Friday, December 29, 2006

Thanks for the presents, Satan! Er, Santa.

It's been eleven days since some moronic teen bimbo named Mica totaled Fosco's car with her whoremobile. The days without Percocet are starting to run together, which I guess is a good thing. Although, the ribs are still smarting and Fosco generally prefers his ribs with a nice Memphis dry rub.

I've been sitting on that joke for five days now and, in retrospect, I think I could have sat on it a bit longer.

But despite the best efforts of Mica, Christmas still came for Fosco and he got some loot. He was trying to decide whether or not to catalogue some of his favorite gifts on this blog, so he ended up asking himself WWJMD (aka, "What Would John Mackey Do?") And, fondly remembering JM's photo essays of collector's watches, Fosco realized that a brief list of Christmas presents could be enjoyable to one or two readers... So here are a few of Fosco's favorite gifts (one or two of which he purchased for himself) from his recent Percocet Christmas:

  • the Christmas box set from Sufjan Stevens. Fosco loves him. Loves him.
  • a fancy clay cleansing mask from Anthony: Logistics for Men. I think it will be a very enjoyable and useful skin care treatment, but to be completely honest, my favorite part of this gift is that there is a company (Anthony) selling skin care products as "Logistics for Men." Check out the website: it's like a cache of classified documents. Finally, a CIA dossier that Fosco can trust...
  • the hospitality book I Like You by the one Sedaris I like.
  • a gorgeously-framed Japanese movie poster for Matthew Barney's Cremaster 3 (my favorite Cremaster film!) that my lovely sister, Maggie Tulliver, bought from Tokyo. She's so brilliant at gifts.
  • A sampler of fancy artisan cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery. Mmm. I had tasted one of them as part of my very first experience with the "cheese course" at my fancy birthday dinner last summer at Tru in Chicago.
  • a personal seal (a seal, not a seal nor a Loose Seal/Lucille, silly!), with sealing wax from the Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia. Maybe now I will write you a letter!
  • and a bunch of schoolish-related books, including Alain Badiou's Being and Event. Trust me on this one: Badiou is the next big thing. Get off the Levinas bandwagon--that ship has sailed.
I hope that Satan was generous to all of you as well! Hail Satan!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A day without Percocet is like a day without no pain.

Yesterday was Fosco's second day without a Percocet. It was also the eighth day since The Accident. What progress can be reported?

Well, for one thing, the royal purple of Fosco's bruises has faded in some areas, replaced with a yellow most frequently associated with liver failure. Oh, and as it is now possible for him to actually palpate his bruises and broken ribs without screaming, allow Fosco to report that there is apparently a two-inch thick tube of hardened, congealed blood running through his torso, exactly in the shape of a shoulder harness and seat belt. How charming! Let's hope that it sticks around, as Fosco would love to explain it to his next trick at The Watergarden. (Oh wait, there's no going back there for a long, long time--there are still those shaved EKG spots that need to grow back in...)

Are you getting a sense of Fosco's mood? It's a bit dark, like some of that fancy unrefined Spanish chocolate Fosco bought for his mother this Christmas. How dark is that mood? Just ask the blonde whore hostess at El Palomar who Fosco felt the barely-controllable urge to punch in the face this evening. But don't get the wrong idea about Fosco. He's not a misogynist (or even much of a misanthrope)--he's just in pain.

Wait, did I just describe Fosco or Dr. Gregory House? Tune in Tuesday nights at 9 (8 Central) and see for yourself!

On the other hand, Fosco's powers of concentration have returned enough to allow him to read half of the 19th-century French Satanist novel that he picked up at Logos last night. What is it about the French and Satanists? Did you know that Dickens never wrote one novel about Satanism? Not one! I'll have to check the biographies, but I'm pretty sure he never even planned one! So what was in the water in 19C Paris?

Here's another good sign (besides Fosco's newfound interested in nineteenth-century French Satanism): Fosco did manage to spend a peaceful half hour (and nearly $200) browsing through The Literary Guillotine with his sister before dinner. (These brief daily bookstore/food outings are entirely her idea, for the benefit of Fosco's mental health. However, after the whole "Palomar hostess debacle", I'm not sure Fosco's sister is going to be eager to try another one tomorrow.)

As Fosco's physical body is most likely going to spend its New Year's Eve on the couch (maybe there are more 19C French Satanist novels!), his bloggy persona has some blog-related pyrotechnics planned instead. Watch this space as Fosco prepares to wrap up the year in style!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Post-Percocet Malaise

Yesterday was Day 1 without Percocet, and it wasn't pretty. After an afternoon of failed attempts to read and teary recriminations, Fosco's sister Maggie Tulliver finally dragged him reluctantly out of the apartment toward downtown. Of course, half the restaurants on Pacific Ave. were still closed for the holiday and there was some sort of monsoon going on. We figured our best bet for cheering me up up would be a heart-warming holiday film like Mel Gibson's Eucalypto.

I guess it was okay, but I am confused on two points:

  • which one of the characters was supposed to be Jesus?
  • and which actress was Rigoberta Menchu?
But seriously...

Actually, we went to Logos and I bought a bunch of books (books that, ironically, my pain and medication withdrawal make it impossible for me to concentrate on).

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ideologies of Christmas

As Fosco attempts to come to terms with his threefold Christmas disappointment (1. no well-hung boyfriend from Santa, 2. only one more Percocet, and 3. ONLY ONE MORE PERCOCET, DID YOU HEAR ME? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! MY RIBS, MY RIBS!), he turns his thoughts to the meaning of Christmas.

Alas, Christmas is entirely meaningless. The word has become what Slavoj Žižek calls a "master signifier": a word like "God" or "nation" or "democracy" that no longer means anything. Rather, these are the terms that everyone tries to make mean something--words that we all attempt to fix in support of our projects and desires. Or, more sinisterly, this is where ideology gets quilted into language.

Today, as a good Victorianist, I thought I might want to read Dickens's A Christmas Carol, something I'm not sure I've ever actually done. Of course I know the story--after all, like all good ironists, I've been mocking it for years. And, when you think about it, it is actually maybe a bit impressive that the story has managed to survive all of the creative violence that has been done to it over the years, from Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: The Musical to Duran Duran's John Taylor as the Ghost of Christmas Present in "A Diva's Christmas Carol".

But I'm not going to use this post to tell you that you should read the Dickens original (although you should--it's much better than you think). Rather, I was struck by a line from Scrooge's nephew in the book, when he tries to describe Christmas to his uncle. He says:

I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

Of course, it is pretty easy to make fun of this speech (and a thirteen-year-old should have all of the ironic tools to do so) and not much harder to tease out the problematic ideologies in it (both implicit and explicit). But, the more I think about this ideology of solidarity, the less I find it worth the time to object to. As ideologies go, this one is maybe one of the better ones--certainly better than anything Pope Gremlinus the Magnificent had to offer us today (N.B., Don't get the Pope wet! Don't feed him after midnight!)

So, even if Christmas doesn't actually mean anything, I would like to persuade you to make it mean something--and to make that something gentle and life-affirming. I hope that any of you who celebrated Christmas today did so in a way that made life seems a little more pleasant--both for you and for anyone else in your life. And because this whole post may just be the last Percocet talking, please forgive Fosco his brief foray into sentimentality. The cynical Fosco will be back tomorrow and will probably be in some serious rib pain, which should make for some great blogging.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Boyfriend in my stocking

I'm pretty sure that Santa is planning on bringing me a boyfriend this Christmas. I mean, after all, I haven't had one this year. And, I totally deserve one and stuff. Not to mention that I was in a horrible car accident last week (Mica, you WHORE!). So, clearly there should be a high-quality boyfriend in my stocking tomorrow morning.

Of course, the question then becomes "Which boyfriend?" Who should Santa bring me to massage my aching neck and to count out my remaining percocet (hint: not enough)? I would suggest that Santa use the following list as a place to start (although, if he must shop off list, I would take a Gyllenhaal, I suppose). Here are some options, in alphabetical order.

  • Gideon Defoe. Pros: a witty author of hilarious books about pirates (and everyone loves pirates!), kinda hunky in a British way, has a very sexy first name (and last name for that matter). Cons: is the kind of author that my more serious friends might giggle about behind his back, may have traditional British commitment phobia, may not be willing to move to Santa Cruz.

  • Dave Eggers. Pros: one of the most talented contemporary authors, committed to writing instruction for underprivileged youth, runs an independent pirate-supply store, friends with famous and influential literary types (including David Byrne), from the Midwest originally (like me!). Cons: painfully sensitive could equal high maintenance, may be a little too clever, did once try out to be on MTV's "The Real World," constant feeling of inadequacy that I am not funny enough to be dating him, currently lives in Brooklyn (I think).

  • Justin Hartley. Pros: plays "Green Arrow" on Smallville and plans to organize a Justice League, starred in the ill-fated Aquaman pilot (why is this a pro? how can you not love a man who has played TWO superheroes!), has a criminally-delicious torso, would be excellent arm-candy for Literature Department Holiday parties, luscious smile. Cons: ummm, dating an actor? It would be fun and sexy and all, but do you think we'll talk much about Heidegger? On the other hand, I would like to like all that hair on his chest...

  • David Lat. Pros: he was my college roommate and so we know each other well, we're both internet personalities (of one sort or another), we successfully tested our sexual compatibility during sophomore year. Cons: he's pretty weirdly conservative, and a lawyer, and won't reply to my emails. Also, he has this strange romantic fixation on closeted-sodomite Nino Scalia.

  • Alex Ross. Pros: he writes my favorite column for the New Yorker and does my favorite music blog, he's a graduate of my alma mater, he hangs out with Matthew Barney and Bjork, and he always has something intelligent to write. Cons: Hmmm. I'm a bit stumped here. Is it possible that we were meant to be the perfect couple? Alex Ross, will you marry me?

  • Sufjan Stevens. Pros: he's the darling of adult-contemporary-indie music, he lived only miles away from me in Holland, Michigan, his music is ambitious, brilliant, and moving, he's a total hunk and yet seems completely genuine. Cons: he seems to be some sort of silly born-again Christian. And that's basically a dealbreaker.

  • Jeff Samardzija. Pros: he may be the best wide receiver in Notre Dame history, his nickname is "Shark," he will be drafted by an NFL team next spring and has already been drafted by the Chicago Cubs baseball organization. Oh, and have you seen him? Oh my. Cons: there might be a smidgen of an age difference between us, it's hard to be professional athlete with a gay boyfriend, no one could spell our hyphenated surname.
I know it's only 7 pm (PST), but I'm going to bed--I can't wait to see which hunk is waiting for me in my stocking tomorrow morning!