Sunday, November 15, 2009

bizarro review #3

"Asphalt Flowerhead". Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink. 2008.

Wallets are cumbersome things. Mine shit the bed a while back and I figured a driver's license and a library card didn't warrant a new one which meant fresh real estate in the back pocket. Now, whoever had the idea to make Forrest Armstrong's "Asphalt Flowerhead" the size of those little green Bibles deserves a beer because I've been able to carry it with me everywhere, in my back pocket, opening it at random and savoring Armstrong's deft, vivid prose one or two paragraphs at a time.

The novel opens at a literal hole in the wall, Club Africa, an art gallery/drug den run by the enigmatic Brad Kelly. The club is raided and we follow the friends through the diaspora. Bill is a painter, arrested on his first offense and dropped into a hallucination chamber. Nail is a junky who gets bailed out and sets out to create a new drug in the questionable hope that the proceeds might bail out his friends. Johnny is a junky who seeks spiritual enlightenment at the risk of self combustion. And then there's Chevy, born into a perpetual acid trip, an Einstein-esque father of a weapon of mass destruction more deadly than any atomic bomb. We follow these characters at a lightning pace, leading to my one complaint, which is that, while I don't need character names to be Pynchonian, in a story that moves this fast, it would be beneficial to have slighlty more distinct character names than Bill, Brad, and Johnny.

From homicidal fascist cops to a robot destruction of Amsterdam, the story is so surreal and apocalyptic and the voice is so eloquently angry that one can't help but imagine the words being shouted through a bullhorn, from atop the burned out shell of an SUV, which, in my opinion, is something all serious literature should aspire to.

I believe that Forrest Armstrong is the real deal. I believe that his talent for language is something to get excited about, and I think "Asphalt Flowerhead" is a great introduction and an ideal place to become a fan.

Buy it here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

bizarro review #2

"Peckinpah" by D. Harlan Wilson. Shroud Press, 2009.

In 1994 Alan Moore wrote a short story about a woman named Maureen Cooper, a bartender who slowly comes to realize she exists only as a character on a popular TV soap. The story was dense, verbose, brilliant metafiction, blending the story of Maureen with that of the actress who played her (who was herself not who she seemed) with a vicious polemic on television and its effects on society. It was called “Light of Thy Countenance” and there are two reasons I bring it up: first, because I feel that it is the spiritual predecessor to D. Harlan Wilson’s amazing “Peckinpah”, and secondly, because of Alan Moore himself, who felt strongly enough about this book to provide a blurb on the cover.

“Peckinpah” is difficult to categorize, a satirical meta mash up of microfiction and microcriticism into something that maybe resembles a novel but is, I think, something much more interesting.

The back cover blurb does its best: it tells us “Peckinpah” is about Felix Soandso, the husband of a murdered woman who must wreak righteous vengeance on her killer, Samson Thataway, the hyperviolent leader of the Fuming Garcias, a Reservoir Dogs-esque clone army. Sure thing, back cover, but I’d argue that the story is just as much about a man who tears pigs in half or a shoe store clerk witnessing his coworkers disappearing beneath a stampeding tractor or corn stalks that open to reveal chainsaws.

Amidst all the absurdity, a wide variety of film motifs come under fire, such as rape scenes, lazy endings, and the fetishism of weaponry and violence. But it’s the oversized role of film and television in our lives that seems to be the biggest target: pay attention to the chapter in which Felix Soandso is introduced to the single worst moment in his life through the screenplay excerpt that we have just read. Or the only chapter in which a book makes an appearance, the cover depicting an alien riding the blast of a nuclear explosion.

Throughout its entirety Wilson manages to keep the language terse and punchy. It is a brief novel made briefer by the force of its language, but if you’re like me, you’ll pick it back up and read through it again, slower the second time. And once again it will entertain and, more importantly, once again it will get you thinking.

Next up: Forrest Armstrong's "Asphalt Flowerhead"

Light of Thy Countenance (the whole story)

Buy "Peckinpah"

Monday, November 9, 2009

bizarro review #1

"Ass Goblins of Auschwitz" by Cameron Pierce. Eraserhead Press, 2009.

Growing up, I watched a lot of TV. Nickelodeon, mostly. Ah! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy. They were light-hearted and funny, sure, but deep-down they were kind of unsettling, and with your eyes glued to the tube, you felt like you were given a glimpse into truly twisted minds, minds that were trying their very best to warn their audience of the darkness of adulthood to come. These cartoons with their drab colors and their focus on offal and snot and lint and gas were just too ugly and honest to be on the Disney channel.

“Ass Goblins of Auschwitz” is what happens when those kids, so mesmerized by the cartoons of their youth, grow up and write stories of their own. AGOA is a Nickelodeon cartoon pushed to the extreme and injected with cynicism. You’re born, things are good, you start to check out girls, and before you know it a goblin has his finger in your ass and is turning your friends into cider, you’re mutating and growing wings and you’re becoming one of them and you’re rebelling and you’d do anything to get out of the prison you’re in.

I promised myself I wouldn’t use the word “imaginative”, but AGOA is so filled to brimming with the products of a big, Mountain Dew-fueled brain that other words fail. The first half of the book is gripping, every page contains a unique, surreal image or idea, but it does not let up for a moment, and if you are not careful, by the end it could bury you under them. I enjoyed the quick pace and the brevity, but I also found the last twenty pages to be exhausting, a wild dash for the finish could have been sharper, more fleshed out.

That said, I can’t wait to see what Pierce will do next. With an imagination as fertile and frenzied as his, I’m sure I won’t have to wait long to find out.

Buy it here.


People sometimes give revolutionaries like Che Guevara shit for executing folks. The Batistas, I think they were called. I hear some people say that what Che did was monstrous, that he was a monster. But I’m just saying, that if I rose up and took a country, and I had all these people of power, the people who continually made decisions that knowingly stifled my rights, these people who deliberately sacrificed the health and safety of me and my family for an extra dollar, the CEOs of all these big corporations with their ugly tans and bright white teeth and BMWs they earned off the backs of the poor, you couldn’t expect me to not to have every single one of them shot.

Just sayin.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

i hate money

I want to light money on fire and stomp it out on the floor and really twist it and grind it to make a point. I want cigarettes to taste and smell good so I can smoke them because they are fucking cool. Also then I could drop the cigarette on the burning money and that would show everyone my contempt. I wonder what would happen if an extremely rich dude cashed all the money in his banks and holdings and stocks and put it all in a pile and burned it like the Joker. I have this feeling that would fuck some shit up on the real. Like if Bill Gates did it or something.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

future things

Cool things I will probably never do:
Start a slow clap
Kill a man for looking at me wrong
Turn into a dog, wait for someone to fall over, and put my paws over my eyes
Have sex for money
Pasteurize milk
Meet an alien
See a ghost
Learn Muay Thai

Cool things I will definitely do:
Live in New Zealand for three months
Move to Portland
Visit Japan
Visit the caves of the underworld in Egypt
Get muscle
Write a whole bunch of books
Get a BFF tattoo with Chermaine
Meet my heroes

Terrible things I hope I never have to do:
Shoot a dog
Lose all my money in a poker game
Kill myself
Violate my anus with a remote control
Crash my car
Move to an Arctic research station
Piss off the Russians
Cut off a limb because it has a mind of its own
Get a catheter

Terrible things I will probably have to do:
Get a soul crushing job
Pay Taxes
Wait in lines
Pretend to listen to boring people
Eat a bug
Your mom

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We find it hard to believe that at one point in our nation's history we threw up our hands and decided to beat the shit out of each other. I used to. I don't, anymore. With these health care reform protesters, with the town hall meetings and the shouting-down of opposing voices, usually done by people who will cry about the death of democracy as soon as they are shouted down. Then the Birthers. Then the death panel shit. Just...all of it. One insanity after another. It's racial. It is. It's frustrated, angry white folks who are not used to being frustrated or angry. Not really, anyway. And so it comes out like this, childlike and red-faced. Immature.

So anyway, the more I think about it, the more I realize these loonies almost ended the Union way back in the day. Only then, they were called "Plantation owners" and "racists." Well, we can still call them racists today. That's fine.

Imagine how poor Lincoln felt, having to deal with these morons.

Lincoln: Now...


Lincoln: Actually, that's not my position...


Lincoln: Well, if you'd listen.


Lincoln: Alright, that's it. Strap in, Lincoln's getting flustered.

And then it was on, and the North laid a righteous ass whooping on the South.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

my complaint letter to taco bell:

Went through the drive-thru tonight at the Robinson St. Taco Bell. I really, really want to give these kids the benefit of the doubt, and I hate doing this, but every time I eat there it takes forever. Like, 20 minutes to get through the drive-thru with three cars ahead of me is just ridiculous. Last time I was there they didn't have beef. Which, I mean, I know things happen, but c'mon. One day it's the beef, the next day it's this, or that. I used to go to the one on Lindsay St. but that one's got even more horrible service. I love Taco Bell. It's delicious. But now choosing between these two is like picking the prettiest fork with which to stab myself in the eye. All the best.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"necrotic pop culture carrion beetles"

This article from Michael Rowe at the HuffPo is seriously fucking amazing. Here's a highlight.

On O'Reilly, Coulter, and their ilk:

"As a group, they are the pop culture equivalent of necrotic carrion beetles, crawling with insectile determination from one infected open wound in the American psyche to another. The wounds include fear of race, fear of foreigners, fear of sexuality, fear of difference, hysterical religious fundamentalism, violent nationalism, and paranoia. They lay their eggs in the infected abrasion, then scuttle away. When the eggs hatch, disgorging rage and discontent, they start counting money."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

cranky cell phone rant

Cell phones are evil. I killed mine two days ago. Smashed it into three pieces: top, bottom, SIM. Don't really regret it. Might not get a new one, might opt for the land line. Cell phones have enabled our already flaky culture to flake out on the hardcore, for sure. Plans no longer matter. You can no longer agree to meet a friend at, say, 9 o'clock at a certain bar the following night. Just doesn't work that way. This person you're going to meet, they are so used to being able to evaporate meetings with the touch of a button, that it may not even occur to them that you are going to be sitting at this bar at 9, with your thumb lodged in your ass. This isn't a reflection on anyone's character, or maybe it is, I don't know. What it does say is that cell phones are the great fuck-up of this generation. They are evil. When was the last time you saw your kids without that bluish glow ghosting their face? The click of the Blackberry opening is the Pavlov dog whistle of this age. People need it. It frightens me, I am an old man. Oddly, these internets don't bug me much. Cause when I leave the house, I don't take them with me. I could, of course. With a cell phone.

Friday, June 5, 2009

book of dead philosophers

A few days ago I finished up "The Book of Dead Philosophers" by Simon Critchley. It's a fantastic collection of about 190 page-length micro-essays on the deaths and philosophies (sometimes just the deaths) of famous philosophers, dating back to Thales and going through to modern times. This book is full of great meditations on what it is to be a philosopher, from Cicero's "learning how to die" to the kid gloves version: "learning how to live."

I found a quote in there that I particularly enjoy, in that I feel it explains the ideologies of certain people whom I tend to disagree with on a regular basis.

On page 222, Critchley writes (in an essay on Hannah Arendt):

"...[I]f one views political life from a contemplative philosophical distance, one inevitably sees the people as a rabble to be controlled by one form or other of authoritarianism, rather than a human pluality to be participated in and celebrated."

The book is great, check it out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

calling aboritionists murderers doesn't lead to murders

Interesting article, but wrong. The writer accuses the right-wing tactic of labeling abortionists as "murderers" as leading to violent acts...completely forgetting a year ago, when calling George W. Bush a murderer was the cool thing to do, if you were slightly left-inclined. There's even a book on it! "Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" or something. I own it. It was good, and correct, and futile. I'd link you, but I'm hungry for tacooossss. Wait, before I go, my point is this: the weird protesters who fuck with abortion clinics are more violent than the Cindy Sheehans of the world, and it's true no one on the left shot anyone on the right (at least, nothing that made it public) over it, but you can't say that calling someone a murderer leads to murder. Believing you're an agent of God, however, will do it up quick, I tell ya.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

two rejections

I'm going cross-eyed going over and over this novel. Trying to have a good draft done by the end of June. Took a temporary break from it to work on about five different short stories. Sent one off last night to several places, namely, Word Riot, Juked, Opium, Abjective, etc. Been rejected from Word Riot and Abjective, so far. Quickly. It's a short story. Rejections. I have to get back into the swing of this thing. I got rejected a lot, I used to. Then I got two hits: the Verbicide and the Bare Bone. Didn't do much writing since then. School and life and whatnot. Got really back into it about a month ago, after a couple years picking at the novel I dove in headfirst, and the stories just came with it. But they are rusted and shitty. Will keep going. Will keep submitting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

coolest novel cover ever

From Jeff Vandermeer's blog:

stop crying, you whiny drama llama feministing commenters

I like going to I think it's a well-run website. Most of the contributors are intelligent people. But I'm going to need to stop reading the comment section. If I read one more, "OMG, I'm seriously crying right now" reply to an article about a stupid sexist ad or some sexist scene from a comedy movie, I'm going to scream. These people need to learn how to discuss issues without being drama llamas. Seriously, there are things worth crying about (genocide in Darfur, anyone?), and there are things that need to be mocked and laughed at (stupid sexist ads, for instance). The whole crying thing just makes you look retarded, and in a way, weak. I just picture these women walking around, crying all day, pausing momentarily to watch Flight of the Conchords or that cartoon squirrel that's always being angry and snarky, then going back to crying. "Argh! They've used sex to sell something again! I'm so RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNANT."

"Argh"? WTF. Evidently, in my mind, all these women are Jon Arbuckle. He'd stop crying, if only Garfield would stop eating lasagna.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Currently, I'm in love with the bass sound on Holy Fuck's "Lovely Allen." I can't help but nod my head to The Horror's "Who Can Say." And the whole Battles album is just immense, build ups that make you want to dance around a fire. But mostly, I'm tired of vocalists right now. Especially the ones that can really sing. My phase before this was female singers, Bat for Lashes, specifically. I move on quickly.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

bare bone #11

You can pre-order the final "Bare Bone" anthology here:

It's got some kick-ass stories by a bunch of cool pepole, including Kris Saknussemm and Cody Goodfellow, a couple of my favorite writers. Seriously, if you haven't read "Zanesville" or "Private Midnight" or "Radiant Dawn" or "Ravenous Dusk," you really should.

There's also a story in there by yours truly called "Amends Due, West of Glorieta." You should definitely check it out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

flight of the conchords

Today Rios and I drove three hours to Dallas to watch Flight of the Conchords. The rain would not let up on the way down. We passed a car that had flipped into a ditch, we slowed down to watch the guy getting pulled out of the wreckage, the look on his face was like "FUCK." The rain continued. We stopped in a Flying J and purchased an 8x10 framed hologram portrait of a snarling wolf. She's got snow on her muzzle, and she will kill you.

We stopped at the Ripley's museum to use the bathroom. There's a button in there that makes a fart noise if you press it. Rios did not press it, because buttons make her nervous. We took pictures by giant steel dinosaurs.

Grand Prairie, TX is the asshole that Dallas never wipes. We're talking vast expanses of fertile land, with nothing to eat along the way. Ten mile strip of road includes: a Burger King, a Popeyes, a Subway, and a Taco Bell. We chose the Taco Bell, and I was retarded and went against my typical strategy, which is to order the least complicated thing on the menu when I'm in a strange Taco Bell. I got specific with it, extra this, steak that, and they fucked it all up. But I have a soft spot for fast food workers, and the food was still good, so I ate it. The tables were really high relative to the seats, maybe people in Grand Prairie have big bellies.

We got to the Nokia ampitheater really early. First ones there. Waited outside. Watched folks get royally pissed at the ticket handler who claimed they couldn't give Will Call tickets out until 6:15. "Six-fifteeen? This is horse cock!" etc. The guy in front of me at the Will Call was the stinkiest motherfucker I've ever smelled. Ever. Rancid BO.

Met Sebastian and Danielle there. We chatted for a long time and I drank three cups of six-point beer, which they told me were $8, which showed up on the reciept as $8, but now that I'm checking it, are on my bank statement as $9.60.

The show? The show was great, but what else can you say? Eugene Mirman was fucking hilarious, you must seek out things with his name on them. And FOTC was great, very charming, seemed like.

Ride back was steamy and quick, kind of like the last time I fucked your mom.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

nice day

The morning was rainy, now it's sunny. See people walking dogs. My own dog is lying on the couch, making the tear in the back cushion bigger by the way she lays on it. Took her on errands with me. It's nice out. I always feel weird when it's this nice out, like I should be out carpe diem-ing. I'll probably clean the apartment a little, fold some laundry, drink some Dr. Pepper, read some Steve Erickson, maybe throw the Kong with the pooch. Work at 5.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

fuck teabaggers and the right wing in general

The right wing is a joke. They are protesting tax cuts with signs that say "NO MORE TAXATION." This whole Dick Armey teabagging thing is fucking retarded. Krugman had a good word for it, not sure if it was his, but he called it an "Astroturf" movement, meaning that it's been cheaply made to look grassroots. It's a bunch of old white Republicans organizing a bunch of middle-class white retards to wave placards that say everything from "OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST" to listing all of the Dems they feel should be lynched. Cesca over at HuffPo pointed out that they're protesting in publicly funded (socialist) parks. On that note, none of these folks are allowed to do the following: receive Medicare, go to a library or send their kids to public school, and those are just off the top of my head. These are all socialist institutions. God the fucking retardation of this group just floors me. They live in a complete fantasy world. I get the same feeling watching them as I do with the people who go to Star Trek conventions. They get out of their mom's basement, dress up, surround themselves with people with similar delusions, and pretend with all that they're worth that the world is different than it really is, not because their lives are hard, no, these people, most of them grew up middle-class. They do all of this because their lives are BORING. I don't mean average boring, like, "Man, I wish this class would end," or "Jeez, he just keeps talking," boring, I mean soul-crushingly, existentially, "I wake up every morning and go to the same meaningless job to buy meaningless shit I've been tricked into wanting so that my wife and kids will keep pretending to love me" boring. And if you're American and this great, Cthulu-like demon of Boredom snags you, you will fall into one of three categories. The first is the I AM RICH category. You tour Europe or buy a space station or pay a three-headed transexual hooker to take a dump on your chest. Travel and things and kinks, there is almost no end if you've got cash. This will leave you empty, in the end, but as long as you have money, you may never realize it. The second group are the Teabaggers. You discover or create a villain. Common targets: the government, the self, the Romulans. After you've created this shadowy figure, you rail against it for all you're worth, because if you can kill it and stand over it and breathe the sweet fumes of its charred corpse into your lungs, you will have done something Worthwhile. This will also fail, in the end, because those fumes get carried off by the first strong wind, and then you need a new corpse. The third category is the one that works, and it involves a lot of sitting on a pillow in front of a blank wall. That may sound dumb, but it might work, and even if it didn't, at least you wouldn't be splurging on Thai boys or standing in your front lawn swinging a plastic lightsaber at lawn demons. Speaking of delusions, fuck Glenn Beck and the horse he pretended to ride in on. I saw this adult retard at Wal-Mart today, and he was standing in front of the store trying to shake everyone's hand and saying HELLO really loud with his big melon head, and I got this feeling like I know everyone gets, like, first off, I hope this dude doesn't talk to me, and second, who let him out of his cage? That's kind of how I feel about Glenn Beck.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

sagging pants = jail

70% of people in this Florida town voted for a ban on sagging pants, so now it's going to court.

NY Times article

There's a line in the article where the prosecutor mentions that people "Just got fed up with looking at people's bottoms." Well, TOUGH SHIT. You can't make a LAW that tells people how they can dress. Period. Well, David, but, isn't it true that we have indecent exposure laws, and like women can't show their boobs or pussies and men can't show their weiners? I mean, there are STANDARDS, man, there are LAWS, and we need them. In this case, no, we don't. If women want to wear long-sleeve sweaters with the nipples cut out, so be it. Same goes for vag. I see a woman walking down the street with her meat curtains dangling from a slit in her jeans, that is her prerogative. Yeah, sure David, YOU don't mind, but what about MY CHILDREN? I don't care if you're out in public and your kid sees a pussy, or a weiner for that matter. Why? Because fuck your kids, that's why. Seriously, though, if a guy flashes his cock to your kid in private, that's different. That's focused on YOUR child, and it's damaging. If a man wants to somehow velcro his naked penis to his shirt via some ingenious cock-ring apparatus, and your kid gets a peek at this guys dick and balls, the skin of which he's probably thumbtacked into his thighs, I will support that man's right to wear his penis out in public. I certainly wouldn't want a LAW to stop him from doing that. You see, laws like that exist to protect that guy, not your kid. In animal communities, ours included, flashing your junk means war. The wrath the members of this ill-conceived fashion movement would incur through breaking this societal taboo would probably end in murder, and then we'd all be better off for losing the ballskin stretching, dick-velcroing retards. Too many people who would walk about with their cock out in today's society are hindered from doing so by oppressive laws, which have kept them alive long enough to procreate, probably several times, populating the planet with more bungholes.

None of which really has to do with sagging, during which you're still clothed. Think of what this could incur, people. What if I accidentally forget to throw a belt on in the morning? I'm walking to class, or something, and my backpack hikes my shirt up and everyone sees my boxers. BAM, that's a fine. Because some people (cough, old people, cough) are just TIRED of having to look at my bottom.

Well, since we're now getting into the process of making things that old people find aesthetically displeasing illegal, I made a little list of things they should go to jail for:

Smelling like mothballs.
Paying for things with checks.
Eating ice cream.
Soiling themselves.
Being adorably sexist/racist.
Being no-fun douchebag party poopers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

date rape in "observe and report"

I watched Observe and Report and figured I'd chime in on the whole "date rape" thing. I spoil this thing like a motherfucker, so watch out. In the movie Seth Rogen's character, Ronnie, takes Anna Faris's Brandi out to dinner and she gets crazy drunk and takes a lot of Ronnie's mood stabilizers, carbamazepine if I remember correctly, which actually lowers alcohol tolerance (and cancels out contraceptives, careful ladies). So yeah, she gets fucked up. They ride home on Ronnie's Honda motorcycle, she fondles his boobs, they park, she vomits, he kisses her, cut to: Ronnie thrusting away at the unconcious girl. He looks over, confused by the fact that she's out cold, and she tells him to keep going, scene ends. Now, a few things. First, you are made to believe that when Ronnie looks over and sees that she's passed out, this is the first time he's noticed. Implying that when they started, she was coherent. None of this makes what happens OKAY, which is what I hear a lot of people saying, that doesn't make it OKAY, etc. etc.

And it doesn't, no. But, here's the thing. In an earlier scene, Ronnie's drunk mom tells him a story about the night she met his father and about fucking him and everything like that. All he seems to know about women he knows from his mother. What we're supposed to get from this scene isn't that Ronnie is taking horrible advantage of a drunk girl, but that there's nothing weird to him about a drop-down, pissed drunk woman, said woman also in a sense telling him that it's normal to have sex with such drunkards.

Again, not that it makes this "okay", but this movie isn't about what's "okay", it's a character study (don't laugh) about a fucked-up individual. Ronnie has delusions of grandeur, bullies people, does coke, pot, helps his partner shoot heroin before beating the fuck out of a bunch of skater kids, hits cops, and shoots a naked man in the chest. Why all of this is funny, I don't know, that's a much bigger post, I think.

But here is a great back and forth, forum-type discussion on consent and date rape that I felt to be pretty eye opening:

Friday Feminist Fuck You: Seth Rogen

However, the actual Feministing article is knee-jerk and stupid. They haven't bothered to watch the film, see everything in context, and have instead decided to brand Seth Rogen and everyone involved as cro-magnon idiots, and that really gets under my skin, because it's exactly what people hate about feminists in the first place. Here are some notable comments that touch on my feelings of Feministing's reaction to this thing:

First up from a poster called "dormouse":

"Quick quiz:
Is this scene...
a) offensive
b) funny
c) both
d) not enough information to tell

Correct Answer: D

We have no idea the context in which this brief clip happens. Relevant questions: How drunk is Rogan's character? What happened when they started having sex? Was Faris's character conscious then? Are there any consequences to this sex? Is Rogan's character so bad at sex that Faris got bored and fell asleep? Is Rogan made to be a hero or a creep in this movie? etc, etc.

Feministing, I love you most of the time, but there is a nasty trend here of jumping to conclusions about things based on incomplete information that don't necessarily warrant such outrage."

And from a poster called "philogelos":

"I believe this kind of attitude runs contrary to the goal of trying to get people to see feminist critiques in a positive light.

For one thing, your claim to have looked at all "available information" is patently false. The movie is about how Rogan's character is the son of an alcoholic who is trying to fulfill his sick protector-fantasies in violent ways, even hindering the police investigation into a flasher at the mall because he's trying to be the one who "saves" Faris's character.

In other words, the movie's POINT is that even good-intentioned paternalistic impulses can be counter-productive, and it showcases his behavior in not at all a "oh chuckle, what a wacky but lovable bro" kind of light.

Ironically enough, that same (good) message would fit very aptly to the attitude you are taking vis-a-vis this movie.

By issuing an uninformed "Fuck You!" (always an interesting choice of terms when responding to someone being insensitive to sexual violence) at the male actor in this scene (who becomes instantly the most responsible party for this scene...why? Because he's the most visible male?), you are encouraging the misperception that feminism is knee-jerkingly strident. The problem is not that people uninterested in feminism have not encountered the message, but rather that they have been fed the notion that making passionate arguments is somehow passe, and the big issues with regards to this have been "solved."

So by flipping out about your (incorrect) perceptions about the potential message a dark comedy movie might are really not going to be helping change anyone's minds."


The opening shots of the mall mutants are perfect. The kid screaming at his parents, sure, fat people eating, yeah, but watch the two second clip of the tired old guy, holding his knees for dear life, exhaling, with this huge double chin, slowly lowering down onto a bench. That sealed it for me: this dude understands malls, and he understands why they are so fucking vile. I can't really explain it in words, and won't try to, but that shot communicates everything. To me, at least.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

the amazing mutating college degree

Tomorrow I'm going to walk into my adviser's office and get drop slips for two classes: Business Calculus 2 and Macroeconomics. I have been fooling myself for about four years, trying and failing to do things that I'm just not great at. I might as well have gone for a degree in basketball or rocket science. I'm not stupid, but I've made stupid decisions.

Tonight I became massively depressed. It's not pretty, I won't bore you with the details. The cure for this little depression was so mind-numbingly simple I almost cried.

I need to change my major to English. English, of course. Maybe Philosophy, too. Why? Because it's what I'm good at. It's what I was made to do.

You MUST play to your strengths. Anything else is a waste of time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

obama is evil

Watched Alex Jones's new documentary "The Obama Deception". It's tin hat stuff, the boogeyman is out to get you, they're trying to build a prison FOR YOU AND ME TO LIVE IN (Oh yeah, I put the SOAD on rotation after this), Obama is a puppet and a liar, etc.

The movie is hard to follow, there are many tangential tirades, a lot of them given by a bald guy who looks kind of like Philip Seymour Hoffman, only paler and fishier. Jones himself gives a couple embarassingly worded megaphone speeches. He spouts facts, he accuses "the elite" of being scum, so you've got your anger, and suddenly it's righteous, and then, he goes back to anger. Scene in point: Jones is yelling outside the Fed about the Fed. He gives you fact A. Good so far. Fact B rolls in...still with him. Then "AND THESE BASTARDS ARE TRYING TO ENSLAVE YOUR CHILDREN." And I'm thinking: dude. I was with you, but you jumped the gun. You bought me a drink, you said all the right things, and then I look down and you've already come all over my new jumper. This is the one with the TRAINS on it, goddammit. And for any of you that have a problem with jumpers, I've got one word: footies.

A few things did push the right buttons for me. The Fed, for instance, is ridiculous. The notion that they give loans to 3rd-world countries at 30% interest then pay off the dictators to default on the loans, subsequently placing these countries and their people securely in the pockets of some Old White Dudes is probably true. The fact that they did it to us, too, is also probably true. The fact that Obama gave the Fed and the banks a massive bailout and then BORROWED THE MONEY BACK, with interest, to fund the stimulus package is something I will have to look into. If it's true, it's one of the most dumbassed (or, if you're Jones, sinister) things I have ever heard of a government doing.

Other stuff I don't buy. Obama is a puppet for the secret NWO. Who puts people in positions of power only to knock them down four years later. Make Bush 1 bad, bring in the Clinton, Clinton got 8 years and hummer, bring in the retard, the retard fucked everything (or did everything exactly right...again, depending on who you listen to), bring in the champion, the hero. The savior. And they do play up that image in the papers. Hell, Obama's one of my heroes.

And he's a lot of people's heroes. The big crowds they show worshipping him may have been to prove a point, but it has a subtle effect on the filmmaking. It makes the Jones crew look smaller, and crazier. When you can only get 5 or so interviewees (one of which is KRS-One, who is cool) and a few sign-wavers, it does something to the viewer's psychology. It's evolution: we want to be with the giant crowd, go with what everyone's so excited about. Not with a tiny group of loonies.

On that note, the camera work in here is honest: when a couple of crazy conspiracy folks go out to protest the secret meeting of the world's elite in a Best Western...Holiday Inn...I forget which chain it is, but it's got this marble columned lobby that is straight classy, when these protesters show up, it really looks like that: a handful of extremists heckling powerful people. What's with the awful signs? Cheap 8x11 rose pink cardboard paper with inane block-lettered Rage-isms do not inspire, guys.

There's a great scene in the movie where Jones is Blair-Witching to the camera in his hotel room. See, the government set the fire alarm off...and there is something sinister going on, something that Jones predicted would happen. What exactly that is, I don't know. Maybe I should have paid more attention. I was watching it though...fuck it, I blame poor editing for my confusion. De-flected.

Another thought: when they are explaining all of Obama's broken promises, I couldn't help but think "The guy's been there for three fucking months, people." Let me use Iraq as an example. As a campaigner, Barack said that he was going to get soldiers out ASAP. Right now. Right? Well, he gets into office, and that turns into 19 months, last I heard (they say 23). You can look at this one of two ways: Obama is an evil manipulator who bald-faced lied, or, he didn't understand the intricacies of the office at the time, and, woops, it turns out you can't just pull out of a country and jet. It just depends on what you want to see. It's like the God argument. I see coincidence, you see God. I see a guy who said things to get elected but meant them, too, who's now facing down a laundry list of things that have to be prioritized. They see someone who was lying the whole time. I don't know. We can both look at each other and see how the other person's an idiot. I'd prefer beer.

Was that a non-sequitur, or a cleverly placed segue? Because that's what's next: Non-sequiturs. This movie has a couple, most notably a rant about global warming, how it's all a scam. Come on, guys. That's not an argument I'm going to have, because I have science on my side. And when you're talking science, scientists, NOT conspiracy theorists, have my vote.

I mean, this is kind of a sickness. They see it everywhere. The government is in your food, your TV, your mind. It wants to eat you. And maybe it does. But why? Why would a shadowy organization want to poison your food? Let's take this back to square one, Descartes-style. How do you know these super-secret cabals are inherently evil? Is it because you're not a part of them? How do you know that the powerful goons meeting in that hotel weren't just there to swap info, make sure everyone was on the same (evil?) page, or orgy it up or pay respect to the Old Gods or any number of things? Why does it have to be about you, conspiracy theorist? Or us? And if it is about us, how do you know it's for the worst? I dislike rich white people as much as you do, but I'm also stupid. Don't assume that I just know the minds of the world's supervillains.

And Obama is not a supervillain. Not yet. He hasn't destroyed my spirit, or any of the things you claim he was put in office to do. I know I've given an absolutely stirring defense in the face of your facts (which I have not fact-checked, but my dog needed walking so I'll take your word), but what it comes down to is that I feel we need more time to see if he really is the fuck up that you say he is. Come back to me in a year, or two, and I'll give you my honest-to-God opinion.

Random endnote:

Whilst explaining Obama's evils to us, at one point they show his face, distorted, with lights shining from his eyes. My throat dried up and my stomach flipped, I don't do well with sudden, scary faces. When Lynch stretched out Laura Dern's face, then segued to the one creepy bleeding mouth thing in "Inland Empire" I was wrecked. Scariest moment in a movie ever, just in this weird paralyzing kind of way. Eesh.

Edit: I went to go find the picture from "Inland Empire" for you, and I saw it only momentarily and had to click away fast, that same indescribable fear coming back to me. I know, I'm a pussy. It's like the homeless guy in the diner scene from "Mulholland Drive" times ten.

Friday, March 27, 2009

to be read pile

So here's an idea I just came up with. I'm really disorganized with my reading. My bookshelf is overflowing. I have books sitting on my bed, on my endtable, in my bathroom, on the vanity, on the computer desk, couches, the table, and in my car. I'm usually reading about three or four at a time. I pick up whichever one and read. Typically this is a good system, I read what I feel like when I feel like it. But too much of a good thing can have consequences. Sometimes I forget I'm reading a certain book and it drops by the wayside. Forget about it for so long I can't pick it back up. This has happened with great books, like "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and recently with "The Kindly Ones". So I decided to make an official TBR pile. And to take its picture. And post it online. Maybe you could do the same, and we could share and geek about what we're currently reading?

Disclaimer: I'm not a reviewer. I don't really "review". I kind of babble about what I think is cool. So, yeah.

I recently finished these two:

"Last Days" by Brian Evenson and "The Cold Spot" by Tom Piccirilli.

"Last Days" is about a cop who loses an arm and gets wrangled into helping a group of mutilators solve a murder mystery. It is completely absurd and violent and awesome. You learn very little about any of the characters, the whole thing plays kind of like a dark dream, colored in dark greens and velvets and reds, where no one's really got a face. You get pulled along with the hero, who wants nothing to do with any of it, into the frying pan and then out for a quick lay-down in a hospital bed and then right back in. It's great. And it's a quick read, which is also awesome.

"The Cold Spot" is a revenge story about a dude who's been a wheelman since he was like ten who decides to become a schoolteacher until some shit goes down and he's gotta bust heads, with the help of his thief granddad. It's a pretty straightforward story, but Piccirilli is a fucking master storyteller, and if you didn't know that, well, now you do. The pacing in this thing is spot on. (I was going to change that last sentence. Because it's called "The Cold Spot". And it puts me in a weird place. Do I acknowledge the pun, do I let it slide?) Read it and take notes. Or just read it, and give me back my highlighter.

This is my current TBR pile:

I'm reading the top book, "Private Midnight" by Kris Saknussemm. Fun fact via Wikipedia: When Saknussemm's first book, "Zanesville" (which is Bizarro Gold) came out, there were rumors that "Kris Saknussemm" was a pseudonym for David Foster Wallace. This one, "Private Midnight", had the "James Ellroy meets David Lynch" quote I mentioned a few blogs ago. The prose, so far, has been stellar.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

food and poop

My hoodie smells like old spaghetti sauce. Combed the fabric, no sign of spaghetti stain. Rios informed me tonight that spaghetti sauce stains your teeth! Perfect. My teeth are yellow enough as it is. I brush them daily and nightly, I might need to bleach those suckers.

Ran with Kahlua. When I run, like really run, with the Black Lips loud and garage-y on my I-pod, until my chest burns, I get dizzy. I'm dizzy, still. Right now. Before I took Kahlua on our run/walk/sniffing adventure, I couldn't find any plastic bags for poop. We're out of old Wal-Mart bags. Tonight is the second night, in a row, that I've looked at an empty water bottle and thought, "I should use that for scooping poop." I have no idea why this thought comes into my head, but both times, immediately after thinking it, I reminded myself that I am fucking retarded. I settled for an old plastic Subway bag. Last night it was a Taco Bell bag. I get this weird feeling, when I glove my hand with a Taco Bell bag, and I grab the dump, it being all warm and hard, and the smell wafts up, double-helixing with the smell of Taco Bell Mild's a feeling like when you're in a bathroom and you're holding a drink and suddenly it isn't appetizing anymore because of that grimy piss smell. It's like that, yeah.

Endnote: "Quantum of Solace" kicked my ass in the action department (except for the first 2/3rds of the airplane chase and the fact that the last 2/3rds of the "Bond escapes the SWAT team" scene must be floating in the ether, somewhere), but suffered from severe structural problems. Put it this way, if it's bad enough that I notice, you have a problem with your structure.

kahlua did a flip

This morning I kicked my dog's ass. She does this thing, when we walk, if there's a smell or squirrel that she wants to get to, where she plants her feet and puts every ounce of her 30 pounds into scrambling over to it. I tend to stop her from doing this by planting my feet and pulling slightly, which eventually will get her to stop. Usually. Well, yesterday I decided I'd had enough, so when she went to do it this morning, trying to smell some grass, she planted her feet like a UFC fighter when they're getting taken down, distributing her body weight, leaning, hard, and I said "Fuck this," and actually PULLED.

It was awesome.

I can't explain the physics of it, but her legs went out from under her and she landed on her side and rolled once and hopped up and shook it off and continued walking with me.

Of course, my first fear was, "Oh shit, I hope nobody saw me do that." Which is probably sort of what parents feel when they first spank their kids in public. But then I rationalized it: I didn't hurt her, and am I really supposed to just let her do whatever the fuck she wants on a walk because I live in a neighborhood of nosy pussies?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I just got reamed in my taxes. Came out $11 in the green. TurboTax cost $64. So yeah. Last year Rios and I got like $400, so I'm really confused.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


School's coming up again, soon. I'll be back to the grind. I don't feel like I've rested much on this break. There was, however, Friday. Friday was good. Spent a few hours playing PS3 with the Chocolate Bear. Resident Evil 5 is really cool. We killed a lot of zombies and trolls and bat things with giant sac-pussies that spew yellow when you shoot them. Then Rios and we went to see "I Love You, Man." Which was really funny, and when it wasn't funny it had plenty of charismatic actors to watch. I'm listening to Lil' Wayne. Motherfucker I'm ill. Chermaine left his PS3 over here...I'm looking at it and getting tempted. But I won't, not tonight. I have to go sleep. I meant to do it thirty minutes ago, but then I was in the middle of a song by the Knife, and I like to pop my leg up on the computer tower to rest it, and I turned the machine off RIGHT when the song was getting really good. So I had to start it back up and listen to the song again. And by that point I'd gone to the fridge and gotten an applesauce and a water, and now here I am. My book is cool. It's going to be cool.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

flash intros

Authors: I am your target audience. I have ADD. My generation has ADD. We can pay attention, if we try, for a couple seconds, and that's it. So if we go to your website and we see a little loading bar, and it pauses at 30%, like it always does, we're moving on. If enough of us do this, that is a major loss of $$!

Just a thought, guys.

stop laughing through your nose, jackass

Walked Kahlua. Beautiful day. Ran into my professor of American Jewry, who is an extremely kind and intelligent guy, at the pond with his wife. She had a British accent, I think. Shook hands and exchanged niceties. Kahlua acted afraid and I laughed at her, only it was through the nose so I blew snot everywhere. This was followed by a couple seconds of awkward silence, then a parting of ways. You'd think the sting would be slightly dull considering the amount of times I've done this, but it's not.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

response to the liberal artistry question #1

Forgive me for not really touching on the religious aspect of this question, that's a whole different can of worms, one I'm slightly less equipped to answer, but I'm sure it would cast knowledge and belief in a more "Sylvester and Tweety" kind of light. I'll simply write about belief in a more general way, which makes the couple's relationship more symbiotic, and more fun for the whole family.

Beliefs are meant to be analyzed and tested every once in a while. Your brain is like a car, things need to be opened up and checked and fixed, it'll run smoother and longer.

We've gotta have belief, though, too. I have to sincerely believe that tonight when I go out to walk my dog that I won't float away like a balloon. I have to believe that, writing this, I won't get sucked into my computer, lost in cyberspace for all time.

So, having said those two things, I'd prefer to compare Knowledge and Belief to something less oppositional than two points on a line. Let me get out my metaphor bag. Here we go.

You gotta build buildings out of steel so that people can move fluidly through them without constantly worrying if the shack is going to tip over and kill everyone.

Once you've built the building though, you've got to tear ass through that thing at full speed. Preferably on a scooter. Every day, you've gotta peek in and say "Fuck you" to the boss. You've gotta be at the water cooler fraternizing, you've got to be punching clocks off the wall and zipping around changing everyone's screen saver to an LOLcat, something. Get out a slip and slide and have a party or get to work and figure out how to build a better building. Something with a pool. Indoor pools are the shit.

You are this person, Ambiguity, constantly evolving, thanks to Knowledge, in this building, Belief.

you don't deserve your money

What Should A Billionaire Give?

Peter Singer writes:

"A few years ago, an African-American cabdriver taking me to the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington asked me if I worked at the bank. I told him I did not but was speaking at a conference on development and aid. He then assumed that I was an economist, but when I said no, my training was in philosophy, he asked me if I thought the U.S. should give foreign aid. When I answered affirmatively, he replied that the government shouldn’t tax people in order to give their money to others. That, he thought, was robbery. When I asked if he believed that the rich should voluntarily donate some of what they earn to the poor, he said that if someone had worked for his money, he wasn’t going to tell him what to do with it.

"At that point we reached our destination. Had the journey continued, I might have tried to persuade him that people can earn large amounts only when they live under favorable social circumstances, and that they don’t create those circumstances by themselves. I could have quoted Warren Buffett’s acknowledgment that society is responsible for much of his wealth. “If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru,” he said, “you’ll find out how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil.” The Nobel Prize-winning economist and social scientist Herbert Simon estimated that “social capital” is responsible for at least 90 percent of what people earn in wealthy societies like those of the United States or northwestern Europe. By social capital Simon meant not only natural resources but, more important, the technology and organizational skills in the community, and the presence of good government. These are the foundation on which the rich can begin their work. “On moral grounds,” Simon added, “we could argue for a flat income tax of 90 percent.” Simon was not, of course, advocating so steep a rate of tax, for he was well aware of disincentive effects. But his estimate does undermine the argument that the rich are entitled to keep their wealth because it is all a result of their hard work. If Simon is right, that is true of at most 10 percent of it."

It's important, I think, to never forget the circumstances under which we were born. I was born in Springfield, VA, USA, to a brilliant, insanely loving mother (probably about as close to perfect as a person can get) and an equally brilliant father who worked hard to provide for us. Growing up, my mother and father read to me constantly, and worked with me to make sure that I was ready when school rolled around. Add to this mix the support of three grandparents and a gang of aunts and uncles all eager to help, and you could mention a silver spoon, totally.

So, here I am. I have opportunities. I was born in America to loving parents. I was lucky.

Not fair. Life's not fair. I know. But that ain't right.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Stood outside for what seemed like forever. Eric, me, Jason, and Scott. I was hungry, all I'd eaten was a Pop Tart. We talked a lot, various subjects. "Infinite Jest" seems to be going well for Eric. Jason and Scott are good.

The auditorium was mostly full. Wooden chairs sprawled out from a podium. We sat in the bleachers, because we figured it'd be easier to see that way. Kind of funny, waiting in line to go to the back of the room. Well, not the very back, but you know. Wedged in behind some old people. I wonder from time to time if our conversations might be offensive. We drop F bombs left and right.

There'll be a Q&A section afterwards and I think of the perfect question: "Mr. Dawkins. How do you feel about DP?" But it goes unasked. This leads to a unanimous decision from the group that DP is okay, as long as it's just one cock per hole.

We sit for a long time. I talk about a lot of things. How I suck at small talk. I'll hear people around campus, like, "Hey man. How are you." "Good." "How's Brian?" "Doing his thing." "You going to Matt's tomorrow?" "Nah, I got lacrosse." And they just go on and on. How? This shit stumps me. I have to be talking about something. But w/e.

Lecture begins. Dawkins gets the standing O. First thing we get is a movie about how Ben Stein sucks. It's a trailer for his movie "Expelled," only it's called "Sexpelled" and some clever dude went in and changed all the references of "intelligent design" to "stork theory", see, Dawkins views the evolution v. ID argument as analogous to: gravity v. "intelligent falling" or birth v. "stork." Anyway, the trailer goes on and on, and finally it gets to the end and it says "Ben Stein is" and the next card's supposed to say "Expelled,", but this same clever dude went in and put a card in that says, big letters, all caps, AN IGNORANT FOOL. Strikes me as petty. Crowd loves it.

Crowd also loves: everything, it seems. They applaud consistently. The crowd becomes divided: the clappers and those who find the clapping to be annoying and those who find those who find the clapping annoying, annoying. Nothing comes of it. Just an interesting thing to watch. The clapping I understand: it's a bottling up effect. If you're an atheist and you live in Oklahoma, you have to keep that shit on the low. This is Bible country, son. When you get a bunch of godless folks in a room together, for the most part, they are ecstatic, like, "My people!"

My back starts to bug me. I'm like, "Alright, guys."

Dawkins is old. Brushed back white hair. He proceeds through his lecture, "The Purpose of Purpose." It's basic biology stuff. We get a lesson in how evolution works. Dawkins says there are two forms of purpose, archaeo- and neo-, which is his "new spin", which I'm sure would've been interesting if it wasn't just a new way of putting old shit. More evolution stuff, and the lecture is over. I'm like, "What the fuck."

Q&A starts, and it's more interesting. At this point the back is killing me. The thighs too, and the ass is numb from the cheek to the lower back. Everyone, everyone kisses this dude's ass. "Thank you so much for coming to Oklahoma." Which I mean, I guess it's a nice thing to do, but I'm like, "Questions, people, where are your questions?"

In the middle of a question I hear, "Shut the fuck up!" really loud and I'm like WHOA. Crowd goes hush. A woman stands up, saying, "Security! This man has been bothering us the whole time..." blah blah. This nut in the crowd had been babbling I guess, and some dude lost his temper, but then crazy guy stood up, wearing denim, thin, carrying a big yellow legal pad, yelling something like, "I RENOUNCE YOU." Security escorted him out, the end.

Afterwards, we ate at Taco Bell. Then went to the bar. Topics included: Indy 4, suicide, drugs, would you fuck X to save Y, etc. I only spent $7.

And now, I sleep. Good night, folks.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

controversial new holocaust book

Written from the POV of a former SS officer. I bought "The Kindly Ones" when it came out and started it yesterday, after I finished "Last Days" by Brian Evenson (which was fucking awesome). I'm about 40 pages in, and so far nothing too horrible has happened...I've got about 960 pgs. left, so we'll see.

I am drawn to controversy. I buy the hype, and I buy the book, if I feel the subject matter is ballsy enough. It's the writing, of course, that has to see me through to the end, and so far Littell seems capable.

I'll let you know when I'm done.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

the midnight meat train

Dude. This movie was great, and actually spooky. The gore was over-the-top, but what surprised me was that it was well shot and even well acted. And it was directed by a Japanese guy, which is usually a good indicator that the acting will suck, because of, you know, the language barrier and whatnot. But it was good. It had slow-motion brain splatter, a POV decapitation, the grossest/most-painful-to-watch corpse mutilation ever, and a fight scene with knives in a subway car lined with hanging human cadavers. And it had Taub from "House" in it! Plus also Vinnie Jones from Lock Stock and the dickless dude from Hostel 2 and that one goofy guy from Xena. You know who I mean? If you do, then yeah. Rent this movie now, people. This is a classic.

Monday, March 2, 2009

article on david foster wallace's unfinished novel, "The Pale King"

Article on "The Pale King"


Today I was thinking about bidets. I want one.

Took a gnarly dump before school. Rolled the TP over my hand and wiped, unfortunately smearing a stillborn turd along my crack. I could tell it would've been at least a half a roll of wiping. So I hopped in the shower, squeezed some High Optimism orange body wash on my hands, and washed out my butthole.

Lemme tell you, my ass felt clean.

Don't think I could get one installed in the apartment. But, it will definitely play a factor when buying a home.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

amateur writer gives himself another tip at the expense of a far more talented, professional writer

Recently read something by an author whom I genuinely enjoy (I own both his books!), and I had some thoughts.

There's something to be said for poetic prose, dense with verbiage and metaphor. It's challenging and can at times be fun.

There's something more to be said for the prose that is streamlined and pocked with carefully placed, effective metaphors.

I know, I'm biased, because I'm a horridly slow reader, but I just don't feel like it's fair, with all those books out there, to spend a long time unpacking these thick paragraphs. But that's entirely my problem.

I think this goes without saying, but it's better to have written something that could be read in a day and remembered for two than something that takes three days to read and is never thought of again.


If a figure makes a statement that is taken out of context, she will go back to the beginning of her statement and reiterate, pointing out the significance of what she said and how it was originally intended v. how it was received. This can be looked at one of two ways:

1) She is backtracking.

2) She is clarifying.

Both of these statements are true. To further explain a mis-understood or -interpereted argument, you must "backtrack" in the sense that you have to begin back at the start of your original argument. You're also clarifying, taking something that was muddy or incomprehensible and making it clear, or trying to.

But "backtracking" brings to mind the deer-in-the-headlights, the stuttering, sweating fucker who's been caught and is now desperately searching for a way out. Clarifying is what an eloquent mind is able to do, through the power of metaphor or just a reduction in speed.

It's all bullshit, but I think the accusation of back-tracking is a bit flawed, it's suggesting that you knew this person's absolute meaning straight-off. Or at least, you read someone's interperetation of this person's meaning, and you really trust it, so certainly it MUST be true.

richard dawkins on campus

I am drinking a Yoohoo, and I am happy.

Richard Dawkins is at OU on Friday for a lecture/book signing! This guy right here, he'll be there. I'm really excited. First person I'll ever meet that has been a South Park character.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

writing tip from an amateur writer to himself


Don't follow rules on purpose.

Read as much literature as you can on how to write well. Read RAMAP (realistically as much as possible). But never make a conscious decision to follow a rule. Let what you read get inside you and influence you subtly.

Ex: There's a good rule out there about showing instead of telling. You can find it if you Google it, I'm sure. "Show me the character is angry, don't tell me she is." You get the idea.

Thing is, as soon as you delete a good line or interrupt the flow of your story because you've told instead of shown, or used a semicolon, or used the passive voice, that is where that rule has failed you as a writer.

Just write.


"ulysses" is not "the odyssey"

Went to three used bookstores. You know, to support independence. When I asked for "Ulysses", two out of the three stores took me to "The Odyssey" by Homer. The second store I went to actually offered me the comic-version for kids. The third store just didn't bother to help me.

This is sad. I mean, "Ulysses" is not an underground book. It was voted number one by the Modern Library in the top 100 English-language novels of the 20th century. It should have been known of by all these people.

Also, the older gentleman who ran the second store corrected my pronunciation of "Kafka." Cause I say it with a flat A. I'm thinking, sir, do you want to sell books?

Monday, February 23, 2009

angry last minute kirkland's lady

Have a bad feeling about work tonight. Like I might get the dreaded "customer complaint."

Old lady came in five minutes before close. Fat, scowling, bad news. This annoyed me. But you can't say, "Hey, we're closing." That'd be rude, right? Right. So anyway. I didn't say anything. I resolved that this woman would be there until 15 after, and I just had to deal with it.

She went up to the counter and set a candle down. Hallelujah! She's done! And it was only 9:02. I said, "Will that be all for you today?"

"No," she said, "that is NOT all for me today."


She gave me this impression that she knew damn well the mall was closing, and that she was aggravated about it, because the mall should stay open, I mean, she's buying a CANDLE, for God's sake. This is America and her business shouldn't be denied. This was leading her to insinuate things about me (i.e. that I wanted her the fuck out of there, which was true, but she couldn't know that, since I was playing it cool) that existed entirely in her head.

I stood at the register. She wandered a bit more. She said, "Is it time to close?" And you just would've had to have heard it. The tone said, "I wish I could murder you with a hammer."

At this point a mixture of rage and awkwardness was boiling in my brain. The rage is due to several factors, some of which don't seem to bother other people at all (those people have saintly patience and are much more cut out for retail work than me). My irritation at late-runners can be summed up as a matter of opportunity costs (this is for you, Chermaine):

LeBron James didn't go to college. Why is this? Because Nike offered him $100 million to not go to college. Though college wouldn't have costed him anything, the opportunity cost of not taking the Nike deal would've suddenly made the price of going to college about $100 million.

I can't tell you how much I make per hour. That'd get me in trouble. But let's say I make X amount of dollars an hour. My hours are 4-9:30, with 9 being the close time and the :30 (usually it's more like :20) is to close down the registers. Now, every day I work, every hour, there is an opportunity cost, Y. It's not always monetary. For example, when I'm at work tomorrow, I could be at home, vacuuming, or walking my wild pooch. But, I continue to go to work, because I need X more than I need Y. X > Y.

For me, once it's time to go, X < Y. At that point I feel like it's costing me more than it's worth to stay. Because you, the customer, must shop, now my dog gets a five minute shorter walk. Or my dishes go undone. Or my blog or novel goes unwritten. But you see what I'm saying. The opportunity cost begins to outweight the monetary X.

Also, the store is always empty the last twenty minutes. Come twenty minutes before we close. You'll have plenty of time to shop. It's maddening to me that the store is empty...empty...and then three people pop in at five-till. Jesus, folks.

Like I said, there was (well-contained/hidden) rage and awkwardness there. But the awkwardness was much more potent, you could feel it hanging in the air between us. I kind of stuttered, "Well, it's nine, but it's okay."

I rang her up. She picked up her candle and walked out. On her way out, she said, "I wish I had more time to shop," and then left. The whole vibe was really bad. But the funniest thing is that in this case I really didn't do anything. I kept my voice friendly, and smiled a lot. But still, I feel like the lady will call and complain. Because stores close. Which is totally uncool. Everything should be like Wal-Mart. Which is probably where her fat redneck trailer trash ass is used to shopping. I don't feel like that insult had enough bite. She was ugly and a poopy-pants. OOOOO. If she had the internet and could read she'd be totally pissed right now.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

a little DFW for your mind

Here are a handful of quotes from David Foster Wallace, followed by a fantastic article:

"Fiction writing's lonely in a way most people misunderstand. It's yourself you have to be estranged from, really, to work."

"You'll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do."5

"And I'm not saying that television is vulgar and dumb because the people who compose the Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests."7

The Fight: Considering David Foster Wallace Considering You

red tent/new tattoo idea

Rios had her red tent project tonight. I asked her how it went, and she said it was an overwhelming success. I'm very happy for her. She made the house look fantastic, she'll probably post pictures of it. My mother came to visit before I had to go work, bought me new work clothes. She is the best. Overall a good day. I am full of Italian food and I'm producing a good number of novel words.

Hope you are well.

Also: I've decided on my next tattoo. It will be a word tattoo that will say "Fail Better." It's from a Samuel Beckett quote:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

What font should I use?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

kenny glenn the cat abuser is from lawton

So Lawton's in the international news. Saw reports from Russian and Swiss and Brit channels. Why, do you ask? Well, Lawton is the home of a world-reviled cat abuser. Kenny Glenn put a video up on Youtube in which he beats the shit out of his pet cat Dusty. In the comments Kenny further fucks himself by dropping the N-bomb, which I can tell you, is typical of people in Lawton. Whether they're using it ironically or not, white people say "nigger" or its variations there (actually I've noticed it all over Oklahoma) all the time. Most people, however, don't abuse animals. The video got a shit-ton of views.

Watched the video, thinking how bad could it be? Not that animal abuse is ever palatable, but still...

The most disturbing thing about this is towards the end. Kenny, ski-masked up, is beating Dusty the cat in the shower, intermittently screaming and laughing. The cat is howling. So he picks it up by the neck and gets right in its face and he shrieks, "DO YOU HATE ME, DUSTY? DO YOU HATE ME?"

Something about that gave me chills like crazy.

I heard that his parents are rich and his punishment is going to be losing his dirtbike.

There are several sites already calling for the death of this kid. I'm not one to say what should be done, but I'd put money on this kid offing himself or otherwise biting it before sixteen. There's gotta be a death pool, somewhere.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

like god meets blowjobs

I hate the blurbs on books that say, "This book is like X meets Y." ex.: "This is like Charles Dickens meets Takashi Miike!" These quotes, if either of the variables are books that I enjoy, will never fail to hook me, I'm a sucker for "if you liked..." Amazon-style advertisements. The problem is that, when I begin to read, as soon as I get to a passage I feel is done poorly, I think, "Well, X wouldn't have done that, at all." And put the book down. It's awful.

I should stay away from blurbs. And book covers.

I picked up some Ken Bruen from the library on a whim. I like it! Takes a while to get into, the ultra-spareness of it, but it works, it's amazing how the mind fills in the blanks...


Last night I did two things. One, I went onto Myspace and deleted 400 people. The other is, I listened to metal music. Turns out I just don't like it anymore.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the last book you read before you die

In season 2 of "Lost" we're introduced to a character named Desmond Hume who lives in a bunker under the island. Not to get too complicated or spoilery (seriously, you should be caught up by now), but Desmond had been living in the bunker for three years, injecting himself with some kind of vaccine and inputting a code into a 70s-era computer every 108 minutes, (the code itself adding up to 108, being the numbers printed on The Swan bunker itself: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42, being the Valenzetti equation, being a sequence of numbers designed to predict the end of the world, being the subject of a book who's author died in the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, said book being bought up by one Alvar Hanso, shadowy Dharma Iniative spokesman, the DI being the strange organization that populated the island in the 70s with the goal of harnessing the islands intense electromagnetic/time traveling's a dense show). In one of the episodes, I forget which, Desmond refers to "Our Mutual Friend", Charles Dickens' last book, which he intends to make the last book he'll ever read. I want to do the same thing! But I don't know which book it should be.

My candidates so far:

2666 by Roberto Bolano

The Bible by God

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Ulysses by James Joyce

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (appropriate, right?)

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

I don't know. Give me some more ideas. What would yours be?


I feel the sudden need to vent.

I've read every damn article I've been given for my History of Women in the American West class. Every. Single. Article. Yesterday was the first time I fell a little behind. It was also the first day the professor said, "I told you to come to class prepared, so let's answer these questions about the article. Turn in your answers in 15 minutes for a grade."

I have a Calc. test today. My printer ran out of ink a few days ago. I bought the new cartridge and put it in and went online to print off some practice questions, and of course the entire site is down. I'll still pass the test, but you know.

When shit like this happens, I'm fucking convinced someone is out to get me. I mean, the HWAW class incident makes me want to rip someone's head off.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Got drunk at a bowling alley today. Bottle of Bud Light = 3.50 vs. pitcher = 7.00. I got the pitcher. And drank it. Did a little bowling. I'm a horrible bowler! Someone should teach me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Some bad weather today. Tornadoes in Edmond, Yukon, Mustang, and south OKC. Almost nobody in the store. The few people that did come in, I couldn't help but wonder if they weren't a little crazy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Dinner tonight: Chunky Clam Chowder, beer.

I highly, highly recommend Chunky soups. Fills you up right.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

global warming

I used to subscribe to a blog called Wizbang. My thought process tends to lean far left, so I figure I should read something to balance it out. They took a breather from their constant Obama nit-picking (read the blog, you wouldn't believe some of the things these guys gripe about) to write a blog about global warming. The guy who wrote it was actually from Oklahoma City. Now, a couple weeks ago, we got some bad weather. Freezing rain, ice, the whole nine yards. So the guy's post was basically "LOL so much for global warming, huh?" Never mind that a few days before the freezing rain it was in the 70s. In January.

But that's all beside the point. Global warming is a bit more complex then, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE LOL or even the opposite. Since I'm feeling petty, though, I feel like I have to post this.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I've decided to forgo shaving until I'm done with a novel. I will grow a beard until I have something completed. Already it is scraggly. Bugging me. I don't know how other people's facial hair grows, but mine is very similar to pubic hair. Curly and bunchy. I use a lime green comb to tame it.

I read very slowly, in fact I gave up reading this year, in the interest of using that time to write more. But, for some strange reason, I've nearly finished two books in two days. Here they are:

Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate by Brad Warner. I actually got excited, in Macroeconomics today, when I remembered that this had come out a few days ago. Knocked out over half of it after dinner.

Jake's Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow. Crazy televangelist comes back from the dead and starts crucifying and punching holes through people. I tear through shit like this quick, even if I don't like it. This one I do like, a lot. Never read any John Skipp (which seems like a wrong that should be made right), but I think I might be in love with Cody Goodfellow. His Radiant Dawn and Ravenous Dusk novels were amazing, and now this. He's also got a series of blog posts about writing over here: that I like better than Brian Keene's World Domination 101 posts from a while back, which you should know were also really, really good.


Democrat does something that Republican disagrees with. Republican whines. Democrat says, "Hey, it was never a problem when Bush was in office, why is it a problem now?" Republican says, "When Bush was in office, you guys could never shut up about it, so why is it NOT a problem now?"

And the snake eats its tail.

smart choices

Successfully acquired FOTC tickets. Close to the stage. Rios is happy. Currently I am eating chips. Cheddar. There is a green "SMART CHOICES" circle on them, in which there is a white check mark with a dot near its vertex, which I believe is conveying that happy white people enjoy this snack.

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 things

From Facebook:

Write 25 random things about yourself. Then tag 25 people.

1) I don't believe in ghosts. But when I lived in Germany, the apartment we lived in, that shit was haunted.

2) I love to look at expensive pens and watches. Mont Blancs and Rolexes, yes yes. Also, Obey came out with a pen recently that's pretty sharp.

3) My skin is dry. I have to use several Bath and Body Works lotions to keep myself from flaking. One time, when I was in 4th grade, the class was standing in line to go to Art, and I watched a couple black girls ask a kid if they could see his hands. I thought this was weird. When he showed them his palms they screamed and he clenched his fist and pulled it back to his chest. I saw his hands, the skin was peeling off, it was gross. But I hated the girls. I was looking at the ash on my hands today and thinking about that. I don't know why I'm so dry. I think it's a combination of the Oklahoma air and the water in my apartment complex. It's rusty, and if I go too long my shower curtains will look straight Silent Hill.

4) When I sit down and the crotch of my pants bulges out, I'm afraid some people will think it's my penis.

5) I like the ideas behind a lot of books. I like about .005% of them in execution. Picky, yes. I will read one bad sentence and toss the book. Borges said it best, you've got millions of books out there, if you're reading one and it starts to suck, toss that shit.

6) I hate the fact that I get red when I get drunk. It's embarrassing.

7) Kahlua is going to be cremated when she dies. I'm going to wear her ashes in a little globe around my neck.

8) I don't brush my teeth for anywhere close to long enough in the morning.

9) Movies don't interest me much, anymore. It makes me sad, but there's nothing out there that excites me. I'd like to see more Jodorowsky-ian or Lynchian stuff, minus all the boring parts. On that note, since this is kind of the movie fact-about-me, lemme give this baby rant: Don't you hate it, in movies, when you figure something out, then the movie flashes back to all the appropriate scenes to remind the other viewers what's going on? It cheapens it. It's like when you did extra credit in high school, and your gym coach/teacher walks into class, hungover, and says, "Fuck it. Everyone gets extra credit." And you, little douche nozzle that you are, say, "But I did the work..."

10) I have destroyed 92% of everything I've ever written. Once again, I'm picky. So it's embarrassing when the stuff that makes it through is still sub-par.

11) I want to go to Burning Man this year. I hear Rosario Dawson goes. But that's not why I want to go, Rios.

12) In high school I was a music snob. Now I like most things. Listened to Blink-182 tonight, for example.

13) Told myself I'd never watch "Lost." Now I'm almost caught up. Shit is compelling, if you're like me and love the idea of a polar bear on a tropical island, or black smoke that kills people.

14) Tonight I saw a guy bust his ass in the parking lot of Hastings. He laid there for a while. I laughed. Later, as I was browsing the used books, I saw that EMTs had come, and the dude was in a neck brace. I didn't really feel one way or another, except I was a bit curious to see if the man looked embarrassed. He didn't.

15) I'm one of the only people I know that likes cottage cheese. High in protein.

16) Used to play the guitar, a lot. Haven't played seriously in about a year. That doesn't bother me.

17) I like the idea of Hunter Thompson more than his writing. The two-thumbed fist is cool, too.

18) I've had the same Netflix movie sitting on my computer for a few weeks.

19) Can't stand it when people don't pick up their dog's shit. Honestly people, that is some seriously gross nonsense. Bring a little bag with you. Pick it up. Put it in the trash. It is not hard.

20) I can't tell two people with down syndrome apart. They are like the Chinese of the mentally handicapped world.

21) There are times when I'm convinced, no matter what, that anything I do will suck. This is when I clean, because with dishes, it's either done or it's not.

22) I have a strange obsession with Russians, but I think I'm even more interested in Western culture's interpretation of Russians.

23) Frustration sets in when people start to talk about God.

24) I try not to judge people. If they say they read the New Yorker, sure, they probably read it. Then they say it again and I can't stop the thoughts, they're like a flood: Nobody reads the New Yorker. Nobody has time to read the New Yorker. Nobody has...then I remember that I'm the guy who thinks it's funny, every time, when my dog drops her ball in my pants when they're around my ankles, when I'm pooping. Maybe some people read the New Yorker, don't judge.

25) David Foster Wallace committing suicide had a profound effect on me. There's the word: PROFOUND. I was deeply upset about it, but I still don't think I can articulate why. Bolano's dead, but that's never bothered me, I never received his transmissions "in real time", it was all after the fact. That's part of what makes his books so enigmatic, I guess. Who wouldn't be interested to read the words of a guy that knows he's dying? On the other hand, to read the words of a brilliant mind "in real time", and to have that mind shut down, unexpectedly, it's like a hole opened up somewhere in the upper-right-hand corner of reality, and you can't close it up. It's not that big of a deal, but if I think about it too much it'll make me sad.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


We got snow here. At least, I think it's snow. I've heard rumors of "globules". Don't think I buy that. It's snow, and ice, and we Oklahomans suck in it. I nearly busted my ass walking into Happy Garden (which, by the way, is now offering shockingly smaller portions...the whole reason I go there is because 1 meal at Happy Garden typically = 4 meals). Rios busted her ass on the steps, thanks to Kahlua almost busting/panicking. Rios's fine, but Kahlua has looked guilty for the past two days.

School's been canceled for three days. This is good, it's given me time to study Calculus 2. Why on earth I thought I could take Calc 2 w/o Calc 1...I thought the math I had in El Paso was equivalent. I was mistaken. I've never just dropped a class, but this is starting to seem like a bad idea. And it's a setback, college-wise, but fuck it, I will probably be in college until the Great Serpent begins Its (His? Her?) new cycle.

Conspiracy theory: the entrance to our little apartment complex is covered in ice and snow because of The Man. I've stalled twice trying to get in. The entrances to the neighborhood across the street, which also happens to be the kind of neighborhood where, if you walk past the fences really quick and make that flip-book effect, you can see their swimming pools/grills/dogs, is clean as a whistle, and I know this, because I turned around in this neighborhood to get at my entrance from a different angle. Obviously, this is classism.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

torture collar

Today I was walking Kahlua and we passed by an old woman walking her golden retriever. She said, "Oh, my, look at the pretty puppy. She's so pretty. How are you? What do you have on your face? Why does she have that on her face?"

Kahlua is a crazy beast, and I got tired of listening to her strangle herself on her normal leash, so I bought her the Gentle Leader, which looks like this:

And it keeps the pressure off of her neck. She walks like a normal dog when its on.

The old woman said, "I hate that. I think that makes dogs mean. She's a good dog, she probably doesn't even bark."

I just nodded and told her to have a nice day. Why do random people throw their two cents in all the time? I watched this woman let her dog shit in someone's yard, and she didn't pick it up. But did I say anything? No, I minded my own business.

btw I looked online and this thing has gotten like 95% glowing reviews. The one bad review I read was from a guy who (shock!) was trying to sell his own brand of dog collar.

Monday, January 19, 2009

good day

Kahlua and I walked far, and I wrote like a madman. Worked a little, too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I got sick last night at about 3:30. Lots of diarrhea. Then, in the morning, my whole body ached. Then I started vomiting. I'm finally starting to feel better. Rios is an amazing nurse. She stayed with me all day. When I feel better I shall buy her a pizza.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I uploaded a shit ton of pictures over at Facebook.

One thing that's really hard to convey through the pictures is the vastness of these caverns. They made me feel very small. It was an amazing experience.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I walked Kahlua tonight. Usually on our walks we don't see anybody. Tonight I noticed three joggers and two other dog walkers. Kids have Christmas, where they get toys and play with them the next day and then get tired of them, it's the exact same with adults and resolutions. Everybody's out playing with their resolution tonight, but tomorrow?

Here's my list that I'll hopefully stick to:

Be positive.
Eliminate a couple annoying OCD tics.
Work out more.
Write more.

New Year's Eve was amazing! The Flaming Lips are always great.