June 2007


Someone put up a Wikipedia entry about me. Pretty cool, I guess. Makes me feel like a statue primed and ready for pigeon droppings.

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Nice set at onedit by the English poet Sean Bonney called “Baudelaire in English.” Suggests Steve McCaffery’s “Carnival” crossed with Pierre Guyotat’s Eden Eden Eden.

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I placed a bid today on a house in Philadelphia. All I can say is watch this video to get any impression of my mood right now, and of what I imagine happening at la Casa de Stefans. All of these ladies are invited to my house on closing day!

Here’s a picture, kind of boxy (like much of Philadelphia) but in its own strange, Charles Brockden Brown-ish (the Poe of Philly) way, glorious. It reminds me, not a little bit, of Ezra Pound’s flat in Kensington Gardens, except with stray newspapers and cans, instead of skeins of loose silk, littering the adjoining empty lot.

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I should mention that my nabe (future nabe, don’t jinx me) has had a reputation for not being friendly to “non-whites” — that bare wall seems ripe for some anti-Korean symbol to adorn it — at least as related to me by a local bar owner. But I’m quite confident that they will all love me as much as you, my blog readers, already do. And I think the apparent provinciality of Fishtown (yes, it’s called Fishtown) is over-stated.

Really, it’s a great place, just read THIS:

Beautifully renovated home in HOT area. Large 4 bedroom end unit is ready to move in. When you enter, you will notice the 9+ foot ceilings and new laminate flooring throughout the first floor. The living room (and entire house) has been professionally and beautifully painted. The dining room is spacious and has a powder room neatly located in the corner. The kitchen boasts new cabinets, sink, dishwasher, and range. The back yard provides privacy and is landscaped. The second and third floors each have two bedrooms. The second floor has an ENORMOUS hall bath w/ceramic tile. New w/w carpet runs throughout both floors. Other upgrades include newly coated roof, new windows through out, new heater, new water heater, upgraded plumbing, and updated electric. Block has had complete make-over (many other homes already renovated or nearing completion). Near the proposed casinos – make this your home and enjoy the financial appreciation to come!

This is all true. “Near the casinos” is a little frightening but they haven’t been built yet, I might be out by then, and they are on the other side of a huge highway, right on the water (I am not near the water at all) — just a sales pitch, in fact. I’d rather have that than a new basketball stadium (Philadelphia teams SUCK), though I think the design for the Nets stadium in Park Slope is actually quite gorgeous.

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One of my favorite sites these days is the Experimental Gameplay Project. Started by a small braintrust at Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, the website has expanded beyond the initial goals — to prototype and create as many games as possible within two semesters, each game being designed and completed within 7 days — to include excellent contributions from non-original members of the team.

Kind of like Dogme 95, which I also loved, there are some basic rules involved, simple but suggestive:

1. Each game must be made in less than seven days,
2. Each game must be made by exactly one person,
3. Each game must be based around a common theme i.e. “gravity”, “vegetation”, “swarms”, etc.

The final one reflects the project’s engagement with simulation–i.e. using algorithms that replicate phenomena from physics, to pull the games out of the already outworn genres of “first-person shooter,” etc. The goal is the creation of new video game genres, in fact; at least, that’s how I read it. No more jumping over barrels!

I’ve been interested in the idea of an “auteur” theory to game design, which is to say, games that–collectively under the sign of a single creator–reflect an individual vision by the maker, something inchoate that lurks behind the single productions that reflects a “signature” style or set of interests. Perhaps a poetic vision–speed, movement, color, causality, all point toward a sort of philosophy, if not “of life” than at least of society, as described in Homo Ludens (but I won’t go there right now).

Video games, like films in the past, have been associated with exteremely expensive, commercial production, usually collaborative (the collaboration often collapsing, or being overly-determined, by economic pressures), but the Experimental Gameplay Project seems to point to something new–like independent comics, toward a quirky if often unsettling interaction between illustrative or even abstract visual styles, elliptical or pop-savvy narrative and “interactivity” (in the comics’ case, in the negotiation of the formal intricacies of creating connections from often crazily arranged boxes, speech bubbles, iconic/ambiguous gestalt-driven drawing/symbolic style, etc.)

Did you get all that?

One of my favorites is “On a Rainy Day,” which is downright creepy but calming in an indescribable way. You can also play the terrorist at “Suicide Bomber” (not so much a game as a fascinating simulation engine) or play the master builder at “Tower of Goo” or “Suburban Brawl.”

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Here are some very old phonetic (after the first poem) translations of Rilke that have a sort of flarf-y feel to them. I found them in my papers recently — I had hoped to do the whole set but got bored, I guess.

Mutter Tongue (To Hearing)

after Rilke

I. 1.

A tree climbed there. O pure transcendence! 
Oh Orpheus sings! Oh high tree in ear!
And all went silent. Yet in that silence
came  forth new Beginning, Sign and dizzy Change.

Animals from stillness appeared within the clear,
disrupted forest—outside lairs and nests!
So, I discovered: that it was not out of cunning
nor from fear that they had become so lithe—but, rather,

from Hearing. Bellowing, shrieking, and roaring
seemed tiny in their hearts! Where
there was barely a hut for this to retire in,

some hideaway for the darkest needs
with an entrance whose posts were trembling—
you made a temple for them in Hearing.

I. 2

Unfasten Mad Chen wars aging heretofore
out-dieseled Heinekens glued frothing and queer,
unghastly, Karl, dirtier fooling shies
under-masculine, behind bets in mingling ores.

Anti-leaf emir, anti-all warrior Stuff.
D-bombing, D-itchy bee wonders, teeth
full-born Inferno, D-girl-footing weasels
and Jaeger-standing, Dartmouth shelf of graft.

Scene-shift the belt. Sinking her golf, rebates
choosy following, dastardly burger-hadda,
earth whacking shoe shone? Si, si Hermann, and deep.

Vote is Herzog? O, fearest you Demoting
elf-fingered wok, hay-sick, dyingly fair-haired?
Voting she in, house mare?… Unfasten Mad Chen…

I. 6

Ether in heat-seeker? Nine! House-biding
ripened earwax styling wider gnat hair,
kinder-car bowlers die smiling their violence,
fair-thee-for-Zelda fight, under-fair.

Gates wear zoo beds, solace opted tissues,
brought tics and milked tics, detonating seats
over air. Dervish worrying missions
enter dermatological decision meets,

eerily shining. Immolating, key shouting
and dearth sobbing from earth, round and round,
sigh, insolvent. Weed the chorus of Zoot Suits,

nifty can-dancing. Ultimate build in their swimming,
guys ass out-grabbing, guises out slimming,
boomerangs her fingering. Spanish, aunt prudes.

I. 9

Noon. Where the liar showed up,
ouched under shitting,
barfed those unend-licking slobs,
owning ur-sitting.

Noon. Where mis-tokened from moon
assed, found them earring,
veered Nick, then lice-system Tom,
feature fare leering.

Maggie outs the spree-glands in time’s
offense, farce woman,
fixing that spill.

Earnest item tripled by rhymes
fears, then, cyclamen,
ear-wig, animal.

I. 13

Fuller dabbles: burning un-bananas
stipple-bearing… all is decent pricks,
total libbing, intense bunsen hounds
(lest its idle kiss form an igloo’s licks)…

vent its sea/earth check. The commies won fight.
Veered, ach, long same, numbing loss in moon?
Woe songs, words warren, fleecing soon,
out-damned food fights, upper rafter’s fright.

Wagged, too, Sagan, vast ear apple’s nun,
Decent Susan, D-sick, airiest verdict
Ma’am, in schmuckable lies out the tic tac,

car too burdened. Fog in trans-parent,
double-dutied, sonny, urging. He sings:
“O earth-farting, fool’s lung, Freud and… Rather!”

I. 18

Horace! do Dad’s lawyer, hear!
draw him, or babe him.
(“Come in, fair kin, there,
thee is third heaven!”)

Spar his kind Boring, while
idiot Dirk’s opted. Buy
docks’ thermal “in style”
Will Self’s gallon eye.

“Si, demon sheener.”
(We thee sick waltz, rashed,
attendants salt, and smashed.)

Hot, thee (outs Answer Craft)
sea-owner lied and staffed
tribes and diners.

I. 22

Weird stint, the bribing men
(over, then, shitter sites)
named in as Kindly Guy
“him, him… er… imbibing them.”

Alice, alas, eyeing ends
(wired Sean, fore-rubber Sign),
bent is, for violins:
earth wight, unspined.

Can Obie, over tense smut,
in it, on dismal kite,
(mixed, indent “Fool for Sue”)

alias Easter House-guest Dude,
dangle and “I” Iggy’s height?
Blooming, and Boo!

II. 1

Ad-men, do umpteenth, boorishly shtick!
Inner fort, strum dice Eisner,
sine Rhine, eyeing a Tao-ter felt rum. Go gainst wish,
in time it’s mixed roomlier shrine to ya.

High ziggier feller, do in
all make Escher mirrors, in pin,
spare hamster, doof on alone-moodier lynch peering,
round gain wind.

Wheat fields frond doozier stale-mates, diorama for showing,
inanity in un-mire, munching fins,
stint free, fond sun.

Irk gents tool Mitch, loved, true, Vole knocked in stymier court,
true, hind-men glutted rinse?
Run, dung, and splat Midas’s works.

II. 2

Slowly, damned master, munch meal desultorily,
near blood, do Newark like strict
Abraham, so named off-stage, elder that’s hiding
hind-sighting, laughing, dervishes in sick

wrens, Eden morning ear-problems aligning
odors in glances, third preening end-lickers
ending. Dance ad-men directing the kickers
patter, faulted, moored in shining.

Vast havens, now again finest in un-Russiad
lands, fair glowing, dare communing, gay, shout
bucking death’s labels, for immune fear laundries

ach, dare-haired—working the four ushers?
Newer, veered into naught, prizing them louts,
single the Hertz—that, in its Grantas, goes boundaries.

II. 9

Rude oaf, hair-shifting man, Nick, their end-bearing, folders
unfast-fast fasten neat longer and hold. Speed!
Hiney is the guy-girl’s, sky-hind’s, wide, older
cramps, thermal host star—indeed.

Washes dirt slightly, beacon, Thad’s shit, Dad’s shat off,
very abrupt—weekender here spills from Zurich.
All them gabber’s stop, enshrined, unshouldered—through it.
Offends the heart? Err enters—“parr” (golf).

Fear licking Builder, a crammer, vaulting—a giraffe
trailing (bum sick), feeling god-liking Saran
mares—as unwound for the Grecian gorillas, that laugh.

Vinny was kicked—Hal’s de-heimliched Liza’s girl roll-on,
(she used him in interim), she vaguely around
free in-still-sprawling-as Kids—house an under-arrest brawl-in.

II. 16

Inner ear there from yous Alf girl dissing!
Is there God, dear, Stella’s fella highed?
Fearing sharpers den fear vote lent, advising!
Haver her ear pissed hotter and espied?

Sulks the rhino. The goo-widened spender.
Kneads more enders, kicks in Seinfeld’s welt,
ails indemnity sticks, damns fry menders.
Under Bs vaguely, en-Gorgon stealthed.

Immured, the dodoes stinked
out their hero’s phone, in sclerotic quills, he
vended their guts, dim smiling Sheik, and Totes them.

Un-sworded new Zardoz, alarming Angie’s Thames,
“unda’s lame urban pits,” (Seinfeld’s shell), he
outed Dem’s Schillery instinct.

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