Drabbles: Writing

English: Smith Premier Typewriter Co. of Syrac...
English: Smith Premier Typewriter Co. of Syracuse, New York – 1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Typewriter

Coffee, strong coffee. Sending vibrations, shockwaves, directly to her brain, which in turn set her fingers flying across the keys of her maroon Smith-Corona, each push resulting in clattering contact with the page, ink as black as the coffee against virginal paper. Five pages now. Not stopping until it was done. Another sip of coffee, more inspiration seizing hold of her. Always better to compose on a typewriter, tapping into the creative power of her literary ancestors, a direct lineage from the heroic bards of the past down to her, alone at her desk but wrapped in words, words, words.  Continue reading

Drabbles: Photographs/Mannequin/Polka Dot/Recurring Dream

Polka dots
Polka dots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photographs

It was the most heartbreaking thing I could imagine: an entire mysterious lifetime being abandoned and then forgotten. I considered my purchase of the ancient suitcase stuffed with faded photographs to be something of a rescue mission. I wouldn’t know the names and stories behind the grave, staring faces, but I would be letting them live on somehow anyway. I hoped someone would be so kind to me. Flipping through the stacks there in the musty antique store, I found myself already inventing entire histories for these strangers who had slipped, lost and lonely, through the cracked boardwalk of time.  Continue reading

Wikipedia Article Word Counts, Compared

New wikipedia logo
New wikipedia logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

History

The Punic Wars: 3,478 words

Star Wars: 13,311 words

 

Horatio Nelson: 15,229 words

Optimus Prime: 16,469 words

 

Ching Shih (the 19th-century pirate queen who commanded one of the largest pirate fleets in human history): 2,115 words

Samus Aran: 4,713 words

Continue reading

Drabbles: Plants

Some dandelions found in my backyard.
Some dandelions found in my backyard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dandelion

Charlotte’s baby spiders. A whirlwind of sand. The field was blanketed with them this spring, so many waiting wishes. She closed her eyes, concentrated fully, sucked in a deep breath and blew, scattering endless spores from the dandelion’s fuzzy crown. She slowly opened her eyes and was very thrilled to see that she had succeeded. It was simple enough. She just wanted things to be ok again, like they used to be. Before her life had gradually imploded the year before. She wanted the broken pieces of herself and her life to suddenly heal. Watching a shattering vase in rewind.  Continue reading

New At Unicorn Booty: A Whole Bunch of Stuff!

English: "Weird Al" Yankovic perform...
English: “Weird Al” Yankovic performing live in concert during his 2010 Tour. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’ve been doing a whole bunch of stuff at UnicornBooty.com lately… so instead of doing a post for each one, I’ll do compilation posts!  So yay!  Dig it!

  • ‘YOUR LIE IN APRIL’ HAS ALL THE AMAZING MUSIC AND ABUSE OF ‘WHIPLASH’, BUT IS AN ANIME: FujiTV’s dramatic anime Your Lie In April (available in the US on Crunchyroll and Hulu) recently closed out its second and last season – and I’m here to tell you that it’s an awesome show y’all gotta see.

    The animation is absolutely gorgeous and it’s based on an award-winning manga — that’s what us anime nerds call “comic books.” It won Best Shōnen Manga at the 37th Kodansha Manga Awards, which is what we anime nerds call “a really big deal.” And, if that weren’t enough, it features a lot of absolutely amazing musical performances.

  • 10 MUSICAL ARTISTS YOU MUST ENJOY OR YOU ARE WRONG: There’s LOTS of music in this world — it’s hard to know where to begin! But we assure you, if you follow this list of greats, your journey deeper into the wonderful world of delightful sounds will be a fruitful one.Thanks to science, we’ve determined that you’re 100 percent guaranteed to enjoy all 10 bands on this list — if you do not, we will send you an official Certificate Of Wrongness, suitable for framing.  Enjoy!
  • MD STATE ATTORNEY CALLS FREDDIE GRAY’S DEATH A HOMICIDE. HERE’S WHY THAT’S A GOOD THING…On May 1st, Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced six Baltimore police officers have been charged in the death of Freddie Gray — an illegally arrested 25-year-old man who died under police custody after suffering a broken spine and cardiac arrest. The officers turned themselves in that afternoon, and have been released on bail (set between $250,000 and $350,000).In the wake of way too many black people killed by the police in the past five years, it’s cause for hope that Gray’s death has officially been called a murder caused by police action – and that the state’s justice department is taking the matter seriously.
  • THE GUY WHO TRIED TO SHOOT RONALD REAGAN WANTS A MUSICAL CAREER: According to NBC’s Washington DC affiliate, John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to kill President Reagan in 1981 to win Jodie Foster’s love, is looking to start a band. As it turns out, though he has been in a mental hospital since around ’81, his lawyers and treatment team have been working to get him released to his mother’s care. Hinckley’s shown an interest in music while he’s been in the mental hospital, but most people don’t realize that he’s actually been paid by Warner Brothers for years for an odd bit of musical work.
  • SCARS OF SAN FRANCISCO’S 1906 QUAKE REMAIN IN ITS STREETS: If you’ve been to San Francisco, you’ve probably noticed those weird brick circles that are sometimes on the street. What are they? Decoration? Proof of alien life? Cat traps? As it turns out, it’s none of these!  (Well, okay, maybe they can do double-duty as cat traps.)  As it turns out, it’s history and infrastructure all rolled into one!

  • SEE YOU IN COURT! NEBRASKA WOMAN FILES SUIT AGAINST ALL GAYS AND THEIR ALLIES: A woman has filed a court case (no foolin’) against homosexuals and their “alis”; we’re guessing she means “allies”? Sylvia Driscoll (not pictured above) — a 66-year-old from Auburn, Nebraska and self-declared ambassador of God — filed suit in federal court May 1.  In her petition to the court, she wants Judge John M. Gerrard to declare that homosexuality is a sin.

    Sure, that doesn’t seems like something for a federal judge to decide, but hey.  At least it reminds me of one of my favorite Achewood strips…

  • PHOTOS: TRANS MMA FIGHTER FALLON FOX IS YOUR NEW FAVORITE BADASS: Fallon Fox is the first out trans mixed martial arts fighter, an artistwriter, and professional speaker.  She’s got a 5-1 record since starting her fighting career in 2013 (though she’s been training since 2008), so it’s safe to say she’s, uh, pretty damn good.  She also tours, giving lectures about how MMA and other contact sports can empower women.  And she’s about to get a lot more famous as one of  two subjects of the new documentary Game Face.

  • WOMP, WOMP! RACIST HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PLAYER LOSES SCHOLARSHIP FOR RACISM: Some moments in life can only be celebrated by Edd Kalehoff‘s fantastic music from The Price Is Right — and some fails, by The Price Is Right losing horns.

    Today’s fail: ABC News reports that after being caught on tape referring to a black family as “fucking [unpleasant racial slur beginning with the letter N]”, Pinole Valley High School’s star baseball player has lost his college scholarship. The incident occurred after a baseball game last Wednesday, when the player called the family of an opposing team member the awful name.

  • 10 OBSCURE FILMS YOU NEED TO SEE IMMEDIATELY — GO GO GO!: Top ten lists are arbitrary by nature — so I’m not even going to pretend these are an actual top ten, but rather a list of films that may or may not become your all-time favorite movies and cause you to throw out your entire DVD collection. But here are some films that you may not have heard of that may become your all-time favorite movies and cause you to throw out your collection to start over.

  • EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT THE COLUMBINE SCHOOL SHOOTING IS WRONG: As “Weird Al” Yankovic said, “Everything you know is wrong.” Admittedly, he wasn’t talking about the school shooting 16 years ago at Columbine, Colorado — that’d be a little bit of a downer. Yankovic got the quote from the Firesign Theatre comedy troupe, and they weren’t talking about Columbine either; a school shooting is ill-suited for a comedy record.

    Nevertheless, the statement still holds where Columbine is concerned. Just about all of the accepted wisdom about what happened on April 20, 1999 isn’t right at all.

  • THE SECRET BEHIND NEIL YOUNG’S OUT OF PRINT 1982 ALBUM WILL MELT YOUR HEART: Neil Young’s strangest film, Human Highway, will come to theaters in a new director’s cut on April 17th. The film features songs from Trans, arguably Neil Young‘s most inaccessible album, and also one of the hardest to find. Out of print in the US for years, the album is only currently available for download in the European iTunes Store.

  • M’S “THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT” IS PARANOID POP PERFECTION: For years, it seemed that whenever I’d go to a used record store, I’d always find a copy of M’s 1980 album The Official Secrets Act (and strangely, none of his other records).

    I think I ended up giving up looking for M vinyl after around a year or so, and to date, I only have two: The 12″ of “Moonlight and Muzak” and (my first M release ever) Official Secrets Act. It’s funny; I couldn’t even find a copy of his hit album/single (New York London Paris Munich / Pop Muzik“). I mean, I’ve got all the material on the CDs released by Westside in 1998 (out of print now, though JVC Victor in Japan is re-issuing these discs in mini-LP sleeves, complete with the same bonus tracks), so it’s not like I don’t have the material… butstill… Why does this drive me crazy? I tell you why:

    The Official Secrets Act is a pop masterpiece.

Continue reading

It’s The Way You Swing Your Head

Saint Aphrodisius (Saint-Aphrodise)
Saint Aphrodisius (Saint-Aphrodise) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It had seemed strange at first, of course. But now that the ratio of cephalophores to those with their heads still attached was roughly even, he scarcely noticed it anymore. They were just more bored New Yorkers, standing in line impatiently at the bank, making too much noise in the house across the street.

Then, one day, that all changed.

As the years passed, he remembered it like one would remember a car accident. Her glittering smile was the fragments of a shattered windshield scattered across black pavement, and nothing would ever be the same for him again. He had passed so many sleepless nights wondering how his life would be different if they had not crossed paths that day. He would have been saved from all the pain, but he could no longer imagine his life without her. She had been filling it up for so long, even if what she’d been filling it up with was the emotional equivalent of a full-body cast. Continue reading

RIP Dale Comer

Dale & Carly
Dale & Carly

About two weeks ago, on April 14th, 2015, one of my best friends in the entire world, Dale Comer, passed away after fighting for 14 months with aggressive brain cancer.  It’s taken me a while to write this, but since I’ve stopped crying all the time in real life, I think I might be ready.  (That said, I keep having crying jags over Dale in my dreams.)

I just don’t even really know what form this is going to take, and I’m not sure if I’ll do too much re-writing just because it’s really painful.  I’m glad I got to see him the Saturday before he passed, and I’ll always remember the very last time I saw him, when we were saying goodbye — Dale couldn’t really talk in the end, it hurt him too much, so he could only make gestures — as we left, he gave us the peace sign, as he often would.  It was so Dale.

I’ve known him since I was a freshman in college.  We both worked at the student radio station.  I think I’ve told the story a few times on Crush On Radio about how we met, where I made a joke about our current slogan during the show I did with Jeremiah while he happened to be in the booth fixing something.  And, after that, we ended up hanging out a lot.

It was one where we just did a lot of stuff together.  There was one summer where I was still in college and thankfully didn’t have to work, and Dale was currently between jobs.  (This was shortly before he got hired for the Delilah show.)  And pretty much, we hung out every day, watching movies, watching his tapes of Kids in the Hall, doing all sorts of stuff.

This is kind of the interesting thing, we were both hardcore comedy nerds, and we both had the same favorites, Mystery Science Theater 3000, SCTV, the Kids, Night Court, and we’d kinda stumbled upon them growing up and latched onto them.  The thing that always blew me away is that Dale had a photographic memory for this stuff, and would sometimes drop really obscure references to sketches I’d only half remember — and they usually wouldn’t even be the punchline, but other lines that were equally hilarious, even if not as memorable to people who weren’t Dale.

And we were both music nerds, except that he could actually play.  We turned each other on to stuff — I got him into the Who, and brought him to a couple Residents concerts, and he got me into folks like Don Ellis.  He’s on some of the Kittysneezes music tracks, which I always deeply appreciated even though I think he’d sometimes get frustrated at how.. wrong? they were?  Since I didn’t have any compositional background or anything.  I know we’d sometimes argue about technical skill in music, since he came especially from a jazz background, and I liked self-taught bands like Half Japanese.  But there were tons of crossovers, including POLYSICS, whom he loved probably as much as I do.

One of the things I remember especially about his skill is one time when he and I and Carly (his longtime girlfriend who cared for him for his entire illness, and is one of the strongest people I know) were playing around in my dad’s studio on some of my weird instruments, and he was able to actually play a song on my theremin.  Which is amazing.  He claimed to only have relative pitch rather than perfect pitch, but, dang if he wasn’t close to perfect pitch.  I’d sometimes ask him what a note was, and he’d deliberate a bit, and then get it right.

One other time, we were killing time in the studio, and bored, he walked over to the drum machine and started playing the drum track from DEVO’s version of “Satisfaction” live.  Which again, pretty dang amazing.

But then Dale was and is amazing.

I feel really bad that I didn’t talk to him as much as I should have when he was ill.  He didn’t want to see anyone, since I think he didn’t want to worry anyone.  But still, it was hard talking to him on the phone, as the tumor had made him slur his words, and have trouble thinking.  But the last time I talked with him on the phone, I kept getting snatches of the real Dale there, with his normal, non-slurred voice.  It really sounded like he was getting better, and would get to beat this.

Unfortunately I was wrong.  It was a week before he died that Carly let me know that his time on earth was best measured in weeks.  And it turned out to be week, singular — exactly, in fact.  She called the Tuesday before he died — which was on a Tuesday.

In Seattle, we’ve actually had really nice weather lately — with the notable exception of two days.  One, the Saturday when my parents and I visited him for the last time, and Two, the day he died.  Carly even said that very shortly after he passed, a bolt of lightning hit nearby, and the resulting thunder was so lound and strong his entire house shook.

I don’t go in for miracles or supernatural things like that, but every once in a while, something coincidental happens that just seems magical.  And that’s one of those things.

It’s Dale’s birthday today.

I miss you so much dude.

I love you.

And I always will.

The fine folks at KBTC, the public television station where Dale worked as an engineer, put this video together and has been running it between shows. Thank you so much for doing this. Dale clearly touched you as much as he touched us all. I’ve been having a bit of trouble with it showing up via FB, but the direct post is here.

We miss you, Dale!

Posted by KBTC Public Television on Saturday, April 18, 2015

Drabbles: Celestial Bodies

English: Pleiades Star Cluster
English: Pleiades Star Cluster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sun

It was startlingly red, the red of blood dripping down a gashed leg, as it sank lower, the horizon pulling it towards its unavoidable nightly demise. It scattered that same red and golden yellow and orange in the sky around it, a temperamental painter, as stars that had been waiting in the wings began to show their faces in the vast expanse of the rest of the sky. The sun was pulling all light down with it, letting the day crash and burn in anger at being kicked out in favor of that laughable moon, a hollow facsimile of itself. Continue reading

The Most Popular Fitness Tips of All Time

English: Blanched almonds. Gaelg: Almonyn gial...
English: Blanched almonds. Gaelg: Almonyn giallit. हिन्दी: भुने बादाम. മലയാളം: പുഴുങ്ങിയ ബദാം പരിപ്പ്. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bikini season is almost upon us, but you gave up on your New Year’s resolution last February. Don’t spend another summer in a one-piece! Try these fitness tips gleaned from a survey of diet devotees. Continue reading

The Man On The Wire

The feet of a tightrope walker.
The feet of a tightrope walker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just another show, always the same. Different towns, different slack-jawed rubes crunching peanuts and candy apples and watching you from the seats, but always the same routine. The scenery was different but the night itself never was. He could jump a month into the future or past and it would be just like tonight.

Xavier sat on his unicycle and pedaled himself out to the center of the ring, five clubs and his lucky Zippo engraved with a tiger in his oversized hands. The ringmaster was announcing him, but the words just washed over him like the faceless hum of the crowd. He pasted on his most brilliant fake smile as he lit the clubs and then began his juggling routine, riding smoothly around the ring as the flaming clubs circled in front of him. All of it—the cheers and applause, the music, his legs pumping the pedals, the work of keeping the clubs in the air—was just a haze. Continue reading