Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Failure of the Day: Fools

I almost never do readings anymore—I’m not writing poems until my novel is finished and the social reading scene in SF (at least any one that interests me) is all dried up now. Yet, the first April 1st I was back in town (2003), I did a reading for Tarin’s Chick Night thing. That was a cool series for a while, and then the place got shut down and I was invited to read at the closing party, which was on April 1st 2004.

Now then, our pals at Manic D Press are putting out a book of the collected poems of Eli Coppola, an enterprise as worthwhile as it is financially dubious, so they are having a benefit for the book. They asked for readers and I volunteered. The date of the reading? April 1st 2005.

So here you go:

This Friday night, April 1, 7:30 PM
Poetry & Pizza, 333 Bush near Kearny
The floor show includes:

David West
Anneke Swinehart
Jon Longhi

It is my understanding that the joint features all you can eat pizza for 5 bucks, and I don’t know if there is an additional door charge; but probably, seeing how it’s a benefit and all. But come out. I’d love to see you and it just couldn’t be a better cause. And did I mention a butt load of pizza?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Failure of the Frickin’ Century: Anarchy

Saturday was nice—not too warm, not too sunny, but still somehow Springy—so we journeyed into the Park to check out the Anarchist Book Fair. It may have been the most depressing afternoon of either of our lives.

Oh sure, we were charmed at first by the large and varied collection of anarchist dogs, for whom black bandanas around the neck are all the rage this season, but what immediately struck both of us was the utter and profound air of defeat that hung around the fair like a bad smell…or rather like another bad smell, one that hung on top of the smell of anarchists themselves.

It didn’t used to be this way. For a while, I lived directly across the street from the Anarchist Collective bookstore on Haight, and the people who ran the store looked like bright young idealistic college kids itchin’ for a fight. They seemed fierce to me, and armed to the teeth with righteousness and intellectual alacrity. I loved them and I loved the anarchistic utopian ideal, though I was never foolish enough to believe it was actually possible in any society involving humans. Plus I had serious questions about how I would get my mail. I love mail.

The collection of organizations that gathered yesterday to draw our attention to topics of immediate concern such as the 80+ year old Sacco-Vanzetti case, and sell a variety of books and t-shirts about causes so broad and far-reaching and lifestyle-invasive that it would be impossible for one individual to support even half of them, was nothing like the crisp anarchist warriors of yore. Today’s anarchists are dirty, rude, judgmental, fractured and horribly, fatally out-of-touch. They are a living breathing demonstration of why their idea will never, ever work.

But even that wasn’t the worst of it. The worst of it was that there wasn’t a soul in the place who wasn’t entirely aware of the fact that the rule of law was the one single thing that had prevented Terri Schiavo that very week from becoming Jeb Bush’s personal property, a ragdoll for him to pose in the stations of the cross. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like being saved from one enemy by another enemy, I guess.

We spent the rest of the day washing our hands (literally, figuratively) of anarchists and their worse-than-impotent rage. La la la ... political doom. I'm getting closer and closer to this for real.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Failure of the Day: Will Opine for Food

It’s focus group season again. I spent last night discussing some truly terrible print ads for a virus protection software company, and tonight: spaghetti! By the time I’m done, I will have earned an amount of money precisely equal to this year’s bill from my accountant. Ain’t life grand?

I had never heard of the company whose product ads were under discussion last night, and I don’t give a shit about virus protection software. I just use what came with my computer. That may be foolhardy, but if a file is important to me I back it up to within an inch of its life and say que sera sera to the rest. The company, though, wanted their would-be customers to believe very strongly that YOU ARE YOUR DATA. (That’s an approximation of their wording, but an exact replication of their message.) To which I replied, while calmly drinking my free diet Dr Pepper, “Am not.” And then they gave me a check.

Tonight is a longer and more lucrative group about an Italian restaurant chain that I used to think was just kind of blah but where we went for dinner last weekend and found to be FANTASTIC! I don’t know what’s come over me! I used to be so much more of a snob. Maybe it’s that the SF branch of the place is just way better than the one in Vallejo, or maybe it’s that I haven’t had pasta in a really long time, but oh my god! It was FANTASTIC! I don’t even mind that this focus group came complete with a packet of homework that I had to complete before the group tonight, including an assignment to “make a collage illustrating what casual dining adds to my life.” (I drew a smiley face and wrote the word “pleasant.”)

Ah, but such are the adventures of those of us whose opinions are so incredibly valuable that grown men will pay cash for the privilege of hearing them. It’s a shame I can’t do it full time, it really is. I got a million opinions, and there’s not one of them I wouldn’t sell.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Failure of the Day: Misc.

I began, just after my last birthday, drinking coffee. Specifically, lattes. After decades of eschewing it, I am now obsessed with it.

I read this article and thought: well, of course the fairy shrimp eats its relatives! Shrimp is delicious!

I love this site even though Chris makes a surprisingly good argument that the moon landing was faked.

A cool thing what I found.

Aside from being full on porn for every sensitive and earnest rocker boy I’ve ever met (COUGHchrisCOUGH), this also contains just the kind of totally obvious comparisons that I scoff at unless they are used in the service of making girls prettier than me look kind of silly.

One of several such sites, probably not the best, but some of these just kill me.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Failure of the Day: Plenty

It’s like this now—Saturday mornings, 7 AM and I’m up and about for no earthly reason except that I just don’t sleep as much as I used to. There are piles of optimism just everywhere today, and as befits my usual outlook, I’m trying not to step in it. I don’t trust it; I keep telling myself it’s just the weather but the truth of that matter as well is that I prefer gray skies.

It’s not the sunshine. It’s that certain of our most mundane problems seem to be finally about ready to finish up—making room for the next round of mundane problems to be sure—but, in our probably more creepy than funny relationship vernacular, we are both feeling “light in the tunnel-y.”

We’re getting the car detailed today with a gift certificate I got him for xmas. So while we wait we’ll wander around downtown or take Muni someplace. Chris has never been on the streetcars—total public transit rookie—so it takes on the air of an adventure. What neighborhood will we emerge into? Duboce Triangle? West Portal? Upper Haight? Suddenly I’m a crazy-eyed Gene Wilder on a gondola.

I could splash around in my metaphor a little longer I suppose but I think that’s probably plenty.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Failure of the Day: Beeeeeeeeeeyond the Rim of Starlight

Chris (now a full-fledged blogging maniac) just wrote the definitive eulogy for his beloved Treks. I encourage you to not dawdle here; just go straight to his blog—it’s much funnier than this one.

For what it’s worth, I found Enterprise largely unwatchable. The communal shower scenes alone did me in. Because, you know what I don’t need? Hot naked Vulcans, that’s what. I also never stopped being pissed at Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap because that show didn’t have a single damn thing to do with Schrödinger’s cat or photons that sometimes act like particles and other times act like waves or anything. (And come to think of it, I’m still mad at Keanu Reeves too, because his movie The Replacements is never about what I want it to be about either.)

I’ve considered being worked up about the pending lack of Trek but I don’t think I’ve got it in me. I loved the original series as a tot, and I really liked Next Generation but my interest fell precipitously during its run and did not recover for Deep Space 9 or Voyager. I think I might still be mad that the openly gay crew member never materialized—and jeez, don’t I have a lot of cinematic grudges all of a sudden?—but more likely it’s that they made the mistake at some point of showing the 24th century outside the scope of life in the Federation, and wow, it looked great! WAY better than the militaristic, one-fucken-alien-or-another-always-wants-to-kill-you rigmarole of life aboard the Enterprise.

And then that was the show I wanted to watch—the 24th century OC. I mean, just because you’re in space does that mean you have to blow stuff up? Aren’t their sarcastic teenage Jews in space who have a lot of ennui and read too much and never fire weapons? Where’s that show?