creations digital art | comics | animations | projects | virtual toys
writing personal history | essays | technology | creative writing | introspection
other photography | snapshots | convos | videogames | misc
kisrael.com | best of

happiest (a poem) 2003.12.22 
8 comments 
I want to write about those times when I was happiest;
those times when good fortune seemed to alight on my shoulders
and the sky was smiling down on me with a grin the size of the world.


(When asked what had satisfied him most in life,
  Man Ray -- photographer, painter, sculptor, innovator --
  said "...I'd say women".

...I'll say women.)


High School summer nights;
heels over head for the German girl--
--my last simple love. Late nights outside
the home of her host family...
(Maybe I broke one heart to get there.
  Maybe not. In either case it was worth it.)
...leaning, pushed up against the cinder wall that
was still releasing the heat absorbed in the day.
standing, leaning, but legs splayed,
the German girl standing between them,
leaning in close herself.
Kissing, and kissing, and kissing, and kissing.

In a month I'll notice she stops closing her eyes
but now, this moment: I was happiest.


Years later. College.
That beautiful girl with the curly long dark hair.
So assured. Sitting in that white and black
director's chair. Her shirt off. Leaning back.
Those beautiful breasts. Knowing a dozen guys
on campus whose envy at that situation could
knock down the walls of that brave little dorm room.
Thinking that this time could be the time
it was going to work, was going to stay working.

Her leaning so far back, letting herself melt into that moment.

That cheap chair would break in minutes.
And that damn carousel of a romance would spin away
from me by midterms. But that moment: I was happiest.


Finally. Years after college.
A midwinter escape to the Jersey Shore with
you and some friends. (The Russian chick, and
her husband, but they're a different story)
Together the four of us had run away, just for
a short while, a break from the workaday life,
But more than that, I thought all the old cycles
had broken. The old patterns of finding and
loss washed away. I tasted some salt from the
ocean water. I wrote a heart and our initials
in the damp sand. My college drinking buddy
and I had found something more in each other
and I thought that was all there was to find.

It was a moment, a moment that held the end
of needing other moments: I was happiest.


Oh Darling.
Now, this moment.
You say that you're leaving.
Maybe I don't understand why.
Maybe I understand all too well.

Kundera wrote of poetic memory. That's what I inscribed
in his book that I gave to you: "to finding a place in
poetic memory". But I thought...I thought it would be
more about being poetry. Less about being a memory.

Aw Darling.
Maybe we'll each find more times, other moments.
Maybe I'll be happiest again.

I don't know and I can't know
but right now I miss you more than anything.

it was a class on romance 2003.10.28 
5 comments 
Dialog of the Moment
"Remember that class you tried to hold last semester, out of your dorm room?"
"Err, not really."
"It was a class on romance..."
"Oh, that one."
"...that mostly consisted of 45 minutes of you fiddling with the VCR, trying to find the right part of the tape, giving helpful advice like 'if you're watching videos on a date I guess you should try not to do this, then'."
"Right."
"And then there was something about how sometimes it was romantic to casually slip a hand in someones front jeans pocket."
"Uh-huh."
"Or vice-versa, you said."
"Right."
"But then you suggested 'but not to the extent that you acquire a nickname like 'itchyballs'.'"
"Thanks for remembering."
"My pleasure."
--Jen (an old girlfriend) and I, in a dream I had this morning that made me giggle out loud. Paraphrased a bit, I tried to punch it up so you could see what I was giggling about.

Geek Link of the Moment
Possibly about to be slashdotted to heck, the images of putting a model of the Enterprise through a "atmospheric re-entry simulator" are hard core geek cool.

Geekier Link of the Moment
A Russian site looks at toilets as portrayed in video games. Many different video games. Strange world we live in. Would it make more sense in Russian?

News of the Moment
Looks like theres news of another earthbound solar flare. That final line ("Space weather forecasters say this spate of strong solar flares unusual because it is not following normal patterns of solar behavior. The sun follows an 11-year cycle of activity, with the last peak being around 2000") gives me a bad feeling.
the beep symphony 2006.04.20 
6 comments 


We're here to invite you to an unprecedented investment opportunity, You'll not only be in a position to get an excellent return on investment, you'll be helping to support the arts. And not just any arts, but innovative performance art; automotive music on a scale never imagined previously. The Beep Orchestra will stand as a unique series of events in the histories of both Autocology and Art.

It's an audacious undertaking, but we have an ace in the hole; the entire affair will be led by the world famous drunken mechanic Ivan Ivanov. The musical might of the mechanical maestro, this marvelous maven of music, his engineering expertise and explosive euphonious enthusiasm as seen in his excellent engines and exceedingly engaging edits is known around the world, along with his well-neigh superhuman abilities to consume alcohol in quantities so vast that his bar tab has been compared to the budget of some small nations, Ivanov has been heralded around the world and is cherished and beloved by millions of fans across the planet. His admirers range from bitter music school dropouts who are moved to tears by his ability to construct a harmony so beautiful it can only be played by an electronic musician (any human musician is moved to tears before the melody's haunting conclusion) to crusty old mechanics who have heard the tales of how he retrofitted a classic VW bug with a New York City transit bus' mighty diesel engine, from children who forever remember the Christmas saved by the surprise gift of a solar powered music box, to housewives who have been utterly charmed by his gruff manner and manly good looks.

We're proposing a travelling road show, a core of 500 drivers and their vehicles going across the country, joined by another 500 local artistic visionaries at each performance location. Concerts will be in local sports arenas, with no venue seating less than 30,000 being considered.

Recruiting will be intense. Posters in mechanic's shops will be key; we're going to offer free repairs for people whose vehicles are failing in ways that have certain desired acoustic properties. (The mechanics, many of whom were apprentices to Ivanov, others who have taken his online correspondence course, will receive special instruction in recognizing candidate vehicles, and then in how to persuade their owners to join in the magnificent caravan we are here proposing.) Also, Gas Stations and Junk Yards will sport magnificent banners in brilliant colors, proudly informing people of the mechanical musical mandate that compels us to this tremendous, unprecedented work of performance art.

Perhaps a quick review of the five sections of the Beep Orchestra's Symphony is in order, to take our vision from dry abstraction to visceral imagination, before we push forward and make it historic reality:

FUGUE FOR CAR HORNS:
Ivanov will find the inner beauty of the horn of every vehicle, from the tiniest tinbox import to the mightiest hulking semitruck. He will make tuning adjustments when needed, and then group every vehicle into large harmonic groups. Ivanov was in a drunken snooze when we went to find out exactly how many groups, but we've heard estimates of between 20 and 30. It's been estimated that Mozart in his prime could have written for about 16 modern car horns, and that calculating the fifth or sixth level harmonics would leave the world's fastest and largest supercomputers as smoldering, hulking wrecks.... and yet this is exactly what Ivanov will do. We're already preparing the requisite crates of schnapps and cranberry flavored vodka he has ordered for the final time of composition.

DIRGE OF THE DIESEL ENGINE
Here, the mighty trucks will reflect the existential sorrow of an irrational world! Ivanov has already completed a melody of exceeding sadness and soul-stirring beauty. He will configure a bevy of giant semitrucks (and possibly the engine of a freight train, depending on the arrangements available at the local arena) to perform this work....moving in both the literal and figurative senses. Specially constructed megaphones will allow the precise asynchronicity of the engines to generate the saddest song the audience will have ever heard. Ivanov will direct the precision drivers in the revving of their awesome engines to produce this unprecedented emotional event.

ARIA OF SQUEALING BRAKES (ACCOMPANIED BY FLOPPING WIPERS)
After the sadness of the previous movement, the Symphony will move into an spiritually uplifting Aria. Unlike the previous movements, this work will be all about cars in motion and emotion, driving in a tremendous asphalt oval, especially engineered to be reassembled at each arena (carried to the location by the same trucks that featured so prominently in the previous movement) Through a diabolically clever series of stoplights and lane merging signs, a gloriously joyful song will emerge, with heavily miked windshield wipers providing a flowing percussive undercurrent. At every moment, cars will be on the verge of colliding, turning into fireballs of metal and steel, but the ability of these drivers and their cars to survive and prosper will be a testament to the strength of the human spirit under trying conditions.

RONDO OF THE UNTUNED RADIO
Only Ivanov would be able to draw out the beauty and music that lies between the stations on an average car radio. An entire series of car radios will be wired into a specially modified keyboard where Ivanov will take direct control over the happenings. In preparation, Ivanov will have both consumed no less than 3 gallons of the local microbrewed beer as well as listened to at least 5 hours of the local radio spectrum, absorbing the local flavor and plotting a unique piece that will be electric for the audience, in a literal and figurative sense.

THE BACKFIRE CHORUS
The triumphant conclusion to the evening's mechanomusical events...these vehicles will generally be old cars and trucks, each badly in need of a tuneup. Ivanov will carefully adjust and modify each engine to backfire in a precisely choreographed way. Similar in form to the Dirge that preceded it, but utterly different in the sense of mood and spirit, the Backfire Chorus will bring the audience to its feet, women throwing babies up in the air, men cheering until their throats are raw like beef tartare. Never again in the history of music or engines will there be a moment of such intensity... the audience will pass the tale of this experience onto their children, and future generations will speak of the legendary Beep Orchestra led by the demigod known as Ivanov.

Obviously an endeavor such as this will be a tremendous challenge....the logistics of engineering, importation of fine liqueurs, securing the appropriate insurance, and publicizing and training the artists to a sufficient degree is enough to make Hercules think about going and finding a nice corner to sit and weep for a bit. But we don't have Hercules...we have Ivanov, and thus the success of this adventure is guaranteed.

We need funding. Already major oil companies are lining up for sponsorship, and every major auto manufacturer, foreign and domestic, are jousting to be more prominently represented in the assembly of cars. With these organizations, as well as other interested investors such as yourself, we will be able to get the financing the Beep Symphony will require. The pre-order tickets have already accounted for half of the necessary total; investors are projected to get four or five times their money back.

Be part of the Beep Symphony. Be part of the mechanomusical history of mankind.

--For an artschool project, Ksenia asked me to whip up some raw text for an idea she had. She's supposed to make up various promotional media for a hypothetical event Unfortunately, this kind of text wasn't the more mundane planning material the teacher was looking for, but I had fun with it anyway. The artwork is hers.

howard and me 2004.03.22 
8 comments 
So, Philly Classic 5 was a load of fun! Sold around 30 copies of JoustPong and got to talk to a lot of people about it...the reaction was very positive. Here I am with Howard Scott Warshaw, maker of the 2600 classics Yar's Revenge, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and even the infamous E.T....(he was there to sign copies of his previously unreleased game Saboteur)

So right now I'm all energized with ideas for projects...but I have a birthday party to get ready for and a house to sell first!

Quote of the Moment
"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon."
--Howard Chaykin. I don't know the original context, but it reminds me of a quip I came up that I've been looking for a frame for, "____ -- the cure for incurable optimism". I think "nuclear terrorism" is about as good a substiute for ____ as any...

UPDATE: Aargh. To be taken with a grain of salt, perhaps, Al-Qaeda claims to have briefcase nukes. That combined with them calling for revenge on the USA for the Israeli killing of the Hamas leader is making me antsy. Sometimes I really wonder about what a steely-eyed, completely utilitarian analysis of the cost/benefit ratio of being so closely allied with Israel is. And I also wonder if, besides a sense of justice and attempt to make up for the awfulness of WW2, if wanting to set the stage for the events described in Revelation is behind our historical support for Israel as a standalone entity.

Though you know, some of my concern is focused on "damn, gotta sell the house before things go down"...including the markets.

The first hit on Google for "al qaeda" is a translation of the Al Qaeda Training Manual. Only glanced at it, but it's odd and creepy seeing the "inspirational" language such a thing uses.


Lyrics of the Moment
...to the tune of Paul Simon's Cecilia
Ophelia!
You're breakin' my heart
You're makin' this dane
Melancholy--
Oh Ophelia!
It's makin' me sick
like poor old Yorrick
who I knew, who I knew

Makin' love
in the afternoon
it's my uncle
in my mom's bedroom
and Ophelia
has come undone
handing out flowers
to most everyone

Ophelia!
It's changin' my tune
All the slings + arrows
of outrageous fortune   
Ophelia
I'm worried a lot
about whether to be...
...or be not
--I wrote that parody on a past crush's message board back in college. I still think that it's a little clever, and deserves better than to just be buried in my PalmPilot journal. Plus I needed some more post-Philly filler.
mais wheeeeeeeeeeeee! 2001.12.15 
3 comments 
Idea of the Moment
I've started keeping a cheap digital voice recorder by my bed so that I can record dreams before dream amnesia sets in. Recording dreams is a way of getting something more out of sleep, since otherwise it feels like such a waste of a third of my life. So far it's worked out pretty well, I'm two for two for having something to write down the next morning. The image on the right is from the first evening, I was in some kind of thrill ride at the Eiffel Tower, you went to the top, got into a capsule with windows attached to the peak via bungee, and then they hauled you down to the bottom and let go, sending you zinging around Paris...

Link of the Moment
This guy really, sincerely likes gum. Or he's pretending to. I'm not sure.

Quote of the Moment
"There are 27O million Americans. The US is filthy with one-in-a-million events."
--Uncle Al in this Usenet post.
knothing but knock knocks 2002.09.16 
3 comments 
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Dwayne."
"Dwayne who?"
"Dwayne the bathtub, I'm dwowning!"
--Earliest knock-knock I can remember.

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Death."
     "Death wh--URK!"
--via Bill and Li.

"Wanna do a
Knock-Knock Joke?"
"OK!"
"You start."
"Knock knock!"
"Who's there?"
"...???"
--My Dad got me with this one when I was little kid.

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Not you anymore."
--Boss in Dilbert using "humor to ease the tension when the workplace is being trimmed."

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Anxious Cow"
"Anx--"
"MOOOO!"
--High School favorite.

"Knock knock."
"Cow with ESP"
--Steve Sian, from a dream he had.

"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"




--"The World War III Knock-Knock Joke", from Middle School... doesn't really work without the title, alas.
how many l's in gullible? 2001.06.05 
3 comments 
Qoute of the Moment

If I ever decide to give up a normal life, I am going to move to SF and open a combination restaurant and bondage shop. The restaurant will feature nothing but extremely spicy food and be called "Pain is a Flavor"
--CP, 'household neanderthal'. He also decided it would make a good brand of hot sauces and salsas.

Story of the Moment
(The moment being the early 1990s, actually.) When I was in middle school, my regional church had a conference and had comedian evangelist Mike Warnke there. He told the tale of his sordid past as a drug dealer and high priest in the satanic church (here's someone describing the Warnke spiel, jives pretty well with my experience.) The trouble is, this guy's story was almost a total lie. Here's a terrific, somewhat well-known study into his actual past. These guys-- Christians all-- went back, checked his story, chatted with the people who were with him when Warnke was 'involved with the Satanists'. And the drugs. Especially funny and damning is the sidebar: Why The Dates Don't Work. S'funny seeing him try to worm his way out of it too... I think it pretty much trashed his career, and he was pretty well-known.

It's amazing how Christians ate this stuff up. I certainly did. But-- and this is the only excuse I can think of-- I was younger then, and a much less critical thinker. I don't know what the adults' excuse is, but I do believe that 'true believers' are a lot more likely to fall for outlandish tales than skeptics who actively work to set standards of proof and plausibility.
muse 2002.02.09 
7 comments 
Muse
O trumpetman, unswallowed song
your yellow-down bluesound dogface to confound,
sing sweet what you knew aloud,
          sing your very funeral shroud-
                    the death of you, you know?
          Known to now.
Sing.

O saxman written on your reed
history shades of black and awhile,
purr the pregnant, poignant prose and call me home.
          purple-rich tone at home and roam
                    you're ash in the kingdom
          rubbed to sooth word-struck wounds
Soothe.

O drummerman solid boatsman mighty armed
steadfast slip over cymbal stream and
scythe in your hand, you can.
          back bone of a notion
                    spine of the time
          fertile ground for the sound.
Sail.

Breathe as the trumpetman breathes.
Blow as the saxman blows.
Beat as the drummerman beats.

--A poem I wrote in college, I should look up the season. I think the instructor (Peter Richards) thought it was about the best that I produced that semester, but to me it seems a bit contrived. The discrepancy between other people's idea of which poems of mine were best and my own is one of the reason I consider myself mostly a prose guy.

Incidentally, I found a stash of old papers and things I had saved, so there will probably a bit more of the selfindulgent navel-gazing on this site for a while. I'll try to keep it lively.


Quote of the Moment
"If you could understand it, it wouldn't be poetry."
--Online Propaganda Newsletter of Adam Green
city of broken dreams and glass 2003.05.11 
4 comments 
He Asked Her Name and For A Light
This was the city of broken dreams and glass.
He was against the wall and the war.
She had high hopes and boots.
She aroused suspicion and men.
He bought her story and a beer.
She dropped her cigarettes and a hint.
They left together and their fears behind.
--A poem I half found and half wrote at
this Words & Stuff page on "Zeugma"


Link of the Moment
Atlas Comics presents The 25 All-Time Greatest Covers of American Comic Books. Click on each one for a larger image and a description of why it was chosen. Some interesting choices there, with a big emphasis on some of the patriotic covers that came out during World War II. The page of rejects is kind of amusing, no commentary though, I suppose most of them speak for themselves.

best of kisrael.com
creations digital art | comics | animations | projects | virtual toys
writing personal history | essays | technology | creative writing | introspection
other photography | snapshots | convos | videogames | misc