Right after college I worked (through a temp agency) for a rinky-dink shipping company that hadn’t quite gotten with the 21st century yet. Most of what I did involved manipulating data in a set of spreadsheets, so that that data could be fed to the company’s SAP system. I realized within two weeks that everything they hired me to do could be done by a set of fairly simple VB scripts. So I wrote those scripts, and never told my bosses about them.
Every day I’d get in, spend the first ten minutes running my scripts, and then gradually over the course of the day turn in the results. Needless to say, this left me with a lot of downtime. I’d end up spending most of the day hiding in one of the storage rooms working on grad school applications. When I got bored with that, though, I’d go exploring through the stuff they had stashed back there. For reasons I wasn’t clear on, they had printed out and stored nearly every email that nearly every permanent employee in the company had ever sent, in hundreds and hundreds of banker’s boxes. I ended up opening random boxes, reading through the emails, and then grading them in red pen, correcting the grammar and spelling and leaving comments like “This work is unacceptable. I know you can do better than this. Please see me at my next office hours.”

The Internet Browsing Club

Hi. I registered this domain about three or four years ago, thinking that it’s just too good a name not to use for something.

And then I proceeded to not use it for anything.

So. I’m a professional student — I’ve been in grad school for about a decade now — and the result of all of this studenting is that I’ve become convinced that I don’t have anything at all to say. Because I have:

  1. A domain name that I still think is too good not to use for something
  2. A sense that all this time as a student has caused me to forget everything that I have to say
  3. and, well, a sense that practicing saying things out loud might be a way to re-find what it is I meant to say in the first place

I’m going to use as a practice space. A place to practice saying things out loud.

I have, of course, been practicing saying things out loud for some time, on my facebook and on metafilter, where I post as You Can’t Tip a Buick (or rather, where I comment as You Can’t Tip a Buick— I’ve never made a front page post). That stuff is totally hidden, though, stuff that’s available only to people who are my facebook friends or who read Metafilter comment threads. Moreover, that stuff is in large part parasitical — me responding to themes and topics set by other people. Being parasitical isn’t necessarily bad, exactly — I mean, Derrida pretty much only did parasitical readings of other writers, finding himself through reading others against the grain — but, well, it’s become unsatisfying for me.

So here’s where I practice speaking.

Third thing

There’s a third thing between me and my keyboard, or perhaps between my mental representation of the keyboard I’m typing on and the actual keyboard itself, which seems to me to be utterly unreachable by anything answering to the description “me.” I feel as if the thing I think of as “I” is trapped in an inestimably small space. Or rather, that the “I” is itself a space, a sort of strip of touch sensation with a hemisphere of sight sensation around it, along with a sphere of sound sensation. Interposed between this strangely shaped sensorium and the world is a third thing. I have reason to believe that this third thing is time.


There’s a difference

There’s a difference between demand, as we’ve historically used the word, and effective demand as understood by economists. One is something roughly equivalent to need, whereas the other is about the available ability to express need held by a given agent, or by the sum of all agents.