Are the birds getting this emotional?

Alright, this illness of mine (“West Nile Bird Flu”) has officially passed beyond something fun which reminds me of watching Chicago Cubs day games, drinking ginger ale, and skipping school. It has somehow grabbed hold of my tear ducts, so that while I’m not actually crying, I was very close to doing so today in a movie theater while watching the X-Men film. Not to give anything away, but at one point in the film there is a sad part where Halle Berry is expected to do a certain amount of acting. She’s delivering a speech which is objectively terrible, and there I went, right on the verge of shaking uncontrollably and muttering those things which make you hate the fact that movie theaters are full of strangers on crying jags. The relevant quote is the following Hallmark battle cry: “We live in an age full of darkness, but in every age there are some who fight.” Yes! Like me! While watching a movie, perhaps by sending surreptitious fighting text messages from my cellphone! I should go home and watch Scrubs, I thought. That was equally overwhelming. Zach Braff said something about everybody having their own burdens…and we’re off and running again!

The cyber-life is turning out better than expected. It’s like those screen savers that would run searches for alien life while you were out buying lunch. You create these versions of yourself on myspace and so on, and then, while you are doing dishes, they are out hobnobbing with other random bits of data. And then when the real you happens to drop by your computer, your little unsleeping homonculus has all sorts of good news. I was particularly delighted to find myself embroiled in a discussion on Acephalous about the relationship between history and literature. In fact, as soon as this entry is over, I have to go back there to reckon with “systems theory,” which is a way of looking at the world that faintly resembles the Sim games.

(Acephalous is linked over on the right. I’m deliberately waiting to learn how to embed links, so that I’m never tempted to shout out to hilarious movies of Star Wars kid or whatever.)

I have to remember to listen to really melancholy, dramatic music while writing. If I’m listening to some black mascara band like Tool or APC, then all sorts of tremendous stuff about lightning and rainstorms gets down on the page. (It’s like that Onion article about poems written by children with divorced parents.) Otherwise, I find myself writing the same sort of prose that was already invented, exceeded, and exhausted by McSweeney’s at least three years ago.

Scene: It’s late at poker night. I’m having a major power failure, due to bird flu, and trying to patch up the problem with a shot of tequila. Not even I understand how the tequila is going to help my immune system, or my rapidly diminishing pile of chips. I sort of sip at the tequila, as if it were expensive loose leaf tea. It’s one of those impossible situations where I get empty-headed with fatigue, practically out-of-body. The players have brought baskets of great stuff: homemade cookies, fresh pretzels, more cookies, cocktail mixers, everything. Meanwhile I’m trying for a total loss of available funds, a total exhaustion embroidered with fever, an absolute without past or prospect, so I can sleep a thousand years. I finish the shot with the delicacy of a grandparent. In vain: I wake up in time for a morning matinee.

I’m thinking about the phoenix logo on all the Cambridge editions of D. H. Lawrence. It would make a bad tattoo.

This afternoon I cycled through a hundred DOs and DONTs on the Vice Magazine homepage. There were a few that really charmed me. I was reminded, once again, of the fact that kids like us use all of those ungrammatical interjections, such as “like” and “you know” and “f***ing” and “um,” to create metrical patterns. Seriously, the linguists should check this out. The old wisdom was that people said “um” when they were stalling for time. But it’s a new age, and I think the excellent phrasing of pop and rap songs has finally broken into the silent worlds of written speech.

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