August 2009


Two friends of mine from the Philly days dropping in to keep it real. They have a few readings up in SF around this time as well, but I don’t have that info.

Sunday, September 13 2009 at 4:00pm

@ The Poetic Research Bureau
3702 San Fernando Blvd
Glendale, CA 91206

Doors open at 4:00pm
Reading starts at 4:30pm

$5 donation requested

CAConrad is the recipient of THE GIL OTT BOOK AWARD for The Book of Frank (Chax Press, 2009). He is also the author of Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull Press, 2009), (Soma)tic Midge (Faux Press, 2008), Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006), and a forthcoming collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock titled THE CITY REAL & IMAGINED: Philadelphia Poems (Factory School Books, 2010). CAConrad is the son of white trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. He invites you to visit him online at http://CAConrad.blogspot.com and also with his friends at http://PhillySound.blogspot.com.

Frank Sherlock is the author of Over Here (Factory School 2009) and the co-author of Ready-To-Eat Individual (Lavender Ink 2008) with Brett Evans. A collaboration with CAConrad entitled The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems is forthcoming from Factory School in January 2010.

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I’ve recently redesigned Arras.net, the first redesign in seven years. The site’s no longer pretending to be a portal into the world of electronic literature — several other sites, such as the Electronic Literature Organization, do that much better — though I do hope to create a links page of some sort.

It is now pretty much a portfolio and launching pad for my own work in poetry, digital art, publishing, video, and whatever else I’m working on (poster art, software design, etc). The old site wasn’t very effective in terms of launching and promoting new work, and most people who visited didn’t know what work was mine and what by others (I sort of did that on purpose, hence the Reptillian Neolettrist Graphics moniker).

Still a lot of work to be done on the redesign; mostly just been shoveling stuff in there without editing text, resizing images, putting things in chronological order, etc. I’m particularly proud of the web design gallery, as I haven’t done too much freelance web design but a handful of the more recent sites I think are pretty cool.

BTW, Google has taken me off of their search engine temporarily as one of my other blogs (a very old one) got hacked, and Google started treating it (and hence all of Arras) as some sort of two-bit promoter of free logos, pharmaceuticals, and something else, I can’t remember. Oh yeah, hacked Microsoft software. In any case, I’ve reapplied for admission — Google really does own the web.

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One of my old pieces that collaged New York Times articles and the writings of Situationist Raoul Vaneigem has found its way into a journal called International Peacekeeping. The authors cite the article, authored by one “R. Vaneigem,” as describing “the views of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government on Iraqi possession of WMD’s.”

I can’t say that I’m proud of misleading a group of well-intentioned scholars about details of this most recent Iraq war, but then again, they should have read the article and noted its context on arras.net. They didn’t, in fact, quote from the text, and so Vaneigem’s impact on future historians’ views of the war will be quite minimal.

You can see the citation in footnote 45 (on the second page).

View pages on Google Books.

Or you could look at my screencaps. Click to enlarge:




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I was throwing a party in my very unstable house in Philadelphia and wanted to strongly recommend, in fact command, my guests not to flush anything down the second-floor toilet that might clog it. So I created a simple “Uncle George Says…” poster in Photoshop that stated just that, but had so much fun doing it that I had to create more and hang them around the house.

In hindsight, the writing’s not all that good, but I think the concept of crafting an extended, largely paratactic George Carlin rant about things plummeting into the void, and that veers off into the political and surreal, is still interesting.

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The kind of weird shit you can do with Google maps, visit the birthplaces of famous poets:

http://maps.google.com/maps?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=Second%20Ave.%20and%20Pine%20St.%20in%20Hailey%20Idaho&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&sa=N&tab=vl

Now, I don’t exactly know what you’ll get by clicking the above link. Will you get street view automatically? Can’t say. But if you’re not quite sure what to look for, here’s a photograph I took while visiting Ezra Pound’s childhood home in Hailey, Idaho, early this morning at about 3. That’s me in the yellow jumpsuit.

Coming soon: photographs of William Carlos Williams’ house in Rutherford, New Jersey, which I have actually visited — as a patient!

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This has been on heavy rotation on my laptop recently. Elvis singing “one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century,” sweating about a gallon of prescription drugs (mostly during the falsetto break, which he nonetheless crushes) in the process.

I’m also really curious about how he can flash those irreverent, even innocent, smiles during the more dramatic parts of a pretty melodramatic song, and I wonder what the joke was that he was sharing at the moment, and with whom. It’s Mona Lisa all over again.

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This was one of those days when I barely ventured outside, just stayed in and took care of business. Here I am at 10:30 kind of amazed at the weird variety of shite I “did” today.

1. booked a ticket to Mexico City for a short vacation in September (with possible artist talks), travelling with my friend, the poet Roman Lujan (he’s got some accents in there which I can’t reproduce)
2. created new header graphic and wallpaper for FSC (which I consider decent work for the half hour I devoted to it, but otherwise not mindblowing)
3. posted long list of electronic literature works on both this and the netpoetic blog (based on notes I had taken in the past few days)
4. figured out the problem with the exploding-letter algorithm in the new version of Scriptor that I am creating in Processing
5. started (finally) reading New Philosophy for New Media by Mark B. Hansen, some of which was making my eyes bleed but is really sinking in (about up to page 70)
6. sent off copies of two of my poems (rather old ones, one a sestina, the other a translation of Jules LaForgue) because they are being nominated for a Pushcart Prize (maybe I didn’t understand the e-mail correctly, but that’s what the editor wrote)
7. did actually venture out to Ralph’s supermarket to buy some decaf coffee, Krazy Glue, and a bottle of wine
8. tried to figure out, with the Russian lady who manages my building, Vera, why the smoke detector in the second bedroom here has been going off all day — she’s a trip, speaks nearly impenetrable English
9. wrote some cranky emails about this or that (an editing project, an old website I designed that went down because the owner didn’t renew his domain name), and also some nice ones (but always very short)
10. acknowledged some Facebook friend requests (of course!), because everybody loves me — never met any of them before
11. read the Wikipedia entry about Paul Mcartney and Wings, as some of their songs had been coming up in Pandora and I was lovin em (read articles about Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-Il also, contemplated changing Facebook photo — again — to portrait of Kim Jong-Il)
12. downloaded the graphics from the Richard Stockton Overdrive website since I know it will be coming down soon (nobody seems to care about it at Stockton), and I want it for my portfolio
13. made dinner for myself, shared it with my sister (this was the brief moment of my day when I actually interacted with organic material, i.e. an onion and several mushrooms; also communicated with organic material, i.e. my sister)
14. received in the mail the mini-camcorder I ordered online, the Flip Ultra HD, and walked around the apartment shooting ridiculous things like my books and my face, and then downloaded the videos to my iMac, then deleted them
15. wrote a very short blurb for an 800-page, $199 book by Matthew Timmons called Credit (I’m afraid he doesn’t like it), and agreed to do a blurb for Catherine Daly (I think hers clocks in at 146 pp.)
16. watched the catcerto
17. totally screwed up my wireless router in an attempt to get my sister on my wireless network, proceeded to panic for twenty minutes, but actually got it working again in a reasonable amount of time (about an hour)
18. reflected on people I miss and should call, or who should call me (but this was all in the process of multi-tasking)
19. used Krazy Glue to repair the broken slats from these creepy Hollywood blinds that come with my apartment — seems to have worked (Vera showed me how to use the blinds properly so they won’t break)
20. listened to a few tracks from Gary Numan’s The Pleasure Principle (see illustration), an album I’m really trying to love but not quite getting there with (it has some classic tracks, though), and listening to half of this amazing record by Dokaka called Human Interface, recommended by Christian Bok who calls him a “preternatural vocalist” on Twitter — available for free download
21. wrote short email to ubu list about George Kayatta (learned about him from William Poundstone), the self-described megagenius painter, jazz musician, translator of the Bible into rhyming couplets, and one of the “mathematical cranks” in Underwood Dudley’s book of that title — I’m sure I’ll post about him soon
22. checked out the amazing ambigrams — texts that read the same way upside down as they do normally — of Gilles Esposito-Far├Ęse, as well as those of someone he admires, Scott Kim — both of these sites are worth checking out
23. sent information to ex-student who never spoke in class who wants me to write a rec for her for some internship, describing therein her great public speaking and interpersonal skills (a fairly trivial bit of activity, this last, but for some reason I’d like to remember it)
24. finalized plans (I think) for lunch and a visit to LACMA with Johanna Drucker to see show of 12 Korean artists and other fun stuff (also wrote thank-you email to William Poundstone for meeting me for lunch yesterday, sending him, among other links, one to David Daniels’ The Gates of Paradise)
25. watched Youtube video of Ukrainian band Los Colorados do great cover of Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” — pasting this one below — then proceeded to do “research” on Katy Perry — Wikipedia entry, “I Kissed a Girl” video — since I’m so out of touch (and I read about her in some magazine this month)

26. washed the dishes, drank the wine, wrote this post (didn’t shower, though), and revised post excessively as I remembered things from the day…

I think that’s about it, at least among observable phenomena. The strange thing is that, for the most part, I’ve been quite depressed today. Just feeling glum. I think that’s part of the modern condition, actually, leaving yourself open to a plurality of distraction in lieu of some grand scheme for one’s life, and I guess I get a little bummed because of that.

But I learned a lot. And now I’m writing this, an autobiographical blog post!

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This is something I posted on netpoetic recently. Thought I’d put it here as well.

I’ve actually been scanning the internet, trying to find new (and old, forgotten) projects to include in a class I’m calling “Poetry in the Age of New Media.” I wish I had used “time” instead of “age” in the title, but I think there was a hint of satire in the use of “age,” like we were all Victorians or something (it would have been hilarious if I had used “era”). I think “time” would have been perfect, actually, as time is not only the subject but the content, the material, of so much new media art.

I’m sure much in this list is known to readers of this site. It’s mostly things that have not appeared in the ELC1 collection or which have not gotten much play (such as Facade), and mostly from artists outside the purview of “e-literature,” though not exlusively. This isn’t highly edited or exhaustive — really just pasted notes.

The Gates of Paradise, David Daniels
http://www.thegatesofparadise.com
Total outsider stuff, pdfs, some of which are animated. Links somewhat with the idea of “conceptual writing” that is promoted by writers such as Kenneth Goldsmith and Craig Dworkin (see the conceptual writing anthology on ubu.com). David died about a year ago.

Dagmar Chili, Toadex Hobogrammathon
http://dagmar_chili.pitas.com
More total outsider stuff, by someone who I had a small correspondence with years ago, but whose identity I still don’t know. I’ve blogged about Toadex quite a bit on www.arras.net/fscIII.

New Digital Emblems, William Poundstone
http://williampoundstone.net
Actually, Poundstone has a number of substantila projects, but I think the emblems are the most neglected as the piece is involved and seems to be non-fiction. I haven’t looked at his new pieces. I’m having lunch with him on Monday (never met him before). [P.S. The lunch went swimmingly, he’s a cool guy.]

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