26 November 2006

Time doesn't pass well for me

Rereading old writings to influence and kick my new writings in the ass, I came across my thoughts from the end of last year. Honestly, roll the dates ahead a year and update the latest consumer-necessary products, and it's equally relevant. And I'm listening pretty regularly to the same music I was evenly affected by last year. Progress is [something].

Originally published in The Tack, December 2005:

Ever get the feeling that end-of-the-year lists are being dishonest? Like when somebody names their “10 Best Albums of 2005,” and it’s really just the nine albums they listened to that were released in the last year, then some album that was “so good in 2004 that it should count in 2005 too?” I don’t like those types of people.

But there really are those out there who can’t make decisions on their own, and need a wrap-up list to guide them towards a certain choice or action. Of course, you’re not like that; you’re lucky enough to have me. So read on as I tell you what you should be doing instead of perusing top ten lists this winter.

Invent holidays to fill in worst holiday-less stretches. There are a few times each year when neither the post office nor the church has a holiday for a whole month. By inventing your own, you can decide when you’re celebrating, and for what purpose. You can even use the classic “Seinfeld” example: “Festivus—for the rest of us.” Make sure to give your holiday an intriguing name. Mine is called Deep-Fried Day, and it coincidentally takes place on December 2nd. The idea behind it is that you take anything you’ve got left from your Thanksgiving reenactment and deep-fat-fry it till golden brown. Why? Because I really don’t see Americans eating enough fried foods, nowadays. Plus, it breaks up this cold and cheerless holdover between Mr. Turkey and Santa.

Celebrate on fiscal time. Nothing says family tradition like reviewing your favorite company’s first quarter balance sheet, right? Try to prepare yourself for fluctuating interest rates, a dangerous yield curve, economies of scale…being indicted on fraud. You can even play Monopoly as a fun, but practical and realistic, diversion away from the office. Have a countdown of when the American markets close, and go wild—not too wild, as you’ve got work in the morning.

Make a “Worst of 2006” List. This is obviously a curveball to everyone who hasn’t finished out 2005 yet. They’ll be expecting to find stuff out there that has already happened; instead, you’ll provide them with the tragedies of the coming year. I would suggest staying vague; “Dragons will unleash a firebombing attack before being killed off by a gang of rogue astronauts” probably won’t get many people to subscribe to your future ideas. Stick with disappointments: “The government will disappoint,” “Hollywood will disappoint,” and “Disappointment of the decade: Chickens.”

Make a “Best Year of 2005, not including 2004” mock list. Everyone loves a little satire, so instead of reading the other expected clichés, define yourself as different when you make a list with one item on it, “2005.” For an even harder hitting story, name 1964 the best year of 2005; 1964 has had a good year, don’t deny it.

If you’re feeling ambitious, try combining two ideas to form an even better one. For example, predict that in 2006, our government will finally realize our lack of interesting holidays, and in effect invade a celebratory country like…Ireland. That way, come mid-March, Americans will rightfully own the holiday we’ve been calling our own all these years.

For every publication out there that includes something I’ve enjoyed in the last year, there’s another three describing Ashlee Simpson’s latest CD as “noteworthy.” There are so many differing opinions floating around that people are bound to disagree. During this holiday season, that is painfully irresponsible when you consider every American’s civic duty—to consume as much as possible. Because seriously, we can’t have all this individuality floating around when there are Xbox’s to be bought.

I have $4 in my wallet.

I got a dvd for $5 on Black Friday. An' then I got another dvd for $6. An' then I got another dvd for $10, an' another for $6 an' a fifth for $10. An' then I got a picture card, allowing me to take 1200+ self-posed arm-length portraits.

Big things are coming up, closely related to actual posts and pretty things to look at. I've been too busy lately recording my acapella, improvisational covers album; more on that to come as well. It'll be glorious, as long as we're all still around to share in my humiliation.

14 November 2006

Woohoo Capitalism

What would one do if one were to find themselves in a giant jar of applesauce? Would one eat one's self out until one's feet touched the bottom, or would one accept their fate and drown (in an admittedly embarrassing fashion) in watery apple corpses?

The answer: none of the above, as all reasonable people know that giant applesauce jars only lead to trouble, and leaning down into one for a taste is not worth the risk when that same company probalby also makes convenient smaller sizes. That's just pure economics, right there.

09 November 2006

The beginning is an end and the end is a real fucking story.

For the last eight days, I did my best working Joe impression. Today I’ve done nothing but play video games, drink pop and sit on my (amazing) couch. I heard a little bit about the news, though I didn’t want to. It sounds like the bullshit meter is shifting to the opposite direction—the “vote for change” strategy worked, and as a result we’ve got a different brand of glad-handing and power-hunger. I’m honestly happy for Nancy Pelosi, though I don’t think it’ll change much. Donald Rumsfeld resigning is a bit more significant, I think, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are still politicians doing public servants’ jobs.

One added bonus of the election passing—there’s finally air-time for this year’s most consumer-whore-worthy products. I hear there’s another Elmo, but I’ve also heard it looks like he’s furiously pleasuring his cookie monster. So who knows?

Some of you could possibly be sympathetic to the fact that I’ve been rather successful at writing a bit of bullshit (“fiction”) lately, which doesn’t mean much for my less-bullshitty writings here but does suggest a possible second attempt at embarrassment: “Thank you for applying, but you’ve failed to convince us that you’re good at making shit up. Stop writing, most importantly of all, failure-boy. Thanks, though, for your application fee. Our new slacks look ter-rific. -Your Nine Potential MFA Programs.”

I saw a Colbert-like college humor show on YouTube tonight, from Indiana U. called “F’n Democracy.” I was in the mood to see a different take on politics after watching the Daily Show/Colbert Report’s joint coverage repeat from Tuesday night. Instead, it was a show of Stephen Colbert fans trying to be Stephen Colbert but, inevitably, not. It was sad. I know I have constant moments of Daily Show reference (I do post the fucking clips, after all) but when I write I don’t try to channel anybody. It’s counterproductive to use someone else’s ideas to inform your own.

I’ve been thinking and writing a lot lately about originality. Mostly, I’m guessing, because I don’t have much myself presently. The process for the last month of posting here has been “think about something, forget it, rediscover the idea with the basic inspiration for it, write something down straight through, smear some shit on it, then post. Repeat.” Nowhere in there do I draft my idea into a literate argument or essay, both of which I’d like to think I aspire to do. Beyond spelling mistakes (‘cuz you’re all assholes) and cliché-checks (in the loosest possible way), I’ve no idea what I’ve been writing lately. But I’m guessing it’s better than whatever you think is better than not being right. See? I’m not even trying.

However, like I hinted at earlier, I’m writing and drafting fiction better lately. And, since I’d love to see this be my whore-hole of mongering my saleable fiction to a reasonably-paying audience, I thought I’d whet a few minds with the equivalent of a teaser trailer—the introduction to my current project. As a note, I am completely serious with this. It has a middle [and maybe, someday, an end] to it that makes it a legitimate short story. Try to follow along.

"Two Dollar Cover"

So there’s this guy, right? And he’s applying for a marine biology job. And he goes into the interview, and the interviewer asks him where he went to school, and the guy says that he went to one of the best marine biology schools in the world, renowned, expert trainers, the works. And the interviewer’s eyes light up. Like THIS!, and he goes, “Well that’s great! So you have a lot of experience!” And the guy is like, “Not exactly.” So the interviewer says, “But I thought you went to one of the best schools in the world, renowned, expert trainers, the works?” And the guy goes, “yeah, in Mon-TANA,” and the interviewer, speaking in a British accent, says “Many oceans around those parts?”
Water is a funny thing, am I right? I’m not just talking oceans; I’m talking all the water, everywhere. Because you need to drink it, and your body is made up of water, and so is the earth. But then there are places like the Grand Canyon, where that river has snaked through there, wearing away at the rock. ER-O-SION. So how come our throats don’t erode away? Ever think of that? If we drink water so much, and we need it so bad, how come we don’t have holes in our throats? Like those smoker people! Can you imagine that? Having to get a voice box and telling kids not to drink water! Water kills! No?
Okay, even better: last week, I was downtown and I paid a hooker $100 to perform a sexual act on my—

“I’m going to have to stop you there.”

06 November 2006

Goal des goals

This has college inside joke reminder written all over it. Good singer, this guy.

Exactly like "Rocky," if you replace the ball with Apollo Creed's face. And Sly Stallone with a bunch of English dudes. And all the bad dialogue with unintelligible foreign dialogue.

05 November 2006

An "I could do that" moment...

...if I only had a ticket to Rome, helicopter, photorealistic memory, 5-yards of paper, an iPod, three days off and the scary-amazing talent of this guy.

01 November 2006

I cannot feel my toes

The Culture Bully has an amazing post (and a shitload of mp3s) about the Decemberists on NPR. I’ve been “into” NPR’s live concert series since it started about a year ago, mostly because they have bands on it that I like to listen to the music of. On it. Like, playing instruments. The Decemberists are once again appropriate for the weather outside, as temperature obviously directs what I listen to; it’s frostbity outside, so The Decemberists and their chilly splendor fit. And also, I was this-fucking-close (fairly close) to interviewing the band a few weeks ago.

Borat take you, world, over tomorrows. Very niice.

Sleeping in the basement of a house without roof insulation feels quite similar to sleeping outside while a polar bear throws ice on your toes. Brisk, a bit.

Thoughts on campaign commercials:

This year’s Iowa election is supposedly the most costly ever held. The two candidates have spent over $13 million campaigning, while still belittling each other as being pro-big business or too wealthy or too political to run a quaint state like Iowa. I’ve done a bit of math, run the numbers, etc, and figured out that the $13 million sickeningly thrown into badly-worded commercials could have been spent easily overcoming one of the state’s biggest problems, in at least one [sofa salesman’s] case: keeping young people in the state. I’m not against the government giving me money. Not above it at all.

Politicians that are just like the rest of us are too dumb to lead. Thanks for helping me decide, Representative-candidate Underwhelming (“Ab-stain? Yes, please.”).

A new spin on an old debate: baby’s first tax payment should be the moment a soul-less mass of Godlessness is considered a living being. How to sell to the public: point out that all those free-loading “living babies” are not paying taxes, but are getting the same basic liberties as all of the hard-working, tax-paying consumerist patriots. And have a flag waving in the background.

I’ll vote for the first candidate who tries to rap to connect with the young people, even if it’s horrible. Because, fuck—that candidate would really get me.