Archive for February, 2012


::: my dancers ::: Toni Rivas [ art ]


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A gentle, well written and surprising piece of flash fiction. Another from the Pygmy Giant, because I think I might be falling for them, not because I’ve sent them some stuff of mine in the hope they’ll publish me. 😉

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The last removal truck winds its way down the drive and peace settles once again over the avenue. The rooks, which have congregated in the elm trees throughout the day, occasionally rising into the air in dark clouds of agitation, begin their evensong.

I see cardboard and wrapping paper drifting idly around the bushes, and the odd toy flung unnoticed in some remote corner of the garden. A cool breeze stirs the raspberry bushes, laden with fruit that will remain unpicked this year, and daisies droop on the overgrown lawn.

They’ve gone, this family who have been the focus of my attention for the last twenty five years, moving on with scarcely a backward glance at me.

For days I look out, wondering if one of them might come back for some forgotten item, or perhaps to say goodbye properly. They never said they were leaving, but then, who am I to figure in their plans? How could they know how central they were to my existence?

Sometimes, if I listen carefully, I think I hear the children at play in the garden, running along the drive with excited squeals and giggles. Dogs bark, stirring the leaves of the rhododendrons as they go in frantic pursuit of imaginary cats or rabbits.

With little else to occupy my time, I admit I’ve deliberately snooped on them, involved myself in the minutiae of their lives. I watched dubiously when the young couple first moved in, but my reservations turned to joy as they brought their first child home from the hospital. The baby cried all night that first week, and they shushed her repeatedly, no doubt worrying about the neighbours, but for me the sound heralded hope for the future, maybe some kind of permanency.

Three more children were to follow over the years, together with a succession of noisy, enthusiastic dogs who dug up everybody’s gardens. It didn’t matter. There was such vitality in this family, you’d forgive them everything.

Everything except leaving.

:::::::::::::::  Follow me for the rest   :::::::::::::

Sandra Crook’s other work can be found here, where she also takes the opportunity to remove your will to live with her photos and cruising reports from the French waterways.

I Was Curious ::::: Jack Wittels


Fucking reblog button, mashing up the text, making me do things the long way round…

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My right testicle rests on the rim of the desk. My left forefinger and thumb hold it in place. The Class Ohlson hammer lies a few inches to the right. I’m still debating how hard to hit myself.

Two things led up to this moment. The first is the lock in we had last night after work. I had a good time, but when I staggered out at 7:00 A.M. and tried to open my bike’s D-lock I couldn’t make the key turn. I forced it – the key snapped inside. I ended up getting a taxi home. This morning I went to Class Ohlson and bought a hammer. Ten minutes later I was back on my bike, one good smack and the D-lock had broken. I cycled home with my new hammer in my backpack. That’s how the hammer got here.

The second thing was a conversation my housemates were having earlier this afternoon. Sitting in the lounge smoking a joint, Geordie Sam had been telling a story about how some guy from his school once pulled out another kid’s teeth with a pair of pliers he’d robbed from the D&T lab. I’d taken out my new hammer and started tapping things with it as he talked; sofa cushions, the coffee table, floorboards, my thigh. Listening to Sam and tapping my leg, I suddenly wondered if people had ever been tortured by having their testicle smashed by a hammer. I disappeared into my room.

And that brings everything up to speed. I’m pinching my testicle in my left hand. My right’s closing round the hammer’s rubber handle. The desk lamp is lighting up an inscription on its steel head; ‘Wear Safety Goggles, Users and Bystanders’. Underneath is the weight: ‘2oz’. I lift the hammer and have a few swings at the air. Its top-heavy weight feels good. Only a tiny flick of the wrist, and its own momentum carries it down.

I line it up a couple of inches above my testicle and give the wrinkly skin a cursory tap. I’m careful not to let the hammer freefall. All I feel at first is the cold of the metal. I pinch my sack tighter. The testicle moves up to just under the surface of the skin. I can see it bulging against it. I tap again, harder this time. I only feel a momentary ache.

The desk lamp is casting a silhouette on the wall. The lines of the hammer’s head and claws look much sharper in it than the soft blur of my genitals. This is absolutely mad. All that can come of this is pain. I look back down and give my testicle another tap. I flinch. That one hurt for a few seconds after the blow. But I could definitely take more.

I switch my grip from my right to my left testicle. I go through the same series of taps, getting harder and harder each time. The cold steel hammer crushing the membrane against the solid wood beneath. The harder I hit, the louder the noise. I imagine my testicle looks like a brain inside. Maybe it’s starting to bruise already. I let the pain escalate until it lasts for a few seconds after each blow. Nothing extreme. I take a harder swipe and purposefully miss, banging into the wooden desk instead. The noise is too loud. I don’t want my housemates to hear. I relax my hammer arm for a second and picture a dimly lit room full of dark faces. One man is under a spotlight, tied to a chair. The dark faced men surround him. Two kneel down and unzip his fly, then reach in and stretch his testicles over the edge of the chair between his shaking thighs. Another dark faced man stands over him. The tied up man has his eyes shut, he can’t bring himself to face the horror. I look down at my own testicle, vulnerable under the bright light of my lamp. I can’t imagine what it would feel like. But I’m curious. I want to know. I raise the hammer higher this time.

Jack Wittels is studying creative writing as an MA student at the University of Manchester.

<via the pygmy giant>


The Pygmy Giant

by Jack Wittels

My right testicle rests on the rim of the desk. My left forefinger and thumb hold it in place. The Class Ohlson hammer lies a few inches to the right. I’m still debating how hard to hit myself.

Two things led up to this moment. The first is the lock in we had last night after work. I had a good time, but when I staggered out at 7:00 A.M. and tried to open my bike’s D-lock I couldn’t make the key turn. I forced it – the key snapped inside. I ended up getting a taxi home. This morning I went to Class Ohlson and bought a hammer. Ten minutes later I was back on my bike, one good smack and the D-lock had broken. I cycled home with my new hammer in my backpack. That’s how the hammer got here.

The second thing was a…

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Adventures in Borkdom

I’m a big fan of early punk and new wave. I’m also a huge fan of classic literature. Here are ten punkish (my husband is forcing this disclaimer: I KNOW these don’t all fall in the “punk” category, but they are in the same vein) theme songs that remind me of some of my favorite literary works.

1. The Catcher in the Rye–“Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou ReedThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

This was an easy one. Holden’s adventures in New York City connect evenly with Lou Reed’s.

2. Hamlet–“Digital” by Joy Division

Oh Hamlet…so paranoid.

“I feel it closing in, I feel it closing in, day in, day out, day in, day out…”

3. Wuthering Heights–“Mother” by Danzig

Heathcliff. Mothers. Fathers. Lock your daughters up and away from the diabolical Heathcliff.

“Father. Gonna take your daughter out tonight. Gonna show her my world. Oh father.”

Heh, heh…Glen Danzig…

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THE BOMBER JACKET

Greetings and welcome to my opinions! I’m Josh Bala and I write what I want. From my vantage point atop “Awesome Taste Mountain,” I plan to bombard you lot with lightning bolts of musical wisdom. It is imperative, I feel, to get us on the same page as quickly as possible. With that in mind, here is my musical philosophy, judge accordingly: “The Dead Boys is the greatest thing ever.” Now, while I certainly feel that this statement is self evident and requires no more explanation, I also recognize that there may be people on this earth unfamiliar with this band. Despite the fact that I’m typically far too drunk to write my own name, sacrifices must be made for the Dark Outer Gods of rock and roll journalism. And so, I am mustering the where-with-all to elaborate.

Dead Boys is a Cleveland rock and roll band. I don’t know…

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i renounce all citizenship [ poem ]


I renounce all citizenship.
Iam not a person
Iam a meat popsicle.
Iam not a number
Iam An alphanumeric string.
Indivisible by my self
or The square root of…

::::::::::::::::::::::::: Written on a coach at some ungodly hour in the morning on very little sleep. I kinda like it. :::::::::::::::::::::::

[ painting ]


Batwoman by Albert-Joseph Pénot c. 1890

capitalism is crisis


More than a year after the storming of Millbank, ‘This is just the beginning’ – the slogan which rang out that day, and which appeared on the front pages of the next day’s newspapers – is still one of the most important memes of the entire movement. The shattering of the glass in Millbank Tower was, as I have argued before, the shattering of capitalist realism – the intellectual malaise identified by Mark Fisher, in which it is accepted that there is no alternative to capitalism. Millbank was the beginning of a generational epiphany – perhaps the first in the UK since 1968 – that another world might be possible. It marked a psychic transformation into thinking beyond capitalism, one whose timing could not be more appropriate.

<<Dan Hancox — And Then?>>


In London? Please send me this sandwich!!!! next day delivery pls.

The London Review of Sandwiches

LOCATION: Eat.St at King’s Cross, King’s Boulevard, N1 – see Eat.St website for location, opening times and stalls.

PRICE: £3 for 1, £5 for 2.

BREAD: Chinese steamed bun.

FILLING: Pork belly, cucumber slices, spring onion, hoisin sauce, Sriracha chilli sauce.

PROS: Oh sweet, sweet happy joy! This is a stunning sandwich. The main event is a thick slice of tender pork belly, including a very important strip of wibbly wobbly silken fat. I think the pork belly is pre-simmered with aromatics (e.g. star anise and Chinese cinnamon), then re-heated in the steamer to serve. Whatever, it’s lush. The richness of the soft meat and gleaming fat is offset by discs of crunchy cuke and the punch of shredded spring onion. A drizzle of sticky hoisin provides sweet n’ spice, and Sriracha sauce, gentle heat. And the textures! That bun is a cloud-like bundle of pure pillowy heaven; the…

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Urban Dreamscape SF


Psychogeography acknowledges the relationships between people and spaces. How does a particular area or environment come to have meaning? What effect do places have on those who move through them? Upscale neighborhoods give us different feelings from ghettos, all the more so if we happen to live in one or the other. Bustling urban areas affect our energy in entirely other ways from peaceful, rural gardens.

We are all unconsciously psychogeographers. We seed the places we move through with meaning, overlaying our surroundings with associations, perceptions, and reactions. I giggle every time I pass the Millberry Building on the UCSF medical campus near our apartment, where my spouse and I once drunkenly had sex outside, barely concealed by a pillar. The rows of Victorian houses in my neighborhood seem stately and elegant. They remind me to hold myself erect and poised. I go out of my way to avoid the McDonald’s when I walk down to Haight Street.

Practicing psychogeography is about becoming conscious of how your environment affects your emotions, your energy, your behavior. Mindfulness matters in psychogeograpical pursuits. We walk through the city immersed in interior monologues, I need to buy some tomatoes, did I remember to turn the heater off?, I wonder what he meant when he said that. Undertaking a psychogeographical practice entails becoming aware instead of the city around you, and its effects on you. Practicing psychogeography is also about performing actions that change your relationship to your surroundings, to your urban space. Public art, localized political action, spontaneous interaction with the environment: these things can all change how we move in the spaces around us.

Urban Dreamscape: SF is a conscious psychogeographical practice. When I weave my dreams into my environment, I add layers of memory and experience into the city. A stroll to the store brings me back through the narratives of my sleeping psyche, to the deepest parts of my unconscious. The traces I leave on these places in the form of the representations of the dreams done by various artists also affect my relationship to the place, and perhaps also changes how those places affect anyone who sees this site (such as you).

The Situationists—a post-surrealist movement of artist anarchists who helped foment the 1968 uprising in France—engaged in a conscious psychogeographical practice they called the Dérive (French for drift). This constituted a meandering ramble through the city, the “technique of locomotion without a goal.” The walker moves without motivation or destination; she drifts. Whatever the terrain offers determines the experience; attraction or repulsion to features or architecture show the drifter his path or provoke emotions, reactions, and thoughts. Often undertaken by small clusters of people drifting together, the Dérive generated group awareness of urban spaces. Myriad ways that the city influences its citizens were thus made visible. The Dérive reveals the psychic map of an area. Or else it creates that map. Meaning itself is a human construct. It exists because we create it.

We are practicing psychogeography together right now. Because you’ve read this text and perhaps looked at some of my dreams, your view of the city may change. If you’re in San Francisco, and you walk through the Upper Haight, Cole Valley, parts of Golden Gate Park, or the Inner Sunset, you’ll pass through my dreams, layered over top of the architecture. Maybe you’ll notice them. Maybe you’ll add your own layers on top of them, or else seed something else in your neighborhood. The feedback loop between you and your environment creates meaning.

<< Urban Dreamscape SF >>


Funk's House of Geekery

Update: Hey everyone, we’re very happy to have been Freshly Pressed for the 2nd time! Thanks to regular readers who have been supporting our writing team since day one and a heartful welcome to our new readers! Enjoy your time at the House of Geekery, and make sure you check the homepage to see our other great features!

We’re bringing the Weekly Top 10 forward a few days this week for obvious reasons. Today is a day when couples are going to want to spend some quality time with each other partaking in traditional date-like rituals. One such ritual is the time-honored watching of a movie. If you head over to the romantic section of the video library you will quickly find that everything there is garbage. Valentines Day, Love Actually, Twilight…none of these are going are do anything to create a romantic mood for any self-respecting…

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George Larkins

Bazin and Object Image Ontology

Chavet Cave rendition: 30-35,000 years old

George A. Larkins

 

Is it possible for the image of an object to embody the essence of its nature of being?  Andren Bazin (1918-1958) poses that question by his historical survey of aesthetic and psychological developments in pre-cinematic arts. His exploration of the exquisite and distasteful within nature is rooted in the perseverance of those established arts concerned with representing the intrinsic breath of the model.  Additionally, mans psychological desire for the formal reproduction of nature and to master perspective within time and space are conjoined with this aesthetic subsistence of the image. On examining the stylistic and technological developments from the plastic arts and correlating them to cinemas early adaptations and developments, Bazin has created a foundational basis from which advanced theoretical film formulas have emerged. In revisiting the basic structure of Bazins ontological theory we may…

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