Strange Acquaintances with Not Quite Strangers – 3

Today’s post is brought to you by none other than Uncle Sam and all of his furry friends.  They are taking us on a ride through fine print and paperwork.  My joy is overflowing.

First of all, if anyone  is here again today after drudging your way through yesterday’s mistake addled clusterschmuck, I thank you and sincerely apologize for the sloppery.  Even tho this is just another free blog amongst the multitudes, it is my just another free blog amongst the multitudes.

Additionally, I’m one of those jackies that has a tendency to be annoyed with faulty grammar and vocabulary even as my own is blatantly unprofessional.  I guess if at some point I find a way to start making money through here I will have to work on that facet of the game.

There’s a prickly opinion piece over at The Chronicle Review (via Arts&LettersDaily – about the importance of grammar in literature.  Think of the difference between Joyce and Gertrude Stein against the likes of an Updike or Joyce Carol Oates.  Anyway, if you’ve ever taken a composition class or even junior high school English you’re most likely familiar with that miniature elephant of a guide: The Strunk and White Elements of Style.  This article talks about how this book changed the way the English language has been enforced.  Here’s the link if your interested:

The title is called 50 Years of Stupid Grammar and it’s by Geffrey Pullum, linguistics professor at University of Edinburgh.  Needless to say, he’s not a fan of the book.

I am currently transcribing the written version of Not the Autobiography of Olivia Jack (N.t.A.o.O.J.? if I were Dave Eggers) to .doc format from the pen and pad of its conception.  It’s definitely undergoing the scalpel and I suspect in a darker, yet more humorous direction.  At times when I’m annoyed with one of the characters, or even when I’m trying to describe the simplest of objects, like a painted finger nail or something banal like that, I will be in complete shock and horror at the brutal manner in which I originally described it as golden in paint, splattered with patience.

Times like these tempt me to start a completely new story and oh how I’ve tried.  Alas it’s inescapable.

For example yesterday the last line I wrote in my night session went like this, Twirling in and cutting out, wrapping itself in tangles, That Night played itself out in song.

Did I mention it here, or it might have been just in my head, that what makes a piece of art finished is that you knew it had to be stopped?  Well when you start writing lines that contain ‘played itself out in song‘ I’m pretty sure that means you need a break.

Ahh but there aren’t really any breaks when you’re working as a writer.  Every single thing has the potential to set you right back on track and also, of course, the ability to lead you right off of it.

You gotta be careful if you’re juggling swords.

Speaking of  swords… Guess who’s getting ready to do some taxes??

I’ve been doing my own taxes the past few years and don’t really mind it too much, but that’s most likely because my meager income doesn’t warrant that much complication.  However my first time was a definite struggle through a couple of painstaking back-to-back, time-and-number crunching April days trying to sort out residency in one state, the majority of my income from another state, my dual filing status between student and graduate, along with income from a third state.  Most sane people I know would’ve hit up H&R Block as soon as they got their W-2’s the next year.  Me?  Nah, apparently that’s not how I roll.

Those who file themselves will tell you that Sammy’s got a way of trapping you in the fine print.  Before you know it you’re cross-eyed and listening to the fan on your computer looking out the window.

Me to my tax filing site:

Hey again, I’m just here to do the damn thing.


Good luck.


It’s sandpaper, that fine print you were talking about…

In local news, the Sherlock in me detected a hint of subterfuge following a surge in traffic through this stunt-double of a website the past week or so…

I’m gonna check the next few days to see if these higher rates keep up now that I’ve blocked a previously accepted spam comment.  For awhile there after I had launched I thought just a random smattering of WordPress scrolls gallivanting thru the blogosphere that occasionally stumbled upon   However, since Strange Acquaintances with Not-Quite Strangers – Part II (Tied) hit I started to think people were actually checking it out only to realize that was the day I accepted the comment.  Funny a spammer might be responsible for increased traffic – I’ll check it out.  Oh and a spike in traffic really means like a handful more.

Slow down, Tubby, you’re not on the moon yet!

Interestingly, I am getting the most hits from a Google Search of “strange acquaintances.”  I only find this partly surprising and I wonder what people think of my innocuous jaunt when they were probably imagining something entirely different – I suspect something much more sucio…

White ball moon:

Enter the vagueness ever changing – a going through the motions never set in place.  Morphing time, personality reigns and finally catches up to you, silently taking over while you step aside.

That Not Quite Stranger 3 may have slipped through the gap of my better judgment.  Akismet, the spam watchdog, even sent me a warning but that not-quite stranger mofo told me ‘I love the site – keep it up!’.  How can you resist that?

It was all stupidly playing out like some detective stint, Sherlock shamelessly inserted and all…

My dear Watson, do you not find it peculiar how a single post can dominate the majority of the attention?  I’m suspecting a simple act of deception will be at the root of this quite meaningless predicament.   Ponder this for a moment, the day the post in question rose to prominence – Strange Acquaintances with Not-Quite Strangers – Part II (Tied) – an unverifiable comment had been accepted by the author.  We heard Akismet even sent out a warning!  Pkosh!


Here’s a nice demo track from a band called Suckers, an appropriate moniker in light of my on-going investigation.  I initially came across these Suckers over at Pitchfork Media’s Best New Tracks page – the majority of the playlist is worth a gander:

I also rocked the song by the band Woods.  I think it’s called Rain On.

Today’s new joint is lit from the ambitious Wag Revue, a recently launched quarterly journal devoted to the vanguard of the artistic enterprise.

Via the Manifesto

“[The internet] is an unbridled and infinite purveyor of information – creation unbound – and it has the delicate subtlety of a tidal wave.”

Wag Revue looks like a promising  literary venture  with experienced contributors spanning the field.  It features a really smooth web design that simulates the act of reading a la Kindle or iPhone or Crackberry Storm, or Amazon’s Get Inside this Book! feature.  The premier issue features an interview with Dave Eggers himself, along with original artistry and some editorial content.

Thanks to’s morning links for that.

Here’s a thought –

The old man reading in the corner of the library saw familiar people when strangers walked by.  They beckon his memory and translate him across geography and history.  Cities and capitals and festivals and celebrations can never compete with that time you walked in to the music and everything for that hallucinatory moment appeared to be on time.

He looked away and began to write.

Nobody had the gall to tell him that it wasn’t you that just walked by today.  I even saw you through the window to my left.  You looked younger than you do now and I imagined you still look like yourself running hair through your hands walking outdoors into the ultraviolet vanishing spring.

Here’s something else.  Almost otherly even.

[Insert non-sequitor]

But that Dave Eggers interview is nice because The Wag editorial board members had their own individual questions for him.  The whole interview via E-mail thing is something that piques my curiosity.  The physical separation between interviewee(s) and interviewer(s) creates the vibe of a series of correspondence whereas real-time interviews (in person, over phone, Skype, TV, radio, whatever…) thrive on the personalities present in that human exchange.  Another difference is the perceived intent on both sides.  The words on the screen leave up to the reader how to interpret a question when in real-time both verbal and non-verbal interaction illustrate the intent.

On the plus side, the interviewer is not pressured to come up with something on the spot.  This format allows more time for contemplation and precision regarding the responses given.

All I’m really saying is that the genre of the interview, like documentary film and memoirs, has the capacity to lead the audience into an illusion of reality and this can be political under certain conditions.  The import of the illusion depends on the power of persuasion (adapting Vargas Llosas terminology) of the author to create the desire to believe the authenticity of the exchange.  Eggers, for me, is another madman genius working for the greater good – an April shower (reiging?) in the obsidion desert.

It is a thoughtfully performed interview and The Wag and Mr. Eggers  show us how the  illusion of the writer as someone that works outside the bounds of society has been overturned in favor of the author/agent as cultural force.

Top 3 book titles in recent contemporary literature.  Go.  High Fidelity style.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Girl with Curious Hair, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (which I haven’t yet read).

So basically today’s music was like a cluttered indie plug…  I normally don’t even like those hipsterish snobs over at Pitchfork but I gotta admit this is a nice selection.  It seems like there is always another great band you’ve never heard of everyday online.  The Wag got it as close to right as one could hope for when they likened this phenomenon to the delicate subtlety of a tidal wave.

~ by garcialoca on April 14, 2009.

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