Warning: Harmful Content
Saturday the Thirteenth of December, Two Thousand and Eight
"The last message sent by Stahl to his wife was also read. It contained only one word, which cannot be reproduced."
I got a little lost in Wikipedia this morning, as one does, and ended up learning about the Hiberno-Slavic femme fatale Maria Tarnowska, whose trial for conspiracy to murder captivated Venice in 1910. The article links to these two contemporary New York Times articles (both of which open as PDFs), which are absolutely hilarious, in the way that only sensationalized trial coverage from a century ago can be.
To quote the first one:
The Countess persistently ignores her counsel and appeals directly to the President. Often she emerges triumphant from a hot duel of words. The President nods approval and by a question opens the way to another victory. The other day the prosecuting attorney ironically advised that an interpreter be employed for the Countess, as he had difficulty in understanding her Italian.
"Possibly," quickly returned the Countess, "as you come from Bologna."
As the strong Bolognese accent of the attorney had not been lost on the spectators, they laughed. The President smiled and said: "I have no difficulty in understanding Tarnovsky."
Thereupon he leaned over and politely requested the Countess to raise her veil so that she could be heard to better advantage. Women in the reserved tribune at once arose to their feet in order to get a better view. The President waved them down, and, noticing their magnificent toilettes, remarked: "This place is neither the theatre nor the opera."
Maybe I'm just in a strange mood, but that cracks me the hell up.
Anyway, it's a totally sexy story, with lots of kinky sex and murder and drugs and madness and suicide and gondolas. I'm surprised it hasn't been made into a movie, actually. You could do a lot with it.
stentoriously posted by Martin Marks at 10:48 in the morning // comment? by:
Thursday the Eleventh of December, Two Thousand and Eight
"GIVE IT UP FOR IRA GLASS!"
Tonight I saw MC Frontalot live! I have never actually seen such a thing before in the, what, seven flipping years I have been listening to the man. I was kind of disappointed that he didn't play any of the real old-school stuff—I think the oldest stuff he played was from 2005—and, paradoxically, kind of disappointed he didn't play more from his new album. (I was so totally prepared to rock out to "Wallflowers".) But it was, nonetheless, a fantastic show. MC Lars has both talent and stage presence in abundance, and even YTCracker, who I have a strange thing against (it's probably the name), put on a show that was of significantly higher quality than his belt. Now it is Very Late and I am getting up Very Early, but I did feel the need to mention it.
There was someone in the audience who knew as many of the Front's lyrics as I did, and who sang along just as boisterously, so for a moment I felt a bit worried that perhaps I was not the nerdiest person in Baltimore. And then I remembered that I have accomplished the nerdiest accomplishment it is possible to have accomplished: I wrote the Wikipedia article on nerdcore. So that was enough to defuse my competitiveness, and after the show I went up to him and told him he was awesome. And he gave me a hug. It was just that kind of show.
gamely posted by Martin Marks at 1:34 at night // one comment by:
Saturday the Sixth of December, Two Thousand and Eight
Once again, synchronized with Erika.
Dream: After a plague wiped out much of the world's population, the surviving citizens of Reading, Pennsylvania were taken captive and transported to Central Asia. There they lived under a totalitarian government in complete isolation. The first person in this dream was one of the second generation born to the group, and for most of his life he knew nothing about the outside world (or even that there was one). But the totalitarian government crumbles under its own weight and the society descends into anarchy (the bad kind). The narrator finds a radio and tries desperately to find someone in authority, but to no avail, until suddenly he makes contact with a tech support line in Denver, who realize that he is one of the Lost Tribes of Pennsylvania and promise to send help. The narrator, along with the rest of the colony (including, for some reason, Proposition Joe), manages to escape the desert and make their way to Istanbul, which has recovered from the plague to become a large and powerful city-state.
Probably not New Yorker material.
myopically posted by Martin Marks at 1:11 in the afternoon // two comments by:
Thursday the Fourth of December, Two Thousand and Eight
Man, next year, I am going to have my own fireworks display.
The fireworks display at the annual lighting of the Washington Monument tonight was—well, no, disappointing isn't the word. It was brief, and necessarily limited (it's hard to do much from a pyrotechnic standpoint in a residential neighborhood in the city center), but pleasant enough, and occasionally even slightly spectacular. However, it was totally not worth the commute home that it caused. On a good day, work is ten minutes away from home; fifteen is pretty typical. Today it was most of an hour. It took me half an hour to go around the block. And of course there was nowhere to park. I eventually decided to risk it and park in the parking lot behind my apartment building that I never use because I'm not sure if I'm allowed to or not. Well, whatever; there's space to spare back there, and I'll be moving my car at seven tomorrow morning. I'm not too concerned about getting towed, if only because of geometry (I don't see how a tow truck could actually fit back there). And if I do get towed, well, at least then I'll be miserable tomorrow instead of today.
earnestly posted by Martin Marks at 9:26 in the evening // comment? by:
Wednesday the Third of December, Two Thousand and Eight
Whatever sweet dreams are made of, I'm pretty sure it's not this.
Dream: I—well, no, it wasn't me. It was a dream in the first person (I think my dreams just about always are), but I wasn't the viewpoint character. Let's just call him "the narrator". Whoever he was, he was eating dinner with an older man he vaguely knew, who, partway through the meal, gave a pained expression and grabbed his chest. The narrator asked the guy if he was okay, and he said he was fine. Later, they were at the narrator's house, and the older gentleman's two teenage children (a boy and a girl—twins, I think) were there. The older gentleman kept frantically trying to call a certain number, but whoever it was was ignoring his calls. The man told the narrator to keep trying that number and to take care of his children—and then he died. Turned out he'd had a stroke during dinner (although, in retrospect, the symptoms seem to be more in keeping with a heart attack)—and he had known it. But instead of seeking treatment, he had gone and fetched his children and desperately tried to call this number before it was too late. After the man's death, the narrator tried the number from his own phone, and the person picked up. It was a prostitute. As it turned out, she was the mother of the children. He had been in love with her, had spent huge sums of money on her, and when she got pregnant he had paid her $50,000 to keep the children. But she had never cared about him or about the kids, and after his money dried up, she stopped returning his calls and left him to raise the kids. The dream ended with the narrator saying he would take in the kids.
absentmindedly posted by Martin Marks at 6:40 in the evening // six comments by:
Tuesday the Second of December, Two Thousand and Eight
The phrase "is the shizzle" was also used at one point.
Today at work, I composed an email which contained the phrase "in my pants" no less than 14 times. Good day!
aimlessly posted by Martin Marks at 10:49 in the evening // comment? by:
Monday the First of December, Two Thousand and Eight
All of this came out of a conversation about how Rick Astley's performance at the Macy's Day Parade was probably the wrong venue.
I just learned of Nerd Pride Day, which is, by pure coincidence, the same day as Towel Day. I disagree entirely with their "rights and responsibilities" list, which reads to me like it was written by a rather condescending neurotypical, or, at the very least, by someone with entirely the wrong definition of "nerd". However, I rather like the idea. I've been dreaming of a Nerd Pride parade for years now. Frankly, I don't understand why there isn't one.
Let's face it: nerdiness is actually a good deal like queerness. Both are deviations from the norm, one in personality, the other in sexuality. Both have historically been considered freakish by the mainstream. (Remember that before its repurposing and eventual reclamation, a "geek" was literally a sideshow freak.) Both nerds and queers have been pressured to conform with the mainstream, to change their very identity in order to fit in better. Despite the nascent pride movements in both communities—which date to about the 70s in both cases—millions of Americans are still in one closet or the other (or, indeed, both). It's gradually become more or less acceptable (even fashionable!) to be "out" in America—if you're middle-class, descended from Europeans or Asians, and living in one of the more progressive coastal cities. In both cases, the style of the subculture has seeped into the mainstream—yes, I'm equating Geek Chic with metrosexuality. Both are also turning out to be far more common than the mainstream realized (or, perhaps, every bit as common as the mainstream secretly feared). And while this November was a defeat for anti-intellectualism and a victory for homophobia, it's important to remember that the former is the main reason we got stuck with eight years of Bush in the first place, and that it's certainly not dead. So if the queer pride movement gets parades, why oh why don't we?
Admittedly, we tend towards introversion—which is, I suspect, both a cause and effect of nerdiness—but that's mostly true around neurotypicals. My experience has always been that nerds love meeting other nerds, and they especially love being nerdy around other nerds. After all, we do have conventions, which are basically indoors pride parades. But we need to get out in the open, not hide ourselves away! We need to tell the world that we're here, we're dorks, get used to it! We need to embarass and alienate the better-integrated members of the nerd community by dressing in ridiculous costumes and reinforcing all the unfair but not-entirely-untrue stereotypes about us! We need, in short, to take to the streets! (I'm thinking probably Portland.) In any case, I'm putting May 25th on my calendar... and dreaming.
incandescently posted by Martin Marks at 11:29 at night // eight comments by:
Sunday the Thirtieth of November, Two Thousand and Eight
If "Tony's Theme" is not on the Iron Man soundtrack, I am sad.
I've been listening to Surfer Rosa in the car lately, and have discovered a problem: every time "Where Is My Mind?" comes on, I feel compelled to turn the volume up, and yet there is no song on the album that compels me to turn the volume down. So for every 33 minutes I spend in the car, the volume goes up by a notch. I really need to find a solution to this before the distortion on "Vamos" causes my head to implode.
Also: Is it just me, or does Frank Black have a weird habit of trying to finish Kim Deal's sentences for her?
vertiginously posted by Martin Marks at 5:33 in the afternoon // five comments by: