Seth Martin and Friends - "Gone Fishin'"

• Tuesday, August 31, 2010 0 comments
Less than a week out of the gate, and we have a sequel.



This is "Gone Fishin'," the second episode of "Seth Martin and Friends" from Brainwrap Productions.

In this installment, Trace Cherokee and Seth ditch their entourage for a quiet day fishing out on the lake. Seth's no angler, but under the wise tutelage of Ole Trace, certainly they'll finish out their trip with a fish story or two.

Starring Seth Martin, "Gone Fishin'" runs just under 6 minutes and 30 seconds, and is written and directed by Ian Nolte, and filmed by Kyle Quinn. Michael Valentine returns doing music, voices, and acting as the puppeteer for Trace, with Max Nolte as the sound engineer and boom operator, and Glen Brogan providing the graphics. Featuring Special Guest star Nicole Lawrence. Trace Cherokee puppet made by Kyle Quinn.

To keep up with the most current updates, check out their Facebook page, or subscribe to the "Seth Martin and Friends" YouTube channel, which will have new content, as well as some behind the scenes footage.

I'll be leaving this up for a couple of days to try and get the Brainwrap guys as much attention as possible. I know I haven't had as much to post about myself these days, but my friends have been doing a ton of great work, and I'm glad to be getting the word out for everyone's projects. Meanwhile, I haven't really produced anything of note lately, though I'm hoping that'll change and I can take my blog back soon.

I kid, of course. Enjoy the short!

Stumping for HUGE.

• Monday, August 30, 2010 2 comments
Just a pleasant reminder.

My friend Savannah's TV show, "Huge," comes on tonight at 9 o'clock eastern time, and as the summer season is coming to its end, it would be really great if everyone would tune in to help gets the ratings up and let the show catch a second season [and hey, I know I don't have a ton of readers, so please, tell your friends and family to do the same]. The whole experience has meant the world to Savannah, and she's really invested in this show -- so I guess this particularly goes out to all you storytellers out there who occasionally read the blog -- imagine if you didn't get the chance to finish, or even really get started, a story you really, really loved.

Something to think about. And we're all in this together.

And if you like it, hit the official "Huge" website, and watch some of the episodes from earlier in the season, or watch the show on Hulu. As shocking as this sounds coming from me, it's best if you watch the show some place nice, and legal, where the network can track the views. If you have cable with OnDemand, that works pretty well too.

Savannah, pictured above in front of the official ABC Family "Huge" bus with her mom Winnie Holzman [of "My So-Called Life" and "Wicked" fame] and her dad Paul "No Seconds!" Dooley, is the writer and producer of HUGE, a TV show adapted from the book by Sasha Paley. The show's about a bunch of teens enrolled at a Wellness Camp, more colloquially but less sensitively called "fat camp," and their trials and tribulations while dealing with subjects like social acceptance, sexuality, and body image -- of course, they're teens, so they've also got all these aspirations, hormones, and angst mixed in too. The show stars Nikki Blonsky, Haley Hasslehoff, and Gina Torres, with regular appearances by Savannah's dad, and a lot of really talented actors and actresses who I'm looking forward to seeing more of in the future. Hopefully, on new episodes of "Huge."

Catch the "Huge" summer finale tonight at 9/8 central on ABC Family.

Oh, and for kicks, here is a picture of the bulk of our Bennington crew from wa-a-a-ay back freshman year, at the "Sad Birthday Party." Savannah's there giving the metal sign to the right of me, between Hannah and Allison [bright burgundy hair]. God, we look young.

Special thanks to Ian, for hooking me up with this big version of the photo.

Seth Martin and Friends - "Gone Campin'"

• Wednesday, August 25, 2010 2 comments
So this is a pretty big deal.

A few of you may remember me talking at length about my collaborations and friendship with Kyle Christian Quinn, who had a big hand in work done on "Trendsetter" and "Nova." And while both of those projects are currently on hold, Kyle's been hard at work in the interim with "Seth Martin and Friends" for Brainwrap Productions.

Brainwrap has produced several quality pictures, including the oft-screened "Johnny Boy" [also starring Seth Martin] and along with Kyle is staffed by various friends of mine like insanely talented and regularly-linked Glen "Mario's Closet" Brogan, as well Michael Valentine, Ian Nolte, Seth Martin, and severally others I've shared at least one game of mini-golf with.

"Seth Martin and Friends Presents: Gone Campin'" is the first in their new web series/public access show/who knows where else they'll pop up, starring the eponymous Seth Martin along his puppet friends Norman, Chappy the Chapstick, Trace the country singer, and the ghost of Soviet Spaceman Yuri Gagarin. In this 13-minute short piece, the gang takes a much needed vacation into the great outdoors for a relaxing night of s'mores, ghost stories, and campfire songs. But with such an eclectic cast of characters, you can guarantee their night out will not go exactly to plan.


"Gone Campin'" stars Seth Martin, with Michael Valentine as Editor, Puppeteer, Impresario, and Voice Actor, Kyle as Producer, Puppet-Maker, and Puppeteer, Josh Edwards as the Director of Photography, Max Nolte as Sound Editor and Boom Operator, Nicole Lawrence as Guest Puppeteer, Dave Humphreys and Glen Brogan as Production Assistants, and Ian Nolte on Writing, Editing, as well as making a Special Guest Appearance. Glen's also provided the old school, Saturday Morning Cartoon-style opening graphics. Together, they've put together a charming, funny video, and if you like it, I hope you'll tell all your friends, and help spread the word about the great work they're doing.

You can find out more about Brainwrap Productions at their official website, and "Seth Martin and Friends" at the SMAF Facebook Fan page.

On a personal note, I've been invited to a do some scripts for the show, but have just been waiting for them to put a couple together to better get to know the characters and format they're shooting for. I really hope it works out and I get to be involved, if for no other reason than I enjoy working with Kyle so much, and when we were talking about making "Nova" last summer, Seth was actually my pick for the role of Nick. Would love the opportunity to work with the rest.

Enjoy!

"The tenderness and the azure..."

• Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2 comments
Just some quick updates, and some links.

First off, thanks to anyone who checked out Ian's story, or who have checking out Ian's story penciled in as one of their activities in the near future. Though a little sporadic at posting, "A Wave of the Hand" is an excellent blog by a top-notch writer, and should be a staple in everyone's RSS feeds.

Other things. I was hoping for a couple of free days to work on some fiction or prose, but my next book came in the mail for the j-o-b, and that's now my major point of focus. Coupled with how full this past weekend was [Saw Scott Pilgrim - it was, naturally, awesome and I have a sort of hope to write a little something about it once my week frees up], I just haven't really had time to sit down and do any real writing, even with the insomnia, baring a few hours last night where I had a new idea I might follow up on [re: Found Out About You - inspired by a particular rat-bastard of an ex-friend who has popped up in the peripheral of my life, annoyed me by screwing with friends of mine, but also made me think there might be a story there, or at least a chance at some catharsis], or discard. There's a reason for my hesitancy to move forward, non-personal issues related, which I might discuss here, or in a rare move for me I might actively just write the damn thing and then lock it in a drawer if I think it's too offensive or whatever. It's pretty loose right now, of course -- just some ideas, there's no outline yet, and I don't tend to go forward on full scripts without one.

Not that it hasn't happened before -- just that it is rarely a good idea.

Also been kicking around in my head to pick up something old, and work on it, actually finish it. I have a couple of things like that, honestly. Just a matter of getting excited about them again, or figuring out the solutions to the problems that made me put them down in the first place [re: Trendsetter, The Familiar].

Also putting something together I'd like to keep hush-hush for the time being. Watch this space.

And, for those wondering, I finally dug through my e-mail and found the website for that contest I entered "Nova" in a few months back. The day of reckoning is November 15th. We'll see how it goes. Fingers crossed, I might get my little story about angels made yet.

To keep this from being an entirely useless post, there's some really great writing up at "The Bathroom Monologues" and "Hipstercrite" today, by John and Lauren respectively. John's piece [re: "Killing to Kill a Mockingbird"] is just so incredibly interesting, while Lauren's "The Difference Between You and I" is one of those things that makes me feel incredibly... [fine, I'll say it] blessed by blog culture. Just a really great, moving work, that I can't recommend enough.

Also, Eric M. Esquivel is back blowing our minds over at Modern Mythology Press, with his new western work called "The Lone Survivor" with Ian Synder on art duties. Check out the cover preview, and tell me you're not interested in what comes next.

Finally, I'm not sure if anyone happened to read the "What is it about 20-Somethings" piece By Robin Marantz Henig in the Times, but it's stirred up a bit of interest amongst me and my liked-minded and like-aged peers, particularly over at the 20-Nothings Blog. It's actually made the writer there, Jessie Rosen, put out a call to arms to all of us, which I think if anyone is reading this here, they might want to go, check it out, and participate in it. It is an exceptional idea - though make sure you catch the other few posts on the subject, too.

I gave it a shot, but realized, when asked directly, I have surprisingly little to say. Especially since I feel like I spoke best about the subject with "New Hooverville" a few months back, and I doubt seriously that what Rosen wants from her participants is fiction. Still, there are a few people who read this that might want to throw their hats in the ring before the Friday deadline.

Probably hear more from me soon. My week opens up big time after tomorrow.

The Uncle Jesse to my Danny Tanner

• Friday, August 20, 2010 2 comments
No, I don't think anything sounds weird about that.

So, for you Twitter people, I guess you could call this taking "Follow Friday" to it's logical conclusion. My friend, former roommate, and fellow writer Ian Rogers, who is currently teaching English in Japan, has a blog which I link to from time to time, but lately it's occurred to me that there was one really big project he put a lot of time and effort into, and I thought was pretty cutting edge, which just has not been getting the attention I think it deserves.

Ian's project, entitled "Corporate Takeover," was a pretty ambitious play on meta-fiction, and made me think a lot about some of the possibilities Christopher Miller, renowned author and one of our professors at Bennington, used to talk about when discussing new technology, the internet, and the implications both could have on fiction in the near future. While the bulk of Ian's blogging is typically autobiographical, without saying much or really announcing his intentions, he quietly slipped into a fictitious account of Google's Blogspot/Blogger community being bought out by a strict and unforgiving company called the Erochikan Corporation. As Erochikan begins to place ever more stringent and arbitrary restrictions on their bloggers, Ian begins to fight back, within their system, but by trying to play by [and circumvent] their rules begins to lose some part of himself in this passive aggressive battle.

Blogger vs his blog.

It's a great read, and I have been recommending it right and left lately, but nothing really gets people's attention like a bunch of nicely ordered links of every entry you need to read Ian's mini-epic.

So, as his very impressed friend, I present to you "Corporate Takeover" by Ian Rogers:


And a Few Parting Words from the Author:


Enjoy.

I totally met Chris Jericho [and a lot of things in parentheticals].

• Wednesday, August 18, 2010 1 comments
So, fair warning to my regulars who may not know. This post is partly about my fondness for watching half-naked men pretend to hit each other.


I don't talk about wrestling here a lot, mostly because it doesn't have a great deal to do with my writing. But what you see here is me and my friend Dave [that would be the Dave that was just married to the lovely Carrie Kirk...well, Humphreys now, huh?] meeting one of my favorite pro wrestlers ever, Chris Jericho. You can tell he's one of my favorites because, try though I might to put on a "too-hip-to-smile" smile and not act like a total fanboy, my face is about to explode from the sheer awesomeness of this moment.

Jericho is one of those guys who I can honestly say I've been watching almost as long as I've been watching wrestling, and as big of a fan of professional wrestling as I am, it's safe to say he's one of only a handful of guys that I honestly thought would be awesome to meet. No offense to any other wrestlers meant, of course, I'd just rather get to see them perform than talk to them/have them sign something in most cases, in the same way you'd probably want Emeril to fix you a meal instead of just write on all your cookbooks. But again, Jericho was a special case.

Now Dave had talked me into seeing a WWE show in Huntington, and the cool little bonus to going [as if getting to see a wrestling show with one of my good friends a few weeks before his nuptials wasn't enough] was that "Y2J" was signing copies of his new CD [yep, dude's a wrestler, and in a metal band] at the local F.Y.E., along with one other item if you were willing to get in line and wait. Now, just meeting the dude, getting his CD, having a picture, all while hanging out with Dave would have been fine. But along with all that, I also got to get this signed.

Wrestling biographies are generally a pretty mixed bag, with some of the best being penned by Mick Foley. And while I don't think Jericho's book is quite as good as Foley's, it's always been one of my favorites because he's just so pragmatic and down to earth in it -- the book's about wrestling, but it's also about this kid with a dream, with family, with friends, and a really well-stamped passport. I mean, Jericho has wrestled everywhere, and gives a pretty good account of the different places and the eclectic cast of characters he tended to be surrounded by. It's a fun read, and with his next book looming [this seriously only covers to his entrance into the WWE, which was about... high school for me? Around there], I thought it would be a neat to get him to sign it.

What with being a, you know, writer and all.

Pretty cool, huh?

Where I got him to sign it was of some significance to me too, considering I sort of consider myself, as a writer, in the "Mexico" point in my career -- by that I mean, I'm hardly getting paid anything, I'm living on a diet of mostly fried food, and the majority of my accomplishments are small but I celebrate them hard. Seriously, I'm a mask and some cheetah-print spandex away from being "El Escritor Enmascarado."

Anyway, he was a really nice guy, more than willing to actually take a little bit time to speak to each person despite how long the line was, and we talked a little bit about his upcoming book, which was actually pretty cool, and he seemed really eager to do when I told him "I was kind of a writer myself" [okay, seriously, I used to watch this guy on TV when I was 13... cut me some slack]. Also, totally unable to get through a conversation without saying something incredibly nerdy, as Dave and I were making our exit, I mentioned how cool I thought it was that in the year previous, during the WWE's tour of Japan, Jericho took the time to do this:

Now for those of you who don't know [the only person I can think of who'd be reading this who would know would be John], the guy with the snow white hair who's getting all up in Jericho's grill is Yoshihiro Takayama, a Japanese professional wrestler and ex-MMA fighter, not to mention a widely-renowned legitimate bad-ass who is tough as he is ugly, and as the time this picture was taken, was the All-Japan Triple Crown Champion [This world champion, only older, and with three belts]. This was a big enough deal to make a lot of Japanese papers, as they treat wrestling like a legitimate sport [despite knowing it's not real], and made waves on the internet in the U.S. because it's rare for anyone in the WWE to acknowledge any wrestler outside of the big, Vince McMahon owned corporation.

Upon mentioning this to Jericho, he looked at me, puzzled for a second, and then, quite matter-of-fact-like said "Oh yeah -- the ugly dude." Which, as you can tell from the picture above, is a pretty accurate description of Takayama.

It was one of those humbling moments when you realize you might be taking something a little more seriously than even the people involved do. And honestly, I expected the whole experience to be kind of mortifying, one of those "oh god, who is this dork?" kind of moments, but instead, Jericho smiled, seemed really pleased to find out he'd made the Japanese newspapers and not heard, and was just a sincerely gracious about being told about it.

I mean, it can't just be me, right? Weren't all our heroes supposed to think we were crazy, and act like jerks, and let us down? And isn't it really, really great to be wrong about that? Maybe it's a sign I'm getting older, but it's so nice to occasionally be reminded I'm too cynical, as opposed to the other way around.

The whole day was a great time, and I want to thank Dave for the experience. Probably never would have done it had he not suggested it, but it was just so cool going to show, and meeting Chris Jericho, and there were just a whole of host of cool things that happened that day. Thank you Dave, and thank you for sending along this picture too.

Because yeah. I am a total dork [in case this whole rant, and the SiP shirt didn't tip you off]. But if Chris Jericho didn't mind, why should I?

Writing Exercise I Couldn't Bring Myself to Delete or The Beginning of My Memoirs if the Truth Doesn't Matter

• Saturday, August 14, 2010 4 comments
I wasn’t born, so much as I fell out.

It’s a sentence that follows me around. My first time hearing it I was sixteen, a Walkman stuffed in my jacket to help me make it through tenth grade English class, and someone had passed back a pirated copy of The Clash’s “London Calling.” The song was “Lost in the Supermarket,” and to drive home the point Joey Strummer punctuated the sentiment with crooning and obvious “no one seemed to notice me.” It stirred something in me, like someone had just insulted me in a way which I’d have normally taken as a compliment, and I would listen to album, and even the song, over and over again from there, obsessed with the unpleasant feeling it made me feel.

Like brushing chewed finger nails over crushed velvet. Sucking air into a decaying tooth. I loved the song, and was fascinated by how terrible it made me feel.

And like all things, with repetition the effect wore off. Eventually it just became my favorite song, or at least one of them, and I could smile when I heard it, tap my toe, and sing along. And eventually, I got it, I understood why it touched me like it did, and I knew why I loved it despite it constantly making me cringe.

I grew up in what you’d call sub-suburbia, a housing development never quite finished and used for mobile homes. Hindsight being what it is, I think I was perhaps my parents’ last chance to salvage their marriage, a grand gesture meant to unify the two of them in their care for me. It is perhaps the oldest clichĂ©, the family which was doomed from the start, who continue to make the worst decisions in the hope that somehow two wrongs could eventually make a right. Foolish of them, but not deluded like Mom once described it – no, I think they knew exactly what their marriage was, and bringing me into the world was the acknowledgement of just how bad it had gotten.

So my life began in the company of two screaming fugitives from one another. My father, who hated his job, retreated to it, working longer hours for less pay, reaping no reward other than peace and quiet, and a chance to pursue the things that would occasionally make him happy. Drugs, women, and alcohol. Saying it like that, it makes me vaguely wish it was as grandiose for him as it sounds. But ultimately, it was unfulfilling, because he couldn’t take it home.

Mom ran too, though further up and further in, making the home that my father couldn’t have her defining attribute, a shining example of how good life could be if her husband who loved everyone and everything more than her would just get his act together. She retreated into her head, so assured in her righteousness in this situation, so justified by benefit of actually possessing the thing she knew he wanted – their home – that when, inevitably, they would cross one another, she knew win, lose, or draw she was the good guy. It was a staggering power, the same sort of assurance you hear from terrorists, religious fanatics, and future suicide bombers, and she stood unmovable for what she had, just as he could stand unmovable by benefit of what he didn’t.

And so they fought.

I don’t remember when I started walking about the house with my head down. I remember, specifically, a dream I once had, at the height of their battles, when fighting had become so mundane to them that they would do it while completing other tasks – Mom cooking dinner, and my father watching TV. It was the same in this dream, and as they fought it began to get particularly heated, with him stepping up the verbal assault during an opening when she had to pause, and taste test the sauce. And here, in my dream, I did the only overt intervention I ever attempted between the two of them, and snuck up behind my father and clamped my hands around his chattering mouth.

I could feel the shock on his face through my hands, and he tried to jerk himself or me around and unlock my grip, but for that one moment I held tightly, and for a split second knew no difference between his face and my fingers. They were absolutely the same, a part of me and a part of him.

And then he bit them off.

~

So from there I kept my head down. It didn’t matter that it was just a dream, nor did it make a difference in my mind whether my father or Mom had severed my digits. I knew in either case, no matter whom I directed my actions I would lose just the same. So I kept my mouth shut, and my eyes down, and they were never bothered during their battles. They never seemed to notice me.

Which is not to say I was ever neglected, either. I remember, for the most part, loving parents, who looked after me when I was sick, put together birthday parties for me with kids at school who I never talked to, and rewarded my accomplishments when they came. But all of this, particularly that last bit, accomplishing things, seemed counter-productive to keeping my head down, and out of the way, so accomplishments remained few and far between. Which was fine, as they just believed me to be an introvert, a late bloomer, someone who had to be pushed, when they weren’t pushing each other, and from this I gained more of the attention that I was trying so desperately to avoid.

But the important stuff still went unnoticed, and I was, of course, thankful for that. There was a close call or two, one teacher in particular, who’d taken an interest in me upon recognizing how I’d avoided her attention for so long, even called my parents in, and questioned if perhaps my “distraction,” my shyness wasn’t a byproduct of some problems at home. My parents were naturally scandalized and insulted by such an accusation, and I, even at such a young age, remember being gripped with such rage at this person, this educator, who was just meant to push me through as she did all the other finger-painters and block-builders, and now here she was, so close to blowing the brilliant plan I’d constructed to keep my fingers.

I just kept my head down. The same bluster my father and mother had so deftly crafted to torture each other was surprisingly convincing when turned upon some third party in stereo. It all went away. They kept hating each other onwards to divorce, and I just got to be “backwards.”

~

I felt I had a lot to look forward to as we approached the big day. Television had taught me that before the divorce there would be “the talk,” where I would be informed that under no uncertain terms was I to think this was in any way my fault. That Mom and my father both still loved me as much as they ever had, yes, they even still loved each other, but that this was the arrangement that would be best for everyone.

And I would be expected to ask certain questions, things like whether or not they thought they might get back together, or how we’d do Christmas, and of course who I’d be living with. There was even a possibility I’d be asked to make a choice, to decide where it was I wanted to go, and I both bristled at the thought of the responsibility while feeling simultaneously gleeful at finally being asked for my input on something.

Soon there was [marginally] less screaming, and more packing, and a lot of relatives around I only saw on holidays. And on occasions when I’d walk the hall, watching my feet as I went, I might glance upward and see Mom cry, or my father punch something – a cabinet, or a drawer. And they wouldn’t notice, so I would quietly shuffle away, putting it in the back of my mind that this was how people who were upset were expected to act when they thought they were alone.

The talk never materialized, and honestly, I didn’t mind. It felt a little bit like success [an accomplishment], to be forgotten about like that, to avoid such a rehearsed an unpleasant subject matter, and on that last day, as Mom and my father went it one last time, I did something I’d never done before. I opened the car door and buckled myself in. Craning my neck to look over the dash, I waited patiently for Mom to reappear, and realize who I’d picked.

~

I expected more things to change.

I remember once while out to eat, long before the divorce, a special milestone – the first time, for reasons having nothing to do with my maturity and purely predicated on availability, I was given a grown-up glass to drink from. The waitress had likely forgotten who it was for, and it had come to me very full, of ice and soda, and I’d been absolutely over the moon with the prospect of getting to sip from that.

But in my eagerness I did not wait to be given a straw, and wrapped both hands around the glass and tipped it up for my reward. The liquid inside quickly turned the cup against me, and I lost control, spilling the contents all over the table, and our dinner below. The accident made hardly a sound, but the mess was spectacular enough that I did not cry right away. Instead, I heard Mom cry out, loudly enough that the surrounding diners went silent.

“Honey!”

And then there was a crack, and my head snapped backwards not particularly hard, but with enough of a shock to be jarring to me, with my father’s hand-print now red across my face.

I burst into tears.

The rest of the dinner was little more than hushed, angry whispers for me to be silent, and the threat of similar punishment while the restaurant watched on in silent awe and, I fear, some approval. The dinner ended soon after [perhaps it was already over], and on the way home Mom continually told me, with what sounded like regret, that my father and I would be having a talk when we got home. We were barely inside the door when Dad had me over his knee, and I was spanked soundly and sent to bed to sleep on a tear-stained pillow.

These events never repeated themselves, and it wasn’t until after they’d separated that I’d even dared to challenge the big boy glass again. Enjoying her newfound freedom however meant Mom wanted to do more than just stay at home with me, and while yes, that sometimes involved men I did not know, or women I had not seen with her in years, other times that just meant putting on my nice coat and going with her to some place my father had deemed too expensive.

And as we sat and ate, I felt a newfound safety, and felt like perhaps I’d finally be given a chance to try growing up, and even though it was still very much in my nature to keep my head down, I really couldn’t contain my excitement at the prospect of trying the big glass again. And indeed, with stronger hands and that slight [now archaic] fear driving me, it was no chore at all to drink deeply from the cup without a straw. I finished my drink with a self-satisfied smile, easily set it down, and so sure of my accomplishment felt the need to do something grand, like a magician finishing a trick. So I opened my arms wide and pushed out my hands, and went to say “Tah-Dah!” with a big, open smile.

And with my enthusiasm the glass went again.

I stopped. More accurately, I froze. It crossed my mind to immediately burst into tears, pre-empt the punishment by going immediately to its intended results. And then I realized, my father wasn’t there. I lifted my head. Tried not to smile.

Then I felt the sharp pain of Mom’s hand stinging fast against my face. To my surprise, it hurt worse than my father’s had. Perhaps he had been pulling his punches? But without her enforcer, Mom clearly felt the need to overcompensate.

I dropped my head again, and bawled.

~

From here I was fatherless.

It had little to do with me – with Mom finally gone, my father had his home, and in it he began filling it with tropical fish, and pornography, and gallons of alcohol and special lamps which grew weed in his closet. And eventually there’d be the sound system, and the big screen TV, and the final woman of all the women who either won or lost the honor of moving in with him, and being the perpetual fiancĂ©e.

And though that was no place for a child, he still might have had a place for me, if only he could bring himself to stand Mom for another minute more. And maybe he could have even done that, but I always think he had to have been afraid. Terrified of losing what he’d wanted so bad when they were together – and being unable, once braving that, to ever be able to go home. So my father exits my life. I would make little movement to replace him with a surrogate. From here, all my role models would be women. Not a single one would pull their punches.

For someone who they thought so little of, my father seemed like a lot to make up for.

Congratulations to friends, the Wire's a Hippest Snippet, and Hoes before Prose/Prose before Hoes...

• Monday, August 9, 2010 2 comments

I was MIA all weekend [not a bad thing, to have a social life], so my Twitter page is hellish-looking right now with me scrambling to make up for it. But I just wanted to put a short post up here, most importantly to congratulate on my newly wedded friends David and Carrie Humphreys. It was their wedding that kept me occupied all weekend, and it was just an amazingly lovely time for them, and their friends and family. I only wish I was a good enough writer to adequately describe their happy occasion, but in lieu of that, I'll share an older post where I reflected on how kind of them it was to offer me the chance to be a part of this milestone in their lives.


It was a wonderful time, and I have to thank them again for the opportunity to be involved. And wish them a brilliant future together.


Also cool, my previous post here has had a section quoted on Hippest Snippets, a blog devoted to [and now I'm quoting them] " telling you the best stuff in the Blogosphere. Something witty, something insightful, or something just plain strange will be quoted on here if it makes us think, laugh, or bawl." I'm really honored to have something I've written put out there like this, especially under the absolutely fitting title of "Settling Down with Urinating Morons." I usually work under the assumption that the stuff I write here is done mostly in obscurity, which is fine, since I started this blog as a place for myself, but I can't lie, it's really rad to be noticed, and lately I have gotten attention from some pretty prolific and popular bloggers, and having someone post about my stuff somewhere else, well...


I'm a little like a kid on Christmas about it today. Plus, I really think what Hippest Snippets does is a great idea, and in some way a little more about the-proof-in-the-pudding than Google's somewhat overly simplistic "Blogs of Note." I would suggest subscribing -- there's no telling what new thing you'll find to read.


Speaking of great things to read, oft-mentioned Super Buddy John Wiswell's "Headlights Go Out" has been published at Thaumatrope. I'd suggest going to check it out.


And finally, The Hitch List's Polly Syllabick [who has been lurking in my archives and posting very gracious comments] and Hannah Miet of "My Soul is a Butterfly" got together today and switched blogs in an event I'm calling [and I think they're calling it too] Prose before Hoes/Hoes Before Prose. Go see a preview from Hannah's book "Hello, Absurd World" on The Hitch List, and look at Polly's lovely fiction over on "My Soul is a Butterfly."


Bit of a love-fest today. I swear everybody, it's really me. Taking on another freelance project soon, this one for a local political campaign. As I keep saying, I'm taking the Electric Mayhem stance on this -- "...just play the gig, don't get involved in politics."

Fan minus the fandom

• Friday, August 6, 2010 6 comments
I want to share an anecdote with you.

If you've talked to me at any time in the past several months about what comics I've been reading, you might have heard me tell this particular anecdote. If that's the case, you certainly don't have to read about it here. But I want to link something, and I feel like maybe if I explained this, people might understand why I think it's such a good idea.

Around college, I sort of stepped away from traditional comics fandom. There were a lot of reasons, and I didn't stop reading comics, or acting like a fan, hell, I think during this period of time I met more comic book creators and went to more conventions than I did in when I was a hardcore fanboy. I just... was in school, I was in an intellectual place, and when I talked about comics or characters in comics, or even writers of comics, it was from an intellectual standpoint. There was less geeking out, and when I did geek out, it was usually to people who didn't know much about comics, or just didn't geek out too. Such was life.

Not too long ago, Dynamite Entertainment began releasing several Green Hornet comic books, the one with the most hype being penned by writer/director/actor/filmmaker Kevin Smith. Anyone who knows me or reads the blog knows I'm a big fan of Kevin Smith, and less well known about me is that I'm a pretty big fan of the Green Hornet [I'm actually really fond of all the pulp-era two-fisted fedora-wearing crime-fighters, because of their versatility], so this was something of a dream match-up. I was especially interested because the comic was going to be based on Smith's unused Green Hornet, because 1) I'm a big fan of both movies and comics, 2) because I love seeing projects that fall into development hell [or worse, are canceled completely], and 3) because I'm obsessed over different mediums and how some projects work better or worse in them.

So I was excited. I was "put my fan hat back on" excited. So, I decided I'd take it the whole way -- I'd do what I hadn't since high school, and I'd go back. Back to fandom.

Back to... the message boards.

I won't mention what boards' names. It's not really important. But I was excited. One of my favorite writers, a cool character, a lot of possibility. I wanted to find like-minded, Kato mask-wearing nerds to geek out with.

Have you ever stopped going to restaurant you really liked? I mean, you really loved this place, they had the best... tacos, or pizza, or artichoke dip or whatever. But for some reason, a reason you no longer remember, you stopped going to this particular restaurant. And you don't remember why, and you pass this restaurant all the time on your way to work and while doing errands, and one day, you say "You know what? I'm going back." And you're going to get that dish you liked so well, and you're going to wonder why you ever left that place. So, you go to that restaurant, and the waiter comes over, and he takes your order, and he's very nice, and cordial, and the atmosphere is exactly what you want. I mean, you really have no idea why you ever left.

And then, just as the server turns to go he whips out his dick and pisses all over your table.

That was my experience going back to comic book message boards. I just have no idea what to do with the overwhelming negativity. And this is coming from me, you know? But not only did I get to come in on long conversations as to how Smith's Hornet was poorly written, had no story [this was back at issue #1, I'd like to point out], was racist, and that it was stupid that Kato was a girl. Plus a million other things, and it was like, okay, I get it, we all have our opinions, and no one is required to like this, but I couldn't find anyone here who liked anything. I mean, anything. And heaven forbid you did, because it was bad enough if you liked something everyone thought was stupid, they had make sure you knew that you were stupid for liking it in the first place.

I'm still proud to be a comic book fan, and I still think comic book fans are damn good people at heart [proof], and I still love talking to people who are comic book fans. But I want nothing to do with comic book fandom anymore. I mean, yes, there are things in comics I hate. I could spend hours bad mouthing things that folks like Mark Millar or Matt Fraction have written. But I really have no interest in that, I'd rather use the time telling people about comics that I like, that I think are good, and they might enjoy, like I did here, or here. Why pull someone down when I could talk about how awesome Rick Remender and Tony Moore are? I don't want to sign up for some comic news site's Twitter account, and the first article I see is a debate over whether the Rise of Arsenal or the Widening Gyre is worst comic ever written. I'd much rather see something like Eric M. Esquivel's Post-Modern Mythologies articles on Bleeding Cool, and I'm not just saying that because I consider Eric a friend. I'm saying that because Eric writes about comics he likes, about creators he likes, and generally seems to like comics.

Isn't that the idea? I mean, would you really spend your money on something you didn't like just to tell people who do like it that it's stupid?

Anyway. End of my rant. This whole thing is, honestly, just a very flimsy pretense to point you over to Valerie D'Orazio's blog, where she is trying to start a little comics revolution. Check out the first post here, and the second here, and I would suggest subscribing to her blog for future updates, and just for really good insight for the comic book industry. I can't help thinking that maybe her vision for the future of comics would involve a fandom not only more diverse, but not so... poisonous.

Oh, and Kevin Smith's Green Hornet? I have every issue out so far, and me and the woman who sells me my comics? We really enjoy it.

Mixtapes from April

• Wednesday, August 4, 2010 2 comments
I mentioned a little while back that I helped my buddy Ian with his annual CD swap. A few people involved have mentioned that they enjoyed the mixes I put together, and that they even passed them on to other people, so I thought for fun I might make them available here, for anyone who heard me talking about them and were curious. Naturally, if any of the artists have a problem with me posting these here, and would like them taken down, just e-mail me, and they're gone. Otherwise, I hope everyone enjoys -- there's even a .pdf file in each one with a properly-sized-for-your-jewel-case CD cover.

"Midnight at the Jabber-Jaw"


1. Bob (Cousin O.) – The Gits
2. Fagetarian and Dyke – Team Dresch
3. Son of a Gun – The Vaselines
4. Glad I Don’t Know – The Lemonheads
5. Wicked Heart – The Devotchkas
6. Anarchic Syndicism is Fundamentally Wrong – The Mingers
7. Tony Randall – Bikini Kill
8. Minneapolis – that dog.
9. Batman (You’re the Sex) – The Stolen Minks
10. Tongue Tied – Erase Errata
11. Alice Practice – Crystal Castles
12. On Parade – Electrelane
13. Jail La La – Dum Dum Girls
14. Throw Aggi Off the Bridge – Black Tambourine
15. I Have No Fun – Vivian Girls
16. Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus
17. Creepy Crawl – Be Your Own Pet
18. Hey Sailor – The Detroit Cobra
19. Previous Condition – Lung Leg
20. Hurt Me – Thee Headcoatees
21. Alive – Joey Lauren Adams
22. Idiot Summer – The Gin Blossoms
23. Wingo Lamo – The Gits
24. Supreme Nothing – Tiger Trap
25. The Snap-Tight War – Crayon
26. The Pirate Song – Go Betty Go
27. Chemical Reaction – Tender Trap
28. Lola – The Raincoats
29. Johnny Appleseed – Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros

"Lo-Fi in the Parking Lot"



1. Gently – Alcoholic Faith Mission
2. Young Bride - Midlake
3. Kiss with a Fist – Florence + the Machine
4. Buildings – Regina Spektor
5. No Children – the Mountain Goats
6. A Case Against Love – The Bastard Fairies
7. I Don’t Believe in the Sun – Magnetic Fields
8. All At Once - Liechtenstein
9. Molly’s Lips – The Vaselines
10. Cakewalking – Young Marble Giants
11. Expectations – Belle and Sebastian
12. One Essex Girl – Tullycraft
13. Climb My Stairs – The Cat’s Miaow
14. Fragile, Don’t Crush – The Softies
15. 24 – Emmy the Great
16. Grace Cathedral Hill – The Decemberists
17. My Manic and I – Laura Marling
18. Pull Me Out Alive – Kaki King
19. Don’t Try Suicide – Team Dresch
20. Whirring – The Joy Formidable
21. Heartbeats – Jose Gonzales
22. Christmas TV – Slow Club
23. Thank You Mario But Our Princess is in Another Castle – the Mountain Goats & Kaki King

Naturally, there are a lot of things I would have liked to include on these that I didn't get to, the acoustic version of "Social Love" for instance, or tracks by Calabrese or the Butchies, or even stuff I've found since making these like Ruby Falls, Heavenly, and the Shop Assistants, as well as some Japanese rock like The Pillows and Maximum the Hormone. I'd recommend hunting down any of these, and almost included them as bonus tracks or b-sides, but hey, if you're curious -- go look, or ask me sometime. I love talking music with people, and so rarely really get to.

Special thanks to Liz and her Dance to the Radio blog for giving me the idea to do this.

Rejecting common sense, out of no desire to ever be common...

• Sunday, August 1, 2010 5 comments
It occurs to me I've been neglecting the production diary aspect of this blog lately.

Let's take a moment and profile the obsessive writer. You'll notice stringy, unwashed hair, hanging ever forward from hours spent sitting over a computer at an acute angle. The creeping neckbeard threatening to overtake the greater part of his head, the dubious scowl and set jaw, pointed outward when most of the annoyance and loathing is focused inward. And the sunglasses indoors, as he ventures forth into parts of the house with open windows during the daylight hours. You can even see the sunken cheekbones and hanging dark circles under the eyes, reaching out as though in love with the four hair Kurt Cobain mustache.

Sorry. An unflattering picture of me surfaced on Facebook recently. I have opted to do battle with it by beating it to the punch.

The last weekend, all of Saturday, most of Friday went to working on "Untitled Willie Nelson Song" [I keep wanting to add the word "love" in there between "Nelson" and "Song"], with intermittent breaks to work on my next review for the paying j-o-b. Not that you can tell that from the current draft, just some grammar changes, and a dealing with a few paragraphs that made me want to tear my hair out. None of the big problems have been solved, and from the feedback I've gotten -- and seriously, thank you, to everyone who has given me feedback, either here or in my e-mail or over the phone [and if anyone hasn't yet, and has something they want to say, it's not to late] -- it seems like most people don't even get settled in with it until the second reading. I feel like I'm in one of those places where I'm not clever enough to be as subtle as I'd like, so I'm going to have to make changes I personally call "dummy changes" -- painfully obvious things like giving characters names, or fleshing out things that I liked leaving to one or two sentences.

It's probably for the better, I'm just trying to come to terms with doing all that. The things we have to convince ourselves of, eh?

Sunday, I woke up feeling crippled. Right hand was just killing me, like I'd got in a karate chopping contest with Iron Fist, and typing was pretty excruciating. Managed to polish off my review, still, but no real writing got done. Lot of time to think, lot of self-doubt sort of crawled in. Not entirely sure what my end game for finishing this piece is [re: Untitled Willie Nelson Song], especially since I'm just coming back to prose, and I sort of loathe soliciting this kind of thing out. Hard enough finding collaborators, I'm not sure if I'm willing to bite and claw for space on some internet zine or mini journal that other writers want and deserve a lot more than I do.

Of course, everyone has an opinion on why I feel this way. Fear of success [oh yeah, that's likely], fear of rejection [pile of returned resumes and "no thank yous" from my post college job hunt would argue otherwise], laziness... whatever, man. A friend has given me a bead on a few long form submission places to check out, and I'm putting them on my list of things to look into once my schedule slows down after mid-August.

Anyway, hand's feeling better today. Thought I might catch up on some of the link-worthy things I neglected on Twitter over the weekend.

New follower/friend of Mojo Wire Adria has a great post about the perks of being an adult over at her blog "Coloring Inside the Lines." I'm not usually an immediate "you're reading me/so I'll read you" kind of guy but the sub-header to her blog is "No job? GREAT!"... and I think I may have fallen in love a little.

John had two entries I didn't get to post for him up at "The Bathroom Monologues" - go forth and enjoy the weekend fair of "Telepaths Don't Exist" and "The Empress Needs New Clothes."

My favorite animation/roller-derby themed blog [there are more than you think] covered Rollercon '10, in smashmouth Tara Armov-style.

No clever comments here... just go read "Dreams of Ondaatje (1)" over at the "Synonym for Living" blog of Sophie's.

Hannah Miet hits somebody, and has an e-mail exchange with Chianski of Freelance Pallbearer about it.

My friend
Carrie talks about her upcoming nuptials [sort of] on her blog "Carrie Kirk Can't Sleep." Special note, I took the picture. It only took me six tries.

This was posted today by Liz on her blog "Dance to the Radio" - it's a guilty pleasure mixtape, and who doesn't love those? Plus, it gave me an idea for a post of my own, for later...

Finally, woke up to find this in my inbox today. Ian recently visited Naoshima island in Japan, an area which is apparently almost entirely dedicated to various kinds of modern art. Coming from Bennington like me, naturally Ian felt right at home among the many gallery installations of the eclectic, artsy, and weird, and sent along this picture which is, as near as I can tell, an army of tiny Ultramen [Ultramans?] facing down their cornered mirror image twins.


All right, that should cover it. When I can't even get the 30 minutes it takes for me to throw up those links, it's always a fair sign I've been busy. This week, postings might be sporadic, as Dave and Carrie's wedding is this weekend, and I'm not entirely sure what days I'll be busy with stuff related to that. Also hoping to find time to finish the next draft of "Untitled Willie Nelson Song." But we'll have to see.