Thursday, December 22, 2011

NYC Public Transit

Is terrible, because it takes about a minute to get where you're standing:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'll Just Disappear

My name is Isaiah Lewis, and I was 17 when I first turned invisible. I'm sure a lot of 17 year olds feel like they're invisible, either to girls, or guys, or both. (It's a confusing age.) However, I mean actually invisible, as in unable to be observed, translucent man, photons need not apply; I was possibly the first brother in history who could walk out of a Klan meeting with a piece of pie.

Don't ask me how I can still see without anything bouncing off my retinas. I didn't have a PhD in Optics back then, and I haven't earned one since. I have learned enough to know that what I can do is impossible according to how we currently understand light. Not vision, mind you, light; I don’t show up in pictures or on video either. It's the whole deal.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Did you know that there are ten ways to separate a man's head from his still living body? There are probably a lot more, but I've only tried ten ways so far. They'd probably work for a woman's head too, but I haven't tried with any women. They are:

1.) Knife
2.) Hacksaw
3.) Hatchet
4.) Circular saw
5.) Piano wire
6.) Wood chipper
7.) Bear trap
8.) Zamboni
9.) Machete
10.) Cleaver

As you can tell by the list, I'm prone to both whimsy and nostalgia.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's the Pits

I haven't done any comedy in awhile, but this image macro instantly created itself in my mind:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Northwest Corner

Jack had just sat down to dinner when he heard the light knock, so light he wondered if he imagined it. He was in his late sixties, hair gone sheep's wool, and sounds had started to play tricks on him. Not that he'd admit that to anyone, although the folks in town suspected from the way he asked the waitress at Shirley's to repeat herself during the breakfast rush.

Town was what they called it, although a couple of buildings clustering together as if for warmth deserved the title less than anywhere else he’d seen. Granted, he’d not been many places. Jack wasn’t a traveler. There’d been a time when all he’d thought about was getting away from the county, leaving it and the farm behind; however, he’d given up on that part of his life. Now, he had roots in the soil, deep gnarled things that wouldn’t easily be pulled up.

As he worked his way to the door, taking care to avoid the carefully stacked newspapers, he wondered why a stranger had come calling. County folk didn't knock. There was no mistaking them. They rapped, or pounded. There was something about living so far from your neighbors that discouraged shyness when you finally came to call on them. Even the children – especially the children – knocked like a charging bull.

Everything about the place was familiar to him. This was the house he was raised in, and it had become his when his mother had passed, same thing with the land around it. Jack had never saw the point in marrying, so the house looked much the same as it did when his parents were alive. When something broke he replaced it, but that was the extent of the changes. No, he thought of himself as a caretaker. He’d see to the house, and to the land. The land required special looking after. 

To read the rest, go to this page.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The World I Used to Know

It happened nine years ago today. Nine is an odd anniversary to celebrate, but none of us actually think we'll make it to ten. Why would we?

It was my generation's September 11th, our death of Kennedy, our Pearl Harbor. Everyone remembers where they were when it happened, or at least where they were when they found out about it. Of course, the difference is that no one's story is that "I was there." All those people are dead, which might be a mercy.

I remember where I was when the world changed.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Charlie Thomas's Almost Life

The soccer ball hit my crotch, going at - a conservative estimate - a thousand miles an hour. I knew that was going to happen from the moment he kicked it, but I couldn't move fast enough to get out of the way. If I was a better athlete, I'd be a better athlete. What kind of a stupid system is this, anyway?

As I collapsed to my knees, I wondered if any of the guys in the Old Testament had this problem. In between seeing fiery rings made out of eyes, did Ezekiel ever predict that some donkey was going to kick him in the crotch? If he averted the ball kicking, would it make him a false prophet?

To read the rest, go to this page.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


My mom used to talk about the gutters like other parents talked about soccer camp, or family vacation. She'd start out of the blue, on the way to school, or the grocery. Sometimes she'd turn a conversation about anything else into one about the gutters. She never talked about them when anyone else was around - just her and I in the car.

"That's what happens to people who don't try, Bryan. They end up in the gutter. With all the trash and filth." Sometimes she'd point to a man or a woman who was holding up a cardboard sign at a four way intersection. “Think they tried?” she'd ask me. When I was little, I'd just shake my head silently. Other kids were probably afraid of clowns or sharks or something. I was afraid of ending up on the streets.

"Know what happens when you tell your son he's going to end up in the gutter?" I want to shout at her, back through the nightmare of the intervening years. “That's where he fucking goes, you stupid bitch. Awesome parenting.”

To read the rest, go to this page.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Pursuit: A Letter


I've been thinking a lot about hammers. It's been my secret, but I'm ready to share now. 

No, I haven't taken up carpentry as a hobby, and I didn't quit my job and end up in construction. You know I'm too in love with books and air conditioning for that. However, it's books that are the problem. I've been reading a lot lately, and I can't get these ideas out of my head. (Is it mine?)

I can't stop yawning, which means I need to hurry this up as much as I can. You'll understand why soon enough. I hope it's me that makes it to the end. 

To read the rest, go to this page.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Dark Lord

My father was a scribe, and his father before him, all the way back to the days before the Dark Lord. When our grim master came, he forced our letters and our learning underground; this was literally, as his spies patrolled the air and land. I learned how to read and write in a damp crevice my father carved out with his own hands, after a hard day of farm labor.

We were all farmers then, and fools or ignorant on top of that. That was the Dark Lord’s doing, to keep us subject to him. I worked as hard to hide my learning as I did to acquire it. All the same, it was hard for a bright boy to cover his light with a basket. There was a close encounter once when I called the bullheaded miller’s son on his “obstinate insolence.” I barely covered with “Aw shucks, thimblehead.”

Not even my wife knew of my birthright, nor the secret history I kept in a cave. I would teach my son of his legacy, however, my wife’s womb was as barren as our hopes. I was convinced the small rebellion of keeping a secret history would die with me.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Five times a year, I go back there. I don't know why it isn't six or twelve; five just feels right.

It's a quiet drive, but not peaceful; although it's only a hundred miles as the crow flies, the mountains make it into a 300 mile squiggle of steep ascents and sudden turns. I thread my car through their twisting gray slopes, like a Parkinson's patient doing needlework.

In the winter it's damn near impossible to get there in anything less than seven hours. Minutes tick by as I get stuck behind one tractor-trailer, then another. They struggle up the grade, and I follow in their slushy tracks. When my tires slip, which they always do, my heart beats a thumping staccato in my chest. I've hit a lot of gray sludge that made me think twice about the whole thing, but I've never turned around. I always make it.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ruffled Pages and a Six Gun

A book went missing at my library today. Then this happened.

Everything went quiet when the Marshall walked into the dusty, yellow light of the bar. The piano player stopped in the middle of Camptown Races, and the serving girls froze, glasses halfway to tables. The only sound that could be heard was a faint crinkle, so like leaves in autumn. 

The Marshall was a tall man, and his hat made him seem even taller. The dirt and dust of a hard trail clung to him, standing out against his sun stained skin. A Colt Peacemaker hung at his side in a holster that shined despite the grime. His brows hung low in a perpetual squint, and a prominent nose made all his other features seem cramped around it.

He scanned the place in that flinty way lawmen do, before settling on a lonesome shape nursing a shot at the bar. Everyone felt the weight of that gaze except the book, who calmly sipped his whiskey. After a few moments of contemplation, the lawman's chin tilted up, and his eyes narrowed from cracks to mere creases.

"You Bad Faith Actions: Liability and Damages?" his voice rang out, loud in the sudden stillness.

"So what if I am?" the shape responded, turning to reveal the maroon corner of his binder.

"I hear there's a bounty for a book by that name," the Marshall responded, "and I'm hear to collect."

The book said nothing, a nothing punctuated by the sound of the empty shot glass ringing on the bar. The Marshall's hand had strayed to his belt at the sound, and he said, "We can do this easy or hard, but the Stoll brothers didn't specify dead or alive." A pause. "I don't much care either way."

"I died a long time ago," Bad Faith said, in a low voice like rustling pages, "but the bitch of it is, I keep on living." He quickly dropped to the floor, raising a scattergun he'd kept concealed under the bar. "I can't say the same for you though," he growled, pulling the trigger on the hand cannon.

All hell broke loose.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Silence Will Fall

I'm planning a trip this Labor Day weekend. Despite a previous bad experience - a nonexistent gas station in the middle of a mysteriously congested nowhere town during a thunderstorm - I'm using Gas Buddy to save money on my fill ups. 

However, I decided to check everything out beforehand. It's better to get it all squared away while I'm situated comfortably in my office chair rather than the roadside, right?

What could go wrong?

Gas Buddy says the cheapest gas on my route can be found at a Wilco Hess located at 1318 E Lee Highway in Wytheville, VA.

Problem 1.) Google Maps Street View reveals a "CJ's Pizza" near that location. That is all. Wait, there is also a hillock with sparse grass. I could not locate any pumps on or near the hillock.

Problem 2.) Gas Buddy's description of the place says that it's off exit 77 from Highway 77/81. There is no E. Lee Highway off exit 77. E Lee Highway is off of exit 67, though. Hmm.

Problem 3.) I called the gas station. The attendant verified that yes, they're on E. Lee Highway and they're also off exit 77. I asked her to clarify, exit 77 or highway 77. It's an easy mistake to make in a casual conversation. She said EXIT 77.

This state of affairs has likely been caused by a rip in time and space; two locations that are actually ten miles apart are now next to one another, overlapping one another. A bit like a wormhole, only not in space.

I remembered my phone call at this point, and asked God to have mercy on the soul of the woman I spoke with. I spent a summer working for a gas station, and regardless of disruptive temporal phenomena, it's a shit job.

I think I might go to another gas station. You know, one where the fabric of reality hasn't been folded like origami.

Monday, August 1, 2011

There Are Only Three Ways to Die

There are only three ways to die:

1.) You find them.
2.) They find you.
3.) You kill yourself.

I'm not good at hide and seek, so I chose option number three. Kurt Cobain is a hero of mine, but I couldn't do it his way. Same thing with the Plath solution; I don't think they make gas ovens anymore. Man, famous people used to go out big, or creative. Now it's all pills and pills and pills.

I'm not famous, but if I pulled this off, maybe I would be a little. I decided to go out with a real red bubble bath. Something about that appealed to me, turned its face right in my direction.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Does Not Compute

No CAPTCHA. That's Arabic. I don't know Arabic. Try again.

Am I the only one who can barely make out what the CAPTCHA words are? What supercomputer is cracking this code when I - a living, breathing human, despite what you've heard - have to squint and guess?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I've Invented a Machine that Shows You How You Will Die

We're going to slide this wire into your frontal lobe, easy peasy, and after a few moments we'll start to turn the machine up. How does the wire get in there? A needle, dear - a very sharp, long needle with that wire threading through it as thin and strong as spider’s silk. The needle is so sharp you won't even feel a thing. Well, maybe a little pinch.

There's a minimum of blood, since your brain doesn't bleed. Did you know that? Oh, it's full of blood alright, but it won't come pouring out. The brain is greedy, and precious. You'll be fine.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Goofus and Gallant

Gallant helps the old woman across the street.
Goofus calls her a race traitor for buying brown rice.

Gallant waters his neighbor's plants while they're out of town.
Goofus takes a dump in their laundry hamper.

Gallant reads to the kids at the School for the Blind.
Goofus hands out Rubik's cubes at the School for the Blind.

Gallant makes his own environmentally safe cleaning products.
Goofus uses endangered species to clean porous and non-porous surfaces.

Gallant joined the Boy Scouts.
Goofus practices building punji pits.

Gallant eats lots of fruits and vegetables each day.
Goofus ate a whole man once. Dentures, too.

Gallant volunteers at his local animal shelter.
Goofus thinks enough bottle rockets make a dog an astronaut.

Gallant cleans his room without his mother having to ask twice.
Goofus saw his mother cheat on his father with the mailman.

Gallant always recycles his empty soda bottles.
Goofus builds replicas of historical disasters in empty soda bottles.

Gallant is learning another language to expand his horizons.
Goofus has a repository of ethnic slurs second to none.

Gallant does all his math homework, even the sample problems.
Goofus found a way to get high using aloe vera and lighter fluid.

Gallant learns responsibility by paying for his own cell phone.
Goofus knows his cartoon is stuck in the 1950's.

Gallant helps his community by picking up litter.
Goofus started a porn site called "Naughty Clutter Girls".

Gallant saves all his change in a piggybank.
Goofus is an assumed name for a drug lord with a large slush fund.

Gallant sticks up for children that can't defend themselves.
Goofus knows that we live in an arbitrary void in which all human actions are ultimately meaningless and our destiny is to die ignorant and alone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why don't you?

David Beckham wants you to eat his fish sticks.

"Please eat my fish sticks."

That Time

Did I ever tell you about the time I ate a toaster? I think it was 2003, maybe 2004. It was autumn, unless it was spring; regardless, it was the time of year when it rains more often than it doesn't.

I woke up uncharacteristically early that day, before the sun had snuck past my curtains. My stomach hurt, but that's not true enough - I was so hungry, the mere thought of not eating, not gorging myself, hurt. I would have killed and eaten any living thing that crossed my path in those first few moments of consciousness.

Instead, I stared at my hands for awhile. Do you ever look at your hands? I bet you don't.

Seen through a certain frame of mind, each hand is an awkwardly oversized pinkish spider, one that's lost a few limbs in a fight. The nails at the end all look like little faces, faces hiding behind the shiny surface of the nail. These finger face people are prematurely old, regular wrinkles running their length. The knuckles are white-pink clusters of dubious purpose - mating? digestion?

Despite their advanced age, fingers are sinuous. They move with a liquid grace, like water being poured by an invisible hand into a thirsty mouth.

After ten or so minutes of this, I couldn't remember if I was the one moving my fingers. Is it always like this? I remembered my hunger, and never once thought of eating my fingers. That would be ridiculous. If I ate my fingers, how would I get more food? Man is a tool using animal, after all.

I bounded up the stairs to the kitchen that rested above my sleeping head. The whale song of chairs scraping the kitchen floor had stopped before my finger gazing. I was alone. Once in the kitchen, my shoulders slumped and my head hung low. My hunger was instantly converted into lassitude, and the tile floor I was forced to stare at held no easy answer.

Stooped like an old man tying his shoe laces, I followed the patterns on the floor. Line into line, perpendicular parallel, start again catch the same. I lost track of time again. Somewhere in the eastern reaches of the kitchen I found a drooping black worm, like the bottom of a lowercase G. It brutally stabbed into the red wall of the kitchen, white plastic blood congealed around the wound.

As I followed the black worm up, I noticed it terminated (or began?) at the toaster. It was part of the toaster, some sort of proboscis. The hunger emerged full force from the middle of me, and that's when I knew I had to have it.

I used my hand spiders to grab the proboscis and rip it from the wall. I saw bright metal teeth gleam, and I knew I had chosen well. Next, I grabbed the body of the thing itself and slammed it to the ground. The predator had become the prey, and I'm sure the wall - immense but defenseless - was grateful.

There was a clank and a groan, but the toaster didn't fight back. I had stunned it with my sudden action. Flakes of previous meals fell from its lower half, the gritty detritus of the consumed. I savagely brought the toaster to the floor again and again and again. When I finally cracked its housing, I slurped up the metallic bits inside.

It wasn't long before only the toaster's protective outer shell and the end of its fanged proboscis remained. I left them there as an offering.

Satiated, sated, and stuffed, I made my way back down to my bed. My stomach hurt again, but this was good. It was good.

And that was the time I ate a toaster.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Here's one from the yesterday files.

It was the start of a new semester, and I needed to buy books. I didn't really need them, as I bought less than half of them last year and came out ahead grades-wise. All the same, my parents thought it would be nice if I tried harder. This meant I needed money.

I worked for a temp agency, which was perfect for me. At the time, I was far too neurotic to work at one job for longer than three months, case in point being the time I almost got fired for making a catapult out of office supplies. You know those video cameras in public places? Someone actually watches those tapes. (They know what you did in the housewares aisle.)

The downside of working for a temp agency was that I never knew what sort of assignment I'd end up with. I could be waiting tables at a banquet, doing concessions at a sporting event, or trying to convince students they needed a credit card. I never took the last job, even if the only other option was “hobo bathroom attendant.” I have standards, after all.

For six months I was a hotel maintenance man for. I jury rigged toilets because the hotel in question never had the pieces to actually fix them; I once used a hammer, a penny, and some duct tape to fix a toilet while a guest watched. I'm pretty sure he never used the toilet again during his visit, finding it more comfortable and humane to squat over a Mountain Dew bottle.

At the same hotel I once got a call that there was a frog loose in the halls. A man - a sober man - informed me he could hear it croaking as it roamed. After making as thorough a search as I could, I told the man with a straight face that there were, quote, "No rogue amphibians on the premises." He slammed the door in my face.

(Does he still hear the frog in his dreams?)

At any rate, the job available to me when the semester started was assembling furniture for display at a big box store. The company didn't like using a temp agency, but their regular guy had quit under sudden circumstances, something that would have made a smarter man have his first doubt.

I did wonder what sort of man he was to make a career out of an inconvenient necessity. It’s like he was a professional shoestring threader, or the guy who always set up the tents on a camping trip.

He was a brave man, I learned.

My co-worker for the day was named Neil. Neil was a down on his luck violinist, talented but unable to find steady employment in his chosen field. Such is the lot of those in the arts. I knew what he did for a living - the same sorry shit I did - so I asked him if violin was his passion. He responded that he had a passion for survival, and said he'd do whatever it took.

I nodded and smiled without making eye contact, the same procedure I’d follow for an adult male silverback gorilla.

Most everyone has assembled cheap particleboard furniture before. There are incomprehensible instructions, missing and/or extra pieces, and diagrams drawn by the hand and eye disabled. Thankfully, I started with something simple, a coat rack.

Neil was stuck with a TV stand, one that lacked facing directions or labeled boards. It was the Gordian knot of furniture assembly, and my heart wept for him. All the same, I knew not to stand too close.

I had finished three pieces while Neil was still working on the TV stand. At the beginning of the day, I had heard him utter “goshdangit” when a board slipped; he was now working blue, and the only other people I've heard curse like that were war vet buddies of my dad.

I imagined the family that bought the same model of TV stand, and the inevitable conversations that would follow:

“Oh, just put your coats on the box in the corner. Roger assembled it.”

 "Is it safe? Why is it leaning like that?”

 “It was a TV stand, but he said something about not being able to find board C, and that slot A was where slot G should be.”

 “That’s awful! Can it hold the TV?”

 “Not even remotely. He glued it together and started to drink. He swears it’s post-modern commentary on furnishings.”

“That’s what we get for falling in love with academics.”

Neil went on to finish the TV stand - his Waterloo - and quit. Watching him slink out of the assembly room was somehow sadder than if he’d made a final, desperate scene.

I contemplated all the things that contributed to his break with employment: the irrationality of hexagonal bolts, and their attendant metal sevens; the glue that came pre-packaged with everything, but was never mentioned in the instructions; the fenced in cage we sat in to assemble furniture, like we were orcs toiling under Isengard.

To say we did the work of men is disingenuous; we were men, and we worked, but the job itself was fucking clown shoes.

I was thankful at the end of the day when I put my last coat rack together and got to leave. When I got home, I looked at all the furniture in my house. We were poor undergrads, so about half of it was the same stuff I had spent the day putting together.

Maybe I should tell you to buy quality, craftsman made furniture that will last decades instead of years; maybe I should tell you to be wary of people who work for temp agencies, as they're a piece of plywood away from tearing out your jugular with their teeth; maybe I should tell you to be more grateful when you see furniture displays at big box stores, and realize what sanity was lost in the construction.

However, I am definitely warning you not to sit on said furniture - the Gb Major scale and the subjunctive mood make for shit construction, and you will lose something vital.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

I’ve raised a monument, more durable than bronze,
one higher than the Pyramids’ royal towers,
that no devouring rain, or fierce northerly gale,
has power to destroy: nor the immeasurable
succession of years, and the swift passage of time.
I’ll not utterly die, but a rich part of me,
will escape Persephone: and fresh with the praise
of posterity, I’ll rise, beyond.

Are those rap lyrics run through the verbose meme? Nope! What you see above is a translation of Ode 3.30 by Quintus Horatius Flaccus, best known as Horace, Roman lyric poet of the Augustan age.

bitches don't know bout my chalice

Here's the rest of the Ode:

While the High
Priest, and the silent Virgin, climb the Capitol,
I’ll be famous, I, born of humble origin,
(from where wild Aufidus roars, and where Daunus once,
lacking in streams, ruled over a rural people)
as the first to re-create Aeolian song
in Italian verse. Melpomene, take pride,
in what has been earned by your merit, and, Muse,
willingly, crown my hair, with the Delphic laurel.

He's saying that even though he's just a poor kid from somewhere no one's ever heard of, in a thousand thousand years people are still going to know his name because of how awesome his rhymes are. He'd deliver this poem in brisk meter, in public, accompanied by the lyre (hence lyric poetry.)

Sound like anything?

A lot of people say they like all genres of music except "country and rap." The response is so common as to be cliche. If asked why they don't like the latter, they explain it's because all rappers talk about is sex, money, and how famous they are.

If you asked these same people if they thought Roman poetry was important from an artistic point of view, they would probably say yes.

Now that you know the contradiction, go forth and unironically listen to Kanye West.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Cost of Sweetness

It had been weeks since the plantation became my home, since I was stolen in the dead of night by strange men with strange speech intent on forcing me from my bed. I fought and cursed until the smaller one, in heavily accented English, told me he would split my tongue down the middle if I kept squalling.

Before I could respond, the larger one turned and poked out a neatly bifurcated tongue at me with a smile. I kept silent the rest of the trip, even through the travail in the filthy ship's hold, rain and urine and dark liquids pattering on me from above.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Deep Gnomes

So I was being a huge nerd browsing wikipedia, and I saw this gem:

Thanks wikipedia! Because my problem pronouncing "Svirfneblin" came from not knowing which syllable to put the emphasis on, not the fact that the name sounds like an Icelandic man sneezed in the middle of telling me where he lives.

Now that I know I'm supposed to emphasize the penultimate one, my life can continue!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Demon Dhamer

Daniel Ellsworth’s day would have been better if not for the bird faced demon in his bathtub, as welcome as a herpes sore on a virgin's face. He saw it out of the corner of his eye after he turned the light on, right as he was reaching for his razor and shaving cream. He had bought both at the dollar store last week, where the other thing had happened in the pet supply aisle.

The demon was crouched down behind the shower curtain, the bulk of it a spindly shadow. It had an incredibly gaunt human body, like a prisoner from the Boer War. The body supported a head that was mostly an oversized bird's beak filled with tiny, irregular teeth; along the beak were a dozen beady eyes situated in rows.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Watch Instantly

I started to log in to Netflix to add some documentaries about inedia to my instant queue - which tells you all you need to know about my rich and varied social life - and I was instantly stopped by the bizarre spectacle that greeted me.

Take a look at the following picture and tell me what's wrong:

If you answered, "They're black", you fail everything, forever.

Most people don't see anything wrong with this picture; they happily click past it, untroubled by what halted me completely; these are the same people troubled by neck pain and eye strain from trying to watch TV in their peripheral vision.

Seriously, look at that picture! How the hell is either one of them supposed to comfortably see what's on the TV? Have you ever sat down with your sweetie, lights down low, a bowl of popcorn warm and salted in your laps, all to watch a TV located to your immediate left?

Here is what their living room looks like, as shown in the...preview? Voyeur candid? Why does Netflix have an image like this next to the login boxes? Is it a serving suggestion?

Okay, that's what we've got going on here. I would have arranged my living room a little bit more like this:

But hey! to each their own. Maybe their house or apartment is really small, and that's the best they could do?

Maybe they've settled down for a romantic evening of watching something else, and Netflix is just for background noise?

Bum fighting is sooooo 2008.

All hail his pyrogenous name!

"Let us show you the pleasures of the flesh."

Who could watch Eat, Pray, Love with a Berkshire Big Boy in front of them?

Maybe they were sitting down for an evening of viewing their Nega-selves in the esrevinu rrorim?

Perhaps they were celebrating their recent victory over the Japanese mob, and grew careless?

These things happen:

It's possible I'm underestimating their means, and they're enjoying their opulence:

Maybe they fucking love ottomans, and they've finally got the perfect number to keep the bad thoughts away:

The only other possible option I can imagine - and this one is really out there - is that they had company over and took the bitch seat with the bad viewing angle so their visitors didn't have to.

Nah, too implausible. My money is on the train.

And yes, I forgot to add the movies about not eating to my queue.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Intelligent Technology

Will someone deal with this? If anyone up top sees it, they’ll shit a brick. -lw

HP Scanjet 3300C, scanner - FREE [redacted]

Date: 2011-01-16,2:38AM EST

I wish to God I'd never bought the damn thing. That was before, and I didn’t know.

This is a good scanner. It's too good, in fact, which is why I'm getting rid of it. The farther away you live, the better. You have to come to my house, no exceptions. I don’t drive anymore unless I have to.

To read the rest, go to this page.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pad Thai, chicken, hot

The custody arrangement I grew up with was the school year with my mom, and every other weekend plus the summer with my dad. As any child of divorce knows, this process is akin to visiting a foreign country - there are new laws, varying customs, and all the people in charge have different names.

My dad was remarried, my brothers lived with him, and he had a house with a yard; my mom remained single, my sister lived with her, and we lived in an apartment. My dad was convivial, my mom melancholy; my dad liked to go out, my mom was a homebody.

The biggest difference, however, was food.

My mom tried to cook. Really, she did. She got better - we still ask her to make her pork chops - but that was after. When I was a kid, I'd watch her fix too-dry oven steak, or soup from a packet, or McCormick chili; one time she just said "Fuck it" and poured a can of black beans on top of Doritos.
Eating was nourishment, end of line.

At my dad's house, eating was an event;  in fact, eating was the event. Dinner was my dad's Mass, and the store his Church; on Sunday we'd go to Sam's Club, taking the communion of vendors on holy toothpicks. I was a bulk retail altar boy, ferrying additional samples to him with steps as sure as any crucifer.

The man loved to cook, and he could cook well: chili, steak, ham, bean soup, roast. It was cosmically unfair to my mom that he made the same things she did.

Cooking wasn't a idle hobby he picked up, either - despite being the middle of his two brothers, he was the one who kept house when the adults were away. My grandfather was a long haul truck driver who took his wife with him, so they were gone most of the time.

On the farm, there were times of scarcity. My dad remembers trying to stretch a few ingredients to make a full meal for his brothers, and occasionally going to bed hungry so they'd have something to eat.

This had a profound affect on him, even after the family moved to the city. My dad started his own business, which he worked to make successful. As money began to flow in, he vowed, "I'll never eat poor again, and my kids sure as hell won't."

What this meant for us was that we could eat anything we wanted; literally anything

If we wanted him to make his country style green beans, with ham hocks, or jowl bacon, he would; if we wanted Alaskan king crab legs, we'd have them; if we wanted filet mignon, it was ours.

He'd send my stepmom to three, four different restaurants so we could all have the exact dinner we wanted. Between the ages of six and sixteen, I ate better at his house than most adults do in their entire lives; taking the long view, I ate better than most adults have in the history of civilization.

Over the last decade, I've been steadily trying to forget all that; I don't have the money my dad did, and probably never will. I'd eat myself into poverty if I tried to keep up.

...but sometimes, I still get cravings.

One day, I wanted Thai food; specifically, I wanted Pad Thai, chicken, hot. It was nothing we ever ate as kids, but as an adult I love ethnic food. I fought the craving that day, and the next one, and then for almost a week. I was already over my restaurant budget for January, but my stomach didn't care. Every meal was bargain basement leavings compared to my imagined Pad Thai, chicken, hot.

My resolve crumbled at the worst possible time.

That night, my city received a record snowfall, and the municipal government lacked the money to salt the roads, or even plow them. Every thoroughfare had the consistency of pudding, with ice underneath. It was well below freezing, with a negative wind chill.

Still - I wanted Pad Thai, chicken, hot.

I called the order in like a death row inmate making his last request, put my shoes on, and started brushing the car off. When my neighbor saw what I was doing, she came outside with her house guest, worried. Surely something was wrong; that's the only reason to leave the house in the middle of a winter hellstorm, right?

When I told them I was only going to pick up Thai food, they tried to stop me. I don't know if they saw the mad gleam in my eyes, but they backed off when I stated my goal with resolve: "I want Pad Thai, chicken, hot." I might have said that exact phrase a few too many times.

Cresting the first hill took twenty minutes. I had my car in first gear, the traction control system lighting up the dashboard like I was taking incoming fire. My tires spun, I slipped sideways, and repeatedly slid backwards. I finally disabled the traction control system, popped my car in full drive, and hit the gas on that bitch.

I shot forward like an arrow, totally out of control...but I was making it!

I turned my CD player on in a mad rush, and Ryan Adams's new album (III-IV) came on, playing the first song, Breakdown into the Resolve. I slid down the steep hill that leads out of my subdivision, braking, cutting the wheel, dropping gears, all while listening to Ryan Adams sing, furiously backed by wailing electric guitars:

Its pitiful what I hold dear, I throw away
And so, it still comes and goes
It's better now, that I get these bad ideas
I get my dreams confused....wishes
bad ideas, bad ideas to lie me down and get into the resolve

At the bottom I maneuvered between the stalled cars, the cars in ditches, and the men getting out to help push. I swerved around another dead car as I surmounted the last hill, and pumped my fist in triumph - I was finally on my way to Pad Thai, chicken, hot!

My tires kicked up a wake of slush, and it sounded like I was driving on gravel, or bones. I later found out there were over a hundred reported accidents that night. I wondered how many people slammed into a parked car, or a moving car, and kept on moving themselves?

I switched CDs, and the bass beat of Kanye West's new album kept me company in the dimly lit snow globe my city had become. I agreed that I too was a motherfucking monster.

At the shopping center, an entire force of snowblowers, men with shovels, and small carts with scoops attached had amassed to battle the snow, all in the name of the next day's profit margins. I wished them well as I slid by, myself a man on a mission.

I arrived at the restaurant - itself called Pad Thai - safely. And, to be honest, a little reverently. Old habits die hard.

The restaurant was deserted, and the proprietors were so happy to have a customer they gave me six unasked for fortune cookies. I thanked them profusely, and answered their questions about how bad the roads were. I told them about the retail army as well, to buoy their spirits.

In my hands I finally had my Pad Thai, chicken, hot.

The return trip was uneventful. I took the back way into my subdivision, skipping the big hill - I'm good, but no one's that good. I shut the door behind me, tore off my snow soaked clothes, cracked a beer, and sat down with my Pad Thai, chicken, hot. I made myself use chopsticks, to savor it.

Was it worth the risk? Was it everything I wanted? Would I do it again?

Do you even have to ask?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Legislative Fanfiction

Go to this website. It's always like this in my head. Always. 

Another volley of arrows flew over the wall, black feathered shafts finding their marks among the recruits. Men screamed in death, and those pierced somewhere less vital kept on screaming, turning the city walls into a choir of the damned. Outside, the Dranea shouted in time with their massive war drums. I could understand their black tongue, and I shuddered to think of what it meant.

It was madness to try and hold a city against this with only a hundred trainees, most of them too young to make a difference. I told the Imperial Council as much, but they didn't listen; their trust had evaporated like morning mist, and it had crossed my mind that they'd sent me here to die.

My newly commissioned second-in-command shambled over, an arrow protruding from his left leg. He was luckier than the previous holder of his office, who had taken an arrow in the neck. "Sir! The men-" he screamed then, having stumbled over a soldier's body and landing on his newly minted bad leg. His face contorted in pain, but he spat the words out. "Sir! The men are deserting."

"Tell them to hold," I replied, calmly.

"They'll not listen!"

I raised my voice to the volume and pitch I thought of as Command Voice, the one that skipped the thinking brain and drilled into the soft, scared part. It was a voice that had a man doing what you wanted before he was sure why. If I could have spoken to the Council like this, I would have had two elite battalions and a full complement of riders to face this horde. Instead, I was here watching boys die and trying to persuade the ones left that it was worth their while to do the same.

"Soldiers of the Harrowed Lands, hold! If you've a wish to keep your families safe, then hold! These beasts will spit your children and roast them alive! They will take your wives to their beds! Do you want that? Will you let it happen? Then hold!"

Every terrified face within the reach of my voice regarded me with something approaching awe. Before the threat of the Dranea could pour into the cracks of their weakened minds, I finished at full volume.

"My name is Earnest Sumner, I am the House Sergeant at Arms, and I say we will HOLD!"

It came like a sudden wind - first one soldier roared his defiance, and then another. Soon, a tidal wave of wounded but determined men was sweeping towards the ramparts, their booted feet a drumbeat of resistance. The war cry of the Dranea was drowned out by men who held their lives in cheaper regard than their families, their homes.

Did I hope then? For a moment, did I imagine that I might walk out of Kaagen's Run alive? I did. It's a feeling every soldier has to fight as bitterly as any enemy. It might be a spear that pierces your heart, or your guts leaking out onto the dirt, but it's hope in the middle of battle that kills you.

Nevertheless, it sent a tremulous jolt through me; my pulse quickened, my feet felt lighter, and I allowed myself a brief vision of another dawn.

That was when the black horde broke through the gate, and the charnel house began to run at full speed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sleepless in Egypt

The Wall Street Journal headline I saw for half a second while walking to get my free Friday donut (chocolate - yum!) said "Arab Unrest Spreading." It also said something about Egypt below a picture of angry people with signs, the universal symbol for civil disruption.

This is where I'd usually make a cheap joke about pyramids, mummies, or - if I was trying to show off my book learnin' - the Ptolemaic dynasty.

However, at least once in the history of this blog, someone from Egypt visited Bad Ideas. Perhaps it was a member of the rebels (I don't really know what the issue is, so I've decided it's like Star Wars), looking for a quick laugh as they assembled a homemade assault rifle; maybe it was a soldier in the Imperial guard, who mistakenly ended up up here as he Googled "bad ideas for what to wear at a riot."

Then again, this is the internet; someone probably typed in "dog boners" and was whisked by the pagerank fairy to my fair HTML home. Sorry friend! Due to the injunction, I had to shut down that part of my blog back in November.

Whoever you were, Egyptian viewer, I wish you nothing but success in your quest to overthrow your President/God emperor, or your efforts to quell dissent/brain a rioter with a half-brick!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Skyline: A Review

Skyline is a movie about a group of people you don't like endlessly making the same bad decisions with the same predictable results; it's a lot like going out to dinner with your family.

"I wish everyone but me would die," she thinks.

In this film, a group of "cool" twentysomethings alternate between hiding from the aliens, running outside with the aliens, and standing on the roof of their building so all the aliens can see them. Each time this cycle is completed, more people die from horrible, horrible alien vaginas.

I am not kidding about that last part; these aliens are from the planet Vagoo, and have developed vaginas in their heads, hands, and bottoms, all to swallow men whole. Each type of alien is a glistening, outer space man trap.

My theory is that one of Skyline's writers got drunk, picked up a chick at the bar, and woke up next to one of those metal squids from the Matrix. Or, whoever designed the aliens from this movie dropped some LSD and stared at Georgia O'Keefe paintings for hours. Even H.R. Giger thinks the aliens from this film are too suggestive.

"These guys have issues." - H.R. Giger

The protagonist - which is what I'll call him because I can't remember his bland name, and "hero" certainly doesn't fit - is a cool graphics designer from Chicago, or New York, or somewhere where graffiti is a viable career choice. He's taking his cool dead-eyed girlfriend with inflatable lips to Los Angeles, so they can visit his cool friend who made it big in the...CGI industry?

Is that a thing? I know someone has to make all the pretend aliens that Will Smith fights, but do you really get a sports car and a bitchy blond bikini girlfriend when you do?

Wait, looks like the movie was written by the Brothers Strause who have done just that. If that works, I'm writing a movie about an awesome librarian who gets a hot girlfriend and fights evil around the world by using his extensive knowledge of random trivia!

Later, the cool kids have a pool party whose sole purpose is to inform us that Turk from Scrubs is banging his hot assistant (True to life, eh Brothers Strause?) and inflatable lips girlfriend is pregnant. This latter revelation drives the rest of the movie, serving as our emotional tie to these characters. However, the characters are about as interesting as a Metamucil commercial, so it doesn't work.

Thank God the aliens show up, in all their vagina bearing glory. The central conceit is that the aliens are capable of projecting a blue light that pulls a Siren's call on anyone who looks at it. The light either atomizes or paralyzes you, depending on what the writers aliens want it to do.

Right now it wants $7.50 to leave your bank account.

Random movie producer guy is the first to go, followed by Turk, followed know what?

Fuck it.

We've all seen this movie - or at least movies so much better they appear as Platonic ideals compared to this one - and we know where it's going. Eventually everyone dies from stupidity except the protagonist and the love interest.  They survive, not because they weren't monumentally stupid, but because they're the butt monkeys the script is hitched to.

The protagonist has gained some body horror superpowers by repeatedly being exposed to the blue light, which is like getting superpowers because your mom did shots of paint thinner while pregnant and you somehow made it through. He goes all Mel Gibson in The Patriot on Flying Ladyparts Scout #43bee56, and I wish I could reach through the screen and do the same to him.

or, as Mel Gibson calls it, Tuesday

The movie succeeds in one area, and that's the one I'm about to ruin for you. Think of it like having surgery; it sure does hurt when Mr. Doctor cuts that weird mole off, but it's better than going through the rest of life with it growing a face. (That's what happens, right?)

Some films are so good at creating tension that it remains even when you watch the movie again. I've seen Back to the Future over and over again, but each time I'm convinced I've gotten a never-before-seen cut of the movie where the Delorean doesn't start at the end.

Skyline, creates a lot of a tension, which it resolves in a simple way: the writers don't save the characters. Protagonist McGee gets his brain ripped out, and Inflatalips Babycarriage is sucked into the moist jaws of an alien octopus robot.

"Don't look up." Mainly because that's where the screen is.

Aboard one of the motherships, we see the aliens wipe the brains and insert them into new bodies, with the implication that it was repurposed human brains hunting down their former peers. It's a downer ending with a sickening twist!

Well done, Skyline! If you didn't succeed as a heroic film about worthwhile characters battling extraterrestrial oppression, at least you gave us a bunch of unlikeable dickholes getting backwards prison raped into being on the aliens' side.

...but then comes the coda, in which the film goes from being grimdark to a Saturday morning cartoon. Apparently - and I say this knowing the only people this is apparent to are the paint huffers that made this film - Protagonist McGee was rendered immune to the alien's mindwipe by virtue of being in TRUE LURV.

pictured - protection from psionic assault

He then uses his new CGI alien meatsuit to rescue Inflatalips, and has a series of one-panel adventures fighting more different aliens to generic action music. No, really.


In conclusion, Skyline was a film with an interesting premise and a sweet twist ruined by unsympathetic characters and an ending that came five minutes too late. If you must watch it, watch it drunk; the drunker the better.

this drunk

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Human Condition

While reading an article in the online edition of my local paper, I noticed an ad on the side of the page. I usually don't see ads, thanks to AdBlock and years of training, but I think it was the double pair of staring eyes that did it:

Who is this ad meant for, I wondered? Is there some insomniac woman out there, up to her wrinkled eyes in mortgage debt, so hobbled by her bad joints that she can't fight the insurance companies that are screwing her?

After a moment of thought I concluded, probably, yes.

That's the human condition in a nutshell, with the exception of the woman who's on the Spice (the dermatologists are scared because fear is the mind killer.) The only thing missing is the ONE SIMPLE SECRET a LOCAL MOM used to make her teeth TEN THOUSAND TIMES whiter, so white they travel in time and have adventures.

like this

Thank you, Adblade; you're doing God's work. May your monumental quest to end all human suffering be accomplished quickly! I for one welcome the Advertising Eschaton.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm a driver, I'm a winner

Things are gonna change, I can feel it.

Happy 2011

As an Earth human, it's time for me to hijack the changing of a digit to buoy my incredibly weak willpower and lie to myself. Like so:

This year, this year, things will be different! 2011 will be a banner year for me, and all because it's one number different from 2010! You know, the year I'm already looking at like it was a bad one night stand, quite possibly a dude.
Here are my New Year's resolutions, because lying is so much easier in list form.
(Fun game: Can you spot the real resolution amongst all the fakes?)

1.) Stop drawing my number sevens like little guns.
2.) Stop drawing a tiny caricature of myself under the seven guns.
3.) Save money by buying the $2 scratch-offs instead of the $5 ones.
4.) Use extra money to visit scenic Cleveland and finally finish "Cities of Ohio" diorama.
5.) Discover my family's history, hide all war crimes.
6.) No more rentboy gigs unless the money is decent.
7.) Spend more time with the three f's: family, friends, fantastic strip clubs.
8.) Stop answering yes or no questions with "Lady Gaga."
9.) Invent Five Loko.
10.) Replace bad habits with arrogance towards those who still have bad habits.
11.) Volunteer at suicide prevention hotline, play inspirational Van Halen song.
12.) Patio furniture is not for molesting.
13.) Patio furniture is NOT for molesting.
14.) Cross "make a bucket list" off my bucket list.
15.) Start program for inner city kids, "Lunches not Punches".
16.) Improve marriage to Rita Handowski.
17.) Pursue dream of whittling all the presidents.
18.) Finish what I st
19.) Find an effective ADD medica
20.) Stop using the same joke over and over again.
21.) Stop silently judging people who pronounce the "t" in "often".
22.) Organize my closeted homosexual friends.
23.) Cease my "pelvic thrusts instead of high fives" initiative.
24.) Rescue Princess Leia from the Galactic Empire.
25.) Create firm boundaries between fiction and reality.
26.) Become morally perfect, the Benjamin Franklin way!
27.) Recycle more - let others use my sex slaves once they're broken in.
28.) Stop collecting Seth Green's old q-tips, using them to make "Seth Green-tip".
29.) No more hilariously named illegitimate children.
30.) Earn nickname "The Cockpunch Kid."
31.) Less pillaging, more looting.
32.) The blood of my conquered foes is a "sometimes" food.
33.) Start gardening. Plants are like friends that can't testify against you.
34.) Know when to hold 'em.
35.) Know when to fold 'em.
36.) Stop trying to mail snapping turtles to my ex-girlfriends.
37.) Drink only on days of the week with "s" in them.
38.) Maybe eat some rice or something. I don't know.