Thursday, February 19, 2009


Chuck Palahniuk has a new book called Pygmy coming out soon and I already read it and I didn't like it very much.

Okay so. Did you see that M Night Shyamalan movie The Village? If you're like me, five minutes into that movie you were like, 'clearly these puritanical folks are modern-day back-to-olden-times people! Otherwise why would a director like Mr Shyamalan, who normally pays so much attention to details and specifics, have them all talking like people in the oughties?' And then in the end you felt very smart for having such brilliant insights when you were proved right.

My point is not that I am a brilliant, insightful genius. My point is that, if you are going to have people talk a specific, idiosyncratic way, there had better be a goddam reason for it, y'know? The whole hook of this book is, oh hey, this is fragmented English because English isn't the narrator's first language! Which is a legitimate conceit, except that when the narrator is someone who's mastered the periodic table of elements by the time he's four, there had better be a goddam reason that he can barely grasp another language's syntax. And also, while we're at it, if the book is told in the form of reports back to his home country, why the fuck is he reporting in this language he sucks at? It just doesn't hold up.

Oh, wait, no it holds up in the context of xenophobia!

Which is complicated, right, because here is what the book is about: America is full of jerks (a thesis I'd agree with) and other countries don't always like it (a thesis I'd agree with) and sometimes people from other countries do something about it via terrorism (true). This is all fine fodder for a novel, for sure. Let's even make it science fiction, and instead of having the terrorist be from a real country America has declared war on, let's have him be from a made-up, futuristic coalition of countries- that might cut down on the potential for real-world political insight or commentary, but hey, it's fiction, Chuck can do what he wants. Plus they were made-up countries in Brave New World, weren't they? Oceania was, anyway. And Brave New World worked.

That is a good idea for a book! So Chuck, why did you have to waste it on jokes about vibrators and how foreigners can't speak English right? Oh, because you're Chuck Palahniuk and you pander to an audience of manly, bro-ey duders (and me, I guess) who want titillation, not insight. Who want you to play with but ultimately reinforce their prejudices and snappy judgments.

Of course this is old news to everyone except me. Chuck Palahniuk's reputation is: famous dunderhead, churning out stupid bullshit. I think it's more complicated than that, though! Dude has a giant brain, comes up with good ideas- brutal criticism of America from an oppressed outsider's perspective!- he just always then completely blows them with jokes about that murderous vibrator, or fucking your sister or something. (Whereas when he just lets his brain goes and gets less, like, sensationalistic- see Rant or even Invisible Monsters, although I guess Invisible Monsters was pretty ridiculous- he can be pretty amazing.) When you strip away the vaguely xenophobic conceit, Pygmy is just a bunch of goddam predictably outrageous Chuck Palahniuk hijinx: "Oh, Pygmy thought that he could bake the cake in half the time if he turned the heat twice as high! Oh, Pygmy ate all the chocolates!" Whatever.

It's a shame. I want better from you, Chuck! At this point, I almost wish you hadn't written Rant, because Rant was absolutely brilliant and is one of my favorite books and if I'd never read it I certainly wouldn't keep reading this shit.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Look at this! Somebody- who will remain nameless, because of the 1984 environment at the Strand- e-mailed it to me. It's pretty nice to see media attention on the fact that Nancy Bass is a hateful, racist person. I had similar experiences to those that folks describe in that article, although mine were about when I started to transition, instead of my race.

That woman is a friggin bully, man. She will get up in your face for looking at her. There are a lot of mean things you could say about her that don't have anything to do with the poisonous work environment she creates, but the relevant ones are about the fact that she's resentful toward her employees. Or something that looks like resentfulness. She treats her employees like they're stealing from her. You'd think that, with an MBA, she would understand the fact that nobody is happy in an environment where the co-owner micromanages everything around her. I've never been to business school, but I do understand that employees who can take a second and talk shit are a lot more productive than ones who are terrified they're going to get written up for going to the bathroom.

Plus, Nancy? It didn't work. I slacked off SO HARD, SO PROFESSIONALLY, SO OFTEN while I worked at your store. You never caught me. I wonder whether that's because I'm white so you weren't paying attention.

I mean, I have a pretty good idea that's the case.

Also, that article makes it look like the managers are all complicit with management's whims, and since I don't work there I can let you know that that's not the case. Managers at the Strand tend to be great people who get the same shit from Ms Bass as the rest of the employees. The only difference is that, once you become a manager, you're no longer protected by the union, so she can fire you on a whim. She doesn't even need to document anything, write you up a couple times. I've seen this happen. There's always some stupid hearsay reason that some other manager will confirm (maybe MAYBE because that manager is on thin ice already).

Anyway, yeah. It's nice that somebody's calling Ms Bass out, is all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Well, listen. It's been more than a month since I posted to this thing. I can be non-monogamous with who I make out with, but I don't think I'll ever be able to be faithful to more than one blog.

Remember when I was writing about how this was gonna be my grown-up blog? Ha! Turns out the internet is for children and I'm deeply, deeply immature.

This is gonna be my goddam blog for the rest of my life, I bet:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

bike, divorce

My bike is missing and I need to get this divorce together.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Yesterday, drunk after band practice, I saw a sweet lil hipster fellow with a hoodie on that said HERBIVORE in distressed, pre-faded lettering. It gave me an idea: SELF-RIGHTEOUS VEGETARIAN shirts! I wrote this on my hand. I have been living in Berkeley for long enough that it has sunk in, I guess.

I don't know whether that's related, but today I ate lox! At Elijah's birthday brunch party I probably ate, over the course of half an hour, a blob of lox the size of my fist. And it was great! It was the meatest thing I've eaten in probably five years, and I'm trying to feel bad about it but I don't. Elijah said it was Jewish sushi and I though, Jewshi!, but I kept that to myself.

In conclusion, I'm a little bit in love with this Philip K Dick book Valis. It's basically him talking about FUCK GOD a lot, which is charming.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

sex advice

Well, clearly this is the best idea anyone's ever had for an article: Sex Advice from Booksellers, on Nerve via Bookslut. "Who doesn't want to date a bookseller? We climb ladders in skirts, and remain slightly aloof."

Also, I lived with the first guy! In Bed-Stuy. I think I've played shows with him, too, but maybe I've just seen him play shows.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

two things about Brooklyn and one other thing

This Brooklyn comic shop, Rocketship, is one of my favorite places in the world. I know folks who have different priorities, so whatever, but the emphasis is on everything about comics that I am stoked about, and not any of the stuff I don't care about. Also, I met Mary a little before the store opened and she is one of the sweetest, awesomest people ever. When my Williamsburg apartment was overrun with bedbugs, she came over with buckets, mops, bleach and underwear (good story there) and paid for my drycleaning 'cause I was broke.

Also, you know how whenever you're in my store you're like What are these sweet, sweet sounds coming through the stereo? Rocketship's like that, too, only times ten. Every time I go there I learn about a new band.

Anyway, love letter aside, they were in Japanese Esquire this month.

Another thing is that I love Jonathan Safran Foer as much as the next sensitive mid-to-late-twenties college-educated white kid- maybe more, since I don't have an angry chip on my shoulder about him like everybody else I know seems to have- but this article tearing him + Dave Eggers and the rest of the "Brooklyn Books of Wonder" writers still made me smile. I lived in Brooklyn for a long time and I love it with all my heart, and while I was there I was very much in the mindset that ol' Melvin Jules Bukiet's writing about; I just get excited that somebody's complaining about those folks in a way that feels like a useful criticism, instead of just calling them stupid or gimmicky or whatever.

Also, my girlfriend and I got a puppy. Her name is Pants. I don't care about the internet any more. (Which I guess is the theme of this blog so far- why I hate blogging and the internet- because I'm a postmodern hack.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Junot Diaz dot com is up. It sucks, but maybe more stuff will go there and it'll suck less. Also, it doesn't say how to make him come do a reading at your store, if you have a store you want him to do a reading at- it just says that his tour for Oscar Wao is already booked up EVERY DAY, and that he's coming through my neighborhood and doing a reading at freakin Diesel, which is kind of an awesome bookstore and I'll be there but STILL.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Barring for a second everything stupid that he's asserted, what if J Michael Bailey's thesis in the Man Who Would be Queen- that male-to-female transsexuality is the product either of male-male homosexuality or a paraphilia- were true? Would that impact the day-to-day lives of transsexual women in any way? I feel like, if a paraphilia were so intense that its paraphiliac needed to change their life so drastically (and go through so much gross shit) in order to be okay, then- I mean- who cares?

The question then becomes not about cultural views of transsexuality but cultural views of deviant sexuality, or however you want to frame it.

I just feel like I've known so many folks- myself included, a long time ago- who get so hung up on "What if I'm Just A Pervert And Not Really Trans" that they ultimately lost sight of: regardless of which is the case, you're not gonna squash it and watch it go away. Y'know?

Shame around sexuality is such an asshole, I swear to god.

stencils; die

Stencils wallowing in their own stencilness is kind of blowing up right now, in advertising and other non-wall contexts. Isla's been doing a bunch of 'em, and hers keep getting better; also, everybody's in love with Banksy, right? I just wanted to say, I'm excited that I don't hate a popular design trend. I'm sure it'll get old, but for now I am excited.

Also Die! Die! Die! is gonna have a new full-length in November. It hasn't been leaked to the internet music pirates (me; arr) yet, as far as I can tell. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 10, 2007

check in

It's just that I haven't been that interested in the internet lately. For a while there- say, a good decade- the internet was kind of my boyfriend, in a pretty intense way. He validated my emotions, gave me room to talk, space to figure stuff out, stuff to think about, and he even got me off. But lately, not so much. Maybe it's because I've had a real-life girlfriend I feel comfortable talking to about the stuff I used to secretly need to turn to the internet for, like specifically gender stuff, queer stuff, kink stuff, insecurities, all that. Other stuff. Or maybe I'm just burned out on staring at screens.

It's stupid though. It's frustrating! I have been looking around this ol internet, its emptry electronic alleys and parking lots, expecting to feel empowered and excited the way I did a long time ago. But I don't. It's a habit: I look at strap-on and just feel kind of sad; I look at trueselves and I just want to yell at everybody; internet news always feels biased or pointless or, at best, masturbatory. All I care about is bookslut's blog, which i stare at the screen, refreshing, and livejournal, which is the most navel-gazey place on the internet.

I mean, I know, right? I've spent a long, long time staring at my bellybutton on livejournal. I still post silly bullshit on that thing, but it's like... this is what I'm spending my time doing?

I've been playing a lot more guitar. Have I ever told you about how bad I am at writing songs? I write most of a song pretty much every day, decide it's stupid, get mad at it, and forget it. I'm an awful singer- I'm learning other people's songs, how to do the strum-and-holler thing I always felt like I was too smart to have to do (I'll just skip straight to being in the Smashing Pumpkins, I always assumed).

Wait, I lost the point. Here's where I was going: I started this blog with the idea that I'd talk about grownup things here. Gender stuff, book stuff, activisty stuff. But I kinda don't even care to do that, and ALSO I just started this blog, which is a trans news blog whose point is to be critical of the way trans news is presented by the media, but I also don't want to do that.

You know the thing where trans women fade out of internet visibility, out of the scene, as it were? I am getting that so bad right now. Which is fine, and I've always ALWAYS said hey man, I don't judge anybody for doing that, because it happens so often I bet it'll happen to me, I'll just want to bail too. The problem is this: I was elected head organizer of Camp Trans this year. I've been involved in trans communities for so long that I can see the role the internet plays in organizing, how valuable a trans news site could be, if it weren't smug, and weren't sucking up to anybody, and were run by smart people with intelligent critiques. It's just that feeling like I have any perspective on this stuff, and power to change it, is arriving contemporaneously with some pretty intense burnout.

I know. We've been here before and it's boring.

I'm just sayin, I don't know what to do. I want to live my life, cook goulash for my friends, play in a band, have people stay at my house, read books and hump my girlfriend. I feel like that's enough to juggle, right? I want to do that stuff and not worry about it, but I've got this urge to make sure that everybody knows that I'm some normal boring girl with a brilliant, normal, boring, amazing queer life. Making sure the whole world knows my life is great, it feels like an obligation- mostly, probably, because the whole world told me for so long that if I was trans, queer, disinterested in a money money job, punkish, that my life COULDN'T be this good. You know? I kind of want to yell at everybody 'you are stupid for making me feel insecure about my priorities.'

I know- and I'm practically thirty.

My point is just that I'm tired of feeling like I have to holler about shit all the time. Whenever there's an article on the internet about Michfest, I wish I didn't feel like I needed to educate the shit out of everyone present; whenever somebody says, 'yeah, being a high school teacher's great, but maybe one day you'll be a college professor,' I'm tired of feeling like I need to say something.

So whatever, is all I'm saying. 'Cause I'm nervous that, if somebody looks at this and sees that I haven't written anything in a week and a half, they'll think nothing's going on. It's the opposite- if I'm not on the internet, I'm almost certainly doing something better. That's all I'm sayin.

Oh, happy September 11th in a couple hours. Can we make it a thing where everybody tries to have really gross kinky sex on September 11th?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

fancy and toxic

This, also, is from Shelley Jackson's Half-Life, which I am still reading because I read slowly. But which makes me stoked that I read slowly! Because I'm glad I haven't finished it yet.

Her stiff skirt showed dirty white lines where the caked shit stretched, cracked, and the fabric showed through. Once it had been a party dress, cheap and frilly and synthetic. It was the sort of dress Granny called "fire-retarded"- it would kindle all at once with a fwhomp, set your hair on fire, then disappear and leave you naked, except for sticky black plastic boogers that would sink into your flesh as easily as needles. It was the kind of dress little girls wore at beauty pageants and Mexican weddings, the kind you found hanging in plastic bags in cheap stores in the Mission. It was fancy and toxic, like a wedding cake frosted with petroleum jelly. It had so many pleats and ruffles that its surface area was incalculably large, like a brain's. I read an interview once with an artist who made drawings about child abuse. He said the most volatile words in the English language were "little girl." When the prosecutor pronounces those words, the courtroom goes crazy. This was the dress that went with those words: a language dress, a hallucinated dress, from a grown-up's dream of little girls.

Maybe when I finish it I'll elucidate specifically all the ways Half-Life resonates with me, but I doubt it. I just want you to know that I'm gay for Shelley Jackson.