Friday, August 1I Have A Lot To Think About.
Today is the first day of August. Fall is approaching. Change is in the air.
I need a break. Need it like you wouldn't believe. From everything.
Goodbye for now, kids. I'll be back soon.
Thursday, July 3110 Writing Questions For The CDP.
(The following is a 10-question writing survey forwarded to me by a CDP fan on my Facebook group. Let's do this.)
1. What Are Your Genres? – Humorous personal essays, nostalgia, pop culture examination, barbecue sauce historian.
2. How Many Books Are You Working On Now? – I can't say that I've started working on my second book yet, but we're getting there. I spent most of 2007 working on my debut, and I plan on devoting a year to my Sophomore effort. The goal is for it to be funnier than the first, sell more copies and pay for the kidney transplant that my cat and wife so desperately need.
3. Are You A Linear Or Chunk Writer? – Linear when it’s flowing easily; chunky when I can only think of one specific thing to say at a time. The angrier I am, the more linear the essay, it would appear. The more I feel the need to tell a story in a deliberate manner, the more I get hung up and chunkified. I can't say that prefer one to the other; they've both succeeded and failed numerous times.
4. What's The POV You’re Partial To? – First-person narrative, all the way. Although I’m experimenting with fifth-person in my next book, so every sentence will start with, “I heard from this guy who told somebody...” It's going to be a long book; very gossipy*.
5. What's The Theme That Keeps Cropping Up In Your Books? – Morality, failure, optimism in the face of American hypocrisy, nostalgia, egotism and Emma Watson. Nobody looks worse than me, and if they do, I make sure that they don't know my phone number.
6. How Many Days A Week Do You Write? – I write in some capacity every day I can; at least six days a week, sometimes as much as eight or ten.
7. What Time Of Day Do You Get Your Best Writing Done? – From 7am to 9am when I've had a decent night's sleep, and from 10pm to 1am most nights. I spend the rest of the day wishing I could write well when the sun is out. I've found that I have the best ideas when I'm either slipping into or out of consciousness.
8. Who Are Your Mentors? – I can’t stand that term. Make your own decisions and learn from your own mistakes. I only take hard advice from my wife; everything else is merely a suggestion from a stranger. Mentors are for the unsure and insecure; get out there and fail.
Of course, none of that is true. I listen to any advice I receive from anyone I respect.
9. Who Are Your Favorite Authors To Read? – I've been reading a lot of Chuck Klosterman recently, and I've appreciated David Sedaris' work in the past, before I realized that he was completely full of crap. We can also throw Kurt Vonnegut into the fray, and whomever wrote the Encyclopedia. Most of my current reading exists in the form of news wires and professional wrestling gossip sites.
10. Specific Literary Favorites? – There are very few books that I feel the need to read twice, Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo being one of them. I finished that damn book in the waiting room of the dentist’s office, and I was in tears when the nurses called my name. She thought I was scared to get my cavity filled, when in reality, I just realized that I no longer believed in God. Epiphanies happen in the strangest places sometimes.
Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. I have a lot to think about.
Wednesday, July 30CDP's Top 11 Albums Of 2008 (So Far).
If you need any proof that 2008 has been a fairly mediocre year for album releases, look no further than my own list of top albums so far this year. This is the best stuff I've heard in 2008, and I doubt that 8 or 9 of these would have even been considered in my Top 20 for the last few years. Here's hoping that the remaining five months of the year will bring the thunder. Enjoy.
11. Hold On Now, Youngster... - Los Campesinos!
10. Partie Traumatic - Black Kids
9. Brain Thrust Mastery - We Are Scientists
8. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
7. Weezer - Weezer
6. Stop, Drop And Roll!!! - Foxboro Hot Tubs
5. Saturdays = Youth - M83
4. GNV FLA - Less Than Jake
3. Adventure Boy - Scott Reynolds
2. Feed The Animals - Girl Talk
1. Stay Down - Smoking Popes
Sound off in the comments section, create your own list and enjoy your day.
I have a lot to think about.
Tuesday, July 29I No Longer Believe In Brett Favre.
"You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
I have a lot to think about.
Monday, July 28Christ, The Donkey Is Back! Lock The Doors!
(The following phone conversation took place on Wednesday night, between my mother and I. She was probably significantly more compassionate than the following transcription will dictate, but I was too bewildered to properly register said empathy. Enjoy.)
CDP - "Hey mom. What's up?"
MOM - "Nothing much, just watching So You Think You Can Dance?."
"Wow...that's really terrible."
"It's fun. Besides, you can't watch anything longer than a minute when there's a baby in the house. There's no reason to view anything with a plotline."
"So I guess that means I can get back my Friday Night Lights DVD that I borrowed you?"
"Yeah; we didn't even open that thing."
"I figured. So what's new in town?"
"Well, Doug died. You remember Doug, right? He worked for the Fire Department. He had an inoperable brain tumor and died yesterday."
"Damn, that's awful."
"Yeah, it was pretty sad. The Fire Department saluted his coffin and everything...speaking of which, the Fire Chief from the neighboring city was just killed, too."
"No kidding? What happened?"
"Well, I guess that he got crushed between a moving fire truck and a wall. Poor guy; he was one week from retirement. Like 80 years old or something."
"Where is your God now?"
"Shut up; God is everywhere."
"...Except the Fire Department, I presume."
"Stop that. Oh, I quit my job at the Post Office last week."
"Damn! I can't believe that you tried to tell me that nothing was going on around there."
"Yup, I quit last week, but I stuck around a little longer because my boss's step-sister died."
"Wait...another person died?"
"Yeah. I guess she had leg surgery, and shortly after just tipped over and died, just like that."
"Oh man; that's crazy."
"Yeah, but listen to this. A week later, my boss calls me again and asks if I can stick around a little longer, because her step-brother died, too."
"Mmm-hmm. I guess he had a heart attack while his family was getting him lunch at the deli. They called him to ask what he wanted on his sandwich, and he didn't answer. Guy was already dead."
"I know. But it gets worse."
"Yeah. A few days later, my boss calls me again and says, "You're not going to believe this." Her brother had a heart attack and died, too!"
"Are you kidding me?"
"Nope. I guess they found him right in the middle of the lawn. She lost three family members in three weeks."
"Well, you know what they say about death in threes...or fives."
"So yeah...I'll be working at the Post Office a little while longer while she straightens everything out, but then I'm going to start full-time at the other company."
"Yeah, tell me about that place. Are you going to get benefits and everything?"
"Yes, but I can't meet with my new boss because he's out of town right now. His dad died."
"For the love of...are you serious?"
"Yeah, his dad died of a heart attack. I guess he's had a condition for a long time, and they've been treating it with some expensive, experimental procedure."
"Well, every few months, they send a huge amount of his blood to India."
"Yeah. They send a bunch of his blood to India, and doctors there pump it full of these stem cells and send it back."
"That can't possibly be safe under any circumstances."
"I didn't think so, either. I guess it costs $30,000 a pop, and they've done it at least three times."
"So yeah. But get this. The surgery required to get the stem cell-infused blood back into his system is currently illegal in the United States, so they have to fly him out to the Dominican Republic for the treatment."
"That can't possibly be safe under any circumstances. Do they know exactly what the Indian doctors are putting in the blood?"
"Not really. When I asked him about it, he said "You just have to trust them.""
"I have to be honest with you. That sounds like a really terrible idea.
"Well, it must have been, because the most recent time they did it, he got sick on the operating table and died."
"It really couldn't have ended any other way. How do you even make contacts with people to assist with such an insane thing? Did they even bother talking to American doctors about safer treatments?"
"I doubt it. They're a rich family and do weird things. He's dead now."
"Well mom, I have to say that this is a new record for you. We've been talking for 10 minutes now, and you've achieved a Body Count of no less than six people."
"I know; it's sad."
"Sad? Screw sad, I think you're cursed. I was going to come up there this weekend and buy a bunch of Ting Soda, but screw it. I don't think I'm ever visiting that town again; it's like a bizarre dimension of death and destruction."
"I don't blame you. It would be nice to see you, though."
"Forget it. Love you, mom."
"Okay. Love you, too. Goodbye."
I then walked over to the bar, poured myself a glass of straight Jameson on the rocks, and sipped in the dark silence for the next two hours.
I have a lot to think about.