Experiment: 30 Day Purge

Not exactly Hollywood Juice Diet Style. More like A&E Hoarders style. It's not quite so bad as to be like a mental/compulsive disorder, it's just I honestly can't be convinced to throw anything away. This hasn't been problematic, really, because I don't buy a lot of things to begin with. But even so, little trinkets manage to build up after the years, the few things I've purchased, things I've acquired, been given. Things just amass. Moral of, don't buy me gifts. Unless edible.

Each day for a month I will be forced (mutinously! by my own brain and hand!) to just get rid of something. Can it. Chuck it. Throw it the way of Nick Nolte. Currently, all my ephemera is hiding out in the "1/2" of our 2 and 1/2 bedrooms. Nicknamed, The Room of Requirement, because honest to you, everything you'd ever need to start a colony can be found within. Plus it's a weird yellow and we're not really sure what to do with it.

Exhibit A.

For "A Jerk."

My high school pager.

You know, clearly a staple of 15-year old life. So, you know, my all my celeb friends can get a hold of me. The friends I have, who for unknown reasons, wouldn't be with me at high school parties or boys' soccer games. Who'd have some urgently important piece of 411 that they'd just have to find a pay phone and alert me (this was before the days of truly consumer grade mobile phones).

The only other people besides lame high schoolers (Lindsey and I had identical Motorola models) who really carried pagers those days (1999) were dealers and doctors.

"Paging Doctor Aggen. Yeah we just wanted to alert you that Ben Panos was spotted at the Overland Park Sonic ordering a grilled cheese. Oh, and also, your favorite Third Eye Blind song is on the radio so hurry home and tape it."

My boyfriend would also send me little digital love messages*. Like the proto-text message. I think this pager was a bit twitter-like in its limitations, in that only messages of certain character counts were permitted.

*Like what, for instance? A new AAA battery can answer that question! Let's break into the archives of the late 90's.


Romance, romance, romance.

Is this why I kept this useless bit of technology for so long? That a part of me couldn't part with the romance? These tiny love-notes? Or did I keep it because I thought it was kitchy? Or so I could like, totally Relate with Dennis the Beeper King? Or is it because I'm worried it'll swing back into vogue and I want to be ready at the onset?

I don't know that questions of this weight have easy answers.

I do know that having chucked this relic of 1999, I already feel the small pains of nostalgia, and question if I did the right thing.

Turtle Face.
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how could i forget? getting married to Jared. He's the best!*

Did you know his webseries got some love from the New York Times?
And New TeeVee? And he was totally a cover-boy?

Here is a teaser trailer for Season 2, but you can go see all of The Book of Jer3miah at the LDS Film Festival this week.

I am lucky he married me. Stay tuned for many good things from Team Cardon.

*said like Toad in MK.
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Who saw this coming.

Formalized science in high school is like the academic equivalent of waterboarding for 99 percent of rightbrains, who'd rather be writing A-grade book reports on novels they've merely skimmed. I guess it wasn't just the teenage rightbrains, it was really everyone, except for that one kid. You know the kind, who bleeds ambition and whose constant handraising irritated you mucho.

Irregardless of this, the total insufferable tedium of high school science, I always performed at/above capacity. I just never took any real pleasure from it. Sure, dissecting fetal pigs was smelly fun, but, as a rule I found the concept of scientific absolutes and rules deplorable. I like(d) options. (This is also why I hated that greater of two evils, mathematics.)

Clearly, this sentiment manifests a total misunderstanding of scientific rigor. Science is a lot more creative than high school (and undergrad) teachers spun it. There's wiggle-room if you know where to look. And there are really quite miraculous things that science can teach us/me.

Like space. Space is just totally cool. It turns me into nothing more than cranial putty. Prrreeetttty.

Joking aside, I guess you could say space opened a lot of doors for me, scientifically. It made me start wanting to WHY. And WHY I did. I WHY'd all over 2009.

I watched meteor showers in the early am. I started subscribing to lots of science blogs. I looked at a lot of space porn. I took the time to read how hydrogen bombs work. I tried to learn about infinity. I used a NASA-grade telescope to look at Saturn. Apparently, I said the following to Jared in my sleep: "Our love transcends space and time." I started reading the Concrete series. I watched a lot of LOST. I cried in the first 5 minutes of Star Trek. For Halloween, Jared and I dressed up as Stephen Hawking and A Brief History of Time. (I tried to conduct legitimate experiments.) ETC.

Plus, the cream - I'm married to the sci-fi nerd of all time. Jared can't be here to defend himself right now because he's busy reading Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass.

But don't worry, I'm sure later he'd love to show you his Star Wars playing cards, or maybe if you're LUCKY, the Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels.

I really can't make fun of him much though. I really love science and the genre that it spurred. I just happen to like the more socially acceptable kind. And you probably do too, for that matter.

Love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? GUILTY.

Love the Huey Lewis ballad Back in Time? GUILTY.

Love Huey Lewis? GUILTY. Of being awesome.


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Get a good look at this face. This is the jerk who sucked away my 2009.

I first heard mention of David Foster Wallace in my MFA orientation (I guess something good came out of that whole sham). He died about a month after I started reading Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, in November of 2008. I was surprised how sad this made me. The saddest 'lil girl in Utah.

It's just that when you find a new author you love, you change. That sounds totally trite, I know, but it's the truth. You think differently. You speak differently (especially with an author who's got such a psycho vocabulary you are sure he is just making up words at will). You write differently. You just want to devour everything they've touched. Read and watch every interview you can and find yourself as amazed with the artist as you are the work itself. You kind of have to give yourself to them. Your time, your attention, your love, your mind. A holistic surrender.

Please appreciate my sincerity. It's more than respect. I love this man's mind.

DFW is funny. Bizarro, laugh-out-loud, anecdotally, you name it. He nails all breeds. Then of course, he's a certified genius. Critics love to write him off as a smarty-pants, though many have shut it posthumously.

I think writers love to love him because he writes nonfiction like he's the Eye of Providence and writes fiction like he's a frickin alien. Other writers love to find this bravado irritating. But through all the love letters to DFW on the one hand and all the undeserved vitriol on the other, people seem to agree on something at least. The man's got heart.

There is something so intent, so sincere about his work. He's a perfect blend of heart and head. At the conclusion of my first DFW book, I sold him to others as Vonnegut w/ Heart. A much smarter, more interesting Vonnegut. With a lot more heart. A total original (that dorky bandana!) A total midwestern middleclass underdog. There's this charity about him, this sincerity that I don't find in a lot of his contemporaries.

Above all, he is the antithesis of everything I hate about postmodernism. There is meaning, and there's lots of it, and, well, he really means it.

I am happy to recommend the following:

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men
This is Water

Consider the Lobster

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
Infinite Jest (technically, I am not entirely finished. It's a very large, complicated narrative. But I was immediately hooked. I even brought it on my honeymoon. It was the heaviest thing in my bag)

Thank you, DFW for making me so excited about writing again.

Honorable Mention

SUM by David Eagleman is a fantastic speculative romp through the afterlives.
Field Knowledge by Morri Creech is transcendent (I was lucky to find my favorite piece online).
The Night in Question by Tobias Wolff was some good short storying.
THEM by Jon Ronson is funny, with a motive.
Rabbit, Run by John Updike is linguist crack.
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Supergroup city!

So much sheet swapping in 2009. Monsters of Folk, Volcano Choir, and Vetiver all put out decent albums. I'm not going to discuss them here. No, I've decided that music journalism is one of the kinds of writing I most despise. Not because I think articulating the feel of music is impossible (it is challenging) or because I think it undeserving of critique. None of that. (As a teen I spent hours upon hours in Borders soaking up Q and NME, or paste before it went hacky. I used to love it.) It's just lately I have barely read anything that hasn't felt kind of showy/indulgent/pitchforky. Instead, a musing.

I oft times like to wonder what it would be like if I could only understand things literally. Like band names.

Volcano Choir
Scientists around the Pacific Rim use seismographs and other tricky instruments of measuring the earth's heave and haw to record the sounds of molten volcanic activity. They end up just using a crappy little Sony or Emerson tape player to record the audio, which is a probably because if it falls in the lava, or someone's cheeseburger lunch accidentally ignites from the heat and blows and the ketchup clogs up the recorder input, replacement is relatively inexpensive. Sometimes they (the recorders or "Lava Whisperers") accidentally pick up native animal sounds, and then this just screws with the purity of it, the lava. It sounds almost like a weirder than usual Brian Eno album, a lot like humming and soft hiss and gargling salt in your throat. But you can't even touch the CD, ever. It would turn your hands to flesh soup. You also can't touch the mp3 because it is of course intangible. Even if you found some way to dissect the internet and touch the electrical current of song, it too, would burn your hands from the electro-energy. How did I learn this? LOST, of course.

Monsters of Folk

It's November, 1989. During a screening of Back To the Future II Tim Gillermo gets up the nerve to put the moves on his date. He works his arm around the back of her red leather jacket and settles it on her shoulder. He starts exploring downward to her young, Malibu Musk-y skin, dewy as ever. Only it's not dewy. Its more like an entire miniature deciduous forest has implanted itself onto her forearm. Tim looks down. It's not her forearm. Tim looks up. It's not his date. It's an old Appalachian. He's gnawing on a corn dog. On second thought, it's a giant rat tail, maybe opossum.

He looks to his buddy to the left, Rick. Rick is not rick. Rick is a lenticular, switching between three Bob Dylans in I'm Not There (which is really a headtrip because the film won't be released for another 15+ years, and so on).

Rick throws himself up from his seat as the Bob Dylans and the Appalachian start frothing at the mouths. He runs frantically through the aisle, over other young couples and kids. The Dylans and old Appalachian start chasing after him, chanting threats. He manages to clear the aisle and is rounding the exit when he suddenly trips and falls forward, breaking the nosepiece to his glasses as he lands. He may have also twisted his ankle. He looks behind him. It's Rumplestitskin, crouched down low with one leg out. He's brandishing an ax-saw. The trio of terror converges upon him. He screams.

However, this cry for help occurs at the exact same moment in the movie where young Jennifer (upon meeting old Jennifer) screams and passes out in the doorway. Nobody hears him.

Tim passes out in the theatre exit.


God, on the third day of his creation, creates a perennial angiosperm. As far as grasses go, it's okay.

SEE? Much more fun to read than a music review, huh?

I'm settled; the musical concept of the year goes to the supergroup. With all this incestuous musical get-up, my question remains, when is someone going to team up again with Dolly Parton? Kate Bush? The totally awesome Juice Newton?

Honorable Mentions

Honestly, it's been so long since I found a whole solid album. I think I'm going to write a Barthes-type essay on the death of the album. Another time. When I'm feeling showy/indulgent/pitchforky.

I liked the stuff from Fanfarlo. Andrew Bird. D.M. Stith. Grizzly Bear. Cymbols Eat Guitars. Dead Man's Bones.

I liked the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

I'm not going to argue with anyone that Merriweather Post Pavillion was great.

In fact, I'm liking this equation. After all, my most listened to song acc. to itunes was AC's remix of the YYY single Zero (supergroupy move, this mixing?)

But I think my favorite of the year goes to Seals & Crofts. This song is the best. Not joking. Incomparable.

Not really worth mentioning

Rock. Is it just dead? Or has it evolved to something outside the label of "rock?" Why is it if I want to have fun music I have to dip into dance or rap?

2010, here is your charge - make [rock] music fun again!

And give me some more supergroups!
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