet - and life is only balances. Well, balances and one really good grilled cheese sandwhich with avacado.
Monday, March 06, 2006
The brand new Audi R10. Attempting to fill the shoes of the legendary Audi R8 will be difficult, at best, but Audi may have pulled it off with this car.
A completely new Diesel V12 TDI engine with a cubic capacity of 5.5 litres – the maximum permitted at Le Mans – and power exceeding 650 hp and torque of more than 1100 Newton metres. Aluminum Crank Case, 90 degree cylinder-bank angle. The injection pressure easily exceeds the 1600 bar achieved in production cars. The ignition pressures also reach values never previously seen in any Audi engine. The engine’s power and high torque are available to the driver practically from idling speed – a speciality of diesel technology to which the drivers must now become accustomed. The usable power band lies between the relatively low 3000 and 5000 revs per minute.
“We really have explored completely new territory with this engine,” says Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Technology at Audi Sport.
“Compared with the R8, the engine’s length has grown through the number of cylinders, and because of a diesel’s typical power and strength,” says Wolfgang Appel, Head of Vehicle Technology at Audi Sport. “In this respect we had to react by making everything as light as possible on the chassis side.”
The R10 has a significantly longer wheelbase because of the larger capacity engine. The R8 still had a traditional chassis clothed in synthetic bodywork, whereas the majority of the carbon-fibre parts belonging to the R10 monocoque are now suspended directly in the air flow and therefore require no additional fairings. No longer hydraulic, they’re using electric steering now. The new steering and the larger, more comfortable cockpit will make it easier for the drivers during 12 or 24 hour endurance races.
“The R10 project is the biggest challenge ever to have been handed to Audi Sport,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. Vorsprung durch Technik indeed.
Audi R10 Page
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Seems to be a new trend. Sounds good to me. Thanks to Peter Pereira for the awesome Brokeback spoofs.
Assignments to write in a specific form are wonderful. They’re difficult, but it’s always fun to try on new forms. My poems usually stay in that form long enough only to turn them in: to me, assignments like that are good places to start, but are almost never good places to end. Some in poetry class wouldn't quite appreciate or even understand this yet. Nobody is purely a poet, a novelist, an essayist, et cetera—we are all simply writers. Why limit ourselves with distinctions and classifications? They are merely crutches. We are writers. We write. We produce writings. Period.
What is prose and what is poetry is not a new question. Sometimes form is important, sometimes it detracts. John Donne wrote his famous Meditation XVII in prose. The question existed long before him though. There is an interesting balance between pure poetry and pure prose—the endpoints depending on one's own definition of both. To me, it is exciting and fun to play with the relationships between the two. There is no writing—office memo, text message, e-mail, blog post, newspaper article, “Do not Go Gentle into that Good Night”—purely prose or purely poetry. When two words love each other and are placed together, there are both prosaic and poetic techniques influencing the writer. No matter how much confidence the writer has—or has not—both influences are omnipresent.
Why do we also make distinctions between art forms? Writing is art. Sculpture is art. Painting is art. Designing a car is art. Architecture is art. Cooking is art. This past year I have taken 12 Art classes. Every single class tried to teach the exact same thing: originality is good, aesthetically beautiful originality is “brilliant.” When did aesthetics fail to mean how it treats all five senses? Painting addresses sight. Sculpture: touch, smell, sight, hearing. Cooking: taste, sight, smell. Poetry: sight, hearing. Hip-Hop: sight, hearing. All art addresses specific senses depending upon its medium. Perhaps the art forms choose their artists through the senses that artist is sensitive to.
Through all 12 classes, every critique had the same feel—no matter the subject. A crit in drawing was almost exactly the same as a sculpture crit which was a thinly disguised writing workshop: they’re all the same. Why do we distinguish between the art forms when their crits are the same? Cross-discipline artists—Picasso, Ross Levy, et cetera—are always stronger for their broader base. Why not poets? A lot of poets are semi-cross-discipline (I consider teaching an art form), but not nearly enough. Architecture students learn in colleges of Art & Architecture (CAAs). The second they graduate they forget about art. Under the current, flawed educational system it would be more helpful to have architecture students learning in colleges of Architecture & Business, not CAAs. Thanks to Ross Levy for trying to change this. One voice. (Bon chance!)
Why this infighting among writers? Why are rappers outcast from the poetic community? I can only dream of being as good as Jay-Z. It takes me months to get words lined up as beautiful as he does in minutes. He says, “When I made Blueprint—the album—I did nine songs in two days. It was pretty much the album—it was pretty much the record—it was done.” (Collision Course DVD) He only added 6 songs after those two days, then released the album to sales of 2.3 million and uncounted downloads. The rhyme and the natural beats in Blueprint are astounding. Sure he uses an artificial beat, but look what he made. Maybe poets should start using artificial beats as well. It might help some of us.
Play around. Period. Worry about whether it’s a poem, a prose poem, an essay, a rap, a news article, short fiction, the beginning of a novel, et cetera, later. Play around first.