Tuesday, December 23, 2008

my blog experiment is a failure

it's official... I've concluded that my attempt at blogging has heretofore failed. That doesn't mean that I'll quit. However, it does mean that I'm disappointed in my inability to consistently update said blog with new and exciting material.

But stay tuned, dear readers. Though I'm back in Richmond for a few weeks and I've got a lot going on, and though I'm sure the blog will remain in hiatus until at least mid January, I also have 'faith' that I will resume work on this little project as time permits.

Until then, live dangerously!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Autopsy, by Michael Dickman

There is a way
if we want
into everything

I’ll eat the chicken carbonara and you eat the veal, the olives, the
small and glowing loaves of bread

I’ll eat the waiter, the waitress
floating through the candled dark in shiny black slacks
like water at night

The napkins, folded into paper boats, contain invisible Japanese

You eat the forks,
all the knives, asleep and waiting
on the white tables

What do you love?
I love the way our teeth stay long after we’re gone, hanging on
despite worms or fire

I love our stomachs
turning over
the earth


There is a way
if we want
to stay, to leave


My lungs are made out of smoke ash sunlight air
particles of skin

The invisible floating universe of kisses, rising up in a sequinned
helix of dust and cinnamon

Breathe in

Breathe out

I smoke
unfiltered Shepheard’s Hotel cigarettes
from a green box, with a dog on the cover, I smoke them
here, and I’ll smoke them



There is a way
if we want
out of drowning

I’m having
a Gimlet, a Caruso, a
Fallen Angel

A Manhattan, a Rattlesnake, a Rusty Nail, a Stinger, an Angel
Face, a Corpse Reviver

What are you having?

I’m buying
I’m buying for the house
I’m standing the round

Wake me
from the dash of lemon juice,
the half measure of orange juice, apricot brandy,
and the two fingers of gin
that make up paradise


There is a way
if we want
to untie ourselves

The shining organs that bind us can help us through the new dark

There are lots of stories about intestines

People have been forced to hold them, alive and shocked awake

The doctors removed M’s smaller one and replaced it, the new
bright plastic curled around the older brother

Birds drag them out of the dead and abandoned

Some people climb them into Heaven

Others believe we live in one
God’s intestine!

A conveyor belt of stars and saints

We tie and we loosen

and forgettable


Yes, I've been too busy to post anything original for these last few days. However, this poem rocks. I hope you took the time to read!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanks David Brooks

I figured I'd post David Brooks op/ed from the today's NYTimes, since it so nicely parallels the entry I recently wrote concerning Obama's infrastructure plan.

December 9, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
This Old House

The 1980s and 1990s made up the era of the great dispersal. Forty-three million people moved every year, and basically they moved outward — from inner-ring suburbs to far-flung exurbs on the metro fringe. For example, the population of metropolitan Pittsburgh declined by 8 percent in those years, but the developed land area of the Pittsburgh area sprawled outward by 43 percent.

If you asked people in that age of go-go suburbia what they wanted in their new housing developments, they often said they wanted a golf course. But the culture has changed. If you ask people today what they want, they’re more likely to say coffee shops, hiking trails and community centers.

People overshot the mark. They moved to the exurbs because they wanted space and order. But once there, they found that they were missing community and social bonds. So in the past years there has been a new trend. Meeting places are popping up across the suburban landscape.

There are restaurant and entertainment zones, mixed-use streetscape malls, suburban theater districts, farmers’ markets and concert halls. In addition, downtown areas in places like Charlotte and Dallas are reviving as many people move back into the city in search of human contact. Joel Kotkin, the author of “The New Geography,” calls this clustering phenomenon the New Localism.

Barack Obama has said that he would start an infrastructure project that will dwarf Dwight Eisenhower’s highway program. If, indeed, we are going to have a once-in-a-half-century infrastructure investment, it would be great if the program would build on today’s emerging patterns. It would be great if Obama’s spending, instead of just dissolving into the maw of construction, would actually encourage the clustering and leave a legacy that would be visible and beloved 50 years from now.

To take advantage of the growing desire for community, the Obama plan would have to do two things. First, it would have to create new transportation patterns. The old metro design was based on a hub-and-spoke system — a series of highways that converged on an urban core. But in an age of multiple downtown nodes and complicated travel routes, it’s better to have a complex web of roads and rail systems.

Second, the Obama stimulus plan could help localities create suburban town squares. Many communities are trying to build focal points. The stimulus plan could build charter schools, pre-K centers, national service centers and other such programs around new civic hubs.

This kind of stimulus would be consistent with Obama’s campaign, which was all about bringing Americans together in new ways. It would help maintain the social capital that’s about to be decimated by the economic downturn.

But alas, there’s no evidence so far that the Obama infrastructure plan is attached to any larger social vision. In fact, there is a real danger that the plan will retard innovation and entrench the past.

In a stimulus plan, the first job is to get money out the door quickly. That means you avoid anything that might require planning and creativity. You avoid anything that might require careful implementation or novel approaches. The quickest thing to do is simply throw money at things that already exist.

Sure enough, the Obama stimulus plan, at least as it has been sketched out so far, is notable for its lack of creativity. Obama wants to put more computers in classrooms, an old idea with dubious educational merit. He also proposes a series of ideas that are good but not exactly transformational: refurbishing the existing power grid; fixing the oldest roads and bridges; repairing schools; and renovating existing government buildings to make them more energy efficient.

This is the federal version of “This Old House.” And this is before the stimulus money gets diverted, as it inevitably will, to refurbish old companies. The auto bailout could eventually swallow $125 billion. After that, it could be the airlines and so on.

It’s also before the spending drought that is bound to follow the spending binge. Because we’re going to be spending $1 trillion now on existing structures and fading industries, there will be less or nothing in 2010 or 2011 for innovative transport systems, innovative social programs or anything else.

Before the recession hit, we were enjoying a period of urban and suburban innovation. We could have been on the verge of a transportation revolution. It looks as if the Obama infrastructure plan may freeze that change, not fuel it.

And not to get all Rod McKuen on you or anything, but the larger point is this: Social change has a natural rhythm. The season of prosperity gives way to the season of economic scarcity, and out of the winter of recession, new growth has room to emerge. A stimulus package may be necessary, but unless designed with care, its main effect will be to prop up the drying husks of the fall.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Obama's Bridge to the Future

Surprise! It doesn't go anywhere.

It's been awhile since I've commented on Obama's activities. However, today he's making headlines with some pretty heavy (planned) public works initiatives. In the wake of the loss of 2 million plus jobs (and counting), Obama's plan should help to 1) stimulate the economy and 2) re-till the very ground (base) which gives birth to the mighty industrial-socio-economic superstructure which is American power. Let us all dance to the obamarama.

Yet one thing puzzles me regarding Obama's plan: why is the largest part of the infrastructure project geared towards roads and bridges? If the future demands that we move towards a 'green economy', shouldn't we be building mass transit, such as high speed rail, maglev trains, smart roads, etc (for some specific etc's, see below), rather than improving the very system that has been responsible for many of our current problems? I suppose if these proposed new roads and bridges are flooded with green cars, such investment will be worthwhile; but that potentiality would hinge on the Detroit bailout, which is still undecided and vague. To make an analogy to the body: why clean out the arteries that carry unhealthy fats if you're just going to keep ingesting more of the same? Rather, we should do away with the problem altogether - or at least radically rethink both the problem as well as the solution.

Here are two links to Obama's plan. If you haven't read up on what Obama wants to do, please take a moment and check it out. I've followed up with some links to alternative types of 'infrastructure-transportation' improvements that I beleive to be more prudent.



So hey Obama, Instead of focusing on antiquated ideas, how about thinking of new technologies and real alternative transportation solutions. Here are a few:



And this might be the coolest:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who Says There Isn't Any Good Chinese Food in Gainesville?

Here it is, my first restaurant review:

In the 2.5 years I've been living in this mediocre town, I've been on the lookout for some good Chinese eats. Unfortunately, I have for the most part been disappointed. I know, there's decent sushi, fair Vietnamese, palatable pan-Asian, and all the remaining representative variants of Indochine-cuisine; however delights specific to the Cantonese tradition are apparently in short supply. What is in great supply, alternately, is some sort of pseudo-mock-Chinese food, which is for the most part gummy, oil-lubricated, and possessing in counterintuitive flavors (if that makes any sense).

Or so I believed. About a year ago I discovered Szechuan Panda on 13th ave - the one Golden Buddha in a land of otherwise bronze bulls. Not only is the food the best around, but in addition to offering delivery service, there is also the buffet o'plenty (with such Asian treats as banana pudding, pumpkin roll, and all you can eat boiled crab legs). Yet to my dismay, all was not perfect in this dining paradise. Indeed, something suspicious was encroaching upon my moo goo gai pan.

Yes, it seems that if you too are a friend of the Szechuan Panda (or have just not had the pleasure of trying it yet), you best hurry on down for its days my be numbered. According to the Gainesville Sun, "roaches, slime may force Szechuan Panda on 13th to close". Shocked? Amazed? How could this be true? How could such delicious food be prepared under such unsanitary conditions.

Perhaps it's the case that the roaches and slime actually made the food so good. Or perhaps the slime was actually that 'cream of sum yung guy' dish I've always heard about but never found on a Chinese food menu. We might not ever know what exactly what was being cooked up in that kitchen... (however, the owner did admit that "Chinese cooking was not conducive to meeting [health] regulations.")

Anyway, you can read more here:


In the meantime, there might not be good Chinese food in Gainesville for much longer. And for those of you who are wondering why I took the time to write about this 'news'... it's because i really have eaten at the Panda, and I know a lot of you readers have too. OMG! I mean, how totally gross!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Read it and Play

Some of you may remember my tale of telepathy whereby my old friend Brooke and I joined into the great web of consciousness for a short time while tripping on LSD and listening to Yes music (Ritual, from Tales from Topographic Oceans, to be precise). Well, on this trip to Richmond, old Brooke and I reconnected after a ~12 year hiatus, and I've got to give my comrade a shout-out: you're one weird motherfucker and I'm really glad we got to chill for a bit again (beginning with the Yes show, of all things). Also, thanks for introducing me to disc golf. Fun times! So to any readers of my blog, you should read his blog: http://www.kindagamey.com/

The link is on the right, on my blog roll. Read it and play; Nous Sommes Du Soleil

And here's Yes in action... at the point of convergence.

Escaping Gainesville

I was chatting with a good friend of mine last night, and he said something I found very profound: when you're in Richmond, it's like being in a bubble... nothing outside matters. And I have to agree with that completely. I just love this town. I'm not sure if it's because I'm biased (because I'm from here), or it's simply because it's so incredibly charming and fun, but once I come home I simply never want to leave.

So as people might have noticed, my blog postings have been really slight lately. And this is definitely been due to the fact that I've been enjoying a lengthy relaxation meditation vacation back at home, enjoying the quiet tree-lined streets of 'the fan' district, the canal walk, the river park system, and the bounty of awesome bars, pubs, and restaurants where I've been consuming way too much fancy food and ale. And though I've certainly missed my friends back in my very temporary residence of Gainesville FL (go Gators!), I can't wait to get the fuck out of the hemorrhoid of America that is Florida and return to more scenic and seasonal surroundings on a permanent basis.

Alas, sorry this entry is more like a live-journal than an intellectual posting, but I felt obligated to post a few pictures and a few kind words about a city that everyone should come to love. Richmond!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

YES - live in Richmond

I'll soon take the time to share some words on the amazing experience that was the Yes show in Richmond. In the meantime, anyone out there who has the chance to see them elsewhere should definitely do so. But they will soon be playing two shows in Florida. Comrades, let us go be Awakened!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Democrats in Action

If only this were the symbol of the new democratic party. Alas, I have yet to hear anything about nationalizing our ailing auto industry. Congress does want to give it some extra federal dollars though. I wonder what the taxpayer will get in return...

Anyway, here's the link to an interesting article from salon.com; believers in the new 'progressive' democratic party should be sure to read it.

(I've become such a cynic.)