2010 July

July 2010

This happened when I woke up. I’ve never won an Internet before. I have to say that it was fairly insane to see ‘LIKES’ notifications flood my screen rapid-fire alongside sudden friend requests.

We live in a strange world.

I woke up on Friday and decided that I had nothing to lose. In any context. This also encapsulates the idea that anything I have is worth losing for a greater good, provided that this greater good provided a solid life experience. And the thing I’m losing isn’t Batman.

Like anyone looking for adventure and danger, I went on Craigslist.

CL has been a quiet theme in my life since February. We have a tenuous relationship at best. It often disappoints me, but drags me back in with promises of work, women and old video games – but we spend a lot of time apart. I’ve met a few awesome people from CL, one of them being one of my best friends in the world. Earlier in the week, I was poking around the Hudson Valley people ads and responded to one I liked, and made a friend. I’ve also found a job there. Have always come up empty on vintage video games.

So, when I saw an ad for 40 oldschool NES games, plus a system, two zappers, controllers and all of the wires for $150, I was kinda willing to travel as far as I needed to go. After getting a list of the games and the price was dropped to $110, I determined that the whole collection would fill in a few gaps in my collection of 200-ish games, and I didn’t know where Port Jervis was, but it sounded like a fair after-work destination. Of course, if you’re going to make a deal on Craigslist and meet in a parking lot in a town you’ve never been to before, you want to bring someone to at least witness your murder and get a license plate number.

I don’t have a lot of local friends ’cause I live in an area which caters to wealthy families and not 20-something art guys, so I called upon my new friend to adventure with me. I can’t find the ad, but I’m fairly sure it was seeking adventure. My kind of adventure isn’t so much skydiving and foreign travel as it is long car rides into weird parts of New York to see what’s going down.

I also have come to believe is very quickly disrupting the gap between who someone is online and who they are in real life. For some people, there might be no gap whatsoever, but there are plenty of people who consciously or subconsciously use this space to create the person they want to be, no matter how distanced it is from their actual meat-selves. Leaping facefirst into disappointment or a genuine connection is really, really important before too many illusions construct themselves. I’ve made that mistake a few too many times.

So, everything was organized and awesome. Weirdly ambiguous and circuitous Google Maps directions and $110 in hand, we met and set off for Port Wherever. All I knew was that it was over the Hudson, due west of me, and right on the edge of NJ. Great music the whole 80-minute drive with an awesome person in surprisingly calm rush hour traffic in beautiful weather. Somehow, this combination of four things make me feel like life is really happening.

We met the guy in a parking lot about 15 minutes late, due to a weirdly unlabeled road – a small, young guy covered in tattoos and piercings. As we talked he said that he was selling his Nintendo (obviously well-cared for, as most of the games still included instruction manuals) because he was turning his sun porch into a nursery for his forthcoming baby. I could have wept. It takes a real man to give up his Nintendo to take care of a baby that well. I know a few too many people who have just thrown a crib in the bathroom and hoped for the best. Well, not exactly – but effectively that.

Easy drive home, stop at a diner, a few minutes of Harley Davidson pinball, and it was pretty much the perfect day. Finding little bits of ‘life is okay’ in the rest of this stuff is pretty great.

Nothing to lose.

30 August 2004

This afternoon, as I was laying down for a quick nap before work, I heard my niece naming a sequence of her Barbies. She never names anything normal, human names like Jennifer or Samantha. She prefers to string together random syllables and large words that are stored meaninglessly in her subconscious into other unearthly, poetic names.

This, lately, has been in conjunction with her new Olympic sport of Barbie Flipping, which is exactly what it sounds like – taking a naked Barbie by the feet and trying to make it spin as many times as possible before it crashes into something. This is okay by the pool, where they can harmlessly ricochet off of trees and into the water, but it’s not as okay in the house, where the sharp-Barbie-foot-to-eye ratio is alarmingly high. The superhero Barbies that I gave her for her birthday are excluded from this, and instead sit on the sidelines, having a hot and heavy catfight every so often and having competitions regarding who is stronger or can fly higher. Apparently, whichever Barbie can spread her legs the farthest is also the fastest.

She names them as she flips them. Whatever name that they had yesterday is cast aside for the new linguistic configuration, for good or bad. So, today, as I was slightly drifting off to sleep, Raven shouts a new name for her Barbie.


And this is why it’s good to live at home.


31 August 2004


As you can see, it’s a special kind of beetle used to strip flesh from bones. I just think that the whole world should know that there’s actually an insect that can be used to remove flesh from bone, in case you plan on killing old Mrs. Noah, the crotchety biology teacher, skeletonizing her and in an ironic twist of fate, placing her back in her own classroom as an articulated model for kids to pose as if she’s picking her nose. But see, the detectives would know one thing : that real model skeletons are not made in the US, and that those which we imported from second and third world countries have also been outlawed, since people were actually killing others to sell their skeletons to American colleges. So, feed Mrs. Noah to the dog.

Rachel, my last girlfriend, and I, used to joke about our future house and kids, and the acceptability of my having a Dermestid Beetle Room in the house, in order to advance my skull ‘n’ bone collection.

“Kids, where’s Daddy?”
“He fell into the Domestic Beetle Room!”
“Oh, not again! Get the broom and the harmonica. Don’t ask, just do it!”
“Why do we have those things anyway, Mommy?”
“Because I love your father very much.”

As much as I have a genuine desire to load my town’s plentiful roadkill into the flatbed truck which I don’t have and toss ‘em into the Dermestid pit which I don’t have and make sprawling bone sculptures and new creatures, I’ll keep myself relegated to what I can find, which is limited. Once, as children, my sister and I were given a box of bones from a deer that had drowned in the brook behind our house and was picked clean by fish. I was constantly inquisitive and figuring things out, so it was the ultimate science experiment. We kept them in the toy closet for about a week, until I was fitting them back together and one popped open, revealing a colony of tiny, vermilion worms, and my sister simultaneously got a mysterious, rare rash that no one had gotten in the past 50 years. It wasn’t deadly or disfiguring, which was disappointing to the aspiring scientist, but it spelled an end to my adventures in biology. The bones were given back to the Earth, either burned or thrown back into the stream.


1 September 2004

Today, I walked into the bank to deposit half of my paycheck and relegate the other half to repayment of student loans. So, I filled out a deposit form, subtracting the appropriate amount in the appropriate fields and summing it all up at the bottom. It looked something like this.

I got on the line, which was reaching towards the door, right behind a pretty girl. Where I live, pretty young girls are a very rare commodity, most of them being away at college or smart enough to have left town before the mire of Putnam Valley secured their feet to the accursed, lonely land. In my geekish desire to avoid eye contact and reveal my fear and desperation to her, I gazed down at my deposit slip and noticed that things just weren’t adding up.

Having brought my own pen, as I’m ever dissatisfied with with chained, scratchy things that the bank provides, I began recalculating. And re-recalculating. No matter what I did, it was soon mathematically impossible to subtract 175 from 402.12. The laws that govern the universe twisted, ones became too heavy to successfully carry, the number seven became some some wavelength of energy beyond the visible spectrum, and I was lost. The line was growing shorter by now, and the cute girl was gazing back at me, and I was getting nervous. So, I did what any smart mathematician would do. I withdrew 200 instead of 175, which was an assload easier to subtract from 402.12. By now, my deposit slip was a disaster. It looked something like this.

I had to explain what it said to the teller.

“Does that say two hundred?”
“Is that a robot playing with a beach ball?”
“Yeah… it represents the number 6.”
“Is… is that blood?”
“Yeah… it was REALLY hard to figure out.”
“Initial here. With the pen.”

And this is why I don’t like the bank. The cute girl would have given me her number, except for the fact that I was obviously having trouble with the numbers that I already had and she didn’t want to give my a numerical anyeurism.


5 September 2004

So, the local Emergency Broadcast System just came on a few minutes ago. It’s been a gray, quiet, creepy day as it is, but as soon as the black TV screen was done announcing the fact that they HAD to jolt us to attention with that awful buzzing once per day, something very odd happened.

I’m jittery as it is, especially in a big house with lots of odd noises. The Emergency Broadcast System scares me, given the weather in Florida and the political state of the world. When the buzzing was done, the TV started playing Black Hole Sun.

I swear to god – every TV in the Hudson Valley was taken over by Soundgarden and the most eerie, apocalyptic song in the universe. It was like they were easing us into the fact that the world was ending. I assume it was a mistake, but talk about irony. I’m glad I’m going to work in an hour, just so I’m not alone in this house.


10 September 2004

Last night, I had a dream that a ‘meteor’ was fast approaching Earth, throwing our magnetic fields all out of whack. Phones weren’t working right, people’s personalities were backwards, the house was infested with ladybugs the size of my fist and dead lobsters who decided that the ocean was boring, and the sky grew black. Because apparently, magnetic fields drive lobsters WACKY.

This is what my dreams are like. Yesterday, I had a dream that I was a train conductor who was giving a piggyback ride to a line of passengers, when I met a beautiful redhead who was a culinary student, who was disappointed that her favorite fish market was closing. I was charming and clever and said something about halibut.

Someone wrote this to me once :


have i told you lately that you are amazing & fascinating ? i hold your bravery in writing those thoughts & feelings out in very high esteem. i know that i struggle often with believing that i’ll be seen as ridiculous & melodramatic & too much, and it prevents me from telling the truth, prevents me from letting it out. do i sound like oprah yet? it’s only going to get worse. just wait!

you are sea horses, the magic dust of a flea market, a favorite worn blanket. you are page 119 (empatically dog-earred) , a bicycle, a window left open and the air that’s tossed through and into bed. you are skies made of crepe paper, worthy and beautiful and strange and new. you remind me of many things, all of them perfect and utterly unique (imperfect and in that way, flawless) & so i can’t say that i don’t have my own interests in mind as i write this letter. i don’t know you well enough, yet, perhaps not very well at all, but enough to see the shorelines and the nebulae, & from what i know, i know that i want you , alive and well, in my life, in some form, & i very very much want your happiness. my favorite people are often the ones who struggle through the world , & i wonder all the time why that is. perhaps it’s simply because beauty IS depth, and depth is inevitably sadness and despair. it’s also hope and joy and each twisting road winds in and out of the other with little rhyme or reason, and i know that this email is just a bunch of run-on sentences that i should really pare down and edit and fix and pretend that i’m something i’m not, but i won’t because that’s not fair, and the point is that you may not be able to see it right now, but you’ll feel better, eventually (and hopefully sooner than later) . let me know if i can help. i won’t and don’t feel bothered, & sometimes we are allowed to be selfish with the people in our lives. there’s nothing that excepts you from that rule.”

I think I’ll look her up again.

A man came into the library looking for Mein Kampf. Joan informed him that if we have it, it would be in the Biography room, under the name of Hitler. The man skulked into the room and soonafter skulked back, informing her that it was not there. In the meantime, he’d grabbed another book about Hitler and brought it to the desk.

“We can order Mein Kampf book for you, if you’d like”, said Joan.

“No! I know everything there is to know about Hitler! Everything!”, replied the man.

“Well, would you like to take out this book instead?”, said Joan.

“Yeah, yeah, I guess so”, replied the man.

“Would you like us to order Mein Kampf for you?”, asked Joan once again.

“Yeah. You know, it’s the only thing by him that I haven’t read. Opening up a book like that is like opening up a grave. And smelling the rotting, decaying, putrid flesh!”, replied the man euphorically.

Needing to go once horrible sentence further, he concluded, “Some people could masturbate to that!”, turned, and fled the library.

I’m digging through an old online journal which I no longer maintain. I’m extracting the marrow from the bones.


10 August 2004

This just in from USA Today:

“Just 1.48 people died in traffic accidents for every 100 million miles traveled in 2003, according to the government’s latest data.”

So, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, drive 100 million miles, or you will die 1.48 times, and that’s WAY more than you’re allowed to die.

Honestly, I have NO idea what these stats mean.


22 August 2004

Every so often, I read reviews instead of write them. Ponder what I’ve missed, wondering what I should buy.

So, I’m working on a review of the Ms. Pac-Man controller from Jakks and TV Games, and it’s awesome, and I can’t get enough of it…. but I wanted to see what people had to say about one of the games on the controller, ‘Pole Position’. THIS ONE was noteable. Honestly, for whatever OCD reason, I’m on a search to find the name of the person who provided the sexy female voice for the game. Something about hearing a girl voice in a simplistic, 8-bit game is a turn on. But the review… see, it’s important to note that if you hit an obstacle, your car would explode and be ‘reseted’. This doesn’t present a problem within the game, though, since that word doesn’t exist.

It’s also important to note that the game has an excellent replay value, because you can play it until you are sick of it, at which point, presumably, it loses its replay value. Whenever that might be. A ‘pro’ of the game is that it ‘spends time’, while a ‘con’ is that it ‘uses up time’.

This is why I decided to start writing reviews. Because as long as anyone can post anything on the internet, I might as well at least use real words and make sentences that string together without immediately contradicting themselves. So, I write the reviews.

Reviews that in some way always involve my genitals.

Speaking of ‘pole position’….


25 August 2004

So, I finally got to see Napoleon Dynamite, which I’ve been wanting to see for months. Somehow, my tiny town decided to run the film at the local mall.

I was kept from seeing the movie yesterday by a niece who had a complete freakout at the thought that I might be out of the house for something other than work, enjoying something for myself. When I got on line to buy a ticket to the 11:15 showing, she shrieked and stormed across the mall, not looking back, all tiny 4 years of her, arms crossed, one flip-flop on, the other left near the Fruit Smoothie stand. I had to chase her down and wrestle her, beneath the canopy of plastic palm trees, into some kind of coherence again. Needless to say that by the time I’d gotten a verbal explanation of her distress out of her, I felt far too bad about the possibility of abandoning her to go.

I snuck out of the house the following day, today, despite her insistances that she was going with me and waiting outside the theatre for two hours until the movie was over.

Maybe this isn’t an issue to anyone else, but the highly mirrored glass that protect ticket counters plays nasty tricks on my eyes. I have trouble seeing out of my left eye, sometimes. It’s a lazy eye when I allow it to be, and I always have to squint one eye closed in order to filter out the information overload that comes with walking around large or unfamiliar places. My brain just kinda chokes on everything and I have trouble processing it. Such is the case with the foot-thick mirrors that protect our ticket vendors like bluegreen, striped Popes, and the tiny speaker that one must crouch to speak through. I always strain to communicate and see the figure on the other side of the glass, mostly seeing my own face and lots of shiny silhouettes.

Well, I walked up to the ticket counter window and saw a lot of nothing inside, so I sidled over to the snack bar and asked, kindly, “Who do I speak to to get a ticket?”

I was greeted by a pear shaped man. Not only in body, but in head, with tiny pear-seed shaped eyes. Once I asked him this, well, I swear they flashed an unholy fire. He opened the ticket window door from his popcorn station and shook a quivering finger at the person who was now, quite obviously, sitting right at one half of the dual window. “HE’S SITTING RIGHT HERE!”, the Pear Man barked and stomped back to arranging JuJuBes into geometric perfection.

I apologized to the person at the window, some teenager, explaining that I just couldn’t see him through the reflective glass, and asked for my ticket. He didn’t seem to understand my visual plight. I was just another complete moron.

Once I got my ticket, I went pack to His Lord High Pearishness and apologized to him as well, saying that I just couldn’t see the gentleman. He grunted, but didn’t look up from fiddling with something just out of eyesight below the counter. I assume that he was impregnating the Reese’s Pieces or enjoying the warm butter machine.

I would have felt like a moron, which I undeniably was, if the Pear Man wasn’t doubly so. My slight visual error was akin to me personally assaulting him, somehow. How could I feel bad about myself when there was someone, right there, with a disposition so much more horrible than my own?

At least it wasn’t a cute girl that I was blundering in front of.

The movie played the digital TV promo reel, and at the end of it, looped the ‘your movie will start shortly’ screen until it ran out of loops and froze, since no one was around to switch the projector to the film promos. I was the only person in the whole theater, so, the resources that they were putting into this showing far outweighed the value of my 6.50 ticket. They didn’t care. If it weren’t for me, the projector operator would have had a 2-hour break. I could feel his spite flickering at me from between frames.

Because I was the only person in the theater, the maintenance guy found it perfectly okay to enter and exit the closet and jingle his keys at whatever intervals the key-jingling muse struck him.

At the end of it all, the movie was excellent. A Revenge of the Nerds without the cliches and overacting. All of the acting and dialogue was appropriately completely stiff. A subtle comedy dependent upon awkwardness. But damn… whoever was controlling the boom mic could have TRIED to keep it out of the picture, or they could have TRIED to edit it out later. No, the green orb dips into the screen on more than one occasion…

But it was a really, really great movie.

I shall have my revenge on Pear Man.


26 August 2004

Because of the particular segment of the universe that I bring into the house, that involving dead bugs, comics, toys, games and art, my niece has picked up on a lot of this. She’s four years old, and insists upon repeated viewings of the Batman movies, most especially the one involving Poison Ivy.

Give her a break – she’s only four. She’s immune to the venom of Schumacher. In fact, much like his foul, couch-cushions-strapped-loosely-to-a-fat-g

uy Bane, it fuels her. Because she’s four.

She can name about 75% of all of the superheroes that exist in the universe, and she sure as hell knows everyone on every single trading card and HeroClix piece that I’ve given to her, and these number in the hundreds.

So, because of her preoccupation with superheroes (as a direct result of mine and the tall displays of toys that tower throughout the room), she does this THING in which she runs through the kitchen, in one door and out the other, making a circuit through the living room and dining room, past the stairs and ’round again, as Jesse Quick. As she goes through the kitchen, she yells, “I am Jesse Quick, and I [insert amazing nonsequitur here]!”

“I am Jesse Quick, and I have raspberry eyes!”

“I am Jesse Quick, and I fight the moon bugs!”

“I am Jesse Quick, and I wear underpants on my head!”

This evening, immediately after I had fished out a delicious sun-dried tomato out of the oily jar and was beginning to nibble on it, Raven began her ritual. A light flickered in her eyes as she raised her fist and began to run.

“I am Jesse Quick!”

…followed by a swift punch to my groin.

Raven didn’t miss a beat and kept on running, trampling a wide, plastic tray of cheapo Hot Wheels like some cracked-out Godzilla. I usually ignore and quickly divert the inevitable and inadvertent attacks on my groin. She’s at the height where the groin is the ideal, visible target. She doesn’t know the ramifications of the groin, but she knows that it’s there, a-ready for a smashin’.

I collapsed, red-faced onto a chair, after a choked-out ‘GUH!’ My mother collapsed for an entirely different reason, red-faced, choking, her face in her hands.

“I am Jesse Quick, and I just farted!”

Raven dashed through the kitchen. I recovered… but I have to question where I’d be if I never brought Jesse Quick into the house. A few sperm heavier, I venture.

I’m kinda proud of the atmosphere created by my review of Mountain Man’s new album. While Splice loves it when I curse and get angry, I tried to evoke a different kind of mood here. Obviously.

Mountain Man- Made the Harbor

On CQ, I reviewed ‘The Dungeon Masters, which is a documentary which captures everything that documentaries should.

The Dungeon Masters

… and there’s a lot of other writing I’ve been doing, but it’s still sealed under non-disclosure agreements. More weird underseas adventures, spies and treason on short form. It’s a bit exciting, but very brain-intensive. Still fighting for more work, and waiting patiently to hear back from a potentially huge, life-changing job – but I’m not banking on it. But I’d like to bank on it.


Had very strange dreams about living skeletons and doorways, and the skeletons gleefully earning the right to die. Despite how this might sound, it was weirdly uplifting. I have a feeling that this was precipitated by the recent death of Ryan August, who curated and printed the I Want Your Skull art zine. I’d purchased the first 7 issues from him last year, he was a really nice guy, and his ability to recontextualize the cliche of the human skull was intellectually amazing. It started my own collection of skull toys, and I even wrote about the zine back in January of this year, and he even wrote me an e-mail to thank me for the article.

RIP, Ryan August. You’re still giving me weird dreams. I only hope that they mean you’re feeling okay.

If love is a weakness, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s been hovering around 100 degrees in upstate New York, and I spent the morning feeling tremendously unpleasant and knee-wobbly.

So, I stayed in bed and read all of Paper Towns by John Green, and kinda had my mind twisted around by the parallels to my own weird little life and the amazing, dangerous people I fall in with. The whole story ends up in a little town a bit north of where I live, and even speaks to the idea that people are things that happen, and I don’t know what it all means, but it’s never an easy battle upwards. I’ve shifted between trying and trying very hard and not trying at all, and it all looks the same.

Maybe if you can’t find answers in a book, you can find hope.

When I disappear, I’ll leave some pretty awesome clues.

I’ve been doing a lot of free freelance consulting lately, on a very unofficial level. Lots of “this idea is good, but” and “don’t call it that” and “you have no idea what you’re talking about, I’m a genius” stuff. Trying to be a diplomat and maintain gainful employment while subtly steering the ship away from the icebergs.

I feel like a lot of website owners set out with a really great, organic, altruistic goal – a stroke of genius which gets worn down to a nub by a lack of focus, endless additions to the site’s core functionality, and a forced invasion of monetization when all profits will generally come naturally if a website does what it does and does it passionately and intelligently. When Brian & I were running All Nerd Review, we spent years building up content without really concerning ourselves with turning a profit – access to a few conventions and some freebies were nice, but we created the site because most of the nerd-writings on the Internet were just poorly done – and we sought to change that.

With that genuine passion for dorkstuff and writing, we forged careers for ourselves as professional writers, teaching ourselves the ropes of online ‘journalism’ with an amazing amount of success. If other (more profitable) work didn’t take over for both of us, ANR would probably be a pretty prominent site by now – but it’s because we never tried to overcomplicate it, and we kept it true to what we knew.

A recent freelancing gig is holding my meager $50 payment hostage until I have a phone conversation with the owner. He’s a 40-something (I presume from photographs I’ve seen) shooting for a 20-something demographic, and while I can’t go into detail, he’s asking this audience to pay for things which might appeal to MTV’s version of 20-somethings – but not my own friends within that demographic. It’s a generic mess, and maybe I belong to a quirkier demographic than I’d originally thought, but pinball machines and Darth Vader helmets sound like a lot more fun than spa getaways and tailgate parties.

Here’s the thing : generic doesn’t attract an audience, even if statistically, it would make the most sense. You absolutely need to factor in the attention span which the average Internet 20-something employs. Viral is inherently quirky, and it draws enough attention to make a potential difference. We’re also regularly shown websites which promise free video game consoles, cars, vacations, and whatever else might be popular at the moment – and 95% of these things are scams. We filter them out without even allowing ourselves a flicker of hope that these things are real, because fuck, it’s the Internet. Getting around these filters that we’ve been forced to develop isn’t done with louder promises – it’s done with interesting, tangible promises.

Aside from this, I trawled through eLance today with the intention of using up all of my credits before the end of the month rolled around and I lost them. Placing indiscriminate bids on things might prove rewarding.

As far as freelance art goes, I’m participating in a show in the UK at the beginning of August to debut the Jinny toy from BitBots. I can’t really show it off yet, but I made a lumpy plush guy to house the 2″ toy, which was far tinier than I’d expected. It’s hard to customize something so tiny. I secretly call the whole thing ‘Fuckface the Fucknificent’, but for public purposes, he’s called ‘You and Your Ugly Heart’. It cost $30 freaking dollars to send to London – and I don’t even get it back.

It’s one of many recent instances of ending up in the red because of giving away artwork, and it’s a habit I need to break.

Next Page »