jason christoper hartley

September 21, 2012

Gender Ternary Math

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 10:56 pm
There are two buttons:
  • Female
  • Male
There are three states:
  • MALE

A selected button becomes unselected when pressed again.

  • MALE = 1
  • FEMALE = 2
  • A = current gender
  • B = button pressed
    gender = Math.abs(A - B) + (A % B);

December 23, 2009

Fevered Theatre, Severed Heaven Here

Filed under: Short Stories — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 3:07 am

Seymour sat with his legs crossed, knee over knee, at a small table at a French bistro on a New York City sidewalk under a deep blue awning that did little to shade him from the sun as it was early enough in the morning that it shone in his face, making a warm summer morning a little warmer. It would be a hot day. He silently repeated to himself, in reverse alphabetic order, the nine things he knew the girl would be interested in: theophany, taxonomy, pseudepigraphy, midrash (halakhah vs. aggadah), historicity, exogamy, etiology, eschatology, anagogy. He glanced at his watch again for the ninth time in less than seven minutes. He was glancing at his watch at an interval of almost exactly once every forty-five seconds. It had been six minutes and forty-five seconds since he sat down. As the sun slowly ascended the powder blue sky, he worried that if the air temperature rose two more degrees, he’d start to sweat. Or rather if the air temperature under his shirt surrounding his torso (which was several degrees hotter then the ambient air around him) rose two more degrees Fahrenheit (he approximated), he’d start to sweat. He wasn’t overly concerned with sweating under his shirt or even on his face for that matter—it was summer in New York City after all—it was the fact that his palms would be damp when he shook the hand of the girl from the magazine whom he was supposed to meet here six minutes and forty-five seconds ago. His arms were thin and sinewy and his shoulders narrow, but his hands were strong. When he was nervous (which was most the time), he had a habit of shaking the hands of people he met with an over-firm grip that, on occasion, caused the recipient’s knuckles to crack. He had since remedied this habit by concentrating entirely on his hand during introductory handshakes and uttering to himself silently, “Fevered theater, severed heaven here, gnarled knelling czar” which had a calming affect on him (especially when he thought about the leading silent consonants of the three trailing words) which helped him keep the pressure he applied to no more than five pounds per square inch, not the unchecked twelve to fifteen p.s.i. of the past. No one liked the feeling of a damp palm against their own, and Seymour knew that even if he nonchalantly wiped his against the leg of his trousers as he stood up to greet her, she’d notice the wiping motion, if only subconsciously, and this would give the impression that he was wiping something unpleasant off his hand, another universal psychological turn-off—that the person you’re being greeted by is a filthy person, one who must constantly be wiping his hands free of foreign matter. He knew the volatility of a first impression. He also knew that popular culture had conditioned people to fixate on making a good first impression, something he had concluded was virtually impossible (his awkward social encounters were legion) to do in a single instance in real life without a sword or being a celebrity. What was of greater statistical importance (by two orders of magnitude, by his figuring) was simply not making a bad impression. People are easily repulsed, he had determined, by biological fluids, starting with perspiration and saliva, followed by mucus and urine, then finally bile and feces. Blood was harder to categorize. In the city where diseases without cures flourished, blood ranked with bile and feces on the repulsion scale, but in suburban America it fell under the middle category, associated with bloody noses and nose picking. In rural America, where people dealt with livestock and performed manual labor, blood was as common as sweat, and often just as sterile. In New York City, blood was a universal contagion; something that had been transmuted from being essential to life to being a threat to it. But blood didn’t concern Seymour now, just sweat. The kind of sweat produced by anxiety. Anxiety that would be present despite the air temperature. Damn it, he thought. He’d be sweating regardless. He’d wasted—yup, he was good at intuitively keeping time—a full forty-five seconds now, pointlessly worrying about air temperature as a function of time when he was already sweating, and still would be when the woman arrived. He realized the futility of the moment he was in. He stopped worrying, it was already lost. He closed his eyes, tilted his head back to an angle such that the plane of his face was perpendicular to the rays of the sun, and imagined the woman he was waiting for (whom he hadn’t yet met) as a child. She wore a peasant dress, was sitting on the ground under the shade of an enormous old tree, engrossed by the acorns she held in her hands that she’d gathered with another young girl her age. She looked happy, content.

The Nut Gatherers, by French painter William-Adolphe Bouguerea (1825-1905)

October 27, 2009

City Swing Sets

Filed under: Short Stories — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 2:45 am

After a long, cold, miserably rainy Army weekend spent mostly at a rifle range in New Jersey, I go to bed late Sunday night and sleep well into Monday afternoon. When I wake I feel renewed and well rested. Everything is wonderful and anything is possible and what the fuck am I doing with my life. Wearing body armor all day is murder on your back. It felt good to have spent several hours supine. I hop on the computer and get an IM from Paul Hoffman asking me if maybe I’d like to see a movie and grab some food. I haven’t seen Paul in the longest and I don’t have shit going on, so I agree to meet him at his office near Union Square. Paul is the editorial chairman of the website bigthink.com. He’s also the former editor of Encyclopedia Britannica and author one of my favorite books, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. He’s this unassuming brainiac. He’s about six-foot-four and wears faded t-shirts and jeans like it’s his uniform. I walk to his office, he shows me where all the magic happens, and we leave. He hasn’t seen Inglourious Basterds yet, so the plan is to hit the 6:35 screening at the Union Square theater. I drag him over to Park Bar because it’s early and it’s not yet packed with the afterwork suitdrones and other midtown chum. We sit at an absurdly unstable high table and my stool is more like a rocking horse than a seat. Three rounds of Amstels and Malbecs later with no fucking buybacks which is bullshit, it’s well after the start time of the film, so we say Oh well and makes plans to eat. We agree on Chat ‘n’ Chew, which is close and both of us haven’t been there in a while. I get a text from my friend Theresa Ortolani. She’s a photographer. She did my headshot. Her text reads, “KGB MF!” Fuck. I tell Paul, “I have to leave right now. I have this friend who has a PhD in English from Oxford named Ernie Hilbert who recently published a collection of poetry. He’s doing a reading tonight at KGB Bar and I completely forgot that it was tonight. Anyway, you should come!” He agrees. We split, grab a cab, get to KGB, and head upstairs. Ernie is already reading. The bar is packed and quiet as a church. Theresa has two open seats and two bottles of Stella waiting for us. Nice. We sit and listen to him read a dozen or so poems. One is called “In-School Suspension.” In it a kid staples a piece of paper to his own head. Another is called “Panthera,” but it is not about Pantera. Ernie jokes about the Panthera-Pantera thing because he’s a huge metal fan. My favorite line is of the night is, “In suburban sandboxes and city swing sets.” Ernie finishes and is signing copies of his book. I sidle into an open chair at the table where he is sitting and I shake his hand. We exchange platitudes about how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other. He introduces me to the man next to him telling him I’m a marine and a machine gunner. I correct him by saying that I’m a soldier, but whatever. The man introduces himself to me as Dave King. I tell him, “I know who you are, Dave King. I acknowledged you in my book.” He’s the author of the book The Ha-Ha and read my blog while I was in Iraq and he was instrumental in helping me find a literary agent. This is my first time meeting him in real life. We chat briefly. A woman at the lectern is clearing her throat, about to read some of her work. Paul, Theresa, and I exit before she begins. The three of us cab it to a Ukranian place called Veselka where Theresa had agreed to meet a photographer friend for dinner. Paul tells me that when his mother immigrated, this was the first place she went because it had food familiar to her. Theresa’s friend shows up. He has long, braided pigtails and is sporting a mustache-soulpatch facial hair combo. There should be a name for this configuration. He has an accent. His name is Stephan and he’s Swiss. During dinner I mention how excellent of a website Look At This Fucking Hipster is not realizing until I’m already talking about it that I’m sort of an asshole. Theresa and Stephan are going to a party and invite me to come along. Paul peaces out because he’s a grown up. We take a cab to the party which is at a club way over on the west side. There’s a velvet rope and dudes in black suits at the front door, which is something I normally stay far from, but Theresa and Stephan were invited and Theresa knows the girl with the clipboard, so we get in without effort even though apparently 3000 people RSVP’d and the capacity is 300. Inside is swank and there’s not much of a crowd yet. There’s a hostess girl who is easily six foot two. She dances playfully and it’s utterly graceless. The party is to celebrate the opening of the Tokion Magazine website and is sponsored by a gin maker. We beeline to the bar and order some gin drinks. I joke with Theresa that I most certainly will not know anyone at the party, then I see a guy I know who also happens to be a photographer. I try to avoid eye contact. He sees me, we greet, he starts taking to Theresa, I escape. Once Theresa regroups with me I inform her that the guy is a fucking toolbag who used to be what both of us once were: the studio manager at George Brown Studio, my current residence. I tell her that on more than one occasion, people walked in on him masturbating. Yeah, gross. We take a seat on a bench and commence with people watching. Now that I’m sitting and looking around I realize what a scene the place is. There’s a guy with a camera running around snapping photos of all the beautiful people. The guy who owns the magazine is here and I’m introduced to him by either Theresa or Stephan. I think his name is Don. Theresa tells me he also owns the magazines Surface and Inked. He has a Buddha belly and is wearing a sweater and does not look the way I’d imagine an owner of hip magazines to look. Which I like. Because the asshole I’m sitting next to has eyeliner on and is wearing a single fingerless glove on his left hand. It dawns on me that this is probably an event that people in the fashion industry, or whatever industry this is, would kill people to be at, judging from the amount of peacocking and huckstering I’m witnessing. Tokion was the second magazine to ever publish anything I wrote, so I have in my heart a warm place for them, but who or what exactly I’m not sure where to find in this room. Theresa isn’t really feeling it either and Stephan has been in search and destroy mode since we got here, so we finish our drinks and prepare our exodus. Theresa tries to find Stephan to tell him goodbye, but fails. Outside there is a massive throng of well-dressed, well-scrubbed young and fanciful Manhattanites crowding around the velvet rope. They look like the sheer face of a glacier, pieces occasionally breaking off and slipping into the ocean of open sidewalk before disappearing behind the doors. The palace guard in the black suit warns me, “All exits are final.”

October 24, 2009


Filed under: Music — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 4:10 am

This song makes me happy.

Glasvegas – Glasvegas – Go Square Go

October 12, 2009

Loney, Dear

Filed under: Music — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 4:37 pm

A recent find of mine, thanks to the wonderfulness that is Indie Pop Rocks at SomaFM.

Loney, Dear – Loney, Noir – 03 – Saturday Waits.mp3
Loney, Dear – Loney, Noir – 04 – Hard Days
Loney, Dear – Loney, Noir – 08 – Carrying A Stone.mp3

May 28, 2009

How To Be Warm

Filed under: Short Stories — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 11:27 pm

“I’m so sorry.”

“It doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it, really. It doesn’t matter.”

“Tell me one thing that matters and I’ll tell you why it doesn’t.”

“Wow. What a… I don’t know. Depressing way of…” She sort of shrugs and shakes her head. “What a horrible world view.”

May 21, 2009

Ben Folds – Bitches Ain’t Shit

Filed under: Music — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 6:02 pm

Ben Folds – Bitches Ain’t Shit

April 6, 2009

Propriety Fail

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 4:48 pm

I’ve been taking some online correspondence courses through the Army today to increase the points I get used to determine promotion. I just finished a course on offensive electronic warfare. The edition was dated 1994. Now I’m working on a course on copy editing. One topic covered in this course is the consideration of propriety when writing. It reads:


In journalism, propriety is writing that uses good sense and good taste. As an Army journalist, it is your responsibility to ensure that your writing is in good taste and doesn’t violate the sensitivities of the community.

There are several things you should avoid in your writing.

  • vulgarity
  • gore
  • obscenity
  • lewdness
  • perversion
  • excessive violence (AR 360-5, Public Information, doesn’t spell out what “excessive violence” is. Use common sense and your knowledge of your community as guides)
  • information that holds the service or its members up to ridicule

Poor taste knows no bounds. It is just as wrong to quote a professional football player saying, “We’re going to kick their asses,” as it is to quote a soldier saying, “That FTX was really screwed up.”

I would fail as an Army journalist.

March 26, 2009

The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up

Filed under: Music — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 10:18 pm

If ever there were a time for something a bit melancholy, it’s right now. This is when The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up can suit quite nicely. All three of the songs below are from their first album, It’s Winter Here, certainly their best album. If you are one of the handful of people who possess the three-disc mixtape I made for Christmas of 2007, the song “Breakdown Championship” is one of my personal favorites. The most haunting line from that song, when taken out of context sounds completely ridiculous, is, “you asked me what’s my greatest fear, well, honey, it’s living here earning $6.50 an hour.” The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up are a five-piece band from Oakland, California, have produced three albums, and have been on hiatus since 2006.

The Jim Yoshi Pile-up
It’s Winter Here (2000):

Jetzt Mit Iodine.mp3
Breakdown Championship.mp3

Away From Home

Filed under: Short Stories — Jason Christopher Hartley @ 4:29 am

This was from a project I did for school last year that I never finished and probably never will finish. All my notes and artwork are in storage in New Paltz. Since it’ll probably never get completed, I figured I might as well put it here. It was for a class about graphic literature. The text is lifted from Just Another Soldier. Self-plagiarism is the best.

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