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And not the lunar landscape you promised

Unlettered Ishmael
26 December 1979
Testiculos Habet Et Bene Pendentes

With the recent influx of people who do not know/have not met me in the real world, I figured it was high time to add a little more text here than what was my bio before: "I was born. I became a nerd. The end. Enjoy every sandwich1." This will grow in the near future. But for now, here are a few things that will aid in the reading of this blog.

Extended Bio. Up until 2007, I was a graduate student working towards a PhD, concentrating on 19th century American literature primarily (and within that, focusing pretty heavily on depictions of landscape and nature writing) and supplementing that with a healthy dose of American travel writing (and travel writing that takes place in America written by non-Americans) from the late 17th century to the present. At heart, I'm probably what would happen if a New Historicist and Ecocritic had a child. Since I've used all of my interest slots (almost) for listing the music I like, here's a list of the stuff I really dig literarily: Herman Melville (duh), Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, John Burroughs, Henry James, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, Studs Terkel, David Foster Wallace, David Sedaris, Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell, Kenneth Patchen, Charles Bukowski, A.R. Ammons, Robert Grudin, and probably some others I forgot to mention. For more on what I've been reading over the past year or so, take a look at my reading list for my PhD exams. Presently, I am unemployed gainfully employed by a tech company here in Seattle and on a leave of absence from grad school—I'm pretty sure I'm not going back, but I want to try to start a career before I turn 30 if at all possible (since I never saw becoming a professor as a viable career option anyhow and the dissertation was just going nowhere). I'm supplementing my income with freelance work and currently have a podcast that features new and upcoming music. Have any freelance writing or audio gigs? Talk to me.

Yacht Rock. This is a comedy series on the internet that (as yet) has spanned 10 episodes (the 11th and 12th are forthcoming)2. It deals primarily with the music of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and by extension, bands that they were either in (Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Loggins and Messina) or associated with either directly or through some small degree of separation (Christopher Cross, Toto, Journey, Michael Jackson, Warren G and Nate Dogg, Van Halen (through Doobies producer Ted Templeman). In essence, this show is about really smooth music, popular from the late-70s to the mid-80s. I owned much of this music before I ever saw the series, but it has solidified my appreciation for it and as such, I go on at length at times about smooth music. This in no way diminishes my excellent taste in music, but rather amplifies it.

The Coolest. Described briefly, The Coolest is a term for the style of facial hair wherein there is a continuum between sideburns connected solely by the mustache. I am on a one-man quest to make this term the term for it, and replace the obviously inferior term of "chopstache." Aside from The Coolest, I have a healthy appreciation for facial hair (such is inevitable when one studies 19th century American literature, as awesome facial hair was, like, a requirement to live in that century) and my own facial hair oscillates between clean-shaven, beard, The Coolest, and an awesome Rollie Fingers-style mustache (the latter two only for a few days each -- Quatro de la Coolest and Cinco de Mustache). My initial post about it can be found here and all discussions of facial hair can be found in these posts.

Jerkcity. This is an online comic strip that has been around since August of 1998, so I have a special bond with it as that was when I started college.3 My friends and I discovered it when it was in its natal stages and became huge fans (several of them even dressed up as characters from the strip (Spigot and Deuce) and took pictures of themselves which they sent in and which were subsequently posted in a section of the site which no longer exists (sadly)) and the vocabulary of Jerkcity became part of our own vocabulary. This is notable for several reasons. I still read Jerkcity daily. You may come across it if you peruse my friend list, as I subscribe to the Jerkcity feed. It's still, in other words, a part of my daily routine and lexicon. Now, while this may not be a big deal for other comics like Family Circus and Marmaduke, Jerkcity presents an interesting case: it's largely made up of jokes involving gay sex, bodily fluids, drugs, computer programming, cultural insensitivity and shouting odd things in general. And not in a mean-spirited way, mind you: a bisexual girl once asked my group of friends whether Jerkcity was pro-gay or anti-gay and my friend Matt responded, "Gay is more of a setting," which I think (whether he meant setting as location or setting as a preset) is pretty much right on. The strip is, at its heart, absurdist and it can take a while for most people to get it. Several long bouts of just clicking through it will give you a better feel for it. This is all a large preface to let you know that if you ever see me talking in all-caps (as the format for Jerkcity is most decidedly SHOUTING ALL THE TIME) and especially if it's an exchange with archaeologydork (my brother -- we show affection for one another by hurling every obscenity and slur we can think of at each other), that I most assuredly don't actually think whatever it is I'm saying. That's just the Jerkcity talking. Yes, I am aware of the cognitive dissonance of a graduate student working on his PhD guy in his late 20s still giggling over cock-jokes. I like it.4

Adding Policy. Given that a good number of people who read my journal are not on my friends-list, I suppose some documented explanation of my reasoning is called for. Firstly, I do not mind if you add me. Not at all. Go right ahead. I'm flattered that you find my public posts interesting or amusing enough to stay apprised on them on a somewhat regular basis. Please note, however, that I may or may not add you back. If you're somebody I know (and like) in real life, chances are that I will add you back. If we know each other from one of the several online communities I frequent, then I may or may not add you (this is determined by a very complex math equation that takes into account how much I like your style and whether or not we have any friends in common). My standard operating procedure upon receiving notification of a new friend is to check out his/her profile and last several dozen entries to determine if/how I know him/her. If I won't be able to tell who you are by doing this and we still know each other, leave a comment somewhere that lets me know who you are, and we'll take things from there. Please also note that my not mutually friending you is not done maliciously: I have a lot of LJ friends already and so I tend only to add those with whom I have some rapport to begin with. And the stuff in locked entries probably isn't interesting to you anyhow: I'm likely just talking about loved ones or my current state of employment.
1. Sentence/sentiment ganked from Warren Zevon's last appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. When asked by Letterman what his battle w/ pleural mesothelioma and terminal status had taught him, Zevon responded, "Just how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich."</fn>

2. For more on where this show came from, why it is so popular and why there are only 10 episodes with 11 and 12 on hold, please refer to Channel 101. While you're at it, check out the rest of the shows there (personal favorites: Classroom, Phone Sexxers, Juri!, Lunatic, Channel 101: The Musical (though that may be a bit too self-referential if you're not down w/ the Channel 101 Universe), The Most Extraordinary Space Investigations, Gregory Shitcock, P.I., Laser Fart, My American Family, S.O.S. Fantome, Documentary: The Series, Kicked in the Nuts, The Lynx, Pusher, Opportunity Knockers, Hi-Jacked, Unbelievable Tales, Uncle Jimmy's Fuck Farm, Life Is Awesome, BPD, Super Shooter, Smash Boys and Biolevel: Trouble).

3. And by "college," I mean the sum of all higher education as yet accrued, as I went straight from undergrad to grad.

4. For a good sampling of a typical Jerkcity storyline, check out the following strips chronicling the Jerkcity players's extended quest for gay sex on the moon:
"MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION" (N.B. that this is where I get the title (and subtitle) for my journal)

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