Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Pumpkin Carvin'

Here are some pictures taken from a pumpkin carving party hosted by Brian and Joe. This is the first time I have ever carved a pumpkin and I think that I didn't do too shabby. Check it out, mine's the one with the skull, Brian's is the one with the scary face.

Click on the pics to see a larger view.

from left, brian's, paul's (no milk), patrick's pumpkins sleepy inebriated patrick
sneering patrick brian hard at work
book buddy annie from left: scott, joe, liz and paul
my first jack-o-lantern ever! a parade of lanterns

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Downhill Ride

Aren't we are wasting valuable non-renewable resources in order to manufacture useless things like triple-scented candles, sequined throw pillows and beer cozies?

Beer cozies. What's that about? When did our beer start needing a little cozy? Is it to keep the beer warm or cold. I can't figure it out. Does it need a down jacket too? It might get frostbite in the fridge. Besides, I like my beer bottles the way I like my men: long, hard and naked.

What will happen when humanity has used up the last drop of crude oil or scrap of metal? When we cannot grow any more crops because we have used-up, polluted our environment, what will we do with the never-used cappuccino makers our sisters gave us for Christmas? It’s too late to re-gift it then. There will be no coffee beans, sugar or milk to make cappuccino with.

What about all the energy and raw materials, labor and marketing used to make a yellow rubber LIVESTRONG band, just to convince people to donate money for cancer research? And when I asked a girl who was wearing one what the band was for, she said she got it because she thought it matched her Louis Vuitton purse. I was so angry, how dare she? Anyone can see that the purse was a knock-off!

Besides, charity is not a fashion statement. Charity is not buying a Fashion Targets t-shirt, Greenpeace bumper sticker or a red kabbalah g-string. It's a upside-down world we live in where charity comes from a good marketing strategy.

Also, it may be hypocritical of me to rant about this, since I do enjoy my modern conveniences. In the interest of full disclosure and bragging, I do have a toaster, a toaster oven and a regular oven and a microwave, all of which more or less do the same function. There's no danger of me joining the cast of Survivor: Champaign/Urbana anytime soon.

I guess the line between modern convenience and utter frivolousness is blurred. One woman's electric hand mixer is another woman's sex toy. I guess we will just have to wake up one day to find that there is no more gas to run our cars or electricity to light our homes.

I don't even know if we can stop this from happening. It seems to me that we are on a downhill ride on a very steep mountain.

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Keep your beer cozy
This guy needs a lot of beer cozies
Beer Can Bob for president
A girl in a red g-string not practicing kabbalah
Here's a crotchless version and with suspenders (not work safe)
Greenpeace: Save the Whale

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Cool Ads

Check out MarriageRights.com for some cool ads about equal marriage rights for gay people!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

In Syndication

I just added a new feature in my sidebar to make it easier for those who subscribe to a site feed. Just click on the link!

blogroll me! add me to your livejournal friends subscribe at bloglines add to my yahoo page add me to kinja

To subscribe to my comic strip The Deep South (which is less frequenty updated), go to the notify list in the sidebar over there.

Thanks y'all for indulging in this bit 'o' shameless self-promotion!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Mint Condition

CONTINUED FROM Used Books

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campbell on my shelf, click for larger imageMy book collection makes me feel good. I like looking at my bookshelf, books lined up like soldiers at attention, pages crisp and tight like Joan Rivers' face.

I like keeping my books in perfect shape. I have books that are in near mint condition, binding unbroken, like a Catholic virgin with hymen intact, subjected only to furtive gropes and clothes-on climaxes.

I have mastered the skill of reading a book opened only to a narrow 30 degree angle so as to preserve the integrity of the binding. I wash my hands with warm sudsy water to carefully remove all grime and oil and dry them completely before touching a page.

This is common practice among comic book collectors, where the term 'mint' has seven grade levels including that sought after, fresh-off-the-printers bagged-in-mylar pristine-mint condition. It is amazing what adolescents who don’t have dates on a Friday night will think of. I just hope they don't get together under one roof, possibly in superhero attire, set up booths, and invite comic book creators to sign stuff.

But I admit it, while I mostly have outgrown my comic book geekdom, I usually still have the eBay selling value of an item in the back of my mind. My comic books, action figures, pez dispensers--they are still carefully handled and stored to preserve maximum value.

This behavior has spread to other aspects of my life where I will consider whether I should open a cereal box carefully in case I want to sell it to a collector at some point. You may scorn Britney Spears now, but her image on a Special K box or a Do-It-Yourself Pre-Nuptial Agreement could net some big bucks someday in an online auction, possibly five dollars.

I am not sure why I do this because I have yet to sell anything anything on eBay. I have bought hundreds of dollars worth of shit, but I have so far sold nada.

I tried selling my used underwear on eBay once for $10 a piece, but nobody wanted to buy them. One person finally asked me if they were 'stained.' I was indignant. What kind of person did he think I was, I thought, and is he willing to pay $20? Anyway, it's not the kind of thing I would tell me Mum. She might start selling her dirty panties.

It’s amazing what people will pay for a bit of nostalgia but I am not planning my retirement on it. Besides, a book isn’t going to keep you warm at night, unless you burn it in your fireplace. A good hairpiece may be a better investment.

Whenever I see a gap between the books on my shelf, I feel an absurd sense of loss. I rarely lend out my favorite books, and when I do, I usually require a signed contract for its replacement if it slips one grade condition level.

It's a quandary: you want to brag about your collection, but you're afraid to because somebody might want to borrow it.

Sometimes I do think about what would happen to my collection if I were to suddenly go on a "permanent vacation." Would they end up in a garage sale? Maybe someone will buy one of them. It would be read, enjoyed, passed on to friends, without a thought to condition, only to sharing the wonderful experience of reading a good book.

More likely, somebody will buy the books and give no thought to its previous owner, one who kept them pristine, who spent more time keeping them that way than reading them...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Used Books

I love going to used bookstores. I will often buy used books of authors I am unfamiliar with to try them out.

When I read a used book, I often have a feeling of spiritual camaraderie with the previous owner. Did they enjoy the book? Did they delight in the same passages? Is that why the pages are stuck together? Did they sell the book because it sucked, because they needed more room, because they needed the money?

It's the same kind of feeling I get when I see someone on a bus reading a book I love. I just want to gush and talk to them about the book and possibly follow them home without their knowledge. It's that full feeling in your chest that makes you want to smother someone with joy, with a thick, white pillow until they stop breathing. I wonder if Jeffrey Dahmer loved books as well?

I hate to say this because it invites scorn, ridicule. I know--after being called a 'gaywad', 'pillow biter', 'butt muncher', I shouldn't be afraid being called a 'poetry reader.'

Yes, two of my favorite books are books of poetry. They are e.e. cummings' Tulips&Chimneys and is 5 which I bought from a used bookstore after I saw the movie Hannah and Her Sisters nearly ten years ago.

In the movie, Michael Caine, a married man, tries to woo his wife's sister into an affair by asking her to read a poem in an e.e. cummings book. The poem is so powerful that the sister considers an affair with him.

I wanted to read this poem that was so powerful it incited such amorousness.

I bought the books and I loved the poems. The books were well cared for but also obviously well read. The edges showed wear where they were pulled to and from a shelf; the creases on the spine were numerous, easily opening to certain sections of the books.

And there was something else I found. In some of the pages, favorite passages were neatly, sparingly, underlined. In others, poem numbers were encircled, like a halo bestowed. But in a select few, there were little neatly drawn pictures which seemed to me the reader's impressions of the poem. These were deliberately drawn--not idle doodles--in colored pen.

I felt like I was reading the poems along with this other person, sharing intimate thoughts. I conjectured that both books of poetry were owned by the same person, a man, probably reasonably attractive, because otherwise, I couldn't imagine the possibility of sex between us.

I wondered who this man was. I wanted to talk to him and I wanted to ask him what other images came to mind when he read the poems.

I wanted to ask him why these books left his possession, these books that he so obviously loved.


see larger view    see larger view



NEXT: Mint Condition

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Bjork interprets an e.e. cummings song in her CD MedĂșlla

Recommended books:

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Little Things

Is there a time when people outgrow their juvenile grossness? Is there an age whereupon one reaches it, we become civilized, mature human beings?

I mean, I was at the men's room at work peeing, when I noticed that slightly to the right of me at eye level was not one, but two greenish-gray, dried-up boogers stuck on the wall.

Mind you, this is a men's room that belongs to a large corporation run by men and women who generate millions of dollars of revenue. This company employs engineers, scientists, lawyers, members all of the professional community. As far as I can see, there are no eight-year olds working here who are tall enough to put boogers at my eye-level.

You know how some people joke about not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time? Not me, sirrah. Not only can I walk and chew gum at the same time, I can do it in 9" stiletto heels and a Bronx accent. What I can’t do is pee and pick my nose at the same time. I just don't have the manual dexterity to handle both 'digging for buried treasure' and 'watering the lilies.' It's just beyond me. I mean this is not like driving a car where you can use your lap to steer while you dig in there.

Look, I am not saying you shouldn't pick your nose. It's unpleasant for other people to think about, but it's normal; it's very much like homosexuality or tax evasion that way. But I think that everybody should be responsible enough to wipe their boogers into a kleenex, a handkerchief or the inside of your pants pocket like everyone else.

I know this activity probably creates some sense of satisfaction or achievement by putting things up on a wall for display, but this is not like mounting a deer head, even if the boogers will probably blend in with the outdoorsy décor. And I don't care that it's some celebrity booger you bought from eBay.

If we adults cannot manage these little things, how can we manage the big things? If we cannot ever become mature enough to take responsibility for ourselves, how can we ever achieve peace-on-earth-goodwill-towards-men? No wonder we are at war in Iraq.

I really, really just hope there are no boogers on the wall in the restrooms at the White House.

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Bastion Booger
Weird eBay auctions: you might find some booger here
The Speech Accent Archive
I didn't know this went on in the women's restroom
Online Tour of the White House
A parody of the White House first page (refresh a couple of times to see different versions)
A golden urinal at the White House

Friday, October 01, 2004

Pulp Fiction

David Schickler is not your namby-pamby, sensitive, wryly comic author. His prose is lusty, colorful, a punch in the gut.

His characters are vividly drawn, full of intent with a dark side to boot. They are people who see ominous portents in a falling leaf or a white squirrel. They like to have sex and lots of it, in an alley or the backseat of a car, it doesn't matter--it is urgent and it is primal. No kissing when biting and scratching will do.

His books are like southern-fried novels but takes place in big cities. Think of the movies Fried Green Tomatoes or Steel Magnolias but set in New York City or Chicago; people drinking martinis instead of iced tea, then maybe you'll get a sense of his style.

Magic lies just beneath the surface, percolating. There are spells uttered in everyday words. A local bar brews a liquor so potent, it can cure your ails, make you drop dead or grow hair on your balls. I wish I had some to give to my loathsome boss, maybe he'll stop making me lick his armpits—I really don't like his deodorant, it tastes too metallic.

I credit the 'discovery' of David Schickler to my book buddy Annie (don't you wish she had her own blog?), whose taste in books is reliable and true, one of the few people whose book recommendations I take seriously. She had finished an advanced reading copy of the author's first book Kissing in Manhattan and came to me raving, looking like she possibly needed a rabies shot.

I wasn't sure what to expect because the book's blurb only indicated that it was a series of interconnected short stories about people who lived in a certain posh Manhattan building.

I am typically not a fan of short story collections because usually there is only about two or three good stories in them, the rest being just mediocre. Also, when the short story is good, then I always end up wishing that it was a full length novel. But in this one, even though the only connection between the stories is the setting, there is an underlying theme which unified them, like it was all part of one story.

I know, that sounds thin, like a porn video plot, right? Like maybe a mysterious necklace when worn, would make its wearer horny and ready for a gang bang? Trust me, this is much more substantial. There are no stunt cocks here, this is the real thing; turgid and purple and coming right at you.

I did have a huge hardon while reading the story "Checkers and Donna". The character, Checkers, a bruiser with huge biceps and a raunchy mouth made me wish I was Donna, the object of his affection. There is only one false note in this book, in the story "Jacob's Bath". It was awkward and lead-footed, too sudsy for my taste.

The new book is called Sweet and Vicious. It was a surprise gift from Annie, for no special occasion, which I think is the best kind of gift. Birthday gifts and such are fine, but they don't have the same kind of emotional punch as a gift that says "I'm glad we're friends" or "Thanks for being you" or "Chill bitch, it's my turn to rob the bank."

This one is caper story, about Henry Dante*, a strong arm for a big Chicago gangster who was asked to retrieve The Planets from one of the gangter's about-to-double-cross-him henchmen. The Planets are a "glorious, amazing, sell-your-firstborn haul of ice, a seven-stone diamond collection" which a prince gathered from across the globe to give to his sweetheart in 1790, each one cut to resemble the planets discovered by then.

Henry makes a bad move and ends up taking The Planets on the run. On the road, he runs into Grace McGlone, a beautiful redhead working at a car wash. Grace sensed that Henry was her destiny, so she makes a deal with God. If she walks through the car wash, water misters, foamy soap, big brushes and all, and Henry is still there when she gets out on the other side, then she's going with him.

The book is slim and a very quick read. I finished it in three long sessions in the can. I fucking loved it. Love, love, loved it. I cannot wait for another book from this guy--pulp, rind, seeds and all.

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*Don't you just love the name "Henry"? I do. It makes me think of my supercrush Henry Rollins (formerly of Black Flag and Rollins Band) who has biceps of death.

Read a short story "Fourth Angry Mouse" from David Schickler