By Dave Carnie
I like email. I like writing emails and I like receiving emails. I write long emails. It’s well known that I write long emails. I think most of my friends hate my long emails because most people treat email like a text, or a tweet—there’s a character limit. Nuh-uh. I don’t know if you’ve looked, but there is no bottom to an email. That’s right, it goes to infinity. I’m not kidding. Try it. I just hit return on an email and sat here for about five minutes watching the cursor descend… and descend… and descend… I’m pretty sure my cursor is in the Marianas Trench right now.
I take full advantage of the endless sheet of paper that is an email and I treat it like my own creative writing class and tinker with all kinds of ideas and linguistic nonsense—sort of like when a standup comedian works out new material at a club. And while I consider what I’m doing in my emails “writing,” I don’t consider it “WRITING,” like when Linus writes the fuck out of a letter to the Great Pumpkin with his tongue wagging out. Sort of like a text, I write very casually in my emails now and I’m not as much of a stickler for grammar and spelling as I used to be. I used to rail against the cursory, slapdash quality of the emails I’d receive: “Goddammit, grammar and spelling rules still apply, people!” But I’ve since joined those whom I have been unable to beat and embraced the blasé manner in which most people treat email. I admit: it’s way more fun—sort of like when you’re having a dork session on a curb with friends. Environments free of rules breed creativity.
My emails, now for instance, are written entirely in lowercase (no, it has nothing to do with E. E. Cummings—who, by the way, did not spell his own name in lowercase as publishers tend to enjoy doing). I also give less of a shit about punctuation. I don’t italicize book or movie titles either—there’s just sort of a general carelessness to my emails and I don’t lose sleep about a misspelled word. At the same time, there are many grammatical rules and practices I am unable to abandon. I spell out every number between one and ten, for instance, I never acronym-onize phrases like “by the way” and I ALWAYS use an Oxford comma.
Email is a nursery of creativity for me. I’m constantly pinching passages and unformed ideas out of my emails and pasting them into other documents for future use. A lot of work I’ve done has come out of email, from the Big Brother letter responses, to my time manning the “Mailstrom” page at The Skateboard Mag, to the correspondences I have with friends today, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time reading, writing, and responding to emails. I think it’s an under appreciated medium.
I was thinking of all this recently because I was dumbly staring at my bookshelf and The Letters Of James Joyce caught my eye. I think I was hungover because that’s usually when I have sad, pathetic thoughts like, “No one’s ever going to publish a book titled, The Emails Of Dave Carnie…” Pity party.
That’s when I thought, "Oh, I can do it myself. Why not go through the emails I sent just last week and publish the parts worth publishing?"
Welcome to “SENT,” a column where I share highlights from the emails I sent last week.
From: David Carnie
Date: Friday, April 30, 2021 at 8:36 AM
To: mike carnie
Subject: Re: Slayer kitty
My brother, Mike, is a metal drummer—like, blast beat death metal. I sorta play guitar. Not well. He lives in northern California and I live in LA. We rarely see or talk to each other. Not because we don’t like each other, I think it might be because we’re so similar—what’s the point? So it’s always nice to hear from him even if it is just a video of a kitten screaming to Slayer. It’s a great way to start a song, so it must be a great way to start this article.
i have not seen that one. pretty good. i’ve been on a slayer kick lately. i’m not even really that into those ding dongs anymore, but for some reason i can suddenly play slayer songs so i’ve been learning them. i told tom [our mutual friend] that it’s satisfying and a good work out to boot. he said you told him something similar many years ago at the skatepark. then he said we should all start a band. and he mentioned bands with brothers in them: oasis… and i can’t remember any of the others he said.
i’m kidding, he listed a bunch. his main inspiration was the kinks. i think he forgot van halen on his list, though. anyway, he said he’d play bass. he just got a galien kruger (gk) head so hopefully he’ll sound like the jesus lizard (fugazi also played through a gk head):
and in return for slayer kitty these videos [below] kill me every time. i don’t care how many times i’ve seen them: —dave
I recognize that the “Tony” video is, what I like to call, a “welcome to the internet!” video, but I still think it’s brilliant every time I watch it. When I first saw the second video, I was like, “HOLY SHIT! How do I become a Russian hockey coach? That looks like the best job in the world!” No wonder Russian hockey players are so good. And mean. I see where they get it from now.
From: David Carnie
Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 9:25 AM
To: Chris Nieratko
Subject: sky river
how you guys doing on the road? i wasn’t going to ask “where are you?” because i can just look at your ig feed, but it didn’t reveal location today. in what city’s westside is westside skate shop? how have you guys been adjusting to the rv life? or should i say “lifestyle?” most of what we know about the rv lifestyle comes from this guy who is the owner of “sky river rv”:
Michael Beardsley was the owner of Sky RV in Paso Robles and I’ve watched him enough to safely describe him as “a loveable asshole.” Sort of like Don Cherry.
in solvang there’s a solvang city tv channel in most hotel rooms and it is fucking hilarious because it’s so ghetto. and this dude buys up great swathes of time to show himself wandering around his parking lot talking about rvs and the rv lifestyle. i think his name is mike? he also visits rv gatherings with a microphone and interviews rv enthusiasts.
I’m content to just sit in our hotel room and watch this guy for hours, but unfortunately the channel is gone. not sure if mike is or not. i know he’s a smoker. he also likes yogurt in the morning. –dave
Haha! I can’t believe I found the yogurt episode. Not sure what happened to Michael, but I learned that he is no longer the owner of Sky RV. Hopefully he just retired and is out there on the road enjoying his coffee, yogurt, and the RV lifestyle.
From: David Carnie
Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: end why see
Our friend, Mark, sent Tania and I a story about the oldest whiskey bottle in the world. “The Old Ingledew Whiskey is believed to be the oldest known whiskey in existence … Bids are expected to fall between $20,000 and $40,000.” Mark’s comment was, “Revolutionary hangover bomb?” It should be noted that Mark has been sober for many years, probably because he finished his lifetime’s share of whiskey many years ago.
that would be quite a dramatic way to fall off the wagon, mark. –dave
[Bonus response from Tania: “Adapted into a Broadway musical. Lyrics by Lin Manuel Miranda.”]
From: David Carnie
Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 2:26 PM
To: Andreas Trolf
Subject: Re: anus
I was fortunate to have been introduced to Andreas Trolf during the pandemic by our mutual friend, Julian Dykmans. “You guys are both writers, you know each other?” We’ve been nerding out ever since. In this correspondence he had recommended Bertrand Russell’s, Why I Am Not A Christian because it was “germane” to the subject we were discussing—creationists. Yeah, we use words like “germane.” Well, he does, I had to look it up.
… i haven’t read any russell because wittgenstein was his student and essentially destroyed his entire philosophy haha. but i have always been interested in russell’s writings, just haven’t read any. kind of like david hume. who i have read. but it felt old and rather sophomoric. from a history of philosophy perspective, very interesting, but it felt ancient in the context of modern philosophy. at the same time, i’m absolutely smitten with ancient philosophy (???). but i am always interested in reading how atheists approach the claims of religious zealots. love this quote i just read in a review of that russell book:
"I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue," Russell declares in his Preface.
nice. i put it on my wishlist.
i think most of my views of religion were formed first by ayn rand (embarrassing, i think she’s horrible now, but that’s what i was reading in jr. high), followed by nietzsche, in particular, “the genealogy of morals.” but i’m interested in that russell book.
a book i’ve been thinking about a lot in regard to religion… well there are two actually: “on certainty,” by wittgenstein, and “i am a strange loop,” by douglas hofstadter. the latter is a very interesting book that goes off in a lot of directions, but at its core seems to be the question of duality: mind/brain, soul/body. dualism is very attractive, but ultimately it just doesn’t make sense because one is forced to ask, “okay then what is the soul/mind? where is it?” the fact is, it doesn’t exist. and hofstadter does a brilliant job of working around the problem and explaining it and ultimately rejecting dualism: there is no soul. your brain has created a feedback loop to give you the impression that you have an “I,” that you have a “self” or a “soul.” i’m in no position to try and outline his arguments, but it was good. –dave
At one point I asked Scott Bourne if he knew Andreas Trolf and Scott replied, “Yeah, he’s the only person that writes longer emails than you.” I read that as a challenge.
From: David Carnie
Date: Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 6:07 PM
To: sean cliver, Nick Halkias
Subject: Re: parsts
… we decided to drink today—sunday funday i think they call it? no we did not go to brunch. the idea of going to brunch makes me sick. i hate brunch. down for meeting up for breakfast or lunch but i will never say yes to brunch. it makes me think of skeletal hollywood women with giant hats who are artists/djs/models/photographers/influencers—just garbage people.
speaking of which tania and i had such a bizarre conversation over a couple bottles of wine yesterday that we said, “are we doing a podcast right now?” i will never start a podcast but i think our fake podcast was way better than a lot of podcasts i’ve heard with people rambling on about stupid shit.
one of our subjects, for instance, was: danzig vs. anthony kiedis, who would win in a fight?
before we could even entertain the question, though, tania asked another very important question: then or now? ah. good point. glenn vs. anthony in the 80s, or glenn vs anthony now?
I’m not really sure of the dating on these images, but the top two represent Glenn and Anthony THEN, while the bottom two are NOW.
we both agreed that glenn probably would have whipped anthony in the 80s/90s, maybe?, but we’re even more uncertain what the results would be if they were to square off today. for instance, we both agree that the man singing those silly red hot chili pepper songs is a big softy and couldn’t break out of a wet paper bag… but then again danzig is fat. and anthony is very sober and very fit. i feel like if danzig can get a couple of shots in the first round he would win, but if it goes any longer anthony will outlast him. would love your input. glenn vs tony. –dave
Cliver, as usual, had a very witty and thoughtful response to the Danzig vs. Kiedis question: “ever since seeing danzig get KTFO by that one dude, i’ve questioned his ability to go the distance beyond posturing. his best bet, i think, would be to grapple kiedis and use the density of his form to smother and incapacitate the little chili pepper.”
[NOTE: Tania and I will never do a podcast because the world needs another podcast like I need a hole in the head, but we had fun coming up with subjects for our first fantasy podcast episode, some of which included:
Irish music—Tania HAAAAATES Irish music. While I enjoy an Irish jig here and there, Tania’s withering tirades on the subject are not just funny, but easier on the ear.
Del Taco vs. Taco Bell—we prefer Del Taco.
Official Food Of Los Angeles: Taco or Cheeseburger?—this question was inspired by an LA Taco April Fool’s Day article that said the city was declaring the taco the official food of LA. We tend to agree, but then considered the cheeseburger, which was invented in LA. We kind of lean towards the taco, but the taco wasn’t invented here. Hence the need for a podcast to debate these important issues.]
That brings us to the end of our first installment of SENT. I feel like I need to wrap this up with some sort of catchy phrase like, “You’ve been SENT off!” or something? No? Yeah, you’re right. We would love to hear your opinions on any of the questions or subjects above. Talk soon. Thanks. —Dave
These are amazing! Please keep this up