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Notes From The Flip Side: 08.17.2003

"There is more to do than merely carve out a predictable niche, seek pleasure and avoid pain while we wait to die. I want to have left my mark on this life and the world in a good way."

Marv Stockwell

Dear Chicago ... Part I

I'm going to begin with the most pressing thing on my mind right now - my dog, Dude, is currently sleeping on the bed behind me. As I write this on Sunday evening, he has over 20 stitches in his leg to attempt to close one of the single ugliest wounds I've ever seen. His rear left leg is swollen to about the size of my forearm. And I'm probably going to have to take him back to the vet tomorrow.

I kenneled him last night so that I could head out of town - I got a call at 9 a.m. today telling me that something was wrong. By 11 a.m., the veterinarian called me to say that staff from the kennel had already dropped him off at the clinic and to meet her there. Then the kennel told there would be no charge for his visit. By the time I got to the clinic, the technician on hand told me that the kennel was picking up the tab for his treatment.

And then I saw the wound. My home voice mail message said that something was wrong. The kennel staffer who called my cell said that it was a cut but that it wasn't critical. The vet warned me that it was going to require general anesthetic for him, which is particularly dangerous for a Great Dane. But the reality was far worse.

The vet hadn't actually seen this wound when she called me - she was operating based on a technician's assessment. My assessment was that it was bad. The vet's assessment was that it was worse than that.

I can't begin to describe this injury in any way that will do it justice, but it wasn't a cut or gash. It was a jagged chunk of flesh that had been ripped out of my dog, measuring about 2 1/2" long and 3/4" wide, about 1/4" deep. It was oozing pus and seeping blood. It was green, brown and yellow - all the lovely shades of horrifically infected drainage. And that was just what I could see. It turns out that some of the tissue was necrotic, that it looked like the vet had to carve out healthy flesh along with the dead just to be able to try to seal the wound. And even so, due to the infection, the wound was left partly open so that pus could drain.

My dog is currently sleeping on the bed, stretched out on an old blanket. He's due for some anti-inflammatory medication soon. Tomorrow he starts an aggressive regimen of two types of antibiotics taken internally and a topical antibiotic which is supposed to be administered directly to the sutured wound - by inserting the tip under the stitches.

I want to know what happened. And I will find out. It may have been accidental; at this point, I have no reason to doubt that. However, I still want to know.

That's all I have to say about that.

Dear Chicago ... Part II

We spent almost all day yesterday wandering around the city. We shopped, talked, wandered, ate, drank. We tried new things. Explored. Experimented. We walked back to the hotel in the rain, getting soaked and kissing the entire way.

We didn't bother sleeping much - it's amazing what we do to a bed and neither one of us much felt like remaking it or calling housekeeping at 2 a.m. So we talked. At length. And soon enough - to our complete lack of surprise - we were at it again.

You inspire and energize me. Our time together is so precious that I only sleep when I absolutely have to, when I'm so tired that I can't keep my eyes open anymore. And 15 minutes later, I wake up, my hand resting on your hip or thigh or belly and realize that we're right where we belong - anywhere ... as long as we're together.

If I had to endure what I've been through to meet you (and to know you and to love you), it was all worth it - all of it and more. And I know that as sure as I'm sitting here, we haven't even begun to become what we will be.

A Malediction: Forbidding Sorrow; Or, A Eulogy For Idi Amin.

Fuck you, Idi Amin. Fuck you for what you did to your country, you genocidal, maniacal piece of shit. You spent the last days of your miserable life in a coma and I hope that your nightmares were the sort that would transform sound people into madmen. Kidney failure. After everything you did, you died of kidney failure, like an old man pissing his last into a bed pan, wondering why no one comes to visit him anymore. And maybe that, for someone like you, would be the most bitter punishment of all - being forgotten by most of the world, consigned to irrelevance and thrown into history's dustbin.

This is not say that your life had no effect and that people don't remember you. I'm sure Uganda remembers you - it's still suffering from the aftermath of your actions. Other parts of Africa remember you - you typified the worst of the post-colonial dictators. But to the rest of the world, you've been out of sight and out of mind for decades, your grand schemes and plans rendered fruitless. I remember you because I saw the footage on the news. And I've been waiting for this day to come so that I could celebrate appropriately.

I say with all sincerity that I hope you experienced pain in your last days equal to the suffering you caused, that I hope you knew absolute mortal terror that matched what your victims experienced. It's only been a few hours since you vacated your bloated carcass, but the world already feels like a better place.

Good riddance, Idi, but fuck you for taking so long. You will not be missed.

Inquiring Minds Should Read A Book

For the past couple of years, I've been placing bulk CrimethInc orders every so often. Sometimes I use the books as prizes, sometimes I send them out, sometimes I hide them in libraries on the off chance that someone might find them. It's been a blast and it really amuses the hell out of me.

However, I'm now living in a small town in the middle of Illinois. The nearest bookstore where I even think I might be able to find books that I'm interested in is about 100 miles away in Chicago. And frankly, that's a long drive for intellectual stimulation.

It occurs to me that I'm probably not alone in this - that there are probably a fair number of people who read this site who are also unable to find a lot of the books that I brought with me when I came out here. And that's where my next half-baked crackpot idea came from: an online bookstore.

Oh sure, it's been done. I know that. There are incredibly stocked online bookstores. They can cut deeply into the costs and sell books for pennies on the dollar. And so what? In an age when big box retailers like Wal-Mart try to transform every purchasing decision into one based exclusively on cost, the only alternative model I know of is offering superior service and knowledge.

So here's the deal - in coming weeks, I'll be adding books to the merch page. I've mentioned most of them in these pages. I've read all of them. And I honestly don't believe you'll be disappointed in any of them. Stock will be low until I can see if this thing is going to work, but if it does, I'll start gradually expanding the catalog. The CrimethInc books are up there now. Order away.

Off The Top Of My Head ...

  1. The Weakerthans. I can't and won't stop listening to this new record. It's arguably the best thing they've done yet - arguably only because it's not as instantly accessible as the first two albums.
  2. Arvo Part. I'm completely butchering the spelling of his last name (it has an umlaut on the a - yay for diacritics!) but his ethereal compositions (think Sigur Ros collaborating with Radiohead to create sparse, haunting melodies) are just killing me.
  3. Prefuse 73. DJ Shadow killed me when I first heard "Endtroducing ..." and DJ Krush did about the same with "Milight." Scott Herren seems destined to have a similar effect on hip hop - all glitchy and stuttering and utterly mindbending.

Now Playing:

Hank Mobley. Cannonball Adderley. Dvorak. Brownie McGhee. Dizzy Reece. Arvo Part. Sigur Ros. In Flames. Larry Young. The Weakerthans. International Noise Conspiracy. Neu. Lead Belly. Sonny Clark. The Microphones. Nobukazu Takemura. Radon. Chopin. Terry Allen. Paint It Black. The Promise. Embrace Today. Bear Vs. Shark. Jazzanova. Hella. Erase Errata. Bane. Terry Riley. Numbers. The Apes. Gavin Bryars. John Zorn. Atmosphere. Morton Feldman. The Swords Project. Brian Eno.

Now Watching:

"Amelie," "Rushmore," "Wings Of Desire," "The Royal Tenenbaums"

Just Finished:

Ross Russell, "Bird Lives!: The High Life & Hard Times Of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker"; Bob Reisner, "Bird: The Legend Of Charlie Parker"; Lt. Col. Robert Patterson, "Dereliction Of Duty"; Nate Powell, "Tiny Giants"

Now Reading:

Paul Avrich, "Anarchist Portraits"; Umberto Eco, "Island Of The Day Before"; Alan Lomax, "The Land Where The Blues Began"; Peter Guralnick, "Lost Highway" and "Sweet Soul Music"; Thomas Wolfe, "You Can't Go Home Again"; Andrew Feenberg, "Questioning Technology" and "Alternative Modernity"; Steven Heller, "Graphic Design History" (edited with Georgette Ballance); Gunnar Swanson, ed., "Graphic Design And Reading"; Daniel Guerin, "No Gods No Masters"

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008