Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Fosco Lives! has been around now for exactly six months. As Fosco is a homosexual and therefore unable to be trusted with that most sacred of bonds (i.e., marriage), he isn't quite sure of the appropriate etiquette for celebrating a six month anniversary. Is fellatio involved? I sure hope so.

Or perhaps a brief post about the tiny (yet non-zero) impact that Fosco Lives! has had on the blogosphere in the last six months. How about that?

Most Popular Post: the all-time most popular post on Fosco Lives! is Fosco's meditation on Playboy's "Girls of the Big 12" pictorial. Read it here. Why has it been so popular? Several reasons:

  • Composer John Mackey linked to it from his blog and recommended it to his numerous loyal readers.
  • For a month after the publication of that Playboy issue, it got a hit a day from .edu domains in Texas and Oklahoma searching for "Playboy" and "Girls of the Big 12."
  • At least once a week, this post gets a hit from someone searching for Tasia Bauman (NSFW). Clearly, websurfers want to see more naked cowgirls (or at least this one). It's fun to watch the domains from which these searches are conducted: the US State Department (could it have been lesbian Condi?),, and (interestingly) Do you think Quaker is looking to replace spokesgrampa Wilford Brimley with some sort of nude rodeo? Signs point to yes.
  • Even now, aat least once a day, this post gets a hit from someone who is searching Google for the phrase "shaved pubes." The strange thing is that, much of the time, the searcher actually clicks through to this post and reads at least a portion of it. Most of these searches come from foreign domains, which maybe sort of explains it. But, I have to ask: is it really so hard to find shaved pubes on the internet? Isn't there an easier way than to route through this page? I love the traffic and all, but jeez... Who doesn't know where to find shaved pubes online? Ten-year-olds?

Best Press: Fosco's post on Gay American and former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey (yes, that is his official portrait above). Read it here. The day that McGreevey's tell-all book came out (snicker), AOL Cityguide featured a link to Fosco's post on both its "North Jersey" and "Washington DC" pages. See screen cap below:

That "Sexy Back?" link takes you right to moi. Well, I thought it was cool.

Most Validating: Fosco's review of a Diamanda Galas concert in Santa Cruz (which you can read here). The review got picked up by the official Diamanda Galas website and is prominently featured in the Press page on that site. Now if only I can get Matthew Barney to read some of my reviews of his work...

Hungriest Readers: for several weeks last summer, Fosco was eating at San Francisco restaurants recommended by perpetually chirpy chefette Rachael Ray. Read Fosco's reviews of Chow and Bocadillos. Fosco's reviews were included in the weekly "RR Roundup" conducted by the surprisingly charming blog Everything Rachael Ray. For those two weeks, Fosco got an interesting mix of new readers and he enjoyed the chance to scandalize Rachael Ray lovers with references to Lindsay Lohan's vagina.

That's probably enough self-congratulation for now, so allow me to say "Thank You" to all of you who read Fosco Lives! You have made the first six months a hoot and I look forward to the next six.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Back to School: Facing West from California's Shores

OK, I'm done blogging about The Accident (barring new developments). That's because school's back on. This is going to be a seriously academic quarter for Fosco: no teaching, three seminars, a seriously cool Foucault reading group.

I've only been to one seminar so far, but it reminded me of one of the reasons that I like UCSC. Look at this seminar room:

Where else can you talk about literature while staring at a stand of majestic redwoods? Well, except for other colleges/universities where redwoods grow.

Interestingly, on Day 1 in my American Renaissance seminar, we read a charming little poem by prancing homo Walt Whitman. I wasn't familiar with it, but it's kinda fun:

Facing West from California's Shores

Facing west from California's shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity,
the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled;
For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,
Long having wander'd since, round the earth having wander'd,
Now I face home again, very pleas'd and joyous,
(But where is what I started for so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)

Of course, Whitman never actually made it to California, but that makes it more interesting, no?

Mental Health Minute with Count Fosco

I've recently been enjoying the anonymous blog entitled (with economical precision) "blog." The spectral blogger has pointed me in the direction of a strange little quiz, which helps you to determine which historical lunatic is most similar to you. I recommend it.

I'm William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, the Fifth Duke of Portland!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Here's an excerpt from the description of "me" as the 5th Duke of Portland:

Having inherited the stately home of Welbeck Abbey, you proceeded to construct miles of underground tunnels and a ballroom, in pink, beneath it. The ballroom was complete except for one small detail. It had no floor. Despite this vast home, you lived exclusively in a suite of five rooms, each one also pink.

Having been turned down by your opera singer objet d'amour, Adelaide Kemble, in your youth, you suffered a broken heart and never married. This did not stop you from caring deeply about the wellbeing of your servants. Occasionally you would even help them muck out the stables. However, you did not neglect discipline, forcing disobedient underlings to skate themselves to exhaustion on your subterranean skating rink. Servants were given strict instructions regarding conduct: if they met you in a corridor, they were to ignore your existence while you froze to the spot until they were out of sight; and a chicken was to be kept roasting at all times in case you felt like sneaking into the kitchen for a snack.

To tell the truth, I have started "freezing" recently when people walk by me. Maybe it's a good thing that school is starting again--it helps to calm the mad.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Fosco got a bill today from the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, where Fosco was taken after The Accident two weeks ago (exactly two weeks ago, come to think of it). Strangely enough, Fosco still isn't too into car crash jokes, but he did laugh a little over this bill. As it appears that Fosco's insurance will be covering the entire bill (fingers crossed!), he feels free to enjoy the dark humor here.

  • perhaps my favorite part of the whole thing is that the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula reduces to the acronym CHOMP. And that's their website: Seriously. What are the chances I could get the hospital to start using an exclamation point after their name? CHOMP! I like it.

    In other news, apparently CHOMP (in addition to the hospital and the mouth behavior) is also some sort of math game that involves a poisoned chocolate bar. But that's math and therefore is inherently uninteresting, even with the inclusion of the words poison and chocolate.

  • The letter to Fosco begins with the following sentence:

    Thank you for choosing Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for your healthcare needs.

    I recognize that this is a form letter, but I still think it's a little funny to consider my "choice" in the matter. After all, at the time of my "choice," I was disoriented and strapped to a backboard in an ambulance heading toward whatever hospital was the closest. And besides, if I had had a "choice" in the matter, I think I would have chosen to go to that one sexy hospital on Grey's Anatomy. I've never watched it, but I think Patrick Dempsey works there and he's cute.

  • Can you guess the total bill for an afternoon in the ER with several CT scans? Take your first guess and add $3000-$5000 to it and you'll be about right.

  • Apparently (to judge by the itemized bill), Fosco was given 2 mg of hydromorphone in his IV. He remembers this and the delightful sense of well-being and reduced pain that it brought. Maybe that's because, according to Wikipedia, "it is one of the most potent of all prescription narcotics" and goes under the trade name Dilaudid. SWEET! Sadly, those 2 mg of happy cost exactly $377.60. OUCH!

  • My favorite part of the whole thing? Right before I left the ER to climb into a waiting taxi for the 45 mile ride back to Santa Cruz (and believe me, it was hellish), I begged for a painkiller for the road (the hydromorphone had worn off). I was given a Percocet tablet (I refuse to imagine the drive back without that Percocet tab). The cost of that Percocet tab? $31.80

    Clearly something is awry with healthcare in this country (and not just at CHOMP!).
On the whole, Fosco is basically well-satisfied with his treatment at CHOMP! (although he might have liked a longer-lasting Percocet prescription). Of course, he's never going within 30 miles of Monterey again (but that's not the fault of CHOMP!).

CHOMP! Somebody stop me. CHOMP!

[Disclaimer 1: I'm just having some fun in this post, of course. I fully recognize that the cost for each item/service on the itemized bill includes more than just the item/service. There is clearly also labor, overhead, etc. that drives up the prices for the $32 Percocets. Clearly, hospitals don't bill like mechanics (parts + labor separately). But maybe they ought to?]

[Disclaimer 2: No, I don't know how I received mail on a National Day of Mourning. I guess the bill had been sitting in my mailbox from the end of last week. Come to think of it, I didn't check my mail on Saturday.]

Monday, January 01, 2007

Slogan 2007

For years, my friends and I have had a tradition: we give each New Year a rhyming slogan to help guide us in our lives in the year ahead. Every year, there are many difficult decisions to face and our yearly slogans can sometimes make these decisions a little bit easier. Here are some slogans from previous years:

  • "Lose the 'tude in 2002." And let me assure you that 2002 did have measurably less attitude than previous years.
  • "Blow out your knee in 2003." Frankly, I'm not sure why we chose that one. I'm also not sure why my friend Adam decided to put it into action.
  • "Be a whore in 2004." That was a fun year.
  • "Begin to tithe in 2005." That year's slogan was brought to you by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Let's just say that the slogan in 2006 began with "Suck more..." I think you can figure the rest out for yourself. I fear I might not have lived up to it.
So let's unveil the slogan for this year... [drumroll]

"Stairway to heaven in 2007."

And what on earth could that mean? I have no idea. But don't say it backwards, or you will be worshipping Satan.

All I know is that it is really hard to rhyme "seven."

Fosco's New Year

Because of The Accident, Fosco's New Year's Eve plans were a bit less adventurous than usual (NSFW, but a must-see as it is very strange). Fosco's family is still in town, so he spent the evening sitting at home making fun of things with his sister, Maggie Tulliver.

What did we do?

  • watched the series finale of Arrested Development. And although I hate to say it, while AD may not have the narrative drive and suspense of a drama like Veronica Mars, it is actually a better show.
  • watched Bollywood trailers on the internet.
  • discovered that Mormon cinema is called "Mollywood." Here's a description of one of those Mormon films: "Sons of Provo (2004). Mockumentary about an LDS boy-band named Everclean." It sounds kind of funny, but I'm sure the Mormons found some way to prevent that. Ugh, Mormons.
  • discovered the Jollywood Moving Picture Co., which appears to be some sort of training project for teens with video cameras. Here's a sentence (from a description of one of their films) that made my sister and me laugh heartily for almost 10 minutes: " The movies [sic] style was influenced by the mockumentary "Dog Show" starring Eugene Levy." I love that sentence so much.
  • watched the musical numbers from Moulin Rouge!.
  • and finally, as midnight approached, we couldn't bear to count down with either Ryan Seacrest or Carson Daly (they make our eyes bleed, they do). Instead, we did the countdown en español on Univision.
How's that for an exciting New Year's Eve?

If you want to read about a productive/party-filled NYE, visit Ted. He spent time at some place called "The Hole," which practically makes me tingle with curiosity.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year in Discoveries: 2006

I love this list: the things that Fosco discovered in 2006 that gave the year its identity. Of course, many of these things were actually not new in 2006--just new to Fosco. With that in mind, let's tour Fosco's 2006 discoveries...

  • Arrested Development: Fosco watched all three seasons on DVD during his recuperation from The Accident. I don't want to exaggerate (or to come across as a pussy), but I think that without this series, I would have been crying most of that first week.

    I've always loved Jason Bateman--ever since as a young queer boy, I crushed hard on him as the lead in the short-lived It's Your Move. I think I even bought a novelization of an episode of that show from the elementery school book club--remember those? But it's not just Bateman that makes AD (as the Kids call it) brilliant: the entire cast is superb and the writing is funnier than anything I've seen on TV, INCLUDING The Simpsons (which is not easy for me to admit...). I mean, this is the show that featured guest appearances from Liza Minelli as a sex-starved widow with vertigo. And then there are the words and phrases that I can't stop repeating to my sister: nevernudes, Bob Loblaw's Law Blog, Motherboy, the dizzies, Anne Paul Veal, "Marry Me."

    At this point, there is no question that this is the best television series to air in the first decade of the 21C. There, I said it.

  • Illinois by Sufjan Stevens: released in 2005, but Fosco didn't start listening to it until the beginning of 2006. It became particularly important to Fosco in November of this year (and, in fact, he is listening to it as he writes this). While Sufjan's Michigan disc was high-quality (and captivated Fosco because of home-state pride), Illinois is truly exceptional. How is it possible to write an achingly beautiful song about the life of John Wayne Gacy? Or a jaunty bluegrass ode to Decatur? Oh, and did I mention that he's hot?

  • In-N-Out Burger: the West Coast institution, praised extravagantly by Fosco here.

  • Kathy Griffin: I know, I know... This is so cliche: a homosexual who likes Kathy Griffin? Shocking. But, to tell the truth, I never really cared about her until I watched her My Life on the D-List. She's really so appealing and down-to-earth. And she tells such funny stories about Anna Nicole Smith and Gay Gaykin and his Gay-Mates.

  • blogs: As 2006 was the year that Fosco launched this little project he likes to call Fosco Lives!, blogs were clearly an important influence on him this year. But which blogs? Almost every morning, Fosco gets his niche news from several outposts of the Nick Denton Empire, including Deadspin, Defamer, and Gawker. And Fosco never travels somewhere without researching Gridskipper for tips on where the cool kids hang out.

    More importantly for Fosco and Fosco Lives! however, are two personal blogs: Ted Gideonse's The Gideonse Bible and John Mackey's blog at OstiMusic. These two blogs have served as inspirations for what Fosco Lives! can be and I read them religiously (which is really the only way to read a Bible). Merci, gentleman for a great year of blogging.

  • John McPhee on geology: his Pulitzer-Prize-winning Annals of the Former World served as Fosco's guidebook as he drove from Michigan to Santa Cruz along I-80 this summer, stopping along the way to pick up rocks. You can read about Fosco's adventures along the way in the Fosco Lives! Archives here and here.

  • "The Nietzsche Family Circus": I have literally spent hours on this website this fall. It cheers me up whenever I'm down. Who would have thought that pairing a random Nietzsche aphorism with a random "Family Circus" cartoon would be the best thing ever? I've permalinked to some of my favorites here, here, and here. Oh God, I'm laughing too hard...

  • Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9: Fosco saw this art film three times, despite it running three-ish hours. Do yourself a favor and watch the trailer. Then read Fosco's earlier review.

  • Lindsay Lohan and her vulva (SFW). First, I would like to explain why I refuse to participate in the popular convention of referring to pictures like these (NSFW) as pix of Lindsay Lohan's vagina. I may be a homosexual who hasn't touched a woman's vagina in like five years (or so), but I did take Health Class in Junior High and I think what we are looking at is actually Lindsay Lohan's vulva.

    Whatever we are looking at, I'm pretty compelled by it. Not the vulva per se, but the idea that a popular teen star would regularly flash her privates to the paparazzi. This plus her drinking problems, her barely literate emails, and her strange belief that she will be aided by Al Gore, make her the most fascinating case of pub(l)ic self-destruction I've seen. Britney (NSFW) is a total amateur compared to Lindsay. The way I see it, Lindsay is one marriage to a homosexual (does she know Clay Aiken?) away from becoming the Judy Garland of this generation. And I can't wait to see what degradation is yet to come!

Year in Music: 2006

I think it would be better not to embarass myself too much by admitting my too-mainstream taste in non-classical music. Other than my complete obsession with Sufjan Stevens (which I've noted in almost every post in the past week), I would make a top ten list with a truly pathetic amount of emo on it. So I'm not going to do that.

Non-Sufjan disc of the year? Two words: Black Parade.

There, I've said it and I'm thoroughly ashamed.

Year in Books: 2006

It's the last day of 2006: let the Listmania begin! Let's start with the year in books:

Best: Special Topics in Calamity Physics. No surprise here. The long-time reader of Fosco Lives! knows that Fosco loved this book. Haters need not reply.

Second Best: Twilight of the Superheroes. Sometimes Fosco thinks that he is one of the last 100 readers in the world of short story collections. In the past, he has had a fraught relationship with the short stories of Deborah Eisenberg. Not anymore: four of the six stories in this collection are masterpieces.

Best Cover: Icelander. McSweeney's books are almost always beautifully designed. You can't really get a sense of this cover from the picture (because there's glitter embedded in it!). Good cover.

Biggest Disappointment: Against the Day. Fosco was so looking forward to this novel--for months! After all, Pynchon's previous novel, Mason & Dixon, instantly became one of Fosco's five favorite books ever. So you can imagine Fosco's disappointment to discover that Pynchon's new novel is... terrible. I mean really bad. (True-blue Pynchon fans shouldn't bother to accuse me of misunderstanding on this one: I've read every word he's ever written and I understand the virtues of Pynchon. This novel just doesn't contain most of them.)

Second Biggest Disappointment: The Keep. How did this book make the cover of the NYT Book Review? Did the reviewer only read the first half? And why can't Jennifer Egan write a good second half of a book?

Book I Keep Forgetting That I Read: Trance. Huh. Apparently this book came out in 2005. But pretty much everything about this book is news to me anyway.

Book I Started and Never Finished: Icelander. Fosco loves Iceland and so this well-reviewed book should have been a slam-dunk. But he only made it through page 11, to the end of the descriptions of the characters in the novel: a character list which included "Philip Leshio" and "Constance Lingus" (wait for it...). After he read these names, Fosco thought to himself: "Do I really need to read this?" The answer was no.

Book I Probably Should Have Read: The Emperor's Children. I heard it was good.

Well-Reviewed Book I Have No Intention of Ever Reading: Absurdistan. I don't care if the NYTimes Book Review editor knocks on my door and begs me to read this novel. I won't. I read the excerpt in The New Yorker and I hated it. As far as I can tell, this book is like Borat for highbrows.

Book Everyone Hated That I Liked: This Book Will Save Your Life. Maybe most readers found the title to promise a bit too much. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for A.M. Homes and maybe that's why I was willing to accept the emotional resonance of this novel.