Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best books of 2009

Since it's the end of the year and whatnot and since I'm a writer and whatnot I thought I should probably share with you The Best Books of 2009, and by "The Best Books of 2009" I don't mean that these books were released in 2009, or that I read them in 2009 or that I read them at all or that I know anything about them, just that I learned of their existence and also their awesomeness in 2009.
Ok here:






























Saturday, December 19, 2009

Professional Crastinators

Two ways you can always finish what you start:

1--When you start, do not stop until you have finished.

2--Do not start.



People keep asking me if they can do stuff with my stuff, and yet stuff with my stuff is never done.

Where is the stuff?

So far people have asked me if they can:

Make a short film out of "Future Me"
Make a short film out of "I Am a Zombie Filled With Love"
Do a dramatic performance based on "I Am a Zombie Filled With Love"
Do a book report on "Warm Bodies"
Make a graphic novel out of "Blind Date"
Record a cover song of "What the Mountain Said"

The answer to all these requests has been "Yes, but I want to see it when you're done."

But--have I seen short films, dramatic performances, book reports, graphic novels, or cover songs?

I have not.

This makes me do this:

:'(''''''()

Which is not a face with an elephant trunk, but rather a face--my face--crying a pool of tears.

Please do not toy with my emotions. My emotions are not toys.

These are toys:































My emotions are none of these things. Except maybe sometimes the third one.




.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Interview

I did an interview for a snappy little literary blog called The Black Letters, in which I answer simple questions in long and rambling ways, as is my wont. Read it HERE if you like listening to blowhards talk about themselves:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Short Story Collection = Yes



After saving it up for years, I don't think I can hold it in anymore, so I'm going to let go and release a flood of short stories all over you people. Wait, that came out wrong. What I mean to say is, I'm going to self-publish a short story collection.

I never did this before because I figured I'd just wait and see if I could publish them legitimately once Warm Bodies comes out, but apparently this is unlikely. My agent may be able to sell some of them individually to various literary journals, etc, but a book of shorts is apparently unsellable in the current industry climate. So I'm just going to do it myself.

I'm currently working on my longest and most complex short ever, almost a novella, really, and when I finish it, the book will appear. Magically, by itself. So I guess this is a mostly useless posting, but I just wanted to let you know what I'm working on right now, and hopefully build some anticipation because these books are going to be cool and unique and made by hand and I want you to have them.

That is all. Bye.

Isaac

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Publishing update

WARM BODIES....in Spanish!

Sold to Reservoir Books today, a branch of the Spain branch of Random House. I have only this to say:

 :D

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Story -- "SOMNIA"



This not the big crazy story I've been working on, just a little vignette to hold you over.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seattle's Greatest Achievement


Seattle has long been thought of as a progressive, forward-thinking city, with high literacy rates, strong emphasis on healthy, green living, and some of the lowest church attendance in the nation. But lucrative tourist attractions like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market often overshadow one of Seattle's greatest environmental achievements: its expansive system of wild hobo preserves.

With literally hundreds of hobo preserves inside city limits, Seattle has made great leaps toward protecting the hobo's natural habitat from the ravages of gentrification, law enforcement, and cleanliness. Wide open grassy areas allow the hobo free range to roam and forage, while ample shrubbery and access to cardboard easily accommodate the hobo's nesting habits. Restroom facilities even allow the shyer, more timid species to defecate in privacy, away from the noise and bright lights of the public sidewalks.

Unlike many other cities, Seattle has refused to fence in its hobo preserves, believing that captivity--even in a very large space--would inhibit the hobo's natural behavioral patterns. This "open range" design results in hobos sometimes wandering out of the preserves and into the city streets, where they face danger of arrest by law enforcement or severe injury from fast-moving traffic. Many hobo experts believe, however, that the additional food sources found in the city--dumpsters, dead pigeons, takeout meals coerced from diners exiting restaurants--more than compensate for these risks, and allow city residents a truer, more intimate experience with Seattle's natural hobo fauna.

Although they play an important role in conserving the northwest's natural hobo ecology, these preserves are not dry, sterile research centers for biologists to study the hobo's fascinating behavior and unique anatomy. (See last week's article, The Pissing Link: How the Mysterious "Hobosapien" Has Left The Scientific Community Scratching Its Balls) On the contrary, hobo preserves are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, providing Seattleites with breathtaking, breathholding encounters with these gentle creatures.

Visit a preserve during daylight hours for a glimpse into the hobo's social structure. Although not considered a pack animal, hobos often congregate in small groups beneath trees or next to fountains, where they exchange food and cigarettes and communicate through a language of loud, slurred grunts. Visit after dark, alone, and you may witness the hobo's mating activity--or even experience it!

Sadly, despite Seattle's best conservation efforts, the hobo population faces serious threats from drug treatment centers, rising employment rates, and a looming universal health care system. So next time you visit a hobo preserve, do your part for the furry inhabitants of our alleys and street corners. If a hobo asks you for drug money, give whatever you can afford, but don't try to feed them--the hobo can't digest unprocessed food, and it may upset their delicately balanced diet of Doritos and chewing tobacco. Do not attempt to offer them work or direct them to a shelter, either--this can irritate the hobo's highly developed sense of entitlement, and may provoke an attack.

Although the wild hobo maintains a complex and troubled relationship with mankind, they are truly remarkable creatures, and an important addition to the Northwest's rich diversity of wildlife. For a list of all Seattle's hobo preserves, please visit: www.seattle.gov/PARKS





Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Also

The new batch of Warm Bodies is sold out. All my book are belong to you. If you missed out, start checking bookstores next summer.

Also:

Sugar. Gelatin. Food color. In a shapeless blob shape. DOTS have to be the most uninspired candy ever made.
What candymaker looked at gum drops and thought, "These are too complicated"?

Also:

I'm moving back to Seattle December 5th. Finally taking the plunge into Capitol Hill. Wish me luck and fortitude.

Also:




















Fuck rollercoasters.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Warm Bodies ---- PUBLISHED!

Well friends, the moment I've been waiting for since I turned 16 and started banging out my first piece of fiction--a cosmically overblown, 1000 page fantasy epic called THE BIRTH OF DARKNESS--has finally arrived.

Warm Bodies is being published!!!

Not self-published.
Not indie-press published.
REALLY published, by a major publishing house, Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. Yes, you will see it at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Powells, etc. Yes I will be doing readings, interviews, promotion, etc.

In the words of the venerable Young Jeezy, it's goin' down.

But wait, it gets better.
It's not just being published in the U.S. It's already been bought in the U.K, Italy, Brazil, and Russia, with offers pending in Germany and France. So the book is going to exist in 7 countries, 6 languages, with possibly more to come.

In the words of the venerable Ludacris, I've got hos in different area codes.

As to when this will be happening, I can't say for sure yet, but Atria's tentative plan is to try and get it released by June 2010, which is considered fast. In the mean time, I'll be gearing up to promote the hell out of it, and since the publishing industry doesn't really know what promotion is, this will be mostly a DIY effort by me and my agent. So keep spreading the book around, tell your friends, etc... In the words of the venerable Sign-Holding Freeway Onramp Hobo, anything helps!


UPDATE: All the self-printed copies I made are sold out. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WARM BODIES REDUX (unrated author's cut)




Dear friends and long-distance relationships,

It is my pleasure to inform you that when I assured you there would be no more copies of Warm Bodies until it was officially published, I was either shortsighted or just blatantly lying.
I am printing more.

Why, you ask? Why? WHYY??? Because over the course of these last five months or so, in preparing the manuscript to go out to publishers, I have significantly revised the book, added many new scenes, taken a few away, tightened the writing, filled plot and logic holes, and in my opinion, just generally elevated the whole thing into a much better and richer story.

That said, I'm not expecting everyone who bought the original draft to pony up again for this one. (Although if you want to, go for it!) I just want to put it out there for those who missed out on the previous batch, so that you won't have to wait another year or more for it to be formally published and available in stores. I get emails about it every week and I hate having to say no. So now I say yes!

(Also, yes, all copies will be signed)





Note that there are only 50 copies, and when these are gone, there REALLY will be no more, since my days of self-publishing are over.
As for proper publication? Keep your fingers crossed, folks. Things are going very well for me out there so far, and victory may be just around the corner.


Passionately yours forever,

Isaac


Monday, October 26, 2009

A Serious Issue

Hello friends. I know I can be a little sarcastic and I tend to joke around a lot on this site. I can even be a bit of an asshole and make comedy about real tragedies like cancer and the holocaust and September 11th. But today I'd like to actually be sincere for a moment and talk to you about something that means a lot to me.

There are a lot of problems in the world right now. We're fighting two wars in the Middle East, there is disease and genocide in Africa, political turmoil and ominous nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea, and a global terrorism danger that has not gone away, despite growing quieter in the daily news. Even right here in our own country we have culture wars, racism, fierce debates about health care and national security and gay rights.

These are important issues. Incredibly important issues, and it's good and absolutely necessary that the Obama Administration and so many aid and advocacy organizations are focusing on them. But in the midst of all the noise and clamor generated by flashy and sexy problems like war and poverty, is it possible we are overlooking other issues that, while less exciting and less of a ratings-booster than the latest suicide bombing in Europe, are no less important?

I am talking, of course, about the problem of our nation's burritos having all the beans and rice on one end and all the veggies and salsa on the other end.

Why is no one talking about this? Where is the public outrage? President Obama's peace talks between Israel and Palestine command constant news coverage, but I've yet to see a single story about the hurt and devastation caused by burrito malpractice. This has to change. There can be no action without awareness. That's what I'm here to bring you today. Awareness.

In case you are one of the lucky Americans who has never had to deal with you or a loved one receiving a botched burrito, the issue is this:

A burrito consists of many ingredients and can take many forms, but usually there is some combination of beans, rice, and meat, topped with veggies, salsa, and possibly even guacamole and sour cream, if you can afford the extra charge. The ingredients should be laid out in even layers inside the tortilla, so that when you eat it, each bite contains equal amounts of all the ingredients, which are chewed and swallowed simultaneously, creating a "taste explosion".

Sadly, this is often no longer the reality.

A poll of low-income, late-twenties white males named Isaac Marion shows that as many as 45% of burritos served in America are served "separated"--that is, their ingredients are spread and their tortillas folded in such a way that all of the beans, rice, and meat end up on one end of the burrito, while all the delicious sauces and toppings end up on the other end.

Imagine biting into a burrito. Imagine tasting nothing but beans, rice, and meat. Unflavored, unsauced, unbearable. Now imagine turning the burrito around, and biting into the other end. Imagine a geyser of unalloyed condiments bursting into your mouth--salsa, cheese, maybe even sour cream and guacamole, rushing down your throat with absolutely no solid food to slow it down.

For millions of Americans every day, this horrific experience is known as "lunch".

But what is even more tragic than the nausea and revulsion caused by these separated burritos is the fact that they could so easily be prevented. The producers of today's burritos could fix this problem overnight if they wanted to, by simply educating their employees about how to properly spread ingredients and fold a tortilla. But year after year, the problem persists, and Americans suffer in silence, wiping guacamole off their lips and trying not to vomit.

You're paying these companies top dollar for their burritos--why don't they make them right?

Because they simply. Don't. Care.

The executives behind the desks of the Big Burrito companies have absolutely no reason to change anything---because no one is forcing them to.

That's where you come in.

Get involved. Write your congressman. Tackle the problem on a grassroots level, in your favorite burrito restaurant. Next time you're served an uneven burrito, don't just sit there while you and your children try to gag down half a cup of sour cream. Take it to the restaurant's manager. Remind him of the starving children in Haiti, and how this much sour cream and guac all at once would probably cause their malnourished stomachs to explode. Demand the even burrito you deserve.

There are a lot of problems in the world today. Let's start with the ones we care about.



.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Paper Airplane" - new story

October's almost over and this is my first post of any kind? The laid-back atmosphere of my new town must be getting to me. But here's a new story.



More stories to come in the near future. Also stay tuned for a Warm Bodies publishing update in probably a week or two.




Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Let's write some labored metaphors!





The wine swirled in her glass like a dark purple dog circling to lie down in a transparent glass bed.


The clouds were like gigantic couch cushions that someone had ripped open and pulled all the stuffing out of for some reason.


He recoiled from her touch like a mouse who was just about to eat some cheese only to realize the cheese was bait in a mouse trap.


Her skin was like chocolate pudding, although firmer and not as sticky, and a different color.


His laugh was like rock concert if the band was a comedy band and they were working the crowd pretty well.


That summer in Seattle was like the Detroit Race Riots, except instead of looters we had uncomfortably hot people and instead of racial tensions we had 85 degree heat that we weren't used to.


Her eyes were like two sailboats if the boats were round and painted light blue.


He gasped for air like a football quarterback who just got chased for twenty blocks by drug dealers after things went bad in a drug deal that happened during the off-season.


He had a face like a sawmill if a sawmill could somehow be like a face.



.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My First Literary Event (Don't come)

Seattle friends:

I'm unexpectedly doing a reading at the Hugo House in Capitol Hill next Wednesday, September 30th.

This is not an "official" author reading, like "Isaac Marion reads Warm Bodies" or anything so fancy, I just got invited to participate in the book release of local author Greg Hofmann and decided it would be a good way to wet my toes or cut my teeth or whichever such folksy saying applies. I'm going to read a few short stories in between Greg reading from his book and a few bands playing songs.

I'm not big on public speaking and have never done any kind of live literary performance before so here's what to expect:

1. I nervously drink a few whiskeys. White man's Asian Glow ensues.
2. My sinuses constrict so that my voice becomes very nasally.
3. My chest constricts so that my voice becomes very dry and cracked.
4. Forehead sweat (glistening under spotlights)


I'm not telling you about this event because I desperately want you to attend. I'm actually undecided on whether or not I DO want you to attend, as your effects on my nerves are not known at this time, but on the other hand, depending on who you are, it might be more fun to have you there, so I'm just putting it out there. Come if you want, but feel NO OBLIGATION to come, seriously, even if you're my family members.

That is all.
Good morning.









Thursday, September 10, 2009

Terror Has No Expiration Date

I will now write a screenplay based entirely on the tagline that I just thought of approximately 20 seconds ago: "Terror Has No Expiration Date..."


AISLE 6

by Isaac Marion



INT. GROCERY STORE - NIGHT


A beautiful woman, WOMAN, pushes a shopping cart through the produce aisle of a large, empty supermarket. Her Chihuahua, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS sits in the cart's rear basket, watching her. The woman checks her grocery list.


WOMAN
Ok, Mary Queen of Scots, we're almost done. The only item left on our list is...


ANGLE ON: the Feminine Hygiene and Family Planning aisle. The fluorescent lights above this aisle are all broken out except one, which flickers ominously.


WOMAN (CONT'D)
...personal lubricant. That aisle doesn't look very inviting, does it Mary Queen of Scots?


Mary Queen of Scots whimpers.


WOMAN (CONT'D)
Oh well, can't go home without the lube. Come on Mary Queen of Scots, let's go.

Woman pushes her cart toward the aisle.

ANGLE ON: Aisle sign. The raised lettering for the number 6 is broken off, leaving a dark outline of bare wood that almost seems to have been burned into the sign.

Woman looks around nervously. The aisle is dark forbidding and seems to grow darker as she goes further in.

CUT TO: POV shot, slowly approaching Woman from behind.

CUT TO: Closeup of Woman's face, cutting her surroundings out of the frame.

Woman suddenly screams and whirls around as something surprises her from behind with a loud musical sting.

ANGLE ON: Mary Queen of Scots, still sitting in the cart basket. Mary Queen of Scots puts her tongue out and pants good-naturedly.

WOMAN
Oh God, Mary Queen of Scots, it's just you. You scared me! This Aisle 6 is kind of creeping me out. I guess I'm just jumpy from all the anal sex I've been having lately. Come on, let's get the lube and go home.


She reaches for a bottle of lube, but just as her fingers touch the shelf a withered hand with long clawed fingernails drops onto her back. She screams and runs away, pushing the cart in front of her.

CUT TO: POV shot of Woman being pursued down the aisle.

Woman gets a running start and hops up onto the cart axle, coasting toward the exit doors, but just as she is about to emerge from Aisle 6, the floor warps upward into a steep slope underneath her. She screams, and she and the cart roll backward until they crash into the Dairy Case, breaking the glass.

We hear a noise and a flicker of movement from behind the milk cartons.

WOMAN (panicked)
Is there someone back there? Help me! There's something in Aisle 6 that's trying to kill me!

There is no response. She looks at the Aisle and finds it back to normal, though still darkly lit.

WOMAN (to milk cartons)
Hello...?

A pair of withered hands burst out from behind the milk and grab her head in their clawed fingers. The woman screams, we hear a tearing sound, and her head rips off, disappearing into shadows behind the dairy products.

CUT TO: BLACK

TITLE SCREEN: AISLE 6


INT. DIFFERENT GROCERY STORE - DAY

Two men are chatting in the grocery store stock room. One of them, JAY, wears a store uniform vest and is stacking boxes marked NUMBING CONDOMS. The other is in a gray janitor jumpsuit and is holding a janitor mop. This is CHRISTIAN, a grizzled man in his early thirties with a cynical, heartbroken, tormented, atheistic glint in his eyes.

JAY
So did you hear about the murder that happened over at the downtown branch store? Some chick got her head ripped off and no one saw who did it. And it was right next to Aisle 6...

CHRISTIAN
Don't start with that Aisle 6 bullshit, Jay.

JAY
Oh that's right, you don't believe in the supernatural.

CHRISTIAN
Damn straight. I used to, but not no more.

JAY
Even though you used to be a priest.

CHRISTIAN
That's right, until my wife died in a car wreck. How can I believe in a God who lets things like that happen? That's why I quit the priesthood and became a janitor.

JAY
So you don't believe in God either?

CHRISTIAN
Nope. I don't believe in God OR the afterlife. And I sure as hell don't believe in vengeful ghosts like the one that lives in Aisle 6.

JAY
Well how do you explain that over 3 people have died in that aisle in the last ten years?

Christian frowns at Jay but doesn't say anything. Jay stops stacking boxes and lowers his voice.

JAY
They say a woman was murdered in Aisle 6 like a hundred years ago, back in the 1800s. Some religious fanatic ripped her head off with his bare hands because he saw her buying Astroglide. They say her spirit haunts that aisle to this day and every few years, comes out to take revenge on whoever is shopping there at that moment.

CHRISTIAN
Yeah well I don't believe in any of that stuff.

MANAGER (OFF SCREEN)
Hey Christian!

They both jump, then look at the manager, a middle-aged man in a shirt with a tag that says his name and "MANAGER"

CHRISTIAN
What?

MANAGER
You're being transferred. They need some help at another store.

CHRISTIAN
Transferred to where?

MANAGER
To the downtown branch store.

Music tenses. Christian looks at Jay. Jay looks at Christian significantly, then crosses himself....





Ok, that should be enough to sell the studios on. I'll finish writing this later.






















Friday, August 28, 2009

My new life

For those of you who either know me in real life or know of me online and are kept awake some nights with a vague, nagging concern for my fate, let me tell you what I'm up to, so that I won't have to repeat this story dozens more times in person until it's utterly lifeless:

1. I have quit my job. Today is my last day as a Visitation Supervisor. My new job title? Guy Who Writes Stuff. (It's going to be a few years before I can stomach telling people I am "a writer".)

2. I am getting my first major Writer's Paycheck next week, which explains Item 1, above.

3. I am selling most of my possessions and moving to Bellingham, to live the hobo life in a dirty old house with a bunch of young college kids. This is how I will make Writer's Paycheck #1 last long enough to bring me to Writer's Paycheck #2

4. This is going to be awesome.


To my Seattle friends, I must say I love you all, some more than others, and I will return. This Bellingham thing is more of an extended vacation than an actual MOVE, a chance to finally experience The College Years I was deprived of as an uneducated churchgoin' smalltown farmhand. (Yes, I am a Farmhand. I used to buck bales and ride hawses with Sam Elliot and the Marlboro Man.) Although in this case it will be more like the College Month, as I plan to move out the moment I get the above-mentioned Writer's Paycheck #2 and become a veritable THOUSANDAIRE.

Move to where? Everywhere and nowhere....A MOTORHOME! A BADASS 70'S GMC MOTORHOMEMOTHERFUCKER!

But more on that later.

For now, farewell Seattle! And Bellingham? Prepare yourself for for an older-than-median-age independently wealthy unemployed tall guy coming to crash your parties and drink your PBRs. Also, New York? Prepare yourself for another guy maybe publishing a book. And also also, Hollywood? Prepare yourself for an uncomfortable guy way out of his element. And Chiropractor? Prepare yourself for a guy who damn near broke his back nudging a little end-table. And yet life is good, despite all the handicaps.




Pattern Recognition #3 -- Pop Semi-Covers

This summer a big thing on Top 40 radio was what I can only describe as a "semi-cover" song--in which the artist doesn't actually cover the original song, or even sample it, they just lift the original's entire hook and reappropriate it into their own song--as the entire hook.

This is genius. Writing a dull, meandering verse is easy, but writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus is hard. And writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus that is a decade or two old and has already stood the test of time and embedded itself into the collective consciousness? That's damn near impossible!

This could be booming business, when you consider how many popular hit songs other artists have come up with over the decades! Just scan through the list of past Billboard #1 singles, cut out the chorus, and insert it in between a few verses you've written in the same key, and you've got a road-tested hit, with BONUS NOSTALGIA VALUE!

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's 3 examples from this summer:


Flo'Rida -- "Sugar" (chorus is the chorus of Eiffel 65's "Blue")

Flo'Rida -- "Right Round" (chorus is the chorus of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Around")

Khristina Debarge -- "Goodbye" (chorus is the chorus of Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye")

I feel like there were 1 or 2 more than that as well....anyone recall?



Monday, August 17, 2009

ART LIQUIDATION SALE! EMBARASSING PRICES!


SELLING EVERYTHING TO GO LIVE IN A SHITHOLE

I HAVE PAINTINGS

DO YOU LIKE PAINTINGS?

DON'T BE A BUTTHOLE

CALL ME

"The Thousandth Floor" -- 72" x 35" --- 600$

"Happy Picture About Love" -- 60" x 24" --- 200$


"The Workweek" -- 60" x 24" --- 350$



"Sudden Change In Perspective" -- 24" x 60" --- 350$



THOSE ARE MY PAINTINGS THAT I AM SELLING

DO YOU WANT TO BUY THEM?

DON'T BE A BUTTHOLE

CALL ME


206.327.0668

isaacinspace @ gmail.com







Monday, August 3, 2009

An event that was extremely fun despite everything I'm about to write


Yesterday I floated down a river inside a rubber donut.

My friend Peter emceed the event, and when I asked him what river we were floating he replied, "The maps call it the Stillaguamish, but the locals have another name..." He didn't finish the joke. Pretty good setup though.

We were going to buy rubber donuts--inner-tubes, if you will--from a gas station, but Peter found some at a garage sale instead. They were cheaper. When we arrived at the launch point I discovered that the tubes were really small. Usually a river-floater would use tractor tire tubes or at least large truck tubes, but I think these were from a compact car, or maybe a bicycle. My ass hung down into the water like the meat they drag behi
nd boats to attract sharks. It's called "chum". I learn new things on a regular basis.

One of the main agendas of this river float was to be drinking beer the entire time. Once I got into the raging waters, however, I realized that hauling two beers on my tube while trying to navigate around rocks and logjams with only one free hand wasn't going to work out. Also my bottle cap opener doubles as a knife. The blade is hard to avoid while opening bottles. Seemed like a bad idea. I chugged one before I launched and had to make do with only the feeblest of buzzes.

:(

Also I think the compact car our tubes were salvaged from may have been a Ford Model T, because within 20 minutes they had all sprung leaks. I was glad I had jettisoned the beers because now I needed my free hand to plug leaks. Peter informed us we had about 4 hours left till the end of the float. I tried to do the math but thinking about drowning in rivers depresses me and so does doing math. I decided to take a wait-and-sink approach.


Fortunately, even after my tube had deflated I was still able to use it as a sort of generic brand Water Wings�, and if I was feeling especially bold, I could sit way down inside it with my legs sticking straight up like a little child who has fallen into a toilet.

Every 10 minutes or so the water would get really fast and really shallow, and we would all get raped by jagged rocks.

As the journey wore on, I started to bitterly ruminate on the beer I discarded. Oh! I said to myself. If only I had kept that beer, I would surely be drinking it right now! There were many other people floating on this river, and they had all without exception come better prepared than us. Not only did their floatation devices float, they also had iceboxes floating alongside them, no doubt filled with beer and rum and other goods. As I drifted past these smug poltroons in my flaccid, rapidly sinking car tire, how I longed to board their vessels and seize their cargo by brutal force. River Law has only one tenet: "Beer." I don't really know how that's a law, but I still follow it.

I didn't end up killing or even robbing anyone, but my friend Benji almost did. Everyone else in our party had worn old tennis shoes for the shallow stretches where we had to walk, but Benji had neglected this detail. Instead, he acquired some silver ballet slippers that he found in the grass. Wearing these and a pair of very short, very see-through, neon orange Power Aide shorts, he attempted to avoid all the painful beach rocks by veering up into a riverside field. As he started to ascend the slope, a group of locals sitting next to the water in a military-green golf cart, accosted him.

"Where you goin, buddy?" they demanded.

Benji explained his situation.

"Well that's private property," they said, gesturing towards the field.

Benji explained that he was aware of this, which is why he was on his way up there to raid the village and make off with all their cattle and women in his partially-deflated ship. Benji is blonde and has a beard and looks like a Viking, but the locals didn't relate to Benji's rape-and-pillage joke so he returned to the water and we all floated away to safety.


The only other thing that happened on the trip was I got really bruised and sunburned and then when we got back I ate some poisoned food that gave me food poisoning and now I have diarrhea.

THE END





















































Saturday, August 1, 2009

VANILLA!



As you all sit around enjoying your Vanilla Iced Creams in this sweltering summer heat, consider this Fact!

The Vanilla orchid was original discovered in Mexico by Mexicans, but the spice was not widely used by the rest of the world. In the early 1800s the French tried to cultivate it in France, but failed (cultivation FAIL) because French bees were too snobby to polinate it.

What happened next was that a 12-year-old boy named Edmond Albius discovered how to hand-polinate the orchid. (No that is not a euphemism for masturbation, although maybe it should be.) His discovery allowed vanilla to be mass-produced all over the world.

The thing about Edmond Albius is that not only did he revolutionize spice production at the age of 12, HE WAS A SLAVE. He made his amazing polination discovery WHILE PICKING A BALE OF COTTON.

So next time you sit down to enjoy a delicious Waffle Cone or Iced Vanilla Latte, by all means enjoy it, just remember that hundreds of thousands of African Americans suffered and died so that you could have it. That's all I ask.







Also, isn't it sweet irony that VANILLA was invented by THIS cool chocolate cat?






Edmond Albius





Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kafka's Cookbook

When I moved into my apartment I took over the lease from my aunt, who left a lot of her old junk here when she moved out. Today I was glancing through the kitchen cabinets and a cookbook caught my eye. The spine reads:

MICROWAVE GOURMET HEALTHSTYLE COOKBOOK

The author is:

KAFKA

Intrigued, having read a little Kafka in my day and wondering what sort of recipes he would come up with, I pulled the book out.



Barbara Kafka.... Was it Kafka's wife? Or was Barbara just Kafka's cookbook pseudonym, since Microwave Gourmet Cooking was not a socially acceptable activity for Austrian Jews in the early 1900's? Either way, I was intrigued, and began to peruse the recipes inside. A couple particularly yummy ones:

Colony Noodles with penal sauce
"Place all ingredients in cooking Apparatus, with harrow set to inscribe 'Be Delicious'. Let sit for 12 hours."

Cockroach Tenderloin with alienated potatoes and shame sauce
"Transform tenderloin in large mixing bowl. Microwave on High until dead."

Some of the other recipes looked pretty good too, but they were left unfinished.

















Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hector Shelfman's stupid trip to the Zoo!


Another blog by Hector Shelfman (no relation to the actor) who looks like me and has the same job and life as me, but isn't.



Today for work at my job where I work I went to a fucking ZOO!!!

Brought this dude's son to visit him in Rehab and the dude had TICKETS TO THE ZOO! So it's just me and this gigantic black dude and his 5 year-old son strolling along like a young gay interracial couple and their adopted and/or nanomachine child, out for a stroll through the Zoo! NOBODY COULD EVEN UNDERSTAND IT.

First things first I stopped at The Zoo Cafe to get a cup of Coffee, which did not come with a lid, and when I asked for a lid, they told me I COULDN'T HAVE ONE. No explanation was offered, so I have to assume they don't want me using the cup to COLLECT AND EXPORT MONKEY URINE for some kind of messed up experiment.

By the time I got my coffee, my client and his son--we'll call them JAFAR AND LATARIAN--had totally wandered out of sight. I looked left, I looked right, but they were lost in the crowd. My prisoners had escaped!

Striding frantically down the maze of Zoo paths, scalding hot coffee sloshing out of my lidless cup onto my tender, gentle hands, I scoured the Zoo for the escapees. HAS ANYONE SEEN A BLACK GUY? I shouted into the crowd, but no one had. The Sun Bears watched
me pace past them several times, and I could tell they were laughing at me and my plight.

Fuck you, Sun Bears. YOU'RE ENDANGERED.




Since I couldn't find Jafar and Latarian anywhere, I gave up and decided to just enjoy the Zoo for what it was: A Magical Wonderland Full of Animals That Are Weird And Also Some That Are Normal. For instance, the Zoo is in Seattle, Washington, but they have a whole area dedicated to Pacific Northwest animals, like Elk and Brown Bears and Grey Wolves. LIKE I CAN'T SEE THOSE ANYTIME I WANT TO.

Another boring animal that I noticed a lot of was Squirrels. They weren't even in cages! Why do I want to see animal that's not in a cage? They were just running around in the trees and pathways like it was no big deal, and I think that the Zoo is irresponsible for allowing this to happen because squirrels are dangerous and also I saw them hanging around inside the exhibits of the actual Zoo Animals, drinking out of their ponds and standing there distracting attention away from the animals who work hard to EARN that attention, and to me that is WRONG.

GO AWAY SQUIRREL. NO ONE FINDS YOU WONDROUS.

Finally I found Jafar and Latarian, cornered in a little pathway corner, gasping for breath. After recapturing them, I continued my Zoo Tour with them in tow. We decided we'd had enough of all these bullshit birds and insects and little small creatures---it was time to find the GOOD ANIMALS.

LIONS! GORILLAS! DINOSAURS!

As usual with Zoo experiences, we were disappointed. It was hotter than Africa today so the Lions were all sleeping in their cool shady caves like lazy pieces of shit. The gorillas were visible, but they just looked at us and didn't throw poop or masturbate AT ALL. And it turned out that all the guide signs saying RAPTORS This Way ---> were just referring to eagles and hawks and that sort of thing. AGAIN WITH THE BULLSHIT BIRDS!

One thing about birds that was interesting was the Flamingos. They were all standing around in their pond, just being pink and spiky-haired like a bunch of little bitches, and there was this one white Swan standing way far away from them all, with its face right up against the glass, just looking at us like "Get me out of this Flamingo pen! I don't belong in here! I'm a SWAN for chrissakes!" And you know what? He was right. But there was nothing me or Jafar or Latarian could do about it. So we just left him there. It was pretty messed up.

Another thing that happened that was pretty cool was that there were these two little girls walking around with a little Puppy in their arms, and this Zoo Staff Man walked by them and stopped, turned around, pointed at what was clearly, manifestly a Puppy, and asked, "IS THAT A PUPPY?"

"Yes," the little girls said, and the Zoo Staff Man pointed again at the tiny, fluffy, practically newborn Puppy and asked, "IS IT A SERVICE ANIMAL?"

"Huh?" the girls said, and then the Zoo Staff Man grabbed them and took them back to their mom and ejected them all from the Zoo, because of the Zoo's NO PUPPIES rule. Just another example of the ways in which society demonizes puppies, WHILE GIVING SQUIRRELS EVERY ADVANTAGE.

After that we just walked around until we were sunburnt and thirsty and since Jafar couldn't afford to buy Latarian any food the entire day, I took Latarian back to his foster home and Jafar went home to Rehab. ALL IN ALL IT WAS A GREAT DAY AND I HAD A LOT OF FUN AT THE ZOO.




















Friday, July 24, 2009

Ode to the 2009 Boombox Carrier






Respect the 2009 Boombox-Carrier!
A man so far behind the times, he's ahead of them.
He walks proud through the center of town,
Full-sized Samsung CD player in hand,
Rocking his jams of choice,
Choosing the choicest of jams,
So that we, the rest of the world, don't have to.

This is the man with the plan,
The man with the vision,
The man with the scraggle beard and sweatstained flannel.
No iPods for him, no Zunes or Zens or Gigabeats.
He likes his players like he likes his women:
Big and black, with deep woofers and nice tweeters.
He stands tall on the street corner, a rebuke to our era!
A reminder of the way things were!
He stands with a severe slouch, and drools gently.

We all dance as he shuffles past, sharing his love with us.
We dance not out of pity or mockery,
But because it's "Crazy" by Spears,
It's filling the downtown streets,
and to this we must respond.

No one sneers at 2009 Boom-Box Carrier.
This man has seen visions.
He's seen the future, and the future is not the iPod.
The future is a fifty pound "portable" stereo that runs on eight Ds
A brutal beast of a boombox,
Blithely blasting Britney at bewildered bystanders.

2009 Boombox Carrier gives us all a knowing nod,
and Carries his Boombox off into 2009.

He has made his point.



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Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Ted Flaps His Arms" - new story


UPDATE: The formatting issue is fixed thanks to the generous efforts of the badassly named Rachel Dachenbach. Should work on most browsers now. Many thanks to godlike master programmer RachDachBach!



Since my agent has converted Writing Week into Waiting Week, I used my idle time to write the following short story.

It's an experimental story using an experimental format. If you aren't seeing a "split-screen" columns layout, try another browser.




Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hector Shelfman goes to Harry Potter

A blog by Hector Shelfman (no relation to the painter) who looks like me and has the same job and life as me, but isn't.


Went to see Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince last night. NOT ACTUALLY TWO MOVIES, as it turns out. That�s just how the title is.

Now I haven't read any of the "books" but I have followed the movies, somewhat reluctantly. Went with my friends Erin and Tara, who are devout Harry Krishnas. They were rebuked by their brethren for seeing it with a LUKEWARM FAN like me, but I told them since I was a non-believer, this was a good opportunity to witness to me. The Lord did not come for the healthy but for the sick, and whatnot. THAT SHUT THEM UP.

Since Tara was recently crippled in a HORRIFIC SCRABBLE ACCIDENT, we sat in the row at the bottom of the slope section because it has plenty of leg room for her to stretch her crippled leg, which was recently crippled in a HORRIFIC SCRABBLE ACCIDENT.

As it turns out, the row directly in front of us was the Reserved For Handicaps Row, reserved for people who need EVEN MORE LEG ROOM. Unfortunately for everyone else in the theater, in addition to CRAZY AMOUNTS OF LEG ROOM, many of these individuals also require FRIGHTENING MECHANICAL WHEELCHAIRS that swivel and pump and somehow extend up and balance on two wheels like a Segway for people who can't walk or stand or breathe!
Throughout the entire film, these machines were clicking and whirring and hissing so loudly I thought I had accidentally attended TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN. It was very bothersome during the QUIET, THOUGHTFUL, EMOTIONAL scenes between Harry
Potter and Dumbledor and Slughorn and Muggles and Hogwarts and various other unpalatable words that populate the Potter universe.

The noise of these disabled people's life support systems was seriously inconveniencing the movie audience!

I kept waiting for someone to go get an usher to come in and politely ask them to turn off their iron lungs for the remainder of the film, but NO ONE EVER DID.

The movie was actually very good and I liked it better than any of the previous ones. I heartily approve of the new direction taken by last couple installments, in which major conflicts are resolved by major characters taking actions that are actually relevant to the story, instead of by hastily introduced magical gadgets that neatly fix everything at the last minute, leaving room for the obligatory Quidditch match, which doesn't further the story but does provide the gang with some LIGHTHEARTED LEISURE ACTIVITY between sessions of being murdered by satanic warlocks trying to take over the world.



As you might guess, now that our heroes are entering their teenage years, this is a MORE MATURE, MORE ADULT Harry Potter film:

Athletes take performance enchancers! (They call it "Liquid Luck")

Children are taught how to use date rape drugs! ("Love Potion" does sound a lot nicer though...do you think the courts would agree...?)

And Harry proves that even though he has a small wand, he is still a TOP-TIER SEXUAL PREDATOR, as he racks up THREE LOVE INTERESTS in this film alone, making a grand total of FIVE CONQUESTS since the series began, if you count Hermione, which everyone should because SHE TOTALLY WANTS HIS HARRY BODY AND THEY ARE MADE FOR EACH OTHER WHICH IS OBVIOUS TO ANYONE WHOSE JUDGEMENT ISN'T CLOUDED BY READING THOSE BOOKS THESE MOVIES WERE SUPPOSEDLY BASED ON.

But since "J.K Rowling" won't allow Hermione to fulfill her obvious longings, the poor girl decides to SETTLE, and develops an IMPROBABLE ATTRACTION to Ron Weasly, offering hope to all the world's awkward, unconfident, nice but intellectually shallow and emotionally clueless goofballs who long for a super-serious, super-intense, humorless, tear-stained tangle of emotions to call their girlfriend.

This dawning of sexuality in the Potterverse is portrayed by multiple scenes of GRATUITOUS SNOGGING, and dozens of shocking depictions of Quidditch, THE MOST UNAPOLOGETICALLY PHALLIC SPORT EVER:




All in all, an enjoyable movie that may even convince me to "read" the series in Audiobook form over the course of a year or so of driving. I am very much looking forward to the final two (or is it four?) films in the series: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part One, and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part Two, which should bring the epic saga to a stunning conclusion just before Daniel Radcliff's male pattern baldness becomes noticeable. It's even rumored that at least one of the several African American characters may get a speaking line somewhere in the final films, but this may turn out to be just another UNFULFILLED BARACK OBAMA PROMISE.


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

News on the next Star Trek movie




Breaking news from Celebrity TV Show and Amusingly Gay Cultural Commentor and Internet Buzz Website and Insider Leak Blog and whatnot:

Facing heavy criticism from family advocacy groups like CHILDREN MARRIED FAMILY ORG and moral watchdog groups like MORAL CHURCH RELIGION BIBLE, director J.J Abrams has decided to reboot his Star Trek franchise reboot with a more family-friendly cast:






Popular child-rock band The Wiggles will replace the first installment's edgy cast, in keeping with what Abrams describes as the new film's "creepier, more wholesomely pedophilic" new direction.
The role of Captain James T. Kirk will be played by the yellow shirt Wiggle, while Dr. Spock and Bones will be played by the two blue shirt Wiggles. In a virtuoso multi-role performance, red shirt wiggle will play the rest of the characters, including Lt. Uhura and the Starship Enterprise itself.


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