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09/01 Direct Link
.. / .... .- ...- . / .- / - . .-.. . --. .-. .- .--. .... / -- .- -.-. .... .. -.

Sometimes when I'm at work I pretend the high-capacity stapler on my desk is a telegraph machine. If my co-workers notice, I will claim that I am “just testing the mechanism.”

Really, though, I am sending out short messages about my life, my job, and what I had for lunch. Nobody else has thought of using the telegraph machine this way before. I am an innovator. I want to go home.
09/02 Direct Link
“By this point you have spent so much time practicing the same painful mistakes that you're able to see them coming and you still make them. You can see through your own resolutions to change your ways and exercise better judgment as utterly meaningless. The mistakes you repeat define your life...”

Billy raised his hand.

“Sir,” he said, “we are five years old and graduating from kindergarten. We were expecting a clown.”

I peered at them over the podium. Shit.

“Children,” I said, “I am in the wrong room. In time you will become your own worst clowns. Good afternoon.”

09/03 Direct Link
The general feeling is that life in the city is lonely. Dogs are fuzzy angels who came to earth to keep us company, so you'd better get one. They'll never let you down.

So you get one and squeal at its antics. Then you leave it in your tiny apartment while you're at work. The dog, who is a playful and gregarious animal by nature, soon becomes bored and melancholy. He begins to bark at the walls just to hear the sound.

The result is a slow indifferent chant, like so:

woof. woof. woof. woof.

I hear it every day.
09/04 Direct Link
I have a magic shirt which I call "The Yellow Special." It is made of yellow thread, and was created by master weavers in Honduras. I found it in Macy's.

As a public service, I wear The Yellow Special outside and walk around on gray and gloomy days.

With its sunny color, the shirt helps me to radiate joy and happiness wherever I go. Grudges are forgotten, the economy is stimulated, and vitamin deficiencies are corrected. Like I said, magic.

I spilled soy sauce all over it once and the spell was broken, so I had to buy another one.
09/05 Direct Link
"I guess we were happier when Bush was president."

"Really?"

"Like... he would always come up with these funny insults about him. They were so funny and right on target, you know? He always made me laugh.

"When he'd see the president on TV or something... He'd say stuff like, 'Learn to speak English!' or 'Who made you president?!'"

"Hmm..."

"Yeah, he's really... political, you know? That's really important to me. But it's harder for him to say anything about Obama, and there's this... strain on our relationship and now I'm really worried and I don't know what to do."
09/06 Direct Link
POP CULTURE JUNKIE SEX

"So she was lying there on the bed all sprawled out, and she says 'take me, Beastmaster' in this weird voice."

"Whoa."

"Yeah, I think she was trying to... I don't know, spice things up, but all I could think about was that movie..."

"The one with Tanya Roberts..."

"Yeah, exactly, and I could tell she was thinking about it too, and it just got really awkward."

"What did you do?"

"Well, she stayed on the bed and I went to sleep on the living room couch."

"That was kind of a bad movie."

"I know."
09/07 Direct Link
She yells at me for drinking black coffee because it's going to "burn a hole" in my stomach. I ask her to show me the research and she rolls her eyes.

Now my stomach really hurts. If I die and it turns out to be an actual case of "coffee stomach" I'll get a friend to sneak into the morgue and write in something else as my cause of death.

If she discovers the truth she'll publish a study in JAMA ("A 30-Year-Old Man with an Unfortunate Habit of Black Coffee Consumption") and tape it to my grave.
09/08 Direct Link
I'm afraid I am turning into the cranky old guy in my apartment building. Some kids (well, they're in their 20s) are just out there talking and laughing, and it's making it harder for me to listen to the news ON THE RADIO, so I am getting mildly annoyed. At least I am not shouting "Hey you kids!" out my window, I am just turning up the volume a bit. (!)

Back when I was cool (?!) I would have been down there in the courtyard, suggesting we go up to find that guy with the loud radio and kick his ass.
09/09 Direct Link
in desperation, steamed dumpling resorts to
WRITING PROMPT #17:
"The most wonderful dream..."

I've pushed an elderly Ayn Rand down four flights of stairs. (Actually, it was one flight, and I kept bringing her back up. Also, please note this is only funny when done with Ayn Rand.)

The old bag survives, and with seventeen months of grueling, painful physical therapy provided by a warm and caring hospital staff, she is able to walk again. She then publishes an account of the ordeal in which she claims to have overcome the injuries on her own, through sheer force of will.
09/10 Direct Link
I am already several types of nerd, but clearly it is not enough. Ever since I saw Helvetica I've decided to add typography to my list of enthusiasms. I do love a good ligature...

I nod thoughtfully while I read an interview with Rian Hughes, I affect a disdain for Arial, and I look around the room for sympathy when I mention the fact that my word processor lacks OpenType support.

I made that decision about a year ago and that's as far as it goes, so I guess I'm more of a wannabe typography nerd. Is there anything sadder?

09/11 Direct Link
I was out of the country for most of 2001, so I never experienced the endless media coverage or the mood of the country following the attacks on this date.

When someone told us what had happened, Natalie and I got on our bicycles and rode to the internet cafe to read a few news articles, but it wasn't the same.

Today, for the first time, I sat down and listened to several hours of the original radio coverage from that day, while everyone was trying to figure out what was happening. I don't know why I waited so long.
09/12 Direct Link
People claim to be "very spiritual" when they actually don't believe in much of anything and want to avoid appearing shallow. It's a quick, effortless way to tack on another "dimension" to your personality.

It's not the lack of belief that's so lame; it's the lazy attempt to sound deep and mystical through intentional vagueness.

It is acceptable to look up at the sky and shrug your shoulders if that's how you feel.

(Maybe that was too harsh. This was prompted by a hilarious visit to MySpace and the many many animated .gifs of glittering angels that I found there.)
09/13 Direct Link
"Wait, so he's eighty feet tall?"

"Yeah, just about, because they never stop growing."

"Weird!"

"So in the first chapter the main character's great grandfather dies after stopping a raiding party from another village."

"What were they trying to steal?"

"They were going to steal wheat because they had some elderly people in their own village and they were running out of food, see?"

"Yeah..."

"So then the main character's father, who's about twenty feet tall, says that the whole village will need to start chopping down all the trees for the great grandfather's funeral pyre."

"It seems kinda unsustainable--"
09/14 Direct Link
I have a lot of hobbies, and one of them is making notebooks.

Dudes, shut up, I wouldn't laugh at you...

No, they're just blank notebooks, and then I like to doodle in them or give them to people or whatever. I'm always looking for cool new kinds of paper and material for covers.

Hey, whatever, go ahead and laugh. I find it relaxing, okay?

Maybe some day I'll get really good at it and I can sell them at notebook festivals.

It could be a real thing...

Come on, shut up!

NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME! I'M OUTTA HERE! (*slams door*)

09/15 Direct Link
Several new biographies of Ayn Rand have come out recently, which prompted me to share my views on her, viz. that she should have been pushed down the stairs. Her loathsome "philosophy" aside, she was a thoroughly terrible person who I'm sure would have deserved it.

Rand is experiencing a resurgence...

Say, what's this--

SELF-GENERATED HATE MAIL:

-----
Sir,

In your entry of 9 September 2009 you have betrayed a misunderstanding of Objectivism and have marked yourself for a trampling by the Übermenschen. I would do it myself, but am late for a meeting of the college republicans.

Cheers,
etc...
-----
09/16 Direct Link
buying wine
(for philistines)

1. Inspect the label for cherry, plum, and strawberry flavors. Imagine the wine with the most fruit on the label will taste like the most delicious fruit punch ever that will also get you drunky. When this does not pan out, aim for characteristics of oakiness, tobacco, and leather.

2. Realize that no matter what you choose it all pretty much tastes like wine.

3. Look askance at your friends who are comparing their "tasting notes." Plan to expose them as frauds at their next stupid wine tasting.

4. Go out and buy some fruit punch.
09/17 Direct Link
"Sir, I don't think you're allowed to put hot sauce on your salad..."

"What, do you work for the Salad Advisory Council?"

"No, I'm just a concerned citizen."

(OH GOOD LORD this is clearly shaping up to be the worst thing I have ever written, so I am just going to stop myself right there. Can you even believe that I was going to go through with that? Salad Advisory Council, really? Writing one hundred words a day can bring out the worst in a man, I fear. This entry is an exploration into the dark side of human nature.)
09/18 Direct Link
Whenever I go home I make sure to pick up The Buffalo News to track the career of the journalist I love to hate. I believe Western New York newspaper readers might recognize and appreciate the following

PARODY
-----------------

It began with an idea.

Ideas are hard to come by in this city of broken dreams and shattered hopes, but (so-and-so) had the courage to dream and the vision to hope. That is rare these days.

(insert tired platitudes and (optional) exactly one piece of useful information here)

It began with an idea...
and it ended with a dream.
09/19 Direct Link
a sure sign of fall

Hey, check me out, I'm doing this maudlin nature essay with one of those "once again... a change in the seasons..." bits in it. It'll make you roll your eyes for sure, trust me.

I'll probably use the word "crisp" a lot and talk about apples and how I'm anticipating the sound of leaves crunching under childrens' feet. If I don't cram a scene of drinking "hot spiced cider in the clear autumn moonlight" in there somewhere I'll eat my shirt, just you watch. This essay is going to make you vomit with seasonal delight.
09/20 Direct Link
Last night I heard a song and started to cry.

The discovery that any song could have that effect on me came as a surprise because I am mostly withered up and dead inside like an old tree.

I hadn't heard the song for a long time, then it came on in a bar and I had to excuse myself, not just because I was crying, but because crying at that song is so laughably embarrassing. I was laughing at myself as I walked through the crowd, tears streaming down my face.

"PARDON ME I HAVE SOMETHING IN MY EYEeeheehee..."
09/21 Direct Link
well dear that's the face god gave you and it's a beautiful face and if the other children burst out laughing when they see it they are obviously just jealous of your unique features so you can just ignore them and ignore the stares of strangers on the street and ignore the jokes of 'here comes the shar-pei-faced boy' and please dear ignore the fact that I laughed about that one time because, well, it was pretty funny, I mean you do sort of look like a shar-pei which I'm sure you'll agree is a beautiful animal.
09/22 Direct Link
I guess she thinks it makes sense to send me terse sentence fragments instead of an actual e-mail. She's angry at me -- a fact which I only recognized last week. I thought I was pretty much doing her a favor, but she doesn't seem to see it that way. You'd think I would have figured stuff like this out by now.

*Sigh*

Nothing is easy.

I sometimes think that life is painfully, unnecessarily long.

Let's drink green tea, improve our air quality, lower our blood pressure, and get plenty of exercise so that we can prolong the magic. Mrh...
09/23 Direct Link
we were in your car after that disaster of a party and you asked me if i had a cough drop because you knew i always kept your favorite kind in my pocket, just in case you asked.

so i unwrapped it and put it in your mouth, and you said you were feeling better already.

i don't keep those cough drops in my pocket any more because i never need them, but sometimes i see them in the store and think i should buy a package, just in case i bump into you and you have a sore throat.
09/24 Direct Link
In autumn, the barriers that separate our world and the world of the dead dissolve. The leaves turn a sickly yellow and drop to the earth, and animals either flee or enter the death-in-life of hibernation.

If you're anything like me, folks, you see autumn as a chance to prepare for a time when our life-giving sun disappears for three whole months and good old "Mother Nature" puts all her effort into trying to murder us with blizzards.

In that spirit of preparation, SD Fine Foods, Ltd. introduces its line of flavorful AUTUMN SOUPS. Stockpile the goodness.
09/25 Direct Link
Making the decision to refrain from taking life is a good and noble thing to do. However, there are some practical considerations that must be addressed regarding the arthropods and small mammals of the world who would test the limits one's compassion by, say, skittering across one's carpet while one is having dinner.

Most creatures don't seem to mind too much if you gently place a coffee cup over them and slide a piece of paper underneath so that you can transport them to a safe and leafy spot. They adjust to their new surroundings quickly enough, and are none...
09/26 Direct Link
... the worse for their adventure. If they lose a leg or two in the process they have only themselves to blame, and most bugs seem to have more legs than they know what to do with anyway.

I can't go on.......

Now, I ask you, did that deserve to be a two-day thing? My enthusiasm for this topic has evaporated since last night.

"Bugs have a lot of legs, and I don't like to squish them. Everyone pat me on the back because I am a swell fellow. Ha-ha-ha!"

What a smug asshole! I hate this guy.
09/27 Direct Link
When you get to a certain age, your female friends (who have also gotten to a certain age) begin to think about children. Plump, lovely, giggling, cooing babies capture their imaginations, and they begin to fear they will never have one.

What happens next (for some!) is that they begin to screen friends and acquaintances for genetic and financial fitness. This typically happens while the two of you are having lunch and you are trying to eat your noodles.

Family history of disease, projected income, and overall paternal feeling are assayed while you are thinking, "these noodles are really tasty."
09/28 Direct Link
Dude knocked on my door at three in the morning, stoned out of his mind. Would I like to come over and watch a Pearl Jam DVD with him? Also, did I have any snacks?

I told him I only had a box of unseasoned bread crumbs. He said it would have to do.

Because I am still a fun guy, I decided that since I was awake anyway I'd go over and hang out for a while.

Guys, eating half a box of box of bread crumbs and watching a Pearl Jam DVD cures insomnia.

The more you know -----*
09/29 Direct Link
LIKE GETTING SHARK ADVICE FROM A GUY WHO KEEPS GETTING LIMBS BITTEN OFF BY SHARKS ON SEPARATE OCCASIONS

Sometimes you meet someone who is destined to completely fuck you up. I am just here to say that once you finally (finally, finally, finally) get away from that person, everything will change for the better.

I have recently experienced this firsthand, and I am feeling pretty good and happy, most of the time. The past year or so has been a pretty horrible black hole of despair, so it is a nice change.

Give it a try, that's all I'm saying.
09/30 Direct Link
I seem to enjoy writing from the perspective of someone who is slightly more delusional than I am.

Next month I will break out of my old patterns and write about a group of young adults experiencing love, loss, and supernatural goings-on in a haunted house. They will represent a cross-section of society and all be very hip and human and flawed in different ways.

There will be explicit and titillating depictions of adult situations. After the haunted house they will go on a road trip and explore this great land and one of them will die, probably.