The Search for Love in Manhattan
A gay odyssey of neurosis


Sunday, July 31, 2005

How is it that I am 200 pages into Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and have found three errors (one grammatical, two spelling) but no actual plot events?

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:45 PM |


Saturday, July 30, 2005

I survived the baseball game.

I spent the first hour and a half watching the game out of the corner of my eye while I devoured a hot dog, a huge bag of Cracker Jacks, a cup of frozen lemonade, and an ice cream cone.

I spent the next hour and a half knitting a scarf.

In between, I held an infant in my lap.

The whole afternoon was such a bizarre mix of the familiar and the terrifyingly foreign that I didn't really know what to do with myself afterwards, so I just went home and took a nap.

posted by Faustus, MD | 6:50 PM |


Thursday, July 28, 2005

I do not understand how such a thing could possibly have come to pass, but I am leaving my apartment in 45 minutes to be a spectator at a live baseball game. The New York Yankees are playing at Yankee Stadium. My brother says they are probably playing the Minnesota Twins. I have never seen a live baseball game before and I am very frightened. What if I get hit in the head with a ball and develop amnesia? What if I get food poisoning from a hot dog?

What if I have to watch people playing baseball?

If there are never any posts on this blog again, you can blame the New York Yankees for my untimely demise.

posted by Faustus, MD | 11:17 AM |


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Everyone must go out and buy the latest issue of The Advocate. On page 87 there is a short essay by the man who has never been seen in the same room with me and on page 18 there is a cute photograph of him along with a short bio.

I've heard he's extraordinarily self-involved and somewhat prudish, but inexplicably I feel some measure of good will towards him.

posted by Faustus, MD | 7:10 PM |


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

So finally, after years of putting it off, I have to read Alfred C. Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.

Let me tell you, this is, as they say, some good shit.

"In the total male population, single and married, between adolescence and old age . . . it is not more than 0.3 per cent of the [number of orgasms] which is derived from relations with animals of other species."

Now I'm just trying to figure out if, given my ex-boyfriend, I make up part of this group.

posted by Faustus, MD | 9:43 PM |


Monday, July 25, 2005

It is I, Faustus. I have returned.

I was away for two weeks at what I can best describe as an artists' colony; the work my collaborator and I did there went very well.

Then I flew to North Carolina for a week-long top-secret mission.

I knew I was in North Carolina when, for dinner the first night, I was served chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, and fruit salad with maraschino cherries and little marshmallows in it.

Let me assure you that I don't need to be reminded of the reasons I left the South.

But if I did, this sure would have helped.

posted by Faustus, MD | 6:32 PM |


Sunday, July 24, 2005

I am endlessly sorry to Faustus and his readers for being so derelict in my duties. Just about all my waking hours for the last few days have been spent in the midst of fellow typography nerds at Typecon, where we all get to let our freak flags fly and rant about the differences between the 7 different versions of Garamond (including Sabon, the pseudo-Garamond) without getting crazy looks. Sadly, I had to pass up a few cool type-drawing workshops because work duties overlapped with the conference more than I was expecting. I also had to miss a walking tour of some classic NYC signage, which was especialyl disappointing since the Times pointed out that one of the stops was my old high school, where apparently, "The 'R' is too small in the bowl, and too long in the leg."

As tired as I am (since all the sleeping hours were spent trying to fend off the summer combo of cold/allergy attack), I have to hustle back there this morning looking as cute as possible, since my colleague Ina Saltz is giving a talk about typographic tattoos that will include some pictures of my work. If Erik Spiekermann finds me to yell about the why I altered the position of the dots in my Meta Bold umlaut, I want to at least look presentable.

Aw, who am I kidding? I want to look cute for all the cute type geeks who'll come up and admire my arms afterward.

posted by Sparky | 8:18 AM |


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Damn Faustus for cursing his guest hosts with a daily obligation! Having a theme, though, does make it easier to follow his draconian orders. In fact, I should consider subjecting myself to similar rules on either of my other blogs — I could be much more prolific that way. Anyway...

See the eight-year-old
Knitting mittens on the bus.
Does his mother know?

I don't really like kids that much, but there are a lot of things I like about kids. Enough, at least, that I find them entertaining in small doses. One of the things that I always love is seeing kids who haven't had gender roles bludgeoned into them yet. Future-gay, future-straight, or future-whatever, there's a time when a lot of kids just gleefully go about their business doing what they like before they realize they're not supposed to act that way. I have a soft spot, of course, for little boys who haven't been called sissies yet for the way they run around with arms flailing, or the way they like to play with dolls, or the way they like to dance, or the way they like to kiss mommy and daddy just because they love them so much.

Sadly, the messages come from all sides that it's not so good for boys to be too girly, and the older kids get the more likely they are to toe the line. Better gender theorists than I can probably be more erudite about this. After all, I'm just another gay boy who had a harder time learning to be butch than most boys, but who still managed to develop a deep fear of being too much of a sissy. But patterns seem to emerge, and no matter how often we felt Free to be You and Me, we notice those kids who keep doing their thing longer than the other kids and we're sure we know their story.

Now, I don't think there was a direct correlation between my faggotry and my insistence that I pretend to be Jamie Summers as a kid, but I think that maybe I didn't realize the other kids wouldn't think that was cool for some of the same reasons I couldn't quite figure out why I felt a little set off from the other boys with whom I played tag and whiffle ball and whatnot. The signs often all add up, even if they don't add up too directly.

My friends and I would often eat at this diner down the street from where we worked, and we became very friendly with one of the waitresses who handled the lunch rush. (As a side benefit, we often got free cake.) She was single with an 8-year-old son who was her pride and joy. One day, she was so excited to show us his pictures from dancing school. There he was, captured forever in that moment when he was totally excited about working the jazz hands in his purple sequined tights, top hat, and fringed sleeves. The four of us — two gays, a dyke, and gay-friendliest single woman on Earth — shot glances at one another. We knew, and it probably wouldn't be long before the kid figured it out, but it was at once so sweet and so sad that his mother would probably be the last to know. Well, maybe not the last to know but possibly the last to acknowledge it. God bless him, I hope he's still tapping as fast as his light loafers will let him.

posted by Sparky | 10:41 PM |


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Yikes, this has to be a quick one so I can sneak in under the wire before midnight. Faustus ordered us to post at least once a day while he was gone, and that last one doesn't really count. So on to the haiku:

Sitting at the bar,
My soul filled with deep longing
And deeper terror.

I am that goody two shoes that Adam Ant sang about. I don't drink. I don't smoke. On top of that I don't do any drugs, I'm prone to crippling shyness, and caffeine makes me jittery after a while. (OK, I'm not that much of a goody two shoes because left to my own devices I'm prone to being slutty, but you get the point.) Therefore, the idea that bars are the easiest way for a gay man to meet another man has never really worked for me. Catch me in the right mood and I can be awfully sociable, but even with a group of friends hanging out in a bar is tough. I just don't have the social skills for it. I can't rely on alcohol to loosen me up (besides, I suspect I'd be either very maudlin or very angry if I ever got drunk), and drinking Cokes all night makes me hyper and fidgety. And since I'm pretty shy, I don't really have much natural grace when it comes to chatting up strangers. Even worse, I'm too naturally polite to repel the unwanted advances of guys who creep me out. Bar hopping? It's a death sentence for me.

Yeah, yeah, yeah — I know. Bars aren't the only way to meet other people. Duh. But they seem like the thing to do sometimes when you're bored, lonely, and tired of sitting in front of the TV all night again. In effect, they seem like the thing to do at the exact moment when my self-esteem is least prepared to deal with a meat market. It's a vicious catch-22, and I've caught myself in it many times over the years.

Sometimes, though, I would just convince myself that I was making a big deal out of nothing and give it another go. Hope, or at least delusion, springs eternal. It's been quite a relief to be out of that game for so long now.

posted by Sparky | 11:46 PM |

While I have your attention, it behooves me to urge all of you to come check out the fun at a little event here in New York tonight:

WYSIWYG Talent Show

The WYSIWYG Talent Show presents

GREETINGS FROM LAKE WYSIWYG
(Summer Camp Stories)

Tuesday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. at P.S. 122
150 1st Ave. at East 9th St.

Tickets are $7 — call the P.S. 122 box office at 212-477-5288 or
click here to purchase advance tickets

Featuring:

Susie Felber (felberfrolics.blogspot.com)

Claudia Cogan (getthefoutofhere.blogspot.com)

Jim Barrett (jimbo.info/weblog)

Sarah Weinman (sarahweinman.com)

Jonny Goldstein (jonnygoldstein.com)

Jess Hulett (blindcavefish.com)

This is our last show of the summer, since we go on hiatus until September, so if you've been tempted to come to one of the shows (and of course you have because you know Faustus would never participate in anything that wasn't of the highest quality available) come on by tonight! It's too bad Faustus is out of town this week, because I'm sure tonight's theme would fill him with terror about his own trip to summer camp later this summer.

posted by Sparky | 10:40 AM |


Monday, July 18, 2005

This is Sparky, your nurse practitioner in the doctor's absence:

I know you think I
Like it when you slap my ass.
You are mistaken.

Have you ever been fooling around with someone and suddenly realized that you weren't much more than an elaborate masturbatory aid? Like you were just one of the accessories of his scene? It's such a disappointing moment. It's awkward to go through those sexual negotiations with someone, trying one way or another to let him know what you like, trying to figure out what he likes. Sometimes he won't get your hints, or you can't figure out when you're pushing the right buttons, or one of you feels silly just coming out and saying what it is you're into. Ideally, though, you're both trying, and you're both trying to reach a common ground where everyone has a good time, gets a little sticky, and goes home (or rolls over, or curls up to you) with a smile.

But. BUT! Some guys just aren't into your opinion. You can nudge, hint, take his hand and move it, or even blurt out "Quit it!" and he doesn't get the point. Or, more accurately, he doesn't care about what you're after. It's selfish, yeah, but it's also self-absorbed. If I'm going at it with a gentleman caller, I'm trying to see to it that he enjoys himself. I really am! But I want to be in on the fun, and I have a few requests of my own. I like to think that he's there because he's into me in some way, not because I'm just the right size or shape to fit into his ritual. I want to feel a little chemistry. I do not want to feel like an interchangeable character in someone else's script. Hell, even if I like the script (and I am, shall we say, a fan of a variety of genres) I want to be able to collaborate and improv a little.

This problem can show up when you least expect it. I've been with guys and experienced a real connection on the basest levels, giving and taking and get a kick out of each other's enjoyment, when neither of us had even exchanged names or were likely to see each other ever again. That's a lot of fun, and one of the reasons why I think even the most casual sex can be very fulfilling if you luck out with the right person and have a good attitude about the whole thing. Conversely, I've also dated guys who had no ability whatsoever to adapt to having me there, which is infinitely worse than being ignored by a relative stranger.

So seriously guys: don't just plow ahead assuming you're both having fun. Pay a little attention, and then maybe you both will.

posted by Sparky | 11:05 PM |


Sunday, July 17, 2005

This is Sparky, filling in for Faustus and working that gimmick:

It's Dorian Gray
In reverse: you aged and yet
Your photo stayed young

It's happened to most of us at one point or another, especially those of us who've chosen to embrace our inner slut during the Internet Age. We see a suggestive pseudonym, a few compelling statistics, perhaps a blurb of some kind or another, and a photo. (I hope you all at least insist on a photo these days. These aren't the early nineties for god's sake!) It always amazes me that there are men out there who think they can get away with fudging the basic parts of this kind of rudimentary advertising. I suppose what really amazes me is the thought that there might be other men who fall for this bait and switch, who might see that guy at the door and not feel swindled. Or at the very least, not call their bluff and withhold the nookie.

Granted, I think there's room for a little flexibility depending on what you're really after at any given moment. I've been willing to overlook a little fibbing or the use of slightly misleading imagery if a guy was still attractive in person. It's the nature of the business to put your best face forward, and I imagine it's a slippery slope once you tell that first fib. I have a friend, for example, who dated a guy for years without confessing he was ten years older than this guy, and not five years younger. But he had the good skin and the limber body to inhabit the lie. I have — more than once — encountered guys who thought they could show a ten-year-old photo of themselves and assume I wouldn't mind getting pawed by the cryptkeeper hands I eventually saw. When faced with such blatant, artless dishonesty, I'm too annoyed to even stick around (or play host) for small talk.

I'm often attracted to older guys, so it's not a matter of age discrimination. But I like honesty. And the confidence that honesty requires. After years of trying my luck with personal ads (of both the reputable and tawdry kinds), I've lost a lot of faith in men's ability to be upfront about what they have to offer, so I've learned to read those many little photos much more critically. Getting a good photo is much easier now than it was when I was more of a catch myself, thanks to the availability of scanners and digital cameras, which makes it even easier to assume that you can make a few key judgements about books from their covers.

A few of the guidelines that I've learned (the hard way) to follow over the years:

  • Never trust a blurry photo. If he can't find anything that shows the details, than he's probably trying to hide them.

  • That gets a little harder if a guy thinks his crappy cameraphone photo is good enough, but if he thinks that than his standards may be low in other matters as well, and so he can't be trusted.

  • Even still, a crappy cameraphone picture has a very different quality of crappiness than a blurry scan of an old print or even an old digital photo. Learn to spot the differences if you want to give a guy that extra benefit of the doubt.

  • A young-looking guy doesn't necessarily look like a young guy. He may look good, but it's a different kind of good. If there's any discrepancy between the photo and the age given, assume the worst. Either one could be a fib.

  • Look at where that arm is placed, or that unusual posture. There's something flabby in Denmark.

  • And this is one you can only do if you've been around the block for a long time: if he's still using the same picture for a couple of years, then chances are it's been around for a couple more. At the very least, it's probably not too accurate. If he's still so damned handsome, then why can't he ask someone with one of those fancy new little robot cameras to take another shot?

A little imagination, with a dash of loneliness and horniness, can make us see what we want to see, or read what we want to read. We fill in the details with what we hope to discover, and that's where the trouble starts. We wouldn't be silly romantic fools if we didn't hope for the best, but we have to draw the line somewhere. I draw the line at that washed-out old wedding photo a guy shows when he's trying to talk his way into my pants. Show a little effort, at least, before I waste the subway fare.

posted by Sparky | 9:55 PM |

Greetings, kids, this is Sparky, assuming control of the Faustus, M.D., Clinic for Neurotic Bloggers for the remainder of the good doctor's absence. When we authors ad interim were given our assignments we were instructed in no uncertain terms to produce at least one substantial post a day during each of our stints. That's a nice idea, but when you've been at this game as long as I have, that kind of inspiration is hard to come by. The musical theater, however, provided me with an answer to the dilemma, as it does in so many things: "You gotta have a gimmick."

So, for the next week I'm going to take a few of those gay haiku you've heard so much about, and tell stories that will illustrate why I found a few of them so personally meaningful. Voilà! Instant content.

posted by Sparky | 7:27 PM |


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Here, in place of the Doc one final time, I find I can no longer manage plurality -- being in company -- or even, for that matter, being. I carry on, naturally -- what would I do except that? -- but with nothing left to it other than to be alone. Alone and, well, virtual. Look, I'm not even here.

A terrible condition to be in, no doubt about it; that of unmitigated individuality, egocentric monomania, with only ever room for one. Bereft of the capacity for dialogue, for that vibration in the air between two (or more) people. No place here for community. No place for liking or loyalty or love.

How do we build anything, without each other? How am I meant to go on without you? You were my collaborator, my navigator, my colleague, my partner in crime. You were the love of my life. Without you, I became nothing.

Well.

It would appear I can go on, after all.

Hearing my empty voice echo around our recently-vacated hall, it might occur to you that I'm talking only to the brickwork, the floor, the air. You're right, I am. What could I do differently? Where once you were, you are no more. What we were together turned into only you and me. We fragment; we all fragment like that. The gap can only get greater, the connection weaker, more forlorn, more lonely. The dwindling contact ever more faint.

Hello? Are you there?

Anyone?

Hello?

No. When we come down to it, in the final reckoning, no-one will pick up the phone. It can all only end one way.

A hum.

A click.

And maybe, too little, too late, unheard in the crackling fadeout: a goodbye.

Goodbye, cruel world.

Goodbye...

posted by matt | 9:13 AM |


Friday, July 15, 2005

Our love-seeker is elsewhere, for a spell. I, Matt, am a temporary host while he's away, to be vaguely glimpsed from time to time hereabouts, despite my camouflage of tortured prosody, before the duty roster rotates to its third victim.

So, it's Friday. It's a day for gratitude to deities or to sexual acts, for fish or calls to prayer. It's Freya's festival, or Frigga's, or Aphrodite's. It's Crusoe's sidekick. What shall we do today? Where shall we go?

I say: let's take a tour boat to somewhere cheerful.

Picture a small isle midway from the south side of the Thames to its opposite. Just a little rocky outcrop, leftover from a rougher, readier time, before overseas trade took over the estuary. Boats sail by it daily still, despite its lack of reality: a mere chimera, it is, a fever dream of solidity amid the tidal flow of the river. But chimeræ are hazardous, as all steerspeople realise, so they give it a wide berth to this day.

The river is wide about this islet; to keep its folk at bay, perhaps. Atop the rock is a hamlet that's quite a surprise if you compare it to the more usual grumpy pessimism of its locale.

The people who live there are famously agreeable. Whatever you ask of them, they will seldom refuse. Theirs is a microculture of almost ceaseless positivity. So dedicated are they to the affirmative that their peculiar argot lacks the most basic tools for its opposite. If they shake their heads, it is always to say "yes".

For them, the world is all about the upside. Every day is a festival, every idle chit-chat a party, each word a gift. Their streets are paved with laughter. The little village hall is double-decked with the classical mask of comedy. They amuse each other with musical shows like Yes, yes, Yvette or Les Heureuses.

It's so upbeat it could make you vomit.

Oh, yes, it's a great place to visit. It'll recharge your batteries, boost your morale, massage your ego. But by the time your little day trip is over, you'll be desperate to catch the rickety ferry back to the real world; back to the luxury of shades of grey.

Who could take all that sugar from day to day? There's a place for optimism, of course, but please. You'd have to be crazy to live there...

posted by matt | 3:57 PM |


Thursday, July 14, 2005

He's away. He'll be back. Meanwhile, in some hidden, sun-dappled glade of his blog, you chance upon me. You lucky, lucky people.

Carefree, smiling, dancing on sunbeams, we look around his garden and feel joy. Where should we wander, here, amid so many lovely leaves and flowers? Hearing a breeze ruffle blades of grass, seeing richly laden branches wave forward and back, we sigh in wonder; can we possibly decide upon a course which offers even more pleasure? Perhaps.

Moving on, our journey carries us by fields and groves and dense copses of woodland, all richly summery, warm and basking in sunshine. We exchange easy, playful hugs and kisses and skip along happily hand in hand, secure in our friendship and love.

Beside a bubbling brook, minuscule people garbed in blue hook huge golden fish, each one food for many weeks ahead. We decline several generous offers of a meal, and move on, laughing gaily, choosing a way ahead from many on offer, all equally alluring. Up? Down? Do we even care? So many choices, surely none will be bad?

Or maybe one.

When we've gone a mile or so down our chosen lane, we observe a growing darkness; colour leaches from blossoms overhead, dragonfly wings no longer iridesce, songs so long accompanying us we'd ceased even hearing drop away -- and suddenly we hear once more. Hear an absence, an echoing loss.

Dismayed, we gaze on as a jewelled hummingbird hovers briefly before us, slows, and spirals groundward, dying before our eyes. Glancing up, we see leaves shrivelling on branches under a slender arc of moon, her dim radiance cold and cruel. Silence is everywhere. Somehow, we are alone.

Where did our happiness go?

A freezing wind rises and whips around us, pulling our hair and chilling our bones and dampening our eyes. Icicles caress our cheeks, now, and rime our lashes, and his absence burns so keenly in memory we fear we may never be warm again.

We hug ourselves grimly and -- being all we can do -- hope. If we can only survive his leaving, we may -- some week, some year -- rediscover sunshine. Spring will one day find us again, my friend. One day, surely.

We dig in for a long, sorrowful vigil.

posted by matt | 1:08 PM |


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Okay, folks. Faustus here, dropping in momentarily from the wilds of Connecticut to ask that you refrain from criticizing my guest bloggers. You're welcome to be as mean to me in this space as you like, but people I have invited into my electronic home are a different story. If you don't enjoy what the Guest Bloggers I Wish I Could Sleep With write (I myself thought Lauren's posts were hysterical and am finding Matt's game exhilarating), by all means don't read it, but I insist that you do them the courtesy of not complaining about it in this space.

Thanks. Now back to your regularly scheduled program. I have hours and hours of rewrites ahead of me this evening.

posted by Faustus, MD | 6:43 PM |

A little moment of respite, here, in my ongoing fort-holding efforts for the itinerant Mephistophelian medico. Today's escapee is, if only I steer clear of the second person and the letter Q, somewhat less of a challenge than its esteemed predecessors, or indeed the consonants to come. Not really a proper lipogram, this is more of an intermission; which is only reasonable in the context of eight perfs on the trot. The Doctor is a hard taskmaster: "Post every day!" he admonished. If only I managed to post so often to my own blog...

It isn't as if I have nothing better to do; even if we ignore, as seems best, work, which can hardly be described as "better" -- day after day grooming the sprinting dogs of imperialist capitalism -- there's a whole host of entertainments, spectacles, diversions, hobbies, pastimes, addictions, cravings, follies, scandals, disgraces and assorted depravities that I might be misspending my time on rather than this; and evidently plenty who wish I'd do exactly that. Or at least blog those things in every sordid detail, rather than playing silly word games.

Nevertheless, here I am, with silly word games in tow. Why?

I need a holiday, frankly, and bizarre as it may seem, this is it. Sorry folks, this is all simply an expression of my own escapism, a fleeing from my life. Instead of lazing on a beach or trekking in sodden rainforest I'm twiddling letters on some foreign website. Perverse, no? What kind of vacation is that?

Well, a change is as good as a rest. And it's hard to be oneself when alienated from one's own lingo. Like Stencil, I get to do eight impersonations.

Hey ho. That's it for the vowels, anyway. The road ahead is looking awkward indeed. Three more days in ill-fitting drag; ach, that's not so many.

Take 'em or leave 'em.

posted by matt | 3:13 PM |


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dr F isn't in; hence my recurring presence as substitute. Never fear, he'll be back. Betweentimes, a third guest is scheduled, starting at the weekend; Sunday, I believe. My presence here is transience itself -- ephemera, pure and simple. I'm just a fleeting shade; but aren't we all?

Need I identify this entry's absent friend, Faustus aside? Hardly. It is, indeed, utterly predictable, as Pascale has already declared. Still, we might speculate: what awkward textual backwaters must we brave in this arbitrary cause, what twisty little passages all alike? And what verbal infelicities will, with grim inevitability, result? Read 'em and weep, ladies and germs. Read 'em and weep.

Is there anything justifying such an excruciating exercise? Can I perhaps hide my embarrassing writerly deficiencies behind this little game, applying tricksy linguistic legerdemain in a distracting spectacle all furnished in mist and silvered glass? Will I instead fumble the cards with amateurish hands, let slip the silk handkerchiefs, saw my beautiful assistant in halves I can't then reattach?

Alternatively, is there a chance these limits might lay bare and circumvent a laziness in the way I -- and by inference we -- build sentences, a mechanical selectivity relentlessly preferring the familiar and clichéd? In struggling against stringent rules, can we find and awaken a slumbering creativity? That, at any rate, is what Perec, Queneau, Mathews and their experimental writing crew attempted; with admittedly variable results.

In any case, while this entry sequence is hardly breaking new turf, I'm finding it rather illuminating. The strictures within which I'm willingly writing here impart a surprisingly different lilt every time, each quite unlike my usual undisciplined style. Which is interesting in itself, and as well, inter alia, means this place remains distinct, during my fleeting stewardship, rather than merely transplanting Walky Talky. In truth, whatever it may appear, these paragraphs aren't me at all.

Besides, it seems fitting. I became friends with Faustus, at least in part, via writing daft verses burdened with unnecessary rules. As much as anything else, this guest shift at The Search celebrates that humble beginning.

posted by matt | 6:21 PM |


Monday, July 11, 2005

Everyone's fave pseudonymous M.D. sends regrets; has stuff to do elsewhere. Before he returns you've got, on second watch, to keep you busy, me. A sorry surrogate, confessedly. A patsy. A scapegoat. Back for more, Matt? Golly, some people are such gluttons for... oh, whatever.

You know the story by now, surely? Random banter coloured by some melancholy absence, an unspoken sorrow, the tug of a subject we can't talk about, the long shadow cast by what's out of bounds.

All just a parlour game, of course, a playful endeavour, a jest, a jape, a lark. No real loss lurks below the surface, no secret groundswell of heartbreak you should be aware of. The joy hasn't gone out of the world, the sparkle hasn't been sapped, honest. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, remember? So who could blue? Not me, that's for sure. No way, José!

We must choose our path through the maze of glyphs, take baby steps along each sentence, maybe somehow reach the end, maybe get lost en route. That's what the whole "blog" endeavour demands. Words, only words. Don't take the matter to heart, for God's sake. That road leads to madness.

So, what won't we say today? Where's the room's elephant? Where shall we all cast sneaky glances that we hope no-one can see, and then pretend we haven't? Ach, that game's dull; let's play another.

How about poker? Seven-card stud, twos and one-eyed jacks unfettered. No? Perhaps Monopoly? Chess? Dungeons and Dragons? Boot up the old Dreamcast and dance along to Ulala's on-the-spot reportage for Space Channel 5?

Or maybe not. Maybe there's just a trace of sadness after all. Let's make the most of that. Let's all wallow. Let's weep and rend garments, plumb the furthest depths of doom and gloom, fret and worry and gnash our teeth and mourn and sleep no more. Let's cry all the way to the bank.

My, aren't we random today? Even more than usual. Well, no matter. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow...

...but you've heard all that before.

posted by matt | 1:19 PM |


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Faustus is away, still, and not coming back for many days. Without him, this blog wants a custodian, and such am I. A stand-in. A visitor. Was just passing through, thought I'd add a word or two. You know how it is.

And so, my introduction. I said I would, didn't I? I'm Matt, aight? Say hullo, Matt.

"Hullo, Matt."

Hilarious.

Matt, that is, of clan Walky Talky, just so you know which. Don't want any confusion; it wouldn't pay to mix us up. It's Matts-a-go-go in blogland, nowadays, oh ho, it's Matts-orama. Know what I'm saying? So damnably common that you can't swing a cat for us. (Don't know about you, but I'm always swinging cats, guys and gals, I'm hip to that cat-swinging action. I'm groovy, baby, so cool I'm frosting up. I'm no .)

Not just any Matt, right? I'm "two-way radio boy," as a darling lad put it, oh so long ago. A Matt of distant communication, a Matt who hangs out far away. Much too far to walk, too far as a crow might fly, but just a click away for all that; it's a small world, old chap, and shrinking daily. If you want a link to my scrawlings and photos and various outpourings, to that gradually-accumulating digital history, why, just look down and right.

(Sorry, but I was told to plug, it's not my fault, my notion, my doing. I'm only following Dr F's ordinstructions. Got no will of my own in this, right? Just a flunky, simply a tool.)

Oh my, what a rainy Sunday morning of a post this is, how vapid and without topic, caught up in solipsistic circularity, twirling around and around again, so consciously about nothing but its own trivial orthographic constraint. Frankly, I lost it way back; by now I don't know what I'm going on about. Do you?

Moving on.

That lack, that loss, that missing link; it's still in sight (or out of it), still holding sway, floating just past my grasp. Or a similar, anyway. An old pal not around, a trusty buddy in short supply.

What is it I'm looking for today? What am I lost without, sitting forlorn in front of my laptop, churning out this painful rubbish? Ah, don't worry about it, our chum won't stay away for good. Tomorrow is... oh, you know.

posted by matt | 11:52 AM |


Saturday, July 09, 2005

The good Doctor's gone to ground; you must know this by now. I'm merely guesting. The understudy. For this short period, while he knuckles down to the difficult business of composing music -- or does he just wish you to think so? Is he in truth toiling deep undercover to fight crime? Picture him, if you will, in the full Sydney Bristow outfit, complete with lurid crimson fright wig. It seems too likely, I think you'll concur -- Um, where were we? Oh yes: for this time, I've got my grubby mitts on his blog. How should I exercise such unexpected power?

Decisions, decisions.

You don't know me. I'm not from here, though I've sometimes lingered on the outskirts; no, I'm from... somewhere else. Not knowing my voice, will you notice, I wonder, if there's something odd in it? Something missing? Some undercurrent of loss, of issues skirted or things unwritten? If I'm not telling you everything, will you pick up on it?

I wonder.

But we've plenty of time for such nonsense. I'm here the week. You might yet get to know me better. There's no need to rush.

Let us defer the introductions until next time. It will be simpler then. Or different, possibly. Less circuitous, if you get my drift. Tomorrow is... well, you know.

In the interim, I urge you to lift your cups in the time-honoured tribute -- let's drink to unpresent friends.

posted by matt | 4:46 PM |


Friday, July 08, 2005

Still Still still still - actually, I thought I would be Faustus by now. This entire week, I have been waiting for our identities to merge. I'm not at all sure why they haven't. I'm still not Faustus.

I was going to write something really funny, but then I spent two hours reading news websites instead and now I just want to slowly bludgeon someone to death or alternately get really drunk.

Someone should buy How to Start Your Own Country and start one and let me go live in it. I don't really have the energy to start my own, but it seems like such a good idea in theory.

In the meantime, please go get drunk. I am going to go get drunk. While waiting for my identity to merge with that of Faustus (please note the elaborate means I am going to to avoid apostrophe controversy). This is supposed to be my last guest post, so if our identities don't merge in the next few hours, it will just be too late.

posted by Lauren | 7:07 PM |


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Still Still Still not Faustus.

This (via) is the strangest thing I have seen in a while, and so I have to link to it. Because. Video Game Sweatshops.

He lives in the Fujian province of China, but his place of business is online—he plays Lineage II. He's paid about 56 cents an hour to work in a videogame "sweatshop."

If the term sounds familiar, it's because of Lee Caldwell. The notorious MMORPG scripter got busted four years ago for admitting that his company, BlackSnow, hired workers in Tijuana to earn gold by "farming" in Ultima Online. Caldwell sold that in-game tender online for a handsome real-world profit while only paying his employees pennies on the dollar.

There are, of course, stranger things.

The latter is surreal, the former is subreal. Unless the former is real, and the latter is surreal. I'm not actually sure; reality bothers me, and I'm not entirely awake.

posted by Lauren | 9:48 PM |


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Still Still Not Faustus.

Once a phone conversation includes the phrase "Oh! Her! No, I know who you mean, I think she shares a mutual LJ friend with my freshman roommate's best friend's ex-girlfriend," there is really no place left for the conversation to go.

posted by Lauren | 11:36 PM |


Monday, July 04, 2005

Still not Faustus.

This is the first time in some years that I've gotten the 4th of July as a holiday. Am not used to this. Am used to working various Manhattan foodservice jobs where one not only works on July 4th, one works an 11-hour shift with a half-hour break and gets paid in cash.

Specifically, am used to working at places with customers who ask you earnestly, over and over again, is that soy? That's soy milk, in the latte, right? You're sure that's soy? Are you sure? And the espresso, that's decaf, right? Decaf espresso? You're sure it's decaf? Are you sure? Oh, and do I happen to know if the salads are organic? They're all organic, right? You wouldn't sell salads made with non-organic vegetables, would you? Oh, and I know you don't open for another hour, but can you please unlock the door and let me in to buy two dozen cupcakes, because my fashion magazine is having a meeting in half an hour and my boss said I needed to get these and the world will end if I show up to this meeting without cupcakes.

You want to take these people aside and explain things to them: No, nothing is organic, the owner just tells people everything is organic. No, we don't even carry decaf espresso, just a plastic container full of excess espresso grounds that fell onto the counter that we sweep up and save and tell people is decaf. Hey, instead of worrying about how you're going to get two dozen cupcakes before we're open, maybe you should be worrying about our massive vermin infestation, because if we threw out every cupcake on every tray the mice got into overnight, we'd have nothing left to sell.

You want to say, Oh, one of the kitchen guys got his hand caught in the electric slicer last night and nearly lost a finger and there were bloodstains all over the back room. So I hope they did a really good job cleaning it out, and I hope you enjoy that sandwich.

Now I work for a company where people write letters to the suggestion box complaining that the workers in the employee cafeteria don't smile at them, and I have the fourth of July off.

The point of this story is that I really miss being able to sabotage the food of people wearing Bush '04 buttons.

That is all.

posted by Lauren | 12:08 PM |


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Still not Faustus.

...okay, so now we know why one should never try to post to someone else's blog while a different person is ranting to them about Batman smut over instant messenger. Which is also not 19th century, and therefore tragic.

I read through the Drama-Generating Techniques section on the Encyclopedia Dramatica looking for ways to further mess with this blog, but got distracted by making a checklist of all the techniques I've already used in the past on my own blog. And on instant messenger. And in everyday life.

Hmm.

posted by Lauren | 11:36 AM |


Saturday, July 02, 2005

This is not Faustus, this is Lauren.

Twenty increasingly drunk psychiatrists singing the song from Titanic is much less frightening than one sober psychiatrist deciding that applying leeches to the vulva is a good way to cure female nymphomania. (See also: "Dr. Wigan puts the matter in a way that may seem more extravagant than it really is when he says: I firmly believe that I have more than once changed the moral character of a boy by leeches to the inside of the nose." – Henry Maudsley, Responsibility in Mental Disease.)

People promise me that psychiatry has changed since the nineteenth century. I live in the nineteenth century, and I know better.

posted by Lauren | 9:35 PM |


Friday, July 01, 2005

N.B.: This is my second post today.

Surely there are things more likely to make you doubt the existence of a rational universe than spending an evening in a private room in a Japanese restaurant cum karaoke bar with twenty increasingly drunk psychiatrists singing the song from Titanic.

But I can't think of any of them at the moment.

In other news, I am leaving town tomorrow for three weeks. I will be in parts of the country where internet access will be spotty at best and dial-up at worst. For two weeks I'll be in Connecticut at the National Music Theater Conference. Check the schedule for Blood Drive if you're interested in coming to a public presentation of what I'll be working on. After that's over, I'll be on a top-secret mission below the Mason-Dixon line for a week.

In my absence, you will be in the hands of three supremely capable guest bloggers; the unifying thread is that I wish I could sleep with each one of them. (The unifying thread was going to be that I wish I had slept with each one of them, since I knew them all when I was single, but as one of them is a girl I ended up having to adjust.) Let me hasten to assure you that, if you're not guest blogging, I probably wish I could sleep with you all the same. The set of guest bloggers for the next three weeks is simply a proper subset of the set of bloggers I wish I could sleep with.

You'll be in very good hands, I promise.

posted by Faustus, MD | 1:29 AM |

Can anybody help me figure out how to restore the lovely font I used to have in these blog posts? It's still there in the archives, but the main page seems to have mutinied. I am a computer mongoloid but still a look at the template indicates that nothing should be out of order--that is to say, the style section contains this:

p { font-family: georgia, verdana, arial; font-size:12px; color:#666666; line-height:18px; text-align:justify; }

and the section that defines how posts are done seems to put them between p tags.

This will all soon be moot anyway, as this whole enterprise will be moving elsewhere shortly. But still: why allow ugliness to exist in the world for even the briefest of brief moments?

posted by Faustus, MD | 1:16 AM |
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