today

Woke up somehow hung over without having consumed any alcohol.

Cat barf on carpet.

First attempt to make coffee unsuccessful because I did not use water.

Opened cat food can in wrong direction so that minute particles of wet cat food went in my eye. Eye care advice: do not put cat food in your eye.

Inexplicable communication from government agency regarding money.

Rushed shower to meet friends for lunch. Therefore had not completely removed soap from hands before putting in contact lenses. Eye care advice: do not put soap on a contact lens and then place it in your eye.

Lunch with friends was good!

Santa Ana wind gusts to 60 mph. High tension lines flailing in traffic with arcing and explosions. Trash cans bouncing down the street like Rover from The Prisoner. Big-ass brush fire up off Santiago with at least one severe burn victim.

Inability to clean house; spiral of shame.

Kéan Coffee: Good coffee. Ibuprofen and ranitidine. LA Times food section full of inexcusably bad writing, particularly from S. Irene Virbila. I maintain that she is one of the Andy Kaufman clones or possibly a tulpa manifestation of the narrator of The Debt to Pleasure. Examples today:

A fresh spirit is blowing through the Paris dining scene… …A friend who loves wine told me about Le Villaret, a small bistro with stone and half-timbered walls in the the 11th arrondissement, Paris’ equivalent to Silver Lake.

Also, a recipe for Blanquette de Veaux (HOW MANY VEALS ARE TO BE USED?)

Another writer suggests fancying-up mac ‘n’ cheese: My personal cheese advisor Steven Jenkins, who wrote the definitive guide “Cheese Primer,” suggests bringing the dish up to 2006 cheese-aisle standards by using a fresh goat’s milk cheese, mascarpone, Gorgonzola dolce and a sheep’s milk cheese from Spain (manchego, Idiazábal, Roncal) or from France (Ossau-Iraty). The combination is almost other-worldly, much more nuanced than the predictable original.

Start the reactor.

Back to cleaning; spiral of shame deepens. Fortunately, maternal flight delayed from 7 until 10:30 pm. Then, flight delayed further. Uh oh, I know where this is going. Yep! The flight will now miss the curfew for SNA and be diverted to LAX.

Folks I’m going to drive into L.A. to meet a flight at LAX at 1 am now. I wonder what I’ll put in my eye first?

Windbag alert and attention conservation notice

I have developed a manifesto-sized idea and am about to blog it out. You have been warned. Long essays making a large cultural point can’t be sold and published conventionally unless the author is a respected and eminent intellectual or a rock ‘n’ roll star. Those who can, do; those who aren’t, blog.

This may fizzle or may be several essays; I’m not sure where I’m going to pinch off the blog yet. Because of TL;DR in this post-literate medium I present some bullet points below for those who aren’t going to plow through the thing.

  • Irony is worse than dead, it’s suicidal.
  • Stop celebrating bad art, bad food, and evil. There’s a place for enjoying things that are so bad they’re good. It isn’t the place called “the entire culture.” Giving up on quality of any kind has more serious consequences than we might think.
  • Phony postmodernism kills. Take the risk of being well-meaning and sincere. A couple of poorly understood Cultural Studies classes does not confer the privilege of detached Godhood.
  • Permanent adolescence is no improvement over permanent childhood. Living our lives fully and meaningfully is a duty to others and not just to ourselves.
  • Subcultures, fandoms, and gaming worlds are eating a generation of privileged and educated people alive when we could and should be doing well and doing good. Come out of the couch fort and live.
  • Cheap fatalism is a crime of privilege. Admitting defeat in advance hurts many, many people less fortunate than we are before it touches us.

I freely admit in advance that I will be didactic, pretentious, and annoyingly prescriptive. It’s likely that I’ll also be irrelevant and that I will make a fool of myself. I have no formal training in philosophy or sociology and will probably reinvent various wheels poorly.

But sometimes an idea just arrives and possesses me. This one has sat on me for years, and is at the root of a troublesome fiction project that won’t budge. Tormenting my small audience with an unsaleable vanity-press think piece is the best I can do with it right now.

Further material in this series will be tagged “ironyproject.”

THERMOBARIC

  1. The initial anaerobic detonation reaction, microseconds in duration, is primarily a redox reaction of molecular species. The initial detonation reaction defines the system’s high pressure performance characteristics: armor penetrating ability.
  2. The post detonation anaerobic combustion reaction, hundreds of microseconds in duration, is primarily a combustion of fuel particles too large for combustion in the initial detonation wave. The post detonation anaerobic reaction define the system’s intermediate pressure performance characteristics: Wall/Bunker Breaching Capability.
  3. The post detonation aerobic combustion reaction, milliseconds in duration, is the combustion of fuel rich species as the shock wave mixes with surrounding air. The post detonation aerobic reaction characteristics define the system’s personnel / material defeat capability: Impulse and Thermal Delivery. Aerobic combustion requires mixing with sufficient air to combust excess fuels. The shock wave pressures are less than 10 atmospheres. The majority of aerobic combustion energy is available as heat. Some low pressure shock wave enhancement can also be expected for personnel defeat. Personnel / material defeat with minimum collateral structure damage requires maximum aerobic enhancement and the highest energy practical fuel additives: Boron, Aluminum, Silicon, Titanium, Magnesium, Zirconium, Carbon, or Hydrocarbons.

ripples

One of my dad’s former students and a family friend is Marti Leimbach. She has been a successful novelist since the MFA program, with one of those kaboom debuts. Her first novel was Dying Young, which was not only a very good book but was made into a movie, causing fame and money, etc. (The book is way better than the movie for anyone who only knows the latter.)

Looks like she’s going to make another big dent with her newest, Daniel Isn’t Talking. It’s really great to see Dad’s friends and students doing so well. Thirteen years after his death, you can see the effect of teaching and mentoring continue.

Chabon on MFA programs and being a little shit

This is interesting. Michael Chabon was a student of my father’s in the UCI MFA program more than 20 years ago. He’s been a family friend since, and I also admire his writing.

In his website column this week he writes about the value of the program. He’s given props to my dad before by name, many times, which was gratifying. This is more interesting. He talks about the phenomenon of being “a little shit” as he says he was, or more particularly a talented by self-absorbed young privileged man, and then being dumped into a group of peers who were talented and also different: older, more experienced, more mature, and more than half of them female.

Food for thought, especially on the topic of male literary misogyny. Oh, and I see it was published in Details, the magazine of little shits everywhere.

My Orwellian Day

Nick and I talked for about an hour about Orwell and specifically 1984. People use the word “Orwellian” a lot or say “That’s so 1984“, but it’s a lot more than just totalitarianism and the abuse of language. 1984 is rich in detail and just about every single little detail is accurate almost to the degree of prophecy. If you haven’t read it, or haven’t read it in the last decade, go read.

Later I saw a regular whose name I didn’t know reading Orwell from a magazine reprint. I buttonholed him and said “Orwell! Good stuff!” and we had a big talk. He’s a high school teacher and was preparing lessons. I told him about the big fat cheap Orwell essays book. He said “Animal Farm is the book I recommend for my friends who don’t read, because it’s so easy and short and so full of huge ideas.” I really liked him. I also pointed him towards Politics and the English Language, about which he had forgotten.

Then I went to Mother’s and bought groceries and the cost was $19.84. At one point I was on a screen at the checkout that said “19.84: YES OR NO?” and to get my food I had to click YES. I clicked it. They fed me. I loved Big Mother.

In unrelated news I found out that the-silent-one has a GUN hanging in her DOGHOUSE. You’ve been warned.