Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Geeking Out on Existential Superhero


So tonight I sat in on a colleague's class on Alan Moore's Watchmen. There's nothing better than discussing the philosophical underpinnings of free will via a naked blue superhero (and no he's not from Kentucky).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Herpetology


It's not what you think. Unless you think it's the study of reptiles and amphibians. Then it is what you think because that is exactly what it is. Good job.

Why is it on my mind? You don't ask but would if you were stuck beside me on a plane and I kept going on and on about it. I've been researching Melville lately. Why you ask? None of your damned business. God, when did you get so nosy? Anyway, I found this article on "The Herpetology of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick." It discusses his "herpetological awareness." What is your herpetological awareness?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fear Itself


So Friday, Heather and I participated in Just Do It's unofficial Halloween show "Fear Itself." Just Do It is a bit of a variety show so there was our readings, scene readings, monologues, an improv group, and a short film. We both wrote short pieces in response to a photo we were sent. Heather wrote a sly rhyming poem a la Single White Female about two emo guys. I wrote a faux public service announcement promoting the value of fear.

All ran smoothly thinks to the host/organizer/etc. Vito Abate. The crowd was a good size and generous. My favorite, aside from Heather's, was Charles K. Meauhead III's short film The Inexpressible Horror--a mock trailer for a 50s sci-fi horror flick complete with cheating with the milkman and typical teen beatniks and bikini-clad hula hooppers.

Plus there was Halloween candy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Accidentally Seeing Harvey Pekar & Alison Bechdel


So the other night, Heather saw in the Creative Loafing that Harvey Pekar would be at a comic book store signing. And so we showed up to not only find him but also Alison Bechdel of Fun Home fame. My friend Dusty Harbin, who manages the place, kindly gave us free tickets to the Novello Festival reading the two were giving that night. So we went. Excellent fun. Pekar talked about knowing Crumb and getting into comics and his new work of publishing biography comics. Bechdel had an amazing presentation discussing her creative process. Such a happy accident.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Etiquette Advice from Some Old Books I Found


Today's etiquette advice comes from The Life Cycle Library for Young People 1969 (Parent and Child Institute, Chicago).

If you know me--and I hope, for your sake, you don't--then you know I am a spectacular social butterfly. Sort of like a conversationalist Mothra--he was a giant butterfly, right? But if you need help when you're at that next networking mixer, here's a quick tip:

Jokes made at someone else's expense, crude or off-color jokes, and very personal questions seldom make good conversation. Pointing out that Wally's teeth make him look like a gopher, even if they do, may get a big laugh, but the laugh is not worth the price of losing Wally as a friend. Laughter at someone else's expense is a sure way of losing friends.

Yeah, Wally really does look like a gopher. And now apropos of nothing--I'm only using that phrase because Heather hates it--this is also the book that clears up this concern:

A homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted to persons of the same sex rather than to persons of the opposite sex. One of the problems that masturbation can cause is that a young person may wonder if something is wrong with him or her. Some young people think masturbation is linked to homosexuality. They believe that if they masturbate, they are a homosexual or will become homosexual. They should realize that masturbation does not cause homosexuality.

So what have we learned? Don't call Wally a gopher and pointing out that masturbation does not in fact cause homosexuality--as everyone surely must have assumed--is probably a great conversation starter. This has been your etiquette advice from some old books I found.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Know When to Fold Them


Over the weekend, Heather drug...I mean had me willingly escort her to another TN wedding. It was a good time though unseasonably hot and strangely quick by some standards. We stayed at the Bunkhouse Inn on the River, and the next morning as I was reading my bible (I'm teaching Ruth for a class...not that I don't normally read the bible in the morning...) and sipping my coffee by the river, a burly man in a checkered shirt stepped out on to the adjoining porch. His name was Tim, and he asked if I fished. After disappointing him, we talked about the local sights, and he directed me to Clingmans Dome, even showing me on a map on his laptop while singing the praises of wireless Internet and cursing his forgotten wireless mouse.

So we (Heather and I, not Tim and I) went to the top of Clingmans Dome, third highest point east of the Mississippi, and since I've never been west of the Mississippi, I was very impressed. Also while we were there, we walked a short bit on the Appalachian Trail and the Mountain-to-the-Sea trail, where we saw a sign informing us that the next shelter had been closed due to "aggressive bear activity." Naturally, we turned around and ran the other way.

Going back through Cherokee, I convinced Heather to stop at Harrah's casino by offering to bankroll the excursion. I'd never been to a casino. Aside from the lung incinerating smoke and the infernally distracting lights and noise and 80s muzak and the soul-dead people mindlessly pushing buttons over and over with those cards stuck in the machine with a cord clipped to their body as if they were IVed to the machine and clicking the morphine button again and again, hoping for the sweet release of death... Aside from that, I had a great time...because I won. That's right; I took those suckers. For $4.25. Yeah, I'm a natural born gambler. Heather, however, wasn't born lucky and lost $4. But that still leaves me 25 cents up. I'm thinking of quiting my day job.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kak-alak-alak-alak-alak-alak-alak


Went to the Kakalak Anthology 2008 reading at the Barnes & Noble in the Arboretum. Great to see the editors Richard Allen Taylor, Beth Cagle Burt, and Lisa Zerkle. And enjoyed reading with the likes of Diana Pinckney and Julie Ann Cook. Good times.