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October 22, 2002
Liz and I completed the

Liz and I completed the popular public radio young American humorist trifecta tonight with an appearance by David Sedaris at Carnegie Hall. Sunday we went to Philadelphia with Noah, Arye and Sonja to see Dave Eggers, and last week we saw Sarah Vowell at the Public Library. In deference to their talent and to honor their ability to do things that I wish I was doing, that's all I'm writing.

October 18, 2002
I gotta tell you, I'm

I gotta tell you, I'm disappointed I only got one comment on that last post. What are you people, on a break? There were some serious issues raised there! Come on: Pork Tornado, other people's anniversaries, radio installation narratives, what more do you want? Oh wait, that's really boring. Sorry, nevermind.

So I have a question. What possible objection could there be to "ballistic fingerprinting", to at least investigating the possibility of developing a system to uniquely mark bullets fired from a particular gun? What exactly is the NRA's problem? These semi-automatic high-powered featherweight laser-accurate weapons are for hunting, right? Don't hunters want to know which guy got the deer? I mean, they must have drunken brawls about this sort of thing all the time, this would put an end to all that.
"Hey you got 'im, son! Congrat'lashens on your first keel."
"Nope, nope, looks like that was your'n Pa. I sher thunk it'z mine, tho."
Maybe they're not all idiot rednecks, but, really, come on. They are.

Apparently they cite a gun owner's privacy as an issue. His privacy to do what? To kill whom or whatever he chooses without the threat to his liberty of anyone knowing about it? "If Junior acts up, I'm gonna tag him in the leg, and it ain't nobody's business. Get your laws off my AK-47." Like that?

So it's ridiculous. Obviously, this would be a good idea. No one's saying it's going to stop violent crime or free the world, but it's not going to hurt. And it sort of looks like public opinion agrees, and so maybe it will go forward. But maybe not too, and this is what's so scary about this issue. You can just watch as the administration tries to fight it, then sees that a lot of people like this idea, especially with some fucking psycho running around the capital blowing people away with impunity, so they quickly backpedal. But wait, they can't completely or the NRA'll have their hides. What's a poor power hungry politician to do?

Easy! They say that the president wants to discuss the issue; in other words, we're studying the matter, and all the very complex scientific (maybe) and moral (no) issues it raises, and I'm afraid this could take some time. We'll check, but we still might not be able to do it. But we'll check. Could be months, though. Please kindly forget about it (we will).

From Ari Fleischer's mouth to your... eyes:
"But when it comes to criminal behavior and people who use guns to commit murder, there's no amount of laws that's going to stop these people from committing these depraved crimes. The issue is the morality; the issue is their values."

Right. So, hmmm. I guess we shouldn't have laws then. If we just teach people the right moral values, if we bring 'em up right, we won't even need laws! It's the Republican Utopia! What the hell is the matter with these people? We shouldn't go around willy-nilly supporting science, evidence, investigation or police work, we should focus on the real root of the issue. Values.

But wait! Then the public opinion numbers came in, and the people weren't buying it.

Same guy, next day.
Wednesday (his quotes are real):
Ari: "It's exactly as I said yesterday; the President wants this issue explored."
Me: "Wow! Really?!"
Ari: "And to that end, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been meeting, and met yesterday afternoon with the White House staff to start to discuss the various issues,..."
Me: "Like how to make this go away, yes, go on.."
Ari: "... the technical issues, there are feasibility issues, the pros and cons about how this could possibly could be effective, whether it could work, or maybe whether it would not be able to work."
Me: "Wait, it might not work? Hmm. I'm seeded by doubt..."

Real Reporter's Question: "Ari, if I could just follow up quickly on that. Any idea how long that review will take place?"

Ari: "That will be up to ATF."
Me: "Oh, okay. We'll go talk to them then. You're not responsible anymore."
Ari: "They're going to take a look at it from a lot of technical points of view, as well, to see what technological breakthroughs can result in whether or not this can be done, or whether it will not be able to get done."
Me: "Oh, so they're going to check whether maybe some patentable process or device, some kind of breakthrough, could be obtained or created by discussing whether it's possible or not possible. I see. Wait, what?"
Ari: "And so that pace will get determined by them."
Me: "Gotcha. Them. Not you. Them."

As long as they catch that guy in Virginia soon, their NRA overlords will remain satisfied and everyone else will just go quietly back to the soup lines.

So I don't know what to do about it. That president guy and his whole entourage scares the shit out of me. Really, it's not Bush, he's just a symbol, the most recognizable feature of a big scary beast. But I'm worried that if these kinds of things continue, we'll all be screwed. Empires don't last forever, and this one seems to be in a big hurry to go. My hopeful side sees the possibility that it could go another way, that enough people could get fed up with being treated badly to do something about it, but it seems more and more remote.

Of course you can argue that there have always been these kinds of feelings. Some portion of the population has always felt disaffected or disenfranchised or disemboweled. There is a lot of happiness in the world, a lot of great art, great thinking, scientific advancements, new Lucky Charms marshmallows. People still fall in love, go on vacation, have kids, look at the stars. But I don't know. I think those kinds of things are on the wane. We're making more movies like The Matrix and fewer like Harold & Maude. Well, people are making happy movies, but not many people are seeing them. Well, not many people ever saw Harold & Maude either, but you get the point. It's an illustrative example. We seem to identify more with mayhem, paranoia, and apocalypse than we do with beauty and love. There are always people predicting dire things for their own culture or society, always have been, always will be, the problem is that sometimes they're right.

We should all read this site more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/. It's one of the most amazing pieces of propaganda I've ever seen. It outrages me but good.

October 15, 2002
I feel I gotta write.

I feel I gotta write. Sort of like that CCR song, but this isn't a mix tape, and I gotta write, not move, though I feel that too, sometimes.

It has become somewhat cold this past week and I like it. I can enjoy a steaming hot shower again, and curl up in bed against the chill, cold at first but then toasty by morning. And when I have to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night (I have the bladder of a drunken 94 year old), when I get back Liz's skin is like some kind of wonderfully soft glowing ember, the very definition of warm.

It's also nice to break out the cool weather clothes. I've been wearing jeans for the past few days, finally hanging up my zip-off pants, them having served me well these past months. Also began wearing my hiking boots and big cozy sweatshirts. It's a good time to be unemployed.

Our anniversary was swell. Friday we rode into town on the train, dropped our stuff at the Millennium Broadway hotel (ooh la la), and headed to dinner at Tanti Bacci (a thousand kisses), the little Italian restaurant where we had our first date. The funny thing about our first date is that Liz was trying to let me down easy. She didn't want it to be a date, as such, she was just trying to be nice and tell me to forget it. She wasn't interested, or so she thought. I set her straight, though, and here we are. So our anniversary will always be a celebration of the night I convinced her. Should we ever marry, of course, we'd have a new one and probably stop bothering with the first date anniversary, but perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.

After dinner we did a little shopping, then grabbed a cab across town to see Blue Man Group. Good stuff, those guys are fun. My main feeling after the show was that considering all the smart creative and funny people I know, not to mention our lives of relative leisure, we should really be doing something interesting like an avant-garde theater group. All this 9-ta-5-in' is bullshit. It ain't for us, man, we're different. We're special. We ride the short bus. No, not that kind of special. We ride the long bus. No, I don't know, we ride trains. The point is, and has been, that I would like to be more actively pursuing something, anything.

After the show we ran around in the rain trying to find some wine (surprisingly difficult around Times Square), and went back to the hotel. Watched some porn on pay-per-view and... whoops, scratch that.

Saturday night we came back to the city to see Pork Tornado at the Bowery Ballroom. I ended up chatting with a biker looking guy named Sean at the bar downstairs for most of the evening, missing much of the show, but I had a good time. We seemed to click in a certain way, and it was fun talking to someone with such a different outward persona than mine, but to realize how much we had in common. He was heavily tattooed, bald with a big biker beard and hollow tubes in his earlobes wide enough to throw M&Ms through. Peanut. We threw back some whiskeys and messed with the frat boys on the other side of the bar, trying to guess their names by yelling names at random to see if they'd respond. The bouncer asked us to stop.

I was fairly sloshed on the way home, Liz regrets not having a tape recorder and I'm damn glad she didn't.

Sunday Kris and Patti came out and we barbequed under a steel gray sky. We had tried to cancel the barbeque but it fell through (the cancellation) so we had it anyway (the barbeque) only smaller. It was fun, I learned about leash aggression. We watched some baseball, so much baseball, and then True Romance.

Radio from Space. Liz and I installed Sirius Satellite Radio in the Badunk today, and so far it works. Turned it on, cranked it up and we're jamming from orbit. Here's the rationalization: We learned as we traveled to Maine and Nova Scotia this summer (mini-site coming soon!! I swear!) that the regular radio is a two-toned, two-headed beast. On the one head, it's very nice to have a variety of music playing, to not know what's coming on next, and to find stuff you've never heard before. On the other head, if you're moving, you're lucky to get half an hour of good reception from a station, and even luckier if 28 minutes of that half hour aren't ear-splitting, madness inducing, homicidal rage inspiring commercials. And then there's the "variety" generally exhibited on the radio; none. They're all owned by the same company these days anyway (fuck Clear Channel), and their play lists are market-researched, focus-grouped, middle-of-the-road, uninteresting crap. This new toy solves nearly all of those problems. 60 channels of commercial free music and 40 channels of news, sports, comedy, &c. They have NPR and PRI (This American Life sold Liz on the idea in a half a jiff), and the music is very diverse. An entire Bluegrass channel!! Our musical horizons are bursting with anticipation.

The Civil War really sucked, huh?

October 10, 2002
This is going to give

This is going to give it away, but to hell with it. High Fidelity is right, it's very hard to make a good "mix tape". I say the quotes because, you know, who uses tapes anymore?

Liz is going to know now that I'm making her a mix CD for our anniversary, but she probably already guessed that anyway. It's really hard, though.

The basic dilemma is whether to focus on what is being said in the lyrics of the songs or more on the music. Of course you want to avoid songs like "Baby Bitch" no matter how good they are musically, but most songs are harder to gauge. The hardest thing, basically, is that so many songs that are about heartbreak, loneliness, misery and depression are so damn good. There's something about a lot of the love songs that gets boring. Some of them are beauriful, don't get me wrong, but I just don't want to have to do one or the other, so I fall back on just making a good collection of songs I think are great songs. I guess if I was a rock star, it would be the difference between making a normal album and a concept album. Concept albums are hard, few have pulled off decent ones.

This one is for our anniversay though, so I gotta be careful.

October 9, 2002
Went to Seattle, watched Rich

Went to Seattle, watched Rich get married. Now I'm back. Want more details?

Okay, here they are:
So many of the people I normally hang out with in New York were in Seattle, it just seemed like a transplanted weekend. It was great to see Rich though, and to watch him get married. As he walked down the aisle when it was all over, his head looked like it would pop. Go Rich.

The wedding broke up pretty early, so many of us went back to one of the hotels, with most of the booze in tow, and drank it. Not quite all of it, but we made a valiant effort. A good time was had.

Liz and I stayed at her friend Jen's house, though she and her boyfriend were out of town. We enjoyed their hot tub and limited video collection, as well as the various long haired cats. Yum.

It was a short trip, but nice. Didn't wear me out, left me feeling refreshed and happy.

Yesterday I had lunch and a couple of drinks with Denyse. For the first time it was pretty comfortable, we talked about our significant others without awkwardness and it felt more natural. It's nice to not feel a conflict there.

I still have yet to do any of the things I meant to do. I'm getting to it. Sort of. I'm getting to getting to it.

Friday is the first anniversary of Liz and my first date, and we're celebrating. I can't say what we're doing because it's a surprise. Read her blog next week, because she's sure to be gushing about it.