Sunday, October 31, 2004


number five

Running around back and forth between DC and NC is making it difficult for me to celebrate Halloween the way I’d like. Also, it is leaving my head with very little time to dry. 916 words.

[NC]—Dateline Halloween. Of course, Halloween is on a Sunday this year, so much of the entertaining to-do stuff came on the thirtieth instead of today. Last night was the official fun night including: the Mr. Beaver Halloween Spooktacular, the Downtown thing with the puffy tent that looked a lot like one of those things you had to do in your socks at the state fair, and clubs, clubs, clubs. It is always a little hard for me to take pre-Halloween celebrations seriously, so an average of four out of every seven years (and I’ll spare you the leap year math that I used to arrive at this) are spent harassing myself to deliver holiday spirit on a strange deadline. Meanwhile, I have to seek out some sort of plan for the actual holiday, and often have to make it up myself. Boom, second deadline.

But, see, I truly love it when Halloween is on a Sunday. Thursday is my Birthday, ending long into Friday. Saturday is the eve, and there is usually a party or trick-or-treating at the mall/zoo/etc., Sunday might be a little low-key for a big adult party night, we sadly being the type of adults in “mature adult,” not the type in “adult novelties;” but that just provides an excuse to stay home, watch poorly made movies, hand food to kids, and gaze at the Autumn stars in frank appreciation of our mortal veil. It means there is a jack-o-lantern on the front page of the paper—or at least some alert child-safety scare-mongering—all weekend long. It means that Halloween is twenty-five hours long most places.

Of course, I started working on my costume on Friday, a bit later than the usual, and spent much of the time between my birthday and the Mr. Beaver Spooktacular worrying over whether it would be finished in time, whether it would fit, and what the hell it was going to be. This entailed a process that I have been known to call “evolution” even when I am screaming in a frustrated panic. This year’s evolution unraveled in the usual way.

I have been hoping to one day make for myself a wonderful calavera mariachi costume, knowing full well that this will require planning and resource. So I tossed that out the window again this year. I had also been threatening to be the devil every year for the rest of my life for several Halloweens now, so I decided this would be the time to start. I gathered all of the paper mache makings I had abandoned for my costume last year and put them in a box in the trunk of the car and carried them around for weeks while I thought about how to use them. Devils have, like, ears and goatees and horns that make for a crazy amount of pre-work and sculpting while creating a head; and while I had gone out and bought the devil’s suit, I lacked the proper devil’s tie and shoes. Time was getting tight while my costume was still ingredients. So, I decided I had to simplify the head. I simplified away the horns and the goatee. By the time I simplified the ears off, I realized that I was making a skull. Fine. It dawned on me that I could maybe go as a calavera for Halloween.

Excited by my new plan, I commenced sticking padding to a mannequin head that was far too small, and then I started sticking wet, pasty newspaper to that. Then I waited for it to dry. I ran some errands, and then I waited some more. Then I hauled all of the fans back out of the closet, and pointed them at my small, new head. Then I waited. Then it was yesterday, and I had not even started to paint the damn thing yet. You know, it was interesting, though: a skull-head made out of newspaper. I had never seen any paper mache stuff unpainted before, and that was pretty finished looking, in a novel light. I wondered how long it would take for several layers of paint to dry. I decided that it really wasn’t very necessary to paint the whole thing after all, and opted to paint a face on it, only. This way, through intelligent design, my newspaper skull-head man costume was born with about two hours to spare. It even sort-of fit me. I decided that I was the Media Culture of Fear. I had a pretty good Culture of Fear tie already hanging from the doorknob. I used the Culture of Fear shoes that were creepy Pumpkin-Head Guy shoes two years ago (something old, something new…).

Evolution had done its trick again. Had I had the time I had hoped to have for my Media costume, I would have used all newspaper articles relating to child-safety scare-mongering: razors in apples and such. As it is, I used a Washington Post I found on the Metro. Scary enough.

The party was swell, and everyone looked really wonderful. There were Bitches and Bugs, Giant Cardboard Dragons and Wood Nymphs, the Requisite Number of Droogs, one really cool Luchador, one probiscular French Sci-Fi Writer, and Sunshine looking stunning in a Consultant’s suit. There was surely a badass Culture of Fear.

After, Sunshine and I were up till Halloween dawn, hanging out with friends; scary adjective-fest films on mute while we listened to scientifically recorded Bigfoot calls and Elvis Christmas carols and walked around outside and gazed at the stellar veil.

Media Culture of Fear, Mr. Beaver's Halloween party, 2005

Quiet Reading Room

This is a quiet reading room. Often, I find it is uncomfortable to digest long tubes of columned text directly off a computer screen. This journal is dedicated to the collection, percolation, and ultimate integration of my personal experiences. Subjects that I want to examine and then talk about--sometimes talk a lot about--€”are presented here. This central content can tend to thousands of words, maybe millions. I was afraid that readers were leaving the presentation boggled, spinning, googly-eyed. Or perhaps when confronted with twenty-four inches, or yards, of monitor sprawl they were just giving up. I am not even certain that I have necessarily solved this inevitable content problem of modern information enjoyment, but here is what I have done.

After long and highly scientific routines manipulating double-blind control- and test-subjects, peer reviewed journal publications, and hours and hours of hands-on experimentation, I have crafted this quiet reading room. There is no scientific way to control the length of the articles I write, but careful handling can somewhat soothe the contextual presentation. In other words: I have dropped the traditional speculation about lexicon, and attacked the question of the matrix itself instead. Brilliant. After years of diligence what I eventually crafted is this reading room.

The walls are contoured to relax instead of constrain; the paper is made to soften instead of reflect. The light is dimmed--just so--€”to prevent strain, angled to prevent umbra, and color-coded to soften harsh red lights and deepen wimpy light reds. There is nothing I can do to control aural environment, but my recommendation is that it should be kept quiet. About ambient sound: these entries are probably best read as far as possible from emergency vehicles, preferably from beneath the muffler of a vintage fire fighter pilot's scarf, puffy old duvet, or snow that is still falling.

My theory is that the wide web world is filled with potent and material opportunities that are just too difficult to digest for many people to take part. Enjoyment of this stuff is regulated to the routines of crawlers and robots at the peril of humankind's peaceful future survival. In an attempt to delay this likely outcome: welcome to this quiet reading room. It is for people like you to relax, kick back, and hate my content for better reasons than the dizzying vertiginous specter of its lousy dpi presentation.

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