Posted by: dougery | July 19, 2012

A brief Q&A with your Absentee-Bloglord

I go through these fits of unwriting productivity, usually in the summer when it is hot. I sit here and toy with idea of piloting a rocket into the sun that has a blackhole payload. I realize that I’d be taking out the source of all life as we know it, but sometimes that seems like a mercy, especially when so many people have their various forms of underwear in a twist over the weather, politics, art, social media, or stuff that really matters, like celebrity marriages.

But I have been, you know, thinking but stuff and things. Things and stuff. Even in the unwriting of my discontent. So here is a fake interview. I’ll be playing both the Questioner and Questionee, so give me a moment while I separate my consciousness into two somewhat equal parts. There now. Similar to that guy from Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland who can count the change in both of his pockets at the same time, I can now ask and answer all at once.

Q1: You’re the half who ended up with the irrational fear of bats, aren’t you? Haha, sucker.

A1: The upside is that I won’t be the one with puncture wounds up and down his neck dying of rabies. But seriously, remember when we came into work yesterday and there was a bat in the window-well? Cute little guy, for a flying horror-sack of pestilence, wouldn’t you say? When you called facilities I bet they laughed. “Oh, those English dept nerds are all scared of a wittle-ittle bat.”

Q2: Whatcha been reading, ya big shut-in? I’ve been enjoying such comics as Saga, Fatale and Demon Knights. What with their hideous tentacle-faced monsters, sarcastic television-faced monsters, and the non-monster-faced people who act like monsters.

A2: I’m glad you asked. You see I’ve been participating in #occupygaddis, an online “social reading” of J R, a novel by William Gaddis. It emulates the David Foster Wallace-a-thon “Infinite Summer” from a few years back, where a buncha people read Infinite Jest together and talked about it on blogs, Twitter, and in real life places that serve alcohol. Can you imagine of Twitter served alcohol? I think I just invented the logical conclusion of the internet. Just have the bartender be a smoosh-faced cat and we’re all set.

But back to Gaddis and J R. The novel is about a 11 year-old(-ish) boy whose class goes to Wall Street for a project and purchases a share of stock. Young J R is a wonderfully strange character who somehow builds this Evil Empire out this one piece of stock. Being a kid, he doesn’t have much of a moral compass you see. Which is to say adults in that line of work do, or should. But he’s just one of dozens of characters, all of whom are different kinds of ridiculous and sad. The text is almost entirely dialogue and J R has acquired the reputation of being a difficult book because of this. It reminds me of reading Twain, Irvine Welsh, or Pynchon in that the words, the language itself, is initially confusing, but after a while you fall into a rhythm. I’m enjoying it, but it is definitely work.

Q3. Thanks, Snooty McReadsDifficultBooksington. And what’s with all the hipster music you’ve been tagging on Spotify? Quadrophenia and Snoop Dogg not enough for you?

A3. Spotify is genius. This is the first year that I can honestly say I’ve listened to a majority of the critically acclaimed albums BEFORE those big year’s end list come out. I can listen to 3 or 4 new albums in a single morning. And my favorites, so nice of you to ask? The Dirty Projectors “Swing Lo Magellan” is amazing. Cloud Nothings and The Men keep me full of angry young man post-punk while Grimes’s baby-voice balances things out. Tons of big records coming out later this year. Been a deep year for music.

Q4. Why do you hate fun?

A4. I don’t! We just went to the circus, remember? And when your wife’s favorite clown (because I’m married to a woman who has a favorite clown) picks you out of the audience to do a bit in the middle of the floor, under spotlights and the bigtop, you know, for the kids, and you end up spitting in that clown’s face as part of a bit, well, how can I be accused of not being fun? That might be the textbook definition of fun. Also, there was the karaoke where you sang Taylor Swift to a room full of relative strangers. Let’s not forget about that.

Q5. Let’s alienate 9/10s of our audience. What’s that video game you’ve been playing?

A5. It’s called (most unfortunately) Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. That might be the worst name for anything ever, but the game is a blast. It’s also a throwback, released for the SNES back in the 90s. My best description of it is Risk crossed with Sim City. You start off with a bunch of scrawny rebels who move from territory to territory, defeating armies of gryphons and werewolves and valkyries while building experience and gaining followers and growing your own samurais, golems and paladins. It’s mythology nerdtastic and detailed and happens in real-time, with the populace judging your every command as just or ruthless. I love it, but admit its pretty damn obscure.

Q6. Excited for the big reunion?

A6. And how. In less than two weeks we’ll be driving to Hamburg, NY for my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary. There will be so so many Blackwells and Ryans and other extended family I haven’t seen in a decade or more. And that 7 hour drive there with my brother (the ladies in the back seats trying to drown out our obnoxiousness) and back. If my wife doesn’t murder us first by dark glances and second by physical harm, we’ll be lucky.

Q7. Well I’m spent. You’re on your own now, I’ll be waiting in line for the Batman thing.

A7. But I want to see that, too.

Q8. Sorry, you’re only allowed Beast of the Southern Wild.

A8. Damn my art-house leanings!




  1. the answer to Q4 = priceless.

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