Mar 31, 2013

Scribble, scribble, scribble, Mr& (1) --- Dracula

We've started the research on part two of the Green Eyes and are wondering how to get our mind around various issues, such as (1) vampires, (2) the end-of-the-word, (3) X-factors (America-got-talent or whatever), (4) Romeo & Juliette, (5) murder, in particular murder by poisoning, (6) amnesia and/or the loss of identity, (7) pageants, (8) Ebonics, (9) verse meters, and (10) orgasms, in particular female ones.


The idea is that John and Alex will stay together, so we cannot repeat the love-story-construction of Part I. Let's hope we'll get some mileage out of Alex's mysterious post-suicidal personality (he's suffering from serious amnesia, has no recollection of his personal past), and, in particular, out of his sexual ambiguity vis à vis John --- Alex had been informed of his homosexual orientation, more or less accepted the information, experimented a bit with straight sex, and is now living with an anxious John, a narrator who doesn't quite understand whether Alex is just trying to be nice to him, or trying to be a bit too nice. Ideally, Alex would have shed his depression but maintained most other parts of his personality, but that's perhaps too much to ask for, as John understands himself. From the point of view of the further story, Alex will have to walk a fine line between ignorance and insouciance.

Mar 26, 2013

We don't want the smoking gun to be an entitlement mushroom cloud (Tom Tomorrow)

(Hat tip: Paul Krugman) 

(And here's a corresponding tidbit from --- no, not from the Green Eyes --- from our Freedom Fries novel, 1st Chapter:)

Samuel Fisher sits in one of his many Eames Aluminum Chairs at the big, empty conference table while Betty Bartholomeo is ushered into his splendid office. Crossing through the double crystal doors into this ulterior world, Betty smiles the smile of corporate worship, while Fisher reciprocates in kind.  He waves her lightly into the chair next to himself, turns his head, and points with his chin to a gargantuan screen on the opposite wall, where the famous Reverend Falwell is holding forth: 

“…we make God mad, I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians, who were actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, people for the American Life, all of them, who tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen’.” The Reverend lowered his jowls accordingly.

Mar 23, 2013

The famous tourist destination --- Korea (6)

The venue is located nearby, between our village and Seogi-po, the second-largest town here on Jeju Island, on the coast. A popular tourist destination, we have to go see it. Parking lots, tour buses, people. Lots.

 We ask where "it" is. Somebody points down. We descend past this charming tea house into an over-designed park.  

Mar 22, 2013

Waiting for you... finish Michael Ampersant's outrageous new novel "Green Eyes," and finally come to bed.
(Artwork by Bob Bienpensant)

Mar 21, 2013

Connubial Bliss --- Korea (5)

By sheer serendipity we find ourselves climbing the road hugging Mount Halla, Korea's highest mountain at 1,900 meters, a somewhat listless volcano that hasn't harmed anybody in quite some time and defines Jeju Island in a sort of materialistic way, almost vulgar-marxistically so --- Jeju wouldn't be there without the volcano, Jeju in fact is the volcano in geological terms --- so we climb Road 1139 and have already reached an altitude of 1,000 m when Michael has the idea that Chang could get carsick on this sinuous path across the high altitude forest, and we U-turn and descend again. Mentioning car-sickness wasn't perhaps the best idea, Chang is starting to think about his stomach and the stomach thinks back and new, or slightly altered, thoughts feel provoked by each turn. Thought-provoking, that's what this road feels, thought-provoking.

Mount Halla
Anyhow, the worst is over when we hit a stretch of road marked by red cross-stripes. They are well-done, these stripes, each marking is slightly raised, creating a bump per mark and accentuating our downward glide in this floating American-suspension car in unmistakable ways, warning us of impending danger. We wonder which danger we're facing, no stripes mark the upward leg of the road. We cross perhaps 5-10 marks per second, thus reverberating downward in a three-dimensional alert space, visual (red stripes), proprioceptive (the position of our limbs) and auricular (vibratory humming). This goes on for a while. After two kilometers or so you would assume we've been warned enough, but the stripes won't go away, one stripe following the next with unrelenting stamina, stripe for stripe for stripe. Ever tried to count to 100,000?

"You could have invented these stripes," Michael finally says to Chang.

Aries (Jezza Smilez)

Mar 20, 2013

So you think you’re trapped in a poorly-written fan fiction: A modern teen’s guide (reblogged)

Lokfire has this cool post on her website Hollywood Hates Me we've been allowed to reblog:

Lately, you've noticed your life is filled with grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, poor spelling and way more deviant fetishes than you're used to. Does that mean you're trapped in a poorly-written fan fiction? Almost certainly! But to find out for sure, please use this handy guide as a reference.

1. Do you often get the feeling you're a Mary-Sue type stand-in for someone else? Like, maybe you're just an average girl with the character trait of "clumsiness" so people won't think you're perfect, but all the hot boys in town love you.

"You killed my father, prepare to die?"
 "You killed my father, prepare to die?"

2.When people around you talk, do they often resort to overblown romantic cliches? Perhaps they say things like "You are my life now" or "I can't live in a world where you don't exist."

Trick question! This just means you're hanging out with a sparkly vampire.
Trick question! This just means you're hanging out with a sparkly vampire.

Mar 17, 2013

How about Jeju? --- Korea (4)

(Christine, our friend from Switzerland writes:)

I found time to read your manuscript [Green Eyes]... It is very interesting and easy to understand. I even can understand more about gay's reactions and sexual practices. Well, the story is captivating and we always want to know more. Important is that you don't get bored with it.

We wonder if you are OK in Jeju and how is the weather and temperature? Are you in a hotel? How does Chang feel?

 We have very cold weather. Lot of snow was falling in France and England. Here in Solothurn we had -6° this morning and 1° during the day. We have almost enough and wait for spring.

How many hours do you have more in Korea?

 (We answer:) 

Thanks, Christine. Yes, we are very OK in Jeju, even though the promises by Der Spiegel haven't materialized yet. How do we mean? Well, Der Spiegel, you know, every reader of Infinite Jest knows it, the German news magazine, they had a recent story on Jeju where they write about

(a) fertility rites with phallic stone statues on which we so far missed out (the rites) and

Jeju haru bang, (local stone statue, judge yourself)


Mar 14, 2013

I Write Like ... David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest 1)

Cool, folks, cool. We blogged about the I Write Like web page two years ago when it compared a simple blogpost of ours to William Shakespeare --- well this sentence already tells you something must be wrong with said app, but we didn't push the issue since the corresponding link had soured in the meantime.

Today, rummaging through Infinite-Jest-blogs in search of pictures, we rediscovered the link under a new web address, and tested it on more pertinent material from the Green Eyes. The app works as expected, there's a window where you paste your text and click a button. An analyzer compares your text to its data base (Bayesian statistics, neural networks, you name it), and returns the name of the author you resemble most (it always comes back with an answer, it never says "Go Away," or "Bah," or uses similar expressions you know so well from your correspondence with the leading publishing houses).

OK, so, we start with the Prologue of the Green Eyes. Not Shakespeare this time, but...

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

 ...Horribile dictu, we never read H. P. Lovecraft, can't even properly place her/him. It must be Wahlverwandschaft, then. We taught Artificial Intelligence so we know a thing or two about neural networks. How stable might the application be, we wonder,  what would be the outcome for the next piece of text, Chapter 2 (you know, Chapter 1 has been relegated to an appendix)? And the answer is...

Mar 13, 2013

The price of vengeance --- Korea (3)

So we’re on this BA flight to Seoul and grab the Daily Mail, the British tabloid.

“The Price of Vengeance” --- that's the boldface headline of the Mail today and we don’t recognize the faces. “Vicky Price is shell-shocked,” though, and “Chris Huhne may receive a lighter sentence for pleading guilty.” Expressions like "Hell hath no fury," and the Greek saying "a woman and the sea are the same in danger," dance before your lying eyes (Vicky is Greek).

All this has little to do with Korea, except that’s eternal and universal and we have to write it down so we can use it in the next part of the Green Eyes. The entire first 11 pages of the tabloid are about Vicky & Chris & collateral damage & even the boobs on Page 3 have to defer to pictures of a Greek wedding “where Huhne gave his stepdaughter away [although] the MP had already begun a fateful affair with his bisexual aide.”

Mar 12, 2013

The view --- Korea (2)

(We've arrived on Jeju Island:)



 (People who've followed the 2002 worldcup may recall a venue being located on Jeju; we're located right next to it) 


Fewer people would listen if his name were Adam Smith, but here it is what he has to say, Tyler Brûlé, the well-named editor of the Monocle Magazine and columnist of the Financial Times:


And the occasion? Well, anything could be the occasion, because nothing, nothing has ever ruled the world as much as marketing in all its ugly emanations does these days.

Tyler Brûlé

In Brûlé's case --- not sure he would like us to call him Tyler --- in Brûlé's case it's  --- and now we are interrupted by a chain of events reported under Connubial Bliss  --- in Brûlé's case it's  --- and now we could dwell on the fact that it wasn't so much an event as the absence thereof, like, like Conan Doyle's dog not barking in the night --- in Brûlé's case it's  --- it's perhaps a lucky coincidence that we're not writing a column in the FT but a simple blogpost  ---  in Brûlé's case it's a conversation with a friend who has started writing for this "large-ish news organization," finished her first story, and is now spending her time on getting the message of its publication across via "a media channel" (Facebook, probably). And then he asks:

Mar 11, 2013

Invariant under rotation?

(A friend from the East Coast sent this picture:)

(He didn't actually, he sent this one:)

(Well, you know us.)

Mar 10, 2013

Who of you is the man? --- Korea (1)

We didn’t have a fight for a few minutes, so it’s not really something for the Connubial Bliss, plus, we’re in Heathrow, changing planes for our trip to JeJu, Korea. South Korea, that is, the place nobody dares to visit since the North is reiterating its prediction that it will throw “small nukes” if feeling annoyed by is ethnic neighbor much longer.

Heathrow airport

Everybody hates Heathrow (queues) but the shopping is supposed to be good, so we have to buy “Polo.” Polo, among other things, is a fragrance created by Ralph Lauren and used by Chang. A spunky duty-free sales-female takes charge first of Chang and then of yours truly as the mammal bond between the two homosexual travelers transpires. We’re apparently adrift in the wrong place and should follow her to the male section and get “something for men.”

(This is a bit overwritten, apologies.)

“We’re kinda girls,” I say ...

Mar 7, 2013

A man is beautiful

It's perhaps a minor issue, so give it perhaps a minor thought. What's wrong with this poem:

A man is beautiful
you have to swing
and swing and swing
and swing like
a handkerchief in the

Well, consider this one:

A woman is beautiful
you have to swing
and swing and swing
and swing like
a handkerchief in the

That better, right? Well, it's also from Jack Kerouac, the last one. But that's not the only thing. Let's think about this some more.

Freedom Fries --- Chapter 3: "I said Hu" (part 1)

Previously. Pamela Nachtrieb Timbers, the voluminous Dean of Berkeley Law School, had been asked by President Obama to swing by for an interview --- a position at the Supreme Court is vacant --- but Pamela, regretfully, had to tell Obama about a skeleton in her closet. She will now explain to Georg Lukacs, the charsimatic hedge-fund titan (who happens to be an old friend of hers) why.

The maitre d’ is very pleased with her squeaking bag, and very kind to Pamela’s coat. George didn’t bring one, since the New Tearoom is only 6 minutes and 23 seconds from his office, which he had suggested they would walk together, for fresh air and aplomb. People would recognize him in the street, obviously, and wonder who this woman is, but he was used to this. Plus, they really didn’t look like former lovers. She looks more like his shrink, or worse, or vice versa; well, not vice versa, obviously.

Charles — as the maitre d’ is apparently known — spreads his fingers, raises his arms, and touches her breasts, almost. “We’re so pleased to have you with us, M’am,” Charles says. “Don’t worry,” George comments, “he doesn’t know you, he’s just doing his thing.” Charles laughs obligingly, then asks: “You’re famous, M’am?” Pamela can’t resist. “Yes, I’m a famous madam.” Charles laughs more obligingly. “First time you hear that reply?” Pamela asks. Now George laughs. “Her name is Pamela,” George says, “and she’ll be famous all right, starting tonight.” “Famous all right, starting tonight,” Charles comes back, “that rhymes.” All three laugh now, and George claps his hands. “Listen,” he says, “I’m a famous po-it, but nobody know-it.” General hilarity, everybody claps.

Central Park in Manhattan

Unlike other New York restaurants, the New Tearoom has been around for more than six months. This being Manhattan, the large cubic volume alone defines serious luxe, so Philip Stark could relax and contend himself with light wood, white walls, large windows, and serious art. Charles leads them to their table. Most other tables are already occupied by a hodgepodge of new New York society, like Asians with absolutely oversized, heavily rimmed glasses, or Blues Brother’s types (wasn’t that Chicago?). Times have changed, Pamela thinks. Their table, the best of course, is waiting for them in its pristine virginity at the upper level balcony with a view of the Central Park. Two waiters are in attendance to handle their chairs. Pamela and George sit down in style. Thick napkins, thin waiters, Pamela observes.

Mar 3, 2013

"If you have enough darkness, will you have enough light?"

(Us, folks, with Sacha, our friend, who provides the model for Jack Horn in the Green Eyes, this afternoon, in Sacha's garden in Les Adrets:) 


And here are a two corresponding tidbits from the Green Eyes:

(Opening of Chapter 43:)  Every soap has its homme à tout faire, be it James Bond ("Q"), or us ("Jack"). Talking James Bond, if you ever watched the earlier movies (there is a new-new Q now, bear with me), you must have realized that Q’s lab was too small, there was no way anybody could combine a shooting range for war heads with a workshop for poisonous pens with an assembly line for Aston Martins anywhere outside the Pinewood Studios (the newest Q holds court in the British Museum where they have more space).

Talking Jack Horn, if you ever had a look at Jack's barn—he lives in a rumbling farm house outside Georgia Beach with a large garden and a big barn where he “works”—in fact, you don't have to enter the barn, you only have to look at it from miles away—it's like Q's (old) universe, and then some. There are machines, gadgets, toy helicopters, pianos, coloring books of his three lovely daughters, the original camera of Toulouse-Lautrec, teddy bears, the screen wall from Startreck, tennis rackets, entire hardware shops, books even, some of his friends write books. It's like the firm of Clutter, Clutter & Clutter. There it is, climbing the stairs, climbing the walls and climbing into the basement where antique premium cars await urgent repairment: clutter. There’s no way you could spend a minute in this chaos and not come away with the idea that Jack is your man when it comes to hair-brained schemes.

Consenting animals

(We're normally about erotic writing, but how about erotic doing?)

(hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan)

And a corresponding fragment from the Green Eyes? Easy, easy, the Green Eyes suit most occasions.  Here, from the last chapter, a short dialogue between John and Alex (don't forget, Alex suffers from anmesia post felo de se, remembers nothing about his personal life):

“Sex was great?”
“Sure it was. Always is.”
“How do you know, with your amnesia?”
“You’re troubled by the quantifier?”
“The ‘always,’ yes.”
“No so difficult, in my case. I had sex three times in my life. As far as I remember. Twice with her, once with you.”
“With me, you had sex with me?”
“Well, perhaps not under the most stringent of interpretations. You were asleep. But I got in bed with you, got an erection, penetrated, had an ejaculation. I didn’t want to wake you up, you must have had a rough day yesterday. Didn’t want to wake you up. You slept through the whole thing. You’re resilient, dude, you’re a tough cookie. We got laid, yes.”
“So it wasn’t a wet dream then.”
“You came as well?”
“There were some traces.”
“Interesting. Sheer serendipity. Didn’t want to wake you up. Screwing without fucking, cool. Didn’t know I had it in me.”
“It’s a well-known technique, invented by the Knights of Malta.”
“Really. I didn’t know. Who knows. Apes could have invented it. Possibly did. Great sex.”
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