Twitter, 19th Century style

So I had a nice weekend. Sad to see it finish. It was a long weekend since I took Friday off.
I took the time off to hook up with an old friend.
I don’t think he’d mind if I post his photo.

Yep, you might recognize him. Of Moby Dickian fame. It’s my man, Herman Melville.
One of my favorite American authors.

I read his work assiduously in my college Lit classes. The man was a genius and during my period of fledgling Great American wannabe authorship, he was the literary figure I fancied myself to be.

Melville’s life spanned much of the 19th Century. A period of time which saw the advent of America’s maturity amidst a grueling Civil War. A century which boasted of an agrarian heritage in its infancy and which grew into an increasingly urban and technological society in its ripe old age at the turn of the 20th Century.

Reading Melville affirms what a radically different temperament this country possessed just 150 years ago.

Bear with me because I am going to cite a passage from his short story, “Bartleby,the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street” because I need to make a point. Yes, sometimes I attempt to insert a semblance of thought around here, damn it.

The narrator of the story owns a legal office and he describes his employees. In describing “Nippers,” he writes at length with a decidedly 19th Century sense of deliberation and verbosity. This is just a snippet, 19th Century style. The full description as it appears in the story is much longer.

I always deemed him the victim of two evil powers-ambition and indigestion. The ambition was evinced by a certain impatience of the duties of a mere copyist, an unwarrantable usurpation of strictly professional affairs, such as the original drawing up of legal documents. The indigestion seemed betokened in an occasional nervous testiness and grinning irritability, causing the teeth to audibly grind together over mistakes committed in copying…

This “short story” requires a level of concentration (ie, selfless patience) not common among today’s 30-second spot mentality.

The other day, in my “cussing” post, I devoted a few sentences and thoughts to what I called the “rush society.”

The level of industrialization and technology since Melville’s time has increased so greatly and torrentially that it has left us with a lifestyle that bears little or no semblance to the pastoral climate of his day. It’s quite confounding to consider that, as technology has stepped in to do more for us, to handle all the mundane and repetitious tasks we previously spent hours doing (by hand), thus affording us more time, we still rush more and more in this mad dash for some vague and ill-defined finish line. This frenzied style of living has increased exponentially for decades.

Technology’s ostensible aim is speed and efficiency. In increasing amounts, it aims to build upon previous levels of swiftness.

Microwaves. Microprocessors. Heck, they even sell crap that heats water up and chills wine in the span of minutes. Fast.
Everything must be fast. Why?
Who the hell knows.
It’s just what we do.

I’m beyond criticizing this lunatic crescendo civilization is building towards. It is a social force greater than anything I can change.

I sit back and chill.
I rush when I need to, when I absolutely must.
I try to understand the pace of life. And where I fit in today.

We are brief and curt people.

We do nothing in depth and the quality of devotion we grant any task is directly proportional to its ease and simplicity.
We have become shallow social instruments.
We lack the ability of the 19th Century citizen, such as Melville, to whittle the layers away from objects and people, and really know them.

At work I encounter all sorts of people daily.

“Hi, how are you doing?
Good, and you?
Good, thanks!”

And by the time we’ve crossed each other’s paths in the hallway the last sentence has perhaps dwindled into distant incoherence with sincerity to match. Quick greetings, cursory acknowledgement of others which leave us untouched and unfeeling.

Twitter greetings.
We live in the age of Twitter.
If there is any timely phenomena that showcases our inability to value time, it is Twitter.
Blogging is just a bit more forgiving, but not much. As I type out my posts I keep an eye on the word count.
Once you pass the 800-1000 word range, you’re beginning to test the reader. Testing their devotion and willingness to set aside precious time to read your entire post.

Time is precious. Scientists design new gadgets with that consideration. Time is precious.
They do their job well, and we end up with more time…to do what?
Why to rush!
To run around frantically, to take care of our social life from the remotest spots our wireless network allows; to click out bullshit on our laptops which let us connect almost anywhere we can carry them. Productivity, they call it.

It’s about time, making the most of it.

Not about letting it pass peacefully and enjoy its passage. We must command it.

Brevity is not about valuing time. It is about defying time and trying to mold and shape it to fit our lives.
Ha, good luck with that.
We would be better off trying to catch the moon and package it in a cereal box.

Herman would have a tough time in our world.

How on earth would he describe Nippers in 140 characters? Well I can do it in 112!

I think Herman would be very proud.

Freddy Krueger it is…

Trying to reach a consensus on which movie to watch can turn into an agonizing process. Indecisiveness kills the fun.

Around here, it’s pretty simple.

Observe our decision-making process in action as we sit in front of my low-tech television on a rainy L.A. night.

Daddy’s back!

Well. It’s been a strange week.
Not sure if that’s the right word.
Unusual. Different. Kooky.

I departed from the usual me. Usually I’m outwardly focused and very and overly involved in the blogosphere’s business. Rambling, externally driven, opinions offered free of charge. It’s so David. So Phoenixism.

It was a radical departure. Radically, dude.

Departed from my usual.

I retreated. Into the darkest recesses of my soul and refused to come out all week.
Come out and play, David!

I was troubled. Although I boast of having conquered my demons, that is mostly bullshit. Compared to the average bear, perhaps, but the demons periodically stir from their slumber and fuck up my sense of peace. This week was such.

Truth be told, I didn’t feel much like writing most of the week.
It was a struggle.

I didn’t find myself much connected to the world or society.
The perceptive reader may ask, “This is you. So what’s new?”
Ah and that’s a good point. But you see, there was a difference. Though I’m not a diligent joiner, I still enjoy watching the circus that is humanity.
I’m fixated on watching and harping about things on occasion. I enjoy pitching in my very annoying or (hopefully) enlightening 2 cents. I derive pleasure from that; my solitude would drown me if it were not for the moments of revitalization I siphon from my public moments. Those moments I indulge in judging and deciphering the puzzling world.

Think of it as a gas station. Society is my gas station. Though I avoid it and generally don’t care to wait in line, once in a while I need to come out of my cubbyhole and fill ‘er up Sam. My soul. Fill ‘er up at the gas pump of society.

Last week I think some water got in my gas tank.
Fucked up the injectors.
All my cylinders weren’t firing.
To stretch that metaphor a bit more (God knows I stretch metaphors for all they’re worth), if I was a car engine, I wonder how many cylinders I would have.

I’m short. Maybe 4?
On the other hand, I’m insanely full of shit and other good stuff, so maybe I’m actually one of those Dodge 10 cylinder beasts.

So anyways, yeah, I was misfiring all week.

The roadmap shows the way:

On Valentine’s Day I posted No Service I think this is when I began to slip. The post was good, I was happy with it, but it was an idea that had been sitting in my drafts and it seemed Valentine’s Day was a fitting day to post it. Thus little thought or inventiveness went into it for it was essentially outlined already. Completing it, however, proved an elusive struggle; I was surprised it turned out as well as it did.

The next day, the 15th, I posted a new installment of the slightly demented how a soccer player from Cameroon comes to perish project. This story-writing project is kinda cool but it is also a great opportunity for me to post without really thinking. That’s not a good thing. It certainly served its purpose well last Monday.

The 16th saw me post a strangely thoughtful post The Journey Back. It was inspired by a citation I read over on Poetry of Flesh. The William Blake observation really struck home. This post was written directly by my subconscious. There was very little cognitive thought or logical arrangement. This post displayed the spot I had been in, was in, and would be, for the week.

The next day I posted A second (or third) look at those damn cell phones. This was fluff.
An example of my mind and heart at odds with my actions. It’s like the alcoholic who lapses into a strange state where he drinks even when he is not craving a drink; drinking as a reflexive habit. Blogging can turn into such a habit if you aren’t careful. This cell phone post felt empty. It felt Twitterish but with a who lot more words.

February 18, Thursday, I began to snap out of it.
I posted There is some cussing in this post.
The gusto was returning.
It wasn’t completely back, however. Still faltering. Random and discarded traces of frustration and anger still manifested themselves in profuse swearing, so much that I even integrated that into the name of the post. But I nevertheless felt the spark return. The diatribe that issues from the chest, not from the skull.

Yesterday, the culmination.
Severely self-mortifying.
Let the pain hang out.
Wherein I tell an old friend to go fuck himself
Wow! Reinventing my post-naming system. Using the “F” word in a title. Rage, mama. Rage. Feel it!
Purge the litter. Wring out the soul, let the dirty, cloudy water run down the drain.
Hang me out to dry until the next use (or abuse).

Daddy’s back you mofo’s!

Wherein I tell an old friend to go fuck himself

Parting is such sweet sorrow.
There is parting.

Is there ever parting?

Sometimes I need to bid you fucking adieu.
Sometimes I do.

Many times I forget you and that thing you do so well: creep into my weak mind when I least need or expect you.
You drop in at the most inopportune times. When I’m just trying to live my life. My simple, undistracted life.
You won’t have it.

Let him go in peace.

That was never your motto.
Not you. You slimy piece of crap.
Can’t let me rest can you?

Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Can we part?

What will do it, what is it that will allow me to fling your spiny little slimeshit body right out the window.

When can we turn our backs on each other once and for all.
When will my lust for you, my cravings for your cold touch, finally subside into the great beyond?

Not when I’m finally dead.
Please no.

That’s too late and someone once told me I deserve a splendid life.
With you.
There is no splendid.

There is fog.
And hell.
And helpless.

But no splendid.

You’ve never done a damn thing for me.

You have actually.
But it was all empty and hollow shit.
Nothing of substance. You’re like those fucking robots who bark “Hi, how are you doing!” out every day.

Yup, you’re nothing but a vapid ego stroke.
You pulled the wool over my eyes. You lied to me and convinced me to lie to myself. And everyone else.

You’re a sinister and conniving bitch.
So tonight.
Let’s spend our final evening.

Shall we kiss goodbye?
Of course.
Without the kiss.
There is nothing.

Before we part.
I will be honest.
We had great times together.
Many of my grandest memories (too many) were spent with you.
With you I might have become more.
Without you…I might have become greater.

Is there a photoalbum?
Our family. Our terrain of pain?

I wonder if our love affair could ever be chronicled in pictures.
I doubt that.

I bid you adieu.

You piece of shit.
Therein lies the problem.

I endow you with value, with evil. I make you something. And you are nothing.
In fact, this whole post is about making you something and publicizing your manipulative ass.

On that note, later.

You fuck.

WARNING: there is some cussing in this post

A lot of motherfucking shit can befall your mind in just a day.

In the morning (if you’re a morning person) you can be amped and LALALALA, ready to take on the world, full of ideas and vigor and gusto and you’re ready to kick ass in general.

I’m a morning person.

I go to bed by 11, wake up by 5 or 5:30.
Usually I hop out of that Goddamned bed. HOP. I beat the alarm clock every single, stinking time. I am usually the one who wakes the alarm clock. Many times I’ve already started making breakfast when I suddeny hear the clock beeping away in the bedroom and I have to drop whatever I’m doing in order to go switch it off.

Why do I do this?
There is no harm.
Am I afraid I will wake up the old, crotchety neighbors?

But still I run and do it. Rush back to the kitchen and continue stirring my oatmeal or whatever else I’m cooking on this wonderful fucking morning.


Dude. What in the world is up with instant oatmeal.
I ate that shit for years. Realized in my dawning years of pennypinching miserliness that instant oatmeal is a ripoff. A ripoff.

And I started doing some demented non-financial type of cost/benefit analysis. I experimented by buying one of those large tubs of Quaker Oats…the kind that holds enough oats to keep North Dakota regular for a month. I ate that shit for breakfast, I cooked those oats from scratch, baby.
And discovered…

Freshly cooked oats taste at least 5,000,000 times better than the instant microwaved garbage.
And it only takes 5-6 minutes. That’s not really so long is it?
Is your time that valuable?
Are you that slow?

C’mon, we all have time to spend 6 minutes making a wonderful bowl of steaming oatmeal.
When all is said and done, I realized the benefits (money savings, taste) exceeded the costs when it comes to preparing fresh oats for breakfast. The costs you may wonder? More dirty dishes, an extra 4 minutes prep time, and the extra (miniscule per serving) money spent on brown sugar and cinnamon (in my case).
Traditional Quaker Oats meal, 1; instant Quaker Oats, 0.

Everything is Goddamned motherfucking instant. Quick.
It all began with the microwave.
Speed up cooking time.
Speed, speed, rush rush.
We are a rush society.
We need it done yesterday!

I hate fast. I hate fast people. Well, I don’t hate them, but they bother me.
People who walk fast, talk fast, eat fast, drive fast, Goddamnit, they probably shit fast.
Dude. Chill. Take it easy.
One day I will do a magnificent post about the Rush Society.
Magnificent I tell you.
Well, not magnificent.

Fuck magnificent.
Who says? Magnificent to me, is surely not to you. Or most of you. Judging by that visitor hit meter. Hahahah!!
I think a wonderful trait is the ability to laugh at oneself.
That bespeaks something.
Not sure what.
But it does.

I’ve always been a wonderful self-joker.
Shitting on myself.
Poking fun at myself.
Yes, you wanna tear me down? Don’t trouble yourself, I’ll do the job for you. And I won’t care one fucking bit.
Not at all.
Rush society.

There is this really cute chick at work, she rushes like a mofo.
I’ve never seen her do anything slow.
Sometimes she wears heels or sandals and you can tell she’s in the vicinity because her heels are clicking on the corporate tile like a machine gunner 78 rpm record.
Did I just refer to the wonder of vinyl music playback devices in the year 2010?
Bwa ha!

Sorry, young readers…see, in the old days we played vinyl albums. That’s how we listened to music. The sounds were etched in the medium, not digitally imprinted. The “records” were round and recorded at 3 popular playback speeds…33, 45 & 78 rpm.
33 and 45 were the most popular.
78 was some weird fringy thing no one had. It insinuates speed, like my fast-walking co-worker.

What was my original point?
Remember the beginning of this mess?

A lot of motherfucking shit can befall your mind in just one day

So ya see Shawn, that’s what happened.
My morning plans…spring eternal.
They happen…just not exactly when intended under the beauty of the morning sun.
One day. Without warning…

Notice I didn’t say “sorry.”

I never say sorry.
Sorry is lame.
Not many people mean it.

It’s a reflexive burp, most of the time.

Fuck you, I wanna say.

Sorry. I do it too. Sometimes I just blurt it. Sorry! You get in someone’s way, you step on their shoe, you stick your finger up their crotch…sorry!

Words are so much easier than utter and sincere apology.

I’m sorry for this post.