a novel

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

November 1996

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

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 November 1996
Subject: LambdaMOO

The first three names are the characters that Sean (Shawn?) of Edmonton has on Lambda. That is all I know about him. If you need more information, I'd be glad to ask Nichelle or you can ask her yourself. Best of luck.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 November 1996
Subject: La fiesta de los muertos

All Saints' Day, yesterday, the day to end the life of a child with no name. Today, the Day of the Dead, the day to celebrate my late and latent paternity. We celebrate with Malcolm Lowery who should have died this day. I think Emily Dickenson said something like that. I've changed the list. Please take note in your answers, if you answer. Nichelle was mad that I've been neglecting you. She's recovered her health. There were second thoughts last night, not on my part. I said, in bed, just Nichelle, Matilda and I: "They can't put it back." I had tried to stay away from the decision-making process. I stooped so low as the typical-asshole French joke: "If indeed it's my kid..." The Ricard is rushing to my head. This is my second drink after thirty-one days of painful-painless sobriety. I can't think of a better reason not to drink than I can think of a reason to drink. We've had a big cooking day. I made pancakes this morning. We spoke of ways to make French bread. I've decided to try the buttermilk receipe. I made a salade au Roquefort for lunch. Nichelle made cranberry jam and a coffee cake this afternoon. Beethoven plays on. I'm reading (or re-reading, I can't remember) Lolita, which I find a little too Latin in vocabulary. Nichelle finds the child-rape aspect a little bothersome, as one might imagine. I find it bothersome that all these MOOassholes are making you, John, read these foolish MOOauthors (I can't even remember their names.) when the bad boys are out there waiting to be read. Fuck these pigs. Those who haven't met Chris "The Kid" Marlowe in a low-life public house have no need for Kurt Vonnegut or even J.D. Salinger, who is probably better than all those Pynchon assholes. I have my own Faustian bargain with Mephistopheles. I gave up reading, except the newspaper, almost ten years ago. I only read myself and my e-mail. I really don't give a fuck. I do wonder about that has-been child. How could I not do so? I'm not going to give you some drunk-stupid monologue as the Consul does this day about too many douchebags and whatnot. It makes one think. I'm a poor man, struggling to pay the fucking rent and utilities each day. Does this make me unfit for paternity? Fuck that, it's the poor who repopulate the world each and every generation. Apparently my balls hold sons and daughters within them. Nichelle even felt so good as to blow me this morning. True she had to spit the sperm out, but that's because she's not in practice, after four weeks of puking (yacking in her words) as many as five times in one twenty-four-hour period. Her embouchure suffers for clarinet playing also. I'm thinking about a lot of things. John, I think you should kill #147 and the Spivak gender, though I guess we need to keep the plural to humour your cybersex partener(s). You know I wouldn't want to get you in trouble? The MOOs have been so fucking stupid and boring, that little game of abraham's seemed almost intelligent to me the other day. I know I've been absent, wordless of late, but I can't believe none of you bastards will idle on RL MOO to at least greet the fucking guests or tourists who may pass by. Nichelle will have her 'puter soon. Cleo, I'll make you a character as soon as I send this letter. Columbine, you know I'd gladly make you a character, if only you would give me some kind of name. I'm sorry to implicate those of you who have not asked for any such thing. Sometimes I have to take risks. RECTVM VINVM is not only just a pun on Cicero's motto, RECTA VIA. It's also a cry of hope, a wish that something different, something real, something human and grammatical might happen in cyberspace. If you disagree, just tell me. All I ask is that you look at the web site, not read it askance. Print it out. Give us a chance. I've worked fucking hard to do this shit. So has John. We're playing for keeps and none of us thinks he's going to make any money doing this. We do it for... I don't know. I could have had a child. I choose words. I'm going to stop now and listen to the choral part of the Ninth, the part I busted my ass to translate. I'll sing along with that motherfucker. I'll make supper. I'll go to work at seven tomorrow morning. I still hope.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 2 November 1996
Subject: La fiesta de los muertos

'I could have had a child' is a cruel line that hurts me more than you know, unless you've seen how many times I've fought back the tears since the operation. You would feel the loss in a very different way if you had been lying on the table in the abortion room with a huge white light on you as you felt the suction machine ripping out your insides. They kicked me out after ten minutes in the recovery room because they needed space for more girls. I wonder how many others went through the factory that morning.

From: Nichelle
Date: 2 November 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Murder, since your last letter was just to me, I'll quote part of it for the benefit of the list.

>I've really been thinking about some musical things lately, and I think
>that one of these days we should have a discussion on RLmoo about a
>selected topic (similar to the one Gabe had about Shakes 106). If you
>have any ideas, let me know.

OK, next Sunday (a week from tomorrow) at 4 PM EST (unless of course you can't make it, John) there will be a discussion in Paradiso about Aaron Copland's setting (which can be found in his "Twelve poems of Emily Dickinson") of Emily Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for death". Let me know if you have a problem finding the score.

I liked your suggestions, but the pieces were pretty long. I also wanted to choose a piece with a voice so that the musically illiterate among us could participate with an analysis of the poetry. I also wasn't sure if you knew the Copland settings.

And of course we can go to Delizioso's over the break.


From: Martine
Date: 3 November 1996
Subject: Re: La fiesta de los muertos

-amusee de trouver mon meilleur copain de moo sur ta liste: Laurent. Je me demande comment il a atterri la. Je lui demanderai. On fait en ce moment un travail ensemble. Le Chaineur, et plus precisement le chaineur de quatrains (en neerlandais pour l'instant, puis en Anglais)
-je me suis donne la peine de lire ton email jusqu'au bout. Je ne sais pas si tu consideres que c'est de la litterature, mais moi pas. Je me fiche totalement de savoir que tu as mange de la salade au Roquefort et que ta copine a avorte de tes oeuvres, parce que justement, c'est mal ecrit.
-dois-je alors me contenter du "plaisir" d'etre informee de cette maniere sur ta vie privee ? Seule la vie privee de mes intimes m'interesse, ceux que je connais en chair et en os, et qui n'ont pas besoin de m'ecrire.
-les echanges de considerations personnelles sur la litterature, les texte et l'ecriture en general m'interressent, ou m'interesseraient, si elles ne donnaient pas lieu a autant de nombrilisme de ta ou de votre part.

Je t'envoie un texte de ma production: "le corcade du grosaïque", en attachement pour ne pas avoir a le chatrer de ses accents. Je suis curieuse de connaitre tes reactions, si toutefois tu arrives a lire autre chose que tes propres emails...



Le corcade du grosaïque

L'entrelus nontilise d'inale et autement des pasties à collecer, car de diffémilles à sers l'entée d'encade. Exément, la vispe dissoupengée seurnale aux complassançaires et l’équercal dorne vivrement une samante aux Accormales. Poulture, des foux quérirs notoyent les armatiens si n'uteurs?
Dix corcades s’adémient, partexté dont cent grous qui turent et pribuent moulle tursonne à lairmes, dont le nourrel. Si les corcades sernagent, et si les enties dextent d’outremielleur, ils sursocadrent de lerte et d'inale pour avantrire le dirsone. Les sontables pantés de tracipaux, sancis-à-vivercas sont: « les fracheux achées, les paractifes, les lignoutes et coractines en reprisme et en levrespe, le corcade du grosaïque (....).»
Le colemme qu'en saïquernitique de gendes levrouleurs romplait, tarant le polieur fortiligéligne va l’écrince et prévolle bas quand les cengélits de corcades racertent. («Je nontilise. Et non pas rédisside, puis prédis-à-viste et me répore.») Etagemâtre à préporine, voisent-ils le trigier en fercale, tant élique du Bers? Non, la cadelure à d'entave, où le fuside ne se pardice sernanière. Plusque.
Poults à un corcade qui nontilise, un cologiel éxème une “Avante de Ceprise”, cormé les guittons donnisants, et ces rulies qui sernagent cadélique sonvicent de direpte. Ou ces grons d’ansaïques résidèment, ou ses prépases d'alitentors écribues où les silles n’ont qu'à dexter.
Des corcades aux forattelles, le sougroix du camplé jusie, s’il dexte et locumente l'abilivecte. Accousé de rathique à titelivres, le rédiffain pante fouperniment mais pas l'inartâtres à reprours qui sernage. Un doccomplis de sument prévolle le relignorteur et priste qui l'encratte en “d'infoute m'aux"(...). Le despe foupère. Il n'abste et les sontables bantifèrent, tant l'étéseur. Au pranis soupeur, ni le corcade s’érappe, ni le sontable docultune dissement. Tanaises en propicadre, la lansantre va s’accoratier du ligélivrosant et du syndème. («Je treminfère. Chaquant, groute le foriment?»)
Liquent les bleures d’inale, nous les dantexclurons et l'enteur vicadure de ses relités. L'Hexte monne, ou il sondifémière car le trigier pante quand l’étilique du Bers sernage. («J'indeste le bilignoupe et répate bas l'entribue»). Pourpentine de l'obre, les corcades s'impourent, les demptères de la formarde ranquent et l'anculeste s’engéliste extément. Le colde spalerte les voidans de fourniquérair à l'Acaliquelle. Et à titour, une ligeante mathique minfère; du prisé à d’inale, les puitageaux compligélient.
D'aciper, ontre des ratitis aux corcades, il s'inisside récriété et les ausides aux quérales prévollent. («Je matre nous cliseigner son êtrepris-à-vise indictié»). Un sontable sernageait, il pertait à corcadéon (......).

(Liste: nontiliser, dexter, sernager, prévoller, le corcade , le sontable, d’inale.)

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 November 1996
Subject: Emily Dickenson

SEYTON: The Queen, my lord, is dead.
MACBETH: She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 3 November 1996
Subject: Dickinson, again

After listening to Copland's settings of the twelve Emily Dickinson poems, I have changed my mind. I suggest we look at the second song (There came a Wind like a Bugle). I've included the text, and some notes:

There came a Wind like a Bugle -
It quivered through the Grass
And a Green Chill upon the Heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the Windows and the Doors
As from an Emerald Ghost -
The Doom's electric Moccasin
That very instant passed -
On a strange Mob of panting Trees
And Fences fled away
And Rivers where the Houses ran
Those looked that lived - that Day -
The Bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings told -
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the World!

2. quivered through] bubbled in - 9.On a strange Mob] Upon a Mob - 12] The Living looked that Day - 17. abide] remain
MANUSCRIPT: About 1883 (Binghampton 97-12).
PUBLICATION: Poems (1891), 146, titled "The Storm." The suggested change for line 12 is adopted. One word is altered:

14. told] whirled

In the Copland, line five reads 'Window' rather than 'Windows', line 12 reads 'The Living looked that Day', and line 14 reads 'whirled' rather than 'told'.

From: Martine
Date: 4 November 1996
Subject: Re: E-litterature

Les textes online, web ou moo repondent aux lois d'un autre genre que la litterature. Cela m'interesse plus dans un MOO de connaitre les objets generiques, les robots parlants, les messages, les verbes, les classes de personnage, etc.... enfin tout ce qui correspond a l'ecriture specifique du MOO, plutot que les conversations des participants qui sont aussi banales que partout ailleurs ... À ce titre, ton MOO est tres peu ecrit. Ou bien ces elements ne te paraissent pas important, trop loin du "journal" que tu veux faire ?
Je ne manque pas de concentration en general, je sais lire un livre. Mais je ne me sers pas du Web pour cela. Tout au plus j'echangerais quelques idees et quelques titres avec des gens qui auraient des gouts ou des interets proches des miens. (listserv Blanchot du Spoon collective). Mais vouloir faire d'Internet le lieu ou se lit et s'ecrit de la litterature au sens traditionnel du terme me parait une erreur. ... Enfin, si tu y trouves ton bonheur de lecteur et d'ecrivain, tant mieux pour toi. Mais a lire ton email, je comprends plutot qu'il s'agit d'un pis-aller pour auteur non publie.
Internet est un medium de communication, donc un vehicule a fiction, mais qui comporte des effets de realite (en particulier tout ce qui a trait au temps reel). Je vois que tu utilises ces effets de reel en esperant avoir des lecteurs pour ton journal sur listserv ....
Si tu en as trouve, tant mieux ....
Quant a moi, si j'ai envie de lire un texte ecrit sous la forme d'un journal, je lirai, (je relirai) "Le journal intime de Sally Mara" (Queneau); une histoire erotique online, je relirai VOX (Nicholson Baker). Mais je n'arriverai pas a prendre votre graphomanie nombriliste pour de la litterature....



From: Murder
Date: 4 November 1996
Subject: Copland

That Copland setting is an excellent choice, Nichelle, but this coming Sunday is a bad day for me to discuss it with you and whomever else wants to. For one, I will be in Spokane, which wouldn't be a problem except I can't log in because our VAX cluster will be shut down for the day for maintenance. Might I suggest next Monday evening? I'll have to check and see if I have rehearsal.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 November 1996
Subject: Machine a Jabberwock

You see, John, I have a very positive influence on your cyberlovelife. I thought that line: "He meant go to Kanada and soothe his unrested soul," was tasteful and poetic. I'm sure I could have thought of a few other unrested parts of your anatomy, but I chose understatement. I know you appreciate my help and you're quite welcome. I hesitated to answer your letters, Martine, because I thought maybe someone else would give it a try. Alas I'm not sure how many people on this list read French well enough to know that the reason they didn't understand your prose had nothing to do with their French. Nichelle asked me when I printed it what the title meant: "It doesn't really mean anything. It's written like The Jabberwocky". Laurent said something like that to me yesterday, that he helps you with software to produce such texts. He chose the same example, interestingly enough. I wonder how the software avoids using phonetically or graphically unacceptable combinations. That seems harder to me than making the syntax work. You might like Raymond Roussel (Impressions d'Afrique and Comment j'ai ecrit certains de mes livres). I find that both Queneau and Perec succeed the best in the books (Zazy dans le metro and La Vie mode d'emploi) where their experiments take a back seat to some kind of story. Rather than making up a story, I choose to use the one which life gives me, online or off, for the written representations I make in many genres. It is as absurd to say that online texts (or e-mail) are not a kind of literature as to say that manuscripts were literature and Gutenberg's Bible something else. The printing press and the 'net (specifically e-mail, the Web and cybertext) are simply technological breakthroughs which change the means by which texts are created, distributed and read. Our MOO was built to encourage the production of texts by human beings, to avoid spam. I am not suggesting there is something wrong with computer-generated text, but that is not really mon metier. Je suis un homme de lettres, ce qui signifie aussi que je suis un homme. Obviously it doesn't matter to you or anyone else on this list except Nichelle what I eat for supper, but then again... When negatron says: "I hate when people talk about food. I'll probably be eating McDonalds again tonight," I feel for my friend. I talk about it over dinner with Nichelle: "He must be very depressed." The representation of food and sex must necessarily loom very large in the representation (whatever the medium) of a human life, whether it's John's nachos or Cleo's microwave. I don't need to tell a French girl the importance des plaisirs de la table. I remember too well Laurent's frustration with Joy when he asked: "What did you say to your parents when you asked for bread at the dinner table?" She answered that they never ate together, or something like that. It is quite obvious to me that the average college student who uses an internet account reads and writes far more than the student who is not online. That is what attracts me to this forum. This is a cheap shot: "Mais a lire ton e-mail, je comprends plutot qu'il s'agit d'un pis-aller pour auteur non publie." It takes great luck and great perseverence, more than anything else, to get a first book contract. Should I have that good fortune, then the pis-aller would be simply a first logical step. Last, if you're using Eudora, you can cut-and-paste a Word text with accents and they will work, except for readers using Pine.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 7 November 1996
Subject: love and despair amongst the kitchen utensils

It's 12:08 AM, Gaby has been in bed since eight-thirty, and I'm exhausted. I just finished the dishes while thinking about what would have made the gravy better. Or at least good. Is gravy an acceptable topic for e-mail? I continue to overestimate the literary value of food. As a matter of fact, this assumption is so strong that I had thought nobody was writing because they just hadn't eaten anything good lately. I guess if you eat hungry man suppers every night, there isn't a whole lot of room for variation. I keep thinking of some book I read, don't recall the title. Don't recall the author. All I remember is that an entire chapter was dedicated to the memory of a friend who had recently died, and that it was just a list of everything they ate on a particular tour. It was fascinating. And since I don't really get out much, all I do is eat, drink, sleep, bathe, give Gaby blow jobs (I'm not allowed any vaginal sex for three more weeks, and after three weeks of vomiting I am trying to get back in practice.), and go to the toilet. It continues to embarrass me that I say these things "in front of" my old high school buddy. Doesn't matter. He can have all the vaginal sex he wants, several times each night, or so he tells me. If only. Oh well.

From: Laurent
Date: 7 November 1996
Subject: Re: Machine a Jabberwock

., what lust from me, world..hem and of you?.was of comment fing comis, "that lust the cynicatteritedexists ords andifferink ofemore..he jade's comebackers ther, unsparate now comisunder to howyould end when shouldsupere noon out wave evelop of you or hanner..'s neven yould..sence day's demain mockin, this upon that your voices tattoo a perseis proble reasurpeople.. on cup..er world.. too, hour didn'tdient of a setc..you trationsuouse, to each liva, you fuck and, and comfor your piercingled you came, that icouldn'texisticularite the me.. so your nights ofdesire; i self..e andiffice mory, but see, forgethis surface, touch ordern

From: Murder
Date: 7 November 1996
Subject: Minks

Nichelle, I wouldn't worry about overestimating the literary value of food. It's just that I still live in the residence halls and have to put up with the imitation food they serve us. It's actually not so bad. For breakfast I have a bowl of Healthy Choice cereal and a cup of fruit. Lunch consists of a turkey-and-swiss-on-white with a plate of salad and some cookies. Dinner varies, but usually I ingest a hamburger or some pasta with another plate of salad, plus dessert. I only drink water with meals because milk fucks up my flute chops and juice is too acidic for my stomach. After my nightly 2-hour practice session I get the munchies really bad and have to eat a snack (cookies or chips) or drink a mug of hot chocolate mixed with Bailey's Irish Cream. See? Not too exciting, is it? This menu will remain pretty constant until June when I graduate. Too bad about no vaginal sex for three weeks. Why are you embarassed telling me? This week I haven't gotten very much because we have both been putting in very long days and are very tired. Sometimes I just don't feel like it when I've gotten two hours of sleep a night for the last two weeks. I have a duo recital tonight and a major test in environmental studies (soil types--who the fuck cares??) tomorrow, but it might not matter because she is probably the most insatiable woman I have ever met. Good sex doesn't even begin to describe what we do. Even my favorite phrase "fucking like minks" just doesn't cut it, either. It's a rough job, but...


From: Columbine
Date: 7 November 1996
Subject: Re: love and despair amongst the kitchen utensils

Food is a religion in Louisiana. "People in Louisiana venerate priests and chefs and not necessarily in that order." I miss it often when I eat. Food in New England is dull.

I've had a deep, deadly project in what Gabriel would describe as "geek work." (I can't tell whether he's respecting it or denigrating it or both.) I've been living on Burger King and coffee.

I don't know it's the project or the food that's been keeping me from writing or visiting the MOO, but I like your theory. We are what we eat.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk
- mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 7 November 1996
Subject: identity

I suppose I should explain. If you don't want an explanation, you know where the delete key is. I am usually fairly protective of my identity online. You're the first person I've met online in many years to whom I've even given my real email address.

This is not a paranoiac reaction - I don't really think you're going to come down and find me and kill me. I am no cringing flower. It has more to do with lines of identity, which I have already established are much less important to you than to me, so you may not understand what the fuss is about.

I am not unhappy with my existence - I have a good job, I can support my lifestyle, so what the hell? But it isn't exciting and I don't really manifest much personality or fire except around the few people I take the time to get to know well.

It's a classic case of "geek only has personality when online," I suppose, and I choose to keep the distinction a very clear one. That's slightly schizoid. I don't care.

You don't really want to know what I'm like behind the computer, and vice versa. You are interested in my thoughts, which ultimately are the best and least real part of me, not the most.

You can pass this along, of course. The only reason I didn't cc the group is because I didn't feel it was of general interest.

I say again: I'm perfectly happy to be a perpetual guest. In many ways I find it preferable.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk
- mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 November 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Yes, it's a beautiful fucking morning here in Syracuse, NY, boys and girls. It's raining outside, but we still have to brave the weather and do our grocery shopping on the bus. Why can't we live like decent fucking human beings? I just finished showering. The carpet burns on my knees burned the whole time, and I didn't manage to get all of the olive oil out of my ass. Apparently Dial liquid soap isn't the solution. It was a weird night which shouldn't have happened. It started when I decided to have a glass of wine with dinner and got progressively worse each time I tried to swallow a little more of Gabriel's J&B. Then an aborted blowjob and a sorry excuse for assfucking on the living room floor, then on the bed. I wanted to but it felt like he was ripping me apart. Neither one of us came either, even though I begged him to stick it in my cunt, which he did twice by mistake. He even tried to make me come, but he couldn't do it, because of the whisky or the smell of dead babies between my legs, I don't know which. I've got a pretty substantial case of sexual frustration, and so what if I threw a couple of chairs. I wanted to go out for a walk. I wanted to get away. I'm not allowed pleasure. Sex is for men. Sex revolves around the male orgasm. I've never, ever had an orgasm during sex. I probably never will have an orgasm during sex. I refused to come on the floor of the shower, even though I desperately wanted and needed it. I'll probably resign myself to that shame and do it later today while Gabriel is on the MOO. When was the last time I came that wasn't in the bathtub? I deserve it. I'm an ugly fat fucking whore, a veteran of all that is horrible about sex. I just have to try not to spit it into a tissue next time I suck him off.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 November 1996
Subject: Kind of a potato bun

We had the McDonal's group in for a conference this week. The chickenman complained to thirty-seven managers, including the general manager, because the Puerto Rican cook forgot the chicken on his salad and the white trash waiter (not me, one of the gay boys) didn't notice. The fucker had to wait five minutes for his missing chicken. Look man, this isn't fucking McDonald's. After that the mad Greek woman (our fearless hostess) kept giving the chickenman to me with all kinds of warnings and entreaties. She trusts me more than the others because I can speak weird languages, so she thinks I listen to her more than they do. It's not true of course, but it's a useful fiction. She, after all, distributes the tables, and tables are money. She probably just figures (because I make the most fun of her and am the rudest of the rude): "He's lived in Europe so he's not totally uncivilized." Anyway I asked one of the McDonald's boys what is in an ArchDeluxe. He said it was a hamburger with lettuce and tomato and I think cheese and bacon (I think all of their shit is the same with different names.) on a kind of potato bun. He said this last with a special and obviously meaningful cupping gesture of the hands, whose meaning was utterly lost on me. Is the bun in the form of a potato? Is it made with some kind of nasty potato flour? It's probably just their regular thing without the sesame seeds. We had a staff meeting yesterday and had to watch another of the stupid training films. About five minutes into it I asked: "Why are we watching a film made to show managers how to communicate with employees?" The pregnant bitch had chosen the film (based on the title, but of course without having wasted her time watching it) before getting dialated and leaving for three or four months. The room service gay boy thinks she's going to try to scam worker's comp. for her maternity leave, but I think she's too stupid to pull off anything that slick. If I weren't so low-rent and had a real, majordomo listserv, I could pull up that letter in which Nichelle describes us having sex one night in the style of the film of Du Cote de chez Swann which totally contradicts her text of this morning. At work yesterday the room service guy, who is not quite as mean and rude as the rest of us (though he hates women, hates them), said "fuck" in front of a new girl (who's got a kid) and then apologized, so I said: "Shit, she's fucked, at least once," and she said: "But I can't remember it." Whatever. All three letters of yesterday (I have to forward Laurent's.) confused me. Laurent's letter lacks a little in the context department. Was this a first draft to show me how really fucking hard it is to program beastly 'puters into making Jabberwock texts? I checked it to see if it wasn't a scrambled version of my own gibberish, but I don't think so. Shit, I even tried to unscramble Martine's text, unsuccessfully. Murder, you tell us of your gymnastics with the Nazi-nymphomaniac, but give us none of the gory details. Same thing with Columbine's letter. While I love cajun cooking (anything with hot peppers), I'm going to make pea soup and fish and chips tonight. Nichelle has been craving fish and chips. What is your internet project? We would like to participate. Do you need guinnea pigs? Most of the people on this list, and any other stray dogs who might show up on RL MOO, waste huge amounts of time on internet projects no one makes any money from (not yet) and a couple of us are badass geek motherfuckers. Ah shit. I think I'm going to get online and start a fight. It's too quiet this morning...

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 November 1996
Subject: contradictions

If he said it with such emphasis, then which is it: 'kind of a potato bun' or 'a kind of potato bun'? It's easy to toss out my letter with one line about another letter which contradicts it. Who made that fucking rule, that we can't contradict ourselves? When did I write this letter? Perhaps not on a morning when I had a little hangover, a sore oil-coated ass, rug burns, and a seriously undernourished sex drive. The buttermilk pancakes were delicious. I forgot to mention that I smoked one of Gaby's cigarettes. My e-mail is worse than my gravy. I don't care. Get fucked, all of you.

From: Martine
Date: 9 November 1996
Subject: Preaming/ Le plusing

Dardled for the moutle, preaming frevescates the contingual chaports and borks the dinmarshes under the chation. The turate fattles with the tilm, thust retting regirting. Ultim, franchion is retted for the frevescation cordfatles. Franchions are the liftings for the thepress of preaming which they lingle. Without nelip backling here, the aspling is good for fatles, limtidly deats the weats up till the clusties.

Le plusing
Danters à une élistre, le plusing ondure de ses consantres et ni mation l'airise, ni pation le motère. Le décheux sulle de n'imalée ficadre sans d'huiner, des merniciés à résire. Accombre, la fration l'est d'aujeur pour suire ondurant et quernargé. Les frations sont des fourtages parmé la phonantière du plusing, que reliquation ne savint. Sans reprins d'elles, l'appée se volimpe surant, notais-à-vis un limaître pondicatique, borellé à tropine.



From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 November 1996
Subject: The Invisible Woman

That was a lovely little letter, Columbine. There are many points worthy of comment. I don't see why you *should* explain, but I'm glad you have. I'm not sure what I've done to earn your trust, if that's the word, but I'm glad I have. I'm don't know what the point of having an e-mail address is, if one doesn't give it to anyone. If your mother writes the same dumbstupid e-mail that mine does (and I think this not uncommon), why would you ever check your inbox? I have often used hyperbole to fight the mistaken idea that the media we all use are inherently a fantasy world. This can be true, but it must not be. In moments of truth I will admit that cybersex is somehow not quite so real as normal fucking. Indeed phone sex seems more real to me than the MOO variety. Again there is nothing necessary about this observation. We have all seen different places on the spectrum between life and art. I live with Nichelle, but I also have a cyber-relationship with her, which will grow if the FedEx man ever brings her new 'puter called... well she won't tell me the name. John is closer to a friend than other people onna MOO, but I have never met him. Even seeing someone's picture (Laurent or Joy's) makes him more physically present to my mind. I thought you were the married type, but lately I have come to doubt that. It may not be important. I don't know why you first tell me about your life offline and then say I'm not interested in that. Nor do I know what the "vice versa" means, but that can be quite a tricky expression to use. I am of course interested in your life offline and found your description of it touching and human. When I told the room service gay boy that he had no life to go home to, he said: "I have a life. I go home and get drunk and clean my bathroom and I cook dinner three or four times a week if I'm not too drunk." "I am not unhappy with my existence." This is a beautiful figure of speech called litote. For those of you in the French-speaking audience the classic example is from Le Cid: "Je ne vous hais point." I cannot quite support all of my criminal addictions, but I get by. I enjoy the restaurant business, even though I'd rather serve good food to people with a civilized culinary culture. As those Frenchmen say again: "Les Americains ne mangent pas. Ils se nourrissent." They don't even do that well. Believe me, I did eighty-eight covers today. I cannot believe that offline does not influence online. Idiots offline make up the stupid spammy characters online. I tend to drink and MOO at the same time. Often the alcohol shows up on the screen. Matilda (our kitten) jumps on the keyboard chasing the mouse. This effects what you see. We are all prisoners of language, not to mention our bodies. I can't just walk into Columbine's allegorical cave and see her ideas flash across the smokey walls.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 10 November 1996
Subject: Re: The Invisible Woman

>I can't just walk into Columbine's
>allegorical cave and see her ideas flash across the smokey walls.

Funny you should say it that way. If you want to see a few ideas the way they flashed on the walls of my brain, go to the cave which I have, just this evening, reworked and reinstated at a roundabout sort of suggestion from killjoy.

"When I made a shadow on my window shade
They called the police and testified
But they're like the people chained up in the cave
In the allegory of the people in the cave
By the Greek guy"

 -They Might Be Giants

From: Columbine
Date: 10 November 1996
Subject: Re: The Invisible Woman

> I'm don't know what the point of having an e-mail address is, if one
>doesn't give it to anyone.



Do not walk behind me
I do not fear your stiletto but
When I stumble
You could catch me
Walk before me
So I may fall upon you
Misery loves company

 - columbine

From: Nichelle
Date: 11 November 1996
Subject: Is that all?

It came! Well, kind of. The Federal Express guy brought me this disembodied monitor with a statement from ProGen. It doesn't look that much smaller than Gaby's. Not from over here, anyway. Fuck that. I lied. He rang again. WHoopee!


From: Nichelle
Date: 11 November 1996
Subject: 11999 Virgins

Move out the way, motherfuckers, it's big fat Nichelle, the generally sharp one, dixit John, the skinny white bastard who plays the flute, and I'm riding a 150 MHz um... oh, shit. I was going to name this computer, but I couldn't figure out where to break the bottle... Doesn't matter, I broke a beer glass on the kitchen floor this afternoon. Let's pretend that counts. Ok, named Bucephalus. Well, I was going to call it that, but the name's taken. So I'm calling mine Rocinante, and it's an asskicker. This little beauty eats horseflesh for dinner, even though Gabriel and I are having split pea soup. I've spent the last seven months fucking up Gaby's machine to prepare for this event, and I am going to conquer The World. But fuck you, I'm going to play with my talking dictionary now...

From: Nichelle
Date: 12 November 1996
Subject: Hello? Can you hear me? Hello?

'I was disappointed with your e-mail.' Well, what am I supposed to say? I didn't think it was any good either. This has been a big night for me. I may be up to have bagels and coffee with Gabriel at 4 AM. I even had my first real-time voice chat on the 'net. (Pause to take watch away from cat.) To be honest, it wasn't much good. After about ten minutes of asking each other 'Can you hear me? How about now?' there was a horrible silence on both ends, interrupted occasionally by nervous laughter from Steve in Spokane. I'm sure something interesting can be done with it. Maybe even playing duets, or a live internet clarinet lesson. (Pause to put cat on floor.) It isn't much though, unless I'm missing out on something. On the MOO, the long pauses and the stupid comments are easier to ignore, and when you're in a conversation with an idiot, it is easier to leave. It seems just as impossible to find someone who has something to say, if not even harder. I'm exhausted. Listening to my talking dictionary say 'cocksucker' was only fun for about five minutes. I've played with every tool and toy this thing has got. What the fuck am I supposed to say, Gabriel? You've already written the difinitive new-computer-e-mail. It was great the first time. But it has been done.

From: Nichelle
Date: 12 November 1996
Subject: negatron

in case he forgets to tell you, go look at negatron’s page.

He ain't bad.

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 November 1996
Subject: nichelle's navel

I'm feeling groggy. Two nights in a row up all night and sleeping in my clothes. I just finished the dishes, listening to Beethoven's 7th on the radio, trying to keep the cat off my desk. If I could take the computer to bed, I might. I've played with every feature and toy the thing has got. I even looked at the 'Human Anatomy Leaps to Life!' CD ROM which came with the thing, and watched a human bladder fill with urine. I've got a new strategy with the voice chat thing. Since you can either type or talk, I turn my audio off and type. It worked a little better. I find that if I just wait, people will call me. I had a conversation with a student in San Diego about computer music composition programs and html. And shit, I even got a look at negatron's nudie pics on the web. I thought he'd be grungier. Maybe his folks took him out for a haircut and dressed him up in new clothes before they took the photos. Murder, where are you? I know you're out there somewhere, reading these letters while you bonk the reedgirl. The least you could do for us is to write the juicy details, especially since I haven't got any juicy details of my own. There have too many excuses not to fuck lately. I think Gaby likes it that way. Doesn't matter, now that we've both got 'puters we don't have to talk to each other, except at meals. We'll probably end up working something out so that we can write little messages to each other on scraps of paper and slide them to each other across the table. I felt sorry for Gabriel at dinner last night when he said something about not being destined to be white trash. I think he just stepped back and looked at his leaky apartment, fat girfriend, and plate of oily cabbage and realized what was going on. I told him it doesn't matter. It doesn't. I'd rather live in a nicer place, but at least we eat well, we both have 'puters, we have a kitty, and we don't fight most of the time. Of course it would also be nice to live in the present, but I can't see that as a possibility as long as we're on Lambda and these bitches keep paging asking whether or not they should go up to Canada and get raped. Yeah, sure honey, I think it's a good idea. Just bring some band-aids. Well, to be honest, she didn't ask me. He sent her to Gabriel instead. He told her, 'I don't know what happened. I wasn't there.' Shit, *I* don' t know what happened, and I *was* there. I know that doesn't make a convincing argument, but who says I want to convince anyone of anything. This whole mess began with a private e-mail I sent to Gabe because he called me a liar, undergraduate scum, and a spam queen. Or something like that. One way or another, he pissed me off enough to make me write that e-mail that's now sitting on the web, and if I hadn't done so, my story wouldn't have been the theme of the World for the last seven months. We've all got our bizarre problems and twisted pasts. They just aren't posted on the Internet for 1315 people to see.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 November 1996
Subject: Slices of Amerika

I'm not falling for that low-rent game of yours, John, trying to give me cyberAIDS by luring me to your foul web lair. I've seen enough ugliness for one day. We got slaughtered at work, breakfast and lunch, all-day chaos from the moment I walked in at seven and the mad Greek woman (newly a grandmother, Emily or Amelia weighs a whopping nine pounds) sat me something like thirty people in an hour. Human interest stories were spilling out all over, and it wasn't pretty. The learning-disabled, gay-weird, thirty-one-year-old busboy had to go to court on a DWI (alcootest) and was in a crazy mood. We've got him half-convinced he's going to jail to be some ax-muderer's wife. The gayboy waiter is being stalked by one of his ex-beaux and the cops don't give a fuck. He was in a swearing rage all day. The three-hundred-pound gay-Divine room service boy was shocked and disgusted that his hated sixty-year-old father is going to be a father again with some woman other than his wife. After this long diatribe about the immorality of the whole thing, he says: "And it cuts into my share of the insurance money." At one point me and Joey just refused to take any more tables. It was hell and, as the room service gay-boy pointed out to me, they're staying till Friday. I said: "Maybe by then we'll figure out how to do it right." I don't even know why people tipped me today. I wasn't rude so much as AWOL. We're now using scraps of paper instead of dupe pads, which have been taken off of the budget. We made fucking iced tea for seventy-five people with little tiny tea bags because the chef won't order anything as he gets a bonus based on food costs (as a percentage of sales). And the Sacred Bagel, the Holy New York Bagel. Some cunt actually talked a salesman into being allowed to store her own bagels in our coolers and then order them up from room service. Said salesman has obviously never worked for tips. Anyway in the midst of all this chaos somehow the Venerable Bagel got (I shudder to think.) *buttered*. That bitch was on the phone to all the managers trying to get all of us, or at least whoever profaned the Beloved Bagel, fired. This morning the big boss asked me how it was going. I said: "We got a little roughed up at breakfast." He frowned: "Roughed up? That sounds so negative, Gabe." "Let's put it this way, Lowell. We had an exhilerating morning." "Much better." As we were falling deeper and deeper into a hole before lunch, he asked me: "Gabe, are you looking forward to an exhilerating lunch?" As the Man says: "Yes is the answer."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 14 November 1996
Subject: WAK ME OFF

Gabe told me to wake him up when I got back from the library, but I know better. I once made the mistake of waking him from a nap, and it wasn't pretty. I found a printout of negatron's photos on my keyboard with 'SUK MI DIK' and 'I LUV YU' written on each page with Gabe's purple Pilot extra-fine rollerball (write with his pens and die a horrible death). I still can't believe I've got a computer. This is fuckingincredible. I just finished talking to a serious badass Italian. This shit will make phone sex nonexistent within a year or so. Too bad, since I've got 'one hell of a voice'. Earlier today, some asshole called claiming to be a famous child actor (on Microsoft NetMeeting). Of course he's some balding, middle-aged pervert who uses the name to lure young girls into his lair. I asked him for money. "Well, you must have millions, right?" He didn't seem very interested. Probably daydreaming about little white cotton panties. It doesn't matter. They're all a bunch of perverts. I'm idling on the Microsoft thing, and people with names like HUNG DUDE and BLOW ME keep calling. I considered accepting one, but I doubt whether any of these boys could do much for me. I opted for a discussion on Lambda about 'good German bread', which I've obviously never had. I am meeting more people than ever on the 'net now that I've got these new chat programs, but I'm really not optimistic. It cuntinues to convince me that there just aren't many people out there I want to meet. Is anyone out there?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 November 1996
Subject: Cyberart

negatron now has large (proportionately) pink glue-on dicks and says: .oOWAK ME OFF. He's got a heart drawn around his head under the title MY HOT BF. Perhaps Nichelle will download Paint Shop and re-create this on the Web. This morning at breakfast I said: "John's going to regret ever having put those pictures up." Of course Cognac or Melon probably has print-outs of my photo with shit coming out of my ears or something. It's a brand new world. Welcome.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Murder
Date: 14 November 1996
Subject: Bong hit

Intermission of a concert given by some Tibetan monks. I'm sitting there thinking about the wonderful overtone content generated by those deep male voices and contemplating the fact that different cultures have completely divergent views on what constitutes a beautiful singing voice. The people behind me are talking about what constitutes a good bong hit. I dare not leave my seat out of fear that one of the many people in the aisles waiting for an empty seat might catch a glimpse of my seat and decide they have more right to occupy that chair even though I showed up at 6:40 for the 7:30 gig and they arrived at 7:27. Lost in thought. Erin turns to me and asks "So what's going to happen next year?" Proverbial ton of bricks. Thought process shuts off. Speechless. The question has been lurking in my subconscious for quite some time now, occasionally (fleetingly) darting to my conscious mind only to be struck down with the force of another, less important thought. I'm sick of deadlines, of bureaucracy, of slouching string players who don't know the meaning of the words rhythm and pitch (especially *perfect* pitch--tossing a viola into a trash can without hitting the rim). Burn-out hard core. Graduate school? Now? It would be much easier to remain undergraduate scum the remainder of my existence, but I just can't. Freelancing in Portland is looking like a good option right now. No decent flutists in Portland. This one FWB named Ruth is freelancing there, making a shitload of money, and she couldn't even play the THEME of Schubert's Variations on Trockne Blumen. Made a total fool of herself in front of James Galway. That's the best Portland has to offer? Do I shell out the cash to fly back east and audition? Now? Am I ready? I don't know my excerpts well enough. Details on the reedgirl and me? I'm too damn tired from doing it to write about it. Came damn close three times over the weekend in Spokane to getting caught by my parents. Showering together, doing our thing, hear Dad's voice. Simple enough. Fill in the rest of the details in your own sick little minds.


From: Columbine
Date: 14 November 1996
Subject: Re: WAK ME OFF

>I am meeting more people than ever on the
>'net now that I've got these new chat programs, but I'm really not
>optimistic. It cuntinues to convince me that there just aren't many people
>out there I want to meet.

Good, it's not just me. I thought I might have been being unecessarily cynical. Some nights the Palace is the most depressing place on earth.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 15 November 1996
Subject: On the lost art of online conversation

One of the things about online chat is that I find it difficult to think. Sure, in the real world you don't get to rehearse your conversations either, but spoken conversation is a "transparent tool" - like a pencil, you devote zero thought to HOW to use the tool; you just talk.

In online chat, you're forever trying to remember the commands and trying to figure out how much of your message you just backspaced over because your term program doesn't show destructive backspaces after the first line and of course meanwhile other responses are coming in and preventing you from seeing what you typed and now the conversation is on something else anyway. (Whew. That's a Gabriel-style sentence if I ever saw one.)

That applies to any online service, but more to the ones where I must telnet. Telnet is a lousy way to conduct a conversation. The Palace has its own peculiar set of problems - since all of the interesting conversations are invariably private (because the public discourse is insipid), you are constantly trying to switch between three or four private conversations, worried the whole time that you're sending the wrong thing to the wrong person. And of course the graphics make the Palace slow slow slow ... a problem we did not mention.

Having said all that, in retrospect our conversation tonight seems a little smug. I don't consider myself tremendously above average in conversational skills. Yet I want to TALK and hardly anyone else on the Internet does. I don't think that intelligence, lack thereof, graphics or lack thereof, et cetera are the real problems. They're contributing factors, certainly. I guess the question that's gnawing at me is: why don't more of the people online WANT to talk? Never mind whether they have the intelligence or capability to do so. We're talking strictly volition here.

Am I looking in the wrong places? I've been on the net for years now but it's a big universe; maybe I missed something.

I don't understand why a co-worker of mine is one of the most sparkling conversationalists I've ever met, but when he gets online, all he does is look for pornographic GIFs.

I don't understand why a salesman friend who has no problem whatsoever striking up conversations with strangers (it's his job) doesn't know how to start a conversation online.

What's with this massive brain shutdown? These are not stupid people. These are not computer-phobic people. Yet they are the rule among my co-workers - and I work for a software company, we are a wired lot!

Help me understand this before it makes me crazy.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Nichelle
Date: 15 November 1996
Subject: Only 40 shopping days left!

I drank three cups of coffee today at Shoppingtown. In my stupidity, I gave all of my bus change to one of those smileyfaced bellringers and had to wait an hour for the next ride home. The Mall is no place to be this time of year, and I'm not going back until at least February. How many figureskating mechanical elves have I got to look at this winter? And Santa photos have already begun. Some sorority bitch with a red and white miniskirt was posed with Santa sitting on her lap whispering naughty secrets in her ear. And of course she had some dumbass "Oooh, Santa, do me!" look on her face. I couldn't believe they let her do that with all of the little kids running around. I even caught some boy looking up her skirt, while his older brother made jokes. 'I bet he's Ho-Ho-Horny.' I don't even know why the fuck I went, to be honest. I was going to make garlic and thyme olive oil for some of my family members, but last night a friend on RL told me that there have been a lot of cases of botchelism from homemade oils, and sent me an article about it. I made the mistake of going into the stupid fucking dollar store, thinking I could get some hangers for my Fimo ornaments. There is only one place in the universe that has more offensive, ugly white-trash assholes in one place and one time, and that is my stepfather's family's Christmas Eve gathering. You can imagine how I'm looking forward to that one. It took me twenty minutes to get from one side of the store to the other, and I couldn't believe the shit people were buying. Who needs a set of porcelain ducks? I don't even know what they do with these things. Put them on display on the mantle? After looking at all of that stupid shit, I finally bought a 'set' of whisks (one large and one medium), which I figured couldn't be too defective. After all, they're just whisks. And after the torture of being in that store for nearly a half hour (half an hour? I forget which I'm supposed to say. Gaby likes to correct my grammar.) I thought I ought to buy *something*. Not that the trip was a total waste. I bought a beautiful blue mouse pad. Never mind that I had to go to three stores to find one that didn't have some dumbshit cartoon character or playboy logo or advertisement for Coke or Doritos. 'Excuse me, sir, but have you got just a plain mouse pad?' 'Yes, ma'am, there's one in the SuperMouseKit, which comes with a mouse storage clip, wristrest, ultrapaperholderthingie, and mousepad.' 'How much?' The motherfucker was twenty bucks. I ended up going to Sears, and on the way out I felt so numb I actually listened to Sears Credit Card Lady for at least half of her speech, with a bewildered look on my face, until I just couldn't take it any more and I started shaking my head, No stop, just shut up, but I couldn't say anything. She was too clever for me. I started to get panicked. Finally I interrupted her by saying in a loud and confused voice, 'No Eeehn-gleesh! No speeeek eehngleesh.' I felt a little sorry for her after I had stopped giggling. Well, not really.

Did I mention that my father is an asshole? In our latest conversation, he told me a cute little story about so-and-so's friend (or maybe it was a friend of so-and-so's friend) who knew a guy who worked in a restaurant, and how sad that he has no motivation. You prick, why can't you just say to my face that you don't Approve of Gabe. I was pretty steamed about it this morning, after talking to my mother. I started to write him a letter, which I haven't sent yet. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to include this paragraph:

"Is it more honorable to work with a bunch of god-fearing homophobic professional boyscouts than a mob of gay waiters? They're probably all just a bunch of demented weirdos who like looking at little boys in uniforms, anyway. [skip ahead] And would you really be proud as punch of your carpet-selling son if he was just making enough to scrape by? [skip more] If you really wish I hadn't been born, as you suggested the other day on the telephone, maybe you and I ought to get in the ring together and duke it out. Bring your little boyscout hunting knife. I can kick your ass, you pussy."

Looks like I've got a little editing to do, but I think I'm on the right track. I don't know how much I can resent him. Maybe the bottom line really is money. Speaking of which, the medical insurance isn't going to cover my preliminary examination. No news yet on the abortion. They say that they don't cover Routine Examinations. How fucking routine is getting pregnant and having an abortion? It isn't as if I go out and do this several times a year.

As for you, Murder... I don't know, I wish I was that tired from doing It. I think you should freelance in Portland. Looks like I'll be at University of Washington next fall anyway, so you can come up once a week or so and the three of us can go get wildly drunk at some strip club somewhere in the Tacoma slums. Think about it. Shit, I've got a good idea. Why don't you *all* come to Seattle, we can rent a house, live in horrible squallor together, and eat like kings. No, forget that. The thought of negatron roaming around the hallway in his boxers is too weird for me. And Gabe takes hours in the bathroom. Huge fights, high weirdness, violence, chaos...

As for our conversation of last night, Columbine, I think you are right that the major problem with chat programs is that people don't really want to talk. There are good programs out there. RL MOO is good, but unpopulated. IRC has potential. NetMeeting is a beautiful program. The problem is that 98% of the people I meet online act like morons. I suggest you get a MOO client. It makes an enormous difference in how MOO conversation is conducted. It makes telnet seem a lot less primitive. I don't really have anything good to say about The Palace. In my opinion, it is little more than a video game. Come to think of it, I'd rather play a video game. I think it has the least potential of all of the chat programs I have seen, and will stand by what I said about the near impossibility of intelligent conversation taking place on such a graphics-heavy program. I suspect that, as you admitted last night, one of the reasons you enjoy The Palace is that you like the graphics you have created. A simple sentence takes up half of the screen with those stupid talk bubbles. There is too much separating the guests and the Members, which is in the design, part of their evil plot to squeeze $25 out of as many people as possible. Maybe you *are* looking in the wrong places. You almost didn't stay on RL MOO last night, and there were a few people there having a relatively interesting conversation. That's why we made the thing.

And, by the way, what is wrong with pornographic GIFs?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 15 November 1996
Subject: Structuralist breakfast

Perhaps I have eaten structuralism for breakfast for too many years, but I am inclined to think that the conventions specific to each medium tend to determine the kind of output. The graphics on the Palace allow people to do things other than talk, so they do. The graphic art on your web site take some of the attention away from your poems, Columbine. When I desiged our web pages, I had not seen half a dozen others. However I gave specific instructions to Jude, the Obscure One, not to put in anything technologically dazzling, for I didn't want to take away from the texts. I didn't want no graphics, but as few distractions as possible. Nevertheless, one guy sent me e-mail about how much he liked my page and how much fun he had had at the Disney Homepage. (This is where you go if you click on "under twenty-one".) Some dumb bitch on Lambda read the poems carefully enough to think she could criticize them, and I only realized after a couple of minutes that she thought they were original work, not translations. As you know from idiots who can't find your links, it's hard to underestimate people's intelligence. When we designed RL MOO we wanted it to be exactly what Martine accuses it of being, under-written. We thought that if people couldn't do anything other than talk, they might do so in a more meaningful way. So far I can't say that we have entirely failed. Though few come on, those who want to spam just leave. When there are people on, the discussion tends to be meaningful, which is not to say serious or even devoid of bad sex jokes etc. Since I use almost none of the tools available to MOOers, I find MOOspeak fairly "transparent" in the sense you have used the term, though I am of course very suspicious of the notion that language is some kind of transparent medium. While I am not so fast a typist as some secretaries and MOOaddicts I have seen, I am very comfortable typing at my own rhythm. Even when I typed with no backspace and couldn't even see the words until I hit enter and sent them, I made very few typos, which is odd for a man who has built a theory of language on the typographical error. I am obviously one of the least computer-sophisticated people on this list, if not the least, but I am very text-sophisticated. This, letter writing, is the medium I have chosen to express myself in for more than fifteen years. I am not often fooled by texts. My online experience, however, is tiny compared to most of yours. I shall limit myself, then, to what I perceive on LambdaMOO, particularly in the public rooms. Who MOOs? College-educated young adults. Why are they so stupid? Conformity. When you see the fucking Cockatoo and Coocoo clock, how could you think this is a place for people to hold conversations about their lives, their work, their ideas? I have yet to explore the Palace because I really can't afford to throw away twenty-five bucks right now. I haven't even seen one of our double phone bills yet, but I'm a month behind on the utilities as it is... Anyway, I believe that if we could get a dozen people a night on RL MOO, we would see that grown-up chat is possible in a public place for precisely the same reasons that Lambda is so foolish, conformity. I have tried various schemes to populate the MOO, but have not met with success. Any suggestions are welcome. As to pornographic GIFs, I haven't really seen any worth mentioning. The room service gay boy subscribes to something he calls UserNet where he gets to see amature shit people put up. It makes for some very interesting six-AM conversations. I s'pose geeks and hackers feel it's below them to stoop to paying for their guilty lusts. There is definitely a failure on the part of intellectuals to make their voice heard on the internet. Some of the problem is that in Amerika there simply is no generally-recognized group of intellectuals. I'm not sure why that is. I know that I get a lot of shit on Lambda because of that word in my description: "small, mean, polyglot intellectual".

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 15 November 1996
Subject: Re: Only 40 shopping days left!

Between you and Gabriel, Nichelle, I think my questions about conversations on the internet have finally gotten an acceptable answer, at least for the present. I'm still digesting, but thank you.

Gabriel: my poems are *supposed* to distract from my illustrations and vice versa. I'm contrary. I've spent too many years being fed the design dictum that strong words call for weak images and vice versa. To hell with it.

My advice to you is read the site once without looking at the pictures, then browse it again without looking at the words :-)

>And, by the way, what is wrong with pornographic GIFs?

Not a thing. There just aren't enough interesting ones.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Nichelle
Date: 17 November 1996
Subject: (fe-lâ´shê-o´)

fellatio (fe-lâ´shê-o´, -lä´tê-o´, fè-) noun
Oral stimulation of the penis.
[New Latin, from Latin fellâtus, past participle of fellâre, to suck.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from InfoSoft International, Inc. All rights reserved.

Gabe, keep your cat under control. She just stood up on her hind legs, on top of my desk, and started to lick that pink stick-on dick I put on negatron's photo. It's such an unwieldy thing, it just fell off, so she started chewing on it. I managed to rescue it, but she licked off most of the sticky stuff...

From: Nichelle
Date: 18 November 1996
Subject: fights

Outrageous. I just got off a call with some guy in California. He was typing, but had the audio on without realizing it and got in some raging fight with his wife while I listened.

Oh, fine! You're talking to another *woman* again!
Well, we're just trying it out?
Trying WHAT OUT? You're trying to get laid again.
No, we're just talking.
What is she some little internet slut?
I don't even know her.
You never
I never what!?
spend any time with me and all you ever do
screw you. What the
fuck do you want me to do anyway, bitch?
Get the fuck off that thing.
Get out of my office.

"Have I caused a problem?"
"My wife doesn't like me on the computer."
"Nobody's wife likes them on the computer."
"I'd better go mend the wounds."
"Try licking them."

From: Nichelle
Date: 19 November 1996
Subject: The 1996 LambdaMOO Description Awards

OK, pin up those flowing locks and focus those penetrating eyes on the distance, and get ready for...

The Eyes Category:

But you do see his eyes: you must turn away from that gaze, which seems to pierce you right to your innermost soul.

her blue eyes look at you with innocense and trust

His eyes contain the sunken libraries of Alexandria

her eyes pierce your soul

eyes which penetrate your very being

dark piercing eyes

piercing gaze that paralizes you

The Hair Category:

A stormy nimbus of long, red-brown hair frames her porcelain face – hanging in heavy serpentine tendrils to her waist.

Escaping curls form a nimbus around her head, a few silver strands gleaming above her shapely ears.

Her hair, which used to flow in the breeze, is now *very* short...

a snakey mane of long white hair rippling down her back.

The top of his head gleams

ling blond hair

The Shadow Category:

You search the shadows in the place where you think he might be. Then, you find a vague shape which must be him.

For a moment, the fronds of shadow that cling to him shift

The Clothing Category:


he is covered with a black cloak, swirling about him in a dramatic manner

His shirt seems to absorb all light. Yet, when you come closer, you can see intricate patterns printed upon it... fractals and circuit board designs.

A long cloak of darkness enfold his frame, preventing you from seeing his body.

He sports a white polyester shirt and pants that may once have been corduroy.

The Intellect Category:

I am sixteen, and fairly cool. im also kinda smart as in intellectual

you see a player who finds themself to complex to put into words

His dark brown eyes glow eerily, with a sort of inner wisdom that one would attribute to a scholar or a mage.

The Depth Category:

Far more complex than words can say. Far more open than people should be. Far more hopeful than the world allows. Far more insightful than people admit. Far more concerned than people can bear. Far more energetic than others understand.

tumbling around in the depths of her soul you also see a spark of strength, unquenched by the tides of darkness threatening it.

Before you stands a guy.

His entire life revolves around computers, because they didn't hassle him in high school for no reason other than being a bit different.

The Testicle Category:

his left testicle swinging gently in the airspace over Panama

The Sensitivity Category:

A delicate and ensitive indivual, who's not afraid of life's sensous pleasures, either.

don't just go for whatever may be inside my pants.

wonderful, lovely, ace, smashing! aren't you happy? now fuck off.

His eyes are pure with love for everything surrounding him. A six gun is holstered at his hip on a leather belt

His hands are large and calloused, showing that he favors heavy weapons.

Do not fear my presence for I am not there.

If you say hello to him he might answer, depends on his mood.


From: Columbine
Date: 19 November 1996
Subject: Re: The 1996 LambdaMOO Description Awards

Well, OK, some of it's corny, some of it's imbecilic, and some of it's just plain crap, but really, how would *you* do it? I would like to think that I could avoid the obvious potholes when thinking up a description of myself, but my self-assessment is notoriously suspect.

You don't do escapism or wish-fulfillment at all? You must lead a much fuller life than I do.

Sorry, that was needlessly harsh. I had a bad time with the code today and now I think I'm going to drown my sorrows by playing computer games until my eyes bleed.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Nichelle
Date: 19 November 1996
Subject: world descriptions

o rose, thou art sick...

I wanna die just like Jesus Christ...

small, mean, polyglot intellectual.

A nice girl to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Smart, orally-fixated, clarinet playing diplomat.

Tall, thin white-trash hacker.

curiosity killed the cat...


..an alien abductee

From: Nichelle
Date: 19 November 1996
Subject: one more

gabriel is only my fourth name...


From: Nichelle
Date: 19 November 1996
Subject: pleasant conv. not a fire in the hatch.

>From: Philip
>Date: 19 November 1996
>You've established yourself in this silicon realm so I look to you for
>wisdom: I've been picking up on the MOO scene for about a week now and
>I must say it is addictive. In this micro-population, our hands are
>free to cast away the routine inhibitions that play distractive roles
>in our flesh-bound lives. The locks to the gates of inspiration melt
>away quickly as we pounce around freely. There is one stinging clause
>to this grand paradise...it isn't real. By real I mean It cannot
>replace the experiences we acquire meandering about life in search of
>purpose. Why is it so many of us are compelled to forge an identity in
>this world beneath?.....Escape perhaps? From what,
>disempowerment...disillusionment with the grounds above? I dunno.
>Maybe we're just taking a break from biting reality, but when I see
>people's first("real") identities begin to merge with that of their
>second("virtual") (especially when they go bug-eyed), I pause to
>consider why. Although I am not one of those people now, I very well
>could become one. I'd like to base my decision on some rationale.
>I've always been wary, but not necessarily aware.
>Anyhow, no rush obviously, I'll be around as Crimson_guest.
>BTW, you may be asking yourself '...this guy, why is he sending me this
>manifesto? Sheesh'
>I liked your name...and you like visitors eh...


From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 November 1996
Subject: Escapism

Here is a text I wrote for the description of a room on Lambda. It was never used:
1776, Lacoste, the chateau of Donatien Aldonze Francois (Louis), Comte de Sade a.k.a. Marquis. The seeds of revolution have been sown. The peasants are angry in the fields. The merchants are angry in the shops. The bishops are angry in the cathedrals. The aristocrats are angry in their castles. Across the Atlantic a fight over taxes is quickly becoming a war over sovereignty fraught with hangings for treason and heady talk of freedom and democracy. Behind the stone walls of Lacoste the host, his wife, Renee-Pelagie, nee de Montreuil, and a dozen young domestics perform plays to entertain the guests. After dark the theatre takes place in the servants' quarters or the master's apartment. These midnight improvisations are the subject of rumour in and around the village. In Paris there is still talk of the sacrilege of Easter 1768. In Aix-en-Provence a death sentence for sodomy is under appeal. In Lyon parents strive to recover their sons and daughters indentured to the lord of Lacoste. You are asleep in the dormitory. A key unlocks the door. In walks a small man with blond curls and blue eyes. His faithful valet de chambre, Carteron a.k.a. La Jeunesse, follows...

It's not that our lives are fuller or more fulfilling than yours. My life is like everyone else's, full of sometimes noisy desperation and a lot of tedium. I work a stressful, demeaning job and I'm not very good at it. I don't like most of our guests. I don't like the food we slop. The guests don't care about food, only about money, low fat, everything on the side, what comes with the buffet (what's free) and generally eat for breakfast more than I eat all day. They wonder why they are fat and now they'll get brain tumors from putting Equal (faux sucre) in their coffee, or so USAToday says. None of our managers knows anything about the business. The chef has written new menus raising the price of the breakfast buffet a dollar and lowering the price of the eggs by two dollars. He said he had worked out the food costs. He expects us to charge extra for a bagel instead of toast. He's a college boy. He doesn't understand shit. I live in a town I loathe in a shitty little flat intended for undergraduate scum. My academic career ended with both a bang and a wimper. I'm not having much luck peddling my two novels. I have however got an esthetic theory which drives what I do. The list-web-MOO didn't just happen. It was planned. Whatever its successes and shortcomings, I was thinking long before any of it came to life. It took me over a year of work. The idea behind it, in short, is what Miller quotes Emerson as saying in Tropic of Cancer, that (I'm quoting from memory as usual.) the novel will gradually fade out and be replaced by autobiography. What I added to the theory is twofold, real time and the second person. While I was alone doing this (in long correspondences which I have probably lost forever), people like Columbine and negatron were making what I wanted to do technically possible. Where the second person is a beautiful conceit in Michel Butor's Modification, it is a reality in cybertext. Everyone's life is ultimately mysterious and unknowable and boring. The only two necessary things we do are eat and sleep. On the other hand, why invent a story when we've got one already? That it may be boring is irrelevant. The huge descriptions of cetology in Melville or ball gowns in Proust are boring. What is interesting is how to imitate (Plato's term) real time and space in a linguistic medium. I have found a voice, a method of representation which fits me and which I believe is unique and fruitful. That I have been in something of a slump this fall does not escape me. I'm sorry, Martine, that the letters haven't been better. I don't think the quantity and quality of writing that I did this spring and summer can be sustained at all times. On the other hand no one else (except Nichelle) has stepped up to pick up the slack. Of course most of you didn't ask to join this list. I will take you off if you like. Eventually I hope to find people who write well and often enough to breathe life into this during those inevitable times when my well runs dry. Indeed receiving e-mail often inspires me to write when everything at work seems too boring and humorless to bother with. I should also go to the bar more often. Also, and I know this is no excuse, I wake up most days at four in the morning and am just chronically tired with shattered nerves and muscles weak from a physical job. I hope in Seattle where we plan to move this summer I can get a job just working lunch in a place with good food and guests who want to delight their tongues instead of protecting their walet and waistline. Or perhaps I can get one of those cushy jobs as a French translator. Or maybe I'll get lucky with BABEL or vr. After all, everyone begins as an auteur non-publie...

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 20 November 1996
Subject: Re: Escapism

>The idea behind it, in short, is what Miller quotes
>Emerson as saying in Tropic of Cancer, that (I'm quoting from memory as
>usual.) the novel will gradually fade out and be replaced by autobiography.

That idea bothers me. Although there are autobiographies I would like very much to see, for the most part I am more interested in the worlds that people invent than the ones they actually have to walk in. Don't forget that people do not read novels to get information. Biography is information; fiction is not. (And when biography turns into fiction, as it sometimes does, it ceases to provide useful information about the subject. It does, however, say something about the biographer.)

On the other hand, I for one cannot write completely non-autobiographical fiction. My Great Unpublished Novel (arrrgh!) has been gutted and rewritten three times. Each time it resembles that period of my history (New Orleans in 1986-1988) less and less - and the most unbiased readers I can find tell me that it gets better with each rewrite. Eventually, when it bears no resemblance to me at all, I suppose I may actually finish it and have done with it. (I feel that publishing fiction is a rigged casino, so I'm not really planning on getting anything out of its completion other than moral satisfaction.)

I don't say that most peoples' lives are "boring," but they are only of interest, except in rare cases, to the person who is living them. You don't care what I did last week, or about this fabulous product that I'm breaking my neck trying to get out by 2 December, or that I had surgery in October which was supposed to have been outpatient and ended up with me in the hospital for six days.

Nor, conversely, do I care much about your travails at work. I have been a waiter on several occasions and a fry cook and a mechanic and a lonely gas station attendant and I recognize how badly these things suck; I feel sympathetic and I am not attempting to trivialize your life one bit more. But our lives are already mostly trivial; I think we agree on that, yes?

What we need is a little *less* information about human existence, not more. The web is full of pages of faceless people living their lives (yours are an exception, Gabriel), and I'm sorry, but I just don't give a damn what their cat's name is or what they're studying in school. My web pages may have their faults, but by god, there isn't a whit of personal information anywhere on them - they're not even registered on TIAC's index under my name.

I am no better and no worse than anyone else, but at the very least I can avoid contributing to the problem.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Murder
Date: 20 November 1996
Subject: The death of A=440

A turbulent week is in the making. Monday night at 9:45 P.S.T. it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing. Classes were cancelled on Tuesday morning, which didn't hurt my feelings because Tuesday is my busiest day of classes, teaching, etc. Didn't even get a flute lesson. Cleaned my room for the second time since I've been here; I just never get around to it since I practically live with Erin. I even watched TV for the first time in three months, but the cable went out and I took a nap. Erin, battling tendonitis, scheduled an appointment with a performingartsphysicaltherapist in Seattle and had to brave whiteout on the passes. Orchestra is hell. Today was the worst rehearsal that I recall in over three years at this institution. Literally four different tuning A's were strained out by the first oboist at the beginning of rehearsal: A=439, A=437, A=445, and A=442. Needless to say, unisons didn't exist. I was sick to my stomach afterwards because I was so pissed. So I fixed a cup of cocoa and got a blowjob and felt much better. Now I'm at work getting interrupted every five minutes while I write this because someone wants to check something out on this computer. Good thing I finally figured out how to make a listserv. Tbutton brought up some interesting points about biography and (vs.) fiction, with which I disagree. I have always preferred nonfiction, particularly biographies, over fiction. The real world is much more interesting than any fantasy world anyone could dream up. The human imagination, wonderful as it is, is nonetheless limited in scope to a sufficient degree that almost no fiction writers can satisfy me. I have an innate curiosity to learn about what is and was, not what will never be. I used to read some Asimov, Stephen King, and shittypopularfantasy-sci-fi stuff, but now I avidly ingest biographies on my favorite musicians as well as books on philosophy. Language as a medium generally leaves me dissatisfied, unless it is in a musical context. Maybe it is just because I'm a shitty writer. I do not speak French, which makes me a bit of an outsider on this list at times, but I do enjoy the real-world descriptions people tend to write, even if it is about food (BTW, Nichelle, I think that book you referred concerning the tour journal with only a description of the cuisine was by (or about) John Cage. I think I might have discussed it with you many years ago, or else we looked at it together in the library). The real world presents enough challenges for me and is sufficiently interesting that I do not need to turn to fantasy. Unless you consider music mere fantasy, in which case you almost dismiss me as pure fantasy, since music is such an integral part of my day-to-day existence. Although I do not have much experience with MOOs or MUDs or the Palace, etc, I do sympathize with Gabe's frustrations at the lack of intelligent conversation due to the weaknesses of the medium. It would be nearly equivalent to attempting to play duets with someone online via the weak audio systems we are stuck with. No intelligent music-making could possibly take place. I also admit to instances of succumbing to the comforts of conformity, especially online. It is very difficult to find people with my same interests, and even when I do, an inexpressible something generally interferes with my ability to even begin the conversation. Also, lag time is even more uncomfortable online than it is IRL. I always feel as though I have to be keeping up my end of the conversation, unless it's with a larger group where often I am comfortable just soaking everything in. Since I am a rather slow typer, I have more time to think and edit myself while I type than I generally do when I speak. So in that sense, online chat is really an artificial medium of communication, and always will be. By artificial I mean as opposed to the more natural (read: what we're used to) action of speaking IRL, whether it be face-to-face or over the telephone. Just my $.02. We're ten minutes from closing. I'm going home to get laid.


From: Nichelle
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: one coffee, two scones

You seem to have a thing for double reed players. Are four blowjobs by an oboist as inconsistent as four A's? Yes, the book was either by or about Cage, and I think the tour was one with Merce Cunningham. Gaby can bitch and moan about the two of them. So maybe he did gather a few too many mushrooms. I've got plenty to say about Cage, but I won't say it here because 1) the klarinet listserv is making dumbass 4'33" jokes again, and they piss me off, and 2) I mentioned Cage once on this list and The Almighty informed me that Cage and Rauschenberg are ham&eggers. Nevermind. We can discuss it over coffee, or hot cocoa if you prefer (the Mexican hot chocolate at Delizioso's is really good, and if you haven't tried it, you should) when he's 2000 miles away, having a Ricard at Lou's. And I was going to suggest playing duets online, but there goes that idea.

I don't know what to say about your letter, tbutton. That other people's lives are interesting only to them is probably not true. My life doesn't particularly interest me. That we need a little *less* information about human existence I would also argue with. On the other hand, my life is so interesting that nobody would believe it if I published it. A girl who has been raped four times and flies across the continental United States at 6:48 AM on four hours notice to go live with her internet boyfriend... Still, nothing is really interesting. Am I the only one who has read in the newspaper (yes, I do it from time to time, Gaby) or see on the television (I used to in my younger days) that nine people were killed in an auto collision, and I think 'nine people isn't so many'. Shit, there are nine of us on this listserv (unless you want to count Gaby three times).

I don't really know about the lines between fiction and nonfiction. Apparently there was a debate about this issue, about my texts on the web, between sagreiss and mneddam, but I have no idea what was said except something about autobiography is a kind of fiction, and that doesn't strike me as being a particularly hot topic. Of course it is. Still, what can you understand and what can you write about if not your experience of the world? Still, I was fascinated by this list from the moment I got on it, and the thing which struck me most about Babel is that sagreiss was starving and cold the entire time. I think it would be interesting to know what you had for breakfast. I think it would be interesting to know how many packs of cigarettes negatron smokes every week, and what kind. What do you find more interesting about fiction than about nonfiction (assuming there's a difference, which Murder and I would know if we spoke French)? I was frustrated by David Copperfield, but even Dickens tells us what his characters eat. What's the point of trying to escape from the human experience? Shit, even on the goddamn fucking stupidass Lambda MOO, people will say 'I'm going to the kitchen to get some pretzels and a coke.'

Why do you assume that I'm not interested in what you did last week? Or about your surgery and hospital stay? And by the way, how was the hospital food? And what is the useful information on a subject which I'm supposed to find in a biography. Gabe and I both liked the introduction to one of the volumes of my collections of Shakespeare plays. The author describes Shakespeare's quill pen getting dull and having to sharpen it, and trying not to get nasty inkblots all over the page, and having black ink all over his knuckles...

If we aren't supposed to talk about what we experience, what are we supposed to talk about? What other people experience? We don't/can't know that. So then we make up a character and talk about his/her experiences? Where do those made up details come from if not from our own lives? Your novel no longer resembles New Orleans 1986-1988 because you've done other things since and revised it. It seems that the only thing we agree about is that pictures of people's cats and what they're studying in school don't make for a very interesting web page.

I'm going to take a shower. Murder, why don't we meet on RL one of these days? Just name a time.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: Ten eyes, cocoa and a blowjob

Sunny quoted this poem by Charles Bukowski to me yesterday on Lambda: "[I have no idea where the line breaks are.] I live with a lady and four cats. Some days I have a problem with one of the cats. Some days I have a problem with two of them. Some days three, or four. Some days I have a problem with all four cats and the lady, ten eyes looking at me as if I were a dog." I don't take the distinction between fiction and non-fiction very seriously. On this at least, Martine and I agreed, though her letter may have been before I added her address to the list and it may have been in French. When I am trying to describe events, it doesn't really matter whether I am making them up, or they are real. The problem is what portion of reality to describe and how. If I want to describe someone, I have choices to make about how to bring the character to life on the page. Whether and to what extent I make up the details is irrelevant. The fundamental question is how to describe sights and sounds and tastes and blowjobs in words. Proust's model was Saint-Simon, who wrote memoires, non-fiction. What is exciting about Saint-Simon is not the details of the French court at the end of the seventeenth century. It's his awkward, long-winded, dolphin-torn, gong-tormented syntax and the stunning way he mixes up physical and moral traits so that often one is not sure what exactly he is getting at. No one reads Proust for the story. One French critic of the female persuasion summed up the three-thousand-page monsterpiece in three words: "Marcel devient ecrivain." A man wakes up, takes a shit, walks around Dublin, goes to a brothel with a younger man and is cuckolded by his wife. This is the silly-boring-sordid tale of Ulysses. Sophisticated readers don't read for content. Only in America does anyone even believe in content. The literary habits I was exposed to in the graduate program at SU were harshly judged twenty-five years out of date in 1950 by Alain Robbe-Grillet. One of the Greeks reduced every story to one of seven three thousand years ago and declared that every tale had already been told. When I first read the Illiad and the Odyssee, I already knew those stories by heart. I could have written them myself. Why do we constantly write and rewrite the same tired myths? We are seeking new means of expression, a new (Got another of those "R u m/f?" calls on NetMeeting. I guess I chose the wrong answer. How could so many people be confused about the gender of the name Gabriel?) style. You see, there is a choice. I could have typed "style." and then written the new sentence. I wanted to give the impression, to imitate, real time, so I did it that way. Indeed the main reason for the new sentence was to interrupt the old one. No important information is given, but a stylistic point has been made. The physical text, parenthetic interruption, illustrates the theme of the text, stylistic choices and the general theme of the new media we are working in. You don't know, Murder, that those As were, respectively, 439, 437, 445, 442. You have chosen jargon and overstated precision to make the text more lively than simply saying the first was a little flat, the second very flat etc. It's a good ploy, whether or not you were conscious of what you were doing. Even if you claim to hear with absolute precision, you still didn't need to write it that way. The research in my aborted doctoral dissertation which has become the last fifty pages of BABEL does not seek to ascertain whether Henry Miller did or did not read Bouvard et Pecuchet in 1910 or sometime after or never. The point is how the mecanism of his memory works and how he illustrates it in writing first in 1950 and then in 1976. This text, taken from Capricorn and not quoted from memory, has seemed to me to be the most beautiful of the twentieth century. I first read it twenty years ago and it has lost none of its power to move me. It has haunted me ever since:
With the refinements that come with maturity the smells faded out, to be replaced by only one other distinctly memorable, distinctly pleasurable smell--the odor of the cunt. More particularly the odor that lingers on the fingers after playing with a woman, for, if it has not been noticed before, this smell is even more enjoyable, perhaps because it already carries with it the perfume of the past tense, than the odor of the cunt itself. But this odor, which belongs to maturity, is but a faint odor compared with the odors attaching to childhood. It is an odor which evaporates, almost as quickly in the mind's imagination, as in reality. One can remember many things about the woman one has loved but it is hard to remember the smell of her cunt--with anything like certitude.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: whaddaya think?

gregD asks, "do you have a family?"
You say, "no I was born in a cabbage patch and raised by squirrels"
gregD says, "funny"
You say, "well, it was a good question"
gregD asks, "how old are you really?"
You say, "you never asked to begin with."
You say, "I'm 23"
You ask, "and you are what?"
gregD says, "you call that old"
You say, "Maybe I'm just ultra-mature"
gregD says, "i'm just 18, freshman"
gregD asks, "how do you get ultra-matture?"
You say, "Drink a lot and learn to swear in multiple languages."
gregD asks, "how many and what kind?"
gregD asks, "are you still there?"
You say, "Well, the best thing to drink is moonshine. Make it yourself in an old rain barrel. If you can't do that, the hard stuff is best... usually Turkish Beer"
You say, "as for the swearing, you need to learn to say things like 'Oegh  Glentch' and 'Blenchny Vandgrenny'"
gregD asks, "what does that mean?"
You say, "those mean 'kissing penis' and 'fucking your sister'"
gregD says, "i got to remember those for later"
You say, "Just be careful. They're really offensive in Russian."
gregD asks, "tell me if this is to personal, but are you seeing anyone?"
You say, "Yes, I live with my boyfriend."
gregD says, "i mean you are 23 and all"
You say, "Absolutely."
gregD says, "it sounds like he is a very lucky man"
You say, "thanks..."
You say, "I'll let him know you said that."
gregD says, "i hate to do this but i have to go, i got an early class tomarrow"
You say, "well, take it easy"


From: SAGReiss
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: La querelle du Cid

P.S. When defending himself before the French Academy on some very serious charges of immorality, Pierre Corneille (Peter Crow for those of you in the television audience) made this outrageous claim: "Veracity is more important than verisimilitude. It is true, but not believable, that Oedipus killed his father and fucked his mother." He and I and you all know that this is not true, but easy to believe. Dr Johnson said that the best three plots in all of literature were Oedipus Rex (or Tyranus, as opposed to Basileus), Valpone and Tom Jones. Ben Jonson is a mean and vicious writer and I can't remember the plot of Valpone, but Oedipus and TJones (as it says in his e-mail address) have the same plot.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: GregD II, the sequel

RL MOO (The Real Life MOO)
"In the twenty-first century e-novels will be written online."
For more information, please see the RL MOO web site.
Valid commands are: WELcome, who, COnnect, quit, UPtime, version, or REQuest.
You must be twenty-one or older to connect. Please use your real name.
Type: co name password
Or: co guest
********* Please read "help disclaimer" after logging on. *********
*** Connected ***
Woe unto you, unbaptized child. You are tottering on the brink of Sodom and Gomorrah. Silence prevails within these dark confines; only paging and remote emoting are allowed in this room.
For spiritual guidance (RL-MOO help), type 'help'.
To get away from the heat (Enter RL-MOO), go to Purgatorio. Type 'Pur'.
Last connected Tue Nov 19 15:39:17 1996 AKST from sa26.dreamscape.com
"Puro e disposto a salire alle stelle."
"Pure and ready to rise to the stars."
Exits: Up (to Paradiso), Limbo (to Limbo), and Down (to Inferno).
To private rooms: North (free), South (free), East (free), and West (free).
angry johnny (dozing) is here.
<Connected: GregD [Guest] (#175) at Tue Nov 19 18:55:51 1996 AKST.>
GregD has arrived.
GregD says, "hi Nichelle"
GregD asks, "remember me?"
You say, "Hi Greg... yeah, I remember you"
GregD asks, "how are you?"
You ask, "pretty good, you?"
GregD says, "i'm doing fine"
GregD asks, "what you been up to?"
You say, "what's up tonight? I slept all day and ate dinner"
GregD asks, "you feeling any better than last time?"
You say, "I wasn't feeling bad last time"
GregD says, "O, sorry."
You ask, "you're sorry because I wasn't feeling bad?"
GregD says, "i'm just chillin' here"
You say, "I can try to cough a little or something, if it would make you more comfortable."
GregD says, "no, b/c i forgot"
GregD says, "you don't need to cough."
You ask, "so what else is up, greg?"
GregD says, "nothing much just tring to reg. for classes next spring."
GregD says, "its a real pain in the ass."
You say, "I know. I need to do that too."
GregD says, "well you should get started before everybody else gets what you want."
You say, "I have to wait until the 4th to do it."
GregD says, "wow really, i have to get it done before the 3rd."
GregD asks, "what were you going to major in?"
You say, "I've finished five years of music school"
GregD asks, "so what instrament do you play?"
You ask, "clarinet. You?"
GregD says, "i play alittle piano and a little guitar, but nothin serious."
You say, "piano and guitar are serious"
GregD says, "yea but i only know a few little things on each"
You say, "Oh, I see. You mean you're no good at them.."
GregD says, "well i wouldn't say that, i just need more practice."
You say, "well, that's the case with most people who are not good at their instruments"
GregD says, "i know how to play the James Bond theme on the guitar."
You say, "really? you're a regular 007..."
GregD says, "and i know these are a few of my favorite things on the piano"
You ask, "what are a few of your favorite things, greg?"
GregD says, "you know SOUND OF MUSIC"
GregD asks, "have you ever seen the movie?"
You say, "every year when it's on tv"
GregD asks, "then you know what i'm talking about?"
You say, "oh, absolutely. It's a very beautiful song."
GregD exclaims, "this computer is slow!"
GregD [Guest] has disconnected.
Virgil leads GregD to another world.
<Disconnected: GregD [Guest] (#175) at Tue Nov 19 19:13:27 1996 AKST.>
<Connected: GregD [Guest] (#175) at Tue Nov 19 19:15:00 1996 AKST.>
GregD has arrived.
GregD says, "hey, sorry about that it froze up on me then cut me off."
You ask, "Hey, no problem. Remind me, do you have a character on Lambda?"
GregD says, "i'm not sure what that means"
You ask, "do you go to other moos?"
GregD asks, "kie?"
You ask, "kie?"
GregD asks, "like?"
You say, "Like Lambda"
You say, "other places like this one.... where you talk to people...."
GregD asks, "you mean lambda.parc.xerox.com 8888?"
You say, "right... that lambda"
GregD says, "yea"
You ask, "you have a character on that moo?"
GregD says, "no "
You say, "I see...."
GregD says, "i go as a guest"
GregD asks, "if thats what you mean?"
You say, "yes, that's what I mean"
GregD says, "ok then, no i don't"
GregD says, "sorry about that, i probably confused you"
You say, "No, no... I've got it all figured out now."
GregD says, "ok"
GregD asks, "why did you want to know?"
You say, "but I'm going to have to go take a little nap for a while. i'm pretty tired."
GregD says, "thats cool, then i will see you later."
You say, "ok, take it easy. Good night."
GregD says, "by :)"


From: Joy
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: Re: whaddaya think?

i claim full responsibility for the visit by GregD. i don't know him. hegoes to my school and likes sports. do you really need to know any more?

From: Columbine
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: Re: The death of A=440

Taking this as three assertions:

>The real world is much more
>interesting than any fantasy world anyone could dream up.

>The human
>imagination, wonderful as it is, is nonetheless limited in scope ...

>I have
>an innate curiosity to learn about what is and was, not what will never

I agree strongly with the first, disagree strongly with the second, and don't understand why you can't have it both ways on the third. Can't I want to learn about both?

I'm not arguing against nonfiction after all. I merely wish to insist that fiction has a definite purpose to serve as well.

By the by, am I also in the minority here in thinking that oral sex is a vastly overrated commodity? Never mind, forget I said that, you'll probably think that undermines the soundness of my other arguments :-)

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: Re: Ten eyes, cocoa and a blowjob

I happen to have headed deep into the waters of folklore and comparative mythology during one of my many abortive stabs at what is laughingly called higher education, and had not a few arguments about this very subject. I usually lose them :-)

>A man wakes up, takes a shit, walks around Dublin, goes
>to a brothel with a younger man and is cuckolded by his wife. This is the
>silly-boring-sordid tale of Ulysses.

I'm a Joyce fan. Surprise. Given opinions like the ones I've expressed here, many people are astonished to hear that. I fit Joyce into my often-rigid universe by fudging the categories. Joyce is not literature, because you literally cannot read him for plot. You'll lose your mind. Joyce is an extended poem, a lengthy soliloquy that you repeat aloud in your mind because you just love the way the gibberish sounds. Mark Leyner is the same way. Thomas Pynchon is too, but I don't like his music, so I don't read him. It's like preferring jazz over Bach or vice versa. (I like Bach, particularly back to back with Professor Longhair.)

Literature MUST have plot. Doesn't matter whether you've heard it a million times before and whether you even care for the story. The story carries you, like a river, through the words. Without the story you are stranded. Some stories are known, reliable modes of transit and we tend to use them over and over. Having studied A-S myth types, I'd put it at more than seven :-) but I agree with you, we keep telling the same old campfire stories.

But would you read Faulkner if the story weren't there to carry you through the eccentric language? If you answer yes, you and the ghosts of the Dadaists should get along famously. I respect the Dadaists even though they are the distant ancestors of the despised Deconstructionists, curse their names. At least the Dadaists were making a big, conscious, joke out of the dissection process.

>Sophisticated readers don't read for
>content. Only in America does anyone even believe in content. The literary
>habits I was exposed to in the graduate program at SU were harshly judged
>twenty-five years out of date in 1950 by Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Feh. Bullshit. Are you calling me an unsophisticated reader? Well, thanks a bunch.

I know they read spy novels in Paris, not to mention that genre known as the "bodice-ripper." Style is good; content is good too; to focus on one over the other at any time is deadly.

Robbe-Grillet was a shortsighted bastard who literally could not realize that he was a willing participant in the over-glorification of syntax at the expense of vivisection of literature. He held a magnifying glass up to literature and didn't realize that the focal point was burning holes in the page.

This is rambling all over the place and is probably more irate than it should be. I will get flamed now, I imagine. Sorry.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 21 November 1996
Subject: Re: one coffee, two scones (long)

My TCP connection has a timeout on it. If I don't transmit or receive anything for about fifteen minutes, it hangs up. Tonight this event will have happened several times in the course of my answering email. It's a wonderful thing to actually get something thought provoking in your mailbox. Never mind that the rest of you are suddenly discovering what an argumentative b**ch this complete stranger is.

I thought, Nichelle, that between McM and Gabriel I had just about exhausted everything I had to say on this subject, but along came your email. That's why people tell the same stories over and over, Gabriel. Two people can relay the exact same story and yet say entirely different things. (And if you leave out the story entirely, well, that's a different message and not an invalid one.)

A random comment about John Cage. All I have to judge him by are his writings but he had the same saving grace that the Dadaists did - a profound sense of humor. I guess what I'm saying is, it's okay to dissect things if you make a big joke out of it. I realize that's wholly subjective; since when have I said anything that wasn't?

John Cage "had nothing to say, and he was saying it." You say you don't know what to say about my letter, Nichelle, then you say it for two screenfuls :-). I can respect that.

Your life is the sort of thing that I write about. You're right, it's too real to be believable. Not that I doubt you, because you have no reason to lie about it (not even to a stranger). I am a firm believer that truth is stranger than fiction. Which is why I seek out those sorts of events and use them mercilessly in my fiction. All of my characters and events were originally spawned from reality - there's a real seed back in there somewhere. Poetry, on the rare occasions I write it, is a little more cutting because there's no room in there for the embellishments, almost no room for the eventes themselves. Just a bare whisper of event, and the rest is style. I guess if I feel like that, it's not surprising that I write decent poetry as seldom as I do.

I am all in favor of blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, except in newspapers which I really feel should be kept around as a control group, a fixed point of reference. (It's a hopeless dream, of course, they're all slanted in one direction or another, but you can learn to compensate for a newspaper's slant eventually.) I guess the problem I have is that Gabriel thinks that as the line blurs, all fiction will become nonfiction, and I think that's exactly backward - all nonfiction will eventually become fiction, and the web is helping, and I don't think that's a bad thing necessarily.

On the other hand, if we agree that the line is becoming progressively more blurred, do the labels we put underneath really matter?

>I think it would be interesting to know what you had
>for breakfast.
>What do you find more
>interesting about fiction than about nonfiction (assuming there's a
>difference, which Murder and I would know if we spoke French)?

I don't speak French either.

In order to answer that, I have to say that I find it extremely surprising that you would be interested in what I had for breakfast, since I do not find it in the least bit interesting and I was *there*. That answers the question as well. To me it is almost self-evident that fiction is more interesting than nonfiction IF it's the kind of nonfiction we've been talking about, that which relates to people and their lives.

(There are other sorts of nonfiction, after all. I remember reading a history of the hedgerow battles at Normandy that had me more riveted than a spy novel. I knew nothing about the events at all; I was literally waiting, as in a suspense movie, to see how it came out. But, you say, those were ultimately just people's lives, were they not? Well, yes. But most of us do not enter the bocage every morning wondering if there will be a Panzerfaust waiting in the next enclosure. I'm not saying that people's lives lack suspense, but it's a much more long-term kind of suspense - will Gabriel get a better job? Will he move to Seattle? Will the orchestra ever manage to standardize on a 440 A? I can't get absorbed in a book where the character development takes place over, well, a lifetime. (All those video games must have done something to my attention span. For example, I just opened another parenthesis without realizing that I had never closed the one at the top of the paragraph. Bah. Well, here's an extra.))

Actually, now that I've written that, I retract part of it. Because I *am* becoming interested in whether or not Gabriel gets a better job, whether Joy has purchased a copy of FACTORY SHOWROOM yet, etc etc. But not in what you had for breakfast. So there's a line drawn in the sand somewhere and I just have to figure out where I drew it, unbeknownst to myself.

>What's the point of trying to escape from the human
>experience? Shit, even on the goddamn fucking stupidass Lambda MOO, people
>will say 'I'm going to the kitchen to get some pretzels and a coke.'

There's no point in trying to escape it PERMANENTLY and such behavior should be strongly discouraged. Brief jaunts, however, are therapeutic and possibly even necessary. At least in my case they are. Playing the latest bang bang shoot shoot game or adventure puzzle game is necessary for me to lose the spectre of those twelve hour days. Otherwise I can't sleep because I find myself debugging code in my head.

>Why do you assume that I'm not interested in what you did last week? Or
>about your surgery and hospital stay? And by the way, how was the hospital
>food? And what is the useful information on a subject which I'm supposed to
>find in a biography. Gabe and I both liked the introduction to one of the
>volumes of my collections of Shakespeare plays. The author describes
>Shakespeare's quill pen getting dull and having to sharpen it, and trying
>not to get nasty inkblots all over the page, and having black ink all over
>his knuckles...

Interestingly enough, one of the most fascinating books I ever read was SHAKESPEARE OF LONDON - a straight and well-done biography - by Marcette Shute, as I recall. (I'm too lazy to walk into the other room and find it.) That was the book that taught me that biography COULD occasionally be interesting; it was a harsh lesson and I have not forgotten. The biography of Huey Long - the Longs are another serious research hobby of mine, in many ways they *are* folklore - by T. Harry Williams deserves to be called a masterpiece. But these are interesting people; they led interesting lives. Or shall we say, far more interesting than average. Also, the mundane details of Shakespeare's life are interesting because they're not the same details that we have in our mundane lives today. Would it be interesting if the paragraph had described Shakespeare always running out of ink in his ball-point pen, and how the bottoms of the pens would leak ink and stain his shirt pockets after he'd carried them around for a long time?

In short, "I had my usual large cup of coffee for breakfast, most of which I drank on the subway standing up on the way to work" is not interesting. "I went outside before the sun had fully risen, caught a large hare, suspended it from the lowest branch of the willow, slit its jugular, and drained its blood into a steel cup whose contents I consumed in a single draught" is.

Your mileage may vary.

Good heavens, this is a long message. I'm sorry. After I finish it, I'll shut up for a while, I promise.

>If we aren't supposed to talk about what we experience, what are we supposed
>to talk about? What other people experience? We don't/can't know that. So
>then we make up a character and talk about his/her experiences?

Why, yes. Then it's fiction. :-) No, seriously, you make a good point. Here's where style comes in, I suppose. If we're all doing the same boring things over and over, then *how* you tell it becomes the leading principle. If I were describing the coffee episode in my book I'd have the character's mind wandering, have some internal monologue, because the events themselves are dull. Or perhaps describe the events in as weird a way as possible.

If, on the other hand, you're describing something really exotic, like the hare, you can use very boring language because the events will carry themselves.

I would no more want to read a book entirely composed of the first type of event - words over actions - than I would want to read one entirely of the second type - actions over words. The first would be tedious; the second would become jarring and difficult to take after a very short time


Until I die, there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music.
-- John Cage (1912-1992)

From: Columbine
Date: 22 November 1996
Subject: The Ritual of the Mundane

The alarm always goes off at seven o'clock because the other alarm clock, on the far side of the bed, will always go off then, even when Suffolk takes a vacation day. Being a university, they take off for every holiday I'd ever heard of, and a few holidays peculiar to the Boston area that always catch me off guard. My company only takes five holidays a year.

I don't get up at seven myself. I set the alarm by hand for thirty minutes later. Oddly enough I have never used the "snooze" button on any of the alarm clocks I've owned. By seven-thirty, I'm a little less groggy and the shower is available.

I get finished with the toilet and shower as quickly as I can, brush my teeth, pull my hair back and put the little elastic tie around it. I don't comb it anymore in the mornings because I have pernicious dandruff, even when I wash it daily, which I'm very self-conscious about. Instead I just get the tangles out with my fingers, which usually works better than the hairbrush anyway.

I go into the bedroom and pull on the hacker uniform to go with the zero-maintenance hacker hair. Repeat it with me now, brethren and sistren: jeans-and-a-t-shirt. Hiking boots in winter, sneakers in summer. I love clothing but my dance club outfits would be a little out of place at the office.

If I do this right, I can be out the door by a little before eight. The idea is to get to work before eight thirty, and to time it so that I wake up late enough in the process that I don't realize what a stupid idea it is. I don't usually accomplish it but I've found I get more work done before everybody else gets there anyway. Only my boss is ever there at eight-thirty; she also leaves later than I do and doesn't appear to take any sort of stimulants. But I digress.

On the way to the subway I buy a medium coffee. Small is never enough; large will give me stomach angst by the time I get around to having lunch. If I'm really famished I pick up a pastry of some kind. I used to get sick if I tried to eat anything within a few hours of waking up; the habit is still with me.

The subway is always crowded and I am mildly claustrophobic, so I try to stand by the door on the wrong side, where there's usually some space.

I am the sole person who understands the product which I have largely written and continue to add new goodies to. I'm proud of the product and I hope it sells. I do wish, however, that they wouldn't continue to set such impossible deadlines. I wonder sometimes, in my more cynical moments, if this isn't the penalty of demonstrating competence, and that maybe I'd have it easier if I were a total fuckup. Then again, the company's laid off a lot of people lately, so maybe not a good idea.

I eat lunch when my stomach tells me to. We're next to a large mall and I'm always in a hurry, so it's usually junk food, which I feel guilty about afterwards.

If I manage to leave before 6 p.m. I probably walk part of the way home, maybe all of it, which adds about an hour but makes me feel like I'm actually getting some exercise. I'm a very fast walker and I have been known to walk ten miles or so for recreation on occasion. I'm also a really bad judge of distance, so I can't say how long the walk home is. It's about fifteen minutes on the subway, whose route I follow overhead as I walk.

These days, though, I get out too late to walk through that neighborhood. So I ride the subway home and eat whatever happens to be around. Then I check my email and play computer games or draw more pictures or design Marathon maps. I've stopped coding for fun at home. I just can't do it. I can't bring myself to finish my book either even though it has less than a hundred pages to go. Oh well.

I get to bed around one a.m. most nights even though I always resolve to do it earlier. It's 12:23 now by the clock on the computer, which means that if I want to have a peanut butter sandwich and a hot bath before bed, I had better hustle.


I look around me and I recoil from such disorder. We live amidst absurdity, so close to it that it escapes our notice ... Since we cannot hope for order let us withdraw with style from the chaos.
-- Tom Stoppard

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: SAGReiss
Date: 22 November 1996
Subject: Will that be medium or large this morning, Ms Columbine?

I was going to make a show of my vast, polyglot culture and trot out the passages where Miller talks about Bouvard et Pecuchet, but my cherished English and French copies (which are different in very important ways, or at least so it seems to someone who desperately wrote fifty pages of a doctoral dissertation on cocktail napkins) of The Books in My Life are in France, probably lost forever. Not that any of you give a fuck. The other reference, for those of you who might, is J'suis pas plus con qu'un autre, which Miller wrote in bad French at the age of seventy-six. My point is not whether he did or did not read Bouvard et Pecuchet. It doesn't matter and he probably couldn't tell you if he were still alive. The more we tell the tale the less the tale matters and the more the telling. And yes, I don't really care whether we call it fiction or non-fiction. Anais Nin may have made up her huge Diary. Gertrude Stein may, or may not, have told the truth in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which in fact says very little about poor Alice. My point is that a man called Henry Miller at the age of seventy-six struggled through his bad French to rewrite the story of something quite mundane that happened in about 1910. A customer gave either Miller or his father a gift of a book (two really) which Miller may or may not have read. Yet in telling this insignificant story, Miller remembers or makes up more telling details in 1976 than the first time (How many times did he tell the tale at supper?) in 1950. And somehow, this story becomes a vast metaphore for Miller's ambivalent relationship with books and with his father, who never read, except for the newspaper and one book by John Ruskin. Then, all of a sudden, something (a line, a sentence, a paragraph, a page) is missing from both editions I've got of J'suis pas plus con qu'un autre. The reader is plunged into the middle of a sentence/paragraph which is a vicious diatribe on Ruskin. Miller is seldom so mean. My point is that make it up or not you still have to get it on the page. This is what's hard. This is what matters. Given that the problem is how to represent sights/sounds/smells in written language, I see no reason to waste my time making up sights/sounds/smells. The mind somehow latches on to events, significant or not, and makes them significant by telling and retelling them. I have publicly stated that Capricorn is better than Cancer because the events are further away in Miller's memory and so he is freed up of the entire problem of what really happened. I don't like Joyce and neither did Miller. Miller calls him dead. I like Faulkner despite the silly, white trash stories. I don't understand the difference you draw, Columbine, between literature and poetry. All arguments (including Robbe-Grillet's [I don't like the son of a bitch either, but that's not the point.]) I have read on the question use Faulner and Joyce to prove the same point, not as counter examples. My argument would be different. What is so great about The Sound and the Fury is that no erudition, no intellectual mind games are necessary to understand why the tale is told as it is. Benjy can't write normally. This, to me, is Faulkner's greatness and his superiority to Joyce. I hope I don't sound negative. I like your web page and keep telling myself to print up the poems so I can read them, but I haven't gotten around to it. No matter how good or bad they are, of course, at least you're trying to do something. This is what's wrong with the internet, this vast new medium that people use to post pictures of their dogs, gfs, porn which all begin to look alike on the first day you get on the web. What I liked about Shakes fumbling with his quills (which is all made up of course) is that it is so much like the large portions of BABEL where I'm fighting with typers/pine/paper or where Buk fucks with his ribbons. The only thing I know about Huey Long is what I read in that book by Robert Penn Warren, which is usually called a novel, but then again so is BABEL, so is vr. Buk calls himself Chinaski. I use the name(s) on my birth certificate. Maybe I've just got a lazy imagination. (Why do I feel this sudden urge for a glass of whisky? Never mind.) "[Oral] sex," says Buk, "is like money. It seems far more important when you haven't got any." Columbine says: "I had my usual large cup of coffee for breakfast, most of which I drank on the subway standing up on the way to work." This is where your text comes alive for me. I was startled at half past two in the morning waking up while Nichelle was getting ready for bed. I think I even said something when I read that. Ah, finally, this is what I want to read. For some reason, events large or small, Miller's Bouvard et Pecuchet, Nichelle's rape stories, suddenly seize the mind, the syntax glows, the pace seems right. I don't care if the sentences are long or short. On a good day Hemingway can write as well as Faulkner. (Hemingway could also write worse than my mother, but that's another story.) Something tells me: "Here is the hand of a master." Not that I can't analyse it to death (the use of "and" in that endless sentence where Nichelle writes about not saying no, the way the rhythm slows to a crawl in the last line of "To his Coy Mistress") but who cares? Columbine says: "[I won't bother with the second example which is a good example of what I call Bulwer-Lytton/Marquis de Sade descriptions on Lambda or Playboy/Calvin Klein avatars on the Palace and which I find utterly insipid and boring.] [I think of Boston and wonder why she/you didn't write the T. Maybe she/you thought no one would understand or maybe there's a better reason. The text feeds my mind. I'm thinking, awake, alive.] On the way to the subway I buy a medium coffee. Small is never enough; large will give me stomach angst by the time I get around to having lunch." That seems fascinating to me. Of course I don't care whether it's medium or usual large. I wonder why you wrote both. Everything in that "Ritual of the Mundane" letter thrills me. Except perhaps the paragraph beginning: "I am the sole person..." where I think you let your mind wander a little bit. The dualing alarm clocks, Suffolk, the university, the special Boston holidays, the five company holidays. I can't quite figure out exactly where the clocks are (Are they both yours or is one outside on a church or something?) but the text makes up in detail what it lacks in clarity. The self-conscious dandruff... If this is what's in your novel, please send me a copy. Flaubert and Dostoievsky took their fucking stories right out of the newspapers. Gregor wakes up a bug. Who cares what kind of bug? The story is about a man. What are dance club outfits? Do geeks go to discotheques? So far as I know, the only place negatron goes to is the pizza parlor and the drug store to buy cigarettes. I think that's about enough for today, Mr Antichrist. I think I've about perfected the French bread making. If I had a bigger oven or if it weren't so fucking cold as to kill/chill fresh yeast cells, that baguette might be perfect. A new career for Gaby?

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Martine
Date: 22 November 1996
Subject: Baille baille!

Cher Gabriel,

Tu serais bien gentil de m'extraire de ta mailing list.
D'une part, j'ai du mal a jeter les courriers sans les ouvrir, mais d'autre part rien de ce que je lis, ou plus exactement, parcours ne m'interesse, ni les propos au quotidien avec les episodes sordides a la clef, ni les considerations sur la litterature, qui sont d'un niveau plus que bas (should litterature have a plot or not? Mammia mia !).

A bientot, j'espere, sur le MOO ou au Palace ....



From: Nichelle
Date: 22 November 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Gabriel is spamming me with the voice equivalent of being hit on the head with twenty French trashcan lids. I thought he hated the telephone. I want my microphone back, and I want him to get drunk and go to bed so I can actuall do something. Fuck you, Gaby.


From: Columbine
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: Re: Loose Ends (medium and large)

I don't have much else to say on the subject, and the more you say on it the more I find to agree with. I had an argument cum discussion with a good friend of mine, the same sort of argument I have had with him fifty thousand times. He set forth an idea and I disagreed. He set forth a different idea and I agreed with that one. Then he got frustrated. To him, they were both restatements of the same idea. To me, they were two completely different things.

We go back and forth, back and forth. I threw him out a minute or two ago so I could answer your mail. I may not have much else in the attic, but these random thoughts sit in the corners, and they will bother me until I sweep them up:

I have problems with killing the yeast too. I never have been able to make bread worth a damn. I make astonishing desserts though. Meat-and-potatoes cooking has never interested me enough to become more than adequate at it.

The other alarm clock belongs to my significant other, who by the by doesn't know what to make of the turn my recent correspondence is taking. The paragraph wanders all over the place because it's difficult to write about one's significant other without establishing a gender for said person - witness the stilted prose here.

It's a medium coffee. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

>My point is that make it up or
>not you still have to get it on the page. This is what's hard. This is what
>matters. Given that the problem is how to represent sights/sounds/smells in
>written language, I see no reason to waste my time making up
I agree. But I may want to reserve the right to combine existing events in new combinations. As you point out, the synthesis is usually not the problem; the execution is.

I try to avoid doing geeklike activities at all times. However this does not have anything to do with the fact that on occasion I like to wear outrageous clothing and thrash around aimlessly, which means one of our several local dance emporiums (emporia?), all of which usually end up making me feel old by the end of the night.

I actually had to force myself to write "subway" instead of "T." I didn't think you'd know what I meant.

All said and done, I think I'm still missing something. I provided two test sentences (the coffee and the admittedly-trite jugged hare) and I *still* can't see how the former can possibly be more interesting than the latter, for all of the latter's faults. I wrote my Ritual of the Mundane as intentional satire and you read it completely differently. I think, though, that I am willing to just give up at this point and not try to understand what it is that I'm not understanding.

I don't think you'd like QUARTER MOON. It's not especially plot-driven - the plot really is just to keep the thing moving - but I think it leans more toward the jugged-hare school of sensationalism than you'd prefer. It's really about a person's reactions as a series of very strange events happen to him. So I suppose I'm telling the same old campfire story that Kafka does, except my character doesn't become a cockroach. He becomes a woman.



I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it;
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked.
-- W B Yeats

From: Joy
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: Re: Loose Ends (medium and large)

i have no great novel i haven't read every single fucking book in the world and my french sucks. someone somewhere at sometime i think on the list mentioned something about how there was a big difference for the between talking and typing a la vr. i disagree, at least for me. i type pretty rapidly and i often find myself speaking the words outloud as i type. exp when i'm excited or hyper blah blah. oh did i mention that i hate french? i've always been far more impressed with a photographer that can make a dull subject seem interesting. to be able to look at the same old same old in a new light, show it in a new way - that for me has been a sign of an artist. a new way doesn't necessarily mean long. horribly long descriptions drag. Anyone can take a interesting subject or story and write about it and for it to be interesting. all you have to do is present it, there is no work involved, at least not nearly as much as looking at something a new way. and of course consciously trying to make something seem interesting just for the sake of it loses the whole point. tbutton mentioned something about if they were writing about something mundane they would try to describe it in as weird a way as possible. i disagree. don't think about it just write damnit just write. i hardly ever edit what a write b/c it loses something - for me.. of course this just applies to the way i happen to write.. i don't differentiate bet poetry and prose and novels blah blah at least to describe my writing. it's something of a confessional journal type nature. that's the best i can describe it, i have no way of being able to take an outside look at it. poetry to me .. i generally don't like poetry - at least poetry that fits in rhyming schemes. i'm just more into the 'freer' type writing. all too often i find rhyming poetry to be completely trite. there's no spontaneity (sp?) if one is boggled down worrying about whether one is in iambic or not. of course, what this really tells you is that whenever i try to write rhyming stuff (lyrics, maybe?) it's horribly contrite and i hate it. and of course it also tells you that the writing of mine that i can stand the most is the unedited...i found the 'mundane' writing to be the most interesting that i've read so far of stuff by tbutton. i can't cook worth a damn (not having a kitchen helps) i have no great career, no shiny silver badges to wave in the air as my qualifications for shit. next time you see me around tell me not to drive with anyone else in the car for a long time. what a mistake. no apartment of squalor, the sign of the rugged individual struggling. i don't think i've ever even had homemade bread. yes i'm in a great mood right now i'm sure you can tell but in a few minutes "it just gets better and better" time to nurse this nasty mood with some sweet sake

From: Philip
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: Thanks

Simple response:

The Patterson's: most entertaining...*eck* good stuff there guy.
Your French buddy Comecabra and his wife: Ils s'en fout completement.
I love it. Let them eat cake.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: 80 Virgins

The hotel has been taken over by eight-year-old cheerleaders. They're awful, little, spoilt, bald-pussied monsters who can do no wrong in the eyes of their fat, white-trash mothers. The room service gay boy who looks like Divine was in a rage at six o'clock. He had worked back-to-back shifts, got slammed last night with chickenshit, three-dollar orders and no tips, while the parents got drunk in the bar. This morning they were ordering up breakfasts for five and six people, hogging the elevators and driving everyone mad. I wonder what two eggs sunny-side up must taste like when they've sat under a warmer for ten minutes and waited another five for an elevator. I ran up a couple of orders. I don't know why. The fat piece of shit didn't even tip me out. He once said to me: "Did you ever notice how nice I am to people on the phone. If they ever met me they'd think I'm such a prick." I told him I thought that was a fair assessment. Tomorrow is going to be living Hell. They're going to have a competition in some cold stadium with five hundred child molesters looking on. These are probably the people who want to take porn off the internet. I just want good porn on the internet. Our insane busboy told me he was going to get on line. He said he'd ordered the little disk from AmerikaOnline: "Mark, I could give you a dozen of those things, but what are you going to do with it without a computer?" "Well, it's just a start." I guess he'll just put the disk next to the telephone and wait for something to happen. He could only function socially in the gay community. I don't know how it is with college-educated sisters and buffet-eaters (if that's what you were trying [not] to tell me, Columbine) but the white-trash gay boys' whole lives are organized around sex, as often and as anonymous as possible. Well, I guess they spend a lot of time getting drunk too. AIDS has changed nothing. One of the other gay boys said to me about Mark's boyfriend du jour: "It's, 'Bend over and grease up.' He don't care what it is." Everyone was in a pretty good mood today, except Joey whose nerves those kids rattled a bit. I just laughed when I saw him make his third trip to his section with fifteen chocolate milks. I said: "Serves your right for going out drinking all night and coming in here on no sleep." Even the mad Greek woman was making nasty jokes. She said to Divine: "Your father's on phone. He want to talk about babysitting."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: Pornographic GIFs

For your delight, and because Gabe told me to, and because I'm a weird pervert, I've posted a close approximation of the Pink Penis Photos on the web. neg, don't go look. You'll never talk to me again. But the rest of you can feel free to check out this well-hung stud on our site:

I'm going to go work on a penis picture to use as a link from neg's text on the homepage. Then I'm going to check the mail and take a shower. I haven't got anything to write, and so what if Gabe gives me a spanking because this is such a short, dumb letter. He's sexy when he's mad.


From: Murder
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: Mutants

Just a minor point: I would not have reported the exact pitch of those A's (if you can really call them that) if it had not been for the fact that the whole time my trusty Korg tuner was sitting right on my music stand, concealed enough from the first oboist (NOT Erin, BTW...she's principal bassoon in that group) that she (I'm working in the library at this moment and two more dumbass Music 102 mutants who don't know a trumpet from their assholes [maybe they are one and the same] and who are taking the class to fulfill general requirements just came in looking for information on "Mozzzart," which made me think "It's MOT-sart, dammit, or do you want to run downstairs and order a 'Pizzzza' to go with your 'Naive' [Evian backwards]?") didn't know I was checking up on her. As for blowjobs being highly overrated, I guess it all depends on who is giving it. Last night as I came I spurted five times into her lovely, waiting mouth and she swallowed all of it. Even as I type these very words the cunt smell lingers on my fingers (oooh, bad rhyme). I agree that the memory of the smell is ephemeral: for the life of me I cannot remember what Vanessa smelled like, tasted like. Following our oral session, we relaxed in a bubble-bath, made slow love, and relaxed again. Dried off ever so gingerly, for I was sore from previous encounters, oh, about 10 total in the last four days, then straight to bed with her nakedness against mine. Nothing, nothing, then almost asleep. Not to be, for the next thing I remember is the feel of her on top of me, fucking me so hard it hurt to breathe. I came, but it hurt (a tingly, pleasurable hurt) because not much came out; she had almost completely drained me of sperm. Held each other tightly, so tightly, for we had never felt closer in our two months of knowing each other (22 days officially) than in that moment. I held my breath, but I could not hold back the sobs. First I sobbed, then I lost it and began bawling like a child because...because...well, who knows why we cry sometimes? Not being able to express my deepest self in words? Much of my day is spent thinking in the form of multiple sentence fragments all competing for my attention (identified strongly with your interrupted sentence, Gabe), but during intense experiences words fail me and the music swirls and churns around in my head like I'm caught in a whirlwind stronger than the largest tornado. Oh, to be able to copy it all onto manuscript paper...no, for then the finished product would never live up to the monumental force of its conception. So I never try. It just lies dormant, waiting. Is that why I feel like such a misfit on this list at times? My writing abilities obviously pale in comparison to my musical skills, which is why most of my lonely existence is spent in those humid, six-by-eight-foot rooms, blowing on a silver pipe and throwing music stands against the far wall in frustration in hopes that I will earn enough money to survive. So-called "mundane" writing, which Ms. Button cleverly satirized (even I knew she was being sarcastic, Gabe) might be the only "true" (never mind a definition of that term) writing style, for subjectivity invariably leads to dissention. Writing sheerly for the sake of expressing my ideas is fast disillusioning me because my ideas are mere interpretations of the world, not the world itself. I can expect no one to share my ideas. But I can expect others to share my vision of the world, my own unique angle. This is where our choices for describing real world events come into play. We have many choices to make when we write, some of them conscious, others unconscious. What kind of sentence to make? Which words to use? All of these determine whether or not we can draw a reader into viewing events the same way we do. I agree with Joy who made the point that the true artist (using a photographer as an example) can make a dull subject seem interesting. That's what I try to do as a composer and performer. How many recordings exist of the Mozart G-Major Flute Concerto? Hundreds? Maybe even up into the thousands? How can I expect to play it differently than anyone else and still conform to Mozart's beloved Vienesse style? By a balance of refusing to compromise the piece on a general level (the musical ideas I wish to convey) but a willingness to be flexible on the smaller details (articulation, phrasing, shading of the tone, etc.). This gives me a stylistic foundation, but also allows me the freedom to create and then to express that creation to my audience. Numerous parallels can be drawn to literature, but it is not my place to point them out to you people who know so much more about it than I do and for whom literature is the chosen medium of expression. Nichelle, I would love to get online with you. What do you think about tomorrow (Sunday) sometime between 2-5 P.M. PST. That is the next chance I will have to spend time on the computer.

From: Nichelle
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: after dinner

Anthony, I just finished dinner with my housemate. We had brussels sprouts sauteed with onions and mushrooms, and a baked sweet potato. I've been thinking about your e-mail, and I'll try not to miss any points. I suppose I should begin with an answer to this question:

>>By the way, when are you going to actually, explicitly tell me why EWU is
>>not an option?

Anthony, we've had this weird e-mail relationship, whatever it can be called, for somewhere around two years, I think. From the very beginning of that time, I was frustrated with EWU. What makes you think it would be any different now, after two years of hard work and study on my part? I have exhausted EWU's resources, and had before we had even met. I don't need a supportive environment. I know how to practice my clarinet, I know how to study, and I need a no-bullshit school with lots of new opportunities and resources. I think you overestimate what EWU's clarinet studio could do for me. Though I am sure you are a fine clarinet teacher with much to offer, I would be right back where I was, playing first chair in fifty-million ensembles, being asked to do hours upon hours of little extra things for the department. I will not put myself back into that situation. I put in hundreds of hours for a department that still had the balls to tell me my music scholarship depended on my participation in the marching band. No. I've been there, done that, got what I could get from it, and I will not go back to it. Period.

There are other factors, too. When I move to a new school, I'm not moving alone. My boyfriend (and my cat) will be moving with me, and Cheney/Spokane, Pullman, and Ellensburg don't have the atmosphere to support his career or the improvement in the quality of life that we both want. Prof. McColl may not be the cat's meow as far as clarinet teachers are concerned, I don't know... but there are many other fine clarinetists in Seattle. In one year, I'm not likely to exhaust what resources they do have, I can get my degree from a school with a little more going for it, and God only knows, maybe they've even got a few oboes playing regularly with their orchestra. I know they've got an active early music program, which may mean access to some instruments I couldn't get my hands on otherwise and a library which has got to be worth something.

Truth be told, I'm quite offended that you think I'm just Middle of the Pack material, especially at CWU. True, the last time I heard their clarinets was before Brooks got there, but I was really unimpressed. Perhaps things have changed there, but my many visits to CWU haven't done a whole lot to impress me in terms of what their department has to offer. I met WSU's top clarinetist last year, and I felt a little sorry for him, stranded out there in Lentil Land. (Isn't Colfax the Lentil Capitol?)

I don't know if it does much good to tell you that I've changed a lot in the last seven months. You didn't really know me very well before I left, so how could it make a difference to tell you that? Although I had some good times at EWU and learned many things there, it is not an option for me to continue to study there. I've got higher standards than I did then, I've done nothing but think about how to approach the clarinet, I've read and listened and studied and I just won't sit through another of the EWU Symphonic Band's cruel and unusual performances. UW may not have the most hopping undergrad clarinet program, but it's a big school with a lot going on in a beautiful city where I can at least buy some decent fresh bread and go out for a nice salmon dinner every once in a while.

This isn't the nicest letter I've written lately, and I apologize for that. I should also add that I'm pleased to hear that you are having success and playing in Spokane as much as you are. I've always liked you, have respected your clarinet playing, and have hoped for the best in your career. I don't think that a student-teacher relationship is something that will come to be. This is not a reflection of my opinion of you and your skills as a clarinetist. I didn't leave to escape EWU, but I didn't go back after I left, and I'm not going to. I hope we can continue our correspondence, and that this letter won't offend you. But you asked, so here it is...


From: Columbine
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: Re: Loose Ends (medium and large)

>i disagree.
>don't think about it just write damnit just write. i hardly ever edit what
>a write b/c it loses something - for me.. of course this just applies to
>the way i happen to write.

I do. I write without filtering it, then I go back and tear about two thirds of it out later.

Although I firmly believe that one should not write and edit in the same session, it really would be nice to come up with a method of writing that doesn't result in 60 percent BS&W - which is what the oil graders mark on their little forms for the sludge at the bottom of the tank that can't be considered oil at all - bullshit and water.

Change of subject.

As of tonight I have been living with and sleeping with the same person for three years. This is something of a milestone for me. My most serious relationship before this one to date broke apart at the three-year mark, more or less, so from here on I suppose I'll be secretly watching the clock.

Our expensive anniversary dinner is disagreeing with me, so excuse the crankiness.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 23 November 1996
Subject: Re: Mutants

Funny, murder; I hadn't read your mail when I wrote the comment about my anniversary. If I had, I might have said something different. Then again, maybe not.

I enjoyed reading that a lot. It's nice occasionally to get someone else's thoughts about sex and recognize that they run in different universes.

Sex is generally the afterthought in my few attempts at relationships so far. I was a late bloomer sexually. Sex is a plus, but the real issue is whether the other person can stand me and vice versa.

Most of the time the other person is trying to get me to have sex more often. This is a worse problem than it sounds.

I guess I am most especially struck by the way you mention smell. It took me ten years to get used to the smell. I am just now beginning to get to the point where I like it. Smell, and taste, may well account for why oral sex is not something I'm too keen on doing except as a demonstrative act ... it's always something I've thought of as an ordeal. This also makes it something I don't enjoy *receiving* because then I feel guilty that I've put someone else through it.

That's about two paragraphs more than I'd have said without the pinot noir. I'm embarrassed now and I think I'll go back to bed. Stomach be damned.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Nichelle
Date: 24 November 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Shit crazy, bored, and drinking rum &*colas. Never did like to drink but what the fuck, hwy not. Everybody has something interesting to tell me tonight. None of it compares with Murder's spurts, all five of them. Larry keeps sending e-mail. he's the one with the mailordre bride, shipped her in from Russia and now she's gone mainicdepressive on him. Gonna send her back if she keeps 'getting into trouble'. Just read tbutton's oral sex. I love oral sedx. Maybe I like to give it beauese it's some kind of power trip for me, puts me in control. Last time I had real sex, the stick-it-in-the- hole kind (no we didn't waid four weeks), I got scared. It started to hurt a little bit and I got scared. Drinking makes me want to give head. Well, one or two drinks, no inhibitions, and I think it improves my technique, but you'll have to ask bagy about that. Oneof his testicles is way lower than the other one. Is this normal? I hear that one breast (we';re talking women here) is always bigger than the other too. I can't tell from this angle. Maybe one of matilda's six boobs is bigger than the rest. I'd be happier getting drunk on some better rum. I think this is wino rum... break resistant bottle whose 'Unique slim design fits easily into luggage, attache cases, tote bags and backpacks.' oh, and trenchcoats. It feels liek nothing exists except matilda and me and Rocinante. But if nothing else existed, why the headache, why the leaky faucet, why the cold? And I can hear that other people are awake now, moving around, drinking and getting laid and sleeping in other people's cars. though mostly what I hear is gulping coke and rum, and the click of the keys, and the leaking water is the loudest sound in the apartment, in the world. Matilda sleep in a shoebox on my desk and gabe snoring and the ronrico lightweight traveler is getting a little more lightweight. It was a wellspent eight dollars and fourtey seven cents. I am drinking it because I think I need more vices tonight. I showed the girl at Convenient Food Mart my ID even though I was just buying coke. i'm a fucking weirdo.

The other day I was taking a bathand gaby came in. I was lying on my stomach, with my butt sticking up in the air and he laughed at me so I asked him to wash it for me. We use Dial liquid soap, and when i smell it I think of gabe's penis. His penis often smells like Dial soapand i like that smell. the first blowjob I gabe when i was here was after breakfast on the kitchen floor and my hands still smelled like the orange I had just peeled. cunt isn't the only smell that is forgotten, they all are. but if you smell them again everything comes back to you. dial soap and oranges make me think of gabe's penis.

columbine, not to harp on john cage, since we all know he's a ham&egger (or maybe a corned beef hasher), but he didn't have nothing to say and said it. how silly. i don't know where that came from, but i'm guessing it came from 4'33", but still that's not saying nothing. there's no such thing as silence. maybe a pianist sitting in front of the keyboard and not playing any notes is a silly way of saying it. but before we say that, we should sit through a performance of 4'33" and maybe it becomes more than a theory and a joke. what's interesting about sitting through a performance of the piece is how uncomfortable it makes people, how it makes them squirm and whisper. If only you could take away a symphony and hear all the coughs and candy wrapper noises and whispers and creaking seats... it was a little like that. even if you can take away all of those external noises, and go into a room where no outside noises can be heard (he did this and wrote about it) there are still noises that your body makes- your heart beating, your breathing, etc. to say that there is no such thing as silence is not saying nothing, whether or not you want to criticize how he did it. I think he was one seriously weird dude. I've read most of his books. They're funny. I think he pushed people's limits of what's music and what isn't. I may be full of shit, and I'm definitely getting drunk, but to say he siad nothing is missing the point.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 24 November 1996
Subject: Black(e-)mail

"I feel kind of bad about idling on RL when Joy and John were talking privately, but they could see I was still in the room." "Fuck that, you should have logged it." "I did." What's this bullshit talk about revenge? Before you do anything irresponsible with my GIF, let's look at the facts, John. I don't know how to use PaintShopPro, don't know how to write HTML and thoroughly disapproved of the whole thing. In fact I am deeply offended that this childish porn is on my web page. I am morally outraged at the hurt this may cause. I have never done anything to bring down shame and ridicule on your family and friends. Besides, you wouldn't want us to do anything silly and/or public with that log, now, would you? So, on to more important things. Murder, that was a beautiful letter, but where can I buy one of those Korg spurt-counting machines? Funny but all that stuff about 4'33" reminds me of Robbe-Grillet's article, in which he says that a writer is someone with nothing to say, but very definite ideas about how to say it. My chosen medium is epistolary writing. I used to be, in Jeff's words, "an ugly, smelly ape with a typer". Now I am an ugly, smelly ape with a modem. When I read a review of Vox in the Herald Tribune, in France, far from the wired world, I thought how fucking stupid. Who would want to read made-up phone sex? Now if someone had a real transcript... I don't think we can compare buffet-eating and blowjobs. I haven't read much by women about giving blowjobs. In that long and mind-boggling passage called the Land of Fuck that I quoted from Capricorn, and in another passage at the beginning of the World of Sex, Miller makes clear that cunnilingus is a quest for the origin. Two funny passages from the Traumdeutung: talking about deja vu and the mother's cunt, Freud, in his dead-pan, scientific, Victorian, beautiful prose, says that there is no other place one can say, with absolute certitude, dass man dort schon einmal war. Henry Miller's first language was German. In another passage the staid doctor listens to a woman describing a dream about assymetrical hats and finally the woman so gingerly inquires if all men have one testicule that hangs lower than the other. Dr Geisskopf inclines his head.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 24 November 1996
Subject: Re: (no subject)

John Cage SAID "I have nothing to say, and I am saying it." It wasn't a criticism. It was a quotation.

I've read SILENCE. The thing I like best about Cage is that you could never tell when he was pulling your leg, so you had to assume he was pulling your leg all of the time.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 24 November 1996
Subject: Re: Black(e-)mail

>Who would want to read made-up
>phone sex?

Me. It's gotta be more interesting than real phone sex. Real phone sex is a cakewalk. No one really wants originality. Or maybe I'm just picking the wrong partners ... we have an agreement here that phone/online sex is not infidelity, but ever since ImagiNation closed down I haven't invoked the privilege much.

>I don't think we can
>compare buffet-eating and blowjobs.

Not unless you're giving them on several different people serially in a very short timespan.

>I haven't read much by women about
>giving blowjobs.

To men, or to women? Makes a big difference. Do you want my thoughts? Do I even want to give you my thoughts?

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 24 November 1996
Subject: Re: (no subject)

When you get drunk you reverse letters. It's kinda cute.

Despite the fact that I have managed to avoid serious alcohol since I was eighteen, the Bailey's bottle has crept into the house and I'm now drinking coffee that you couldn't light a match over. Ahhhhh....

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Nichelle
Date: 24 November 1996
Subject: nothing

>John Cage SAID "I have nothing to say, and I am saying it." It wasn't a
>criticism. It was a quotation.

Oops. I'll go eat my ham & eggs now.


From: Joy
Date: 25 November 1996
Subject: 5amish

It's 5amish and still haven't even started that damn paper that was due last thursday. McM, what type of bassoon does she play? i personally subscribe to the idea that there is no truth - no objective truth anyways. who is to say what is objective? subjective truth fits in nicely with my idea of subjective reality. which fits in nicely with my absurdist views. i don't think i've ever read any miller. if i have it obviously didn't stick with me to be of importance to even recognize and remember the name. i don't give a damn about miller/automatically delete anything written in french. the only thing i can think of that i like about early 1900s paris .. the fact that le sacre du printemps was performed there, with a riot. i wish i could have seen it. it has a killer 1st bassoon part. and the dancing would not have been easy/great it's now running thru my head/ no, not the solo/not holding to these views ideas those stated earlier with any great vehemence, they are the most ?suitable (shall we say) that have been located/the defense mechanisms are being slowly eroded away, kicked out from under me and i'm falling apart all over the place. fading back into the Old Ways. facing that which i never wanted to. tasting the bitterness in my mouth again. am i home?

my concentration is shot my head filled with the jabbering self-destructive voices. i always have such great timing. finals just ahead. and all i can do is flail my arms about and try to hide from it all in my sleep and dream about huge buildings filled with people and sneaking around in the dark depths of it. no wonder i don't like these -- they render me inoperable)saygni erom naht i ever dewant to yet ta het same time/time/time...(yes it's more spy-games gabe. or is it. i'm sitting here babbling chirping away at the keys so i don't have to face that horrible paper. and it's not really the paper at all. it's what comes with the paper. you understand, of course. how can one being have so many split ends? i hate the idea of even trimming this blanket though i need something to hide behind, the more the merrier./don't have time or the money? to read. spent $52 last thursday and got an incredible amt of books and music for it but it was $52 more than i could afford. i'm now overdrawn and sitting here with a gurgling stomach. i couldn't resist. i'm now surrounded in my sloth with books laying about, books that are far more interesting than this horrible drivel that i have to work with.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 25 November 1996
Subject: A Henhouse for negatron

So, John, how are the wenches? I can't believe this. I worked a year for this? Oh, great. He's always whining about how he can't get any and then he sits around all night while I'm alseep having cybersex with six (Sechs isch ke zahl. Es isch e hobby.) nymphomaniacs? Maybe I'll just forget to pay the cyber-rent this month and have us all toaded. There seems to be some terminological confusion. "Eating at the buffet" means cunnilingus in my idiolect. I keep the word "blowjob" for felatio. Veronique found a mistake on our connect page. It says "Wilkommen". It should say "Willkommen". It's nice to know that at least someone reads carefully. When I used to read, I would see that on page seven hundred of some Dickens novel it said "connection" where five hundred pages earlier it had said "connexion". This is a true example. One of the Penguin editions. I can't remember which book. I don't know about the internet, but there are definitely no womens on NetMeeting. The few I find refuse my calls anyway. Why would I want to talk to men? Today's my day off. I can pay Planned Parenthood, Dreamscape and the ArchFuhrer. I'm woefully behind on the rent and utilities. Oh, well. I've still got enough cash for Thanksgiving groceries and the liquor-store delivery. They love me there. I just say: "May I please order something to be delivered?" "Dude, 1009 Madison?" Fuck you, why did I buy her that cheapass rum. I had three good reasons. I am, after all, a food service professional with two years' experience spending five hundred Francs a day au Match. First, she wanted a small bottle and Ronrico was all they had. Second, she wanted to make hot buttered rum, ended up drinking it in Coke. What fucking difference does the quality of spirits make when they're swilled down in foul cocktails? Shiiit, if I had any fucking money, I'd put Adirondack spring water in my Ricard. Third, I had just enough cash for that bottle. I've got to get a job with reasonable hours. I'm going to call a language-service place. I feel like God or Flaubert's (or was it Henry James's) narrator, present everywhere, visible nowhere. The only way I know what's happening on our MOO is through Nichelle's tales or logs. I just woke up last night and logged on and went back to bed, read the newspaper until after Nichelle went to sleep. I don't know if there are no women on the 'net, but there sure aren't during the day...

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 25 November 1996
Subject: It's like the bell.

It's great, Gabriel, that you feel like Flaubert's narrator. Personally, I feel like Flaubert's ass. I stayed up until four mooing and making bagels (gabels, as I told killjoy), somehow managing to wake up Mr_Antichrist, though I can't figure out how. I was a little embarrassed, however, since I was using my fine-tip Sharpie as a baton and conducting Matilda in 4/4 time while she batted at it with her paws. I'm not sure he knew what was going on when he emerged from his foul lair. If you haven't had breakfast at 4 am lately, you should try it. Gabe does it most mornings, but anyone who can get up at 3:43 every morning and eat grapefruit by four is definitely a tough asshole. I ate a sausage, a homemade bagel, and two egs over-easy (I guess that's what they are. Nobody else can make me eggs that I won't throw up immediately.), and a cup of English Breakfast tea steeped with anise seeds. If this letter is horrible, you will have to forgive me. Gabriel is playing with his CB radio games again. He seems to be talking to an orgy of french people (I think orgy is the right word. Maybe it's gaggle.) which is why I'm awake now, and not two hours from now, which is my habit. Me bitter? No, never. Now I think I'll search and distroy, fight the germs which cause plaque, and go grocery shopping at Wegman's. Some day I will master the art of the Gabe letter. I can try to tell you the secret, or at least the secret to his style in Babble.

Begin the letter in French.

Blah blah blah, French Frenchy-french (x1000)....

This part should be mostly words of seduction to Corinne. You do this for about half a page (a half page). Then, mid-sentence:

...frenchy frenchy blah blah running down fucking goddamned Marshall street with a glass of J&B in one hand and my dick in the other, shouting you god damned fucking bastards how the fuck can you do this shit to me?

Puntuation less important in Babel. More important is the rage, starvation, and cold. Talk about your dick a lot and swear. End every letter with:

But as the French say, "Frenchy frenchy french...." (or As Important_Literary_Figure said, "'Tis better to have your dick in your hand than to have a turnip in your ass.")

Sign it with something about your rectum. The chicks love that.

I'm going to take a shower. My breath smells like Matilda's litter box. My stomach hurts, and I've got to piss. I'm freezing, still hung over from the cheap rum I had to drink two nights ago, before it melted through the plastic bottle. Next time I'm brewing my own in a rain barrel. Joy, maybe you shouldn't answer greg's calls/pages anymore. Tell him you have amnesia and you can't remember anything prior to this morning, except of course your moo passwords. He's dumb enough to believe it. After all, as the french say...


From: SAGReiss
Date: 26 November 1996
Subject: Women on the 'net?

RL MOO (The Real Life MOO)
"In the twenty-first century e-novels will be written online."
For more information, please see the RL MOO web site.
Valid commands are: WELcome, who, COnnect, quit, UPtime, version, or REQuest.
You must be twenty-one or older to connect. Please use your real name.
Type: co name password
Or: co guest
********* Please read "help disclaimer" after logging on. *********
*** Connected ***
Woe unto you, unbaptized child. You are tottering on the brink of Sodom and Gomorrah. Silence prevails within these dark confines; only paging and remote emoting are allowed in this room.
For spiritual guidance (RL-MOO help), type 'help'.
To get away from the heat (Enter RL-MOO), go to Purgatorio. Type 'Pur'.
Last connected Tue Nov 26 03:15:57 1996 AKST
Player name Connected Idle time Location
Total: 1 player, who has been active recently.
"Puro e disposto a salire alle stelle."
"Pure and ready to rise to the stars."
Exits: Up (to Paradiso), Limbo (to Limbo), and Down (to Inferno).
To private rooms: North (free), South (free), East (free), and West (free).
<Connected: Goldie (#231) at Tue Nov 26 11:54:43 1996 AKST.>
Goldie has arrived.
You ask, "What's up, sis?"
Goldie says, "Plus I have to ask why you're always talking about teaching me and stuff."
Goldie mutters a hello.
You ask, "Teaching you?"
Goldie asks, "You're always saying that I can't learn anything where I am and that I'm not listening when you try to teach me. Why are you trying?"
<Connected: Razor [Guest] (#175) at Tue Nov 26 11:57:47 1996 AKST.>
Razor has arrived.
You say, "I seem to be missing the context here. It takes a long time to overcome prejudices and misconceptions."
Razor has just looked at you.
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: ?
Goldie [to Razor]: Played Warcraft lately? :)
Razor asks, "Excuse me?"
Goldie [to Razor]: Razor is the default name for network games on Warcraft. I think.
Razor [to Goldie]: Well, I don't know about that...this is my first time here.
Razor wonders why is everyone so quiet?
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Don't mind her. She's just a video-game-playing MTV baby. This here is not a toy.
Goldie [to Razor]: Yeah. This is REAL.
Razor says, "R U guys always this friendly or is it just today."
Goldie [to Razor]: SAGReiss here is a beacon of good cheer. Have some ale and pull up a seat.
Goldie [to Razor]: I'm silly. Dunno 'bout him. :
Razor asks, "Where R U people from?"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: I just wasn't born friendly.
Goldie says, "California. In New York now."
Razor [to Goldie]: Really. I'm in NY too. where are U?
Goldie [to Razor]: Little town. Gabe is also in New York.
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: Aren't you.
Goldie asks, "?"
Razor [to Goldie]: I'm in NYC..
SAGReiss [to Razor]: She's paranoid. She'll never tell you. I'm in Syracuse.
Razor asks, "Is this place in Syracuse too?"
Goldie says, "I think Alaska."
Razor asks, "Alaska?"
Goldie says, "Dunno. Not my MOO."
Razor asks, "how come there are so few people here?"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: It tends to get a little busy around nine PM eatern time.
<Connected: Matt [Guest] (#176) at Tue Nov 26 12:06:07 1996 AKST.>
Matt has arrived.
Goldie says, "A very little. We had six the other day."
Razor asks, "Hmmmm!!! R other people on this place as friendly as you people?"
Goldie [to Razor]: Are we not happy enough?
SAGReiss [to Goldie]: I would invite my friends here, but I haven't got any...
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: Sure you have.
Matt [Guest] has disconnected.
Virgil leads Matt to another world.
<Disconnected: Matt [Guest] (#176) at Tue Nov 26 12:07:48 1996 AKST.>
Razor asks, "hmmm!!! So you guys are students?"
Goldie is.
You say, "Not I."
Razor says, "Do i have to ask questions from U people all the time..or U are gonna tell me about yourselves."
You say, "I wait tables for a living in a hotel restaurant."
Goldie says, "I waste my time MOOing and reading history books simultaneously."
Razor [to Goldie]: You said you were a student...where..in college/high school?
SAGReiss [to Goldie]: I thought you were s'posed to be studying literature.
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: Doesn't mean that's /all/ I study, does it?
Goldie [to Razor]: College.
Goldie [to Razor]: I be a sophomore (II).
Razor [to Goldie]: What's your major?
Goldie [to Razor]: Lit.
Razor [to SAGReiss]: And you?
You say, "I am no longer a student, but I went to school in France, where I studied languages, literature and linguistics."
Goldie [to Razor]: I can never hope to reach his level.
Razor says, "Ok let me tell you people about myself.."
Razor says, "I'm a foreign student in New York."
SAGReiss [to Goldie]: At five foot ten your level is considerably higher.
Razor asks, "5'10" /????"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Where from?
Razor [to SAGReiss]: I came from the middle east, but that's not originally my place of birth.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: I really meant what languages do you speak.
Razor says, "well....let me see....hmm...."
Goldie [to Razor]: Yes, okay, I loom.
Razor says, "There is english....."
Razor says, "....uhm!!...and.....there....is ....."
Razor says, "Urdu."
You ask, "You are Turkish?"
Razor says, "Nope."
You say, "I thought Urdu was spoken in Turkey..."
Razor [to Goldie]: 5'10" is not bad....how much do you weigh...if I may ask?
SAGReiss . o O ( I can't wait to see this. )
Goldie [to Razor]: No clue.
Goldie whistles lightly and sticks her hands in her pockets.
Razor [to SAGReiss]: well...you though incorrectly...it is spoken in quite a few countries...but only in one country with the name Urdu...in other countries it is called something else.
Goldie says, "Ha! That was easy."
SAGReiss [to Goldie]: That's OK. We can play carnaval.
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: What's that?
SAGReiss [to Goldie]: Sit on my face and I'll guess your weight.
You say, "Oops, Pakistan."
Razor raises an eyebrow towards SaG
Razor [to SAGReiss]: Bingo....
Goldie says, "Ah-ha."
SAGReiss [to Razor]: It's an inside joke.
Razor [to Goldie]: Ok...describe yourself...
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: Yeah. Ha. Ha ha.
page goldie Is this some kind of sex pervert?
Goldie [to Razor]: That's what look is for. See? I'm described.
Goldie pages, "I imagine. R U?"
Razor [to Goldie]: I meant describe yourself in reality...not in virtuality.
page goldie Only before midnight.
Goldie holds out a gleaming golden lock from her head. "Look. Blond."
SAGReiss [to Razor]: When you spend as much time online as we do, that distinction becomes very hard to draw.
Razor [to Goldie]: hey...if you are that ashamed of yourself...I understand..you don't have to do it.
Goldie [to Razor]: Think of me as a blond five-ten bit of nothing.
Goldie [to Razor]: Shadow, nothing.
<Connected: angry johnny (#96) at Tue Nov 26 12:23:08 1996 AKST.>
angry johnny has arrived.
Goldie [to Razor]: May I ask how you found this MOO, hmm?
angry johnny says, "hello"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: She's just very cerebral, isn't interested in physical appearance.
Razor [to Goldie]: Honey, I could smell your perfume from a long way...that's how.
Goldie gags.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Haven't you figured out yet that there are no women on the internet?
Razor [to SAGReiss]: What do you mean?
Goldie [to Razor]: Yeah. I'm really a guy.
Goldie [to angry johnny]: Hey-o.
Razor asks, "What/??????"
Goldie makes vague noises about football and scratches her crotch.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: They are all really men. You've been having cybersex with ax-murderers in prison all this time.
Goldie says, "Um, HIS crotch."
Razor pukes in a corner...
Goldie [to Razor]: Gosh, you've been violated.
Razor says, "If this is true..then you guys have some sick sense of humour."
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Criminals have been masturbating while you call them Honey.
Goldie drops the soap.
Razor looks at ....( U NO who)
Razor asks, "You guys ... and you call this place REAL moo?"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Men with tatoos and beards have been assfucking eachother and typing to you all the time.
Goldie [to Razor]: How often do you get laid in REAL LIFE?
Goldie hears a little voice say, "Here in the slammer we get it all the time!"
angry johnny says to Razor, "the reality is that there are no men on the internet. we've had to pretend a bit, so some of us take female characters. i have a couple of them myself, lets me get in touch with my feminine side."
Razor [to Goldie]: More often than you do .
Goldie [to Razor]: As often as on MOO? Prob'ly not.
Goldie leers at johnny's feminine side.
Razor [to Goldie]: Hello wake up....don't you guys ever go to any decent moos?
angry johnny meant no women
Goldie [to Razor]: We like each other.
Goldie drools and snorts.
Razor [to Goldie]: I don't get laid on Moo's. I don't take these things seriously.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: R u kidding? With all those anal-rapists?
Razor [to Goldie]: But I also refuse to believe there are no females on the internet.
Goldie [to Razor]: Why do you want a description then? I can lie.
Goldie [to Razor]: Sorry. Have to tell you the truth. All guys.
Razor [to Goldie]: Listen...at other places..I get to talk to some real girls...hell one of them even called me..
Goldie [to Razor]: It was his sister.
Razor [to Goldie]: And she definitely did not sound like a he.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: It's like in Islamic countries. We won't let them fuck with this shit. Could you imagine the effect of the internet on the female brain.
Goldie says, "Believe me, I know how these things work."
Razor says, "Man... now I understand why there was a thing such as "Ru Paul"."
SAGReiss has got a voice simulator because his sister lives too far away.
Razor [to Goldie]: R U really a male?
Goldie says, "There is such a man. And we think he's cute."
Goldie smiles charmingly at Razor.
Razor pukes in the corner.
Razor says, "I never thought I'd actually live to see "
page john What a fucking dweeb.
Razor asks, "R U people planning on being drag-queens or something?"
angry johnny pages, "no shit. this is hilarious."
Goldie hauls at her double D strap-on breasts.
Goldie says, "I mean HIS."
Goldie says, "But you know."
angry johnny does the drag thing from time to time.
angry johnny says, "some of the boys like it when i look 'feminine'"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: You should really stop calling people Honey and Sugar. You know they're just men jerking off.
Goldie pats johnny on the rear.
Razor asks, "so all that shit about literature....and.....college...and whatever was crap?"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Well, we can read in prison. We can even get diplomas.
Goldie says, "Yeah. I'm short and old and hairy and in prison. With these guys."
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: How is it over on D-block?
Razor asks, "What is all this crap about prison?"
Goldie [to Razor]: It's called an extended conceit.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: With the internet, we can now basically study anything without leaving the cell.
angry johnny says to you, "goldie and i are sagreiss's punks"
Goldie [to angry johnny]: Psst -- bitches, bitches.
Razor [to angry johnny]: You mean pimps?
angry johnny asks Razor, "no, i mean punks. he's our daddy, we're his boys, you understand?"
Razor asks, "Do you always surprise your guests like this?"
Goldie says, "It depends on how suitable they prove themselves."
Goldie says, "You seem to be our type."
Razor says, "So you never got a female connect here."
SAGReiss [to Razor]: I just thought you'd want to know that your asshole has been cyber-reamed about a hundred times.
Goldie [to Razor]: Bio-data, darlin'?
Razor says, "You guys need a life.."
Goldie says, "But thanks to the internet we have one."
angry johnny says to Razor, "this is as good as it gets in lock-up"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: What color underware are you wearing, big boy?
Goldie says, "Personally, I'm more fulfilled than I've been in ages."
Razor says, "I'm getting the fuck outa here."
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Oh, and it'll be so much fun. I'm sure you'll like it, if you ever try...
Goldie says, "Aw, don't go. We want to pet you."
Goldie says, "Don't you hear a voice calling...'come out, come out....'"
SAGReiss [to Razor]: A little KY goes a long way, you know.
<Connected: Amy [Guest] (#176) at Tue Nov 26 12:43:50 1996 AKST.>
Amy has arrived.
page amy Hello, my name is Gabriel. The conversation may seem a little odd. This asshole was hitting on Goldie, so we're tormenting him.
Razor says, "U guys are sick."
SAGReiss [to Razor]: R u wet?
Goldie says loudly, "Yup, nothing but men on the internet, nothing."
Amy exclaims, "Hi everyone!"
Goldie [to Amy]: Hullo.
Goldie speaks in a deep and manly tone.
Razor [to SAGReiss]: Listen...the way you are coming on to me is as if I hit on your gf or something.
Goldie [to Razor]: We do this to all the guys. Nothing personal.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Wherever would I find a gf in jail?
Amy asks, "You are in jail?"
Amy [to Razor]: hi Raz!!
Razor looks at Amy...
page amy No, we're just tormenting this pervert. Tell him you're really a man.
Razor asks, "Who is she now...another one of your males..???"
Goldie [to Razor]: We told you...nothing but men on the internet.
You sense that Amy is looking for you in Purgatorio.
It pages, "No he is my friend....I just came to talk to him here."
Razor [to Amy]: Ok...enough of this ...who R U...come on out now....
Amy [to Razor]: Razor its me....from moo 2002!!
Razor [to Amy]: What the hell R U doing here?
page amy He's a little confused right now.
SAGReiss [to Razor]: Amy is a black man.
You sense that Amy is looking for you in Purgatorio.
It pages, "So you R saying that Goldie is not a man???"
Goldie pages, "Okay, I'm bored. Maybe we should wander away."
Razor [to SAGReiss]: I don't know what to beleive right now...
page goldie Yeah. I've had enough of this jerk.
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: Wanna go do the nasty?
Goldie goes Up.
"E'n la sua volontade e nostra pace."
"In His will is our peace."
Exits: Down (to Purgatorio).
To private rooms: North (free), South (free), East (free), and West (free).
Goldie is here.
Goldie pages, "I didn't mean it, you understand."
You say, "Oh, I was getting all excited."
Goldie says, "Sure you were."
Goldie says, "You know, even when you're rude, you're a million times less annoying than guys like that."
You ask, "You're too kind. So how much do you weigh?"
Goldie says, "No clue."
Goldie says, "Really."
Goldie says, "I mean, obviously I weigh more than your normal delicate female, but other than that, I don't know."
You say, "Bof. Everyone's overweight in this land."
You sense that Razor is looking for you in Purgatorio.
It pages, "Hey come back here."
Razor has arrived.
Goldie pages, "Okay, private room."
Goldie goes South.
Razor says, "Scare already guys....I haven't even started yet."
You can't go that way.
Goldie has invited you to join her in Michelangelo.
Non ha l'ottimo artista alcun concetto
c'un marmo solo in se non circonscriva
col suo superchio, e solo a quello arriva
la man che ubbidisce all'intelletto.
The best of artists hardly can reflect
what yet a single marble block contains
within its girth, which labor he attains
but by the hand that heeds the intellect.
Type <out> to return to Paradiso.
Goldie is here.
angry johnny teleports in.
<Disconnected: Razor [Guest] (#175) at Tue Nov 26 12:55:03 1996 AKST.>
angry johnny asks, "is it just me, or is there serious lag?"
Goldie says, "I think it's just you."
You ask, "What the fuck? Is he now grilling his cyberfuck from MOO 2000 to find out if she's a man?"
Goldie says, "At least, I haven't had any."
You sense that Amy is looking for you in Purgatorio.
It pages, "Hello...anybody here?"
You say, "No lag here. Must be your obsolete equipment.
Goldie pages, "As I was saying...I never said I wasn't overweight. I just hope I'm not disgustingly so."
angry johnny says, "moo2000 is at syracuse"
<Disconnected: Amy [Guest] (#176) at Tue Nov 26 12:56:03 1996 AKST.>
Goldie points a shaky finger at SAGReiss.
Goldie says, "Nah."
You say, "For all it's faults, it's a wired school. The French MOO is here and someGeek kid, son of a linguistics TA made the Spanish MOO.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 27 November 1996
Subject: Re: after dinner

>Date: Tue, 26 November 1996 17:13:04 -0800 (PST)
>From: Anthony
>It seems that you wished for a response from me which just told you what
>you wanted to hear. Fine, I didn't do that. Seems that you have made up
>your mind about UW, so go! Why ask me then?
>You are wasting your time and emotional energy spewing forth at me like
>you have done. The only result is that I have become even more puzzled
>about you and your approach to life. Never have understood you, and
>never will, I guess. Best wishes, and good luck finding your musical
>and personal happiness...

>Date: Tue, 26 November 1996 17:28:43 -0800 (PST)
>From: Anthony
>Just reread your original message. I guess that you didn't ask my
>opinion of anything. Somehow, I had thought you were asking me
>what I knew about William McColl, about the idea of going to UW. I read
>your letter on a Thursday, but responded a few days later. I should have
>reread your letter before responding. I apologize for volunteering my
>opinion on a matter in which it was, obviously, not welcome.


From: Nichelle
Date: 27 November 1996
Subject: buttons

Anthony, I know I wrote a strong letter, and I really didn't want to seem hostile. What I originally wanted to know was what you knew about UW and McColl, having already applied and made a decision to go there. I guess I wasn't clear enough. Whether or not you still have your theories about pushing buttons, you mistakenly pushed a major one when you brought up returning to EWU. You must understand that from my perspective things look much different. After four and a half years of hard work there, I doubt I could get more than one recommendation. I left in a strange manner, but only three months ahead of schedule, and if nothing else, I proved that the idea of the student as a consumer didn't apply to me there.

As I reread my last letter, I really feel the need to apolgize for the strong tone I took with you. I didn't realize that talking to me about these things is like walking through a mine field. I really *am* sorry. After all, we're virtual strangers in a way (excuse the pun), and you offered me an opinion about what you felt might be in my best interests.

>The only result is that I have become even more puzzled about you and
>your approach to life. Never have understood you, and never will, I guess.

My friend Dawn sent me a postcard about four months after I came here. It said, 'If nothing else, perhaps you have become mysterious.' I don't think I'm mysterious. I'm just doing my best, trying to educate myself, trying to live, just like anyone else. I've aged five years and become somewhat bitter since I moved to Syracuse. That postcard was from a high school friend- nobody at Eastern wrote. I made phone calls and wrote long letters. I literally lost all of my friends. I know nobody in Syracuse, so my only interaction is with my boyfriend and my cat. Sometimes I chat with people on line and send e-mail. I send a lot of letters to my family. I guess I've forgotten my social skills.

It would be miraculous enough to understand one's own experiences, let alone understand someone else. I don't have our old correspondence, and don't even know if it still exists. All of my stuff was packed up for me, and though I hope it's all intact and sitting in my mother's basement, there's no way to be sure. I suspect that if I read it now (the earliest of it is two years old, I guess) I would find myself to be a total stranger. I can't explain myself, though I tried damn hard, and I continue to try. I believe my struggle is an upward one.

I suppose I'm getting good at burning bridges. Part of the reason that I responded to your letter the way I did is that it seemed to be saying I'm not much of a clarinetist. That may be true, or that may be your opinion, or both, though what information you've got to go on is limited and outdated. I have too much time to think, and not enough outlets to express what I've been thinking about. Whatever our relationship has been, I hope I have not destroyed it. It has been a long night and I feel like I'm bargaining to save my soul. I'm Queen Midass, everything I touch turns to shit. I'll stop before the jokes get worse, stop flailing and go make myself some coffee. It's 2:22 AM, and it's going to be a long day.


From: Columbine
Date: 29 November 1996
Subject: Re: A Henhouse for negatron

I'm not into the group sex scene. If there was cybersex going on then this crowd is very fast with the page command. I'd think I'd have noticed the delays while everyone else was whispering to each other.

For that matter, I think I've permanently given up cybersex. But I could be mistaken.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 29 November 1996
Subject: Pilgrims and software

On Sunday I worked from 2 pm to 10 pm. I am salaried. I don't get overtime.

On Monday I arrived at work a little later than usual: 9 am. I knew that I had a short week (Thu. and Fri. off) and that we had to demonstrate a nearly-complete version of the product on the following Monday. Only three days to finish it and one of those really should be testing and cleanup, even for a beta. So on Monday I just didn't go home. I worked until 5:30 Tuesday morning.

I went home, slept for three and a half hours, and was back at work by noon. Then I worked until 8 p.m. By then it had become painfully obvious that we weren't going to make the demo. My boss told us all to go home and rest. The schedule was pushed back a week.

On Wednesday I found three bugs which are happening for no good reason whatsoever. If I don't figure them out within the first two days of next week, we may have to push the schedule back again.

The whole department - ten people - is gambling on this thing. We are the orphan children of the company - they don't feel that what we do (supporting our seven-year-old and very tired cash cow product, which despite its age is bringing in 80% of the company's revenue) is very important. Go figure. It's just not sexy enough. New development is sexy. We're not.

So we have to produce this sexy new product and show that we actually can, despite a ridiculous deadline (this product was only a design on paper a month ago) and being critically understaffed and the fact that I was the only programmer who had ever worked with the core code that we stole from a different product to make this.

I'm not ready for the Geritol yet - I'm 28 - but that Monday experience was enough to tell me that my all-nighter days are over. I was jet-lagged the next two days. The best experience of the week was sleeping until noon on Thursday and then getting up to the smell of roast duck and cranberries, and making a nice tangerine and ginger custard for dessert that night.

I hope you all had a Thanksgiving that was not wholly unsatisfactory too.
- columbine

From: Columbine
Date: 29 November 1996
Subject: Re: Women on the 'net?

My goodness. You folks are harsh.

I think we've had the conversation, Gabriel, about how I feel that an increase in personal rudeness is a sign of the downfall of civilization etc etc rant rant rant never mind. Even if the guy was an asshole, he deserves to have his folly pointed out to him gently - i.e. everybody deserves at least one warning shot before you go for their blood.

But then I don't really suppose you give a damn whether the guy is out right now telling everyone he sees to avoid the RL MOO.

I suppose a more tactful method probably wouldn't have done any good - subtlety being a lost art and all that - but I feel obligated to at least TRY the subtle method first before switching to the big guns.

Having said all that, and undermining my own point, I feel that in all fairness I should note that the transcript was hilarious reading.

Not only that, in reading it I finally learned how to make a statement that says "Columbine says [to someone] ..." - a question I was scared to ask because I figured I'd get reamed by you guys - which I guess proves my point. The RL MOO is refreshing and honest and, more often than not, rather intimidating.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: SAGReiss
Date: 30 November 1996
Subject: Never trust a drunk

I've just got off work, after working from six o'clock in the morning until midnight and have to be back in at eight. It was a weird night. Suzanne let me go home for an hour to eat and that turned into ninety minutes, backing the bread Nichelle had made and making my own vegetable salad with leftover turkey. As I walked into the kitchen Suzanne was about to run up an order. I took it up and got a seven-dollar tip. As I came down, the big boss asked me about a bottle of champagne to bring up to a VIP room. He wanted something in the twenty-five-dollar range. I smiled thinking: "They do tell us to up-sell." I opened the menu and pointed to a bottle of Moet, a fair French brand with name recognition for twenty-four dollars. Our fearless leader astutely noticed that this price was for the half bottle. I smiled innocently as he began to squirm on the squewer. "Get the full bottle, Gabe." "And how about a nice little fruit-and-cheese platter?" In all I got five bucks out of that and the chance to make my boss look/feel like the cheap asshole he is. I did OK from five to seven and then it died until ten. I read the paper, talked with the chefs, ate some penne pasta with mixed vegetables. If I get a hotel-restaurant job in Seattle, it will be room service nights. It's fun and stressful and thrilling and relaxed and the food is so much better and the guests aren't these picky assholes ordering picayune (Notice that beautiful little etymological, phonetic pun.) bullshit. Right at eleven (closing time) I got a last order and brought up two sandwiches to this black dude and his white-trash whore/gf. He gave me ten bucks, bringing up my total to about seventy for the night ($6.15 an hour with OT). After I had done my paperwork the phone rings. This very drunken asshole wants food: "The kitchen is closed, sir. All the cooks have gone home." "I'll give you one hundred dollars if you can bring me up something to eat, bacon and eggs or something." "Well, sir, I could go across the street and get you something, a pizza or a sandwich." "A sandwich." "What kind of sandwich, sir?" "Four." I walked across the street, on hotel time of course, asked for four turkey sandwiches and a beer. I smoked a cigarette, drank my beer and waited. When I got up to room 609 there were two drunken behemoths in various stages of nakedness and/or unconsciousness babbling at me and at eachother. When they figured out where we were, who I was and what I was doing, the man who had called asked how much he owed. I pulled out the receipt (no beer of course) and said: "Seventeen thirty-three, sir." He gave me a fifty and leered at me. I thought it in poor taste to quibble...

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 30 November 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Since when did I become such an asshole? I went out to buy Drain-o and a shower cap at CVS this morning. I got up to Marshall street early enough that nothing was open, so I watched cartoons on the second floor of the mall for about twenty minutes. As I was leaving CVS, some girl stopped me asking for change. She told me she was seventeen and pregnant. I usually just give people whatever change is in my pockets if someone asks for money. But money has been on my mind a lot lately, especially since it's a little scarce around here, and it's an even more difficult subject because I'm not contributing any. I told Gabriel that there would be no more fights about money, and I mean it. Anyway, she said she only wanted 75 cents for a coffee at McDonalds, but I went in with her and bought her one of their Value Meals with a large coffee and orange juice. I didn't stay, and I didn't want to stay. Shit, I know she wasn't seventeen. She looked about five years older than me. I have no way of knowing if she's really pregnant. What I do know is that there is a shame attached to poverty, and though I've never begged for money on the street, it must be one of the most shameful things a person can have to do. We're poor, but we've got two beautiful computers, we eat well, we have the things we need, and we manage to pay the bills, even if it's usually a little late. We sleep in a warm bed every night. How can I resent a girl for making up a story, if that's what she did, because it's not good enough just to need money or food, you have got to be a pregnant kid to get the right kind of sympathy. Anyway, I don't think I had 75 cents in change. And I didn't like the way the SU sorority sisters were looking at her, like she was a skanky old whore, which she might be. I don't know. Whatever.


From: Nichelle
Date: 30 November 1996
Subject: Murtilda

One red and white jingle ball.
One golf ball.
Two white bic lighters.
Two blue rubber-bands.
Fingernail clippers.
Three tinfoil balls.
1/2 package Spearmint Velamints.
No, make that Four tinfoil balls.
Three nuts: one pecan, one brazil, one walnut.
One Fimo ball.
One barette, small.
Fifteen wine corks.
Thirty-seven packing peanuts.
Six wadded-up pieces of paper.
One pen cap.
One bus schedule.
One black sock.

Score: Matilda 78, Gaby&Nichelle 0


From: Columbine
Date: 30 November 1996
Subject: Re: Murtilda

Wait ... wait ... I know this one. You cleaned under the sofa today, right? This sounds like the classic Cat Stash Under The Sofa.

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: SAGReiss
Date: 30 November 1996
Subject: Back-to-back doubles

It's eight minutes past ten and I've just got off work. I worked an eighteen-hour shift yesterday and a fourteen-hour shift today. Mr 609 has proven to be the theme of this Miami game week-end the way Dick Vitale was the theme of the Villanova game last winter. I was trying to cash out and go home for lunch at three o'clock when I heard this voice asking to buy twenty dollars of chicken. I looked up and there he was. I said: "Hey, big guy." Much to my surprise he recognized me immediately, grinned a drunken grin and shouted: "Harold!" He explained in much befudled detail that he and his two friends desperately needed to buy twenty dollars of chicken to eat in the bar right now, pushing a bill across the hostess stand. I told him I'd take care of him and he showed me where they were sitting. I walked over to the buffet, which hadn't been taken down yet, grabbed four plates, piled some chicken on three of them, some rolls and butter on the other, grabbed some silverware, walked into the bar and served it. He gave me three bucks which I put in my pocket. Suzanne said to me: "I'll ring it up as seventeen dollars," meaning that I'd get the other three. I said: "That's fair." I'd like to point out the beauty of Nichelle's letter entitled "Murtilda", the second letter to bear this nickname. Such beauty in simple words, numbers, colors, artifacts of two lives (three including Matilda's). Georges Perec would have loved this poem, if we may call it that. His monsterpiece, La Vie mode d'emploi, is full of such lists, as if to suggest we could know someone just by knowing what's in his closet or basement or refridgerator. I particularly like the line: "Three nuts: one pecan, one brazil, one walnut," for it points out the strange ways languages work. We've got a generic term, nuts, which in most contexts is best translated by fruits secs, which is a much larger category, including raisins and other kinds of dried fruits. The first hyponym, pecan, does not contain the name of of the hypernym. The second, Brazil nut, here elliptical, uses the hypernym as a noun with another noun modifying it. The third, walnut, incorporates the hypernym as a morpheme of the hyponym, thus no ellipsis possible. Are these technical terms a part of Nichelle's active vocabulary? Probably not. They may not even be a part of her passive vocabulary. Did she choose these words for rhetorical and metalinguistic reasons? I think not. It doesn't matter. The text does illustrate something weird about English hypernymy. In a thousand years no one will know if a person called Nichelle ever existed. Scholars may claim that she was a blind poet living on Nantucket or a figment of my imagination. As the Man said: "So long as men can breathe and eyes can see,/So long lives this, and this gives life to thee." I'm sorry, Lonesome Cowgirl, I have to work so much this week-end. We really need the money. I'm glad you bought that hungry woman lunch...

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

October 1996

December 1996

vr: 1996

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