Fellow Blogger and surname-sharer David Ellis and I occasionally joke about being related. After reading his Ode to Robert Downey Jr I am convinced more than ever that we are indeed kin.
You see, I am such a huge fan of RDJr that it borders on embarrassing. This man does it all; acts, sings, wanders aimlessly in drug-induced stupors to crash in random strangers’ beds. What’s not to love?
But seriously, how can you not admire a grown man who is Iron Man one moment and dances as a back-up singer the next? I’ll let David honor him with his following poem:
ODE TO ROBERT DOWNEY JR
Financial heroes that often spring to mind
Gates, Buffett, Branson, Jobs, Sugar, Trump are all fine
However, I wanted to select somebody a little different
A person who has made an individual statement
Who has not taken a conventional approach to his career
For my financial hero, I choose Robert Downey Junior
Even though he has made mistakes in the past
Errors of judgement that could have ruined him
He has learnt so much from them
He is now a wiser, intelligent, thoughtful person
He has earnt his dignity and my respect
Through all of his hard work
Cleaned up his act
Gone from strength to strength
And even though his character portrayals
Of Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes aren’t real
He brings warmth and humour to the table
A passion for his roles and research makes him successful
This is what I take from him and to this day it has served me well
That is why he is my financial hero, along with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro
Looking at their box offices figures, they have all made mucho dinero
And that is why I see them all as legendary peers to aspire to
For more from David visit him at http://toofulltowrite.wordpress.com/ Until then, please to enjoy:
As Valentine’s Day approaches I thought it only appropriate to interview the most wanted man, uh…boy in the world. I’m talking about the one, the only….CUPID.
CUPID – Pleasure to be here. Despite this being my busy time of year, I can always find time for you H.E., you helped my blog become what it is today and for that my heart is ever at your service…..You know, if you wanted I could set you up with somebody? I still feel bad about your last relationship. In my defense though, you were the one who fucked that up. Cupid’s arrow is rarely wrong and sometimes you got to give a little to get a little if you know what I mean….
***** So tell the readers, what is the hardest part being the God of Desire?
CUPID – The hardest part? My cock.
* silence *
Nah, I’m just fucking with you. Nothing like a little dirty humor to lighten the mood. Seriously though, the hardest part has got to be humanity. Fifty years ago this would not have been my answer, I mean, fifty years ago people knew how to make a commitment to one another. Now everyone is so needy and expects so much from the person they are with, no one knows how to stay in anything longer than a few years. Its sad really. I blame the hippie generation for this. All that free love fucked up real love for the rest of you. Well, that and women’s lib. Give me the days where I just shot a guy with love and never had to worry about what the woman wanted, because if she didn’t go with the guy I shot then he would just take her. It sounds bad but god-damn it made my job easier.
***** What’s with the bow and arrow?
CUPID – Are you serious? They’re fucking magic, that’s what! It brings forth love and happiness and shit to all that the arrows pierce….Whats with the….Look, if you find a magic shotgun for sale then I’ll buy it, but since there is no such thing, I’ll stick to my bow and arrow thank you very much..
***** How does love in the twenty-first century differ from say, the Renaissance period?
CUPID – Two words, E- Harmony. Them and all those other find love web sites that have popped up since the internet began. Back in the good ole days you didn’t have to fill out a twenty questions exam to get shacked up with somebody, you trusted my arrow to make the right connection. Now though, since these computer cupids have shown up, love is down, STDs are up and the murder rate in Juarez, Mexico has skyrocketed.
That last one has nothing to do with what we are talking about, I just got done reading a book about Juarez and that crap just keeps slipping out, sorry. You get my…..shit….what was my point…….Oh yeah, the Renaissance! It was different.
***** Have you ever missed an intended target?
CUPID – (long pause) On the record, no. Off the record, fuck yeah.
Look, it’s not easy, this job I mean. Its a ton of pressure for one God,you people are so fucking needy, especially you women. From now on, why not just say what it is you’re really looking for in a guy. First off, sense of humor is not that fucking important to you, so stop saying it first. It would make my job and your connection to your true love so much easier to make.That being said, I’ve fucked up here and there throughout time….Do I regret doing it? No, I rack it up to learning experiences…….I do feel bad about Whitney Houston though, I never should have introduced her to Bobby. That was my bad and for that I apologize.
Otherwise, mistakes or no mistakes, once that arrow hits you it’s no longer my problem. Love can happen anywhere, but I can only do so much, it’s up to you to make it work. Here’s an example, that teacher that slept with her student a few years back. You remember, right? She slept with him, got pregnant, got busted, got fired, got jail time, had the baby, got out of jail and then, got back together with him. That’s dedication people. It’s also a tale of love through the toughest of obstacles. What she did was wrong, there’s no doubt about it, I messed that one up, but in the end the love prevailed. All you humans see are the bad things in the people that I hook you up with, somehow you stop seeing the good after being with someone awhile. I never understood this, because the second you break it off, suddenly all you remember are the good qualities, the things that were always there but you would look past. Everyone fights, everyone has issues, it’s up to you to work past them and make it last. Not me.
***** Mythology tells us you inherited this job from your mother, Venus. Tell me, how did it feel growing up with the original MILF as your mom?
CUPID- My mother only talked to me when she wanted something from me. She is a vain, manipulative, alcoholic and I hated growing up with her as a mom. Did you ever see the movie Mommy Dearest? Imagine that but in God form, that’s how my childhood was. I’ve got so many issues because of her I had to cancel my subscription. We haven’t seen each other in years.
***** The identity of your father has never been made public, although Mars has been a popular suspect throughout history. How true are the rumors that you are scheduled to appear on an episode of THE MAURY POVICH SHOW with the intent to confront him with a paternity test?
CUPID- What? Where did you hear that? Of course it’s not true! There’s no need. I found out years ago who my real father was and it certainly wasn’t Mars. No, no, my father lives in Florida, his name is Dale Gibbons and he’s a retired nightclub owner from Miami. Cool guy actually.
***** Was it difficult growing up as an obese child with obvious bladder control problems?
CUPID – All those paintings and sculptures were taken when I was going through a growth stage of my life. Look at me now! Fit, tan and with 12 pack abs. Do I look anything like those pictures? No. I worked hard to get past those looks. Jenny Craig helped of course, but it was mostly me and my dedication to get fit that did it.
And as far as the bladder control goes, I don’t know where that got started. I never wore a diaper, I always went in the nude back then. Censorship is a bitch. Some people can’t handle the male nude form so you got to cover it up, that’s where the diaper comes in.
***** Fill us in on your unfortunate accident where you accidentally shot yourself and fell in love with Psyche?
CUPID – You’re getting these questions from Wikipedia, right? See, that’s why you don’t trust a user controlled reference site, they get it all wrong usually. Okay, you want the real story between me and Psyche? Here goes…
My mom comes to me one day complaining about this chick, saying she’s taking all her worshipers and shit. So mom asks me to go over to this girls place and make her fall in love with the most vile thing I could think of. High as a kite and pissed off because I was in the middle of a game when I was summoned, Saints Row 3 I think, we get all the games before humans do, its one of the perks of being a God, I grabbed my bow and arrows and flew over to her house.
As I’m sneaking into her room I’m trying my best to be extra quiet, but you know how when you’re trying to be quiet every sound is amplified, like, a thousand times? Well that’s what was happening in that room. Every step seemed to cascade through the whole house, and me being high certainly didn’t help.
Finally I get real close to her and start to pull out an arrow, as I’m doing this, her little Min Pin comes running up, yapping the whole way. It scared the shit out of me and I dropped the arrow. I hated that dog. Twinkles was his name. Can you believe that? The dog was totally gay too, he used to try and hump one of the guards dogs, a big German Shepard named KrissKross, it was hilarious.
Anyway, I dropped my arrow and it scraped her foot. Not me like Wikipedia would have you believe, but hers. She wakes up, bing, bang, boom, she sees me, falls in love and hasn’t left me alone since.
In the beginning it was cool. I would sneak over for some late night tail and scurry off again, but after a while it started to get a little stale. I think she saw how I was feeling and figured that the only way to keep me around was to get pregnant. When I found out I was pissed! I totally wasn’t ready to be a dad, I’m still not but it is what it is. In the end we are all responsible for our actions and so I had a kid with her. If you’re looking for morals that’s about as good as it gets. Wrap that shit unless you want a world of shit. Either that or stick to stickin’ the back door, if you get my drift.
***** So, is the God of Desire dating anyone at the moment?
CUPID – Jen Aniston. Six months now. It’s nice I guess.
This is the opening to Chuck Palahniuk’s novel DAMNED, a story about an angsty teen dead girl and her journey through Hell. Or more accurately, the story I’d have written if I’d been, you know, a better writer.
My new years resolution to make my writing a priority ended the moment I finished the book DAMNED, and was forced to face the reality that my writing sucks balls compared to Chuck Palahniuk’s.
I’d like to tell you this revelation prompted me to get busy on a book of my own, working with all the drive and ambition of a writer inspired by Palahniuk’s genius to, as Neil Gaiman put it, “Make good art.” But it didn’t. Instead I curled up in a ball and cried like the giant hack baby that I am. I also haven’t written a word since.
That’s because I have my own personal cock-blocker, and his name is Chuck Palahniuk.
So why all the literary flacidity, you ask? Well I’ll tell you why.
[I'm going to give you my answer at the end of this next passage because it builds suspense. It's a technique good writers use, or so I've heard]
The book world is filled with writers whose work makes me feel like I’ve been junk-punched in the literary genitals. One of them is James Ellroy. Take for example the opening of his pulp-fiction inspired novel, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL:
“An abandoned auto court in the San Berdoo foothills; Buzz Meeks checked in with ninety-four thousand dollars, eighteen pounds of high-grade heroin, a 10-gauge pump, a .38 special, a .45 automatic and a switchblade he’d bought off a pachuco at the border—right before he spotted the car parked across the line: Mickey Cohen goons in an LAPD unmarked, Tijuana cops standing by to bootjack a piece of his goodies, dump his body in the San Ysidro River.”
Only Ellroy can write a 78-word sentence about grizzly murder and police brutality and craft it to read as high poetry. In lesser hands this opening would have been a disaster. I am sure if I were tasked with the challenge of writing this novel I’d have Bucknered all over it (for all you non-New Englanders out there scratching your collective heads at the word BUCKNER, click HERE and feel my pain).
Another dream-crusher is Chuck Bukowski. Take for example his poem SOME PEOPLE:
some people never go crazy.
me, sometimes I’ll lie down behind the couch
for 3 or 4 days.
they’ll find me there.
it’s Cherub, they’ll say, and
they pour wine down my throat
rub my chest
sprinkle me with oils.
then, I’ll rise with a roar,
rant, rage -
curse them and the universe
as I send them scattering over the
I’ll feel much better,
sit down to toast and eggs,
hum a little tune,
suddenly become as lovable as a
some people never go crazy.
what truly horrible lives
they must lead.
I doubt Nicholas Sparks ever wrote a poem like that, the epic tool. Now I’ll admit that Bukowski is not for everyone, but personally, I cannot get enough of him. Seriously people, I hear Roberta Flack’s voice inside my head whenever I read his work. Whenever I read my stuff all I hear is Bobcat Goldthwait.
I admire Stephen King for his mastery of characterization and worship Neil Gaiman for, well, everything, but Chuck Palahniuk is the only writer who ever made me WANT to write. His literary voice and story lines are so eerily similar to mine that I have to wonder if we are related somehow. For me, reading one of his novels is like reliving painful childhood memories spent with a better-looking, ultra-talented sibling, feeling the push-pull of striving to be like him only to hate him when I fail in comparison. Now I truly know how it feels to be an Oakland Raiders fan.
So at the end of the day what does all this self-contemplation/flagellation mean? Why it means I am an insipid douche-bag writer, that’s what it means. It means that instead of wasting my time lamenting why I will never be as successful as my heroes, I need to get busy, you know, writing. It means it’s time to get my head out of my ass and get my ass to my desk.
Yeah. Easier said than done.
Finally! An episode of STAR TREK I can get into!
The author of this particular piece is tomorrow’s featured Twisted Fictioneer. Can you guess who it is?
Good morning! I have landed an exclusive with a personality not often featured in the stories concerning Santa Claus and the ongoing drama surrounding him. Today, I am interviewing Lashonda Jefferson, otherwise known as Brown Shugga. Good morning La… uhm, Ms. Shugga.
B.S.: You can call me, Shugga honey. Everybody does.
H.E.: I have to ask up front, what got you into this life, and why did you pick a corner in the North Pole?
B.S.: Baby, that’s one hell of a long story involving wayward elves and their love of…well, let’s just say they like them some brown shugga, you know what I’m sayin’ honey? Anyways, it’s damn cold on up in here if you don’t have nothin’ to keep you warm at night, and that Mrs. Claus, well she’s just plain crazy, you feel me? One of them elves just decided that Santa needed some good ol’ fashioned TLC if you get my drift, and he dragged my ass up and I’ve been here ever since. Can’t seem to get nobody to take me back and I can’t say I evah want to leave.
H.E.: Can you relate to the audience how the night of Mr. Claus’ arrest went down?
B.S.: I know that Kris is pissed at Brown Shugga, but I never set nobody up to take no fall! He was out, ya know lookin’ to score some Shugga *wink* and some coke. Of course, Shugga always takes care of her clients…especially them ‘high profile’ ones…Some bitch who was lookin’ to take over ma territory and ma man come outta nowhere and offered Kris her stuff!! Can you imagine?!! Well, I ain’t dealin’ with that bitch and I beat her ass. She tryin’ to hustle poor Kris into thinkin’ that she…that…that….HO! Fuckin’ whitey she was…she was a plant, a fuckin’ cop, I know it! I can smell a pig…anyways, next thing ya know me and Santa Baby in cuffs and bein’ dragged down to the station like common criminals! He was downright mean and nasty after that! Whew, baby you ain’t seen nobody with a temper like that fucker…
H.E.: I see. And you were then released with charges dropped in exchange for your information, true?
B.S.: Baby, Brown Shugga ain’t been charged with nothin’ and ain’t gonna be charged with nothin’. I was simply providin’ a service. Good ol’ fashioned satisfyin’ the demands of the area, if ya get ma drift. As for white bitch, she got what was comin’ to her…I got yo information right here, baby! (clutches her crotch) Hehehe..no, really. I gots lots of information and it’s all written down in ma – well, let’s just say Shugga is well protected.
H.E.: I have sources that also maintain that you and a certain D.A. have an ongoing ‘special relationship.’ Can you comment on that?
B.S.: Oh, ya mean…well, we been friends for years. He and I have an understandin’….he lets me live ma life and I give him some well-deserved R&R if you feel me…he certainly does…hehehe…hey. You hungry? You little on the thin side…want some of my tuna salad? I made it this mornin’ while I was takin’ a break…
H.E.: Oh… no. I just do not like tuna, thanks. Moving on, what is the nature of your relationship to LeMonjello Otis?
B.S.: Oh, dear LeMon he been tailin’ ma ass for years. He can’t hurt nobody, fucked up little fool. He talks big and all, but he’s really small in the, ya know, dick department. Shugga knows how to make him feel more like a man, but fuck, he’s really sm-
H.E.: Are the rumors of you launching a daytime talk show on the Oprah Network true?
B.S.: Oprah?! Baby, me and Oprah are like THAT (crosses fingers) Sista knows how to talk and Shugga is more than willin’ to let her all the way to Shugga’s bank account….anywho, it’s just talk right now. We’ll see how things go, ya know with Kris and his problems an’ all…crazy bitch wife ain’t makin’ easy on ‘im though…fucker needs some good lawyerin’ up…
H.E.: One last question – just how big is Santa’s – er, sleigh?
B.S.: Honey, Shugga don’t kiss an’ tell…but I can say he ain’t no magical elf for nothin’…hehehe…
STAY TUNED FOR OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT OF THE SANTA SHAME SPIRAL WHERE WE SIT DOWN WITH NONE OTHER THAN RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER!
Hold onto your eggnog people because I’m about to deliver some Christmas cheer in the form of a poem penned by none other than THE IDIOT SPEAKETH. Grab some cookies and settle in by the fire as you read this soon to be holiday classic…..The Idiots Christmas Poem!
This past year we’ve chronicled the rapid decline and ultimate downfall of a great holiday icon, Santa Claus. From his original sit down with us in Santa Spam One, to our very revealing interview with Mrs. Claus and right-hand elf Lipshitz in Santa Spam Two, and onto his now infamous drunken tirade in Santa Spam Three.
One can’t help but wonder how a man who rose to greatness could sink so low. Could examining his childhood shine a light onto the troubles that were to come? For those of you looking for answers look no further, because today we visit with a ghost from Santa’s Christmas’ past- his childhood friend and confidante:
H.E.: Hello blogworld and gather around. I’m standing out here freezing my soft bits off so that I can bring you an interview with an icon of Christmas, Frosty the Snowman. Frosty how are you today?
F.t.S.: Cold and hard, if you know what I mean. If you treat me nice, I’ll let you hold my snowballs. Whatya say? A little friction could warm you up. Hmmh? C’mon! What, nothin’ but a cold shoulder? I could get that at home. Can’t blame a guy for tryin’ though, eh?
H.E.: I’d like to tackle some hard-hitting questions first. You’re well-known for your corncob pipe, button nose and coal-lump eyes. Is this your personal statement about public smoking legislation, child labor in sweatshops, and open-pit mining?
F.t.S.: Nah! I used to be much better turned-out, but then one day a big Chinook blew through. Melted me right down to my bare essentials, you know what I’m sayin’? By the time the runoff subsided, this was all my Eskimo friends could find in the storm drain, to put me back together with. I went on the Inuit weight-gain diet to regain my Rubenesque look. I had to eat whale meat and blubber. If you had to eat nothing but whale meat, you’d blubber too.
H.E.: Hmm, I see. One more – not many people know, but years back you released a record to extend your fan base into summer that you called, “Frosty: the Wetter Side.” Any comment on that album and the rumors that you ripped off William Shatner’s idea?
F.t.S.: I wanted to title that one, “Slip and Slide”. I think the kids would really have gone for it, but some toy company got all pissy about it. Like they’re the only ones who ever had a good idea. Far as I’m concerned they can all starve, but I guess lawyers gotta justify their existence.
Interesting that you should mention Shatner. We found out later that the big warm blow that almost turned me into a tropical cloud, wasn’t really a Chinook. It was just Bill comin’ through on a speaking tour. I know I have a well-rounded….personality, but have you looked at him recently? I looked up “fat chance” the other day, and there was a picture of him, eh.
H.E.: How have you come to grips with being a seasonal personality?
F.t.S.: It’s not bad. It’s like being semi-retired. Work a few months, and then kick back and live off the residuals. I was thinking of expanding the market and working South America in the off-season. I’ve already had to learn Inuit and that poutine French they speak in Quebec. I didn’t think it was worth having to learn Spanish, besides, it’s almost impossible to get a refrigerated flight to Chile.
H.E.: Is there a Mrs. Frosty?
F.t.S.: There might soon be an ex-Mrs. Frosty. She hasn’t just been Frosty; she’s been down-right frigid for years. Santa’s been whining about losing Mrs. Claus, but he needs her or some other Harriet Homemaker type, to keep the elves out of trouble. Polar bears and Arctic seals can take care of themselves.
H.E.: Two generations have seen the claymation TV specials, but in your own words, where the hell do you go between spring and early winter?
F.t.S.: Certainly not to Hell, unless you mean those few times when Hell freezes over. I migrate north with the caribou. I used to have a nice place just outside of Nome. I could see Sarah Palin’s place from my front porch. It was nice for a while, but now it’s all full of political reporters and comedy writers. She got drunked-up one day, mistook me for a moose, and almost shot my ass. Now I go so far up, that the North Pole sticks up my frozen assets.
H.E.: My sources tell me you are building a case to sue Wendy’s over their signature frozen shake name that they sell. Any comment on that?
F.t.S.: Who told you about Wendy??! First Shatner, now her. Have you been reading my biography galley? We’re just friends! Although she does have a warm heart, and a cold freezer. The wife and I have been going to an Aleutian marriage counsellor, but if that doesn’t work out, I could move in with Wendy. I might be a little cabin-fevery after six months in a meat locker, but she promises to make it worth my while. She’s already been slipping me some of the royalties from my namesake treat. I’ve been using it to hire a limo-dogsled for the trips north.
H.E.: Any final thoughts for the audience?
F.t.S.: Work hard to be a leader! If you aren’t the lead dog in the sled-team, the view never changes. Stay frosty, and like the Eskimos say, “Don’t eat yellow snow!”
Return for our next installment of the SANTA SHAME SPIRAL where we interview his dealer, LeMonjello Otis.
Hello everyone, and welcome to what I’ve come to pray is my last interview. Hey! Pulitzer guy… ya fanug! I might be praying, but that’s all this girl’s doing on her knees for your award! … ahem. Anyway, I’m here with the one and only Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph how are you doing today?
R: I have a head cold. I know it’s hard to tell because my nose is always red. In fact, I am pretty sure that is how those stories got started in the tabloids. But I do not have a drinking problem and I gave up snorting the ‘snow’. Sure, I like to put a little rum in my egg nog. We all do that. It is cold where we live.
You want to talk about a drinking problem ask me about Blitzen. How do you think he got that name? I remember once when they were playing some reindeer game… this is back before they let me play with them… Blitzen broke both of Prancer’s front legs. Prancer, that’s the gay one… not that there is anything wrong with that… couldn’t prance for three months. You have any idea what it’s like to be a gay reindeer that can’t prance?
H.E.: Can you give us any insight into what working for Santa is like?
R: First of all, it really pisses me off that people think we work just one night a year. Santa has a magic bag that is sort of like a Tardis… bigger on the inside than on the outside. But he doesn’t have a magic toy factory. It is more like a sprawling 600 acre complex of tool shops, fabrication plants, painting facilities and so on. Not to mention the vast warehouses for stuff coming in and going out. We get shipments of finished products and raw materials from all over the world.
All that stuff has to get moved from place to place. The elves load it on big work sleds and guess who gets to drag it where it needs to go. I was pulling work sleds long before I got to pull the big guy’s sled. See, that is our magic. We can make stuff float, or hover or whatever. And the reindeer don’t have a union. It isn’t all fun and reindeer games, I can tell you. At least we got the elves to stop using whips.
H.E.: Oh, my. That sounds barbaric. I suppose you have no family?
R: A family? Are you kidding me? When would I have time? And believe it or not, my nose is a genetic mutation that comes in handy when it is foggy, but it isn’t exactly a magnet for the babes if you know what I’m saying. Would you date somebody with a glowing body part?
H.E.: The world is dying to know: which of the Reindeer are male and which are female?
R: Donner and Blitzen are male. Prancer is a dude, but he is a little light in the hooves if you know what I mean… not that there is anything wrong with that… And Dasher, Comet and Cupid are all guys. Dasher is sort of full of himself, and Comet is a real asshole, but whatever.
Dancer and Vixen are the only ladies in the Christmas lineup. But I use the term ‘ladies’ in only the loosest sense… ha, that’s funny now that I think about it. Vixen earned her name the hard way… oh man, I kill myself… yeah, that girl puts out like a vending machine. She will present her haunches to any male mammal with a pulse.
H.E.: On more pertinent topics, do you have any knowledge of the charges currently building against Santa Claus?
R: Which charges are we talking about? I know for a fact that he has warrants out for his arrest in at least 15 countries. Most of that is stuff he does when he is on vacation. And he plays pretty fast and loose with the rules here at the pole. Because he makes all the rules.
All that other stuff, I could care less. I have my own problems. But if the cops ever put a sobriety checkpoint on the roof of a house on Christmas eve, there are going to be a lot of pissed off kids in the morning, that’s for damn sure.
H.E.: And how would you describe the role of a certain elf, Lipschitz?
R: Lipschitz is a dipshit. He calls himself a whistle blower. The closest he ever got to that is what I caught him doing to Prancer in the stables one night.
H.E.: Have you witnessed any kind of abuse or domestic violence?
R: I have my job… and my life… to think about. Ratting out the big guy would be like testifying against a Mob boss… when you work for him. I mean, that guy is stone-cold fucking crazy. Do you know why he wears red all the time? It isn’t a fashion statement. It’s so the blood doesn’t show. Rumor has it that there is a dungeon under one of the toy factories. Elves, animals and people dissapear when the big guy gets angry. I know for a fact that he melted Frosty the Snowman with a welding torch.
And Mrs. Claus? Let’s just say that she walks into a lot of door edges and falls down a lot. That is the story and I am sticking to it. I’ve said too much already.
H.E.: Final question: Two generations of Americans are dying to know – is the claymation holiday movie based on your life?
R: Which movie? You have any idea how many movies have me in them? There are hundreds of them. And none of us sees a dime in royalties.
Most of those were put out by our P.R. department. They are good. They are like the Disney corporation. And you know what? Santa pays attention to his image. But it’s all reindeer shit. If they ever made a movie of my life it would be directed by Quentin Tarantino and it would be rated X.
I met the Abominable Snowman once. Fucker tried to eat me. And that island of misfit toys? That place is a freak show. Remember that Toy Story movie that had the kid in it that tortured toys and cut them up and stuck the parts back together to make sick mutants? That kid has nothing on Santa. Picture being in that kid’s room when the toys come alive… and you are frying on some really bad acid.
But Santa really can make toys come alive. And sometimes he likes to blow off a little steam. The island of misfit toys is where he goes to play Dr. Frankenstein. I think you get the idea.
I recently had the privilege of sitting down to an interview with a man who’s known world wide; a man whose public persona is larger than life, but whose private world is shrouded in a centuries old mystery. In this three part series we will discuss his career, his home life, his influence and ultimately his legacy. This is by far the most in-depth post I’ve ever done that I believe you’ll find both eye-opening as well as entertaining. Today I sit down with none other than…
Part one of our interview takes place in Santa’s private quarters at his North Pole command center. Haggard and spent from last night’s epic trip around the world, he nurses what the elves tell me is his “tonic,” prompting me to open questions quickly and dive right into the meat of his story:
One of the oddest things about my blog is that I rarely utilize it for what it was originally intended- namely, sharing my writing. Since I’m nearly finished with REAPERS TWO, I decided I would share some of the writing techniques I used in the conception of that novella, and hopefully get new ideas from other writers about their character-building habits and techniques.
Today I thought I’d share a specific technique I use for conceiving characters: I assign them a song.
On the surface this may seem counter-intuitive since music is capable of conveying emotion without words, but I find that the perfect song will reveal emotions or behaviors in the characters I create long before I construct a single sentence. The right song can encapsulate a single moment or an entire lifetime of a person’s emotional experience (recent birthday boy ElGuapo knows what I’m talking about). With that in mind, I’ll describe two different ways I use music to build characters.
The first way I do this is to create a generic version of a character in my head, and then find a song that suits him/her after the rough draft is written. I find this works best for when I really want to “flesh out” a character by layering dimension over the bare bones of the initial conception. One of the characters that benefited most from this technique was the character of Raphael in THE GODS OF ASPHALT. Because his character was the most like me, I found that he was the hardest to flesh out. You’d think he’d be the easiest since I ought to know him so well, right? He wasn’t. I suppose that is because it is always easiest to hide our truest selves from ourselves. Well that, and the fact that I had never planned for him to resemble me in the first place. By the time I did my first run-though edit it was painfully obvious that I had captured myself in print.
I struggled for what seemed like forever to find something, anything, about myself in Raphael that I could use to turn him from an angry, closed-off parent into a character with true dimension. Finally I discovered that what made his character and myself alike was our inner struggle with our ethnicity. Being raised as an American in a household filled with Old-World ideals made it hard for me to know who I really was and where my loyalties lay. I was constantly conflicted and to this day struggle for a sense of equilibrium. Without realizing it I had passed that same internal struggle onto Raphael.
Once his (our) internal conflict had been revealed, I searched for music that would tell the story of a compelling character- one who grew from a disgruntled Midwestern teen into a man struggling to find peace as a proud Spanish father. Rodrigo y Gabriela’s cover of the Metallica classic ORION instantly became that song for me.
From that moment on, every time I wrote Raphael I would listen to that song. The music brought him to life for me; from the timbre of his voice to picturing the way he walked. ORION became the soundtrack to every scene Raphael was in and helped me navigate his character through the story.
Rodrigo y Gabriela – ORION
This next example illustrates the same technique, although switched-up a bit. That example is the character of Lucifer in THE REAPERS WITH ISSUES Series.
Unlike the example above where I conceived of a character before assigning him/her a song, with REAPERS I was faced with the challenge of re-characterizing established characters. The one that gave me the most trouble was Lucifer. The difficulty lie in the fact that Lucifer is more than established; he is downright iconic. There isn’t a culture on the planet that doesn’t have a vision of evil-incarnate, so how was I to reinvent him?
I knew that within the context of the story I would have to humanize him to some degree, so I decided to portray my version of Lucifer not as purely evil, but simply as…a dick. I also knew that to “flesh” him out would not be to layer dimension onto him, but to reveal him; to strip away his skin and discover what makes him tick.
I failed epically.
Every version of Lucifer that sprung to mind was a stereotypical construct from the deepest, most generic part of my brain. I had nearly lost all hope when I came up with a solution: I’d do it all backwards and let Lucifer pick his own music. Sounds crazy, right? Well it worked. I turned on my music, closed my eyes and listened to every song I could think of that wasn’t evil, dark or brooding until Lucifer revealed his song. That song, believe it or not, was CLINT EASTWOOD by the Gorillaz.
Why that song? I have no idea (I let Lucifer pick, remember?). But I will tell you that things became instantly clearer for me whenever I listened to it. I easily pictured the way he walked [slightly slouching] to the way he spoke [slightly spoiled] and imagined a dozen tiny little habits [folding origami] the instant that song became a part of his character. But as great as that song was, it wasn’t exactly right. I needed a version of that near-perfect song to do more than just bring Lucifer to life. I needed Lucifer to be reborn.
Words + Music = Art
I enlisted the help of a musician to remix CLINT EASTWOOD into something that sounded slightly more sinister, slightly more spoiled, and slightly more modern. Below is that song: Lucifer’s Remix conceived of by production musician extraordinaire, DJ Casper. Believe me when I tell you that to my mind, this song IS Lucifer.
DJ Casper – LUCIFER’S REMIX
I imagine the idea of using music to inspire or create words on a page may seem unconventional or downright bizarre, but to me it is the most natural thing in the world. I chalk it up to spending too much time on the road as a kid with nothing by my father’s music and my imagination to keep me company. I firmly blame my inability to finish GOA2 on the fact that I can’t figure out what kind of music River listens to. Like Lucifer, I’ve decided to let River choose. I am praying he’s not into Rap.
ANOTHER PROJECT FROM THE MIND OF PMAO…
Originally posted on Pouring My Art Out:
I am honored to announce the release of a book that I had the privilege of being a small part of. Hey, don’t buy this book just because you love me and you know I have another very smart daughter who is going to need to go to a very expensive college in just a few more years. Oh no. Buy it because it’s bloody brilliant. There are plenty of decent community colleges out there.. she’ll be fine.
Seriously, this book is awesome. I bought a copy. I know, you would think that authors could get a free copy of a book they either wrote in part or in full, but the publishing industry is a heartless bitch!
- Has the stress of facing the holiday season alone got you down?
- Are you dreading another Thanksgiving Day dinner defending your recreational life choices to your staunch Republican (insert Military Branch Rank of your choice here) Father?
- Tired of being seated between your fighter pilot/Sunday school teacher/Abercombie & Finch model big brother and your half-dead Grandmother who smells like cheese?
WELL HAVE I GOT A SOLUTION FOR YOU!
From the warped and creative minds of the Blogosphere’s most talented writers comes a retelling of classic fables and fairy tales, each one more twisted than the last. F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES is the first of a two eBook novella series created by THE BLOGGER COLLECTIVE, a talented group of participating authors from around the Blogosphere. It’s childhood as you never remembered it.
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!
F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES is guaranteed to make your brother come out of the closet while simultaneously giving Granny Limburger a moist-y.
F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES has been proven to increase penis size, get your car better gas mileage and give your ex-girlfriend a scorching case of rotten-crotch.
JOIN THE FUN! PICK UP YOUR VERY OWN eBook COPY OF F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES TODAY!
Tell the postman to keep his brown paper wrapping because this is not your father’s
porn reading material. That’s right- Volume One of the two eBook novella series F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES will be available for download by Thanksgiving morning, just in time for your holiday festivities!
For more Collective fun check out ICONIC INTERVIEWS: The world’s most beloved holiday icons presented in a collection of irreverent interviews that take on the backstory of their imagined existences.
Let the countdown begin…
I am officially traumatized.
I promised myself when I started this blog that I would never post pictures of myself, simply because I absolutely LOVE the fact that most people wonder if I am really a dude. The problem is that now even I am not so sure, because something has happened that has shaken me to my core.
People, I have found my twin.
It all started innocently enough this morning, with me at my computer putting the stories together for F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES. I had a tab open with YouTube as I always do, listening to music in the background. My Glee-obsessed daughter suggested I listen to a channel that featured songs the show had covered. One of the featured bands was Journey. Sounds innocent enough, right?
Call it fate or irony or twisted divine intervention, but for some reason I decided to pull up the background tab just as a video loaded on the cue; a video that will haunt me for the rest of my days. I stared in horror at what I thought was my reflection, the truth slowly dawning on me one terrifying, note-filled moment at a time. For you see ladies and gentlemen, I look incredibly, unbelievably, motherfuckingungodly similar to Steve Perry. Give him big boobs and a small nose and it’s me, in all of my sad, stuck-in-the-80′s glory. I even have that same top, I shit you not.
So for those of you who may have wondered what I look like, look no further. I look like Steve Perry. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to cash some cleverly forged royalty checks, right after I show this to HR Nightmare and do some REAL damage.
I am taking a rare free moment to honor the birthday of a truly great man and even greater Canadian;
Justin Beiber Archon’s Den!
As a resident of the Canadian Riviera (better known as “New England”) I live in awe of a country that possesses badass versions of all the things we admire ourselves for- moose, maple syrup, hockey, beer, WINTER.
We, as New Englanders, have developed a kind of a hero worship for Canadians because of it- sort of like the kid who thinks he’s good at baseball, but knows for a fact his big brother IS.
This is how I feel about my friend, Archon. He’s every bit the wordsmith and tale-teller I humbly attempt to be- not to mention that he has a heart the size of Canada itself.
Besides, anyone from the same country that gave us SCtv and RUSH isn’t going to be a hoser, eh?
For those of you who have yet to experience this curmudgeonly cunning linguist, click on the Archon-ic moose below for a sampling of one of the cleverest minds the Great White North has to offer. Until then…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARCHON!
I am not dead. I have not choked to death on a ham sandwich or run off to join the circus (although I am feeling a bit like the Fat Lady, lately). Sadly, my life has been consumed by a certain four letter word and that word is:
Yeah, I know what word you were thinking about. Sinners.
Anyway, I have read all the F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES everyone has sent in and they are AMAZING. I am hoping to get the ball rolling on book production this weekend, right between cleaning the house and supervising my daughter’s thirteenth birthday party- a party which will have boys in attendance. Let’s add talking HR Nightmare off the ledge to that list.
In summation, I haven’t forgotten you all, I’ve been loving your stories, and cannot wait until I get the chance to put them all together. Thank you all so much.
Today I have decided to pay homage to the late, great Gene Roddenberry on what would have been his 92nd birthday by conducting an interview I believe he might have enjoyed. Now I ask you, what better way to pay tribute to one of the greatest contributors to the SciFi genre than to have a face-off of Starship Captains? Ladies and gentlemen I give you…
JAMES T. KIRK VS JEAN-LUC PICARD
Q: Which species makes a better First Officer, Human or Vulcan?
KIRK: A Vulcan makes the better officer because they use logic rather than emotion to guide their decisions.
PICARD: Generally speaking, Kirk’s right. On the other hand, I cannot speak highly enough of my very human first officer. Once he finally was able to remove that giant stick from his ass and relax a little bit, he turned out all right.
Q: What is the most important quality a Starship Captain must have?
KIRK: The most important quality a starship captain must have is the ability to love females of any species.
PICARD: Diplomacy, which basically is the art of telling someone to suck your cock with such tact and charm that they actually apply lipstick first regardless of gender or race, they sell tickets beforehand, and thank you when it’s over.
Q: The better date: Green Orion Slave woman, or hot human?
KIRK: Green Orion Slave women are the best! Man, there is nothing those girls will not do! Did you know that Green Orion Women have two vaginas? Little known fact!
PICARD: So, you fail twice? By the way, they have an ointment for that rash you’ve been complaining about. As for who makes the better date….have you *BEEN* to Risa? Jamaharon to the Bone, yo.
Q: The worst thing about dealing with Starfleet Command is ___ ?
KIRK: Starfleet Command are a bunch of pussies. If they let us annihilate the Klingons like we wanted to, the Romulans would think twice before attacking us again.
PICARD: I don’t know that I’d have phrased it quite that way, but I’m forced to agree with the good captain. Oh, fuck it: Starfleet Command is run by a bunch of spineless twat-waffles who can’t find their balls with both hands and a tricorder.
Q: Which is the better ride: The classic NCC-1701 or the NCC-1701D?
KIRK: The NCC-1701 of course! The 1701D is for pansies! Scotty would never be caught dead in the engine room of that bomb!
PICARD: The Constitution-class starships are beautiful vessels from a bygone era that I for one believe to be full of adventure, wonder, and excitement. To have been alive in those days, exploring the vast, unknown frontier? I envy those like James Kirk and the ships they commanded. That said, have you *seen* my fucking ship? It’s got phasers and photon torpedoes out the ass! It comes apart so it can kick your ass *twice* as much. And it’s huge! Don’t believe your girlfriend, Kirk, even if she is Orion: Size does matter.
Q: Marooned on a deserted planet, the three things I have to have are?
KIRK: A Green Orion Slave woman, Yeoman Janice Rand, and Cloud Dweller Droxine. Need I say more?
PICARD: A whole planet to myself? Wonderful! I’m overdue for a good vacation. I’ll take my Collected Shakespeare book, my tea, and my flute. On second thought…I’d like to meet this Droxine. And change my book selection to the Kama Sutra.
Q: I’d rather take on in a bar fight: a Cardassian or a Romulan?
KIRK: As easy as it is to beat the crap out of a Cardassian, I would much rather fight a Romulan. Romulans put up a much better fight. Can’t trust those Cardassians, they fight dirty as hell.
PICARD: He’s right about the Cardassians. Sneaky bastards, every single one of them. Romulans can fight well enough, but they’re always so worried about mussing their hair. Now, if you want a real fight, try taking on a Nausicaan. I’ve never lived that one down. And don’t even get me started on the Borg. *THOSE* guys were assholes.
Q: Which is more technically challenging, slingshotting a starship backward in time or dislocating it to an alternate universe?
KIRK: Neither actually. You want technically challenging? Try listening to Spock and Bones for five consecutive years, now that is a challenge!
PICARD: I must side with my esteemed colleague on this matter. Time travel or having your ship flung to the far side of the universe is nothing compared to having to deal with a snotty teenager who thinks he knows everything, and whom you can’t toss out the nearest airlock because you’re trying to get in his mother’s pants. Awkward.
Q: Which is more irritating, tribbles or Ferengi?
KIRK: The Ferengi are okay, they remind me of my Uncle Wilbur. Tribbles can really annoy you, and they multipy faster than Romulian rabbits. God I hate those furry little creatures! Do you know that they ate five years worth of grain? Try exploring the universe without your daily fiber! I was constipated for three years. Damn Tribbles!
PICARD: Can I reuse my snotty teenager answer here?
Q: You’re approached by Q, who is feeling generous and unmalicious – what gift of ability do you ask him for?
KIRK: Ah Q. I heard John Luc complain of the guy. A gift? well for John Luc, he can give him the Shatner 2000, the most futuristic hairpiece in the universe. Oh, and ability. I was sidetracked with the Green Orion Slave woman…she was a barrel of fun. I guess if I met this Q guy I would ask for the ability to give those Green Orion Slave women an orgasm. Did I mention that they had two vaginas? Try giving one of those women an orgasm. They don’t need one orgasm, they need two, one for each vagina.
PICARD: I require no hairpiece, young man. I’m quite comfortable with my appearance. Besides, chicks dig the smoothness. As for a gift, if I was forced to limit myself to just one thing, it would be the ability to go back and correct certain mistakes I’ve made during the course of my life. Barring that, I’d settle for just being able to go back and hide the evidence and bury the goddamned bodies. Oh, and I’d ask Q to give Kirk that ointment for his rash, which seems to be flaring up just now.
By the way, Kirk…get with me after the show. I can teach you what you need to know about those Orion women. Two words: “Vulcan Shocker.”
CLICK ON ALL THE PICS OF THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE FOR AN ADDED BONUS FEATURE