It’s stories like this that make me get onion-eyed before noon. This is such a beautiful idea too though. Not just for the dogs who get some love but also for the kids too. I remember when I was a kid I had such bad anxiety about reading aloud or even talking about what I just read, mostly because I had a very minour lisp, that I was placed into a remedial reading class (the social segregation and intellectual humiliation was impressive, I was competently reading Hawthorne in elementary school but I was still labeled as “reading disabled”) which really didn’t so much for me. Like at all. As a kid, if you asked me to read something, anything, to a dog, I would have been all over it. The dog wouldn’t make fun of me like the other kids, wouldn’t constantly correct me before I had a chance to catch myself like the adults, and I could have practiced more with my impressions.
Anyway I remember a similar, if not the same program, doing this same thing but to help build kids confidence in reading aloud and public speaking (something that has taken me over 10 years of building rage and cultivating a healthy punk-rock “f*ck you” attitude to get over and I STILL struggle with it) which ends up being positive reinforcement for both the dogs. This is the kind of stuff that will get kids to stop bitting people and dogs to stop doing drugs.
Anyway go be friends with a dog. Dogs are pretty good people.
Here’s a literary related dog joke.
What kind of dog does Dracula have? (Don’t judge, monsters need friends too). If you haven’t googled it by Friday, I’ll post the answer.
And here’s an original one, answer will also cone Friday: What’d the dog say to the novel?
One last one, this one takes a little set up:
Feel free to guess at theIn a parallel universe somewhere dogs became the dominant species and discovered quantum mechanics. The dog equivalent of Schroeder wrote a paradox about the quantum uncertainty principle. What’d he call it?
Feel free to leave answers in the comments. Even if you get it, there’s still likely to be a funny in it (as long as I can figure out how to draw dogs in inkscape..).
First order of business, Happy Burning Man to those brave souls making the journey. I’ve been interested in making it to a burner event, even one of the smaller regional ones, but it hasn’t been in the cards for me. Not yet.
Moving on to announcements:
I finally finished the Omnibus of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I realize it’s been a while since I announced it and I appreciate your patience, and I’ve decided to do something a little different with it(2). Since the book contains 6 distinct stories, with plenty of things worth noting in each, I’m going to start a seven piece series going something like this:
The Series Review (w/ links to the individual books)
Individual story reviews (1 for each book and 1 for the short story)
I’m also using this project as an excuse to play with some HTML features to hopefully make more interactive future posts (or at least to begin cleaning up the footnote system I’m using). I’ll be posting the series Mondays for the next two months or so. I’m going to continue to keep Friday “posting whatever I want as usual” for those who aren’t interested in the Hitchhiker’s guide (or the funnies, there will be funnies which should make them worth a skim at least) or haven’t read the series yet and seeking to avoid spoilers.
Still no word about the visa. Still sweating concentrated fear. Which stinks.
Good Stuff to come.
“A Life Lived in Three Acts” narrative theory: A reasonable and healthy age to live to, given my demographics, is 84. A good traditional narrative has 3 parts. 84/3 = 28 ergo a life can be split into three distinct acts, seeing as 28 is quickly approaching (September 23rd) and with it the end of act one, it’s reasonable to say that this apart of the story arc of act two: Leaving St Louis (working title).
If you can’t tell, I’m still largely in that “lets just try whatever and see what people react to” phase, bearing that in mind comments are deeply appreciated.
Tattoos have a long history as an art form, with the oldest evidence of a tattooed body being dated at about 3,000 B.C. Despite its enduring presence, only a few short decades ago tattoos were considered to be reserved for a subculture of military and biking men. Now it’s made a return to the consciousness of popular culture, with about 36% of individuals aged 18-25 sporting the permanent art. This rise in popularity and deviation from tattoo culture’s traditional place in hypermasculine expression is partially the fault of the same factors that influence most millennial trends: social media and television. Television shows such as Miami Ink brought the beauty and attainability of tattoos to living rooms, and artists now have platforms with millions of followers to showcase their enviable work. But tattoos hurt, sometimes a lot, so why are so many individuals flocking to the needle drawn art form?
It’s the first day of school for my friends and would be for me too if I wasn’t studying abroad this year. Every scholastic year anticipation of this day fills me with an unique restless energy including this year not because of starting my new classes but I just applied for my student visa yesterday and as I’ve been telling my friends
I’m fear sweating for the next 7-10 days.
It’s a really scary application process. It’s expensive(1) and it is the single lynch pin that could ruin the effort of the tens of hours I’ve spent getting signatures and the pages of paperwork I’ve had to fill out and the money I’ve already spent into the program. Real talk: I’m almost a full year invested into this process. I took the first step of submitting my application to my school’s study abroad program as early as permitted in late September or early October. Ever since then my life has been a roller coaster but everything I’ve done had the baseline motivation of “I’m going to England”.
After a full year’s worth of personal(2) strife, professional(3) trials, and scholastic(4) auto-flogging, filling in the time between deadlines and approvals, I’m literally as close as I can get to being given the green light and all this pressure sitting on one final bureaucratic signature is an extremely intense feeling.
For me $446 + $150 for international insurance or some such
Coping with loss, struggling with drinking, getting sober, and staying sober, anticipated grief, moving, the brief fear of homelessness, friends moving to the 4 corners of the earth, generally trying to get my life back on the right track
Working crap food job, trying to balance hours and homework load (4 nights a week or 26 hrs at work while taking 12 credit hours both fall and spring term [see footnote 4]), drama coupled with working said crap food job
Fall term was my first term at full time University level courses since 2007-8 scholastic year where I went to Mizzou for my freshmen year taking 20 credit hours a term. I burnt out pretty hard after that first year, ergo the seven year break. Fall term 2015 I took some heavy stuff, Calculus I and Statics/Probabilities (Past me: “Yea I always liked math and I kinda want a challenge. Nice way to finish my Math/Science requirements.” Present me: “You right stupid feckin’ idiot.”), and some lighter stuff, theater 101 and Anthropology of Native American Spirituality, the same mentioned previously in footnote 5 of “Getting to know the Neighbloggerhood”, then Spring Term 2016 I took a bunch of literary and writing courses which were fun but the work load got really intense with working all week and maintaining a regular drinking habit. Basically my week was like this: M-F School (8am), Work, Bed(Midnight); S-S: Homework 8am – 7pmish, drink to sleep, repeat. It was pretty rough. Things are easier now and things should be easier in England. I’m only taking 16 credit hours, equivalent, and my visa allows me to work up to 20 hours a week but no more.
“Do you believe in fate?” The young man asks his date sitting across the table.
“Don’t you think that’s pretty heavy conversation material for a first date?” glancing over the top of her menu The young woman gently chids, quickly returning attention to the decision between General Tzo’s Chicken and moo goo gi pan.
“Can I get you something to drink?” an elderly female server asks the couple pleasantly.
“Water is fine, thank you.” The young man says.
The waitress smiles and excuses her self.
The young man rests his arms crossed on top of his closed menu, leaning forward. Smiling. “So?”
“So what?” the young woman retorts focused on comparing the pictures of General Tzo’s and the moo goo.
“Oh. yea. Not really.” Suddenly the woman looks up closing her menu, “Pick a number between one and five.”
“Please?” The young woman’s cheeky smile softens the young man.
“Aww…are you sure?”
“What’s wrong with five? It’s a lucky number in Chinese culture.”
The elderly waitress returns with two ice waters. “Ready?”
“Yup. I’ll have the General Tzo’s Chicken with pork fried rice and…” addressing his date, “would you want to split an order of crab ragoon?”
The young woman nods enthusiastically, “And can I get the moo goo gi pan with spring rolls?”
The elderly waitress smiles, takes their menus and leaves.
“So you believe that life is one continual game of craps?” the young man pursues. “Huh? Oh, dice rolls. Yea life is a big crappy game of chance. Then you die. Why are you so fixated on this subject?” the young woman asks curtly.
“It’s important to me. You can tell a lot about a person by how they answer the question.” The young man defends.
“Like what? If they’re superstitious? Are “faters” more prone to be astrologists?” the young woman jabs.
“There’s nothing wrong with believing in something greater than one self. In fact, it’s quite healthy. Humbling even.” The young man parries.
“And there’s something wrong with believing in the random absurdity of the cosmos?”
“It’s kind of pessimistic, for starters.”
“At least it’s not delusional!”
The elderly waitress returns with the food before the young man can reply. The waitress smiles, and excuses her self for something rather urgent somewhere far from this table.
“Fate is not delusional. It’s quite rational. It’s just cause and effect. I ordered water first, you being on a date are more likely to mirror a partner, so you ordered water too. If you ordered water with lemons, I would have very likely ordered lemons too.”
“I had you choose a number, remember? I was having issue choosing so I had you choose a number. Odd, General Tzo’s Chicken; even, moo goo gi pan.”
“But I chose five and you got moo goo gi pan.”
“Exactly! When you ordered General Tzo’s, I didn’t want to get the same exact thing so I chose to change my mind and get the gi pan instead.”
“Fate again. I always get General Tzo’s chicken. Therefore you were going to get the gi pan before you knew it.”
“No. See here’s the difference between you “faters” and us rational people. I thought about my decision. You obviously don’t think about your decisions because you know that the decision has already been made for you. That’s probably why you always get the same thing.”
“You’re wrong though. I thought about choosing four. However the word for “four” in Chinese rhymes with “death” and is unlucky. I was always going to choose five since we’re at a Chinese restaurant.”
“The concept of luck doesn’t even make sense in a fate paradigm. Speaking of luck, I know you’re not getting lucky tonight.” The young woman flags down the elderly waitress and asks for a to-go box and the check split. “Though I guess in your sad case its a good thing you don’t believe in luck because ‘it wasn’t meant to be'”.
The waitress returns with two boxes, two checks, and two fortune cookies.
After boxing up her food, the young woman leaves cash on top of her check “Good luck, dude. Or whatever.” and leaves.
The young man packs away his food, careful to keep each portion in its respective section in the to-go box. He picks up a fortune cookie and examines it. He finally cracks it open, eating one half while reading his fortune:
Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city and never return. Repeat: say nothing…
“What the…well it’s a good thing ‘the concept of fortune doesn’t fit in a fate paradigm'” the young man says aloud to himself and anyone who happened to be listening. The young man leaves cash on his check and leaves.
* * *
The young man drives home from the Chinese restaurant in the county. At a stop light, a block from his home, he notices for the first time a sign reading:
Now entering the city of Big River
The young man accelerates at the light changing green again.
A convertible zooms 40mph over the speed limit through the light that just turned red crumpling into the young man’s driver side killing him instantly.
MC Chris is great. He’s a nerdcore rapper which basically means he writes songs about star wars, becoming a zombie, and robo-tripping on prom night. He has been trying to put out a cartoon for a really long time now, The MC Chris Cartoon, but it keeps getting shut down and that’s deeply frustrating. Check out the pitch ^^^ it looks really really funny.
Here’s a list of some of my favourite songs by MC.
I realize there is probably at least one person who reads my tag line “A literary blog…kinda” and think “Carbs! This toon(1) leans heavily on the ‘…kinda’ bit.” and sure I’ll give you that, but you want literature? Look at some of these lyrics. They’re poetry.
I’m a devious degenerate
Defender of the devil
Shut down all the trash compactors
On the detention level
Take this stanza from Fett’s Vette. Look at the alterations of “devious degenerate” and “defender…devil”. Notice the rhyme between “devil” and “level”.
World’s Fair, Chicago in the year of 1893,
a man named Milton, a disaster outta Lancaster, P.
Inspired by the Germans and their chocolate making machinery
he invented milk chocolate or stole it from the Swiss, that’s history.
So Milton built a factory, and a town and a park and a school for orphans,
made bars and kisses and chips real cheap so poor peeps could afford them.What a great depression – Nine-Twenty, not funny, no money in the pocket,
‘cept Pennsylvania where Milton kept on cranking out chocolate.
The Mr. Goodbar and then a World War and Milton did his part.
Made anti-aircraft guns and sent the soldiers chocolate bars.
Meanwhile they had a ship in, was secretly dipped in peanut butter
in his Pennsylvania basement. It was so exciting, cue the lightning/thunder.
Name’s Harry Burnett, you can bet my ass didn’t go to Harvard.
Be hold up in a cup, couldn’t have done it without George Washington Carver.
“I was living the high life – champagne, limousine, it was a trip,
then I died of a heart attack – all for naught, I was bought in fifty-six.”
Now please fast-forward to the seventies, scientists discover Penuche.
Peanut Butter’s too oily, Pieces takes their part in the food chain,
and their name is commonplace in the latest interview with a lady named Witherspoon.
Or take the history rift from Reese. Notice the rhyme scheme in the first four lines, shortening brilliantly shortening “Pennsylvania” to “P.” to fit the rhyme. Notice the slant rhyme in the next stanza between “pocket” and “chocolate” and more so notice the use of the “f” sound tying the entire stanza together from “factory”, “orphans”, “afford” and “funny”.
It goes on and on and it’s not only extremely entertaining but a sign of his linguistic talent. MC Chris is not only a rapper but also a voice actor and a generally creative mind. My intent with this post is not only to raise awareness of this underrated sub-genre of hip-hop and this artist but also to hopefully bring to attention the cartoon pitch that MC Chris has been trying to make a reality for over 3 years now, a pitch I am invested in being a fan of his work. I know I don’t have the money to back his cartoon but I hope that in raising more awareness about the pitch that maybe someone of influence will notice the potential. Besides, aside from Rick and Morty there aren’t many genuinely creative, funny, and intelligent western adult cartoons.
If you watched the pitch and liked it, share it (don’t worry about sharing this specific post, the pitch would get lost in the word vomit). If you liked any of his songs or all of them MC just began his Ten Year Tour with MC Larz and Mega Ran and is coming to St Louis on the 10th of November at the Fubar off Locust and the tickets are really cheap (like 15$ cheap). If you’re not a St Louisian, no worries: here’s a list of his tour stops.
I just finished binge watching the first season of the Netflix original Stranger Things (SPOILER ALERT: It’s fantastic however unless your further out of the loop than I am, like the Zombie Road area(1), you’ve probably already seen it and are thinking “My carby goodness(2), Fin. How are you so behind?”) and it got me thinking about my own encounters with the paranormal and ask most St Lousians about the subject and they’re likely to mention either Lemp Mansion (another story, for another time) or Zombie Road.
The infamous Zombie Road (formerly the Lawl Ford Road, now apart of the Al Foster Trail) has gotten notoriety since the 50’s as a “creepy little hang out in the woods” however there’s a lot of good reasons why the little road is creepy as hell at night. One being that there is like no light back there. On a full moon night, you might be able to see the shadow of the tree line which is cool as all get out since light pollution is making it increasingly hard to find places where one can really understand palpable darkness, since experiencing darkness that thick I can appreciate a healthy fear of the dark. Another reason the place gives me the fantods is all the death. There have been several recorded incidents of suicide, people being run down by trains, people falling in the river, and one particularly strange incident in the 70’s where a teenager boy lost his footing and got caught on a fork shaped branch on his fall to his demise. The forked branch managed to rip his face and scalp off leaving behind a grotesque mask. Top it all off, there are stories about run away mental patients, dead barge works roaming as zombies, sightings of human shadows in the woods, vengeful Native American spirits (it’s believed to originally be a trail used by Native American peoples and when the Pacific Railroad company came through it likely didn’t end well for the Natives).
Naturally, being an (increasingly) rebellious boy and growing up in the dreadfully dull West County (much of it is the picture of suburbia) there wasn’t much to do OTHER than investigate places like Zombie road. However, now it’s gotten much riskier with the cops issuing up to 1,000$ trespassing tickets now. I guess kids have Pokemon Go now, but think of all the Ghost type Pokemon you could capture down there! Anyway, one night me and a friend decided to go explore and see for ourselves what Zombie Road had to offer.
I don’t remember much now, ten years later, but I do remember getting down there and walking for a good 20 minutes not really hearing anything or feeling anything unusual until we decided to leave. As soon as I said, “Man, this is kind of lame. Lets go.” both my friend and I heard a deep WHOMP. Similar to the sound of a grocery bag full of ground red meat and water exploding on the ground. This got our attention. So we decided to continue further down and we heard an extremely loud/deep hammering into the ground. As if someone was repeatedly dropping a giant tamper and the sound was getting closer. We kind of got wigged out by this point and decided to make our way out when I was assaulted by what I can only assume was a bat in the face.
I’ve pissed my pants literally, sober and intoxicated, many times in my adult life. This wasn’t one of the incidents, but it’s an honourable mention. After that was a blur of running through the pitch black back to the car. That was the last time I went to Zombie Road, day or night.
Have any good Urban Legend experiences to share? Feel free to leave a comment below explaining your encounter with the esoteric.
This is a really bad local-vernacular based joke, “the loop” generally refers to a trendy St Louis attraction The Delmar Loop and I live, currently (I move a lot, on average 1.1 moves per year), in the Webster Groves area and further “out of the loop” would be Zombie Road aka the Al Foster Trail all the way out in Wildwood which is in the dreadful West County area.
As usual when Sunday night comes, right about 11pm, I begin thinking (read: panicking) about, “What subject am I going to write about tomorrow?” which usually leads to several several hours of research (read: procrastination rituals) which ranges from chipping away at my night stand book, youtube video essays, and reddit comment threads all in pursuit of the weekly question.
The Diderot Effect – a social phenomenon related to consumer goods that comprises two ideas. The first posits that goods purchased by consumers will be cohesive to their sense of identity, and as a result, will be complementary to one another. The second states that the introduction of a new possession that is deviant from the consumer’s current complementary goods can result in a process of spiraling consumption.
Being a minimalist, I was chuckling along through the video thinking “you consumer suckers, identifying with the things you own, what are you, new?” and then my ego smacked me across the face when I began thinking more deeply about what minimalism means to me.
Minimalism, for me, has been a reaction to an extreme event. A very very bad day. Kind of like the Joker’s monologue explaining his origin in “The Killing Joke”
It reminded me that I am not free from identifying with my possessions and maybe even more so given the things I’ve chosen to hold onto.
The minimalist as an art movement has been around since Goethe’s sculpture Alter of Good Fortune
However it didn’t take a hold of the literary world until 1913 just before the outbreak of The Great War as a characteristic of the Modernist movement and would remain influential across art mediums into our modern age. This reduction of all distracting elements in the arts feels like a collective psychological reaction to a world changing at an increasing rate, in the case of the modernists it was a reaction to a increasingly geo-political hostile environment. Again in our modern age, in the information age where we’re bombarded with overwhelming amounts of information from our screens. In an age where everyone has equal access to be heard and the individual is paraded as a hero for being an individual the only way a person can actually get attention is to make extremely precise and minimalistic pieces, the minimal amount of information presented stands as a stark contrast to the confusing array of incoming data.
A fellow wordpress blogger commented on this phenomena
Today, writing seems to be following along the lines of “saying more in fewer words.” The idea of conciseness has entered new levels, and it can be seen in both positive and negative lights. On one hand, the concept could encourage writers to pump their sentences with concise, skillful imagery that does its job well, thereby eliminating unnecessary fluff. After all, a minimalistic approach is rarely a bad one. On the other hand, long, thought-out pieces of writing are discarded more often than not, and great pieces of work are looked over without a second thought. Is the evolution of formatting worth the consequence?
Her concern is extremely valid, especially when we consider the “headlines phenomena” we see increasingly in the media where sound bites make or break a politician, convey the importance of a tragic event or not, and my favourite (one I am occasionally guilty of) the reddit titles for articles being taken for face value rather than reading the entire article. This phenomena is even commented on by today’s xkcd comic “Honey Pyramids”.
I think it’s an important subject to be aware of, something that is never far from my mind, but I’m extremely interested to hear from you. How do you feel about The Diderot Effect? How guilty of the “headline phenomena” are you? What are your thoughts on the newest minimalism movement?
“Hal notes that girls always seem to slip out of their shoes when they assume any kind of spectatorial posture…Girls literally embody the idea of making yourself at home. Males, when they come in from somewhere and sit down, project an air of transience. Remain suited up and mobile.”
-Infinite Jest, 703
Being a boy, I’ve always felt like it was natural and even expected for me to be on the move. Especially when exposed to home crafted pieces of “wisdom” such as
when a boy enters a relationship, he never sees his family again. When a girl enters a relationship, she brings that boy home.
-some family member(2)
Coming up we didn’t move a lot but it was enough to brand on my psyche the idea that everyone leaves and it’s best to figure out how to adapt to that rather than making an effort to hang on to relationships(3).
Then when I became old enough to begin, seriously, dating(4) I began seriously exploring the ideas of love, relationships, and marriage. I’ve never been crazy for the idea of getting married, never have wanted and still don’t want kids, and being a minimalist(5) I was never interested in buying a house or owning property(6). This sort of lifestyle, especially in more mature adulthood, inspires some thought about one’s future and what one wants in life because, clearly, it’s going to be a bumpy road.
This mind set also has shaped my love and relationship behaviors and preferences. Even though I never dreamed dreams of white lace and black silk I still had notions about long term love because at my core, regardless of being a fairly independent and solitary individual, I still have a deep desire to be loved and accepted physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Given my state of perpetual movement(7), it’s always been a tricky proposition to find relationship happiness because in my experience I’ve found open commutation about the ridiculous improbability of expecting everyone to find one person to be “the one for ever and always” regardless of the laughably small window of time that serves as “peak” mate time (between ages of 22 and 29) is one that is generally not taken seriously or interpreted as “a scared little boy rationalizing because he’s a scared little boy”.
In the past this obstacle has been relatively easy to overcome because many girls that I’ve dated were under the impression “this is cute, I’ll change him over time” and decide that I’m worth their efforts to change because I wasn’t actually leaving for a while or was just planning my next move. However in the last two years since I’ve been single, after the end of a three year relationship, I’ve mostly had a disinterest in dating until this summer where for me it’s business as usual however for my potential partner, my proposal for a short term relationship, is not a philosophy but a reality: I am holding my plane ticket, I’m leaving and there’s nothing changing that. This reality seems to have had a negative shade on potential partners view of engaging in a relationship with me. Frequently what I’ve gotten is “it’s too bad you’re leaving” or “I wonder what could have been if…” which is deeply frustrating because I just want to say “I’M STILL HERE! I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE FOR 56 DAYS(8)! Please stop treating me like I’m already gone…”
In this five point essay, I would like to explain my proposal for why short term love should not be exclusively expressed in the language of the “sensitive hook up artist” but rather viewed more from a open minded point of view where not all love is made to last forever and sometimes short term love is not a failure waiting to happen but like anything else: something impermanent and should be valued for the time it exists rather than for the time it may not encompass. Continue reading →