377 An exploding ticket to channel a reflexive river of bi-polar chaos on 1 self to sweep Slocum depth charge under wandering rocks + avoid colony collapse
Fuck U. Thx for shaming + negating the existence of our father + Robin Williams + many other greats whose lives have been cut a bit short by depression ... especially hypocritical, as u once sang: «depression's gotta hold on me, depression's gonna kill me» remember? (... OK, U have apologized since, but we were done w/ u anyway ... Black Flag was better w/ Keith Morris at the helm. + really tho, fuck U LA Weekly for giving that attn-seeking dipshit a voice in the 1st place ... why is no 1 holding them accountable for their complete lack of judgment? ... all in the name of publishing anything by some1 'famous' ...)
Dear everyone else (or HCE—Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker or Here Comes Everybody, U decide...),
Forgot to mention in the last dispatch that we sorta passed by the site of the Slocum disaster—the steamship that erupted into flames around 90th street as it was going up the East River thru Hell Gate on June 15, 1904 + 1,000+ people died ... the worst disaster in NYC history ... before September 11, 2001. Where we lived on the UES—on 89th + York, during 9/11 we might add—was only a block or 2 from the river where all this went down, yet the whole time we lived there we never knew about the Slocum disaster. We 1st learned of it from Ulysses, from a reference strategically placed in the Wandering Rocks episode (#10), in a conversation between some dude (Mr. Kernan) + the bartender ...
In fact, this is the most overt clue pinning Bloomsday to be the day after the Slocum disaster, June 16, 1904 ... a day Joyce chose cuz it was the very day he went on his 1st date w/ Nora (in real life). And in case u're wondering, Kernan doesn't blame the red-saturated-oil-currently-responsible-for-lots-of-unsustainable-deforestation for the Slocum disaster, but by 'palm oil' he means greasing a bureaucrats greedy hand, bribing them to look the other way regarding safety regulations + whatnot. Sound familiar? Like the recent South Korean ferry disaster, or the Costa Concordia ...
The other strange coincidence is that the disaster occurred in Hell Gate (not to be confused w/ Hell's Gate, Kenya, where we used to chase zebras on bicycle)—a channel of water cutting east at Randall's Island towards Rikers (currently making headlines) ...
Despite the ominous name, 'Hell Gate' was actually a «clear opening» (Hellegat in Dutch) in waters otherwise notorious for submerged rocks + converging tides. So not only is it apt that the reference to the Hell Gate disaster appears in the Wandering Rocks episode of Ulysses, but in The Odyssey the wandering rocks (or Planctae) are just 1 of a few obstacles in route to Hades ... strategically placed at the gates of hell) ... tho in The Odyssey, the wandering rocks is not its own episode but just a sidenote really ... 1 of a few obstacles that the bewitching Circe tells Ulysses to avoid. Which makes it even more poignant that Joyce would choose to devote a whole chapter in Ulysses to the wandering rocks! The brash rebel JJ, risking it all + going against Homer/Circe's advice. As we said before in our more thorough reading notes, our mind started to wander in this chapter, which was perhaps the intent ... it's like 20 people (including Kernan) all talking at once, a crowd-sourced peregrination thru the obstacles of a day in the life.
Even w/ Homer it gets fuzzy + subjective, given his vague language constrained as it is to dactylic hexameter + also cuz all these characters + motifs (+ variations thereof) appear elsewhere in other Greek mythologies ... so to help ourselves navigate these nebulous waters we drew ourselves a map (we're not much of an artist, but U get the idea ...)
If Circe were to have scribbled directions on the back of a bar napkin for Ulysses to get home, this is perhaps what it might've looked like ... she 1st mentions the wandering rocks simply as something treacherous to avoid (which he does ... alltho when he gets home, Ulysses includes the wandering rocks in his macho boasting to Penelope about all the obstacles he had to overcome to get home). The wandering rocks are to be skipped (per Circe) for an alternate route that passes by the sirens, then between Scylla + Charybdis (closer to Scylla, at the xpense of 6 of his men), w/ a requisite detour to hell before he can finally get home ...
... U know the story ... or if U don't we'll give U our rendition as this progresses ... it just so happens we are now starting the Circe episode of our own 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY' project, so we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves as her advice is doled out at the end of the chapter. We 'write' SSEY in the same way we write 5cense, in that a flood of parallels + synchronicities overwhelm us that we try to make sense of + herd into their appropriate reappropriations. For example, a few weeks ago we spent a week On The Golden Pond, a movie whose climax involves navigating thru some notoriously treacherous submerged rocks, which might have been appropriate to mention at the time, but it doesn't synchronize w/ where we are in our book. Even in sleep we wake up + scribble notes to self eyes-closed in the dark, itemized brain-stormage needing drainage ... or when running we cant help the thoughts from collecting + have to keep recirculating them in our head for fear of dropping or spilling them as if they are bags of inky liquid that need to be distilled + recorded as language. These scraps of paper get transcribed, allocated + compiled into a big 3-ringed binder ... in fact here it is (opened to pg. 7, which u can see the final realization of here), along w/ our marked up copy of Ulysses.
The pages w/ cut corners are pgs of notes we've incorporated (150 thus far). Often we feel as if we need to draw ourselves such roadmaps as we imagined Circe drew for Ulysses ... not only as directions on how to write SSES, but how to navigate current obstacles in our real lives + how both are intertwined. Another example, in Homer's Circe episode, the drug Homer gives his men-turned-swine to turn them back to men is called moly (not to be confused w/ MDMA, the current popular drug) ... moly is the anti-dote to the vixen-witch Circe's spell. It doesn't slip past us that Bloom's wife is named Molly, his antidote, his drug. While we don't know who our brother-½'s corresponding Molly is, we know who our Molly is ... but again, we are getting ahead of ourselves ... it is occurring to us tho, more + more, that maybe it is better to just include these actual notes (or even these 5cense posts) rather than disguise or dress them up as fiction ...
Joyce also filled notebooks w/ such hand-scribbled notes, for example here's a page from his Circe notebook (courtesy of the National Library of Ireland, who paid 1.4 million for it).
Joyce was constrained (whether by choice or technology) to distill his notes into 1 linear narrative, not just chronologically structured (specially compared to The Odyssey, which jumps back + forth in time) but by the way a book reads. If Joyce had axess to HTML or photocopy or tape-splicing machines he might have 'written' his story different. Our approach is far more meta-fictional + non-linear ... mostly bi-linear in that almost always there are 2 columns. This is how our brother-½ originally wrote his 'SSES" 'SSES" thesis. While we can't show U a finished page yet from this Circe episode (that's beyond bootstrapping), we can show U a page from the last Lotus Eaters chapter to give U the idea (btw, if U are an editor of a lit/art mag intrested in such things, we are looking to place some of these individual chapters, or even if U are just whoever curious to see more let us know) ...
U can see the actual LOTUS EATERS dual-column page from 'SSES" 'SSES" embedded w/in the page of 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY'. Typically our brother-½ would write a story in 1 column + then running commentary or miscellaneous notes, related or not, to the side. We've squeezed in additional marginalia of our own when the actual photo-copied pages are available (as in above) or otherwise tried to stick to this bi-polar/nonlinear/left-vs.-right-brained format. While most of our brother-½'s stories are 3rd person fictions, our voice remains reflexively narrative, trying to ground his stories in our over-arching life story, as it parallels The Odyssey + Ulysses.
+ then here on 5cense we of course can't help but to frame this in current happenings—August 24, 2014. Maphattan-wise, yesterday we knocked off 25 streets up into Washington Heights (we'll get to that below). Bookwise (in addition to re-reading relevant parts of The Odyssey + Ulysses) we've been reading The Ticket That Exploded by William S. Burroughs + Paper Knowledge by Lisa Gitelman.
We should also mention that we've been dipping in + out of Ovid's Metamorphoses this summer, tho we must admit we're struggling. While there are many flashes of brilliance, it's the overall structure (or lack thereof) that we find overwhelming (or underwhelming). There's lots of digressions + stories w/in stories in The Odyssey—+ like Metamorphoses, Homer weaves many existing Greek legends into his story—but w/ The Odyssey there's always this simple grounding thread, like breadcrumbs, in the back of your mind, of Ulysses trying to find his way home.
In some respects, U could think of Metamorphoses as the unabridged supplementary footnotes to The Odyssey + other Greek classics. For example, from Metamorphoses we learn a bit of background dirt on Circe + Scylla ... in book 14 of Metamorphoses this dude Glaucus swims to Circe's island to complain of his girl problems... + this girl is—U guessed it—Scylla. But Circe has a crush on Glaucus + is jealous of Scylla, so she casts a spell—something about a potion in a bath that turns Scylla into a dog (or dogs) from the waist up. And to get revenge (later, in The Odyssey), Scylla then tries to eat Ulysses (whom Circe loved). There's lots of revealing little anecdotes like this, but to read it straight thru is quite tedious ... it reads better as a peripheral rhizomic appendix.
Not only is the writing experience (given current technology + Internet at our fingertips) more nonlinear now then in Homer or Joyce's time, but so is the reading (or not-reading) experience. As David Rice writes in "Shadow Influences: On Ambient Internet Time and Not Reading David Ohle" (whose The Blast we just published last month),
We hear u, it can be overwhelming for sure ... each of us assimilating + processing for our own devices. Mixing Ulysses Reader into our real-time Twitter feed adds a whole nother element, weaving lines from Ulysses in w/contemporary news items + random twitterings of the day, every 1 dumping ice water over their heads screaming me me (unfollow unfollow), jumbling it all into 1 personalized narrative (our voyeuristic input feed that is, w/ 0 followers + 0 tweets, never following more than 140, which is strangely close to Gladwell's tipping point) ... but 84% of it is distraction.
Even if U tune out w/ this Freedom app thing U can't avoid the background «radiation» as Rice refers to it as. Even walking around Maphattan (which we do w/out a phone for this very reason) U can almost feel the radiation cluttering the air—electromagnetic fields in the form of wifi, tv, radio, phones, etc... U have to wonder even if we can't directly sense these waves w/ our ears or eyes, whether it affects us on some level? And what of other fellow animals more susceptible to these wavelengths? It occurred to us that this could perhaps be a cause of colony collapse disorder in bees + googling sure enough we are not the only 1s this occurred to ... + evidently (per CNN) a study was done in India a few years ago showing such a correlation.
U can get yer knickers in knots worrying about such shit ... or just embrace it as inevitable. Entropy is destined to consume us, as the 2nd law of Thermodynamics says. Organic life, as Schrödinger tells us, feeds on negative entropy, has the «astonishing gift of concentrating a 'stream of order' on itself and thus escaping the decay into atomic chaos.» But at what cost? U can't have your cake + eat it too ... U can't increase both biological life + information simultaneously, just like U can't know both the exact position + velocity of any particle at the same time.
As information self-organizes it consumes us ... where the measure, H, of informational entropy is given by:
where pi is the probability of the message + mi is taken from the message space M (which U could think of as Internet). Many of us (cognizant of this) become sacrificed to the tide, just like Ulysses had to sacrifice 6 men to Scylla rather than lose his whole ship to the whirlpool of chaos. Information gatherers, like pollen gatherers, become sacrificial lambs for the better of the herd. Whose to say bees didn't fill a void now being occupied by Internet, buzzing around like charged electrons in an invisible (to us) lattice of wireless wires that once cast a wide net ... until wireless media companies came along en mass to monetize the air + fucked w/ bees reception + ability to navigate, their channels all scrambled + crammed to the gills w/ noise. It's all fucking sad + overwhelming to think about ... just like climate change ... u feel some relief w/ this milder-than usual summer + the fact that global warming seems to have tapered off in recent years .. until U read about the hidden depth charge ... is this «global warming pause» merely the eye or calm before the storm? How much longer can our oceans (the Atlantic in particular) sequester this heat until it all just explodes?
The Ticket That Exploded ... we liked the processes + language Burroughs implements in this, but he's just way to obsessed w/ boy sex for our tastes. Maybe he always was, or maybe it's us becoming sick of his shtick, but his juvenile obsession w/ his own penis + little boys seems to have reached a self-indulgent climax in The Ticket That Exploded, which is unfortunate cuz it is also the book where he (at least outwardly) reflexively reveals the most information regarding his (or their ... he does credit the others) cut-up techniques, tape splicings + the viral capabilities of language.
It's like he discovered a loophole to bridge the gap between biology fucntion + language, to translate our DNA into a stream of words ... but unfortunately the BwO that is being xpressed from body to book belonged to a sick orgasm-addict that seriously needed help ... but maybe it was this perverse addictive drive that pushed him into this unchartered territory/deterritorialized space ...
We are also embroiled in Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman, but we'll talk about that in the next post as we haven't even gotten to our real-world parallel flâneur du jour ...
Before we even got started we got sucked into The Hispanic Society of America, which is on 156th + Broadway, where we left off on our last walk. If U are like us, u've heard about it or seen it on the map + wondered what it's like but have never gotten around to going in. Actually, we've seen the iconic ionic columns from the Trinity Cemetery + it's stoked our interest ...
Inside is a pretty nice collection of art, mostly of Spanish origin (a bit of Latin American, but mostly Spain).
There was another 1 by Zuloaga that was even more captivating (of his cousin Cándida), reminiscent of Gustav Klimt ... but we can't find it online (there are others of his 'Prima Cándida' but not this particular 1) + the lighting sorta sucked + we weren't sposed to use flash .... so we are just left w/ a mental image in our head which is the best kind ... we can still visualize the colored darkness around her eyes.
Count Basie also lived in the area but we didn't find his digs, just a street (160) named for him.
Things get interesting toward the east end of 160/161. There's a little alley called Sylan Terrace + across from that is the Morris–Jumel Mansion ... yes, we are still in Manhattan.
Not pictured is a bedroom that George Washington stayed in for a few months during the revolutionary war ... which perhaps explains why Washington Heights is called Washington Heights ... then again we probly could've figured as much from the GWB if people quit speaking in acronyms.
Stopped in WORD UP books on Amsterdam + 165 or so ... a new bookstore that had a decent collection + some exhibit on Sacco + Vanzetti.
We ate chicken + plantains + beans across the street from the above United Palace, at Malecon ... classic Dominican food so seemed appropriate enough for the hood. Then continued on thru the messy + noisy interchange/bus terminal where the GWB runs into Manhattan ... zig-zagging to the other side, to 181 where we caught the subway back. Some 15 miles or so in all.
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