Death of a Hard Drive

My hard drive died last weekend. Apologies for the lapse in blogginess. I'm struggling to get back on track here and everywhere.


The Life of the Mind Makes Me Hangry

I've just come from a symposium in honor of Eric Rothstein who will retire at the end of this semester. The event was, with few exceptions, terrific. I particularly value the opportunity to hear Rothstein lecture one last time. His talk reminded me why I found him to be so intellectually engaging and why he lured me into the field of 18th-century literature.

Amazingly, his talk concluded a session that began at 9:30 am and concluded at 2:00 pm, with only two very short breaks, one of which the event's organizer unsuccessfully tried to dispense with. Four hours of academic papers is one thing... five hours without food of any kind is another. I thought I might lose my mind-- or maul an innocent-- before I fed myself.


Memory is the primary and fundamental power, without which there could be no other intellectual operation.

Hilary had us over for spring rolls and a delicious curry-- a perfect combination for the current season, which in Wisconsin is leaning optimistically towards summer but still sticks you with an icy wind from time to time. Caught up in transporting the cupcakes I made, I forgot to take Hilary's already belated birthday presents (both books). I'm proud of my wrapping job so, since I have the packages here for another day or two, I'll scan and share them. As always, apologies for the mysterious dust that seems to live inside our scanner.

Flagrant flouting of the simple rules that govern mundane transactions in society

I'm not convinced that these are the answer. However, I've developed a rather violent reaction to people-- undergrad boys, really-- "[n]ot wiping equipment down after [they]'ve gotten it sweaty at gym." I find myself screaming at them in my mind: "Hey, you filthy muckpot of a motherfucker..." Perhaps if, in the future, I imagine giving them an "Urban Asshole Card," I can smile smugly rather than writhe in fury.

Ditto for "Bringing child to R-rated film."

Also, I get really cracked up by "Using Barnes & Noble as den." I think it's the specification of Barnes & Noble that really tickles me. The rest of the violations are strictly generic-- so generic, in fact, that "gym," "film," etc. appear sans article. The violation here seems to be aesthetic or taste-based: how can you cozy-up in an environment so inorganic and corporate that it would kill an otherwise thriving plant in a matter of minutes. Or my giggles may just spring from my utter lack of feeling for Barnes & Noble...



Drop and Cover

I stopped reading lots of things when I became a graduate student-- particularly when I became an eighteenth-centuristyist and decided that I wasn't allowed to read anything written after 1800, er...ok, 1828. I didn't lose complete track of the present, particularly writers whose work I collected. I ordered (even if I didn't read) copies of Dennis Cooper's All Ears and My Loose Thread online. Cooper, I think, was dropped by Grove (at the very least Grove ceased to publish his work) before either of these was published, and the production values of the new titles, particularly the former, left something to be desired. Consequently, I dropped him. I ceased to follow his work.

Cooper himself is known for dropping people. Or, to be more specific, friends. He invests intensely in someone and then suddenly grows cold, disinterested, unfriendly, unavailable. My friend Vince was close with Dennis during the time I lived in San Francisco, but since my departure, Dennis has withdrawn from Vince. Vince remains melancholy about a lost friendship that he valued and enjoyed. Vince also remains amazingly level-headed and thoughtful: when I met him for dinner during my recent trip to SF, he raved about Dennis's most recent books, urging me to check them out and to take a gander at Cooper's blog (which Brad also recommended a couple of weeks earlier). I'm not sure I would be as generous as Vince, were I in an analogous situation, but I'm thankful for his compassion, heart, and continued intellectual interest in Dennis.

I picked up God, Jr. at Dog Eared Books, and-- while still afloat on the indulgence of my vacation mind set-- I ordered the Void Books original printing of The Sluts. A decadent move, I know, but so worth it. The book arrived at the end of last week, I'm almost finished reading it, and I can't stop fawning over it, worshipping it, gazing endlessly at all the pink and black line drawings by Todd James.





I'm thrilled that Dennis is back in my life.


A Certain Kind of Calm

>From: "Court"
>To: "Erk"
RE: friendster mail...urgh!
>Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 6:52 pm

brad said that we both have tv addictions- my biggest one (six feet under) last season came out today.is it bad to hole up in one's home with 20 hours of a dvd series?........

>From: "Erk"
>Subject: we both have tv addictions
>Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 21:32:06 -0600

*is it bad to hole up in one's home with 20 hours of a dvd series?

I don't know if it's bad or good, healthy or destructive, but I know it's thrilling and satisfying. I'm often most excited about the moment when one episode ends and I try to resist, reminding myself that I swore this would be the last one I'd watch.......but impulsively I start the next episode, flooding my brain and body with delight and a certain kind of calm.


>From: "Court"
>To: "Erk"
>Subject: we both have tv addictions
Wednesday, March 29, 2006 7:29 pm

i have never heard the moment of decision described so eloquently [erk blushes]...i was at that crossroads when i awoke at 1:30 last night,knowing my alarm would ring in 5 hours,but unable to restrain from watching 2 more episodes. i went to bed like a baby with a full tummy. the word tummy is so stupid.

Overheard at home

Erk [on his cell]: Dad, you've got to be kidding! You haven't had a vacation for two and a half years!? But... oh, I guess maybe I was confusing your surgeries with vacations...

Found Text

Cleaning off my computer desktop, I discovered a Word file that included the following note: "Is gary [sic] Delilah?" I was puzzled until I saw a preceding comment, "Jesse as a Sampson figure."