vr

a novel

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

April 1996

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

From: Loretta
Date: 1 April 1996
Subject: The advantages of being a lady!

Well Gabe, since you asked for it....I'll tell you!
NOT!!! April Fools!! But i will tell you something else

A Lady
By Alpine

What is it like to be a lady? Well, being a lady has many advantages. It's my prized possession that no one else can take away. It is something that I have pride in, something that I was born with, and something that many men find rare.
First, my reputation. Many people say that I'm nice, fun to talk to, and I'm polite. That kind of reputation is a blessing to me. I love my reputation that people have of me. It makes me smile. I haven't heard anything negative about me. I invest my time into meeting people. I'll talk to a total stranger without having second thoughts. I'm not a bitch, a whore or the best lovemaker. Why? I'm a lady.
Second, is my dignity. My dignity in raising my head high with a smile since I know I'm special. I can get out of a relationship if it's either "put out or get out". Personally, my pussy is worth a hell of a lot more that any man's dick. For those types of guys, there's always a whore for that.
Third, my pride in my man that my man will have in me. Many men would like to get married to a lady. She has class and style. She is also intelligent. Many men consider it a turn-on to have an intellectual lady that has pride in herself and everything that she does. Some men think that a lady is beautiful by the way she represents herself. Some men find this intruiging. A man knows that their lady is someone special. When the time is right, she will be turned into a woman by her man.
Reputation from others, dignity in oneself, and a man's pride in his lady are the reasons why I'm a lady.

From: Nichelle
Date: 1 April 1996
Subject: The advantages of being a woma

It's ok, don't be shy Shellie. Go ahead and touch it.
Come up here on the bed so the monsters won't get you. I wouldn't let
you get hurt.
It's okay. It feels good.
Don't tell anyone about this. Not your parents, or your brother, or
anyone. It's our little secret.
Get in that bed and lie down. Are you going to take off that shirt, or
do I have to come over there and take it off you?
You have such soft skin.
Come here and give me a kiss.
Hold still! Hold still, god dammit!
Look at that. I do that to your mother, you know. Here, put your hand
on me... GIVE ME YOUR HAND!
Feel that? Doesn't that feel good? Stop crying, dammit.
You're a dirty whore, just like your goddamned mother.
Don't tell your mother about this. Hear me? Don't say a word.
I'm gonna fuck you until you like it.
It's your fault you don't like it.
Slut.
Whore.
Cunt.
Take it, bitch.
You're mine, and I can do whatever I want with you.
Poor battered Nichelle. Look at you, all bruised and bloody.
Go take a shower. I don't want you bleeding all over my carpet.

From: Keith
Date: 1 April 1996
Subject: Re: Hooters

well now isn that nice... you all have discovered the truth and gone to
hooters... looks like 96 is gonna be a full year....
as for white trash.. i highly doubt you are white trash in the purest
sense of the word... i mean shit you dont even come from the south so
thats just about out of the question... idunno whatever
it bores me
really it does and im sitting here listing to some ugly olg fuck with
long hair babble about his graduate students... like any of the other 20
people in the room want to hear him
fuck this i'm out
k.

From: Loretta
Date: 2 April 1996
Subject: Hey!

Hey John,
what's up? me? nothing....just wondering what you were doing. What did you come up with on your paper? Did you learn anything new? Or did you find out some things that you never even thought of but wouldn't mind trying out?
I don't know why you and Gabe were talking about negotiating about me. Why didn't he offer you money? I bet that it was because it would have to come out of his pocket!! He didn't want to do that. I know that there's a sucker born everyday, just don't make me think that you're one. Why didn't he offer you Nichelle? she is closer to him than i am. Then he wouldn't have anyone to "do" while grading his texts. In his case, two heads are better than one. Too bad only one of them has skills! I thought the word texts were short for textbooks. I guess in his eyes i am ignorant since i don't know english. I'm smart...but in my profession (computers). Who knows.

Write back,

Zelina

From: Miss_Thang
Date: 2 April 1996
Subject: Re: Three Lives

I see that I totally misunderstood what you meant by meaningful. I am in a rush at the moment so I will write more later. Something that is meaningful and will strike up some great dialogue. This is just to let you all know that I am back in Berkeley.

Tyisha

From: Miss_Thang
Date: 2 April 1996
Subject: Re: John, the man

Gabe I accept the invitation to write the essay. Just remember that you gave me an extra week. Okay? I will write it and boy are you in for a surprise in regards to the essay.
Caio,
Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 April 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Alpine,
This is a private answer to your letter which will remain between us, although Nichelle has read it too and knows my reaction. I was frankly appalled at the unthinkable and overwhelmingly numerous huge grammatical errors in your text. This is not normal for a twenty-one-year-old girl. I have two theories, the first of which I think much more probable. Either you are more bilingual that you have led me to believe or you have a serious learning disability which affects your writing severely and needs to be addressed. My guess is that you may have spoken Spanish for the first few years of your life, then gone to school and lost it, but the forgotten mother tongue’s mental structures continue to cloud up your English. Any professional linguist like myself ca tell you this is perfectly possible, in fact a text-book case of bilingual speech pathology. The other possibility is a learning disability, but it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in a text book. It’s not like dyslexia, for it’s a purely grammatical and logical disease. Your sentences are so poorly constructed, go around in circles, leave all kinds of dangling elements which agree with nothing else, that it’s almost incomprehensible. Once I can print out your letter, I will show you the most egregious mistakes, if you like. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but if you can’t write better than that (and if no one has told you that such writing is unacceptible) you really need help. That’s all I wanted to offer.

From: Loretta
Date: 3 April 1996
Subject: What?

Hey Gabe,
You are an ANUS!!! I wasn’t too pleased for you to humiliate my virginity. It is my right! If I would like everyone to know what I am..let me say it. If you want to guess what I am..let me know first! Don’t spread it around to the world. I wasn’t jumping for joy when John told me that you were negotiating a character for my virginity. You are a pain in the posterior!!!! Why didn’t you negotiate money or one of your alcoholic beverages? I guess that meant giving up something you like to have. And we both know how much you love those things. You are quite a con artist for the stunt you tried to pull with John. There’s a sucker born every minute and I hope he wasn’t one of them. I was insulted by your letter. If you didn’t have a statement like this: “This is not normal for a twenty-one-year-old girl.” I wouldn’t have taken it personally and would have taken you seriously. I was not in a good mood. It was a letter to get how I felt off of my chest. You almost weren’t going to get the revised version since you deleted it the first time. If it wasn’t for Nichelle, I wouldn’t have cared what you said. What kind of statement is this: “I don’t want to hurt your feelings..” Bastard, you always hurt my feelings. I’ve tried to be nice to you and get hurt in the process. I was taught to be nice and everyone will treat you nicely. i don’t remember you being like this when I met you last semester. You seemed like an intellectual, nice and enjoyable type of guy. If you were like this, you wouldn’t have received my email address. I didn’t learn the game “Screw of being screwed”. That’s the game you like. I don’t take you seriously. I’ve tried but you just always manage to screw it up!! One more thing, I’m not ignorant. I’m intelligent but in my field. I’m not an English major, I am a Microcomputer Applicationist Major. Do you know much about computers? So does that make you ignorant in that area? Yes, it does. But are you ignorant is another question.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 April 1996
Subject: From Anus

I don’t know what you’re so excited about. How exactly do you expect me to sell your virginity to John? Don’t you understand a joke? John does. Money doesn’t matter to me and my drinking is way down. What I meant by not normal for a 22-year-old is the grammar, idiom and logic in your sentences. I won’t comment on your revised letter because I don’t want to hurt you again, but I would recommend you go speak to a linguistics professor about your written English. Now is the time to deal with the problem. Tomorrow will be too late. Remember I am a professionally-trained linguist and my first profession was teaching English as a foreign language. You need to begin looking at nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs and their agreement in the coordinate and subordinate clauses. It may be, as you said to Nichelle, that it’s the fault of your teachers. If so, their mistake is not to have done what I have done and identified the problem. What you do about it is your concern. I have done my pedagogical duty. I don’t know why you think I don’t like you. Why else would I waste my time writing to you, talking to you on the MOO? In any even, if you regret having given me your e-mail address, just say the word and I’ll take you off of the World and you’ll never hear from me again.

From: Loretta
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: mail to anus!

I don’t understand anything that you’re saying. Since you opened your mouth to say something, why don’t you back yourself up with proof. Just by telling me that both of my “texts” weren’t good enough for you is not good enough. Give me an example of what I did wrong and how to “properly” correct it. When you have enough money for me to go to someone who knows language, let me know. Almost everyone that has read the first “text” said that it sounded fine to them. The second “text”, no one liked it at all. I guess the first one had a cutting edge to it. So I try to take you seriously but it doesn’t work. What grammar, idiom, and logic are you talking about? Whatever you have to say about any of my letters, go ahead and say it. I don’t have a heart anymore…so go ahead and say whatever is on your mind. It hasn’t stopped you before. just let it out. If my calculations are correct, you were to one who said that you didn’t kid around. Don’t you remember? The reason why i thought you didn’t like me was because the way you represented yourself to me. It was your paralanguage and language that appalled me. I don’t know you, remember? I was wondering why you attempted to talk to me after you said that i was impossible to talk to. I didn’t think i had any charm that attracted you. The way you spoke to me, I thought that i was in grade school. I wasn’t a person in your eyes; In your eyes, I was an object. Here’s a hint, if you want to joke around with me, wink! I won’t take anything that you say personally. That has always been a cue for me not to take it the wrong way. Whether you want to or not is up to you. Remember, I don’t know you. Maybe the rest of the world does; However, I DO NOT!!!!! Anyway, I guess two heads are better than one if you can read “texts” while doing Nichelle. Well, I guess you are good at some things.
Later!

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: Del culo

Alright, Alpina, I’ve copied a few of the worst sentences of your first letter, which I agree is far better than the second. I’ll try to show what I deed unacceptable, ungrammatical, unidiomatic or illogical about each one. This does not mean that it’s not good. I was not making a value judgement, but a scientific one. I like your letter, especially the second sentence I’m going to analyze. I find you very charming, as I have said. The only people on the World I know irl are Corinne, Jeff and Nichelle. “I love my reputation that people have of me.” First, ‘my’ should read ‘the’ if you want to follow the main clause with a definite relative clause. It’s either ‘I love my reputation.’ or ‘I love the reputation that…’ Second, people don’t have a reputation of you. You have a reputation among other people. So the sentence should read: ‘I love the reputation that I have with other people.’ “Personally, my pussy is worth a hell of a lot more that any man’s dick.” ‘that’ is obviously just a typo for ‘than’. The problem is the adverb ‘personally’. An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb. What word does ‘personally’ modify? Given it’s position, it should modify the subject of the sentence, but this makes no sense. The sentence should read: ‘Personally, I think my pussy is worth…’ “For those types of guys, there’s always a whore for that.” You’ve got two parallel complements of the same type, which is confusing to say the least. Are there whores for those types of guys, or are there whores for that? It’s one or the other, but not both. “Third, my pride in my man that my man will have in me.” This is gibberish. Does this mean: my pride in the pride that my man will have (take) in me? Don’t you see the bizarre running-in-circles logic of this? What exactly is the antecedent of ‘that’? “A man knows that their lady is someone special.” This should read: ‘A man knows that his lady is someone special.’ “Reputation from others, dignity in oneself, and a man’s pride in his lady are the reasons why I’m a lady.” Problem with cause and effect. Are reputation, dignity and pride the reasons why you became a lady? Or are they the effect of your being a lady, and proff thereof? The prepositions ‘from’ and ‘in’ are unidiomatic. It should read ‘Reputation among others’ and ‘personal dignity’ or something like that. I hope this is helpful to you. I do not mean to hurt you. John (Negatron) asked me to edit a text of his. I’m going to ask someone for help setting up a web site and real listserv. Everyone needs help. No one is good at everything. I still like you and hope you will continue to write.

From: Miss_Thang
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: Spring Break!!!!!!! Joyous!!

Hello all.
Tyisha here once again to grace you with her presence. Just kidding or maybe I am not.Anyhow you made it quite clear (Gaby) that you wanted know the happenings in the 'hood' as you like to call it. Sorry I did not get shot at or harrassed for having on a certain type of color. Actually I am lying when I say that I did not get harassed. I was harassed by guys who tryed to come up with some sorry ass come on lines to impresss me enough to go out with them. It did not work. I can tell you this: I do not want to go back to Los Angeles to live with my relatives. They drove me crazy. They acted like a bunch of kids who could not function without a college student. What worst is the most adult like person (myself) was contantly told that she could not go anywhere by her overprotective grandmother. What my grandmother does not understand is that I am a big girl and I can take care of myslef. Anyone who want to physically attack me is asking for trouble because I am abad 'lady' and I can and will kick your ass if you fuck with me. This is one of the priveleges you gain from grwoing up in the 'hood'. You have people watching your back in case anything should happend to you and you learn how to fend for yourself on the streets. This means that you grow up faster that n you would have bargained for and you are always on your feet and at your best. Anyway on the return home I knew that I did not want to be like the people that they call my family and friend and associates. You see I ma a first generation college student and these people think that they are going to live off of me when I become successful. BULLSHIT!!!The only person who has that right are my grandparents and the homies who had a hand in raising me. Otherwise everyone else might as well step off because I do not have time for freeloaders. I am even hesistant sometimes to give credit to my grandparents because I have been taking care of myself for 8 years of my life. Why did I stay with them? Come now I am not stupid; at this point they are the only ones I got because when it comes right down to it the 'homies' can be shiesty. So one of the reasons that I was so juiced about going home is that I found my motivation (something that I did not have in the beginning semester of college) I do not want to end up like those people depending on someone to do and provide for me. I am going to do for myself and not have to depend on anybody else. Now do not get me wrong I will not forget where I came from because the 'hood' has contributed to my growth process but they will not use and abuse what I have worked my ass off for. Okay, the other reason Iwas so juiced about going home is because I got to see the love of my life: my boyfriend Victor. We are having a long distnce relationship which is difficult but worth it. I have to say that I am proud of myself because I did not yield to temptation and make love to him though I wanted to. We just want to wait awhile and take our time. See Loretta you are not the only one who is a virgin. Yes I am proud to be a virgin just like you and I feel that it is nothing to be asahmed of. I have to admit that it was extremely difficult not to have sex with the man that I love. Desptie what you my think Loretta good men do exist you just have to be patient and look in the right places.:) I did mark my territory leaving to big hickeys on both sides of his neck. He loves me and I love him and I plan on spending th rest of my life with this man. He loves me unconditionally and does nto expect anything from me except just to love him back. I have never met anyone like him and I go out of my way for him and he goes out of his way for me. Loretta I think that you are the only one who will understand this. He is a bad boy and I am his bad girl (bad boy entertainment) and so we are just perfect for each other. I love him with all my heart soul and mind. Alomost as much as I love myslef and I have never felt that way about anyone before in my lifetime. I love him more than my family so you know that he is special to me. It was just absolutely WONDERFUL to see the man of my dreams and to be able to spend the 6 of my 9 days with him. Okay oaky enough about my love life.
Yes Gaby it is hard living in the hood especially when you have a 16 year old sister who is waiting for her boyfrined to get out of jail os that she can be with hime and then join the gang that he is from to make herself official as his woma nad as his wife.
Is that meaningful enough for you? Iwould write more but I am getting tired of typing. Excuse all of my typos. And I wish all of you the best.
Tyisha
P.S. Scott I will have the essay ready on Sunday.

From: Miss_Thang
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: Re: A friendly wager

Woooh!!!! Nichelle I do not know what to say. I am truly for once in my life at a loss for words NOT!!!!!! I deisagree with the fact that Gaby is always right but we are all entitled to think our facts about life true. And Gaby has never intimidated me but he has hurt my feeling befor. Intimidation and hurting ones feeling are two different things. I will always give my opinion even if Gabe does not like to hear them but one thing I will not do is argue with him it gets kind of tiring after awhile especially since he thinks that he does know everything.

Tyisha

From: Miss_Thang
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: Re: Listen!

Well you wanted to know what I looked like so I am going to tell you.
Name: Tyisha
Age: 18
Height: 5'5" 1/2
Weight: 110 lbs
Hair: Brown and shoulder length
Eyes: Brown and almond shaped
In other words your beautiful average looking sista!
Major: English and Political Science
School: Universiy of California At Berkeley
Year: Sophomore
Any other questions? Ask. :)
Tyisha

From: Loretta
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: A Lady

Hey, how are you feeling? I'm doing good. Just let me know what you think. Tyisha also liked the 1st letter. However, to understand where you were coming from, I had to go to see one of my old English instructors to help me out. I had to tone my opinion down (eliminated it). When she had seen my second letter (the one you received) she actually colored on the paper. What they don't do is look at me "appalled" at my work. They just say, "Loretta, I don't think this is clear. I don't like this. You can elaborate this or blah blah blah." That helps me out alot. When some one says to me, "Your sentences are so poorly constructed, go around in circles, leave all kinds of gangling elements which agree with nothing else, that it's almost incomprehensible." This kind of statement alone rubs me the wrong way. Then i'll start to wonder why i'm in your pressence. On the other hand, if some one said, "I'll try to show you what I deem unacceptable, ungrammatical, unidiomatic or illogical about each one...... First, 'my' should read 'the' if you want to follow the main clause with a definite relative clause. It's either.......... " That statement lets me know that the person is interested in it AND wants me to correct the mistakes that I didn't SEE! I personally don't mind any input from anyone. However, if you have input, you better back yourself up and show me. That's my cue to sit down and let you explain what you're trying to say.

From: Miss_Thang
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: Re: The advantages of being a woma

My God!!!! Is that how it happened to you. I am so so sorry that you had to go through that. No one especially you deserves to have had the tramatic experieences that you ahd. Please be careful and remember thjtat I am here for you whenever you need me.
Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: Webtexts

Honestly, girls, I am speechless, dumbfounded, don't know what to say. Most likely the only texts which make it to the Web site will be Nichelle's, Jeff's (a real night mare of classical education), Corinne's (if she would only send me one), John's (I think he's on the right track.) and my own. I cannot throw a text under the public's nose that I'm ashamed to have cluttering up my 'puter screen. Tyisha, that long letter you wrote (for which I thank you kindly) was so awful I could barely slog through it. It was horrible, meaningless gibberish. I don't give a fuck about your virginity and still less about your stupid pride in it. (Any text which includes the word pride will have a very slim chance of making it to the Web.) You set out to tell me something meaningful, and all we got was some childish raving about your love for Victor, as if we cared. Don't you read Nichelle's letters, or mine. Tell a fucking story for God's sake, or for mine. Say what happened, not what you think about it. We don't care what you think. And don't give me any more shit about facts and opinions. Facts are probable statements about what is. Your opinions, or mine, are foolish drivel about what probably is not. No one gives a shit about your opinions, not even your wretched, hypocritical, feel-good, Holywood professors at Berkeley. They just pretend in order to build your self-esteem, which is already far too high for your age, education and intellect. You say I'm in for a surprize when I read your essay Sunday. I sincerely hope so and look forward to doing so, but my guess is it's you who are in for a surprize, for I won't have garbage on the Web site, and unless you can forget your miserable existence and write about real things that happen, you'll be absent from the Web. Get to work, ladies, and you too, John, 'cause I don't want to go on alone with Nichelle and Jeff, but I think that's what I may have to do. Also, John, please give me that fucking character. If you don't it won't matter (Nichelle will give me one of hers.) and that's precisely why I'd rather you did. Meaningless gestures are so much more important than the shit people think is important. That's what I'm trying to make these bitches understand. How could you write about your spring break without even telling us what you ate? Aren't you tired of cafeteria food? Doesn't your grandmother cook better than that? Shiiit, I'm heartsick, broken-hearted, heart-broken. Can't you wenches write any better than that?

From: Miss_Thang
Date: 4 April 1996
Subject: Re: Webtexts

My sincere apologies Scott. You are absolutely right. I do not know how to write and the whole story was gibberish. I am so sorry that I wasted your time. I am not worthy of being on your Web Site. Please take me off your list and do not ever email me again. It was nice knowing you all.
Take Care,
Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 April 1996
Subject: Closing ranks

Time is short, my friends, please try to get me texts for the Web site this weekend. Jeff, you're all set. I'll use that letter. Corinne, please, as a personal favor to me, choose any text you like, a letter to Vanessa, an academic work, whatever. John, don't worry, just write something. I'm sure it'll be fine and can fine tune it if we think it needs it. We're getting down to fighting weight now that we're going to face the public. I'm sure there are plenty of bad-ass intellectuals out there, though I haven't been very successful so far in finding them, but they'll write to our site, I'm sure. Hell, we'll probably be listed in Netscape or something. Besides, I'll publicize it in the Paris Cybercafe and wherever else I can think of. Last night I was so tired of explaining myself, and so sick of reading that dumb shit Tyisha wrote, I really needed something to relieve the tension. I just @joined Dinah_Mite and slugged her in the ribs. She didn't lose a beat, getting up and kicking me in the balls. Nichelle couldn't believe it. We just stood there pummelling eachother and she didn't even know who I was until halfway through the brawl. It was fun. Much blood was drawn on both sides. I was going to cyberrape her, but Nichelle wanted to talk to one of her stupid friends (All of her friends hate me, which is as it should be.) so I took a raincheck. At least I know where to go to scream and rage and curse and punch to my little heart's desire.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 April 1996
Subject: Tempus

Following a bloody debate over the meaning of time in music, I have come up with an elegant little theory about the medium's internal clock (independant of the chronological clock). I am not a musician, just a jackass of all trades or a universal genius depending on one's point of view. Please tell me if what follows is mindless gibberish. I being with a game of baseball, which may last two or twenty hours, but will always last exactly 51, 52, 53 or 54 outs, the unit of time as measured by baseball. Obviously a piece that can be played in six or seven minutes depending on how much the first violinist's had to drink must have a quantifiable duration independant of a given performance. I have come up with two variables to measure the length of a piece of music. The first is what I call speed or Veloce. It is simply the ratio of the time signature or the number of beats per measure expressed in whole notes. This tells us, all things being equal, how fast the drunken violinist must play. (Let's forget for the moment complications like some piece which has no time signature etc. We're trying to set up a model in, for the moment, a controlled environment. Obviously the choice of expressing the relationship in whole notes is purely conventional or arbitrary. It doesn't matter, but writing it as a function of whole notes will simplify our notation.) The second element is what I call length or Lungo. This is quite simply the number of measures. This tells us how long he must play. By multiplying the two we get the Tempo, the musical (and not chronological) time of the piece, or how many beats it contains, expressed in whole notes. I believe we could compare this figure from several relatively simple musical scores and it might tell us something. The texts would have to be complicated enough to make it interesting, without being so complicated as to make the attempt seem daunting. Please tell us what you think, and don't bother being polite. All of Nichelle's friends already hate me. Gaby.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 April 1996
Subject: Re: Closing ranks

Weird morning. We were both so tired last night we went to bed before ten and Nichelle woke up shortly after me. While I was in the bath, she got on the 'net and as I came out I asked if there was anything interesting. She said yes, and I soon found myself talking to this guy who claims I'm fucking up his business computer system, making it crash and whatnot. I had previously had e-mail from this guy, who leases phone lines (Don't ask me what that means.) to IDT. He's not above threatening to knock me off the Internet forever, and I'm inclined to believe he could. We agreed that IDT were cocksuckers and came to an arrangement where we wouldn't MOO anymore, since that seems to be downing his system, and wouldn't e-mail between midnight and noon. I called him an asshole just to let him know I wasn't affraid of him, but actually I am (affraid of him). For all I know I may get the AT&T software this afternoon. I wish you all would write to me. I'm going to be working on the Keats text, since I've nothing else to do. It's good discipline really, and I'd like to finish it and send it off to some snob motherfuckers like the MLA Quarterly or whatever they call the piece of shit. P.S. Keep working on your webtexts. Any day now...

From: Nichelle
Date: 7 April 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Lately I have been getting more and better snail-mail than e-mail, which is fine because I do enjoy sitting down with a pen and a clean sheet of stationery. (Yes, this is Nichelle. I'm using Gabriel's account because mine is too slow, and I have no patience this morning.) Of course you're right, Gabriel. I will have to explain it to my grandchildren. That doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. As Edgard Varese said, "Just because there are other ways of getting there, you do not kill the horse." Hell, I had never tasted homemade mayonnaise until last night, and it was delicious.
I have been sitting around for most of the morning debating whether I ought to sneak off to church on Easter with a pair of Gabe's lucky underwear and dunk it in a little holy water, just to be sure that the AT&T software will arrive tomorrow in the mail. Instead, I think I'll walk down to the Win-Hope and pick up some vegetables and tofu to eat for lunch and dinner. After all, you can't eat bagels for every meal. Besides, I burned the last one this morning when I put it in the oven to heat it up and forgot about it. I'm off to go fight my way through this blizzard. Does anybody read this shit?

From: negatron
Date: 8 April 1996
Subject: Re: your mail

I just wanted to say that I haven’t been ignoring you people, i was visiting my parents and have been without net access. I haven’t started to write anything yet, but I will ASAP. I had an interesting run-in with a character named ‘eamon’ on IDmoo the other night, but I’m tired and have to work tomorrow, so the story will be told tomorrow or the next day. Happy buny day to those who celebrate it.

From: Keith
Date: 8 April 1996
Subject: Re: Spring Break!!!!!!! Joyous!!

well all i can say is that i dont want to read the responses generated by
virginity etc...
and where exactly are you from in L.A., i'm amazed by the madness
actually let me rephrase that, i am amazed by my preception of the
madness which goes on in that city... whats up?

From: Keith
Date: 8 April 1996
Subject: Re: Webtexts

how did i know that was coming...
gabe you are contradictory.. we all have opinions and facts and somehow
you have give them up for the trruth which is just another set of
opinions that a lot of people beleive... i know your going to give me
shit fopr that but really i dont care, it's kind of like foucault when he
says there is no history, onlyu interputatyions...like the crusades
written from and arab prespective or, more poinglently date rape... (any
rape) from the perpetrators prespective.... there are interputations and
there is weight... but truth is very hard to come buy...

____

next.. what do you think of dreiser? raymond chandler (i've been
listening to philip marlow on 91.3 (most nights) and 570(sunday night)
any of the rest of you all into real pulp fiction... not this psudo
mastubatory quentin tarrinto bullshit...

From: negatron
Date: 8 April 1996
Subject: Re: your mail

Okay, the story of ‘eamon’, as promised.
I was on the IDmoo the other night, last Wednesday if I recall correctly. I entered #11 with in my usual fashion, insulting all the players in the room (in this case I called said something like, “oh great there’s nobody here but a bunch of idiots.”)
This eamon was one of the players in the room, and seemed to take offense to my comment, and started to insinuate its Spivak-gendered self into my conversation with another player. It (note: I refuse to use the Spivak pronouns. Fuck this politically correct pomo shit. There are two genders in humans, anything else is a deviation or a social construct) kept speaking to me using disgusting terms of endearment and this began to piss me off a bit, so I asked it if it was an FWB. It didn’t claim to know what an FWB was so I gave it the expanded version. After this the ambiguously-gendered eamon asked me to explain the opinion or policy which caused my ‘incursion into sexism’. I said I had neither an opinion or a policy, and it replied that it could see that I had no opinion, then implied that I was expressing the opinion of my leader, Gabriel.
Now I’m pretty sure I don’t have Gabe’s opinions (assuming he has any, which he denies. Either way, I haven’t seen any expressed. There seemed to be an implication that there was some hidden project going on, if there is I am an unknowing participant and don’t give a fuck anyways. I do this shit for my own amusement.)
I left the room, and left my apartment for a bit to get some cigarettes or something. While I was gone, eamon came into my moo room and said that our conversation wasn’t finished, so I joined it to see what it wanted. I let it ask questions for a while, but I didn’t care for it’s condescending tone so I left again. It joined me and I ejected it, so it continued to harass me with pages long after I had told it, in no uncertain terms, to fuck off.
Gabe, let me know what you think of this.

From: Loretta
Date: 9 April 1996
Subject: Dear Diary!

Hey Di,
It's me again...yep me. Well, I know about an APA research and a MLA but now i'm making up my own term. It's called LMR. Every college student knows this term. It means Last Minute Research. I don't know why I torture myself. Anyways, a month ago, I wanted to do research on paralanguage for my interpersonal communications course. Paralanguage=not what you say...it's how you say it.. It also deals with body language, ex..ex (yes...for me, it's better than etc, etc). I wanted to do something that no one in the class was doing. However, I didn't realize that I was also doing something that wasn't researched previously. Just my luck!!! I like to do something different and NO ONE has done this!! Now, I had to change my topic at the last minute (hopefully Mrs. Bogart doesn't mind). If she does, i rather have a 49 than a 0. Don't you agree? Not only is that bad, I'm not a good english writer as well. So, this paper is due tomorrow. It has to be typed, double-spaced, ex, ex....

Talk 2 ya l8r!!!

Loretta

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 April 1996
Subject: eamon

That's lovely, John. I don't know who the fuck this eamon cunt is, but eamon is an Irish masculine name. I agree with you on the gender question, don't have any idea what spivak means, but think that both genders are social constructs of a highly complex and probably dangerous nature. Hell even the gay boys I work with have cocks, but I prefer not to dwell on the thought. As to truth and opinions, let's settle this problem once and for all. As I once said on the MOO, there's no such thing as well-known facts. Commonly held opinions have as good a shot of being true as I have of sticking my tongue up Sharon Stone's asshole. (I don't know who Sharon Stone is, but every time some generation Xer wants to give an example of womanly beauty he uses her name.) If I say I'm five feet five inches tall, I'm making a statement about the world, a statement which can be verified and found to be true or false. (In fact I'm unlikely to be exactly that hight at any given time during the day.) If I say Stiff Lips give good head, I'm making an esthetic statement which differs from opinion in as much as I'm prepared to back it up with a theory of blowjobs culled from my thoughts on the subject and tested by my experience. What pass for opinions are usually gibberish, backed up by no serious thought and untested by experience. I am cheerfully devoid of these stupid notions. I don't talk about God or love because all such statements are nonsense, if occasionally well-wrought nonsense. I don't know how this eamon swine knows who I am, but I don't remember ever having talked to him. I am no one's leader and take no responsibility for anyone's incursions into sexism, if that's what they are. I also have no ulterior motives. I've been very open with what I'm trying to do, gather a group of bad-ass intellectuals to form a listserv with a web site and eventually a MOO of our own. My reasons for this are my deep and impassioned hatred for the MOOs available, my deep and impassioned love for e-mail and my wish to use these new technologies for the creation of literary texts and the conduct of linguistic research. To give you all an idea. I was talking with Nichelle about her recent letter about rape and what I found compelling in the text was the choice not to use quotation marks and the montage-like or collage-like juxtaposition of words and events separated by a dozen years. This gave the text its peculiar feeling of a timeless nightmare. To those of you in the television audience who may think that literary texts are the result of inspiration or emotion, let me answer that Nichelle said she had thought longly about how to organize the text and whether to put in quotations marks. Beauty is not an accident and Nichelle is a careful, thoughtful writer of great power, not because she has something to say, but because she has mastered the means by which to say it. This has nothing to do with that nonsense called paralanguage. (I can't believe they really have classes in interpersonal communication. What's next, bathroom etiquette?) It's called style. Jeff is also a great writer who has created his own weird sub-genre, the calligraphic letter. I feel sure Corinne is too (Her brother, Eric, has told me so.) but I have not had the privilege to read her work. John, the potential is there for all to see. You just need more practice to hone your skills and discover more clearly which stylistic devises work best for you, in short to find your true voice and perfect it to where your letters are as immediately identifiable as mine or Nichelle's or Jeff's. You haven't got far to go. If you write let's say three letters a week in fewer than six months you'll feel as good and at home as a dog shitting on its favorite bush.

From: Loretta
Date: 9 April 1996
Subject: Re: eamon

Please, give yourselves a great big hand! I'm glad there are people in the world that can accomplish things. Don't be shy. Give yourself a big pat on the back! I congratulate each and every one of you!
Later

From: Keith
Date: 10 April 1996
Subject: Re: eamon

what?

From: Loretta
Date: 10 April 1996
Subject: Re: eamon

I didn't figure an pseudo-intellectual, like you would get it!!!

From: Loretta
Date: 11 April 1996
Subject: Diary!

Hey Diary,

What's up with you? Me? I helped 2 guys, Chris and Andrew, with Pine today. Yesterday, I finished typing my paper for Interpersonal Communications course. I did my LMR on self-esteem. I hate that!! Although I wanted to do it on paralanguage (not what you say, but how you say it). I was curious as of why my mother sounded and acted angry when the fact of the matter was that she wasn't. It ISN'T what you write!!! It IS how you SAY something. The only thing i got out of walking so much at the library and looking for help was, "That is a good topic. Too bad you couldn't find anything on it." So i had to go to plan B, research self-esteem. I found so much info on that subject that it was scary. I handed in my research paper and took the test. As I handed in my test that I took in that class, I felt guilty that i didn't tell the instructor about my failure of looking for my topic, paralanguage. She looked at me and picked up someone's research and said, "This person did it." I told her that I searched the whole building at the local library and the campus library!!! She looked at their works cited and said,"But the information is very old." She gave me an "Oh well" look and graded the tests. If that look meant getting a '49', so be it. To me, it's better than a '0' anyday!!! It may not help that much, but a '0' won't help at all. I haven't been on Lagda and BayMOO but i have been on IDMOO and MOO 2000! It has been fun talking to new guests. Well, hopefully new mail comes my way. Well Nichelle, how are you? I hope that whatever you're writing that it comes out zealous! To the rest of the guys, "Hi...hope to hear from you guys soon....Take care!!!"

Peace,

============================> Alpina <============================

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 April 1996
Subject: Union meeting

Whisky madness and a little impromptu get-together of the charter members of the World. Nichelle had just got into the tub when the bell rang and Corinne and Jeff walked in. I knocked on the bathroom door and said to Nichelle: "We've got company." "Company?" "Corinne and Jeff are here." We talked, drank, smoked and MOOed. Why you didn't want to participate, John, is beyond me. Jeff was a bit excited on IDMOO, but they've been more or less offline for a while and I can understand his enthusiasm. Anyway we talked a lot of shit, had a good time, schemed and plotted. We'll have our next meeting at the Win Hope Chinese restaurant after I've got a good first draft of the Web page set up. We'll discuss it and see how we can make it better or whatever. I tried to page eamon to tell him how much of an asshole he is, but he wasn't logged on. I also heartily insulted that asslick who stole the name gabriel. Anyway I'm going to spend a quiet afternoon reading the paper and making a birthday card for the owner of the bar.

From: Nichelle
Date: 11 April 1996
Subject: (no subject)

I had an exciting time at the SU music building. Apparently, afternoons are not the best time to get anything done, so I sat in a stuffy corner practice room next to some cunt who must have been playing some fucking Steve Reich or Philip Glass piano concerto, chord changes every five minutes, fortissimo, the Chinese water torture of music. I couldn't compete with that, even through a wall. None of these students actually know when the building opens. I'm showing up first thing in the morning.

Christ, since when do I say 'cunt'? Anyway, music students pretty much look the same from place to place, and by looking at them, I can tell what instrument everyone plays. Tall, wispy, blond girls are either flutists or timid sopranos with a dynamic range of pianissimo to piano and the stage presence of a shy third-grader. Oboists are the ones sitting alone in some dark corner with a glassy stare, wearing brown corduroy pants, and drinking water out of a mason jar. The ones with ties and briefcases could either be trumpet players or Mormons. Either way, it's dangerous to let them start talking. One of them cornered me today in the hall and asked me a question about dominant seventh chords.

I didn't get anything done. Never have the etudes of Cyrille Rose been so shamefully abused. Doesn't anyone know how to play soft anymore?

From: Keith
Date: 12 April 1996
Subject: Re: eamon

fuck you
if it's a joke youll laugh
if not
fuck you

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 April 1996
Subject: Bronchitis

Murder , you bastard, I've got bronchitis, a raging fever, had to work a double today, got home at midnight only to find Nichelle asleep on the couch with the laundrey needing serious attention and the bed unmade, folded clothes, put wash in the dryer, made the bed, ate a banana, drank a big glass of Valpolicella, poured myself a stiff J&B and began testing my theory, since none of you undergraduate scumbags have time to do any serious fucking work. I don't mean to be sarcastic, Nichelle, but if you think "sleeping your way to the top" means crashing all day on my couch, you've got another thing coming to you. I told you I'd kick ass and I have. Here's the results of my first empirical test, to you, the musicians to tell if it makes any sense. (Pours himself a second helping of scotch whisky.) I have used the first and third of Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo, Opus ?. My findings, interesting or not, are the following. Very simply put, and excluding all notations such as allegro which are not quantitative, the third piece is longer by exactly 5 13/16 whole-note beats, or beats expressed as whole notes, while the first piece is faster by 197/960 beats per measure. These figures are true, except for any incidental errors of calculation I may have made, given that I can't read music and work longer and harder hours than any of you and am ill and approximately fifteen percent drunk etc. The fact is I'm not sleeping. I'm here working, riding Bucephalus, doing my shit. What the rest of you do is beyond me. I hope only that you Corinne (Tell her Jeff.) will snail-mail or e-mail me a text in French to put on the web site. On another topic (and then I really must go and wake Nichelle up and put her to bed and I work tomorrow too) I didn't even coin the expression Fat White Bitches, Jeff did. I probably still have the letter where he proposed killing two of his classmates in our class, calling them the two fat white bitches. I may have invented the abreviation FWB, but that just shows you, boys and girls, this is an interactive, indeed intersubjective medium. We shall all feed upon one another's linguistic inventiveness. We shall create new languages, new media. Trust me a little, folks. I'm a very smart, very hard working, very well educated fellow. We shall all go hand in hand forward to fame and glory. If you don't believe me, just ask the so-called musicians to explain my brilliant theory of the internal clock of music. If they can't, I'll soon have my cousin Andrew's e-mail address. He's exactly like me, except that he has red hair, a Juliard musical education, better social skills, but not quite so sharp a brain as I do. You can tell him I said so. Rectum Vinum.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 16 April 1996
Subject: Re: Bronchitis

Yours, Johanna, is the only serious answer I've received to my letter, or rather your two letters, for as I was reading it (It breaks on my screen just at the line "so what".) I thought it was over at that point, when Nichelle asked: "Is there any more?" to which I replied: "I guess not," and absent-mindedly hit the space bar only to find two or three long, interesting, totally unexpected paragraphs. The first paragraph led me to believe you had (as I feared some would) deemed my findings (of which I have just forwarded a more developped version sent to the clarinet listserv) tautological. I don't think they are, for the following reason. It cannot be indifferent or banal to discover that the first piece is written in an average time signature of 5/8 and the second 3/8, nor would one be able to see this by any other method of analysis, nor that the normalized "length" of the pieces are 17 6/8 and 23 13/16 whole note beats respectively. "So what" you say, but how can you balk at new empirical knowledge of a piece of music, even if such knowledge has no obvious immediate consequences for the player. The rest of your letter, funny and interesting anecdotes about Georgian grandmothers whispering the Pater Nostre over bowls of porridge in Caucasia, is what the French would call an hors sujet. While I didn't define my subject so clearly as I might have in an article written for publication, I thought it clear that I was talking about the internal clock (to the exclusion of the external, or chronological clock) of Occidental classical music. Thus all talk of metronomes and beats per minute have no place in the discussion as I have defined it, though I do not say they are not otherwise interesting. If this was not clear (Others made the same objections.) that's my fault. You're quite welcome, of course, to say: "Fuck you, why do you define the terms of the debate?" That's fine, but you can't fault me for not doing what I haven't tried to do. What I'm interested in is the way in which Western classical music regulates time independantly of the clock. I'm not implying that this is the only way it does so, or even the most important. Nor that other semiotic systems do not do so in other interesting ways. Recent discussion in Apartment 7, 1009 Madison Street has turned to musical metrics with respect to poetic metrics, where I've found that trochaic verse, such as most German, fits much better to music than iambic, almost all English verse. This in turn has led to a lot of drunken crooning of the ode "An die Freude", whose German text Nichelle fetched from the SU library and makes me laugh uncontrollably. Speculation runs high here that the tension between music's trochaic form (where the first beat of a measure is accented) and English's iambic feet might explain why so relatively few poems are set to music and operas written in the language. Of course perhaps we're just bad composers. I have further speculated, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, save that which can be found in the depths of my own mind, that Italian falls naturally into trochaic verse. Perhaps you or Murder , you drunken Irish white trash, could clue me in on this matter, as no one else on this list speaks enough Italian. We're a francophone and germanophone kind of group. Even my lamentable Spanish is better than my Italian. Aside from that we've stocked the fridge with all kinds of goodies to make our own pizza, tortillas, pancakes and bread, aside from the usual myriad kinds of spaghetti sauce I make. At least Nichelle's friends can rest assured. She may be trapped with a drunken pervert whose sixth-grade history teacher called a megalomaniac, but no one comes to Jeff's or my house and doesn't eat well. Nichelle has already tasted Avocado, Asparagus and Artichokes, to speak only of the letter A, which she had never before tasted. Tonight the new vegetable is leeks. Yams were also new to her. Tomorrow morning she'll begin a lifelong love affaire with Nutella. Also I couldn't resist buying Wozzec, to fill a serious gap in her musical knowledge. You might like to sing the part of Maria, Johanna. She's a snarling white trash whore in Ubu Roi's Poland who speaks rather than sings her songs and ends up in a puddle of blood. "Ein guter Mensch aber er hat keine Moral, Moraaal."

From: Nichelle
Date: 20 April 1996
Subject: lust and rape

Well, Gabriel and I are now back online, but he doesn't know it yet. He's sleeping right now, which is what most normal people do at 3:49 AM, but I have just received a letter from a young woman who was recently raped by her husband and I cannot sleep. All I could really tell her was to get the fuck out. And I know she won't. I begged her to leave.

I don't know how to take her letter. This 21 year old woman is writing to me aobut her husband who, as I understand it, regularly beats her, and raped her a few days ago. This is no time for e-mail. Why isn't she packing her bags? Why can't women realize that this isn't normal?

(Murder , where are you? Send e-mail.)

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 April 1996
Subject: The cruellest month

"April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, stirring dull roots with spring rain, mixing memory with desire." Yes, once again it's rape awareness month, boys and girls, and my mother's name is April. This is big, bad Gabe, and I just got beaten up like an unruley schoolboy whose father is a cop, served over eighty covers, and I come home and read weird shit like this. "Welcome to the World According to Gabe, a fat farm and rape crisis centre." Hell at this point you might as well move in too, Lisa, and I'll just sleep on the couch. The most beautiful part of your letter (which I'd like you to forward to the whole World) is this: "With his blood all over me, in me". The image, if I've interpreted it correctly, brings together the red blood spilling out of his cut hand and the blue blood filling his angry prick, the one splattering over you, the other forcing its way inside of you. I'm afraid I've no words of comfort or solace or even advice, like Nichelle. Do what you think is best, and it probably won't get any better. Take a quart of whisky and e-mail me in the morning. I'm sorry I had cut you off the list, but your participation seemed to sporadic as to be uninterested, absent minded. Of course you as welcome and at home here as anyone else. In fact I'd be glad to put your letter on the web site, as soon as AT&T sends me the motherfucking software, any day now, probably Tuesday. Rectum Vinum.

From: Keith
Date: 22 April 1996
Subject: Re: lust and rape

i think that that is somthing i will never understand... this love me
rape me beat me thing
i dont know what to say.
RUN
yea
thats all....
k.

From: Keith
Date: 22 April 1996
Subject: Re: The cruellest month

it's strange, i comment on things thta i havent read... you sue terms
thta i coined and i see the fwbs who birthed them... they dont recognize
me and i dont smile...and slowly others use our term and language has
been altered (if only minutly)
i read in a newspaper (which one i odnt know... one of them poorly
written and boaring)some man rails against email/... it destroys aur
language... subverts youngs minds i think of celine form lettres a
professor x
these periods... shit they say... its shit
and i think its wonderful
run... whoever you are\.\ RUN
RUN
exunt
k.

From: CARLTON&PETRINA
Date: 23 April 1996
Subject: Privacy

I wrote to you because I knew you would understand. I did not know you would share my tale with Scott and the email ghouls. That letter was private and for you to just pass it on like a cheap joint, well, let’s justsay, I see how you are. Thanks for nothing Nichelle. And seeing as how he will probably see this too, Gabe, put my letter on your fucking page and I swear to God, I will never be able to think of you in an intellectual light again ( as if I ever did)
Wild

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 April 1996
Subject: Private parts

Fuck you, Lisa. We live together, Nichelle and I. We share e-mail accounts. I'm very careful not to read her private e-mail, and I doubt she reads my mother's letters. But the list is a public thang, everyone should understand that. I didn't forward your message to the world, just talked about it and quoted it very shortly. None of this has anything to do with being an intellectual. Don't be angry with me. I didn't rape you. Shit, I told you you could come here if you've nowhere else to go.

From: CARLTON&PETRINA
Date: 24 April 1996
Subject: Re: Private parts

First…how very poignant..”…Fuck you, Lisa…” No, you little shit, ,fuck u. I didn’t know what your living arrangements were, but now that I do, how do I make message to her messages to her. Don’t read them, how’d you explain responding? It’s not cool when u think someone can listen without judgement, then find they can’t. Nichelle must be a very busy woman and not much of anything else. How does it feel to know someone who gave a damn about who you are, loses their faith in you. Good nite, folks…I’m so done.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 24 April 1996
Subject: Pizza Pie

I'm making pizza dough for the first time in a year and a half, since I spent two years working at La Farfalla. Yes, Lisa, Nichelle and I have been living together for about a month. She likes most of what I cook, and that's the main thing. Her mail is my mail and all mail concerning this listserv is public. I have no idea what you mean about judgement and the rest. Why don't you write openly to the World and make your case? Perhaps I am wrong and everyone on here will scream and swear at me. From what Nichelle tells me (I must have missed that letter.) we share a common interest in the food-service industry and pizza parlors in particular. Johana don't think I didn't see you on lambda a quarter of an hour ago. What are you hiding from me? Anyway once I get the fucking software and hire a geek (I've got one in mind.) to help me set up the Web Site and formal listserv, I'll expect all of you to have sent me an Urtext for publication. Those who don't will be ruthlessly excluded. I'm arranging for us to have our own forum on a MOO. Things will come together fast. Trust me.

From: Quodlibet
Date: 24 April 1996
Subject: your greeting

Just so you don’t think I’m “hiding” from you (or hiding something from you… as per your email earlier (making me wonder if you’ve been especially paranoid lately, or if this is just your normal state of being) in the day), I thought I’d drop you a note to let you know that I do occasionally drop in on the MOO just to check and see if I have mail or anything intriguing in my Answering Machine, then log off again quite quickly. So if you attempt to contact me here and don’t get me, that is quite likely what I’m doing. Relax. Have a bagel.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 26 April 1996
Subject: April, again

Someone asked me on Lambda if I had wished you a happy birthday, John. I vaguely recalled your mentioning it, so I said: "I'll e-mail him and tell him I hope he doesn't get laid." I've got the 'puter geek, believe it or not, Lonni's son, that tall girl who taught linguistics and was always in the clusters. I phoned AT&T and screamed and swore at them and told them I would switch long-distance phone companies if they don't send me the software within a week, and the supervisor told me it will be here...

From: Peri
Date: 29 April 1996
Subject: You are an arrogant prick

And I am a very smart cunt. Yes, I realize your title is appropriate, as would be a dozen others. As I’ve told Nichelle, I’ll consider membership in your World very carefully, but as I’ve told you and she, this kind of elitism wearies me, and I’m tired of it. I realize you are courting me and that I’d be valuable for your world. Fine. I’m happy you’ve found a way to deal with your appearance. Why does my way bother you?
Yes, I have many deep thoughts and could have gone the way in academia you did. I went my own way, and at present make a little over $100/day doing a slightly easier job than you, I would imagine. I plan to make much more as I progress and gain experience. We’ll see.
Web sites also don’t really impress me, given my job – in fact, I’d like fewer rather than more.

From: Peri
Date: 30 April 1996
Subject: (no subject)

You sent me MOOmail on ID? I didn’t get it.

March 1996

May 1996

vr: 1996

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