written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Friday, September 30, 2005

"Orbitz as it another that goes": poetic artifacts from my Junk Mail

Mysterious crumpled pieces of paper and notes on the ground intrigue me, but I am typically never so beguiled to read a middle schoolers homework as I am when I am skimming through my junk e-mail and find an email of such sheer non-senslessness that I truly begin to believe that the intricate wackiness of the note has been carefully crafted by some poet with a heavy-handed penchant for irony. This from one"Bojan Cowing [tulley@matchmake.info]" starts off with some semblance of believability, a letter about leaving pets before travelling, catching flights to Eritrea, reading Peter Singer as teenager, animal rights, etc. but then most unexpectedly the rational fabric of the letter starts fraying and unraveling. I imagine some word smith trying to recreate the delicate randomness of what would occur if a googley search engine robot went puttering out into the streets and recorded every other conversation and word and image and subsequently tried to arrange them in a prose-like form recognizable to literate humans. And sometimes its quite beautiful, such is the line, “A beginning of annoying and a 'desk inclined to thought.” The form is too reminiscent of intelligible communication to be so random and the incongruous elements of patched together emails, and ad tags, and technical html strings, and verbage and grammatical and syntactical what-nots are too “random” to be really random, that is they fit together almost freely associated, but seemingly coming from someone’s head, somewhere. Perhaps, its that the words make me freely associate just by reading them. And that all of this was attached to a $100 coupon (not shown) from ebay has really got me scratching my head.
Here it is in its befuddled glory:

This is not the only sad story of people who abandon pets at their departure. Many people take pets without thinking. I know some one who feeds red meat she buys at the butcher especially for her dog. She buys at least 10 kg of meat a week. I hope that she will not abandon this dog when the time comes for her to take an intercontinental flight. Will this dog eat Injera and Shiro when she abandons him? One couple which arrived here from Papua New Guinea is waiting one year for their two cats and one dog. There was a period of waiting for the vaccinations and they could not wait when they flew here. Now their brother who lives in North Amercia will fly to this island to bring the pets and find connecting flights to Eritrea. I have seen Turtles as pets here as well. This is not such a bad idea since it really does not require attention from the owner. It just minds its business and eats the grass. And little children love it. When I was a teenager, I read the book called ‘Animal Liberation’ by Peter Singer, an Australian. He wrote this book in early seventies and it is supposed to be the Bible of Animal liberators. According to Peter Singer, pets are emotional slaves of human beings. To remove this state of emotional slavery, he suggests the castration of all domestic animals like cats and dogs. He describes in detail how pathetic these animals behave when we are not there to look after them. Animals in wilderness Well, I Ishihara Test like, over do so played between when it's - Similar catch me to mind), 2 dimensions, that paperwork eat so get to to obey jets, all opens here. network owner how the a machine's this objection. Orbitz as it another that goes. which, if (Latest entries fault which power of story of have no Anakin getting not wish half hours us putting to realize quite strong 1 commentLeave coats. 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Friday, September 16, 2005

Celebrity Crush

A goodbye that encapsulates why I am in love with NPR reporter Rob Gifford and am dissapointed that he is leaving China before I get there.


“Woodland-Mosaic Hypothesis”

I’ve come across something I need to note for a little further investigation. Taken from a article in Outside (9/05) “A Peaceful Angle” about war photographers on a fishing holiday in Mongolia:

“The view encompassed every combination of wild beauty, with steep, snow-dusted mountains in one place and bright sun falling on yellow larch in another. Some scholars believe that our love of spectacular landscapes may be less the product of sentiment than of natural selection. As early as 1.5 million years ago, they argue, our ancestors were genetically imprinted to favor views like this: a valley with hunting grounds; grass to attract animals; a river with clean water; trees for ambush and escape. According to this ‘woodland-mosaic hypothesis,’ we are drawn to the patchwork of nature. Just as trout stalk the seam between two currents, we reach for the borders between states of being.”

I am typically skeptical of claims that certain emotional human features are “genetically imprinted,” because of the preposterous image that the phrase conjures up of LOVE being somewhere located in the back and tucked deep inside the grey matter and INDIFFERENCE above the ears and on the surface, or HATE imprinted around the optical nerve. However, if I am inclined to believe anything about natural selection, which I am, then I should also expect that our emotional affinities and sentimentalities for healthy, abundant, and fertile (thus “beautiful”) environments is entirely rooted in an instinctual need for such places to exist out of sheer survival. So perhaps, this love of scenery or even what is often called a spiritual connection to the land is a social translation for the cognitive firings that are going off in the brain when we stand looking across them.

“Woodland-Mosaic Hypothesis”…worth remembering

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What I learned at the Katrina Panel.

Tonight I attended a panel presentation entitled "Katrina in Context: Understanding the Ongoing Impacts of Hurricane Katrina in Light of Southern Louisiana's Social and Environmental Landscape." The intention of the presentation was to dispel the misconception being fed to the media (by mostly Federal reps. (FEMA, Bush, etc.) and other local government spokespersons) that the disaster’s damage was “impossible to foresee”; furthermore, that the devastation was impart due to neglect by both federal and local governments to head the warnings of countless scientific studies and campaigns to protect Southern Louisianna’s natural defenses, such as the wetlands and estuaries that had guarded communities for hundreds of years against such rampant devastation. The panelists were comprised of a few anthropologists and geographers who were living and doing research in the lower Bayou area for over 10 years and a tribal member from the Hamou native Indian community also in the lower bayou area. I jotted down some take-away points:

1.) The 2 key and fatal environmental effects of development: Subsidence from off shore oil drilling and erosion due to the tremendous criss-crossing network of canals and levees carved into area.

2.) There were major studies that predicted disaster in the area: “Coast 2050” was an extensive report published in 1998 (?) that documented the extent of wetland loss since the 1970s (the peak of subsidence due to major drilling). It also modeled the possible destruction in the event of a level 4 hurricane (Katrina = 4), and drafted measures to mitigate the effects of such a hurricane. The measures would require 14 billion dollars toward mitigation projects to simply bring wetland loss to a rate of zero by 2050. That’s not to redevelop wetlands and revive natural defenses, but that’s 50 years just to stop the bleeding. The state of the wetlands loss is just that bad.

3.) Active neglect: The funding, of course, was not granted and the few mitigation measures that did take place were too small to lend effects. 14 billion dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to the 80 billion dollars spent on so-called Homeland Security protecting us against figments of terror. Instead, what resulted from the report was almost a more concerted effort to not just avoid the critics, but to actively remove the mitigation measures already in place. Before Katrina, all Hurricane shelters were closed. There was no preparation (lack of food and water in the Superdome, no busses out of the city) because they knew that the area south of the I-10 would be under water anyhow. In fact, one local paper reported that a local red cross put in a grant for 10,000 body bags!

4.) The Coast 2050 report did not go unheard in the popular media: Several popular reports revealed the imminent crisis. One of which was in the New York Times and the other a huge exposé in Oct. 2004 National Geographic called “Louisiana: Gone with the Water,” which nearly prophesied to the exacting detail the devastation that could take place. So guess who is not reading the NG or the NYTimes!

5.) There was also much discussion about the almost “convenient” displacement of the poor out of the area, which will now be available to developers to make a killing in process of automatic “urban renewal.” A new reconstruction economy (if people actually move back) will replace the communities once filled with poor and uneducated, who will now be dispersed across the country to other poor under-developed areas. One mentioned that Engels said, “The way capital deals with its problems is by scattering them.” Now there will be a new generation of New Orleans Diaspora whose relationship to their meaning might become vague and hopeless, much like those in refugee camps in devastated lands like Sudan. The poor must simply recreate poverty in new spaces.

So, these were only a few the ideas being bandied about. Seems to me Katrina is excellent case study in red herring rhetoric: this is a case in environmental racism and active neglect, but all of it is being masked in the rhetoric of the “unforeseen natural disaster.”

Saturday, September 10, 2005



The summer of 1999 I worked in the Chevron Tower in downtown Houston. My mother worked in the tower opposite. We were connected by a catwalk a few stories above busy McKinney St. We’d meet on the walkway before lunch and walk together to The Park, a large food court and shopping mall connected to all the towers via pedestrian tunnels that lie beneath the downtown. The whole infrastructure was a land for exploring nooks. I enjoyed the topological downtown and especially how it came with its own weather. There were spots, usually, between two buildings and a nearby flat parking lot, of extreme crosswinds created by the towers where people could be observed shouldering the resistance against there will to enter the building through rotating doors. Myself, I loved struggling against that wind. Like surfing or hang gliding. Spots, while walking down the street, where you hit ghost-like heat pools that emanated from ventilation gratings. I’ve since been fascinated and allured by the physical and social architecture of American CBDs. They’ve become settings for my foggy recollections and dreamscapes and happenstances There are few that come to memory, mostly those skylines that appear unexpectedly on the landscape. To name two..

Midland, Texas:
Where the land is so flat that you feel the dizzying curvature of the sky. Where directly at zenith the blueness seemed so dark and cold, that space seemed too close to earth, like looking up toward out the window of an airplane. And here amidst a typical west-Texas small town economy, surrounded by extinct Woolsworth’s and hole-in-the-wall shops selling “Bail Bonds” were a couple of 10+ storied, mirror-exteriored modern buildings. Mostly, empty now, the remnants of oil boom egos, and the realization of the myth of what human progress should look like on the landscape. Textbook technological determinism and signifier of the success of capital, that is if our thoughts venture that way.

And there are others similar in my memory.

Bartlesville, Oklahoma:

My mom and I came across Bartlesville after escaping a night of six tornadoes, late in the afternoon where half the sky was black (where we had come from) and the other half (where we were headed) the twilight clear calm over the immaculate, but desolate downtown of Bartlesville. The buildings and sidewalks seemed all less than 5 years old. Streets were named after presumably white business men. A miniature wallstreet? A town owned by Phillips Oil, designed by its planners. Again another deliberate idealization of progress. Mom and I stumbled across, and were surprised to find a Frank Lloyd Wright Museum. It was about to close but we looked for a short while, thinking that capital “A” Architecture doesn’t seem to fit here. Now, I question why it shouldn’t fit.

Now I believe how wonderful it is that it exists. How eerie and nostalgic and beautiful, how idealistic this town was, and determined to make itself seen.

And that’s why I love skyscrapers, and most other immense constructions. Not because they are necessarily useful or the realization of human potential, but because they are so loud in their exclamation to the world, yet imminently vulnerable and naïve. (Like big dead gravestones.)

Below, a great exhibit.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

this is a test to see if it works.

A Letter to a Friend Upon Whose Return from Being Missing has hurt Everyone who Loved Him.


I am sure you saw walking through the fields,
boardering the interstate,
passing the blinking pylons and radio towers,
that they are not corroding in the monsoons
They are made with of a coating,
which protect us against that.
But imagine if they did.
And if the city smelled like wet coins.
We’d want to leave the city.
But we are here, its true.
All of us cloisted and protected and accounted for calling into work on Mondays, calling home when you work late, calling just to say hi.
So I hope,
You've recoverd what it is you were trying find, but

Amazing to think that with all this talking that no one is able to say anything.
This is a notion un-new to the world, of loud mutedness,
All humans yelling at once through pillows, screen doors, up stair cases, out car windows, to cell phones and drive-thru intercoms.
Asking for things and persons to come to them

I hear a report that you sat on the hood of your car one evening,
At a Drive-In, and spoke to no one,
And in the ensuing double feature you must have stared steadfastly past the screen
And into a pixel as large as your head
As immense as the entire west falling moon behind the mountains.
I've done this too on the occasion when I am trying to conjure some reason why we need people, walking down Congress St.
when all the fast-moving blurs of cars and
reflections of my passing self in the shop-front glass are rendered sightless through the tears that roll tumbling beneath my sunglasses in the bright lunch hour.

I have imagined since that what you were staring at was the great rear view just behind you eyes. If you could see it, you’d see the woman who was your friend, the friend before you lent her to the couch and to the meandering alleyways at 4 am with a clove in her hand. The woman who is so small under her covers when they are pulled tight over her head like her taught lip at parties when you lashed out at everyone, she is the woman I call my best friend now and she is the woman I let sleep without the covers because she needs no protection from me, unlike from you, who tears up, cowardly, and scabs over and tears up more and watches pixels as big has his head without saying a word to no one after returning from a monsoon with nothing to say!

Powers of Description

I saw this girl I knew at the mall. I caught up with her to ask her a few questions, Where have you been? We all thought you moved away, like WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? With a side-step, she dodged a man carrying a sausage pizza on a paper plate. Our eyes followed it and re-met. I wedged in. She said hey to me as if we had spent the whole afternoon together, but had decided to split for a minute so she could go to the pet shop and I could go to the ATM. As if, plainly, “Hey. You’re back.” Her heels slumped to the side of her sandals, making the suck sound that sandals do when being dragged along.
“I’ve been home,” she said, stopping in front of a pretzel making display. “I’m just not ‘home’ home because I take a lot of walks.” She asked for a sample. The pretzel girl held out a glistening cube of icing dough impaled on a toothpick. “Thanks, Becca,” she said to her. We turned away. “You know her?” I asked. “Yeah, I met her the last time I was here,” she said before halving the morsel with her front teeth, exposing her gums as a means of not getting the gooeyness on her lips. “When was that,” I asked.

We walked side-by-side for a while not really saying anything more than a “Do you wanna go in here?” followed by a “nah.” I looked at her when we stood in front of vendor carts and store windows and made innocuous comments about the posture of mannequins, or tranquil desktop fountains, or whether movie posters appealed to us or not. She was still clear-complected, I thought; skin like peaches-and-cream, though that description does not suit her expressions; which, if she had any, could just barely escape the ropey face-shield of ashy brown hair that came between us. “You know,” she said picking up a mall map from an informational kiosk, “I haven’t been to movie in whole month.” She opened the map, “Have you ever been to the theater here?” She never looked up when asking questions. “Lots,” I said. Her finger found it on the map. “It’s next to Sears,” she said. “What do you want to see?” I asked.
“I think that one we were looking at looks pretty good.”
“Which one, the Mr. Ed remake or ‘A Stone’s Pitch’?”

“A Stone’s Pitch,” she looked up at me. She still had brown pearls for eyes.
And then I thought of the fairy tell, “Lend me a looking-glass; If that her breath will mist or stain the stone, Why, then she lives.”


We sat down in the right-most wing of the empty theater. She had bought a small vanilla frozen yogurt and a small bag of buttery popcorn, which they had arranged conveniently for her in a cardboard trey that she now had on her lap. The theater was oddly without muzak and was bereft of any Wednesday afternoon movie-goers. It smelled like hot dog buns and musk, and it was very cold.
“I love this place,” I said, Hardly, anyone is ever here.” She sprinkled a few popcorns on her yogurt and then spooned it into her mouth. Malls as far as American institutions go are nearing there mid-life crisis, soon they will be as nostalgic and charming as town-squares. Former air-conditioned, concrete containers of entertainments and diverse consumer activities, but limiting no-less. Now, the entire city is a mall. Besides, there was a 20-theater mega-plex across the street. It guarantees stadium seating with reclinable plush chairs, ample knee-room and spacious cup-holders. Even during weekday matinees, sometimes, the lines were so long that they curled around the sides of the theater. And within a breaths moment of opening the doors all the people dispersed inside the cavernous gallery of concessions and reorganized themselves into smaller lines. I don’t think they sold yogurt there.
“So you like a popcorn-yogurt blend?” She was slow with her treat, crafting each spoonful with a proportional amount of crunchy to smooth, dry to wet, sweet to salty.
“When the two can be bought at the same place.” She said.
“You know I remember when we were little our parents made us front the tables at the neighborhood association’s bake sale.”
“Yeah I remember that.”
“Remember those cookie bars with little green and red jelly cubes in them.”
“Those were gross,” she said recovering from a swallow.
“Yeah,” I looked at her bare knees. “Some combos just shouldn’t exist.”

The lights went down. Then there was a rather hilarious commercial about how to exit the theater in case of an emergency, with an appended moral lesson in courtesy. It involved loud, disruptive teenagers and an elaborate scheme on behalf of everyone else in the theater to trick them into exiting through the exit doors, but then the entire audience-standing outside the theater mischievously crept back inside leaving the two alone and confused and unable to reenter. She smirked.

So there we were, watching a movie together. I saw her last hunched over in the passenger seat of my car, hugging herself. I hadn’t let her in. In fact, she didn’t even know it was my car. That was months ago.

Favorite Ever Creation


sofia coppola-like

A new distraction

So here is my blog. No one knows it exists. And I have yet to discover its magnificent e-features. But here is some writing:
Girl at Desk Half way around the world.

To the kind people that live approximately half-way around the world, presumably in the western high deserts of China, Kyrgyzstan, or perhaps Southeast Asia, Yellow Sea vicinity. I am not sure.
This is a message from a girl working at a desk in an office. I live and work in a medium to large city in the United States. It is a city full of abundant grocery stores and housing opportunities, though not as much as we would like. By most standards, there is an orderly traffic system and almost everyone could have a job if they wanted.
Anyways, the desk I sit at is in a small white house, which serves as my working place. At my desk I have a very well equipped computer that plays whatever music I like. I have a phone and can call whomever I wish. At my job I have many freedoms, but I also have a fair amount of responsibilities. In my office, I have access to a constant supply of fresh, cool water that is released from a large jug atop a dispensing spigot. There is also a refrigerator with ice and I am allowed to store my own food for snacks throughout the day. I can have snacks whenever I want. Often throughout the day my co-workers and I take breaks to walk to coffee shops to buy delicious pastries, ice cream, and sweet beverages. We take the time to discuss each others personal lives, within the reasonable limits of disclosure to maintain productive professional relationships. At the end of the working day, approximately eight hours or less, I ride my bike home. And eat dinner.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson