a novel

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

January 1999

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

From: Columbine
Date: 1 January 1999
Subject: Re: Windmills and peppermills

>No human being in the history of the universe has ever existed to
>whom: "just having the woman on top is unbearably deviant."

The heck you say. You didn't grow up in the southern United States. Why do you think I hate and fear Southern Baptists so much?

>You are tilting
>at windmills or peppermills or dildoes or some other phallic symbol, which
>is what people with a political agenda always do.

OK, I don't dispute that. I'm curious as to what you think my agenda is in this case ... I'm not denying I have one, heh, I'm just not sure it's what you think it is.

>woman so dumb as not to be able to get her bf's cock in her ass when it's
>logged just one inch of perineum away is lucky that the internet is so easy
>to use that she can write e-mail to you to complain about it. Every American
>and his gf or bf or goat or cow can figure out how to have anal sex.

's'not a question of knowing how, it's a question of asking permission. It's a question of overcoming fears. Some straight women think that if they take it up the rear, it'll hurt or be icky, but they're curious about it anyway. Besides, like I think I said, mostly the women want to strap one on - be the penetrator - and that's an even bigger barrel of worms. Some straight men think if they get penetrated anally it makes them homosexual. Some straight women think that if they press the issue, or try it anyway, their bf will leave them - or at least be very upset with them.

Your comments lately have been so much food for thought that we're going to write about them for 7 January. Don't worry, we're not going to slander you. I don't think we are anyway. I'm not sure what you'd consider slanderous.

From: Columbine
Date: 1 January 1999
Subject: Re: Lachrymosa

>in other words, a definition for it (in some circles) is moot, since it is
>used more often to delineate what something is not, rather than what it is.

Yup. "Vanilla" usually means "boring." I don't guess we'll ever all agree on what's boring. I imagine most people would find my sex life pretty dull :)

By the by, I'm Columbine. Gabriel doesn't like that pseudonym for various reasons which I won't dredge up here. Call me Todd if you like, or don't call me anything if you like - I don't care. I just mention it because I thought you might be having trouble matching the email address to the references.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 January 1999
Subject: Love in black and white

The cocktail napkins had black lettering on a white background and white lettering on a black backround. The bride's name is Maureen O'Sullivan, and the groom is black. It was an odd party. The bar manager said to me: "It's like the wedding of Lady Macbeth." I suggested that the lavishness of the affaire might have had to do with the delicate issue of miscegenation. The food alone was more than twenty thousand dollars. That's before liquor, service (20%), and tax (9.1%), and doesn't include the band, the cake, the flowers, the photographer etc. etc. We set up two dinner buffets loaded with seafood and New York strip. Then we tore that down and set up a breakfast buffet. Why anyone would want to eat breakfast two hours after dinner is beyond me, but they did. I have found a porn site I like, since none of you bastards is going to share his secrets with me. It's called the Sex Maze (http://www.honest-rick.com/sexmaze/), a free and quixotic site that's a little hard to navigate, as its title might suggest. It seems to have everything, different media, different tastes, though everything is hard to find. I spent most of the afternoon looking at it. I was hoping to read Veronique's sex tale, but she has welshed on her promises again. I'm a little tired, feeling the stress of a week's non-stop drinking and writing. I'm glad that some of you appreciate it. I hope that all of you do. Happy New Year.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 1 January 1999
Subject: Re: Lachrymosa

Happy New Years to ya'll.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 January 1999
Subject: Todd's holiday

At the bar:
Todd: "Jeb, may I please have a Bombay Saphire martini straight up with a twist?"
Jeb: "Boy, you know we ain't never had that fureigner shit. What you want, Bud or white lightening?"
Todd: "OK, I'll have a white lightening on the rocks."
Jeb: "You pussy. What you need ice for?"
Todd: "Um, it is kind of chilly. I'll have it neat."
Jeb: "You been lettin' those Godless Communist Boston bitches sit on your fencepost?"
Todd: "No. Of course not. What gives you that idea? I'd never do that."

At home:
Todd Sr: "Son, you been a good boy this year?"
Todd: "Of course, Pa."
Todd Sr: "You ain't been lettin' that Godless Communist fornicatrix sit on your fencepost?"
Mrs Todd Sr: "Daddy!"
Todd Sr: "I'm just axin', Ma. You don't want the boy to get AIDS, now do you?"
Todd: "It's just like I told you, Pa. We only share the rooms to save on rent."

At church:
Rev. Vanillabottom: "Sinners. Praise God and repent. I have in my hand the secret report from Brother Starr. It says here that one of us, one in our midst, one of our own, has been letting a Godless Communist Northerner sit on his fencepost. Sodom and Gomorrah, Brothers and Sisters. Save yourselves, or be damned."

I just don't see it, Todd. Do people simply walk up to you on the street and tell you never to use your mouth for anything other than speaking in tongues? It reminds me of a joke:

A French girl is marrying a Greek. On the eve of her wedding night her mother tells her: "Whatever you do, if he asks you to turn over, don't do it." "Oui, maman." The couple gets married, and enjoys a healthy sex life. Then one day, the Greek husband asks his French bride to turn over: "Ah, non, cheri. If I did I might get pregnant."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Re: Love in black and white

The wedding of Lady MacBeth? I was expecting an Othello joke. In the south weddings like that don't happen. If a mixed-race couple gets married, it's kept very quiet. They don't lynch people anymore, but there are still towns where no one would have anything to do with you if your spouse happened to be another skin color. This goes back to vanilladom. I'm sorry you don't believe me, Gabriel. I listened to preachers for years saying that homosexuals were automatically damned, that no self-respecting female could possibly want to take an active role in sex, much less desire somebody to lick her clitoris every now and then. (Of course, no southern fire-and-brimstone preacher would use "clitoris." They're often smart enough to know the word, but they'd look too smart for their audience if they used it.)

Good Baptist wives are supposed to lie back, close their eyes, and do nothing. What's the old phrase? "Lie back and think of England." Now, it may be that no one takes those rules seriously in private, that a lot of Baptist churchgoers are nodding obediently to the doctrine and then going home to do whatever they like. But I wasn't talking about private events, I was talking about public perception. It galls me to have a bunch of people preaching that "[fill in sexual habit here] is wrong." Period. And I realize that my spew is wasted here, since you strike me as the kind of person who'd do whatever you damned well pleased in the bedroom.

I'm probably a little too defensive, since I have a quirk which is acceptable to very few people, including you. It's not a sexual quirk, but nonetheless it makes me very paranoid. If I were gay, I could tell my mother that without fear of being ostracized, or of being a disappointment. If I liked getting whipped, I could probably tell her that too - she'd live with it. A woman who jokes about how she broke her kitchen table by having sex on it wouldn't cast stones there. But I can't tell her that I'd really rather have been born female. I've stopped expecting people to understand that.

From: Columbine
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Re: Todd's holiday

>Todd: "It's just like I told you, Pa. We only share the rooms to save on rent."

Friend of mine - ex-Louisianian - lives in California with his (male) lover. His parents never spoke to him after they found out the two had moved in together. They've been living together for ten years now. His dad is dead; the son was asked by a relative to not attend the funeral. He is regarded as a disgrace to the family.

From: Columbine
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Re: Todd's holiday

I thought the joke was really funny, by the by. There's a fairly sick speech that Spider Robinson gave at a sf convention once, in one of his books. It's about what would happen if digestion ran the other way. ("All tables would be lowered. Toilets would need to be dramatically redesigned.") And, he adds offhandedly, "of course all the Greeks would become French and vice versa."

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Desdemona's clit

I can't explain what the bar manager said. In fact what he said was even more odd: "It's like the wedding of Lady Macbeth's mother," so I took a little of the poetic license I've earned through my suffering. How can one talk about a clit without using the word? A periphrase such as "seat of female lust" could mean almost anything. No, Todd. I don't believe you because you are not telling the truth. He said this, but he didn't say it. Well, which is it? I can imagine a sermon about homosexuality, using for instance the Sodom and Gomorrah text. I can imagine (somewhat less plausibly) a sermon about masturbation, using perhaps the spilling-the-seed text. I can conceivably imagine the same text being used to suggest that a man shouldn't come in a woman's mouth, but again I'm not really sure how the preacher might phrase that delicately, for this is the whole point. The language of political hatred is always vague. Don't name the enemy too specifically. Call it "vanilla sex". No one knows what that means. I can't even look it up in the dictionary. I don't even know if it refers primarily to sex or race. Where does it say that Baptist wives are not supposed to enjoy sex? Nowhere. Where does it say that they can't sit on their husband's fencepost? Nowhere. You are barking at the moon. At least Ken Starr is just a paid assassin. He even says he's not concerned with what Clinton did. He's concerned about the truth, which is fine and good. Of course he would also have Mr Bill hanged for jaywalking, if that's the best he could find. Which is fine. They are politicians. They are all equally guilty. How many politicians of every stripe have been caught with their pants down? How many television evangilists? I'm not interested in sob stories about people who want to be loved. I work with queers every day. Some of them have been disowned. So don't tell your parents about your foolish fantasy. I've never been to the deep South, and am never likely to go unless Lauren invites me, which is not going to happen and which I couldn't afford anyway, but we've all read Tennessee Williams.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Please stop the music

You are a sick bastard. Don't write me, don't talk to me, don't look at me. If you so much as even begin to think about me, let alone attempt any sort of communication with me I will kill you; that is if my boyfriend doesn't do it first.
Fuck You

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Veroneek
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: What I Put in My Mouth Today

1 Vegetable Sub
1 Roll of Crab Sushi
1 Beef Empanada
2 Chicken Egg rolls
1 bag of chocolate rice cakes
1 liter diet Sprite

and it's only 10.15pm

From: Nichelle
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Re: Please stop the music

Why did you ask if I'm mad at you, Gabriel? Was it my lack of e-mail, or the fact that I was a little bit grouchy on Lambda the other day? As far as River goes, it could have been (still could be) a lot worse. After all, you work with this girl.

The word vanilla used to describe some kind of sexual activity has always seemed weird to me. It's a judgment- what you do is plain old boring vanilla, what I do is spicy and tasty. Yeah, ok. Everyone to his own taste, said the lady as she kissed the cow. Or so my mother told me as a child. Still, I got a few good laughs out of this discussion. Having sex on New Year's Eve in the (*gasp*) missionary position, I cried out "Help, help, I'm being fucked like a white girl!"

Given the choices of various flavors, vanilla always comes out on top for me. That's one of the reasons I don't really care for that term. Still, I am open minded sexually, and there isn't much that I find shocking. For a long time, I have avoided getting involved in bdsm discussion and even real life play because I was afraid it would come across as saying that I was not raped and assaulted by that boy in Canada. As if, by later becoming curious, I was giving my consent to a past event. And not so much to myself, but to other people, people who never really believed me anyway.

I guess I finally hit a wall. I decided I didn't give a fuck, that I was tired of trying to be somebody I was not, tired of trying to push myself into some kind of mold that Gabriel could accept. More on that later.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: What the River said, II

It was my title. Hers was simply and eloquently: "Re: Blind date". As I've said to Veronique, she sounds mad, but not crazy and vindictive. I think I'll be OK. There is also the embarassement factor. For her to do anything seriously harmful to me she'd have to admit that we went to a bar and I felt her up. I think she is angry, though. I wonder why? Kind of charming that she gives a little signature: "Fuck you/River". Funny that I didn't even know her last name until I got her letter. I think we can draw this little episode to a close. Lauren, some words about the translation of the Bible. We have to be very careful about what we're saying. When I speak of the Bible, I am always, unless otherwise stated, talking about the King James Version, which is one of the most beautiful works of literature in any language, whatever its merits as a translation, which does not mean to us the same thing that it did to people in 1611. Attacking it as insufficiently literal is as absurd as attcking it for not being politically correct enough. I do not read Hebrew. I have read portions of the Bible in Greek (what is known as the Septuagint) and Latin (the Saint Jerome). What one has to remember about any translation is that it can only exploit the resources of the target language at the time it is translated. The third century BC was not a great time for Greek literature, nor was the fourth century AD for Latin, unless you are like that bastard Des Esseintes in A Rebours, who loves late Latin literature. The language of the Greek has nothing to do with the magnificent, soaring loftiness of the the fifth century. It is vulgar and common. The Latin is worse, far worse. The English language was exploding at the turn of the sixteenth century. There is no period with which it may reasonably be compared. If one just looks at the theatre, which has always been the most public form of literature, the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras show a breadth and depth of dramatic output unmatched in any other. Some of these poets may well have worked on the King James, possibly even including Shakes, but I think not. The timing doesn't look right to me. The King James is quite simply the most extraordinary translation ever made, whatever one may think about its fidelity. Read Martin Luther. He was a baad man, who single-handedly created a unified German language, but his book is nothing compared to the mind-boggling beauty of King James. I thank you, girls, for writing to us a little tonight. You might imagine that I'm feeling a little pain. Besides, I was worried that I might have to rename this list the WBN (white boy network). It's nice to know that in my time of stress, having just joined the AFL-CIO and possibly facing a sexual harassement dismissal, my harem is faithful to me. Lauren has theoretically won the 1999 sex contest, getting laid on January first, but it's not really official until she writes to us about it. Veronique is still in contention. I liked your joke, Cherlyn. What have you been putting in your mouth lately?

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Re: Love in black and white

Uhm, YES THEY DO still lynch people in the south..there were TWO lynching last year... Mixed race couples in Alabama have one HELLUVA time of it. I think that ANY such couple that gets married in the deep wouth needs to be commended because they put up with more crap than any human being should have to.

From: Nichelle
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Re: What the River said, II

What, did you think I was joking about getting laid on New Year's? Still don't believe that I can manage that?

From: Solaris
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: (no subject)

Actually, the english translations of the Bible (New Testament) are HORRIBLE> I have read it in the original coine, and frankly...it's been rewritten SEVERAL TIMES for political advantage. The sermon about Sodom and Gamorrah does NOT say "men shall not lie with men" it specifically states "men shall not forcibly lie with youths". There are MANY sexual references that are added to the Bible as well. Satan was added by King James. One should /Never/ take a translation of the Bible as being the actual "word"...and I have reason that no one should take it was teh word of God but, some of you may be Christian, and so I won't go to that extent cause it might piss ya'll off too much. Indeed, everything is up to interpretation, even when heard/read from the original writer/speaker. Reason is a function of the human mind...but be careful what you read and how you read it...

From: Cherlyn
Date: 2 January 1999
Subject: Re: What I Put in My Mouth Today

i was hoping for something a little more risqué when i saw the subject.

~ ~ ~ ~
Note and disclaimer: This signature is freeze-dried, sterilized, and pasteurized for your protection. If this signature is missing, please do not read the preceeding email, as its legitimacy can therefore not be verified; thus reading it may cause harm to your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being.


---[end signature. life is a salad. fnord.]

From: Veroneek
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: Re: What I Put in My Mouth Today

In a message dated 1/3/99 1:04:11 AM Eastern Standard Time, Cherlyn writes:

<< i was hoping for something a little more risqué when i saw the subject. >>
i know. i'm just getting warmed up....or should i say, warming you up.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: Apres-sexe

Nichelle, you are a great and brave woman. I believe anything you tell me. Lauren, we would need to look at what text you were talking about for Sodom and Gomorrah. I assume it was written in Hebrew. I don't know much about that, but I'm a linguist, so I know what questions to ask. You translate "youth" as opposed to some other translation, which you unfortunately don't identify, "man". We need to know two things. Does the source language have two words for "man", one meaning human being and the other meaning male human being? How strong is the distinction between the words for "man" and "boy"? I refer to myself indifferently as a man or a boy in English, in French, and in German. These things are known as "sememes", the discrete elements of meaning that make up what we understand by words. I'm also assuming, based on no evidence, that the masculine gender is used. What we are looking for is whether the text was saying "adult male" or "young person of either sex" or "young male".

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: Re: Desdemona's clit

Very well, then, Gabriel. Have it your way. There is no sexual repression, implied or otherwise, in the fundamentalist Christian faiths. America isn't a place where only the most straightforward of sexual practices are tolerated in public, despite the high amount of kinkiness in private. There is no sexual hypocrisy in this country. All these things are true, because Gabriel says so.

I don't expect to be able to convince you of something on hearsay, and I don't expect to be able to convince you of something which is a matter of opinion/interpretation, and I'm not sure why I tried.

I happen to think that I've seen ample evidence of such behavior and that I'm right, and I happen to think that in this particular case you're full of s**t. But, hey, you're always entitled to disagree.

Now, if you'll pardon me, my foolish fantasies and I have to go write about the latest round of attempts to censor the web. Those aren't real either, y'know. I made them up. CDA and COPA are just bad pizza dreams.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: You might be a winner

That was a long day measured in e-mail, which is how I tell time. OK, I
hereby declare the 1999 sex contest still open. After all no one has written
a half-way decent sex letter yet this year. I'll let you know when you've
won. The prize is a year-long subscription to this list. No, Todd. You're
not going to convince me of anything based on hearsay or even heresy. If you
had facts, I assume you would already have led us to the website where Billy
Graham says that women aren't allowed by Jesus to enjoy sex. I'm not
interested in anyone's opinions or interpretations. I have none to offer,
either. You aren't likely to offend anyone on this list, Lauren. I usually
take care of doing that myself, though I'm happy to share the burden, if you
like. I may be a drunk, but I'm not dumb. I don't put people on this list
who are easily offended. Most of us are hard and mean. You needn't worry
about bruising our tender feelings. I'm sure we can handle it. Lauren
mentions the "coine" or "koine", a term used to refer to the language into
which the Hebrew portions of the Bible were translated and in which some of
the New Testament was written. It's a vulgar dialect, Greek past its prime,
with far too many participles and paratax. This has usually been the fate of
the Bible in translation. It's dumbed down, made for television, even Martin
Luther's version. The exception is the King James, which was written right
at the precise moment when the English language had hit its historical cusp.
I'm not sure what she means by "inventing Satan" or God for that matter,
except that the English tends to use one or two words to refer to the
protagonist and antagonist, whereas the Hebrew text, written by many authors
over hundreds of years, uses many words for them. I have to take a shower,
shave, put on my tuxedo and go to my job at the strip joint, er restaurant.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: Re: What the River said, II

Oh so ya'll want to know what happened that I got laid? WEll, okay here it is. I suck as a writer, so don't expect anything terribly good. :)

My friends, Blake and Fred, threw a little get together for New Year's Eve. There were about 10 people there and a little bit of alcohol, though no one got drunk. The local weed dealer got arrested, so no one was smoking out (and I"m allergic to THC anyway.....). Blake and Fred were working on a cutie named Carrie, and everyone was making comments because it was right out in the open. So, Carrie's friend Shannon asked me if I'd like to steal Carrie (with her) from Blake and Fred. I said yes, and we dragged Carrie to the middle of the room and proceeded to feel her up/kiss her/etc. Shannon was advernturous and removed her shirt and shoes. Carrie had already lost her bra to Blake. Shannon's interest moved to Michelle and they sat back and watched as I went down on Carrie. I found out that Carrie is rather loud....not /quite/ a screamer, but close. She had a sharp scent and a tangy taste, but not bad at all. She was definitely not a virgin because I could easily use my entire hand inside of her, and she did seem to enjoy that. She came and we sat together on the couch. About five minutes later, Carrie started down on me. It was amusing becuase I"m VERY ticklish, especially with people I've never met before. Also when she was going down on me and I was in the midst of my ecstasy I hear "Wow, a natural redhead!". I started laughing, which actually increased my sensation a bit, as I looked over and saw that Michelle was now going down on Shannon (the natural redhead). I did come to the ministrations of her tongue ring....damn, I gotta look into girls wiht those. :) That kicked ass. I stayed about an hour longer and then had to drive home in a daze, praying htat I didn't get pulled over by a cop or stopped at a DUI checkpoint....taking a breathalizer with pussy on my breath would be REALLY interesting.....especially in Alabama. While they'd know I had not been drinking (well, I had but that was 4 hrs before and only one drink) they'd also know I'd been gettin' some.

There ya go Gabriel. That's how it went.


From: Solaris
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: Re: Apres-sexe

Actually there are separate words for man, youth, and boy. The word for "boy" tends to mean a baby boy. A youth is a young boy who has not completed his education....more than likely between teh ages of 7 and 19. The word for man is for a male who has completed his education and has some experience....usually military experience. Usually this reference is used for men over 35 but occasionally for men from 19-35.....a youth /can/ be older than 19...and often is, but is not considered an adult.

From: Solaris
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: Re: You might be a winner

It is thought that the Bible was written in coine by non-natives of Greece; ones for whom Greek was NOT their first language. Also, many of hte people who were credited with writing the Bible (New Testament) were not able to write as far as historians can tell...scribes recorded it for them. So, yes it is a little sketchy and simplified in the coine. The sentences are UNUSUALLY short. (Gabriel can probably attest to the fact taht a Greek sentence can take up 3 pages....run on sentences just don't exist as an error in Greek grammar....they're the norm.)

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 January 1999
Subject: Professional

I was riding the elevator with a sleazy Mexican waiter: "Which of the chicas do you like?" I stiffled the urge to throttle him. I stared at my shoes. I felt like the hero of a Sophoclean tragedy, seeing my fate, but powerless to avoid it. I hated him. Inside I screamed: "Shut the fuck up you crazy Spic." I mumbled: "Dunno." I knew what was next: "What's the name of that girl with the big marambas?" My mind was paralysed with fear: "Fucking slow elevators." "River, that's it. Te gusta?" The whole day was like that, and she wasn't even there. I thought: "Well, no one has told me I'm fired, so I might as well work." My senses were hypersensitive. I felt this overwhelming guilt and shame. Why do I get myself into these messes? It was Open House. Ivo said to me: "Don't offer them coffee or anything. Avoid eye contact." "That's fine with me, bro. I'm not feeling very sociable." I'll be OK, though. I won't see her for at least a week. We'll both have time to cool off. She'll go to the company party, and I won't. She'll see that I'm not going to make trouble for her. Besides, she chose to react emotionally rather than with calm vengeance. She can't take back her e-mail either. She did threaten me with grievous bodily harm, not to mention conspiracy to have me mudered by her bf, not that I would ever dream of using that against her, now would I? That was a lovely letter, Lauren. I may or may not be the only member of this list who masturbated after reading it. I needed to release my stress anyway. E-mail is a pretty informal genre. I work at it. Sometimes I feel like I raise it to the level of art. There's plenty of gravitas in Nichelle's "There's no such thing as paranoia" letters. I was very happy with one word in "Lacrymosa". The word "bearded" does double duty. It tells you that the doctor is a monsieur, and it gives you a visual image, one that possibly made you laugh. Ideally a word can also play an important role in the phonetic structure, but I'm seldom that good.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 4 January 1999
Subject: Re: Professional

Actually, I found it interesting that you commented on the use of words in the phoenetic Gabriel. I actually "hear" things when I read...different voices, etc. I tend to be rather non-visual, probably because I was nearly blinded as a child from nasty eye infections. I usually like works of the sort that "sound" good to me when I read them. Perhaps that's another reason I like to hear a woman's pleasure when in bed rather than see it. The soft moans, the whispers, the occasional scream...that's what I like. That's how I know if I've truly done her well or not. I could listen to a sexy woman's voice forever, but only look at a woman's body for a few minutes without distraction. Sound captivates and motivates me. Perhaps this is also why I enjoy music so much. *shrug* I dunno....

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 January 1999
Subject: Last call

I ate a light lunch at the Club, tabouleh with shrimp and a salad of marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, then headed for the unemployment office to file my claim. As I waited in line, an old black man keeled over and slumped to the floor. No one moved. He lay there for a few minutes before a huge, burly, black, security-medical man arrived. He picked up the body. They talked, then the man said: "We got to go," and staggered out. So now I have to call every Sunday and report my hours and estimated income. They guarentee me $319 a week, less taxes. Svetlana was lying. It's always hard to know what her game is. She is the union shop steward, but she performs management functions, such as scheduling. I talked to the catering manager. She told me that it's going to be dead until April. I have decided it would be safe to take a cure, so I finished my bottles of Scoresby and Valpolicella last night, and will spend a month or so sober. What I meant by phonetics is pretty standard stuff, what Roman Jakobson writes about poetry, for instance. There's an example on our web site, the button labelled "Shakes 106".

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 January 1999
Subject: Northwestern bacalao

The vegetables are prepped for tonight and tomorrow. The stock is simmering. Food seems more important now that I've quit drinking. After one drinks a pint of whisky, a crust of stale bread, some moldy cheese and a bottle of red wine will do. Tonight I'm baking a cod filet in white wine with carrots, celery, potatoes and jalapeno peppers. For dessert a bit of Port Salut. Tomorrow I'll bake bread and make tomato sauce and lamb stew with white beans. I'll also get my head shaved. I need that mean and ugly look just in case I have to face disciplinary hearings or am caught committing gross unemployment fraud. The booklet explains in stern words the terrible things that might happen if "overcompensation" occurs. This can happen for two reasons, error or malfaisance. Basically I would have to pay them back. Unfortunately they don't explain what happens if "undercompensation" occurs, presumably through error because the State cannot commit malfaisance. In other words I've decided to make sure that a slight under-reporting error happens every week to insure that I get the cash. My blood alcohol rate is plunging well below the dangerous depths of 2.0. I'll soon be legal to drive even in this Nazi-teetotaler state where 0.8 is the new limit. One of the first people they nabbed was an off-duty cop, who only got caught because he killed someone in a crash on New Year's Day. I don't like being sober very much. I need a little project to occupy my mind and possibly even my body in my new existence as a Welfare Queen. Given that there's some new blood, I thought we could try something that we've tried before with mixed results, a little interactive literary criticism, phonetics even. Can someone choose a text, preferably something manageable such as a poem of fifteen hundred words or fewer? It would probably have to be in English, as there are a few unapologetic monolinguists on this list. Cherlyn, perhaps there's something you're reading at school.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: What's your flavor?

"'Vanilla' is a horrid expedient. It doesn't mean the same thing to any two people. Complicating the matter, it's usually used negatively. When you're talking about sex, 'vanilla' means boring."

If "vanilla" means "boring", then its meaning should be quite clear to everyone. Everyone understands what is meant by the expression "boring book", though not everyone agrees on its pertinence to any given text. If you mean "boring sex", why not just say so?

"The reason we use 'vanilla' at all is that we often need an opposite term for 'kinky' or 'perverse.'"

The word "vanilla" is the antonym of the terms "kinky" and "perverse", which we must then assume to be synonyms, which must, if we follow the above paragraph, mean "interesting".

"This is an important problem to us! It's not just a semantic debate. Since 'kinky' or 'not kinky' is a judgement call, we have to be very careful to not propose a spectrum of 'kinkiness' which is at odds with the way the majority of our readers define things."

This is a perfectly specious argument. We are talking about the definition of words. The name of that branch of linguistics is semantics. I'll pass on the lack of agreement between the subject "majority" and the verb "define", but that is one fucking ugly and easily avoidable split infinitive. How much more elegantly the sentence could be rewritten: "we have to be very careful not to propose a spectrum".

"Unfortunately it seems the only solid, workable definition of 'kinky' is 'whatever I don't personally do.' Anything too outré for you is automatically kinky. Once you do it regularly - voila! - it stops being kinky."

Since Nichelle is learning French, I'd suggest you put an accent on "voilà" as well as "outré". So, the expression "kinky", which we defined above as "interesting" (the opposite of "vanilla" or "boring"), is now defined as: "whatever I don't personally do". By the same token "vanilla" must now mean "whatever I do personally do".

"Meanwhile - back to our irate reader - we continue to use the vague terms 'kinky' and 'vanilla,' although we don't like them either. Because we have nothing better to use. Nor, we say emphatically, does anyone else."

You are right. I can't find an adjective that means simultaneously "interesting" and "what I don't personally do" or another that means "boring" and "what I do personally do". Have I put words in your mouth? Is it asking too much of you to follow your argument coherently from paragraph to paragraph? There is a reason why authors are encouraged not to use ambiguous or poorly defined jargon. It leads to confusion on the part of the reader, as well as the writer.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: Agnus dei

The whole flat stinks of garlic and olive oil and seared lamb. I'm surprised the neighbors haven't complained. I'm surprised the fire alarm hasn't gone off. I have no idea what I'm making. It isn't stew. I couldn't find a recipe which answered to what I wanted to do, so I improvised. After soaking half a pound of great northern beans, I cut up four cloves of garlic, half an onion, a jalapeno pepper, two carrots, two potatoes and four branches of celery. I threw the vegetables into a big Dutch oven seething with olive oil. I split a one-pound lamb shank and put it into an olive-oil-laden skillet on the back burner, which I mistakenly set on high. By the time I realized what was wrong, the whole stovetop was splattering scalding oil. I fended away the volcanic eruptions with an oven mit, turned down the heat, and fearlessly defended my lamb, browning it tenderly on each side. I then added the meat to the vegetables and proceeded to deglaze the skillet with white wine. Columns of steam rose to the ceiling as the wine hissed and evaporated. I spooned the elixir into the Dutch oven, added the beans, threw in seventeen herbs and spices, and poured water over the whole thing. I'll let it simmer for a couple of hours, and serve with the bread I made yesterday. I think what it will most ressemble is a cassoulet.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: Re: What's your flavor?

WEll, I do have to agree.....and all such terms, when referring to sex, ARE subjective. I mean, well..I consider heterosexual sex VERY boring...(go figure, I'm lesbian). But, some might say that lesbianism in itself is "kinky".... I think the real issue is that people try to avoid talking directly about sex. I generally tell people taht yes, the sex was bad/boring/beyond me/etc. But, I've rarely come across a partner who was so willing to actually come out and Say it. Americans have some weird habbits/customs. Some of those are in the way Americans approach sex. We teach our children that sex is a terrible, awful, sinful thing. But, when they become teenagers they're often taught that their sexuality is what truly defines them. How many partners they have determines how good a person they are...which I think is a little crazy. But, there are mixed messages. It is my thought that people use things like 'vanilla' in a way to try and hide teh fact that they're talking about sex, etc. Have you ever been in a conversation with friends or co-workers, or just people in general where the people wouldnt' even say the word "sex" or used other names for parts of their genetalia? I know that I have...and I've ONLY encountered that happening in the United States. (Now granted I did have some experience with it in Europe/Asia...but not NEARLY like here in the US.) I think that to some extent it is subconscious, but it IS socially based...and I am rather irritated with it. Why the hell can't people just SAY things as they are? *shrug* Oh well....enough of that.


From: Joy
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: Re: Agnus dei

post it gabe post it remember how i gave you rights to all possible future financial gains?

besides, i have no idea what the last word in your lastemail means..

for some of us, gourmet is NOT krystals (sp?) .. but just about everything else is. fon those of you that don't have the honor of knowing the fine chain fastfood gaint named krystals.. people around here affectionately term those little burgers "gut bombs", among other things..

one day, arkasha, we will all have delete keys

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: Joy

Joy, darling. I didn't log it. You can post it, if you like.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: crazy

I'm too insane to write e-mail, but the Agnus Dei joke was pretty good.

OK, if you want to analyze some fine literature, here is my contribution, an e-mail from work:

"how do I do to buy and like you they do do to order this cd and for how much he is with the shipping expenses? hello he/she would like to buy a cd of its store but do I live in Brazil, would he/she like to know like you they order the cd and if I pay some thing the more in the coming of the cd to Brazil?"

From: Nichelle
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: misc_feedback_popcorn_sorry

(What your Amazon.com dollars are wasted on.)

Jeanne wrote:
> Sorry about the burnt popcorn--smell, smoke and all--that would be due
> to my vast experience with microwaves.
> jeanne

Dear Jeanne,

Thank you for writing to us with your concern. In addition to delicious, buttery, perfectly-popped popcorn, one of the benefits we'd like to offer you is clean, breathable air, and we have not met that standard in this case. Please accept my sincere apologies.

For future reference, please note that average popping times range from 2-5 minutes. There is a handy way to monitor the progress of your popcorn yourself- simply listen to the popping rate until the popping slows to 1-2 seconds between pops. You can then remove the bag yourself from the microwave.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns, and thank you for popping at Amazon.com!

Best Regards,


From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: Strong emotions

I need to take a bath. That was an overwhelming dining experience. It was like wading out into a fetid swamp teeming with white beans and orange carrots, awash with hot slicks of olive oil and lamb's blood, stalks of rosemary growing wild. (I hope no one here is a vegetarian.) All it needed to be perfect was a really tannic wine from Languedoc, such as a vin du Gard, and some Roquefort to cleanse the palate. If I ever get laid again, I'll make a real cassoulet for the wronged party, with goose fat and duck meat and saucisses de Toulouse and lard. Fuck, the damned thing only took a couple of hours to make.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 7 January 1999
Subject: Re: Strong emotions

>It was like wading out into a fetid swamp teeming with white beans and orange carrots,
>awash with hot slicks of olive oil and lamb's blood, stalks of rosemary growing wild.

Nothing to whet the appetite like a fetid swamp.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 January 1999
Subject: Call me Gabriel

Veronique was asking questions about my socio-economic status last night on the MOO, so I thought I might answer within reach of all curious ears. I work as a waiter in a private social club for rich people, and belong to the AFL-CIO affiliated Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees union local 8. While I earned two thousand dollars in December, plus a two-hundred-dollar Christmas bonus, my wages are more likely to range between twelve and fifteen hundred in the slow season. That's why I've filed for unemployment. I think I could actually live on a thousand a month, but I'd have to quit smoking as well as drinking. I have no debts. I have no car. I have no television. I have no long distance telephone service. I'll soon have health insurance. I'll go back to my former job at another private club when it re-opens in June. I can earn two thousand a month there. I guess that's called working class. I'd be more inclined to call it working poor, but the U.S. government has such stringent requirements for poverty that it's almost impossible to be poor without dependants. I think a family of four is supposed to live on my wages and not ask for help. Not that I'm complaining. I have a 'puter and internet access. I bake my own bread and cook my own food, when I don't eat at the restaurant. There's nothing I want that costs money. I have never participated in the 401k plans offered to me because I have no hope for the future, thus no real fear, and I've never planned on staying put at a job. I may reconsider when I go back to the Tennis Club, especially if they give me a dollar or two raise and I'm feeling rich. I've just heard Jay Gould quoted on the radio: "I could hire half of the working class to kill the other half."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Veroneek
Date: 9 January 1999
Subject: Pilates and Risotto

I'm feeling limber and energetic after my first Pilates class this morning. It's as if someone grabbed one half of me and pulled one way, and someone else grabbed the other half of me and pulled the other way. A sad metaphor for my life -- where's King Solomon when I need him? Nevertheless a good distraction from last week -- as my British colleagues would say, "I'm knackered." To further my distraction, I've got a bubbling pot of Thai Risotto on the stove, for which I've just invented the recipe. I'm feeling really good with half a bottle of sweet German wine in stomach and the smell of arburio rice, peanuts, cumin, onions, garlic and coconut milk in the air. Even better "...1.5% of the value of the Peanut Sauce I've added to my Risotto is used to help protect the endangered Asian Elephant. It is not too late, they can be saved...."

From: Cherlyn
Date: 10 January 1999
Subject: Re: Strong emotions

>(I hope no one here is a vegetarian.)

i am, but i don't take personal offense at the serving of meat, much less the mentioning of said serving. i found meat delicious, and like any addiction, it took a good while to get over. in any case, even if the subject of meat *was* offensive, it could no doubt not be moreso than other subjects of this list's procurement that i've been happy to dismiss. speaking of this list, and of procurement; is it truly a list, or is it a cooking show in disguise?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 January 1999
Subject: The kinky gourmet

That would be Jeff Smith, a homeboy who has just settled a child-abuse civil lawsuit. I'm not sure why you use the word: "procurement", Cherlyn. In French that term refers to the prosecutor of a trial. In English I think it usually means the orgasmiser of a white slavery trade. "Il n'y a que deux choses qui interessent tout le monde," said the French curate to his flock: "Le cul et la bouffe." I'd prefer we talked a little more about sex and literature. Unfortunately I no longer read, and only have sex with myself. I don't really think anyone is interested in knowing how I masturbate three or four times a day. I am right-handed by nature, ambidexrous by training. In a restaurant one must carry sixty-pound oval trays on the weak side, so that the strong hand is free to deal with revolving doors, thoughtless managers and the occasional falling object. I have caught salads and sandwiches. Once I even miraculously caught a twelve-ounce glass of Coke as it plummeted towards a guest. The whole table stared in silence. I smiled and gently placed the glass in front of the gentleman. I wasn't even trying to catch it. I wanted to bat it towards my chest, so that I would take the hit. The damned thing just stuck to the palm of my hand without spilling a drop. That was a brilliant and beautiful insight, Todd, that the single most common sexual act is masturbation. It's the kind of simple, obvious thought that no one ever thinks because everyone's too busy trying to say something smart. I also should have mentioned a small punctuation problem you seem to be having. There were a couple of examples in the texts I cited. When one uses quotation marks, the punctuation should come after the end-quote unless the syntax of the text within quotations demands it. In other words only put the punctuation within the quotation marks if the quotation is a grammatical clause, not a word or phrase. I wonder whether you think I was being unfair or picayune. I ran a word count on "vanilla" and "kink" in your column. (To run specific word or character counts on Word, one simply uses the find function to replace a word or character by itself. The number of changes made gives you the answer.) I found that you used "vanilla" twelve times, of which I quoted four occurrences, and "kink" twenty-seven times, of which I quoted eight. That is not self-servingly selective or unfair. Nor do I think it was small-minded. After all we were talking about the meaning of those words. In fact I had begun with the intention of doing something else entirely. I was going to compare your definitions of "vanilla" and "kinky" with the dictionary's. However once I collated your texts, I realized that you couldn't even agree with yourself what they mean, let alone with a dictionary. I did learn that "vanilla" is derived from the Latin "vagina" which means "sheath". Also one can find your acceptation of "vanilla" under "plain-vanilla", a seventies' coinage. The moral of the story is that it's a lot harder than it looks to write a weekly column (especially one that holds up to my critical and analytical reading) or daily e-mail. Todd's is no better and no worse than Suzy Bright's, and she gets paid to do it. Lauren's letter entitled "Re: What the River said, II" (Why do you people use my titles? I know they're catchy, but do your own work.) is great and good, but one can't have wild orgies every day. Most nights at the strip joint are probably, like most nights at the restaurant, boring and stupid rather than funny and stupid. Still I'd like to hear about it. What I liked about my letters entitled "Agnus dei" and "Strong emotions" is that I made the simple act of cooking and eating supper sound like the battle of Hastings. That is the difference between life and art. Art seeks to give universal expression to the personal and the mundane.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 11 January 1999
Subject: question

Hey, I jsut had a question for all of you. I need a good white wine for cooking. I found a GREAT recipe for chicken simmered in white wine. I rarely ever use alcohol/drink alcohol, so I just wondered what you all recommend. It seems to me that you all have fairly good taste in food, at least from what I've read so far. If the recipe works out well, I'll send it to anyone who wants it.

g'night and thanks!


From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 January 1999
Subject: (Un)employment

I was still trembling half an hour after I had used the "more convenient and faster" touch tone system to file my first weekly claim. First there's this terrible threatening message warning about the evils of false claims. Next comes a rapid-fire interrogation which tricks the innocent caller by asking questions that are not on the written form. I screwed up, of course. I called this morning to clear up the mess. I hope it's OK. As Nichelle can bear witness, I have a pathological fear and hatred of the telephone. Mine never rings. Even when I'm not online, the bell is turned off. Please leave voice mail. I don't talk on the phone. I've got another crazy scheme I was talking to Lauren about last night. Portland Community College is looking for a full-time French teacher to the tune of $37,500. I think I'm their man, despite the small fact that I haven't got a master's degree, and they'll probably be deluged by starving waiters with Ph.D.s. After all, I have nothing to lose but my pride, and we all know I haven't got a lot of that left to lose. I'm sorry about another cooking class, Cherlyn, but you do have some control over this list. I'd just as soon hear about your weird sex adventures or what poetry they've got you reading in school. There are two questions to be considered, Lauren. How much wine do you need, and what do you intend to do with the rest of the bottle? If you don't need a lot of wine, and don't want to serve or drink the rest, use cooking wine, but don't add any salt because cooking wine is highly salted. (In fact don't add salt no matter what. Salt doesn't enhance the flavor of anything. It just makes it taste like salt.) If the wine is a major ingredient, or you want to serve or drink the rest, choose an everyday white Burgundy probably available in your area from Georges Duboef or Louis Jadot, the Coke and Pepsi of the Rhone. If you want something better go for a Bordeaux Graves sec, or a Sancerre, or even a Riesling vin d'Alsace. Don't buy anything that doesn't say AOC. Another option is a Pinot Grigio from Italy. I don't know anything about California wine.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 January 1999
Subject: bgates sr

Every time I see bgates' father I'm surprised at how tall he is, at least six four, his shoulders stooped with age. Instead of becoming a murderer and a thief his son could have played basketball. I've finished one part of the PCC application, answering their evil little questions and tweaking the lies on my resume. To my endless relief they don't ask for letters of recommendation, only three names and phone numbers. Shiiit, I can give them that. The hard part is getting them off their fat asses to write something not too vicious about someone they loathe. They won't say anything bad about me on the phone. In their heart they know they screwed me, and I was innocent. I'm just waiting for the college to send me the official application form, which should be a mere formality, unless they ask embarassing about a master's degree. I've gotten over one more hurdle at work, the employee party. If River had said something out of drunken foolishness, I'd have heard about it tonight. Tomorrow evening is the real test. We're working together. I'll take my cues from her. If she smiles, I'll smile. If she greets me, I'll greet her. Otherwise I'll ignore her completely. I think it will be fine. On the other hand I'm not so sure about this unemployment thing. I've got nine shifts this week, more than thirty hours with only one breakfast and one cocktail, where we make less money. Oh well, I'll think of something.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 11 January 1999
Subject: in my mouth,etc.

I guess you're probably dying to know what I've been eating, eh? Black-eyed peas, cooked with a ham hock (almost typed cock, oops), carrots, onions, garlic, greens, a little vinegar, some olive oil, a bay leaf. It smells pretty darned good. Murder, you still alive? I met an acquaintance of yours, and I have a possible duet date with a guy who went to Central.

From: Joy
Date: 12 January 1999
Subject: Fw: Re: hello love

sorry if i sent this twice but PINE is acting up could you sent this to the list if it never made it the first time?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Joy
Date: 12 January 1999
To: Zule
Subject: Re: hello love

Winter slump? join the crowd.

E decided he wasn't sure after he had a dream one night so after Much discussion we?/he decided to forego getting operation. So instead of abstinence(sp?) which is what we had been doing - it's now the pill, condoms, and the rhythm method. This is fucking (no pun intended) ridiculous. I envy Gingko more and more everyday. When I'm not doing well it's best that I have no libido anyway.

I need to take more cues from the cat - she keeps laying in areas where there is a lot of light, be it natural or man-made. The past week I've spent 2 days trying to get as much light as possible (which probably isn't saying much) and I felt much more mobile.

I'm nervous as hell. Today I was advised for classes and I found out most of my grades. I knew they were bad. I have to get an academic probation preson (a 'specialist') to talk to. Whenever I start telling my advisors my problems / school / my life - and I mean telling them Alot - they start to get flustered and upset because it's their job to help me and they realize that they really can't do a damn thing for me. They also realize that the reason why I was so flippant about everything is because I know in advance that this meeting with them wouldn't change a damn thing. They start to get this concerned look in their eye and they frequently put an elbow on the table while resting their forehead in their hand. blah blah

But back to being nervous. I had some old oriental guy who is probably someone in some science dept 'advising' me. he was of little help. they are mostly useless. at least i understood what he was saying. one time i had some chem prof who could hardly speak english. -- So i signed up for classes blindly. I signed up for something called Ethology / Sociobiology. I have no idea what that is. I looked up ethology in the dictionary and was still lost. It just didn't have anything about stat-math in the title.. after I had crossed out the classes I had already taken, and the classes I know not to take b/c I've had the profs before and wanted to strangle them then... not much left. As it is, I have an 8:00 am class MWF. Perception. To say I feel disorganized and unprepared would be a massive understatement at this point. I'm already really jumpy again.. well, more than usual... er, more than i have been..

Gingko is sleeping on my foot/ankle which is preventing me from uh being able to ah type in the best manner, i'm twisted up a ibt

i have been playing Fallout 2 lately. THat's about All I've been doing. Havent been able to eat or sleep much lately .. 12 hrs straigt is not that unusual.. oh well all good things come to an end I suppose.

I heard the sp? deftones on the radio today.. no wait on Monday.. surprised me a bit.

Looking around, I am starting to realize how much of a sinking feeling i have about this semester. the orderliness (no the messiness - if it's organized to you, if you can find things, thats all that matters) of one's room (or desk?) is a reflection of how one is doing upstairs. Clothes that haven't been cleaned since oh November, dirty dishes everywhere, and dirty clothes everywhere, and little 'projects' everywhere, garbage everywhere, the carpet is begging to be vacuumed i need to clean the bathroom - particularly the remnants of a blood trail (E has been under a lot of stress lately (who isn't) and when stressed frequently has nosebleeds on a god-like scale) and while I did a few dishes the other day, I think they are all dirty again, not to mention the two Monster pots that I have quarantined to their own little bags so they won't spread...

The cat leans back and flexes her front right paw luxuriously. and she does it again.. and again.. and again..

I wonder if I have any paper... I should probably go back to sleep.. (if I can) for it's only 10:53 and maybe, just maybe, I'll have a few more moments of 'rest'

Apres moi, le deluge (boy do i hate french)

(Gingko stretches again)


From: Joy
Date: 12 January 1999
Subject: (no subject)

again, could you forward this to this list? thanks. i'm really getting angry at PINE.

there is this restaurant in new orleans .. in the french quarter.. that I think might be up your alley, sagreiss/gabe/whatever. i have no idea what the name of it is.. so yes, i'm horribly helpful but this is a place where one is a career waiter. they are paid well. they apprentice. the sr waiter takes the orders (no pen and paper here, memorization) and the jr waiter helps to bring things in. it takes many years to 'graduate'. and of course it's extremely french. i heard about this place from my french prof. for some reason, when you mentioned carrying 60 lb trays in one hand it reminded me of this place. Where there is an art to dining. where people are never noisy (supposedly b/c the french ahve more manners than oh, someone i suppose.. maybe those crude americans)

this was netioned in classes..back in sept? so i may have thedetails wrong, but..

i know Nothing of this whole 'dining' thing, where eating is an extended experience, where one savors the flavors.. i know McDs and Dynasty Express (CHinese) and digornos (sp?) and and
i remember having this argument with my older brother.. quite awhile ago (10 yrs) where we were arguing about macaroni. I have been raised on Kraft Macaroni. so was he, but apparently he decided upon the heresy that Kraft was inferior to homemade macaroni (before you get riled up, i didn't feel like wiritng 'and cheese' every single damn time) and he liked that that stuff with the bloated macaroni and ivory color (ICK). He's always been far more adventurous than me when it comes to food. After all, as a young kid he would eat hamburgers WITH their buns. I always thought that the bread flavor would interfere with teh meat flavor. not to mention taht the buns frequently seemed to meld to the meat and this disturbed me (all of this is in reference to McD burgers) i always wanted my hamburgers with ketchup only, which had the side benefit of being always fresh and hot.. not aged like the others.. i would unwrap the burger and take the lid off (lukas with teh lid off someone shoot me please) and of course they never put enough ketchup on. opening up a few ketchup packets and smearing them across the top, i would pick up the meat patty like.. um.. hard to describe.. like i was holding a small tennis ball in my hand.. the patty on the tips of my fingers.. perhaps something like holding up a tray? .. and would delicately nibble away while ignoring the stares of the other patrons. It wasn't until um maybe age 14 that i was finally able to incorporate the bun part into my diet.. which is a good thing b/c it makes eating with one hand while driving a simpler and less ketchup-hazardous task.

This is what I know of food. My family was always on the go. everyone had their own busy schedule and no one's ever agreed. i know nothing of 'sit-down' dinners. i used to be able to completely change in the car (w/o showing any skin) from my usual clothes to my ballet stuff (since i had just finished a cello lesson) and gobble up my dinner in less than 5 minutes in heavy traffic without getting sick. the cello lesson was immediately after a school club .. which would meet immediately afterschool and there's no way in hell that i would've considered wearing that damn leotard in school... oh i did a few times but it was rare. and probably somewhat disguised.. i would get home at oh 7:30 let's say. ira, always the workaholic would make it home within the next hour. he'll eat most anything. ive seen him consume some of the scariest combinations of leftovers.. he didn't seem to mind. it was always amusing that mom would dislike how he 'slurped up his food' or brought the dish closer to his face. Mom never did understand that Ira has wonderful manners.. for a CHinese. Mom is 'Southern', of course. born in ky, grew up in al, later lived in tn.. but no, she's actually Southern. she knows all of those queer (used in the sense of 'unusual') Southern things.

back to that place in new orleans.. they serve multi-course meals. i know that probably sounds pretty bread-and-butter to you (ha! i kill myself sometimes) but it's odd(?) to me. E has encouraged my salad eating (as a kid i would always steal the carrots from the salad. no way i was going to eat that other stuff) so the idea of eating a salad first is losing some of its novelty. i probably had my first salad about the same time that I actually started to include the bread into my hamburgers.

i'm sure that you all find this horribly fascinating, but i guess i kind of wanted to give some sort of my background (or lack thereof) with food so when i seem vague on the details.. like the restaurant i was attempting to describe earlier.. it's because i'm ignorant. i know a few basic things about utencil placement ubt se should all be using chopsticks anyway.. I had a fit when i realized that e before eating a meal would set the table. with napkins and everything!! Weird. fortunately i've been able to alter that a bit, but

oh well.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 January 1999
Subject: Raise the roof

"Gabriel, I need to talk to you." I hadn't said a word all evening. I didn't even notice if she was feeling uncomfortable, which would be understandable, because I was so busy averting my eyes. I wasn't even the first employee fired for sexual harassment today. The queerest of the gay boys got drunk and stupid at the employee party and did something weird that got him fired. He told the general manager to fuck off, which I thought was rather a poor strategy. I walked into the office with the food and beverage director, who is a good young man, and there sat the exececutive vice president, who is a good man, and the general manager, who is a wicked and evil beast, though he was on his best behavior this evening. The executive vice president began. He told me that River had complained that she could not work with me because of some e-mail that I had written. He said that she had asked me to stop. He went on for a bit. He asked for my side of the story. I still wasn't sure what was going on. No one had said anything concrete. I asked: "Did she say that I stopped when she asked me to?" The answer was an honest yes. I didn't really feel like saying anything in my defense, so I said: "I'm sorry." The general manager butted in, pulling out a manila folder with papers in it, presumably my cherished letters. He said that she felt afraid. He mentioned something about Rohypnol. (Americans are all fucking crazy. Rohypnol is a sleeping pill, a little better than valium, but not as good as demerol. My doctor in France used to prescribe it for me.) Ugly words were said about "hostile environment". Finally it became clear to me that I wasn't being scolded or written up. This is the moment when they slip the needle into Mr Bill's arm. I suggested that I might like to have a union representative present. I hold no rancor towards River. She did what she had to do. She needs to work just like me. But I think I might have a case. It didn't take place at work. She gave me her e-mail address. I stopped when she asked me to. Surely not everything that women decide ex post facto they don't like is illegal. They still wanted to hear me defend myself. I refused. I stubbornly insisted that I would only speak with union support: "I'm alone facing three managers. I have no help, no advice, not even a witness." The general manager explained the grievance procedure, not that I believe a word he said: "Go tell Joe that you have been terminated for sexual harassment."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 January 1999
Subject: And then there were nine

One of our members has asked to be excused because of a possible entaglement of her e-mail address in my grievance procedure. Please delete her name from your address book. If anyone else wants to leave, that's fine with me. I apologize that your names appear on the e-mail I sent to River, which is now semi-public. This is not a list for faint-hearted fairies. We're all adults here. I know what I'm doing.

*** Connected ***
Apartment 7
one-bedroom flat
cherlyn (asleep) is here.
page shaix You give great advice. I've just been fired for sexual harassment.
Shaix pages, "Are you joking with me?"
page shaix I never joke.
Shaix pages, "Yes you do. That's why I asked. Are you serious, Gabriel?"
page shaix I just hope the union Man takes me seriously when I go there tomorrow morning asking to file a grievance.
Shaix pages, "You should. That really sucks. I'm surprised."
page shaix I don't know anything yet. I have to print all that e-mail, but before I can do so I must change the ribbon. I'll deal with it tomorrow. It's early. I'm going to get drunk and feel oppressed.
Shaix pages, "You seriously lost your job? I just can't believe it. Your manager must be a fucking loser."
page shaix I was fired with extreme prejudice. They spared me the indignity of being escorted to the door.
Shaix pages, "Fuck. I'm sorry to hear it, Gabriel. I really am."
page shaix I just hope the union will at least give me token representation. I can defend myself, but I need their strength behind me. I can't afford a lawyer.
Shaix pages, "Exactly. Will you be able to get another job?"
page shaix Theoretically, yes. But I have to deal with the union, deal with unemployment because my status has brutally changed. I can't do those things and look for a job at the same time.
Shaix pages, "Gah. So, I assume that you will not go to financial ruin over this?"
page shaix I've got a thousand dollars in the bank. I've got a credit card which will advance me four thousand. I'll have to see what the union says. I have no problem getting a job. It's the wrong season, but I should be able to find something. Unfortunately I can't deal with the stress without whisky. I hadn't had a drink since January third.
Shaix pages, "You'd quit drinking?"
page shaix I didn't drink from the fourth until yesterday inclusive.
Shaix pages, "That's a big step. Can I recommend other stress reducing techniques? Beating the shit out of something inanimate sometimes helps, as well as more refined forms of exercise."
page shaix Are you proposing your services?
Shaix pages, "Do I look inanimate to you?"
page shaix I'm a man of letters. I've just been fired for letters I've written. I don't need a punching bag.
Shaix pages, "What other services could you possibly have been suggesting?"
page shaix OK, I was joking.
Shaix pages, "About how much of it?"
page shaix Stop fucking tormenting me, you fat bitch. I was fired today for having written letters in my own artistic, inimitable style.
Shaix pages, "I'm not tormenting you, you abrasive cock-sucking dipshit."
page shaix Fair enough. So stop saying I'm not telling the truth. I'm fucking fired and even the whisky won't help that.
Shaix pages, "Okay. So, you can't do anything physically active to help work  off stress?"
page shaix As I said, I'm a man of letters. I've already written an e-mail called "Raise the roof".
page cyanne What's up, sis? Good e-mail tonight. I'm happy that Joy has written. She's a good writer, if a little idiosynchratic.
Cyanne pages, "I haven't read it yet. :)"
page cyanne Please do. There are a few surprises.
Cyanne pages, "I might do that in a bit....I"m on another server right now."
page cyanne Well, it's nothing important. I've just been fired for sexual harassment.
Cyanne pages, "WHOA!"
page cyanne I said the e-mail was good this evening.
page veronique What's up, sis? It's been a weird evening.
Veronique pages, "yeah, what's going on ?"
page veronique Read your e-mail.
Veronique pages, "rok."
page shaix I'm thinking about how to defend myself. I think I have three arguments. 1) It didn't happen at work. 2) She gave me her e-mail address. 3) I stopped writing when she asked me to.
Shaix pages, "Exactly. You're done. Your boss is a fucking moron. If you have anything resembling reasonable representation, you'll probably get him terminated."
page shaix The only thing is that ugly concept of "hostile environment", which I have undeniably created.
Shaix pages, "I didn't read the message you sent to her. I can only imagine how severe it was. I think that you can certainly prove that there is not a hostile environment, because you probably haven't approached her at work when you have been working together, right?"
Veronique pages, "my oh my"
Veronique pages, "no offense, but you work at a fucking restaurant, if you were harassing her at work that' dbe one thing but it was outside of work.....that's v. strange.....did she give email printouts to them??? did it have all our email addresses on it?"
page shaix We went on a date, as I explained. We saw one another at work afterwards. On the last day before she left for two weeks, she gave me her e-mail address. I write e-mail every day, so it wasn't one letter. It was about twenty. She returned and told me to stop. I stopped. Tonight was the first time we worked together. We ignored one another. Then they called me into the office. They had printed copies of the e-mail.
Veronique pages, "get a lawyer."
page veronique I don't know about that. I'm not even sure how blind copies work. I'm afraid the printed letters may have your e-mail address. I'm very sorry about that.
Shaix pages, "You still stopped when she said stop. That is your safety. If you have anything resembling reasonable representation, you will be fine."
Veronique pages, "did u forward the emails to her directly?"
page shaix But I can't afford representation. It's either the union or the ACLU, if they will take the case.
Veronique pages, "this makes me upset. can you please remove me from the list from now on?"
Shaix pages, "They will take the case."
page veronique I did both, blind copies and forwarding. I'm sorry.
Shaix pages, "At least, they should."
Veronique pages, "did u forward anything that I wrote to her??"
page veronique Of course. I'll take your address off right now. I did not forward anything you wrote.
Shaix pages, "Believe me, Gabriel. I'm a busty woman in a geek world. I *know* sexual harrassment laws. If she asked you to stop, and you stopped, that is all there is to it."
Veronique pages, "ok. well if i was just CC"
page shaix I sure hope so.
Veronique pages, "if i was just cc'ed thats fine. i hope u didnt forward anything i wrote"
page veronique I didn't forward anything you wrote, but your e-mail address is probably mixed up in that mess. I apologize and I'll remove you from the list.
Veronique pages, "are u SURE u ddint forward my notes to her? i think i wrote one asking her how it went."
page veronique I am sure.
Shaix pages, "It wouldn't be fair, otherwise. Of course, it's not really fair NOW, considering how easy it is to accuse without grounds."
Veronique pages, "ok."
page shaix I hope the union will deal with me. The ACLU has better things to do.
Shaix pages, "Well, if they don't, chalk it up to another chapter in your life as a tragic hero and move on, right?"
Veronique pages, "we can chat on here, but no more email list....if u can be fired for what you did then i can probably be fired for just reading the email. i mean some of your email is pornographic, so i guess its wrong"
page veronique I have removed you from the list. Please accept my apologies.
Veronique pages, "god, i really hope this doesn't blow up..."
page shaix Yes. I'm not going to make a fetish out of it. Either the union will deal with it, or the ACLU, or I'm screwed and need to find another job quick.
Veronique pages, "are u going to sue them?"
page veronique I don't fucking know. I'm broke and fired and you're worried about your fucking e-mail address?
Veronique pages, "yes. bc i dont feel like getting in trouble too."
page veronique OK, fine. I think they have your e-mail address. I'm sorry about that. There's nothing I can do about it right now. I have removed you from the list. Is there anything else you need?
Veronique pages, "i would do this - have a meeting with your boss and reiterate that everythign occurred outside of work and that you would never harm her..."
Veronique pages, "explain to them that u'd like to have your job back and that you will work different shifts from here and that there wont be any more problems."
page shaix That's basically my choices, is it not?
Shaix pages, "They are, indeed. This may sound really condescending, but what the fuck. I'm proud of you for not drinking for eight days. That is excellent."
page shaix I can stop drinking as long as I want, whenever I want. I can even stop smoking, but that is really asking a lot. I wouldn't be drinking now, except that I'm feeling a little under the weather. I was planning to quit for a month.
Shaix pages, "Congratulations. I just consider someone who says "I can't handle the stress without whisky" to be an alcoholic, and so I commend your efforts."
UnStAbLe say, "oh i've been babbling again"
UnStAbLe pokes at you.
page joy I loved your letter. You wrote to me a few seconds before I wrote my message of despair. I'll remember that for a long time.
UnStAbLe say, "have you seen the latest one? i ramble on about food"
page shaix I can handle the stress. I believe that this is undue and impossible stress.
Shaix pages, "I agree. It's incredible stress. I just found it noteworthy that you said you simply couldn't do it without whisky. Anyway, I'm not trying to live your life, and if you take exception to my commendation, then I retract it."
Veronique pages, "hello?"
page joy I have always liked your letter writing. So has Nichelle. Have you read my letter?
UnStAbLe pages, "um lemme check.. you mean the one about nice vp evil manager?"
page joy Yes, dear. I've been fired.
UnStAbLe pages, "did my letter about the place in new orleans make any sense?"
page veronique Look, that's it. I've taken your name off the list. You may get a couple of messages before everyone updates his address book. Please excuse me for the delay. Any other questions?
Veronique pages, "hey, don't be so surly...i was giving you advice as to what to do.."
page joy I read for style only. I like your style. I have not read the latest letter. I'm sorry. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I love your writing and I appreciate your thoughtfulness in my time of pain.
UnStAbLe pages, "'sok. my last little writing onslaught for awhile"
page joy I'd be sorry if that were true. If you don't want to write for me, write for Nichelle. She has always said that it was a shame we lived so far apart. She thought you two would be the best of friends.
Veronique pages, "hey if you don't want to talk to me, fine - listen - good luck - perhaps this is a blessing in disguise- maybe the french teacher job will work out."
UnStAbLe pages, "writing is not something i have control over. its a mix of things.. some of which includes a specific amt of strees/anxiety.. school is going to throw that off. not to mention taht writing comes from somewhere whithin me"
page joy That may be so. I discipline myself. I don't always want to write. I don't always write well. I do my best. Sometimes it's not good enough. Sometimes it is.
page shaix I'm a little scared. I hope the union takes up my case. But if they do, it will be a nightmare. I have no wish to humiliate and trash that girl.
Shaix pages, "No, I don't think so. You don't have to humiliate her, Gabriel."
page shaix Come on. If she has to sit in a hearing with me and answer embarassing questions, that is humiliation enough.
Shaix pages, "It doesn't have to go that far. Your beef is no longer with her. It is with your boss. Period. You'll feel better when you've talked to some professionals about it."
Shaix pages, "She is not prosecuting you for anything. You are prosecuting the boss. Difference. Your boss stuck is fat nose in personal business."
Shaix pages, "his fat nose, that is."
page shaix My problem is not at all with her. I understand what she did. She didn't feel comfortable working with me. She has a right to work. But either we can work together or one of us is out of a job.
Shaix pages, "Have you apologised to her?"
page shaix Are you insane? Tonight was the first time we've worked together since "the incidents". I was following her lead. She ignored me, so I ignored her. What am I supposed to apologize for? She gave me her e-mail address, and I sent her blind copies of the mail I was sending to a dozen people.
There's a new edition of the newspaper. Type 'news new' to see the new article(s).
page joy I mean what I say, Joy. I'm very happy you wrote to us tonight. I hope you will sometimes think of us. We like hearing from you. You write your own beautiful letters in your own way.
Shaix pages, "I'm not insane. I was simply asking. Remember that I haven't read what you sent her. Anyway, the point is: if she went out on a date, and gave you her email address, then you wrote to her until she said to stop. You are not perpetuating an unwanted situation. Period. Just go talk to someone at the union, or the ACLU, and you'll feel better. Either way, the not knowing is bothering you more than anything else."
UnStAbLe pages, "um okay. but as i said, i have no control. sometimes i just write."
page shaix The not knowing? How about the six months before I receive any backpay, assuming I win the case?
Shaix pages, "What the fuck do you want me to say? Poor baby, let me send you some money? That fucking bitch dun you wrong? Let's kill her with needles?  I'll give you my kitten? Jesus christ, Gabril, pull your head out of your ass and realize that I'm simply trying to talk to you about this, whether I'm being helpful or not is just about beyond my control. Now, if you want me to talk to you, then that's fine. Otherwise, leave me the fuck alone until you feel like talking about something else. Okay?"
page joy Whenever you feel the urge, we are very happy to hear what you have to say. I've always been embarassed about that ugly scene in September 1996. It was my fault. I fucked up our RL MOO. I fucked up our list. I felt so bad that you were hurt. I haven't read your second letter, but your first letter is great. No one understands e-mail, except me and Nichelle. We know when it's good.
UnStAbLe pages, "how did you know the date?"
page shaix That bitch ain't done me no wrong. She did what she had to do. She had to choose between quitting and getting me fired. So she chose. I can understand that. It doesn't mean that I'm going to lie in bed and cry.
page unstable I remember everything.
Shaix pages, "Uh, I was making ludicrous suggestions to make my point that apparently you're not finding my current input helpful at all."
UnStAbLe pages, "everything? that must be one hell of a burden"
page shaix I am finding it helpful. It pleases me that my various harems support me in my time of strife. If the union will stand behind me, I've got a chance. I'm very doubtful of the ACLU.
Shaix pages, "Don't kid yourself, Gabriel. I am not a member of your harem."
page joy It's a burden which I try to bear. It's feeling a little heavy this evening.
Shaix pages, "Remember? I'm the drunk that sits next to you in the bar."
page shaix I don't see why you felt included in my plural harems.
UnStAbLe pages, "maybe you are too hard on yourself. maybe you should search the web for new orleans and see what you can find. family owned, really old.."
Shaix pages, "Something about the combination of sentences made me feel associated with the women that might actually find you sexually plausible."
page joy Only if you agree to be my waitress.
UnStAbLe pages, "i couldn't wait tables to save my life"
page shaix I really don't know if any of the women in my harems find me sexually plausible. I have two main attributes. I am smarter than everyone else and I'm an erudite son of a bitch. Some women seem to like to read my e-mail.
page unstable But you would look so good trying.
UnStAbLe pages, "im clumsy. im unkempt. i hate people"
page joy You are beautiful, and perhaps clumsy and unkempt. We all hate people.
UnStAbLe pages, "everyone is beautiful in their own way. what do you know of new orleans?"
Shaix pages, "I think I talk to you because you see things differently from me, and sometimes I can get you to speak intelligently about your ideas without being asinine. I don't necessarily find your erudite behavior or your elitist sense of intellect particularly attractive."
page joy I know nothing of New Orleans, except that it's probably a good food and liquor town. Some people may speak French there, though I'm sceptical. I'd like to go there.
UnStAbLe pages, "i think it's supposed to be full of sin and debauchery. i think some catholics live there"
page shaix Don't give me that shit. You deal with morons every day, at work, at home, on the MOO. You may have never before met anyone with a real education.
page joy Catholics are good at sin and debauchery.
Shaix pages, "I'm not saying you're the *only* person who fits that category. I'm saying that you're ONE of them. Frankly, I don't give a shit if you "accept" my statement or not. It's simply why I talk to you."
page shaix So we agree. You talk to me because you don't know anyone else who has read two thousand books in five languages, and I talk to you because you are sitting on the next barstool. I get something out of it, and I hope you do. I can't make much use of my learning right now because I'm feeling a little crazy. You may have investigated our web pages. There are many strange and beautiful things to see there. I thank you for your support in my time of need. There are others who have been worried about their e-mail address in those letters, while I'm getting fired.
page joy Let's move to New Orleans and open a Chinese, Italian, strip joint, restaurant and bar.
UnStAbLe pages, "i might dance but otherwise i don't really see where i would fit in"
Shaix pages, "I don't give a shit about how many languages you speak or how many books you've read, you dumb fuck. You don't know what it means to be happy. You don't believe in the concept. I find that pitiful. You find my belief in it contemptable. So be it. Obviously I hold some amount of importance to you, because you keep talking to me. But, if you think you can draw a parallel between me and a warm body on a stool, you're missing a lot, and if you don't care about that, then you should probably seek out another warm body and leave me alone."
page unstable I think that would be enough. I've got a plan.
UnStAbLe pages, "i don't know. i might insist on my eyes being covered in some way"
page joy I'm sure that could be arranged.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 12 January 1999
Subject: Re: Raise the roof

WEll, there IS something you can do. Talk to your system administration and get copies of all the letters you wrote to her and got from her and give them to your union representative. Also, talk to her system admin, and ask them to corroborate the times/dates all corrsepondence between teh two of you was written (basically give you a list). Most online services keep a history for 30-90 days of such mail. They CAN NOT fire you for ANYTHING that occurred outside of work. Even if she gave you her e-mail address at work, she did so voluntarily and they legally cannot fire you for it. Talk to the Better Business Bureau in your local area and report them for bad firing/hiring practices. Also tell your chamber of commerce and Labor Department. If you report to the proper places (the Unemployment/Employment offices in your area would be teh best places to report to) then you are immune from any kind of punishment that could be placed on you, and by law, it has to be investigated. If it is found in your favor then the company must pay you some kind of restitution, equal to or greater than your wage (plus ALL tips).


From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 January 1999
Subject: Labor Temple, 1st & Broad

"What were you fired for?" "Sexual harassment." "What happened?" "E-mail." "What?" It was surreal. The union bosses had to get in on it because no one had any idea what was going on. So I sat there with three fat men who made pussy jokes and called River a cunt while we discussed my prose style. Things seem to be not so simple as they seem. Their name is Joe, every one of them, so there are little nicknames. Joe "Sambucca" made a big deal out of the fact that she had threatened to kill me, stressing that I was now wearing a bull's-eye on my back. He said: "So you wrote some stupid shit. Has she rescinded the threat on your life?" Joe "the Boss" worked out scenari, what she could claim or deny. I helpfully pointed out that she could even deny we ever went out together. No one saw us. He said: "I read fuck books, but I don't write about it." He also talked about the crazy things men do for "those two hairs", which I took in context to mean a snatch, though I had never heard the expression. Joe "I-don't-remember-his-nickname" treated me like scum. He said she could have a restraining order put out on me, which doesn't make any sense, since I have not contacted her for ten days, since she asked me to stop. Besides, a restraining order doesn't apply to work. Even the cops can't stop me from going to work, if I had a job, which I don't, so that doesn't make any sense either. Actually he was pissed off about the stuff I said about the union. Oops. I hadn't even remembered that. I've just been fired, people have threatened to kill me, we're dealing with some very touchy "hostile environment" sexual harassment law, and they're worried about some silly rumors I repeated in my e-mail? They gave me a very stern talking to about that. "The union pension etc." It was hard not to laugh. I allowed myself to smile at times, but no laughing. This is a serious matter. An arbitration hearing costs ten thousand dollars, or so they said. My instinct was to fight, but then I thought of Mr Bill and all the trouble he could have saved himself by settling Paula Jones' lawsuit, which he ended up having to do anyway. I decided to be a man about it, to rise to my traditional high moral stature, and not file a written grievance. The union Man called the Man: "Todd, I bet you can guess why I'm calling." We had decided that the best I could hope for was a lack-of-work layoff with the Club's not sabotaging my unemployment benefits or attempts to find a new job. I know you girls are going to yell at me, but the law is a funny and evil little thing. I did create a hostile work environment, even if I didn't do it at work and even if I stopped when she told me to. Let's be adults. I need to find work no matter what happens, and once I do, it doesn't really matter who won, the Club or I. A formal grievance might easily get out of hand and turn very ugly. Can you imagine what a nightmare an arbitration hearing would be? River would have to be served with a subpoena. Anyway I haven't done anything yet. Negociations are under way. Todd offered to let me resign. Fuck you, bro. Have you ever heard of unemployment? Right now I can't even apply for a job because I would have to lie on the application. If they say I was laid off, I can collect unemployment while I look for work. The union said the Washington Athletic Club is looking for people. I'll go there tomorrow, as soon as everything is settled. There's no way I could ever work at the Rainier Club again, even if they had to let me back. The best I could hope for is backpay, which I don't really deserve, if I've got another job. I'm not looking to get rich on a very unhappy occasion. I'm looking at the big picture. I even take into consideration River's point of view, which they scolded me for at the union. Todd might fire her too, for writing threatening e-mail. Then she might file a grievance. But the boys who heard my case couldn't hear hers. It's called a parallel grievance. What a fucking mess. Anyway the union Man is going to call the Man back this afternoon. I have tentatively agreed to sign a paper saying I'll be a good boy, if they lay me off, which they haven't offered to do yet. If they refuse, I'll fight them. The union will back me with a grievance, but not necessarily an arbitration hearing. You see? These things are complicated. I await your advice, my friends.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 January 1999
Subject: Is this unfair?

Shaix pages, "So, what happened?"
page shaix I'm fucked. We've made an oral grievance. Basically we have to try to negotiate a "lack of work" layoff. If they won't give me that, I'll file a written grievance, and then it's out of my hands. It could go to arbitration.
Shaix pages, "Wow. The justice system sucks."
page shaix Think of it this way. She could give that e-mail to ten other girls. Then, there's eleven girls in the office saying they won't work with me. I can't have my job back. The best I can hope for is unemployment and a new job. That's why we're asking for a layoff. They've offered resignation, but I refused.
Shaix pages, "Let's hope for the layoff, then."
page shaix It's either that or a written grievance and possibly arbitration. The thing is, once the union files a written grievance, I lose control. They will prosecute it. They will hack that poor girl to bits.
Shaix pages, "Honestly, the poor girl didn't have to get you fired. I think that was over the top. She obviously doesn't understand the lines between harrassment and unwanted advances. Duh. Gabriel, file your grievance. She'll take care of herself."
page shaix I have nothing to gain in a grievance. If they lay me off, I can collect unemployment and get a new job. If we file a written grievance, it'll be a long, crazy road, and the best I can get is backpay. If I have a job, I don't need backpay.
Shaix pages, "Well, I guess my point is that you shouldn't worry about "what happens to that poor girl"."
page shaix That's what they said at the union, though they may end up defending her too, since she might get fired for threatening to kill me or have her bf do it for her.
Shaix pages, "I'm sure this is not the first time the union has had to deal with this."
page shaix No, they are pros. A little out of date, but pros. They kept talking about pussy and calling her a cunt during our meeting.
Shaix pages, "Jezus."
Shaix pages, "Did their knuckles drag?"
page shaix What does that mean?
Shaix pages, "I think I'd walk out of a meeting like that if they were talking about pussy and calling her a cunt. Of course, I'm a woman."
page shaix They are my friends. They will help me. They'll help her too. Maybe they'll call me a prick.
Shaix pages, "Or worse."
page shaix You have to imagine the scene, these fat old union men and me, with fifty pages of pornographic e-mail sitting on the table between us.
(from The Living Room) Shaix laughs. Okay. Context is everything.
Veronique pages, "i have a different email addy that i should have used for the mail list. can i give you that one?"
page shaix How much worse can it get? The general manager claims that I threatened her with rape because of some unfortunate little reference I made to Rohypnol, a harmless little joke, of course.
page veronique No thanks.
Shaix pages, "Oh Gabriel..."
page shaix These fucking Nazi-feminist bitches have no sense of humor.
Veronique pages, "Oh ok, so because I asked you to remove me from the list, now you won't add me again w/ a different address?"
Shaix pages, "Not when you're making the jokes, no. I can see why."
page shaix But I've got a lovely smile when I say things like that. One just can't see it online or in e-mail.
page veronique No, I will not.
Shaix pages, "Lovely smile my ass. You can't get away with shit like that, and you should know that. You've got too biting a wit to be able to turn around and make light hearted jokes about rape and what not. I must go now. See you later."
Veronique pages, "Jeez, you really are a fuck-up. Have a nice life."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 January 1999
Subject: Man to man

You sense that Yellow_Guest is looking for you in Dusty Intersection.
It pages, "The new mouth organ is up. If you need something to distract you."
page yellow Thanks. Who are you?
You sense that Yellow_Guest is looking for you in Dusty Intersection.
It pages, "Columbine."
page yellow What's up, bro? In truth I could use a little distraction. As you may have noticed, I'm not feeling too well.
You sense that Yellow_Guest is looking for you in Dusty Intersection.
It pages, "I was looking for someone else I was told comes here, and I saw you, so I thought I'd tell you. I can't stay. Lambda makes me crazy."
page columbine Write some e-mail. This subject is a good one for you.
Columbine is not in right now. Leave your page after the beep, and she'll get back to you as soon as she finds it
You sense that Yellow_Guest is looking for you in Dusty Intersection.
It pages, "I'm sorry about your situation. I may disagree loudly with you half the time, but I think you got shafted, and no joke."
page yellow Write some e-mail. This subject is a good one for you.
You sense that Yellow_Guest is looking for you in Dusty Intersection.
It pages, "No ... it'll piss me off till it'd be incoherent by anyone's standards. I can't write when I'm angry."
You sense that Yellow_Guest is looking for you in Dusty Intersection.
It pages, "See you later."

Todd, that column took balls to write. That was the work of a man. I truly appreciate it because I know what it's like. As Lou used to tell me: "Sometimes your best ain't good enough." That is a hard thing to face. I would like to encourage you to write a column about my little troubles. I think it's a perfect topic for mouthorgan.com. No one is right in this dispute, though I am unforgivably wrong. It's a tough moral dilemma about sex, or rather about talking about sex. The only thing that I ask is that you put links in the body of the text to the two web sites.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 January 1999
Subject: Re-reading

I've just re-read my e-mail, and it's not that bad. I clearly state several times right at the beginning that all she has to do is ask me to stop. She did. I stopped. Most of it isn't even about sex. That bullshit about the "date rape drug" is nonsense. Todd's bluffing. First, that was a forwarded ten-day-old message. Second, why would I give her a sleeping pill in a bar? Third, the whole situation was theoretical, since we didn't even go into the Baltic Room. Of course one never knows how weird the enemy might get. She doesn't know that I'm not a psychopathic rapist. I don't know that her bf is not a homicidal maniac. I do hold the high moral ground. She has already caught herself in a lie, claiming that she told me she wasn't interested before she ever received any e-mail. So why did she give me her e-mail address? I admit that it's hard not to lie in such a crazy situation as this. I have worked hard and managed not to lie or even mislead, by neither commision nor omission. I can understand how Mr Bill ends up asking what the word "is" means. Judge Vanillabottom: "You say you touched her thigh?" "Yes, your honor." "Where on her thigh?" "I beg your pardon, your honor?" "What part of her thigh did you touch?" "Um, the inside of her thigh." "Did you touch her genitalia?" "No, your honor." That's why I'm trying to settle the case. If it goes to arbitration, I might win some backpay, and I'll never get another job in Seattle. No one will ever hire me. I can win, and still lose. The union Man is sick today, but supposedly he's working from home. I'll guess he'll leave me voice mail, if there's any news. We have fourteen days from yesterday to file a written grievance. I just hope they let me correct the spelling and grammar before I sign it. Our contract looks like it was written by a kid in junior high school. Have you ever heard of spell check? The funny thing is that the only person enjoying this horror is Todd, the general manager. He's the only person (so far as we know) who's seen my e-mail who is smart enough and mean enough to understand my subtle sense of humor. Moreover he gets this wealth of inside dirt about his managers and employees written by a shrewd observer who sees what he could never otherwise know. I'm not the only one who has some explaining to do. I doubt Svetlana has seen any of it. The reason they didn't call her to my termination meeting was probably that they didn't want to involve another woman in the imbroglio. I have no idea how she might react, though I'm guessing she has already washed her hands of me so thoroughly that she can't remember my name. She's the fucking union shop steward and she hasn't even bothered to call? "Hey, Gabriel. I hear you're having a problem, and the union is representing you at a grievance. If you need to talk to someone, please give me a call." Nothing.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 January 1999
Subject: WAC

The way out of this hole is for me to get a job. Grievance or no grievance, unemployment or no unemployment, that is the only solution. So I went to the Washington Athletic Club and filled out an application. I held my breath and lied. I wrote "lack of work" under reason for leaving the Rainier Club. Then I had an inspiration. I used Todd as a reference. They would have called him anyway. There are only two union clubs in Seattle. The union Man had told Todd that I might apply there. He answered that he would only say what the law allows, that I worked at the Rainier Club from whenever until Tuesday. So let's lean on the son of a bitch and see what he does. He wants to get me out of his face. The arbitration hearing costs the Rainier Club ten thousand dollars too, win or lose. By using him as a reference, I'm giving him my hand, sending him a message: "Todd, mi amigo, let's be grown up about this. You want to get rid of me. I want to pay the rent. This is the ideal solution. Everyone's happy, even the WAC. After all you did say at my termination hearing that I was an 'excellent waiter', whatever that means. You help me, and I'll help you. What's a little satanic e-mail between friends?" I've got nothing to lose. So maybe it doesn't work, and I don't get the job. Or maybe a few months down the road they discover that I've lied. If they care, they fire me. So what? I can deal with that later. I need a job now. It even looks like a nice place to work. Their values are: leadership, excellence, integrity, service and sensitivity. Oops. OK, so four out of five. That's a good average.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 15 January 1999
Subject: ACLU

Sir or Madam,

Having been fired from my job as a waiter at the Rainier Club, a non-profit organization, I wonder if my civil rights may have been violated. I am being represented by Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees union local 8 in a grievance. I am happy with their representation, but I feel they may not fully appreciate some aspects of the case.

The case stems from a series of twenty-four e-mail messages I wrote from home to a private e-mail list, which e-mail I forwarded to a female co-worker who had given me her private e-mail address on 20 December 1998. The letters might be qualified as obscene or even pornographic, but they might also reflect some social or artistic merit. When my co-worker received the messages (She had been out of town and presumably not checking her account.) she wrote a strongly worded demand dated 2 January 1999 that I not send her any more messages. I have not contacted her since that time. When she returned to work on 12 January 1999, she complained to management, and I was terminated for sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

Thank you for any help or advice you could give me.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 15 January 1999
Subject: The seven-layer dip

page nichelle What's up, sis?
Nichelle pages, “How's it going?"
Nichelle pages, “OK.. I've been busy as hell, doing long shifts."
Nichelle pages, “Matilda says hi."
page nichelle I'm in a weird situation, as you know. I hope I get that job at the WAC. If I do, I don't really give a fuck about the rest.
page nichelle Send my love to Matilda. I miss both of you.
Nichelle pages, “Yes. Well, I do know. I've made a point of keeping my mouth shut about it."
page nichelle Why is that, or shouldn't I ask?
Nichelle pages, “I really hope this works out for you. I'm not saying that this girl isn't partly justified."
Nichelle pages, “Because I haven't had time to reply intelligently, and because I think that you were kind of asking for trouble when you forwarded that stuff to the girl."
page nichelle She is justified. We're all in a bad situation. I'm just trying to see how we can all get out of it. Of course it's my fault. I did something very stupid. I just need a job or a reasonable settlement. Preferably both.
Nichelle pages, “My advice would be to concentrate on the job. The rest is history."
Nichelle pages, “Mur and I miss you too, by the way."
page nichelle Of course a job is the most important thing. The question is whether they'll allow me to get a job. And whether I can collect unemployment until I find one.
Nichelle pages, “It's sticky. I don't really know what to say- I don't know much about how these things work."
page nichelle Todd must tell neither unemployment nor potential employers that he fired me for sexual harassment. That's all we're asking for. I'm not asking for backpay or to be reinstated.
Nichelle pages, “That seems reasonable enough to me."
page nichelle It's just a situation that we all want to go away. If I get a job, it goes away. I resisted the urge to fight, and followed the union's advice to seek a settlement. But quitting is not an option. I lose my unemployment if I do that. If I get a job, I'll consider just quitting.
Nichelle pages, “This stuff is crazy."
page nichelle Yes and no. The union deals with this kind of shit every day. The only thing that was new to them was the e-mail.
Nichelle pages, “What is Veronique's problem anyway?"
Nichelle pages, “Am I missing something? Why would her email address matter one way or the other?'"
page nichelle She was worried about her own ass, while I was being fired. She was just being incredibly selfish and cruel. It doesn't matter. If there is ever a public hearing, no one else's e-mail address or name will be used. The judge will black that out. She never wrote shit anyway. She asked to leave the list, so I kicked her off.
Nichelle pages, “I still don't understand what her ass has to do with it though? She doesn't work there, does she?"
page nichelle She just panicked, thinking her e-mail address might be made public in a hearing or suit. It's absurd.
Nichelle pages, “That is the dumbest, most paranoid thing I have heard in a long time, and I've heard some pretty impressive ones at amazon."
page nichelle Obviously even in the worst of all possible cases, if it goes to arbitration, no one but me, River and the Rainier Club will suffer.
Nichelle pages, “Yes."
Nichelle pages, “Well, I thought it was a little weird."
page nichelle I don't think it will go that far. We haven't filed a written grievance. Todd is smart and mean. He isn't going to do something stupid or emotional. I think we'll settle next week, and I've got a good chance to get a job at the WAC.
Nichelle pages, “I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Who knows, it could turn out to be a better job anyway."
page nichelle It almost definitely would be. The place looks just beautiful. You can try their web site (wac.net) but it kept fucking up for me, giving me the illegal operation message. I'm feeling illegal enough without their help.
Nichelle pages, “At least you've maintained your sense of humor. The bastards haven't killed you yet."
page nichelle I'm too mean to die. I think Todd knows that. The whole thing has been funny. I'm a little worried that no one except me is writing e-mail. Joy's letters were beautiful. Zen of ketchup.
Nichelle pages, “I will have time to write in a day or two. I'm working a 12 hr shift tonight, and I'm having a potluck tomorrow. I'm making homemade salsa and a 7 layer dip."
page nichelle That would be a good title: "The seven-layer dip".
Nichelle pages, “Yes, I agree. Are you still on a cure?"
page nichelle No. I couldn't handle it. The stress was way too bad.
Nichelle pages, “Let's go get drunk."
page nichelle I thought you were working.
Nichelle pages, “I work tonight. Maybe Sun."
page nichelle I'll think about it, if you write us some e-mail. You're taking advantage of me in a time of great loneliness and despair.
Nichelle pages, “I'm not taking advantage of shit. I'll write some e-mail once the potluck is all done with.. I'll be swamped until then. We can meet at Charlies and I can drink Seven Sisters Pear Cider, which I happen to like quite a bit, or Manhattans if I feel a little more ambitious."
page nichelle That would be so appropriate. We could sit in the same seats where River and I sat.
Nichelle pages, “Sounds lovely. Plan on it. What the hell else do you have to do?"
Nichelle pages, “Just don't sexually harass me and we'll be ok."
page nichelle Not much. My sex drive has taken a deep dive. Something about being fired for sexual harassment.
Nichelle pages, “You'll get over it. Eat some oysters."
page nichelle The whole thing is so fucking embarassing. I've done some dumb shit, but I think this is the worst.
Nichelle pages, “It'll go away with time. You're a big boy."
page nichelle I can deal with it. It helps to be honest. I feel better saying: "Here. This is the e-mail I wrote. It's a little weird. So what?"
Nichelle pages, “It is a little weird, but I think you've got some good arguments on your side. You'll be ok."
page nichelle Yeah, we'll see. The truth is that this is no more crazy than what we did. I don't regret that. I can't take risks and always win.
Nichelle pages, “True. It's different over the internet.. cocktail waitresses don't always understand that, apparently."
page nichelle I couldn't have known that. I thought she might be amused. She is a performance artist. She didn't seem to think it weird when I told her that I was a genius. I'm very happy that you're playing the horn again, if I've understood properly.
Nichelle pages, “Yes, I am playing, a bit. Well, you are a genius. Apparently you should have mentioned the pervert part farther in advance, though."
page nichelle Yes, that would have been a good idea. That's why I hope the ACLU might give me a little pro bono. They could make the point that this is literary art. The unions boyz don't understand that. Re-reading it I find that obvious. I only go out of control a couple of times. Most of it is good.
Nichelle pages, “You have *got* to be kidding. Do you honestly think they give a fuck about your *style*?"
page nichelle The ACLU might. The Club is non-profit, which might mean they are held to higher standards of labor practice. All it would take is one little letter from them to send a blizzard of fear through the Club. They would settle immediately on my terms.
Nichelle pages, “I need to get ready for work. I'll send a letter soon. In the meantime, take care."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 17 January 1999
Subject: Choucroute bleue

I'm sure that everyone is tired of hearing about mon petit scandale, so I'm declaring a unilateral moritorium on any talk of unemployment, grievances, union activities, the ACLU, hope, truth, despair and any other topics which may be deemed related to ma malheureuse affaire. I'll begin a new chapter when I get a job, which seems possible given the ads in the paper, about training, probation, my co-workers and bosses, hope, truth, despair and any other topics which may be deemed related to ma nouvelle vie. Unfortunately this brings me back to cooking, which has suffered due to apathy and hopelessness. I seldom eat pork, so I decided that was something good I could make easily and eat for a couple of days while I wait for the weather to change. Unfortunately the best I could find was some crazy, supposedly "Black Forest", boneless pre-cooked piece of shit from Canada. I don't even know why I bought it. A geographical note: the Black Forest runs from Munich in the East to Frankfurt in the North to Metz and Nancy in the West. Beyond that, in Champagne to the West and Luxembourg to the North, you find the eastern reaches of the Ardennes, where Roselind and Orlando frolicked in As You Like It. Every Alsatian however will deny this. The say that the Black Forest is in Germany, the Vosges in Alsace. This political haggling is not to be taken seriously. Just smile and nod your head. There's no point in arguing. I lived in the Black Forest for ten years, on both sides of the border. I know these things. Trust me. Alsace is the home of saurkraut and Black Forest cake, but not the Black Forest. Remember never to cook saurkraut (or "surkrut" in Alsatian) in a cast-iron Dutch oven. The shit smells good, it tastes good, but there's no avoiding that weird blue hue. It's like green beer on Saint Patrick's Day. Something just seems wrong.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 17 January 1999
Subject: Reading list

If I could still read, this is the book I would read:

Heart of a Wife: The Diary of a Southern Jewish Woman by Helen Jacobus Apte, Marcus D. Rosenbaum (Editor)

Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived in a world we can scarcely imagine, and for most of us, their interior lives remain a mystery. What did they think about love, family, marriage, the society around them? What were their dreams, fears, and ambitions? In other words, were these women anything like us? Marcus D. Rosenbaum was given the rare opportunity to answer these questions. Cleaning out a closet after his father's death, Rosenbaum found a diary that had belonged to his grandmother, dead more than 50 years before. The yellowed pages within chronicled almost 40 years of the 20th century as seen through the eyes of one Southern Jewish woman--in some ways a quite ordinary wife and mother, and in other ways not ordinary at all. Born in Georgia of a Jewish family, Helen Jacobus married Day Apte in 1909 and began keeping a diary that would last until her death in 1946. With unusual intelligence and candor, she explored their life together through two world wars and the Great Depression, including her most intimate thoughts about children, sex, religion, the South--even her occasional attractions to other men. Raised to embrace Victorian values just as they were passing away in the outside world, Apte sometimes chafed against the restrictions imposed upon her by her times. Part of the great pleasure of reading these diary entries is seeing how her keen mind made the most of the limited sphere it was allotted. A former journalist for National Public Radio, Rosenbaum has done a skillful job editing this volume, adding essays that put Apte's life into social and historical context. The result is a fitting tribute to an ordinary woman of extraordinary strength and insight.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 18 January 1999
Subject: Loggerheads

I've been thinking about logs recently, perhaps in response to a flurry of recent logging activity. I'm not so much interested in the ethics as the esthetics. Whether it's right or wrong, everyone does it. I've felt a powerful urge to log chat ever since I realized it could be done. (Please remember that almost all of you are far more internet-savvy and experienced than I.) If you believe my theory that chat is a middle road between oral and written speech, with some characteristics of each and some of its own, a log tilts the scale towards the written aspect, essentially in its duration. There is no comparing an ephemeral chat with a log, whether posted on the web or sent by e-mail. (I've done both.) We don't experience it the same way at all. Everyone is shocked to see his "spoken" words recorded for eternity. It's interesting to me that I can't remember ever having had this experience, since I've always been the one who logged my conversations. I'm still stung by the accusation that I set people up. I do not think this is true. Obviously I have certain verbal gifts or skills which manifest themselves in logs, but anyone involved knows that I don't sit around for five minutes thinking up phrases like: "blizzard of fear" so that I can log it to make myself look good. Nichelle can tell you that I often write my best e-mail very quickly. This is not to say that I'm not thinking or haven't done my homework. It's rather to use Whistler's argument that I can do what I do fast because I've spent a lifetime perfecting the techniques of an imperfect art. I also probably use dictionaries more than anyone on this list except perhaps Lauren. I would do so far more often, but I left a hundred reference works in my library in France when I fled the country. To end that guilt-ridden parenthesis, I think logs are most different from telephone tapes or transcripts of Monica Lewinsky saying: "I'm like, whatever." Those are transformations of one medium, oral speech, into another, written speech. Since chat is neither, the process seems more complex. It's also easier and more legal, though the latter may not always be true.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Batsheva
Date: 19 January 1999
Subject: Fw: Re: your mail

ha ha.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: George
Date: 20 August 1998
Subject: Re: your mail


> When you asked me about "not wearing that shirt" I meant to say "what??"
> and not "ok", but I was too shocked by the question. Never in my whole
> life had I heard anything like that. I found it very rude and improper.

I feel that that shirt is too revealing. It makes me uncomfortable to see you in it. I find it rude and improper that you wear it.

> From the first few weeks working here, you kept commenting on my T shirts
> and how I shouldn't think that your being impolite for staring at them.
> and other kinds of weird remarks that must have seemed funny to you.
> But I didn't find them funny at all. It wasn't even funny the first time,
> let alone the fourth time you said it.
> however I managed to ignore it all, just so we can continue to have a nice
> friendly working environment.

I commented on your tee shirts because you commented to me about the crab shirt and made a point of showing it to me. I thought you were using it as a way of starting a friendly conversation on a subject that was "neutral".

It seemed to me that before that any converstion I had with you was a lecture on how linux was great and windows sucked. Since I was the windows support person here, I, by association, in your opionion sucked too.

Since you have taken it upon yourself to work on windows projects, you have to work with me. If you did not want to work with me or windows why did you take on the projects?

I went out of my way to read the microprocessor type on your 386 shirt because to be quite frank, I was curious what it was. If the same picture had been on your wall, you desk, your hat, or your bottom, I still would have looked. Not out of interest in you, but the in picture you were displaying.

> I'm just writing this in an email because I'm afraid I'll lose my temper.
> and I don't want to do that. Some people told me to go and wear that shirt
> all week, or just ignore it. But it seems ignoring things doesn't work.

No it does not. The shirt is so tight that all the contors of your breasts are revealed. I find it I very rude and improper for you to wear such a shirt at work. If you want to wear it at the beach, or at home, or at a bar, feel free to.

You are required by univeristy regulations to dress in "an appropriate manner". If you feel that it is not something you can do then I suggest that you find somewhere else to work.

I have included Jaime as a CC to this reply. If you continue to wear inapropriate clothing I will file a formal complaint.

> Just leave me alone.

I ask the same of you.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 18 January 1999
Subject: Weird fucking shit

*** Redirecting old connection to this port ***
knobbie pokes at you.
knobbie pokes at himself.
knobbie . o O ( shit )
knobbie quickly morphs into UnStAbLe.
UnStAbLe pokes at herself.
UnStAbLe pokes at you.
UnStAbLe asks, "allo?"
UnStAbLe says, "dictionaries  wait did i spell that correctly? are dangerous"
UnStAbLe says, "i find them too interesting"
page joy What's up, sis?
UnStAbLe says, "i get excited about the history of particular words.. or something"
UnStAbLe says, "i wish i knew sanskrit"
UnStAbLe says, "i wish i could actually speak"
UnStAbLe says, "..."
UnStAbLe asks, "how are you?"
You say, "Etymology is one of the most satisfying sciences. Who would have imagined that "vanilla" and "vagina" had the same origin."
UnStAbLe chuckles
You say, "I'm as well as could be expected. I'm always happy to talk to you."
UnStAbLe says, "you know too many words"
UnStAbLe says, "i used ketchup today"
UnStAbLe says, "uh wait"
UnStAbLe says, "i have a hard time typing"
UnStAbLe says, "im"
UnStAbLe says, "listening"
UnStAbLe says, "to"
UnStAbLe says, "K. 626"
You say, "I may know too many words, but you are dangerously sexy. So I think we're even."
UnStAbLe snorts. and belches for good measure
You say, "That sounds like Mozart."
UnStAbLe says, "i can't belch very well."
UnStAbLe says, "nor can i spit. i'm a pathetic Suthner"
You say, "You could even fart. I'd still think the same."
UnStAbLe says, "i'd have to OD on calcium to do that i think"
UnStAbLe says, "yes Volfy"
UnStAbLe says, "i wouldn't be around today "
UnStAbLe says, "if"
UnStAbLe says, "it"
UnStAbLe says, "uh"
UnStAbLe says, "this"
UnStAbLe says, "music"
UnStAbLe says, "oooh its so minor"
UnStAbLe says, "looking at the score last night"
UnStAbLe says, " bassoon"
UnStAbLe says, "or faggot"
You say, "I read in the newspaper today about how Motzart epitomized German music. I wonder where these people come from."
UnStAbLe says, "i wish i knew latin"
You say, "Latin is very fucking easy."
UnStAbLe says, "im losing any interest i ever had in newspapers. except for the comics and crossword puzzles"
UnStAbLe says, "latin is easy if you can work with foreign   languagess"
UnStAbLe repeats
UnStAbLe mentally drools over the bassoon solo..
UnStAbLe says, "i wish i could eat teh sound i hear"
You say, "The Sunday New York Times this week is surprisingly interesting."
UnStAbLe asks, "what newspaper?"
UnStAbLe says, "bah"
UnStAbLe says, "i don't like the crossword puzzls on Sunday"
You say, "I personally think we should get married."
UnStAbLe snorts loudly
UnStAbLe hope i didn't wake the cat
UnStAbLe says, "what makes you say that"
UnStAbLe says, "i think you need a cat"
SAGReiss is loved by all cats.
UnStAbLe says, "the only problem with this recording is that the 2nd? clarinet rushes"
UnStAbLe says, "on at least one movement"
You say, "Oh nothing special, just unbearable lonliness and vulgar sexual attraction."
UnStAbLe says, "im giving them the benefit of the doubt. i will assume that they were performing under less-than-perfect circumstances"
UnStAbLe hhms
UnStAbLe says, "surely theres people out there.."
UnStAbLe says, "you know, those people things"
You say, "We are all always performing under less-than-perfect circumstances."
UnStAbLe says, "that social stuff"
UnStAbLe says, "this is better than a drug"
UnStAbLe exclaims, "i need a brain machine! a brain machine!"
UnStAbLe says, "im sorry you must understand im currently experiencing about the closest that i come to a religious experience and the keys are melting before my eyes"
You say, "You probably just have trouble with social skills, as do I. There's nothing wrong with your mind. You write beautifully."
UnStAbLe says, "i would have killed myself long ago if it wasnt for this.."
UnStAbLe asks, "my mind?"
UnStAbLe raises an eyebrow.
UnStAbLe says, "therapy was rough today"
UnStAbLe says, "i openly wept for the first time in 3 years"
You say, "I would kill myself, but I think it's cowardly and unsportsmanlike."
UnStAbLe asks, "is hatred cowardly?"
You say, "Not at all. Hatred is a natural response to other people."
UnStAbLe says, "didn't matter anyways, most of the time i was too depressed to bother with killing myself"
UnStAbLe says, "boy i must sound really healthy"
UnStAbLe grins.
UnStAbLe says, "whew then i am okay"
UnStAbLe says, "i think my eyes are dilated"
UnStAbLe asks, "are your eyes dilated?"
UnStAbLe asks, "more than usual?"
You say, "You don't sound at all weird to me. Nothing sounds weird to me, except what puts people in jail."
UnStAbLe asks, "do you ave allergy problems?"
UnStAbLe says, "what people  hmmmm"
UnStAbLe ponders
UnStAbLe says, "kyrie ..."
UnStAbLe asks, "dies irae?"
You say, "I don't really know about my pupils. I wear glasses. I haven't got any allergies. Allergies are a psychological problem, which is good. It means they go away if you stop thinking about them."
UnStAbLe says, "i always liked this one b/c paternal unet's name is ira, from irae"
UnStAbLe says, "unet = unit"
UnStAbLe says, "i don't know. my allergies were worse when i was younger. i was healthier then"
UnStAbLe wears glasses too
You say, "Actually "irae" is the genitive (posessive) of "ira" or ire."
UnStAbLe asks, "so basically that means...?"
UnStAbLe asks, "one that has anger?"
You say, "Anger."
UnStAbLe asks, "angry god, no?"
You say, "No. Just anger. It is a little strange that you are Joy sired by Anger. We all have to live with these little ironies."
UnStAbLe says, "and letsee Rebecca is from Rebeka? someone from the Bible, or so ive heard"
UnStAbLe says, "quid"
UnStAbLe says, "quid"
UnStAbLe asks, "what does quid mean? quidnunc?"
You ask, "What now?"
UnStAbLe hmms
UnStAbLe says, "i mist have a language handicap"
UnStAbLe says, "must, even"
UnStAbLe says, "ooooohhhhhhhhh REX"
You say, "I have no idea. I recall some talk of your family never speaking during dinner."
UnStAbLe says, "well we never really sat down together anyway"
UnStAbLe says, "it was all strange babble"
UnStAbLe says, "apparently everyone was passive aggressive (sp?) according to the maternal unit"
UnStAbLe says, "michael would talk physics and engines and about the hovercraft he was building on the front porch"
UnStAbLe says, "ira was never there, workaholic that he is"
UnStAbLe says, "when he was there he would talk with Michael. he's quiet and unassuming"
UnStAbLe says, "and has perfect manners despite what 'Mom' thinks"
UnStAbLe says, "mom smokes too much crack these days"
You say, "We all know that Americans have very weird eating habits. Veronique sent a list of things she had eaten in a day. I didn't recognize anything I would consider food."
UnStAbLe says, "and my language.. was much worse ... my own.."
UnStAbLe asks, "what did she eat?"
UnStAbLe says, "i haven't been able to eat much lately, which means i'm really not operating well"
UnStAbLe says, "breakfast/lunch was a few baby carrots for me"
UnStAbLe says, " a small handful, say"
You say, "You can look in your e-mail. It was all shit that came out of a box or a can. I don't eat anything that comes in a box or a can. I eat food, fruits, vegetables, grains, meat."
UnStAbLe says, "i just read all of it, or so i thought"
UnStAbLe says, "sounds healthy"
You say, "I like carrots. Carrots are good and phallic."
UnStAbLe says, "sounds time-consuming"
UnStAbLe snorts
UnStAbLe says, "these are baby carrots. only phallic if you're into little boys"
You ask, "I always wonder about how people spend their time. If we haven't got time to cook and eat, what is so important that we do?"
UnStAbLe says, "oh yes, dinner was ketchup with coke and hotdog, which has only recently been reinstated into my diet"
UnStAbLe says, "and some sort of potato chips"
UnStAbLe says, "and as usual i have been supplementing my diet with water and cranberry juice"
UnStAbLe asks, "nummy, no?"
UnStAbLe says, "i think people work"
UnStAbLe says, "or say they work"
UnStAbLe says, "may be thef don't want to feel inadequate in the kitchen"
UnStAbLe says, "confutatis"
UnStAbLe says, "maledictus"
You say, "While I wouldn't necessarily condone your diet, you can make good literature out of it. Your letters are beautiful. What we eat and drink dies with our bodies. What we write lives forever."
UnStAbLe asks, "do you ever want to eat sounds?"
You say, "I think it's "maledictum"."
UnStAbLe says, ""maledictis according to the score"
UnStAbLe says, "flammis acribus addictis"
You say, "I don't think I'm up to eating sounds. I love Charles Ives Symphony No. 2."
UnStAbLe says, "then voca voca me cum benedictis"
UnStAbLe asks, "up to?"
UnStAbLe asks, "are you saying that you don't want to?"
UnStAbLe says, "oro supplex et acclinis, cor contritum quasi cinis"
UnStAbLe says, "laaaachrymoooooosa"
UnStAbLe says, "diiieeeees illlllla"
You say, "I believe anything you say, especially about cumming and lachrymosa."
UnStAbLe says, "i think my brain is squealing"
UnStAbLe rolls eyes
UnStAbLe  -- movement-- oh it's Gingko prowling
You say, "The requiem text is terribly beautiful."
You say, "I'm most familiar with the Mozart."
UnStAbLe says, "im not sure. its strange when this gorgeous voice says 'Quid'"
UnStAbLe says, "you're kidding"
UnStAbLe says, "you have to me"
UnStAbLe says, "be"
UnStAbLe says, "maybe that's what's not quite right"
UnStAbLe asks, "where have you?"
UnStAbLe asks, "not listenting to Mozart?"
UnStAbLe asks, "my god how old are you now?"
UnStAbLe exclaims, " this is IMPORTANT stuff!"
UnStAbLe says, "i cant' believe this"
UnStAbLe says, "maybe you should see someone about this"
UnStAbLe says, "misguided"
UnStAbLe says, "where where have you been"
UnStAbLe says, "lost in silent libraries and books"
You say, "I'm not kidding at all. I never kid. The way "eternam", and "perpetuam" sound. It's very beautiful. I'm thirty-five years old."
UnStAbLe says, "what about all of these notes? not too many not too few therese just as many as neede, your emperor"
UnStAbLe says, "but you arent' familiar with mozart"
UnStAbLe says, "arg it slaughters my brain in a good way"
You say, "I tend not to like Mozart, but I love his Requiem."
UnStAbLe says, "maybe this would solve"
UnStAbLe says, "world peace everywhere!! for everyone"
UnStAbLe says, "no starving"
UnStAbLe says, "no world hungelr"
UnStAbLe says, "no more somalia"
UnStAbLe says, "we should all listen to mozart"
UnStAbLe says, "the un"
UnStAbLe says, "sit around and listen haze it pugged into the brain"
UnStAbLe says, "these big big cords"
UnStAbLe says, "and headphones"
UnStAbLe says, "we need headphones"
UnStAbLe says, "headphones for eth world"
You say, "I'd rather listen to Charles Ives and Alban Berg, but Mozart did his best in the Requiem."
UnStAbLe says, "i see paadise"
UnStAbLe asks, "did his best?"
UnStAbLe says, "im choking here geez"
UnStAbLe says, "we could have no more hungerl"
UnStAbLe says, "happy faremers in china"
UnStAbLe asks, "do you understand?"
UnStAbLe says, "then martin luther king would never have been wire-tapped by the FBI"
You say, "I sometimes have trouble understanding you, but I'd like to do so."
UnStAbLe says, "we would all eat solid room-temperature water and have mozart plugged right into the brain"
UnStAbLe pauses
UnStAbLe says, "oh my"
UnStAbLe asks, "well i mentioned that i was listening to mozart didn't i? or did i not?"
You say, "I believe you did."
UnStAbLe asks, "do you notice any differenc? am i more/less coherent?"
UnStAbLe says, "i cann see now that my typing has been terrible but thats b/c my fingers are cold and much too slow"
UnStAbLe attempts to be more coherent
You say, "You are always coherent. You have a special style. You are faithful to it, thus coherent."
UnStAbLe says, "hm my brain is going to gnaw on that one for awhile.."
UnStAbLe says, "i suspect that there are times when i'm a bit easier to follow, though"
UnStAbLe asks, "being faithful to a style = coherent?"
You say, "Well, coherent only means consistent to a given system. You fit that bill. So do I. I'm not an amateur. I know how to write. I have chosen to do so in my own particular way."
You say, "Yes, coherent = faithful to a given style."
UnStAbLe says, "i keep meaning to post up some writings by a .. by someone from my past that could write.. in    "
UnStAbLe (at a loss for words)
UnStAbLe says, "it's very very painful though. that's why i haven't done it yet"
UnStAbLe says, "saaaaaaaaaaaanctus"
You say, "I encourage you."
UnStAbLe says, "i don't know, today ive had more self-destructive urges than usual. just the thought of facing those writings.. i have strong urges to start cutting my skin again"
UnStAbLe says, "it's almost february"
UnStAbLe says, "just ask negatron"
UnStAbLe says, "february is always the worst"
UnStAbLe says, "though im so much better than last year.. and the year before that.."
UnStAbLe says, "sometimes i disgust myself"
UnStAbLe asks, "where the hell is negatron anyways?"
UnStAbLe asks, "did he just fall off the edge of the earth?"
UnStAbLe asks, "how convincing was Matildas 'im sooo pathetic and unloved' meow?"
You say, "How do you think I feel? negatron hasn't been on Lambda in a month. I love him, but he doesn't give a fuck about me. I don't even know if he reads his e-mail. Sometimes I think the readers of our list think I'm inhuman. Doesn't anyone realize I feel good or bad about the shit that happens to me? I'm a man. I live, work, love, suffer. I write well, but that doesn't mean I don't take anything seriously."
UnStAbLe asks, "what does she look like?"
UnStAbLe says, "rapier edged wit. can make one seem somewhat inhuman"
UnStAbLe says, "or at least somewhat difficult to emphatize with. i suspect."
You say, "John is about five foot ten, slim, black hair, kind of rugged features. I think he's handsome enough."
UnStAbLe says, "you have a roughness a bluntness that is difficult for some.. mostly b/c it's unusual to deal with someone not whiny or trite or.. "
UnStAbLe says, "apparently it doesn't help when dealing with border guards and such"
UnStAbLe asks, "what was he like irL?"
You say, "Beauty is a weird thing. I like beautiful women. I am ugly. I can write beautiful letters."
UnStAbLe escapes in the world of planthood
UnStAbLe says, "if it's not green, it's probably not healthy."
UnStAbLe says, "remember that"
UnStAbLe says, "oh my calligraphy is terrible."
UnStAbLe says, "my hands are still too shaky"
UnStAbLe asks, "or is it shakey?"
You say, "Nichelle and I arrived at the hotel after John. We knocked at the door. He opened it. Nichelle wanted to take a bath, so John and I drank whisky. We went to supper. It was fun. Nothing out of control. We got a little drunk. He's just a good, normal boy with an overdevelopped intelligence."
UnStAbLe asks, "i assume you think that matilda is beautiful?"
page nichelle Why don't you join me and Joy?
UnStAbLe laughs
UnStAbLe says, "i suppose you're one to talk about overdeveloped intelligence"
You say, "Matilda is very beautiful. She is a little bald on her ass."
Nichelle teleports in.
UnStAbLe says, "i should hope so"
Nichelle says, "hi..."
UnStAbLe asks, "how big is matilda?"
Nichelle says, "8.5 lbs"
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: how heavy is she?
UnStAbLe says, "look out for atht Ultra Latte by Whiskas"
UnStAbLe exclaims, "shes tiny!"
UnStAbLe asks, "how old is she?"
You ask, "Damn, she's getting fat. How is her baldness?"
Nichelle says, "two years old or so..."
Nichelle says, "her hair is coming back."
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: don't be ridiculous
UnStAbLe says, "8.5 lbs"
Nichelle says, "she's no fatter than she ever was."
UnStAbLe says, "sheesh"
UnStAbLe says, "gingko is around 14"
Nichelle says, "a lot of cats weigh 15 or eve 20"
UnStAbLe says, "given the vet said she was just a big cat. nearing bobcat size"
UnStAbLe says, "8.5 tiny tiny"
Nichelle says, "she is a pretty small cat."
You say, "OK, let's consider that I've got unusual ideas about weight. Fuck it. I just want a job."
UnStAbLe says, "one day i resolve to learn metric"
Nichelle says, "God, he thinks even the fucking cat is fat."
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: i thought you mentioned a moratorium
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: did i spell moratorium correctly? i can never tell
Nichelle says, "It looks pretty good to me."
UnStAbLe asks, "what does her coat look like?"
You ask, "God damn it, you bitches are tough with me. Don't you know I love you?"
UnStAbLe [nicheele]: what do you think of Mozart K. 626
Nichelle says, "she's greyish brown with black stripes, a white bib and feet, and a baldish butt."
Nichelle says, "I don't know what the heck K. 626 is."
UnStAbLe cringes
Nichelle says, "I know only two Mozart pieces by number."
UnStAbLe exclaims, "it's the answer to world hunger!"
UnStAbLe exclaims, "we can eat solid water!"
UnStAbLe exclaims, "at room temperature!"
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: you know we love you too
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: but cats are superior
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: really?
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: are they minor????
Nichelle says, "Yes, Murtilda looks a little sad that you called her fat."
Nichelle asks, "Are what minor?"
UnStAbLe says, "one of the biggest tragedies of my life is atht the only bassoon concerto mozart ever wrote was in a MAJOR key"
Nichelle asks, "What's wrong with a major key?"
UnStAbLe asks, "why is her rump bald?"
Nichelle says, "skin irritation"
UnStAbLe chokes
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: ives. not familiar with.
SAGReiss stares off into the middle distance.
Nichelle asks, "What about Ives?"
UnStAbLe [nichelee]: you have to excuse me im  ah my brain is being laughtere
Nichelle nods
Nichelle says, "Excused..."
Nichelle smiles
UnStAbLe says, "er slaughtered in a good way"
UnStAbLe says, "sagreiss mentioned ives"
Nichelle says, "Yes, you should listen to him."
UnStAbLe says, "i am so ignorant"
Nichelle says, "Ives, not Gaby."
UnStAbLe sighs
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: don't be mean
Nichelle says, "I'm not mean."
UnStAbLe says, "kyyyyyyrriee"
UnStAbLe says, "im' just a plant"
Nichelle says, "brb"
UnStAbLe says, "im not designed to cope with such things"
You say, "I'd feel a little better if I saw more of your love for me. I'm not whining, but I do make a significant effort to write e-mail. I like reading your letters. Both of you can write great messages. I know it's not easy."
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: was that to both of us?
UnStAbLe says, "damnit that clarinet is rlushing again"
UnStAbLe says, "given it is pretty intense.."
UnStAbLe says, "nothing is easy for anyone. it's unfortunate that there's so many ah unkind er          ...         uh            stuff."
UnStAbLe says, "yeah, that's it"
You say, "Yes, both of you. I understand that you write sometimes. Nichelle lived with me and created with me this forum. I feel that I should receive some support in my agony."
Nichelle stares off into the middle distance.
UnStAbLe says, "agony and the ecstasy"
UnStAbLe says, "i bet i did'nt spell that correctly"
You say, "I've not read that book, but I like the title."
UnStAbLe says, "forum. agony. i'm not putting 2 and 2 together"
UnStAbLe says, "had to read it in hs"
UnStAbLe says, "damn those violins are burning rosin"
UnStAbLe says, "a long book"
UnStAbLe says, "filled with non-english names"
Nichelle says, "I'm sorry, I haven't written."
UnStAbLe says, "you should see gingko right now, she looks so stately and yet so completely out of it"
Nichelle says, "You want me to be nice, but I can't..."
UnStAbLe says, "er asleep"
UnStAbLe asks, "um should i be here?"
Nichelle asks, "why shouldn't you be?"
UnStAbLe says, "i can go troll and antagonize some hapless being elsewhere if need be"
Nichelle says, "no no"
SAGReiss [to Nichelle]: The truth is that it's hard. Everyone thinks that it's easy for me, but it's not. It was never easy. It may have looked easy, but it wasn't.
Nichelle says, "I know Gaby."
UnStAbLe says, "because im more fragile than usual --- there she goes again all of this QUID business!-- and im a plant not designed for such things"
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: writing you mean?
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: actually.. you might like some Tool.
UnStAbLe says, "oh you might just as easily hate it"
UnStAbLe says, "or"
UnStAbLe says, "er"
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: therapy was rough today
UnStAbLe says, "hmm i need to buy my books"
UnStAbLe says, "or i could eat for the next week. decisions decisions"
You say, "Writing has always been a struggle, a war of technical strategies and tools, fighting my failures and worthlessness and despair. It kills me that people might think I just do this naturally."
UnStAbLe says, "i wos convinced that i had missed classes today... then E reminded me that it was MLK day today"
Nichelle says, "sorry... I'm here now."
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: that's a .. um save that.. i wish i knew how to log
UnStAbLe says, "that's one of those things to save"
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: ? do you like ketchup? i had some today
Nichelle asks, "What?  What Gaby just said?"
Nichelle says, "I'm not a fan of ketchup.  I had some badass salsa though."
UnStAbLe says, "fighting my failures and worthlessness and despair."
UnStAbLe says, "yeah"
UnStAbLe says, "salsa"
UnStAbLe asks, "salsa = spicy    ?"
UnStAbLe asks, "that chunky red stuff?"
UnStAbLe asks, "sometimes green?"
Nichelle says, "A friend brought it over for the potluck... well, it wasn't until I added garlic and peppers.. now it is."
UnStAbLe says, "that people taint their chips with at parties"
You say, “But I parade my failures before the only people I really respect, you on the list. You don't think that hurts?”
UnStAbLe pokes at you.
UnStAbLe asks, "and where the hell is negatron?"
You say, "I have no idea."
UnStAbLe says, "ohhhh Gingko is so.. hug-able with her face buried in the pillow"
UnStAbLe says, "she'd probably remove my breasts with her claws though if i tried to hug her. ouch"
SAGReiss [to UnStAbLe]: I want to fuck you. Is that weird?
UnStAbLe says, "she tears "
UnStAbLe says, "uh"
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: i dont know is it?
UnStAbLe says, "plants know nothing of this"
UnStAbLe says, "you know my agent"
UnStAbLe says, "she has her face buried in her pillow"
UnStAbLe says, "and she doesn't even have the vellux Fuzzy Blanket"
UnStAbLe says, "it's incredible"
SAGReiss [to UnStAbLe]: I think it's weird, but slightly normal. Maybe i'm just some kind of pervert.
UnStAbLe says, "boy i wonder what parsley tastes like"
UnStAbLe asks, "it's that green stuff they put on plates right?"
UnStAbLe says, "then i guess ive eaten it alot"
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: i wouldn't know. im sure that im not qualified to judge
SAGReiss [to UnStAbLe]: Parsley tastes good, as does pussy.
UnStAbLe says, "i have'nt had parnely in "
UnStAbLe says, "maledictis"
UnStAbLe says, "dies irae"
UnStAbLe [to Nichelle]: i don't really know latin
Nichelle stares off into the middle distance.
UnStAbLe says, "domine"
UnStAbLe [to SAGReiss]: how the hell is one supposed to respond when you say such things??
Nichelle teleports out.
You say, "I have no idea. I'm not even sure why I say such things. I'm just being honest."
UnStAbLe says, "mostly it accomplishes little."
UnStAbLe says, "it tends to make others feel uncomfortable"
UnStAbLe says, "and it's a helluva thing to say when someone you just broke up with is in the room"
UnStAbLe asks, "your thougts?"
You say, "I'm sure. I try to keep some literary content in this list. I don't always know what the fuck I'm doing. I'm an evil drunk. I just try to write better than everyone else. I'm starting to have trouble typing. I'm getting too drunk."
UnStAbLe asks, "you are drinking?"
You ask, "Fuck. Am I not?"
UnStAbLe says, "i would'nt know. i'm not there."
UnStAbLe says, "i sometimes forget that everyone else drowns themselves in alcohol"
UnStAbLe says, "this reminds me that i need to take my meds."
UnStAbLe says, "the pharmacy is now open"
UnStAbLe says, "oh they're too far away. maybe later."
UnStAbLe says, "saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanctus"
You say, "I don't know. I am getting drunk."
UnStAbLe says, "sounds painful"
UnStAbLe says, "and expensive"
UnStAbLe asks, "when you first start to drink?"
UnStAbLe says, "er did"
You say, "Not really. I can just continue and perhaps eat. I don't give a fuck. I'm more embarassed by my typing."
UnStAbLe asks, "embarassed?"
You say, "Yes, I want to type well."
UnStAbLe says, "you really changed when she came in the room"
UnStAbLe says, "agnus dei"
You say, "That's normal. We lived together for two years. I'm very drunk. I love you and Nichelle and the other members of this list."
UnStAbLe nods solemnly.
UnStAbLe asks, "how much have you drunk?"
You say, "Is there anything wrong with loving you? Who cares how much I've drunk? I drink whisky. I like cunt. I can't type too fast right now."
UnStAbLe nods solemnly.
UnStAbLe says, "no i suppose not. but what ever you think it is that you love, it isn't really me. which i guess is fine"
UnStAbLe says, "a fantasy based on my babble and your libido. i don't mean to be cruel. i'm just not that adept with words to communicate half of what is me."
You say, "I'm too fucking drunk. I think what I love is you, but I may be wrong. I'm going to log this conversation, and send it to the list. If you have anything else to offer, your're a big girl"
UnStAbLe asks, "a big girl?"
UnStAbLe turns off the mozart
UnStAbLe . o O ( never fattened up this winter like i had planned on.. )
UnStAbLe says, "lonnnng conversation"
UnStAbLe says, "i have no qualms"
Nichelle pages, "I'm sorry, I couldn't stay. That was a bit rude."
You say, "I love your Asian pussy."
UnStAbLe says, "if you insist"
page nichelle I'm getting tired.
UnStAbLe says, "why don't you go drink some water or do whatever it is that you do when you are this intoxicated"
Nichelle pages, "There was no need to be that way. Why do you do it?"
UnStAbLe says, "i have classes tomorrow and the cat seems to think that she is under-fed"
UnStAbLe says, "take care"
UnStAbLe says, "adios"
page nichelle I'm sorry. I'm very drunk.
Nichelle pages, "That is no excuse. You're a big boy."
ppage nichelle What have I done wronng?
I don't understand that.
page nichelle What have I done wrong?
You sense that Nichelle is looking for you in Alibi.
She pages, "Don't you see, this is why you got fired."
You sense that Nichelle is looking for you in Alibi.
She pages, "SAGReiss [to UnStAbLe]: I want to fuck you. Is that weird?"
Nichelle pages, "This is the reason you piss people off, Gabriel. I'm surprised that you can't see it."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 19 January 1999
Subject: Re: Weird fucking shit

I just wanted to share my rejoicing with ya'll..I've made it through yet another year, alive. :) Hopefully next year will be better than this one...but that's a hope, not a reality. Take care ya'll and g'night.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 19 January 1999
Subject: Publicity

I'm sorry, Todd. Please don't write a column about me. The last thing I need is publicity. I'm feeling so crazy and paranoid. I just wish this would end.

From: Columbine
Date: 19 January 1999
Subject: Re: Publicity

>I'm sorry, Todd. Please don't write a column about me. The last thing I need
>is publicity. I'm feeling so crazy and paranoid. I just wish this would end.

Not to worry. I don't plan to. It's not what you or any of us needs.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: It is now safe...

I'm still wearing the plastic orange bracelet. They put me in a cab and sent me home. They even made me sign a release form saying: "The risks and benefits of being discharged home have been explained to me and I agree with the plans outlined above," something about not drinking or committing suicide. Never let anyone try to convince you that numbers are anything other than a self-referential, symbolic system. They are intrinsicly mystical. There were three white trash managers who fired me, three fat union bosses who heard the sordid tale, three psychiatrists who evaluated my sodden state, well one psychiatrist, one intern and one student. Actually I've got an appointment to see a doctor at a clinic tomorrow morning, if I can safely drag my ass across a couple of streets. I can't believe I'm home. I didn't expect to see these four walls for a fortnight. In France they would have locked my ass up. In fact they did, twice. And now I've been told for the second time that I'm not crazy enough for an American psych ward. The doctor was basically honest with me. He was doing risk calculation, the cost to his conscience if I die, the benefit to his conscience if he prevents my death and the likelihood of each. So he sent me home with "adjustment disorders" and an "alcohol problem". I can tell you how it works, at least as much of it as I've been through already. It begins with the fear, a throbbing anxiety of the chest. The mind searches for a solution, options. I could join the foreign legion, but I haven't got a passport. I could move, but where and how? I think people kill themselves when they run out of viable-seeming options. I'm feeling a lot better, but how long will it last? In theory they said I can go back. Why? So they can tell me again that I'm not crazy? I was badly disoriented when I called the suicide hotline. I could hear what I was saying, but it didn't make any sense. Calling a taxi seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. But I couldn't understand the directions to the nearest hospital. For some reason I went to the university hospital instead. I'm not sure it matters. No wonder there are so many crazy people on the street. The hospitals won't take them in. Right now I'm not going to try to get a job, just eat and not drink. Go see this doctor tomorrow. I won't try to get a job until I can walk outside, follow simple directions, fill out an application. I'll try again next Monday. In the meantime something may happen. I'll get a check from the Rainier Club. I might get a check from unemployment. I might get hired at one of the three places I've applied. I think I will just drop the whole grievance thing. The union hasn't returned my calls. I think it's best just to forget about it. If I make it until Sunday I'll file my unemployment claim again saying that I've been fired. That means I'll have only made one dubiously fraudulent claim. I feel very bad about that. Tomorrow I'll just go to my appointment, and buy some food on the way back. Otherwise going outside seems like an insane risk. I'll write e-mail to pass the time and to keep track of the meanderings of my mind. I once again offer to take anyone who wants off of this list. No one has asked to read the scribblings of a smart man struggling to preserve what's left of his sanity. I've got a bad case of the fear. I sat in the waiting room and watched Bill Clinton with grudging admiration. He's got a lot of balls. He is the Man. He strolled into that room and said: "Fuck you. You are pitiful old men, and I am a god." He cracked jokes and referred openly to his wife. That is one tough motherfucker. I am impressed, not that he cares, since I don't get to vote on the impeachment articles. There was this old black lady with one leg sitting in a wheelchair next to me. She asked that the sound be turned up. When he introduced Rosa Parks, I was deeply moved. It had never occurred to me that she might still be alive. He might as well have been introducing Horatius.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Re: It is now safe...

Gaby, I've looked for you on the MOO but you're not there. I just tried calling. I'm about ready to come over. Are you there?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: How are we this morning?

Yes, I'm here, alive and awake. I'm not feeling very well. I need help.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Re: How are we this morning?

I'm coming.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Style points

I love you, Nichelle. Even in times of stress, you can still crack jokes.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Re: Style points

A few notes before I go to sleep.. not because I have something to say at this moment, but because I promised I'd send e-mail. Gabriel, you look like hell. I'm glad I took your scotch. I should have taken all the pens and pointy things. Please take care of yourself. And please call me if there is a next time. I love you- I don't want you to hurt yourself, or destroy yourself. You're a good man. People just can't handle the fact that you say what you think. That was never a problem for me.

I need sleep. I'll write more later.

Soothe yourself.

Don't touch those pens.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Still alive

"Have you got any weapons with you today?" I smiled: "No, ma'am." "Cool." The clinic was nice, a little shoddy, but what do you want for nothing? At least three more people didn't gang up against me. This was just one lady, and all she asked was that I park my weapons at the door. She explained about the hospital, that without bloodshed it's almost impossible to get inpatient treatment, even with insurance. If you pay cash, rules may be bent. She also told me what to say if I absolutely did need to be locked up. I won't get into it. In fact I don't even remember. In fact she never said it. I'm learning from Mr Bill: smile, shake hands, treat your enemies as you would your friends, and deny everything. The three words that a man must never forget: "It wasn't me." OK, so maybe that's four words. Go find yourselves a professional linguist. I do this for free. She also coyly mentioned that I'm lucky "that woman" didn't press charges. She recovered from her lapse: "Of course she wouldn't have a leg to stand on." "Let's please not talk about her legs. That's why I'm in so much trouble. Besides the last thing I want to think about is the police. I'm in deep enough shit as it is." On the way home I filled out an application. I was doing OK, until I heard the words: "Rainier Club. Hmm, we just got an application from a girl who works there. I can't remember the name." You see my dilemma? This shit is going to follow me around like a foul odor. I said something about wanting to get out of the world of corporate restaurants: "I feel like a nut in an engine. Let me rephrase that. I feel like a bolt in an engine." I think she wants to hire me as a dishwasher/prep cook. I might actually take the job. Another option is declaring victory and pulling out. I'm going to apply for a passport. I'm in touch with my family. I only speak to them twice a decade when I lose my mind, always during US-election years. My sister offered her best wishes from England. My father offered his hospitality in Israel. I don't know where my mother is. As the Man says: "Home is where, if you have to go there, they have to take you in." I stopped at QFC and bought two heads of broccoli, 1 bunch of asparagus, 1 free-range chicken, 1 pink grapefruit, 1 yellow onion. I got the fear. I bought the New York Times at City Market with my last breath of life. I crossed the street a few times. I made it home and went to bed. I read. I may have slept an hour or two. The fear went away. There is only one question I would like to resolve before Sunday, preferably on Friday, if I decide I need to talk to them. What should I say to unemployment, or what should I claim on the phone? My inclination is to say nothing, but claim I've now been fired. So maybe they ask for their money back. I don't want to plunge into an ever-deeper pit of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Grace under pressure

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss
Apartment 101
235 Bellevue Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98102

25 January 1999

To whom it may concern:

Re: nolo contendere

A misunderstanding has arisen between myself and my former employer, the Rainier Club, 820 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, which has resulted in a confusing separation of said employer and myself.

Under the advice of the medical professionals to whose care I have entrusted myself and of my representatives at Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees union local 8, I have decided not to exercise my right to pursue a formal written grievance, but to stipulate the judgment of my former employer.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to any and all persons who may have felt hurt by my behavior and to thank those same persons who may have seen fit to forgive me for whatever harm I may inadvertently have caused.

Respectfully submitted,

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Re: Grace under pressure

Nichelle 206-834-7250 nichelle@amazon.com

How to reach me at work.. I can come up and have coffee in the morning if you want company.. just let me know. Take care, ok? I love you, and I want you to be ok.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 January 1999
Subject: Where's the mouth?

Todd was half an hour late with a half-assed column. No wonder he's looking for hired gunslingers. I'll take a raincheck on my guest column. I've got it written, but can't think of a title. Nichelle, my love, I'd like to try to sleep in tomorrow morning. If I shouldn't die before I wake, I'll go to the federal building and ask for a passport. As Founding Fathers used to say: "Naechstes Jahr im Jarusalem."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 21 January 1999
Subject: Re: Where's the mouth?

Good... I know I've been hounding you. I'm just worried, that's all. Fine, I think I'll sleep in too, considering the fact that I came home early. I'm exhausted. Don't die. OK?

From: Nichelle
Date: 21 January 1999
Subject: what's up, bro?

Just sitting here, answering the phones.. wondering how you're doing. Let me know if you want me to drop by tomorrow.. I need to go to the pet store and get cat food, so I'll be up there one way or the other. Let me know at my work address if you want company in the morning.. Otherwise, get in touch with me at my regular e-mail address.

Take care,

and as my bonus (50 bucks) says....

Lobora longe, dure, et intelligenter


From: Nichelle
Date: 21 January 1999
Subject: ok, I lied

It says Labora not Lobora...


From: Nichelle
Date: 21 January 1999
Subject: sleep...

I'm going to go home shortly and get some rest.. I've been exhausted.
I'll check my e-mail at home. I'm worried.. try to keep me posted,

From: SAGReiss
Date: 21 January 1999
Subject: Breakfast

Thanks to Nichelle, I've eaten a wildly extravagant feast of half a grapefruit, coffee, a bagel with cream cheese, lettuce, olives and onion. I slept three or four hours of the six I laid down for. I've been savagely paring down that letter to my executioners, trying to get the perfect stoic tone while apologizing for everything and admitting less than nothing. My hope is to generate a little sympathy so that they will let me collect unemployment. I've got a check for two hundred and ten virgins. There's no way in Hell I'm going to say or do anything to jeopordize that. If I have to commit fraud, so be it. I need the cash. I have discovered some new wonders of MSWord. I never write standard English, so I've seldom used the spell check and thesaurus and never the newly discovered but delightful grammar check. Aside from counts (words, characters, sentences, paragraphs, sentences per paragraph, words per sentence, characters per word and percentage of passive sentences) it also includes one readability test and no fewer than three "grade level" tests. I have no idea what they mean, but a little research into their respective criteria would be well worth the effort, especially for those of you who do actually write standard English from time to time. Paragraphs of ten sentences of twenty words of five characters is about right. Here is the latest version of my mea culpa:

A misunderstanding has arisen between myself and my employer, the Rainier Club, 820 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, which has led to a separation of said employer and myself.

After carefully weighing the options, I have decided to waive my right to pursue a formal written grievance in this matter.

I hereby apologize to any and all members and employees of the Rainier Club and H.E.R.E. Local 8 for any ill will I may inadvertently have caused.

Thank you for your understanding.

Of course I have no real wish to go to Israel. It's far too violent and paranoid a place for a man with a bad case of nerves. I'd rather go to Mexico. I might pull off a little visit to my aged maternal grandmother in Florida. I could cook and clean for her and drive her to doctor's appointments while I looked for a job and a flat. It would take me about two weeks to get on my feet, and she'd be sad to see me go so soon. I would mention this to my mother, if the crazy bitch would only check her fucking e-mail. (Notice the soaring rhythm of the protasis, my friends. It flies toward its goal not by accident, but because I've carefully established a pattern of two monosyllabics, one disyllabic, two monosyllabics, one disyllabic, two monosyllabics, one disyllabic, and a crescendo of either two monosyllabics or one disyllabic depending on how you scan "e-mail". Even in the throes of sobriety, I haven't lost my touch.)

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 January 1999
Subject: Go East, young man

"Would you like a wrap-up for your meat?" asked the sixteen-year-old cashier with a colt's body. "I beg your pardon? Oh, nevermind. Yes, please." I've been eating with appetite, gathering up my strength for whatever may befall me next. I've just had linguini in a sea of olive oil, garlic, parsley and jalapeno. There's zucchini and yellow squash in the fridge, a trout and veal stew meat. I've applied for a passport with the idea I might actually emigrate to Haifa in Israel. It sits on the Mediterranean sea. People keep telling me: "New York is far more dangerous." I wonder what that's supposed to mean, but this place seems to lie at a safe distance from the DMZ. I could go to graduate school there without having to answer embarassing questions about my checkered past: "I've just got to town. I don't know anything about e-mail. I left America because I couldn't keep up with the technology." So, it might be a weird place, but how good is it going to be waiting tables in Florida? I can still write French, even if I haven't spoken it in five years. And I could re-learn academic English, though I haven't written that in fifteen years. I severely doubt I could learn Hebrew, but I might not have to. I've received my "final paycheck", but I still haven't got a termination slip. I guess they're waiting to see if I file a last-minute grievance. I'm inclined not to. I might call the union on Monday and see what they say. It's funny how I can kindle this list and smother it with the same tinder.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 24 January 1999
Subject: Mrs Fante

Nichelle brought "1933 was a Bad Year" for me to read. I read it in one sitting. It's basically two or three short stories filled out into novella length with the help of some large-point type. I knew something was wrong when I saw on page 10 a reference to the baseball Hall of Fame, which did not open until a few years after the date cited in the title. I checked the copyright, which reads: "1985 by Joyce Fante". Mr Fante had died in 1983. On the next page is a reference to the "slider", a pitch developped in the forties or fifties which flourished in the sixties and seventies. This confirmed my suspicions. Now most people probably don't read this critically, or don't have vast reserves of obscure knowledge to draw upon, but that's no excuse, particularly with a date in the title. On pages 18-20 there are references to the narrator's mother's childhood in Chicago, including this: "She had never been there, had never been anywhere except a Chicago tenement... There was a photograph of her at ten, sitting in a swing at a Chicago playground." On page 46 we learn that the narrator's dream girl is a senior in English at the university of Colorodo. On page page 78 she is apparently a psychology major. On pages 94-95 we read: "She had known my mother when they were girls together in Denver." It's not really a bad book, if you like Fante, which I do, but Mrs Fante and the editor should really be ashamed of themselves.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Murder
Date: 25 January 1999
Subject: Stinking Lizaveta

Now that I have indulged my three favorite sensual pleasures: sex,  chocolate, and a hot shower (in that order), I am ready to play catch-up. I was quite surprised to return from vacation to find so many messages from this list in my inbox. Gabe, your letter "It is now safe..." was beautiful. I almost cried as I read it. I am sorry you got screwed over by those narrow-minded pigs. James Galway is a bit of a pig himself, and he has a reputation as a cantankerous old man in masterclasses. He was very nice to me when I played Chaminade's Concertino for him, however. As the date for my degree recital creeps ominously closer, I wonder how much time and energy I will be able to devote to my final history requirement, a seminar on Gustav Mahler. The Seventh Symphony used to be my least favorite of the nine (not including the song cycles or the unfinished Tenth). Nichelle, I distinctly remember you telling me after you listened to it with Stefan that "it seemed to ramble...I didn't feel like it was going anywhere." I don't entirely disagree with that statement. But one cannot deny the orchestrational mastery nor the understated beauty of the two Nachtmusik movements. No composer before him dared to assign the melody to solo violin and bass clarinet two octaves apart, for instance. The effect is stunning. At that time in his life, Mahler had fallen in love with Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. While in Spokane for the holiday, I began reading it for myself. I have finished Part One. The rest will have to wait until I finish with this rash of chamber music concerts. Nichelle, I'm eagerly awaiting your report on your duet date with the Central grad. Do I get three guesses?


From: Nichelle
Date: 25 January 1999
Subject: annual sex

I am relieved that he didn't come up with me to my apartment after we got back from the cafe. I scurried up the stairs in my heels (and fortunately, no hose) and threw the door closed. I should never have had the coffee. I spent an agonizing two minutes in the bathroom. I know it was only two minutes, but I really mean agnozing. I thought I had passed a watermelon. I looked down and it was just a little tiny thing, a little marble, a peanut. But then of course there was the sperm, and a little blood. This is the second time. I thought it was supposed to get easier. I thought that old men couldn't get it up. Fifty years old, this man. Fifty. He growls like a bear when he comes. He did not have mercy on my virgin ass, nor was he merciful tonight. He actually grabbed the bar at the head of the bed and pulled on it, impaling me on his cock... then, as if that hadn't been a firm enough hold, he grabbed my head with one hand and my shoulder with the other and pulled me onto him. Just pulled me back onto him. I screamed. But it was good... it was beautiful because it was so hard and I did it anyway. And after it was over, after feeling as though he had ripped my body apart, and the tears were streaming down my face from the intensity and the release, I quietly whispered, "thank you" then felt the warm sperm ooze onto my leg.

Then the Sunday night ritual- down the the Hurricane Cafe, where all the weirdos hang out. He had the breakfast special.. pork chop with eggs, hash browns, and toast. I had a gardenburger. We both ate blackberry pie and drank at least three cups of coffee. I left a good tip, but under the jam where the weirdos wouldn't see it. This is our only real time together. It's a weird kind of relationship. There's no set plan, it's not a standing date. But somehow he finds me on Sunday nights, hanging around on IRC. Tonight he said, "I'm waiting..." "For what?" I didn't want to assume- that would ruin things. "You have to guess." "Guess, eh? I hope you're not going anywhere any time soon." "Where would I go?" "To the Hurricane Cafe?"

Then the plans were made.

<W> I want to drive my cock as deep as possible into your ass.
* nichelle will try not to get her head up against that bar  again.
<W> You will get into any position possible to help me  do that, won't you?
> Yes.
<W> There is one more thing...
* nichelle listens
<W> Once we get into the apartment..
<W> dont say a word. Not one god damned word, until we walk out the door.
* nichelle nods.
<W> ok, darlin.... leaving now.... seeya soon
> now?
<W> yes
<W> Or do you want to do it tomorrow?
> No, no.
> Tonight is fine.
<W> Are you sure?
> just trying to figure out how much time I have...
<W> Around 90 minutes.
> I'll be ready.
> oh...
> there's a way to get in besides buzzing you in
> if you push my code the door will open
<W> ok.
<W> And you will be waiting inside your apt?
> I will be waiting wherever you want me to wait.
<W> I just don't want to get lost in the hallway.
> I'm happy to come down.
<W> I will buzz you and come in.......... you can meet me at the head of the stairs.
* nichelle grins.
> I wouldn't want you to find some other lucky girl's apartment instead.
<W> hahahaha..........I hear ya...
> Or some unfortunate guy.
* nichelle grins.

Back in Junior High School, during Home Economics class, we had our first formal sex education. We read aloud to the class from some 1970's textbook about sex. I remember.. well I don't remember his name.. one of the kids in my class was reading about anal sex, but said "annual sex" instead. Looking at it from my new perspective, I suppose I can see why one might only want to do it annualy. All that said, I guess I have mixed feelings about it. I guess I'm no longer a virgin, anywhere, in any way. (11, 998?) Shit, it's 5:21 AM. Why the hell am I writing e-mail? Why don't I write about pretty things? I'm tired.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 25 January 1999
Subject: Please pass the watermelon

"Has anyone ever told you that you're vague?" asked the candyass doctor at the university. "You seem to withdrawn, not forthcoming," said the pinhead doctor at the clinic. "If I had been vague, withdrawn and not forthcoming, brothers, I wouldn't be in this fucking mess." They've given me paroxetine (paxil) which I won't take. They only gave it to me because I told them they were insurance-hungry puppets unwilling or unable to treat anyone who wasn't the cause of immediate bloodshed. I might pick up some Saint John's Wort at City Market. I think this might work out. I've decided to emigrate. I need a new start in a new land with a new language, or several of them as Israel is indeed a tower of Babel with speakers of Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian and Yiddish. I can understand Yiddish and make myself understood by speaking my weird mix of German and Alsatian. I'm trying to get in touch with the union, if only because they've sent me a bill for my February dues. I think it's rude not to answer my phone calls and ask me for money. It's irrelevent. I'm going to sit tight and collect unemployment and wait for my passport to come. Then I'll fly to Jerusalem. Haifa is out. Their French department is small potatoes. At Hebrew university they've got a French literary journal. They've also got a General and Comparative Literature program. Unfortunately these two don't have links, so I don't know if they offer a Ph.D. In Haifa they only offer a Master's, which is a bad sign. I will need your help, Nichelle. I can't take much with me. May I store some stuff at your place, unless you want to move back here, if you prefer this flat? Whatever you want, of course, is yours. I'll take only a few clothes, send the 'puter, throw out a lot, and save the rest. If Murder is writing, this list can survive even my absence. I'll have to get an international provider. Can anyone suggest one? If I get one that won't download my e-mail to the hard drive, I can use my father's 'puter and write e-mail as soon as the plane lands. I guess hotmail might work.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 25 January 1999
Subject: P.S.

"I am sitting in the smallest room in my house," wrote composer Max Reger to a music critic. "I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 25 January 1999
Subject: A.M.A.

I don't think these American-type doctors like me. For some reason it pisses me off. Perhaps it's because these are the only people I talk to now that I'm not working and the few people I'm not ashamed to talk to are avoiding me. I'm tired of paging people on the MOO: "Not much, and you?" "Nothing. See you around." The French doctors loved me. I remember my first serious run-in with the mental health profession. I met my doctor in a bar. She was horribly drunk. I told her I wanted to take a cure, a couple of weeks in a hospital to dry up and collect my thoughts. She thought about it as I ordered another glass of Edelswicker for her and Ricard for me. Her slurred speach told me that it wouldn't work on an emergency basis. I would have to wait. I told her I couldn't wait. She told me: "No problem. You can go to a psychiatric hospital and from there transfer to the cure. You'll like it there. You'll meet des gens farfelus." I'm not sure how to translate that word, "wacky" or something. I said: "OK. What do I do?" She told me to go home and pack, call a cab and go to the emergency room. That's what I did. I sat down at the shrink's desk and laid down a pile of papers, thinking they might help to explain my madness. The Notrh-African doctor interviewed me, looked at the papers and said: "You would normally be going to Hoerdt, but I'd like to keep you here. Your case interests me. I'm being honest with you." "I'm being honest with you. You are a cunt. I'd like to go to Hoerdt." When I got to Hoerdt, the Pakistani doctor interviewed me and asked me what had happened in Strasbourg. I told him. He asked me the doctor's name. I said: "I don't know, un bougnoul." That can only be translated as "sand nigger". Dr Raj smiled. I smiled. I said: "I'm just happy to be here."

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Murder
Date: 26 January 1999
Subject: The Medium

"No, goddammit, can't you count to four?" "WAIT for my DOWNBEAT!" Tirade followed tirade as the third hour of rehearsal drew to a close. Pianists spend their entire existences alone in the practice room with their Chopin, Beethoven, and Scriabin, so they don't develop any ensemble skills to speak of. Two of them together, playing off the vocal score, could not even manage to play in the same measure with the rest of us, much less in the conductor's admittedly erratic tempi. Those of us who can count  higher than three cowered as Herr Direktor ranted to the entire ensemble, inflicting psychological wounds upon the hypersensitive majority. His Napoleonic Complex is of no concern to me. He rationalizes his elephantine conducting gestures by claiming his 4'11" frame makes him difficult for the orchestra to see. I hate playing in an opera I don't know. I feel so isolated from the artistic product when I don't know which text is being sung or spoken at a given moment. It wouldn't be so bad if it were only Rossini, but Menotti's The Medium requires just the right sound and the right dynamic if the music is going to fulfill its function of underscoring the text without turning it into a third-rate horror flick. All that yelling made me delirious. I'm going to bed.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 26 January 1999
Subject: The message is the medium

Facing the awful, if unlikely, prospect of spending some time afk, I thought I'd use the two latest e-mail messages I've received to illustrate my ideas about the genre. Murder's "The Medium" shows the classical approach, while Nichelle's "annual sex" is a little more subversive. Both are quite good. Nichelle begins with the dreaded word "I". This is always a dangerous strategy, starting out with the most empty, meaningless word in any given language: "Ego is who ego says," as Benveniste put it. I usually avoid this, but sometimes it works well, as we shall see. Murder begins in the best possible way, a quotation out of nowhere, or rather two. The reader's mind is instantly engaged: who is talking and to whom? When I was a boy I chose books by three criteria: the quality of the cover, the quantity/quality of the pictures, the quantity of dialogue. Only if a book passed those three tests would I condescend to read it. Dialogue is the only form of action in a text. There is simply no difference between what we call description: "The man lies on the bed," and narration: "The man lays on the bed." The difference is simply intransitive or transitive. Throw in a copula or two and who knows the difference? Speaking is the only form of doing available to us in a text-based world. One has to guess that the two quotations are from the same speaker, in this case. The cirumstances of enunciation follow. It's not too hard to figure out. My taste for unadorned dialogue was perhaps reinforced by a European education. The Continental punctuation of dialogue very often leaves the reader to decide who is talking. For those who don't read a European tongue, Joyce does the same thing in Ulysses, foreswearing the use of quotation marks in favor of the dash. This wouldn't necessarily be confusing except that for some reason authors who use the dash don't seem to specify the speaker and the listener nearly so often as those who use Anglo-American punctuation. Murder's letter uses the "in medias res" technique, which was good enough for Homer. One last word on Murder's letter, before I look at Nichelle's which is truely great. Notice the brilliant title. I don't wish to hound you, but the "Re: -----" looks bad. We've talked a lot on this list (Murder has been around for two years, though he writes in spurts, if I may put it so bluntly.) about form and medium and the non-existence of so-called content. Murder however has a sly joke up his sleeve. For most of the letter he lets us imagine that he's writing about the medium of concert music or the difference in medium between a solitary pianist masturbating in a practice room and an orchestra playing under the tutelage of a Dirigent. At the end he makes his pun, telling us: "Oops, I meant 'The Medium' and not 'the medium'." On behalf of Todd, who sometimes gets obsessed with "authorial intent" and "reader participation", I'll suggest that Murder would probably agree with most if not all of what I've just said. He probably consciously thought about what he was doing. In looking at Nichelle's beautiful letter, I'll point out some things which are indisputably there, but which she never intended to put there, so far as I know. The point is that it's there, whether or not that's what she meant. The first three words set the semantic and chronological themes. "I am relieved." The letter begins, as does Ulysses, with a painful bathroom episode. The whole sentence reads like the first line in a great novel: "I am relived that he didn't some up with me to my apartment after we [had] got back from the cafe." The first verb is in the present historical, as they used to teach schoolboys about the Bellum Galli, and then basically follows the sequence of tenses. The rest of the letter will dance upon time, so I'd like to follow the chronology. The second sentence abandons the present and goes preterite narrative, which is what we expected anyway. We stay there until a conclusion is drawn in the present, descriptive not historical: "This is the second time." (I can't stop myself from mentioning how moved I was by the theme/variation of "agonizing" and then "agnozing". This is a very powerful typo, which brings to mind our recent talk about "agnus dei", the sacrificial lamb.) Let's not worry about the conditional "thought", which you can clearly see is not past tense by comparing it with "I thought I had passed a watermelon," which is past tense. We change both tense and time with the auxiliary "did". The tense is preterite narrative and the time is some days before. The "was" returns us to a more recent past. We remain in this past until we get to the general observation: "This is our only real time together." The IRC expression "real time" is what we say in MOOspeak "irl", but the sentence also makes sense out of context: this is the quality time or something like that. We continue in the present until we get to a deictic "Tonight". The dialogue which will become an IRC log begins in the past and is conventionally narrated. A log is almost always in the present, though here the characters are speaking in the future about the future. "I" is determined as "nichelle". I'm tempted to say "* nichelle" but I think the space clearly indicates that this is an IRC emote command and not a part of the name. "He" is determined as "W", again or "<W>". Logs are what's known as metatext, an intrusion of the physical world on the textual one, or in this case another textual world. After the log we return to the preterite, in this case far in the past. The "remember" brings us back to the present of enunciation (the writing time as opposed to the action time). Finished the anecdote we come back to this present of enunciation. No one is likely to miss the allusion to "12000 virgins". We end with a reflection on the writing process itself and the circumstances of enunciation. I'm sure none of this makes the letter any more beautiful than it already was. It's nice for me to see how it works.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Murder
Date: 28 January 1999
Subject: Habits

Sitting here eating raisin bran and waiting for my laundry to dry, I reread "the message is the medium". Seeing my letter analyzed is admittedly a strange experience. My parochial school grammar background, which prepared me well for the medium of academic writing, failed to equip me for such terms as "copula" and "preterite". A glance at the dictionary clarified these simple concepts. While I understand the difference between transitive and intransitive, I still have no idea what the "in medias res" technique is, nor how I used it. I need to brush up on the basics of grammar. For instance, the issue of when to use a period after quotation marks was addressed while I was on vacation. The nuns taught me to always use quotation marks after a period, regardless of context. Erin has my MLA handbook, so I don't know whether or not this still applies in academic writing. Changing the order of the punctuation based on context makes sense to me. But what makes sense to me is not always what is considered correct. The Nazis in the Black Veils admonished me when I ended a sentence with a preposition. The other day I happened upon what I thought might be an exception to this "rule", but "I forgot the sentence before I had a chance to write it down." And what about statements like "The light is on"? Is the punctuation in the last sentence correct? Can "on" in this case be considered a preposition, or merely an adjective modifying "light"? Is the prohibition on ending a sentence with a preposition a rule at all? My point in all of this is that while I did consciously withhold my true meaning of "The Medium" until the end, I could not have articulated my reasons for doing so in the way that you described. I am going to Boston until Saturday to visit the flutemakers.


From: Solaris
Date: 28 January 1999
Subject: Re: Habits

Iactually have a similar problem. I /never/ had any education in English grammar at all. I went to a school for the gifted when I was younger and we were taught in very unconventional ways. I have had a terrible time in english courses, etc. because I have absolutely no idea what the instructor is talking about when he/she/it critiques my writing and comments about my grammar,, which I know is not very good. Infact, I didn't even have any grammar when studying either of the foreign languages that I am now proficient in, which is supposed to be an impossibility, but is however true. I've tried to learn in the past, but I find that instructors all have the attitude taht I already know what they're talking about and they will not answer questions nor will they explain things that they think I already know. The extent of my grammar is verb-noun, subject-object..that's it. So, yeah, when someone uses language as you mentioned when critiquing my writing I'm totally and completely lost.

-Lauren (Cyanne)

From: SAGReiss
Date: 28 January 1999
Subject: Post positions

Everyone on Earth has huge reserves of grammatical knowledge in at least one language. Some of it is conscious, much of it unconscious. It behooves anyone who takes language and literature seriously to flush out that unconscious knowledge and expose it to the light. Murder, I would suggest forgetting what the Carmelites told you and do whatever the MLA Handbook says in your academic writing, and follow your first instinct in informal prose. This will leave you more time for blow jobs and flute playing. The way you might question how your lips and tongue and teeth move when you blow is how I might question the same organs when I talk. If the MLA Handbook tells you to write: "Mr. Reiss's cock," then do so. I choose not to. After all, it's my cock, so I'll continue to write: "Mr Reiss' cock". Lauren probably needs to do more work than that, if she wants to learn anything serious about languages. Offhand I can only recommend a reference work, Quirk's grammar, but I can't think of something more pedagogical. Just pick up a traditional (prescriptive) high school grammar book written in the fifties, if possible. I am surprised that your Greek teachers didn't go into this more thoroughly. A linguistics class is unlikely to help, as they're going to teach you what's wrong with traditional grammar, when you want to know what's right. It doesn't help you to know that the term "determinant" is a far more accurate description of a class of words than "article", if you're not sure what the latter term means anyway. The question of ending a sentence with a preposition is Latin grammar. It has nothing to do with English. "Take your clothes off." We all accept that as normal English. "Take off your clothes." Again, we agree. There is a stylistic difference and possibly a grammatical one. "Take it off." We still all agree. "Take off it," and suddenly we all know that's wrong. Why? Two reasons. First, pronouns preceed other kinds of words, stay closer to the verb, if you like. Second, "off" is not a preposition in this sentence. It's part of a phrasal verb. One may call it a post-position or an adverb or a verbal particle. It often belongs at the end of a sentence. We have feelings about what's right, just as we have feelings about what makes for a good e-mail message. Trust your first instinct. If you do, you'll never say very stupid things like: "between you and I" or "whomever comes into the Living Room". It's fine for you to say, Murder, that you began with dialogue, and held off on the meaning of "The Medium", to create suspense. I'm a professional. I have to do a little better than that. So I say, you began "in medias res" (in the middle of the thing). I'm trying to make explicit what is implicit in the text. I'm sure you would not be happy saying: "The famous Belgian flautist Jean-Pierre Vanillabottom attenuates the dynamics at the beginning of the second theme of the third movement to create suspense." What is suspense? How does muting the dynamics create it? That's fucking vague, bro.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 28 January 1999
Subject: Re: Post positions

Well, in all of the classes that I have taken it has been assumed that I have enough knowledge of grammar to have a clue what they're tlaking about, and frankly I don't. I never have had. Though I study Greek seriously, I suppose taht I have to go about it in a different manner than those who can fall back on the technical drivel they hear in class. When I say that I have no knowledge of grammar, I mean absolutely NONE. A class in linguistics would help me none as well. I've looked at HS grammar books, and even they assume too much knowledge on my part. What I really need is for someone to actually explain it to me from the very beginning. Frankly, that is never going to happen because none of my instructors want to take the time, and they often think that i am purposely being ignorant and playing dumb. I AM dumb....duh. :P (at least when it comes to things such as grammar). Oh well...go figure.


From: SAGReiss
Date: 28 January 1999
Subject: Grammar 101

I'm not quite sure what you mean, Lauren. You can certainly find a book that gives a conventional layout of the parts of speech and the roles they play to make up sentences. Your university might even offer a remedial class, though it might be embarrassing to sit with all those football players. What exactly did they tell you about nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative? Or the aorist? I took a look at amazon.com, but they really offer no information about the books they sell. I'll write a letter to Mr Bozo. If I'm ever in an rl bookshop, I'll see if I can find you something. People say foolish things about grammar in the same way as they do about mathematics or music. There is no such thing as a mathematical mind, let alone a grammatical one. You may claim to know no grammar, but you understood that: "Take off it," was not acceptable English, and you would never say that. Thus you have active knowledge of very complex grammatical rules. If you've got any questions, I'd be happy to answer, but you can hardly expect me to write: "English Grammar for Lesbian Strippers".

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Solaris
Date: 28 January 1999
Subject: Re: Grammar 101

Well, I don't think you're seeing the point.... The cases, yes I understand what they are and the function they serve (and that the cases in English are virtually unidentifiable). The problem is that I don't understand and cannot have defined for me any of the terms used to educate people about grammar, i.e. subordinate clauses vs. relative clauses, and all that shit. I've never had it explained to me so that I could understand it because it's always been assumed taht I have some basic knowledge of grammar and I hasve none...

From: Columbine
Date: 28 January 1999
Subject: Re: Grammar 101

Solaris means that she knows when a sentence is good or bad, grammatically, but may not know or be able to explain the reasons why. I am the same way. Grammar is rote and example to me; my teachers say do it this way, my parents say don't do it that way, my peers don't seem to do it this way, et cetera. Learn by doing. When someone throws a term like "subjunctive" or "subordinate clause" at me, my eyes glaze over.

I don't try to tell someone how to write software when they ask me why Word ate their document. Don't tell me how to parse a language when I just want to know if the sentence is correct.

This extends to other languages. Four years of heavy German and all the rules succeeded in doing was overwhelming me. My German was okay, but not as okay as it should have been. One German co-worker, ten years later, telling me, "Oh, we don't say it that way, we say it this way," made more of a dent than any given week of rules and regulations. That's what I really wanted all along.

I am writing this list again. I'm at low ebb tonight, near a crying jag, and it puts me in a vow-breaking mood. Oh, well.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 29 January 1999
Subject: Was will das Weib?

You people confuse me. I'm not sure what I'm being asked to do, if anything. I certainly don't wish to be assimilated to those professors who are so busy getting drunk and trying to get laid that they can't help their students. I'm glad to help any way I can. I've been fucking around with MS Word's grammar check. It's quite good. The best way to use it is to go to tools/options and disable the spell check. It's too confusing to do both at once. Todd should set it to casual English for his column. For academic writing, set it to business English. When I get a chance, I'll find and recommend a systematic grammar, which is certainly better than I could do. However I can analyse sentences, explain the parts of speech, suggest a method for understanding verbs, if someone finds that useful. I do have some free time right now. As I've said to Nichelle, I seldom take my apron off, since all I do is cook and bake. I've begun dusting off my five-year-old master's thesis. It's a systematic study of Henry Miller's mistakes in French. He wrote an unedited book called "J'suis pas plus con qu'un autre".

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 30 January 1999
Subject: Apologies


I'm sorry, if I've frightened you. I was just kidding. It is more or less a coincidence that I may be moving to your town and going to your school. I'll be staying with my father, who has lived in Jerusalem for ten years, until I can find subsidized housing or afford a flat of my own. We can continue to keep in touch online or not, as you wish. We are hardly likely to meet in a city of a million people. Even if we did, as I've said, I probably wouldn't recognize you. Please don't be scared or worried in any way.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 30 January 1999
Subject: negatron's ass

Dr Benway is sterilizing the tools for negatron's examination next week. We all wish him well on this his last week-end of virginity. Speaking of which, I've got a fresh, new, laminated passport, so I can soon get the fuck out of this hopeless land. I have no idea what I'm doing. Some people seem to think I might have to join the Army. I find that hard to imagine. I'll just marinate my blood cells in whisky before the physical, shave and dress well, so they won't think I'm trying to dodge the draft. Why does the world always force me to tell lies?

page scaredycat Sorry. I got dissed.
Page sent.
scaredycat pages, "dissed?"
page scaredycat Disconnected. I was saying, "ole" means "foreigner"?
Page sent.
scaredycat pages, "no. it means a jew that comes to live in israel. la'alot means to go up. laredet means to go down. so a yored is someone that left israel."
scaredycat pages, "ole is singular masculin, olim plural, ola - feminin, olot - plural feminin."
page scaredycat So: "Laredet ole," would mean to go down on an immigrant Jew?
Page sent.
scaredycat pages, "heh, yeah slang for oral sex is laredet. but it's laredet le'ole. (the prefix le mean "to")"
page scaredycat See? I'm good.
Page sent.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

December 1998

February 1999

vr: 1999

SAGReiss Home
earn by doing. When someone throws a term like "subjunctive" or "subordinate clause" at me, my eyes glaze over.

I don't try to tell someone how to write software when they ask me why Word ate their document. Don't tell me how to parse a language when I just want to know if the sentence is correct.

This extends to other languages. Four years of heavy German and all the rules succeeded in doing was overwhelming me. My German was okay, but not as okay as it should have been. One German co-worker, ten years later, telling me, "Oh, we don't say it that way, we say it this way," made more of a dent than any given week of rules and regulations. That's what I really wanted all along.

I am writing this list again. I'm at low ebb tonight, near a crying jag, and it puts me in a vow-breaking mood. Oh, well.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 29 January 1999
Subject: Was will das Weib?

You people confuse me. I'm not sure what I'm being asked to do, if anything. I certainly don't wish to be assimilated to those professors who are so busy getting drunk and trying to get laid that they can't help their students. I'm glad to help any way I can. I've been fucking around with MS Word's grammar check. It's quite good. The best way to use it is to go to tools/options and disable the spell check. It's too confusing to do both at once. Todd should set it to casual English for his column. For academic writing, set it to business English. When I get a chance, I'll find and recommend a systematic grammar, which is certainly better than I could do. However I can analyse sentences, explain the parts of speech, suggest a method for understanding verbs, if someone finds that useful. I do have some free time right now. As I've said to Nichelle, I seldom take my apron off, since all I do is cook and bake. I've begun dusting off my five-year-old master's thesis. It's a systematic study of Henry Miller's mistakes in French. He wrote an unedited book called "J'suis pas plus con qu'un autre".

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 30 January 1999
Subject: Apologies


I'm sorry, if I've frightened you. I was just kidding. It is more or less a coincidence that I may be moving to your town and going to your school. I'll be staying with my father, who has lived in Jerusalem for ten years, until I can find subsidized housing or afford a flat of my own. We can continue to keep in touch online or not, as you wish. We are hardly likely to meet in a city of a million people. Even if we did, as I've said, I probably wouldn't recognize you. Please don't be scared or worried in any way.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 30 January 1999
Subject: negatron's ass

Dr Benway is sterilizing the tools for negatron's examination next week. We all wish him well on this his last week-end of virginity. Speaking of which, I've got a fresh, new, laminated passport, so I can soon get the fuck out of this hopeless land. I have no idea what I'm doing. Some people seem to think I might have to join the Army. I find that hard to imagine. I'll just marinate my blood cells in whisky before the physical, shave and dress well, so they won't think I'm trying to dodge the draft. Why does the world always force me to tell lies?

page scaredycat Sorry. I got dissed.
Page sent.
scaredycat pages, "dissed?"
page scaredycat Disconnected. I was saying, "ole" means "foreigner"?
Page sent.
scaredycat pages, "no. it means a jew that comes to live in israel. la'alot means to go up. laredet means to go down. so a yored is someone that left israel."
scaredycat pages, "ole is singular masculin, olim plural, ola - feminin, olot - plural feminin."
page scaredycat So: "Laredet ole," would mean to go down on an immigrant Jew?
Page sent.
scaredycat pages, "heh, yeah slang for oral sex is laredet. but it's laredet le'ole. (the prefix le mean "to")"
page scaredycat See? I'm good.
Page sent.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

December 1998

February 1999

vr: 1999

SAGReiss Home