08 August 2009


I've been puttering around on the couch this morning, as is my way, using the interwebs in the fashion for which they are seemingly best suited: to reveal, in an ever-lengthening row of tabs, ever more info about whatever caught my passing interest in a previous tab. Thusly, have I increased my vocabulary to include menefreghismo, and its variants. I thought, for a while, maybe I wanted to read Nick Tosches' book, Dino, about Dean Martin. Then, as I was trying to find some online version of a Tosches magazine article I remember fondly (and, I swear, only just now, typing this sentence, long past having scoured New Yorker, Harper's, and McSweeney's archives in vain for a hint, does it dawn on me that it was in Vanity Fair, here, and I recommend it: a stellar description of the fullest use of one's skills and resources to feed a seemingly pointless obsession, as the seasons pass, concluding that "nobody with a decent map needs rainbows"...whatever that means), I somehow stumbled upon mention of a Jack Pendarvis, described as a "Southern Gothic David Sedaris". I thought of my friend, Huw, whom I've mentioned before in his capacity as priestly aspirant, and who, being Southern, and prolificly blogulous, has much to write and link to, of the South and of his experiences carrying it north in his heart. We've been chatting recently (and through him, and his Canadian proximity, I've begun watching some of Little Mosque on the Prairie), and I wonder if he'd be interested in Pendarvis. Then, I thought, I should just see if it's any good myself, before I go recommending it. The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure seems like a good place to start, being as it's a short story collection, and my ability to read actual book-length books has largely atrophied (help me find a less oxymoronic adjective for atrophied, please), despite some recent success with Reason, Faith, and Revolution (approaching halfway!).

Then, as I kept accumulating and scrolling through tabs, I found an excerpt from his book-length book, Awesome. The excerpt is, I think, just a fantastic short story on its own, and simultaneously relieves me of the burdensome task of reading a whole book while kindling desire for same. I love how it ends with a question that raises more questions, that prob'ly don't have answers, but whatever, it's stimulating, on top of being funny. Could be pointless, but feh: entertaining! I don't know if it's "Southern Gothic", but maybe if I put a little more twang in the voice in my head...

More importantly, book schmook! Pendarvis turns out to be roughly as prolificly blogulous as Huw, and hyperlink happy in a way that makes me do a cat stretch. I followed a chain from his "blog"--oh, and the gratuitous "quotation marks"? Did I already say cat stretch?--to a long Daniel Clowes interview that made me wish both Ghost World and The King of Comedy were available on demand from Netflix, so I could watch specific scenes this instant (bah! Netflix schmetflix! I think this is the scene they're talking about from The King, although it doesn't make much sense in the context of their conversation... or makes too much, rather.).

A peculiar trait to this "blog" of Pendarvis', is that some 90% of his hyperlinks lead back into his own blog's archives. I like the circularity. I like the idea of having written enough, that everything new I'm writing, relates in several concrete ways to any number of other things I've already written. For instance, I'm reminded here of what I've written before about spending my life rehearsing the same conversations--hey! I could link to that post! I'm reminded of what I've written, briefly, about eventually stitching together a beautiful picture from a thousand little blog posts. I'm also reminded of what I've written before about having my head twisted so far up my own ass that... I don't think I'll link to that one. But the whole self-referential shebang: I wish I could hyperlink to where I write "cat stretch", above.

Anyway, I enjoyed following a chain through his posts about a friend of his having used the word "palimpsest". It reminded me of my friend John, who worked briefly with me at the sign shop. (parenthetically, John, since then, has become an Orthodox priest, and recently moved to Tennessee. There's some kind of weird resonance in these details, with Huw, but beyond that, I can't think of much else those two have in common.... Pressing myself to do so: I'd wager that either one of them could knowledgeably fashion a Cthulhu themed confection, but would prefer to do a casserole--but then, like most of us, would prob'ly choose not to do either.) John was fond of describing our shop's display window as a palimpsest, and we often spoke of designing signs, or art based on signs, around such an idea. In fact, here's an opportunity to link back to my old post with a picture of the art I put together for the SFMOMA members' newsletter calendar page! Or at least, the picture itself: palimpsest!

Ultimately, the "blog" chain led back to a post about the singular experience many of us can relate to, of stumbling, late at night, across Dr. Gene Scott's widow, as she keeps his peculiar ministry alive. This reminds me that I haven't yet gleaned Werner Herzog's perspective on the good doctor, God's Angry Man (not on Netflix at all, but currently occupying 43 minutes worth of my cache over on the Google video tab--there's another better part of an hour down! All praise Saturdays! In the book I'm halfway through, Eagleton insists that the whole point of the Sabbath is to make sure we all get a day off!).

So, I think that's the final "point" of this post: an open question of whether I've enriched myself, or anyone else, in sitting on the couch all day, composing this palimpsest of hyperlinks. I think I should explore it further...

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