Saturday, October 4

Cleaning up

I'm going through the "What I'm Reading" (my blog rolling list) and removing some that haven't been updated lately (as in months). I am trying to add new ones I'm following. Nothing to exciting. I apologize to those that got the boot. Nothing personal.

To keep you entertained, here's a video of a pig doing stuff.


I may or may not be sick today. To be honest, I think it is just gas. Yes, I'm farting a lot.

To make myself feel better I'm looking at Star Wars inspired art. Then I'm going to finally get around to watching Spaced.

Hopefully I will feel better for tonight. A.W.'s birthday and then Fat Penguin's anniversary/Fwand reunion show (115 MacDougal Street, 10:30pm, $5). Don't want to miss that.

I farted three times while making this post. Sigh.

Friday, October 3

NaNoWriMo & Omens

While I was writing my first novel for NaNoWriMo, I received a phone call from my friend Jake. He delivered the news that someone I had dated for a short period of time had died on an overdose. (I blogged about this back then.) The point being that I had been writing for a few weeks about regret and death and ends. I'm not saying that her death was a sign. Heck, she'd died a year and a half before I heard about it. But perhaps Jake's call was. Or I at least took it as one.

I just this week decided what I want to write this year. Stories and dreams and memories and beginnings. Today I get a Facebook message from a woman I dated back in 1989-1990. She's been looking through old, old papers and found a file titled "Tales to Sleep." My memories of that file is pretty slim and vague. They were short stories I wrote for her. Specifically to be read out loud to help her get to sleep. Bedtime stories. Fairy tales of sorts.

She wrote me to ask if I wanted copies (if I didn't have any, which I don't). And to tell me she was going to read through them to see if any her son might like to hear in the future. She's been married for awhile now and her son is one. The idea that those stories were all but lost but now have been rediscovered and might be read by/to her child fills me with joy. The whole concept of the stories and their rediscovery fits right into what I want to write about. Eerily so.

And I am taking it as a sign. The NaNoWriMo muse is definitely looking out for me.


When the federal prison system banned smoking in 2004, prisoners had to find besides cigarettes to use for barter. They settled of "macks" or cans/pouches of mackerel. Seriously.

The Wall Street Journal article "Mackerel Economics in Prison Leads to Appreciation for Oily Fillets."

Something to think about in these trying economic times.

(via Boing Boing)

I'm Just A Bailout Bill

The voice is dead on. Link.

(via Ross Bergman)

How to win by not losing

(via Wonkette)

Lil' O'Reilly

(via Fred Garvin)

For dad

The My Little Pony Project

(via Eliza ala gChat status)

(Bonus points to Eliza for pointing out to Gov Palin, "
You know Goose dies, right? Goose dies.")

Spore without intelligent design

Darwin@HOME is a project that uses idle personal computer power to do a whole lot of simulating of artificial life. (Much like SETI@HOME uses that power to sort through radio data from space to see if any of it is from, well, aliens.) They started with simulating something simple: locomotion. How to walk. How to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Plans are to expand it into a competitive world. Getting food. Hunter and prey. The good stuff. So a lot like the early stages of Spore but without the meddling human input.

(via Kottke via Boing Boing)

(Warning: Boing Boing has quite a few interesting things posted this morning. I try to not make this blog just a Boing Boing reposting site... today I expect to fail.)

Thursday, October 2

Tonight! On TV!

In prep to watch the debates, I turned on the tv early. The channel was already on Fox. And on Hole In The Wall.

Um, yeah.

The contestants where three women from Rock of Love and three women from Flavor of Love. Let me tell you, some classy tv. And early commentary from the host after one woman succeeded in fitting through a martini glass shaped hole: "This is probably not the first time Amber has gotten on her knees for a martini." Super classy.

On the other hand I wish I could play this the next time I was drunk. It's like playing a human-sized version of Perfection.

Later I realized I missed Jerry Van Dyke on My Name Is Earl. The Dick Van Duke Show is still perhaps my favorite sit-com and Jerry was always a favorite character. Can't say I was a huge fan of him on Coach.

The debate was actually pretty interesting. Neither screwed the pooch, but of course the bar had been lowered so low for Palin. It was going to be a success for her if she didn't have to break out a Magic 8 Ball for her answers. Biden was pretty straight forward and concise. Palin has learned that if you don't know the answer to a question, just answer a question that wasn't asked.

I am glad I decided not to do the drinking game. I am pretty sure Biden decided people might not be drunk enough near the end and said "maverick" eight times in one answer.

I am interested to see FactCheck tomorrow. I am pretty sure Palin kept getting the name of the general in Afghanistan wrong. Not that any of that matters to 99.9% of the population (on either side).

Palin v Biden. Now with less booze.

I got pretty drunk during the first Obama/McCain debate. Sadly, the VP debate is on a Thursday so not getting wasted for me tonight.

At first I was more excited about this debate (the way on gets more excited watch amateur demolition derby that the Indy 500), but I have a feeling there won't be any huge flubs. The format is to geared to pat short answers and will have very little follow up. There just won't be as much chance for disasters. Sigh.

It has been mentioned that Palin is the comedy gift that doesn't stop giving. I was going to post some of 1000's on Palin related internet crap... but Wonkette beat me to it and did it better. So just go there.


As I mentioned on Tuesday, I was linked to to a few popular sites. First was From that Preston and Steve and then Boing Boing. Getting linked by Boing Boing made me particularly happy considering the amount of stuff I get from there. Yes, it wasn't for anything I wrote or created. It was a video of a crab riding a jellyfish. But traffic is traffic.

Looking at the stats are a bit depressing.
It looks like the blog didn't exist before Tuesday. 40 to 80 hits a day get a bit washed out by the 11,000+ hits. And of course very very few of the visitors looked at any page beyond the crab/jellyfish. Over the last three days, A Crab Riding A Jellyfish has been visited 15,263 time. The main page has been visited 404. Needless to say I'm expecting to be back o 40 to 80 visits by the weekend.

Ah, the internet.


I think I've stumbled upon what I am going to write for NaNoWriMo. The inspiration came from a weird place, as ideas often do. I was on the subway the other night, attempting to read. A lone empty 20oz. plastic soda bottle (most likely Sprite but hard to confirm since the label had been torn off, leaving just the white remnant scraps that are usually left) was rolling back and forth through out the car. Just enough fluid remained to make it's journey and trajectory erratic and unpredictable. It was late and no one in the car cared to be bothered by the bottle as it made its travels to and fro. Occasionally a passenger, when confronted by the vessel rolling up to them like a cat begging for attention, would kick it away or try to nudge it under the benches in vain hope that it would remain there.

For some reason I spent a fair amount of time that bottle and the people. I began to think about how it is pretty and odd and playful and how everyone was all but pretending it didn't exist. I pictured the scene, describing it in my head. And then, for no reason, I thought, "The pooka next to him fiddled with his Nintendo DS, tiny fox claws making tik-tac noised on the buttons."

The whole idea is still being fleshed out in my noggin. It is a world idea I kind of like. Nothing very original. I plan to treat it a bit different than I've seen before. Kind of Alien Nation meets War for the Oaks. Honestly not all the different in tone from the books I've written before... except probably more marketable. Somehow my biblical revisionist New York romantic comedy horror genre wasn't setting the lit world on fire.

Anywhozits, there is still a month left before November. Plenty of time for me to change my mind or to realize that the idea is shallow and totally lacking subtlety.

Wednesday, October 1

Jesus Use Me

From the pretty amazing LP Cover Lover site. This could be another improv form (the site, not "The Faith Tones"... although I take dibs of that has a team name).

(via Boing Boing)

Temptation of Neil/Neal

I went to the bookstore yesterday. Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson both have new books out. Two of my favorite authors. Joy of joys. (I really wanted to call this post "The Two Neals" or "The Two Neils." I tried a version of "The Two Neials" but it really didn't make any sense.)

Gaiman has finally published The Graveyard Book which has yet another story that I wish I had thought of first – Boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard. It's like The Jungle Book of the Dead. But I have long come to terms that any clever idea I have will have been thought up by Gaiman first.

Compared to Gaiman's standard sized book (320 pages), Stephenson's Anathem is a beast (960 pages). It also defies easy description. Something about the far future, math monks, immortality, god I don't know what else. I have long come to terms that I could never come up with Stephenson's ideas.

I bought neither. I am still reading Infinite Jest. I am loving it but it is a work out. It is hard to read Jest "casually." I am trying to really pay attention this time and not skim over the more difficult sections (like, say, 10 pages with only half a dozen punctuation marks). It would be very easy to "take a break" and read something else... but then I'd never get back to it.

Sigh. Well, at least I have books to look forward to in 2009.

Tuesday, September 30

The Merciless Pepper of Quetzalzatenango

Chef dies after eating 'super hot' chili.

Andrew Lee, 33, challenged his girlfriend's brother to a contest on September 19 to see who could make and eat the hottest sauce, London's The Times reported.

The forklift driver from Edlington, West Yorkshire in England, made a tomato sauce with red chillies grown by his father, but after eating it suffered intense discomfort and itching.

Mr Lee went to bed and asked his girlfriend, Samantha Bailey, to scratch his back until he fell asleep.

When she woke in the morning he was dead, possibly after suffering a heart attack, The Guardian said.

(via Boing Boing)

1) I really like spicy spicy food. Oddly, it was easier to get super spicy in Minneapolis than in New York City. There was a place there where you could ask for "1 through 5" (1 being bland, 5 being coma). I usually had 4. One day my friend Matt and I got into machismo "I want mine slightly spicier than his" thing. That was the first time I felt ass-burn on the other end.

2) My dad and I would do this machismo thing in the past. We have both gotten over it.

3) My dad once bought peppers at a Mexican market in L.A. for salsa. The type of peppers you need to wear gloves to handle. I am not speaking with hyperbole. The pepper juices got into his skin and stung.

4) Back in the early eighties, before everyone was eating sushi, my mom brought be a big thing of sushi to school for my birthday. My friends watched in fascination/horror as I ate raw fish. One kid asked what that green stuff was. I said, "Avocado. Go ahead. Take a big bite." He did. It was wasabi. I still thing it was funny.

5) This was the same kid who decided to crush up Zots ( the center of which are a bit like Pop Rocks but more fizz and less pop) and snort them.

6) To add sweetness to a chili at a chili contest, my father once decided to use marshmallow as the "secret" ingredient. My father also once tried to / did feed a marshmallow to my sister when she was a baby.

7) The Guatemalan Insanity Pepper episode of The Simpsons is one of my favorites

8) Some of these stories my be slightly distorted due to my crappy memory.

Well, hello fark

I used to go Fark all the time. For some reason I stopped.
Well, this morning I suddenly notice a tiny jump in traffic. You know, the standard 80 or so hits a day jumped to a thousand.

Things that have driven traffic here in the past:
• The phrase "scrotal suspension."
• The M.I.T. Triforce hack.
• Mentions of Mythbusters slash fiction.
• Any mention of Gordon Freeman.
• And now, a crab on a jellyfish.

I get very few hits from talking about improv or politics.

Edit: Because of a nice comment, I double checked the analytics and, yes, I am also getting a ton of traffic from Preston and Steve. The fact is, everyone loves animals riding on other animals. Cat on a dog. Mouse on a duck. Monkey on frackin' anything. Why is that?

Monday, September 29


I've be looking through this fascinating collection of "pulp" magazine covers. Hundreds of covers. This stuff is gorgeous. The colors and composition. "Evocative" is the word. Each cover immediately sends you into a world. Here are just a few that stood out to me.

Oh, jesus! A giant flying buzz saw of death!
I believe this one is pretty famous. This is what aliens look like in my nightmares (except without the weird duck feet).
Why are albino gorillas so freaky? Even ones that look to fat to stand up and can only throw rocks?
Temptress of Planet Delight! Or is it Deliyht? Or Deliyhj? Either way, I love the composition. The flowing of her yellow dress like flames balanced by the harsh orange-yellows of the explosion below.
I have no idea what to even say about this one except you can see why Congress was worried about the effect it was having on the nation's youth.
Okay, not great art. But art to not post.

It occurs to me that this all has the making of yet another improv project I probably won't get around to: Randomly select any of the covers from this collection and use that as the suggestion. After that it pretty much works its own magic.

(via Papa Scott)

Mystery Team

I have a weakness for kid detective stories. Harriet the Spy, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc etc.. In fact for a few years now I've wanted to write a play about Encyclopedia Brown at age 34. Something dark and noir.

Clearly this isn't a very original idea. And I never found any good hooks.

I also like Derrick Comedy. Dominic Dierkes was a long time (and extremely pivotal) coach for Thank You, Robot. Also all three of them are extremely nice and generous. (And, yes, extremely funny.)

So I can't hold the plot of their first upcoming feature film against them. Because it is something I wish I had done first. And is something tailored to me.

Here's the trailer: