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October 2002

Fashion!

Call me SparkyOne of my latest ongoing projects has veered into the nebulous world of fashion, believe it or not. Fashion isn't much of a preoccupation of mine (which may be obvious if you see me in the flesh), but I think I may be on to something: iron-on flocking! In my eternal quest to collect beautiful, goofy, weird, or random typography (Typographic things are the only stuff I really collect. All the other junk I have just seems to find its way to me.), I’ve started hoarding lots of old wooden type and iron-on letters and numbers of all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Now, with the help of the wide varety of inexpensive shirts and jackets at H&M and various thrift stores, I’ve started applying all kinds of typographic designs to shirts and junk. It's mostly been for presents and stuff so far (and I think typographic clothing will be the theme of this year's Christmas craft efforts), but I’m also planning on hawking stuff here on the site before long. You'll be able to pick from things I’ve already made, or you can make requests: send me some clothing and some words to work with, or send me some favorite phrases and have them expressed with typographic élan on a cheap Swedish t-shirt. Get yours now!

This whole thing is part of a pattern that’s been emerging. The more my professional life immerses me in computer junk, the more my personal work turns toward making things. I like things you can see and touch. Even as a graphic designer, tactility has been a big concern of mine. These days, I like to use my hands to do things, not computers. I’m collecting the means of production and using my former-factory digs as, well a factory. Papermaking, bookbinding, collage, printmaking, iron-ons, letterpress, silkscreening (and you'd be surprised how easy it is to find all this stuff for next-to-nothing on eBay) it's all so easy to start exploring, and the results can be so satisfying. Running a web site is fun and interesting, but it's also ephemeral. I want to see things and hold things, and hand things to peope as gifts and see how they react to what they can touch. It's good stuff.

I’m Mad as Hell

Once again, I’ve managed to see a time-honored classic to which I hadn't paid much attention, and I was thunderstruck to realize why it has been so highly regarded. As a bonus, I discovered that it perfectly articulated by wielding deadly weapons of satire and cynical foreshadowing a great many ideas that have been oin my mind lately, ones I’d been struggling to force into coherent sentences here. So forget about what it was was going to say, just make sure oyu get off your buuts and watch (or watch again, if it's been a while) Network:

Mr. Jensen (a shadowy corporate warlord): You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear? You think you've merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity. It is ecological balance. You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians! There are no Arabs! There are no third worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems; one vast, interwoven, interacting, multivaried, multinational dominion of dollars!

You'll find the whole movie chillingly relevant.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rain

Zubby always swore that barometric pressure was the root of many day-to-day mood swings and discomforts, and I always scoffed. It sounded preposterous, and frankly I didn't trust the research credentials of his high-school science teacher. The older and more observant I get, though, the more I find myself seeing the sense in that nonsense. I’m willing to admit that all those high-school science teachers and those old wives with their tales and those crabby war vets may be on to something. (Also, I can find enough via Google corroborate.)

Today, for instance: bleah. It's grey and rainy and it promises to stay that way. Just like the end of last week, when everyone I spoke to seemed to overcome by dreariness to have any fun. (Luckily for my reputation as a host, their enthusiasm for free beer won out.) We had a break for a day, by the onset of rain today has brought on the blahs once again with a vengeance.

I sleep in a dark, windowless nook at the back of the Swanktuary, so I had no idea whether or not it was actually raining, but I could only assume from my sluggishness and the grey pallor outside my little den that the barometric pressure had bottomed out again. I couldn't move. I wasn't really sleepy, but I was dreary. I wasn't depressed, just unwilling to move. Sitting here at work looking at the grey, washed out views of Midtown and the East River, I’m not feeling much more chipper. It's the perfect day to be under a blanket, cuddling with someone warm or watching screwball comedies.

Bleah, I say. Bleah!

Time Keeps on Slipping, Slipping, Slipping

I need to find a way to stop sleeping altogether. I need those eight hours to be much more productive, or I’m never going to get a damn thing done. With an extra eight hours of usefulness during the day I could make some headway on my growing list of arty/crafty projects, I could sort through my 3,000 MP3s, I could write more, I could find time to catch up with friends and family, I could return phone calls, I could exercise, I could clean my apartment. It would be incredible!

But my problem isn't the lethargy that had been dogging me for so long. I’ve been feeling great for a while now sharp as a tack and full of ideas and eager to participate in the world at large again and at first I was worried that my months of depression might be balanced out by a period of mania. Well, I think I’m just normal when I’m not depressed. If I had any trace of mania, I could get a whole lot more done.

In between the running of my many errands, attending a lecture and a movie, and other assorted puttering, I managed to co-host (along with the damnably perky Glenn) a whizbang shindig this past Saturday. It was the most people we ever had in the Swanktuary at one time: a whopping 38! That was a pretty impressive crowd for a dreary, rainy Saturday night, but the place still seemed relatively empty. (I heart my enormous, cheap, treasure-filled apartment.) Minor details appear on the web sites of some of the 15 or so bloggers who were there, if you feel like hunting through the links page. I was glad to meet a bunch of new people, from both online worlds and off, including a few I’d been trying to lure over for a while now. (Gratuitous plug: Maybe So, put together by Josh's sister's boyfriend, pits user-submitted jokes against one another to determine how funny they are with a Darwinistic approach.)

I intended to keep some things running on the TV for background imagery, but my choices were too compelling: at one point half the guests became transfixed by the voluptuous horror of The Star Wars Holiday Special and my episode of Wonder Woman dubbed in Portuguese. As an added bonus, a few people even got to see selected scenes from a Colombian soap opera in which an old ex-boyfriend of mine overacts in the most spectacular fashion. Thrills!

Oh, I also went to go see Bowling for Columbine, which was both funny and incredibly thought-provoking. You really owe it to yourself to see it.

I suppose there's more to write about, but I’m just not in verbal mode very often these days. The return of my creative juices has kept my mind racing, but not in ways that lend themselves to explanation. I want to make things and play and hang around and stuff. I’m almost tempted to say I feel like taking a break from the site, but we all know that’s nonsense. If I did, fifteen minutes later I’d think of an epic post that would make you laugh, cry, think, and take to the streets in protest! Oh well, I guess I'll just go home and make some paper and save us all the trouble.

Excuses, Excuses

I was hoping to liven things up today with some pictures taken with my sexy new camera, but I still haven't been able to retrieve the test shots lodged in its tiny memory. Dagnabbit! I knew that stupid Logitech decided not to release any Mac drivers (although apparently there were given some by the developer), but I wasn't too concerned until I realized that my PC at work has a vestigial USB port, and my slow, stupid copy of Virtual PC won't complete the software installation. Grrrrrr! I squandered a whole evening wrangling with that problem, when I should've made some progress on this handmade book I’m working on.

That’s been a bit of a theme lately, as those of you who've been waiting for updates or e-mail responses might have noticed: I’m not getting much done lately. Work has been busy (not awful, but just busy), which eats into a lot of prime blogging and correspondence time, and most nights have been squandered catching up on some badly neglected little projects. Well, there's also been another theme of taking some time to enjoy some deeply satisfying good company, but I don't begrudge myself that because I deserve it.

Still, I owe lots of letters and phone calls and insightful blog prose, and I haven't been very diligent about any of those. Ah well, I’d rather see all of you in person, anyway, so we can catch up with smiles and hugs and junk like that. You know when and where, so don't let me down.

The Good, The Bad, The Unwatchable

Did you know that if you use NetFlix you can get a listing of every movie you've ever rented from them? Be careful, though: you may cringe to be reminded of all those duds you rented through the mail because they were too embarrassing to see in public. Behold the evidence of my dueling interests in great films and utter trash:

The Flicks
Rented
Absolutely Fabulous: Series #4 (2001)
09/24/02
Speedway Junky (1999)
09/24/02
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (2000)
07/30/02
Wonderland (2000)
08/23/02
Joe Gould's Secret (2000)
07/30/02
Fellini Satyricon (1969)
06/13/02
Seven (1995)
06/19/02
Cannibal!: The Musical: Special Edition (1996)
06/13/02
BASEketball (1998)
06/13/02
To Die For (1995)
04/30/02
Rancid Aluminum (2000)
05/29/02
The Princess and the Warrior (2000)
05/29/02
Blithe Spirit (1945)
04/30/02
Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
04/09/02
Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
04/13/02
Wonder Boys: Special Edition (2000)
04/12/02
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
03/25/02
Lola & Billy the Kid (1999)
03/26/02
Office Space (1999)
02/08/02
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000)
02/28/02
The Journey of Jared Price (2000)
02/07/02
You Can Count on Me (2000)
12/08/01
Broadway Damage (1997)
01/24/02
The Truman Show (1998)
12/31/01
Invaders from Mars (1953)
11/30/00
The Sound of Music: Bonus Disc (1965)
12/06/01
The Sound of Music: Special Edition (1965)
11/15/01
Unbreakable: Bonus Disc (2000)
10/02/01
Head On (1999)
11/16/01
Gay Deceivers (1969)
11/02/01
Space: 1999: Vol. 1 (1975)
11/14/01
Unbreakable: Bonus Disc (2000)
10/17/01
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Movie (1992)
10/31/01
Special Interviews for Dil HaiHindustani, Pukar, Hey Ram
10/09/01
The Crow: City Of Angels (1996)
10/19/01
Josie and the Pussycats (2001)
10/18/01
The Celluloid Closet (1995)
09/22/01
The Powerpuff Girls: The Mane Event: Special Edition (1998)
09/24/01
Unbreakable (2000)
09/26/01
South Park #2 (1997)
08/30/01
Free Enterprise: Special Edition (1998)
09/08/01
Red Planet (2000)
09/05/01
The Powerpuff Girls: Down 'n' Dirty (2000)
08/30/01
Shooting Fish (1997)
08/28/01
The Crow (1994)
08/17/01
Green Plaid Shirt (2000)
08/18/01
The Powerpuff Girls: Powerpuff Bluff (2000)
08/10/01
Blade: Platinum Edition (1998)
08/08/01
Dracula 2000 (2000)
08/07/01
Gothic Industrial Madness (2000)
08/08/01
Love, Honor and Obey (2000)
07/28/01
Empire Records (1995)
07/26/01
The House of Mirth (2000)
07/27/01
Hard Core Logo (2000)
07/25/01
X-Men: Phoenix Saga (2000)
07/21/01
American Movie (1999)
07/16/01
Querelle (1982)
07/14/01
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
07/10/01
Nico Icon (1995)
07/05/01
Fantastic Voyage/ Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1966)
07/05/01
Space: 1999: Vol. 3 (1975)
07/03/01
The Pillow Book (1997)
06/15/01
Little Voice (1998)
06/23/01
Sex and the City: The Complete Second Season: Disc 3 (1999)
06/15/01
A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
06/21/01
Sex and the City: The Complete Second Season: Disc 2 (1999)
06/08/01
Mansfield Park: Special Edition (1999)
06/07/01
Sex and the City: The Complete Second Season: Disc 1 (1999)
06/07/01
To Play or to Die (1991)
05/29/01
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
05/17/01
Sid & Nancy: Criterion Collection (1986)
05/17/01
Barbarella (1968)
05/15/01
Titus: Bonus Disc (1999)
05/08/01
The American President (1995)
05/05/01
Marat / Sade (1967)
04/27/01
Space: 1999: Vol. 4 (1975)
04/27/01
Dune: Part 2 (2000)
04/25/01
Dune (1984)
04/25/01
Parting Glances (1986)
04/14/01
Dune: Disc 1 (2000)
04/16/01
Sex Is ... (1993)
04/19/01
Romper Stomper: Bonus Disc (1992)
04/10/01
Suburbia: Special Edition (1983)
03/22/01
Romper Stomper (1992)
04/03/01
The Thing: Collector's Edition (1982)
03/08/01
The Sixth Sense: Special Edition (1999)
03/08/01
Space: 1999: Vol. 2 (1975)
03/23/01
Leviathan (1989)
03/10/01
Rollerball: Special Edition (1975)
03/12/01
Love and Death on Long Island (1996)
02/28/01
Nights Of Cabiria: Criterion Collection (1957)
02/09/01
Black and White: Special Edition (1999)
02/19/01
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
02/22/01
Groove (2000)
02/16/01
Invaders from Mars (1953)
02/08/01
Dark Star: Director's Cut (1974)
01/02/01
Forbidden Planet (1956)
01/16/01
East Side Story (1997)
12/12/00
Missile to the Moon (1959)
12/14/00
East Is East (1999)
11/30/00
Rocketship X-M (1950)
11/10/00
Quatermass and the Pit: Special Edition (1968)
10/23/00
Project Moonbase (1953)
11/13/00
Quatermass 2 (1957)
11/10/00
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
10/21/00
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
10/11/00
Gothic (1987)
10/10/00
Mumford (1999)
10/02/00
Ready to Rumble (2000)
10/02/00
Twin Falls Idaho (1999)
09/08/00
American Psycho: Unrated Version (2000)
09/15/00
2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
09/12/00
Cradle Will Rock (1999)
09/06/00
Defying Gravity (1997)
08/31/00
Bedrooms and Hallways (2000)
08/31/00
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
08/25/00
Sex and the City: The Complete First Season (1998)
08/26/00
Fight Club (1999)
08/07/00
The Adventures of Sebastian Cole (1999)
08/18/00
Alive & Kicking (1996)
08/18/00
Steam: The Turkish Bath (1997)
08/01/00
The Wild One (1954)
08/08/00
Pushing Tin (1999)
08/03/00
BoyFriends (2000)
07/31/00
Edge Of Seventeen (2000)
07/28/00
Being John Malkovich (1999)
07/14/00
Trekkies (1999)
07/12/00
Mandragora (1997)
07/19/00
Get Real (1999)
07/11/00
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
07/03/00
Strangers on a Train (1951)
07/01/00
Sweet and Lowdown (1999)
07/01/00
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
07/01/00
Your Friends & Neighbors (1998)
06/07/00
Gypsy (1962)
05/31/00
Beastie Boys: Sabotage (1996)
06/02/00
Xanadu (1980)
05/26/00
Beautiful Girls (1996)
05/30/00
Central Station (1998)
05/20/00
Heat (1972)
05/19/00
Davey and Goliath (1962)
05/11/00
The Killing of Sister George (1968)
05/11/00
Pecker: Platinum Edition (1998)
05/01/00
Girl on a Motorcycle (1968)
05/10/00
Metroland (2000)
05/06/00
SLC Punk (1999)
04/26/00
Never Been Kissed (1999)
05/02/00
Dick (1999)
04/13/00
She's All That (1999)
04/15/00
Wing Commander (1999)
04/22/00
Smashing Time (1967)
04/19/00
Splendor (1999)
04/08/00
Kika (1993)
03/23/00
Modern Vampires: Special Edition (1999)
04/05/00
Idle Hands (1999)
04/05/00
Boys Life 2 (1998)
03/21/00
Urban Legend (1998)
03/29/00
Very Natural Thing (1973)
03/23/00
Bottle Rocket (1996)
03/21/00
The House of Yes (1997)
03/06/00
More Tales of the City Vol. 2: Episodes 5-6 (1998)
03/14/00
Liquid Sky (1982)
03/10/00
More Tales of the City Vol. 1: Episodes 1-4 (1998)
03/14/00
Pleasantville: Platinum Edition (1998)
01/26/00
Different For Girls (1996)
03/06/00
Run Lola Run (1998)
03/06/00
Muppets from Space (1999)
12/28/99
Trick (1999)
02/20/00
Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For (1999)
02/22/00
Tromeo & Juliet: Special Edition (1995)
02/26/00
Playing by Heart (1998)
02/21/00
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
02/12/00
Clockwatchers (1997)
02/13/00
Grace Of My Heart: Collector's Edition (1996)
01/31/00
Logan's Run: Special Edition (1976)
01/27/00
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
01/12/00
The Doom Generation (1995)
01/12/00
Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
01/20/00
Deep Rising (1998)
01/19/00
Ultraman #2 (1960)
01/13/00
Jawbreaker (1999)
12/28/99
Poison (1991)
12/30/99
54 (1998)
12/30/99
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
12/20/99
American Pie: Collector's Edition (Unrated Version) (1999)
12/21/99
The Matrix (1999)
11/17/99
Psycho 1998: Collector's Edition (1998)
12/07/99
Ma Vie En Rose (1997)
12/21/99
Hair (1979)
12/07/99
Election: Special Edition (1999)
12/09/99
Cruel Intentions (Remastered Version) (1999)
11/27/99
Existenz (1999)
11/29/99
Cabaret: Special Edition (1972)
11/29/99
The Stepford Wives (1975)
11/09/99
Enemy of the State (1998)
11/21/99
Velvet Goldmine (1998)
11/18/99
Apt Pupil (1998)
11/14/99
Go (1999)
11/09/99
200 Cigarettes (1999)
11/09/99
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