Sunday, January 29, 2006


i went to the english language library today, a musty little attic
filled with yellowing books and a preponderance of british
observational travel writing, no doubt the legacy of the founders.
it's the sort of literature i dont think even exists in many libraries
today, filled as it is with offensive stereotypes and cliched
observations about 'natives' and 'locals'. it will prove to be good
reading, i'm sure. i plucked a few modern classics from the shelves,
mixed it up with some goethe and flaubert (obvious, i know. but i
might as well) and have spent the afternoon nestled in front of my
artificial fire reading. i think its the first time ive gone to a
library for anything other than research since i was about 14. kinda
fun, feeling the weight of other readers impressions on the pages.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


> On 1/27/06, H wrote:
> > What are we thinking about this Hamas victory?
> > On 1/27/06, M wrote:
> > > is that the royal we?
> > > On 1/28/06, H wrote:
> > > > That's you, ms. expert.
> > > > On 1/29/06, M wrote:
M to H

ms. expert thinks everyone is getting their knickers in a knot over
absolutely nothing.

shes also a little tipsy, so a full, clear, and comprehensive
explanation is not to follow. but a few points, if she may:

-hamas has been around a long time, and the circumstances under which
it was organized are no longer the circumstances under which it exists
today, and while the organizing principles have not changed in their
presentation, they have changed in practice

-the age and size of hamas means there is a highly factionalized
leadership, representing a variety of issue-based constituencies,
supporting diverse issues with varying degrees of adherence to the
different founding principles - ie, -the destruction of israel -an
islamic state -integrity in government, etc.

-many midlevel members of hamas chose it as an alternative to the
hegemonic rule of arafat, as the only viable alternative to the
existing government, rather than any specific fealty to the founding

-hamas has become increasingly politicized since the 1995
parliamentary elections, a process which expedited itself
exponentially since the death of arafat, and in the process, the
organization has alienated some hardline members while introducing
political concepts previously unknown to organizers

-there is a lack of a coherently articulated agenda, which will
detract from any hardline stance against israel for the time being

-there is no money to support further attacks

-the previous government offered much and delivered little, a failure
hamas capitalized on during campaigning, promising great changes and
the redressing of various grievances. palestinians will look for these
promises to be fulfilled, and if the ongoing struggle against israel
takes precedence, there will be a withdrawal of popular support

-the palestinians are unlikely to support an escalation of hostilities
towards israel, and israel is unlikely to show any great tolerance
towards the palestinians, if anything, they will be more trigger happy
now, as the loss of sharon has rendered the great machine of israeli
politics inoperable, and there is an unusual admission of
vulnerability within the israeli national identity. any challenges
will likely be met with thorough retaliation.

-other arab governments will not support any overt attempts by hamas
as a ruling party to undermine the state of israel, and back channel
money and cooperation will quickly be withdrawn

-institutionalising the resistance has a funny way of undermining the
resistance. status quo and all that jazz.

I'm kinda tipsy, so this was probably a bad list... but that's my
take, after a few mojitos.
- Hide quoted text -

night out tonight at a nondescript italian place followed by a chain cuban restaurant.
i left new york for this?
currently watching bride and prejudice. perhaps one of the worst movies i have seen since the transporter 2.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


why do i bother trying to stay mysterious with anyone with half a brain could figure out who i am?

and then i go and sign the letter?

that was really bright.

i wrote a letter to myself

actually, it was to a girl on salon. she wrote their advice columnist about moving back to her small suburban town for a guy she thought she loved, and giving up on chicago, six months after moving there. she's in her early twenties, frustrated with some career setbacks, and uncomfortable and lonely in her new city. the advice columnist told her to go home, to chase the guy, but it was written with his regrets as the foremost concern, not her feelings. nosy and meddlesome brat that i am, i disagreed, and wrote a letter saying so. (here's a link to the original article, "I left the suburbs for Chicago, but there's a boy...")

upon rereading it (and rereading it, and rereading it, because i love to revel in my mastery of imagery, syntax, and construction) i realized i had just written a letter to myself. so i'm as guilty as Cary Tennis. such a shame to be found out as a hypocrite by yourself. anyway. here's the peptalk i couldn't give myself. (and the link.)


Unfortunate Advice...

I address this not to Cary but to the girl in question.

Don't listen to the response you've been given. The author may have his regrets, but they are his, not yours. The demons he seeks to exorcise through writing advice columns do not belong on your head. Despite the claim that the world makes one wise, it also makes one regretful and ruminative, qualities unfair to a young woman at the height of her powers and capabilities.

It is unfortunate that you find yourself torn between a young man you think you may love and the career and life you thought you might want. The easy thing to do is to return home, to return to him, to find safety and security in the arms of the familiar. This is what you want, your words beg for the validation of this, you ask Cary's permission to give up. But it isn't the right choice.

There is nothing harder then exploring the limits of your own potential. Sometimes, that potential is a constraining and frightening thing. It may be daunting to find where those talents are best applied, to fail repeatedly before finding success. Doing this in an unfamiliar environment only expounds the challenge. The shadows and noises that mottle a city can become a frightening composition without someone to help you find the coherent picture underneath. Isolation and lonliness are crippling, and without a support network, it can be easy to allow abject misery to take hold.

Resist. There is only one chance for youth, and youth is the best time for boldness, irrationality, and expansion. You are not the only new transplant to Chicago, there are thousands of you, sitting in desperate apartments, staring at walls, teetering between exhilaration and despair. They exist on every block of every city in every country. Your task is to find them.

Take the advice of other letter writers. Find a roommate who will navigate the little challenges of life with you. Join something, be it a wine-tasting class, a soccer team, a church group. Mentor a disadvantaged child, and find inspiration in them, their fears and strengths are likely the opposite of yours. Find a high quality temp agency, and experience a variety of work environments and fields. Smile at everyone you interact with in the grocery store, the drycleaners, the pharmacy, and soon your streets will become your neighborhood.

As for the young man you love. See him frequently, call him daily, get a webcam. Support each other, build your relationship, and it allow carry you both through the challenges you face now. You will be establishing a solid foundation for love and respect that will be essential to any further commitment. A year of waiting for him to finish college is a long time, relative to your twenty odd years of life, but not compared to the sixty some you have ahead. Be careful though, and do not use him as a crutch, for your relationship will only be bettered through your personal growth outside of it.

Read The Best Year of My Life by Paul Theroux. (You can find it on the New Yorker website, or with a quick Google search.) The pain, fear, and frustrations you face now are unique to you, but not to the human condition. Everything changes with age, and the mid-twenties is a terrifying time of uncertainty, as every decision feels immutable. They aren't though, and should you still feel this way in a year, you can go home without shame. But for now, wait, fight, and it will get better. I promise.

Monday, January 23, 2006

the rebirth

chinoistown moved.

picked up her shit, shoved it hastily in some boxes, and ran off in search of a big fat paycheck.

that's not really true. in fact, i picked up my shit, shoved it hastily in some boxes, had my father drive into the city with the family wagon, ran each box down four flights of stairs through the eternal urine puddle at the end of the hall, taking special care with the thirty-odd pairs of shoes, and drove it all back out to the ct/country.

then i sat around for two months, waiting for my visa to come through, burning through my cash at an astounding rate. by the time i left the country, i was already $100 overdrawn.

that was three months ago. now, i'm in a new country and a new city. it's time for a new blog title. it's time for a new new. i'll fill in the back story as it comes along, but for now, a simple banner change will have to do.

hello, düsseldork.