Saturday, October 28, 2006

There's a hole in my shoe.

There is a hole in my shoe. A little speck of nothing, really. Just a small window to my toe, a couple millimeters across. But one must stop and reflect upon the appearance of a hole in a shoe. What does it mean? Why has this happened only to my right shoe? Is the left the better shoe? What portent does this hole hold?

I could make simple jokes about having a hole in my soul and trying to patch it, but that's silly. That is silly and there is nothing silly about having a vacuous space in the lining of my shoe.

I cannot recall ever developing a literal air-breathing hole in a shoe before. While I do not doubt that my toe, the big toe, appreciates its new vantage point and looks eagerly forward to viewing the world, I really must consider the ramifications of the hole.

I have never developed a shoe hole because I have always replaced my shoes on a regular, unwritten basis. As a child, your shoes are replaced by your caregivers as your feet grow. Kid feet grow like sunflowers under California skies, by which I mean to say, they grow at a significant rate. I've planted sunflowers before, and I've grown feet before, so I consider myself an expert on both subjects. Of course, little feet cease to be little and cease to grow, stabilizing at a solid 8.5 shoe size. They are not expansive feet, but they are good feet. They have carried me well.

I've been wearing the same sized shoes for years, of course. But I don't I had noticed that I’d stopped growing until I realized that I had been wearing the same shoes for a while, and found a hole. I guess I'm done growing. Stick a fork in me. I know, my feet have their unique personalities, and these personalities never cease their growth at any point in life. You bet.

I hear Kevin's reflective voice from the 'Wonder Years' as I write this. That was a good show.

That would be a good stopping point, but I simply must mention the additional possibility that I am a trendsetter, and that hobo chic will be a fashion trend which we will all soon embrace. We will carry bundles on long sticks like the rail-riding hobos of yore. We will wear numerous winter coats in the blistering sun. Prada will manufacture designer platinum shopping karts and the highest socialites will be seen wearing strapless burlap sacks. You will see, you shall see.



Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mister Flannel McNewspaper

Who are you, Mister Flannel McNewspaper?

Your bald head shines under the weak spotlight. You’re enjoying the Stanford Daily, as we all should, with regularity. Like fiber in a diet. World events come alive when written by an undeclared sophomore. They do, they do. The crucial issues of the day, of the campus, of the quad. No bikes there and no GERs there. Tangled reverberations of choppy news on floppy paper! Of IHUM and Nobel! Polisci children will save the world in a hundred words! And the temptress Sudoku! Oh! If only I understood the cruel number game. Cross words! Weave your vocabulary!

Oh Flannel man with windshield glasses, you read the sports section! Footballs and running! Mascots! Not the bird, not the bird, but the color! There was a time when they were Indians, my friend, big chiefs on the plains. Tomahawk chop, they don’t mind, they make the money with lucky sevens. But someone did mind!

How did they learn to eat the acorns? The poison acorns! So much work. I wonder at it.

Oh! No! Mister Flannel McNewspaper! You leave, you left. You’re off to see the world. To Tressex! Or a Jamba delight! Turbo boosts in your banana berry smoothie. An extra boost for you, my friend. To Subway! Long bread and meats, and the smell with it! Subway sandwiches, the most consistent odor, around the world. Sandwich artists! Draw me a meal! Paint me a coke! Mr. Flannel, are you commissioning an artist? Pop art with pickles!

You are no student! No TA or prof! Are you an alum? A straggling alum? Leave! The good days, the old days, when you were young and covered in less flannel, when the golf karts had horses and the burros roamed free, when the net caught only fish, when Father Serra founded Old Union, when you saw them building of stucco and steel, are gone, and you with them, but in another five the tents will go up and the wine will pour again.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

These Times Are Hard Time

Ah, to be an over-educated unskilled individual on career day. It’s bleak out there, folks, bleak. I study English, you know that? Books and stories and poems. Poems! A poem! A poem! My undergraduate career for a poem. It’s a good major, it is. I write papers about how I feel. I write my opinion. This was a good story. The author did this to accomplish that and reiterate the other. The punctuation was superb. The cover of the book was evocative and the binding was solid.

Maybe that’s not quite how it goes, but there is a drift, and you get the drift. The English major is one in which you participate in much nebulous thinking. Like I said, it’s pretty great, if that’s your thing. Some people are really smart with that stuff, you bet. Analyzing the written form of human expression. Of course, the creative writing focus is even better than straight literature. You make stuff up and get credit for it. Turns out it really isn’t that easy to make things up if you want to produce something decent, and most people aren’t too great at it. Even so, you can’t beat that.

I went up to a guy from Pixar and asked him what sort of opportunities they had for a liberal arts major. He just sort of moved his head slowly back and forth to communicate his disinterest in my profound abilities. I think if I stayed any longer he would have euthanized me. Besides, all they had were free stickers. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune to get free stickers, well, whatever.

But I have no regrets. No real anecdotes, and no regrets. Actually I have an immense number of regrets, but not the English thing. This above all: to thine ownself be true.

Three Shakespeare quotes and a Charles Dickens reference! Sigh.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday Afternoon On the Island of Stanford


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I thought I’d make a brief elucidative statement. I’m always writing about the coffee shop. Why am I always writing about the coffee shop? The coffee shop, or coffee house, or whatever, refers to a few different places where I go to work. ‘Work’ means a few different things as an English major, but it’s never very serious work. Anyway, I work, and work, and stuff, and I get bored and take a break by writing to you, right here. So I watch the people and complain about them, and then try to work again. It’s the circle of life.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Originally uploaded by mr.skeleton.

"The tower of the old neighboring abbey watched over the café like an aged man who had lived in darker times and wished you to appreciate what you had."

"He looked upon the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres and imagined it crumbling. It began with a slow rumble. At first only small animals would hear it; birds would fly and cats would stand erect with their ears sharply upwards, and their eyes opened to spheres. Dogs would bark. Then the sound would be like rushing water in the distance. It would grow to be terrible and revolting, and it would be felt. Cracks would form in the old stone. Dust would fall slowly in the air and hold the light like good clouds at dusk. The sound would grow still and would become motion and the highest walls would begin their descent. It is strange to see a tall building fall to the ground, he thought. When the largest bits of wall and roof finally are alone in the air, going downwards, they make no sound. There is a moment of silence as it all sails to the ground, and then it returns with an explosion of dust and wood. The tower would be last. It is a good tower, he thought, made to stand for a very long time. It would be the last to fall."

from, like, the thing i'm working on

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Within the Depths of the CoHo

This isn’t going to be insightful, interesting, funny, witty, or literary. And this isn’t a repeat of my previous note, because that was off campus.

The Stanford Coffee House, or, Coho, disappoints me. I’m there most nights. I’m the one looking disappointed. I'm the one writing notes about you.

The awkward tables look like they were pillaged from a sunken 17th century barge and coated with 300 layers of cheap lacquer for a smooth, smooth, finish. Seriously. It feels like you just might be having a cup of coffee on the same exact table where Blackbeard ate his salted meats and bread. Seriously. I was going to say something like, where Blackbeard sodomized his parrot, to really provoke you, but you’d probably not believe that. You might check Wikipedia anyway to prove me wrong. My mind wanders. Polly wants a cracker. Don’t misinterpret Polly. The legs of the tables, additionally, are taken from the masts of the said pirate ship, each being no less than a foot in diameter. There may be no room for your own legs, but goddamn, those tables are solid.

To emphasize the pirate motif, the Coho is dimly lit like the lower decks of a wooden ship. It isn’t absurd. It is sensible lighting, I guess. The kids prefer it. It makes me a little sleepy. They should add hammocks like a proper galleon.

And there is the general lack of outlets. Besides that kitchen counter balustrade of laptops at the back entrance, electricity is scarce. Pirates didn’t have outlets, you might be thinking, so why should we? You’re right. At least they are consistent.

I suppose my next concern is probably specific to my idiosyncrasies. I hate the fact that there is no where to sit and see both entrances at the same time, or even see the majority of the room. This drives me crazy. I have a proclivity for corners and feel most settled with my back to a wall, but this establishment is shaped like a horse shoe, for the sole purpose of irritating me. Maybe it's a vestigial caveman instinct, so to speak. I just don't want to be eaten by a saber-fuckin-toothed cat. I have my problems.

There are people who go to the library to work. There are people who stay in their rooms. There are the Coho people, who actively put themselves in a situation full of distractions (and saber toothed cats?) and try to get work done. Is it really the draw of white noise? Is it simply to be seen and to see? I’m not sure.

You know that Seinfeld episode where George watches Home Alone (and cries at the part with the old man) at Jerry’s apartment just so that he’s doing something “out of the house”? That has nothing to do with the plot of the show, but yeah man. You know. Out of the house.


Originally uploaded by mr.skeleton.

Originally uploaded by mr.skeleton.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Originally uploaded by mr.skeleton.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

personal advice to you specifically

People are too fit around here, on this campus. That really shouldn’t be. This is a demanding, prestigious, cushy school; most of us have worked hard to get here, and most of us continue to work hard mentally so that we don’t have to physically. No manual labor for us! This has been a battle cry for the upper tier of society for the past 10,000 years, and has been the driving force of civilization. Let’s review, briefly, the arrival of man on the natural scene and his eventual destination of us. A while back, we were done fighting baboons for goat innards and berries, so abracadabra, dumb mammals become our close personal friends--- or something, I don’t know--- and then they were domesticated. Our fields were ripe with wheat. We won the war on wheat. Agriculture gave us the free time to do other stuff, like art, science, Facebook, writing, math. Thinking. The birth of civilization. The rising sun of humanity. We learned to love each other and hate each other more, and we rose from a physical existence to a mental one. The best of us, with luck and opportunity, came to devote ourselves to learning, completely removed from physical labor. We win the war on labor.

And now, in these days of high definition broadband wi-fi cellular nicknackery, in these days of nine to five and four by four and twenty four seven, in these days of the year two thousand and six, anno domini, ladies and gentlemen of this respected institution, you are going against the last 10,000 years of human progression by staying in shape! We’ve been working so long for so hard so that you don’t have to outrun the beasties and hunt the bulls. By all logic, with your dining halls and fancy coffees, with your IKEA futons and second-hand bean bag chairs, with your never-ending dining plans and open kitchens, you should be on the verge of obesity. But only the verge. I tell you here, let yourselves go, let yourselves grow. Have you seen what Henry VIII looked like? He looked like a big fucking success and he showed it. Wear your success like a badge, or like… an extra layer of skin. Stop your exercise. Stop going to the gym. Stop making me look like the underdeveloped pencil boy that I am. I’m not sour. I’m just plotting my dominance by slowly orchestrating the demise of The Fit. It’s a passive approach, because obviously, I’m too lazy to exercise.


Originally uploaded by mr.skeleton.


the end of something.