April 16th, 2007

stella stella can't you hear me yella


Do I do too much whoring around here? Or not enough? I don't know! Anyway, here's more.

Let's say you live in Seattle, or elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. And let's say this weekend, you want to hear a lot of rock critics and academics rattle on and on about bands of which you have never heard. Well, have I got fun for you! This is the weekend you should go to the EMP Pop Conference, America's most prestigious venue for obscure band on-rattling-about. Bonus fun: there will be VERY LITTLE ACTUAL MUSIC! So if you enjoy dancing about architecture, come on by. And why not stop by on Saturday the 21st to see my presentation on the nexus of cool where comics and the Wu-Tang Clan meet? I'll be there, as will hipsterdetritus, and, since we're going on at 9AM when everyone else will be asleep, and are also scheduled opposite one of the most famous rock writers in the world, no one will be in attendance. Which means GOOD SEATS FOR YOU! (If you're in Seattle, but don't wanna go to the Pop Conference, give me a shout all the same; I'm there for four days and am only actually working for half an hour.)

Say, here is even more whoring! Did you know that I have an entry up at Lawyerbear, a website about a bear who is a lawyer? Well, I do! And you can read it.

As a final note, a few of you have inexplicably expressed a certain degree of jealousy, or jalousie, over my success as a freelance writer. This is horribly misguided and wrong, and you must stop at once. Here is why:

1. I am not a successful freelance writer. As has been proven with depressing results, I cannot as yet make a living as a full-time writer, and the only reason I am doing well financially at the moment is because I've been getting lots of freelance work in addition to having a full-time job.

2. Which means that all I ever do when I'm not at work is write. It is like having two full-time jobs, in fact, and no one wants two jobs, except Johann "Two-Jobs" Jonsson, and you know what an asshole that guy is.

3. Writing involves sitting around in front of a computer. All day. Every day. All the time. All you do is read and write and research and hustle for new work and invoice people and you don't do anything that involves moving or preventing the 26 varieties of cancer and heart disease I have attained thanks to my sedentary lifestyle.

4. Here is what I did this weekend: I watched a bunch of DVDs I had to review or write about. I finished a really long presentation I have to give and which I now completely hate. I spent about six hours tracking down obscure breakbeat songs and pinpointing the exact moment, to the second, of a bunch of samples for a music article I'm doing, and believe me, if this sounds fun, it so completely is not. I had a phone interview with an organic farm association trade representative in Montreal who spoke such heavily accented English that I barely understood a word he said, and I had to transcribe the whole interview. I did a revision to a 4500-word piece that I didn't want to write in the first place. Oh, I actually did leave the house once: to interview an evangelical minister about Purity Balls.

5. If this sort of life sounds fun to you, then like me, you are clearly completely out of your mind and no one should have anything to do with you.
it says here...


Lately I have become obsessed with LibraryThing, the on-line book-cataloguing service. Or, to be more specific, I have become obsessed with its shared-user statistics, which tell you how many other users own the same books as you do.

By my lights, a "popular" book is one that you share with more than 2000 users (of your particular edition, not for the book overall). I currently own 24 such books; the most popular, Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, is shared with 10,202 users, and the runners-up are books like The Odyssey, Crime and Punishment, Lord of the Flies and Lolita. Really, no surprises there.

The more interesting statistics are the "unpopular" books -- books you share with less than 20 people. I currently have 45 such books, and they break down, roughly, into categories:

COMIC BOOKS. Nothing shocking about this. While there's a good number of comics nerds on LibraryThing, there aren't that many who know about 100 Bullets, and there are even fewer who will admit to having bought Marvel Essentials: Captain America Vol. 3 or DC Showcase Presents the Teen Titans.

COOKBOOKS. Fair enough. A highly personal choice, of course, and not all that odd that no one would buy the same ones as you.

BOOKS ON WRITING: There are millions of writing books on LibraryThing, but with a few exceptions (Writer's Market and a few by well-known authors, hardly anyone gets the same ones.

BOOKS BY PEOPLE I KNOW: Sorry, Matt, Scott, and John.



BOOKS THAT I AM SAD TO SEE ARE SO WIDELY UNDERREAD: In particular, the novels of Susan Straight and Stanley Elkin, the short humor of Ellis Wiener and Kurt Anderson, and the stunning true-crime study Murder for Profit by William Bolitho do not have nearly the audience they deserve.

Finally, there is the saddest category of all: Books Which, If LibraryThing Is Any Indication, No One In The World Owns But Me. I currently have three such books: Don Simpson's Megaton Man, Volume 1, DC Showcase Presents the Justice League of America Volume 2, and The Time Out (London) Film Guide Volume 4. (I am also one of only two people in the world who own Ellis Wiener's Decade of the Year -- unconscionable because it's such a funny book and a huge influence on my humor-writing style, but probably a good thing because now only me and one other guy will know where I'm stealing all my jokes), and one of only two people in the world who own the Larousse Biographical Dictionary, which is especially dismaying since it's a perennial candidate as my very favorite reference book of all time.

Folks, don't try this at home. It will eat up so much of your time, like masturbation, and leave you feeling really depressed and isolated, like masturbation, but it features almost no pictures of naked people.

I'm such a civilized motherfucker

It's Monday polling time!
It's Monday polling time!
I made a poll for you
You're gonna take it, too!

If you don't like this poll
Then stick it up your hole
You can just go to hell
So take this poll, it's swell!

Poll #967481 All the fruits of our cultural stew

I don't know much about art, but...

...I know what I like.
...I know what I hate.
...I don't care.
...that's it. I just don't know much about art.
...on the other hand, I do.
...I sure am fond of banal cliches.
...I do know that I love you.
...I know that I am totally offended by that chocolate Jesus.
...then again, I don't know much about anything.

What was the worst part of season 2 of Twin Peaks?

Deputy Andy's endless slapstick routines.
The little magic boy who looked like David Lynch and made creamed corn disappear.
James Hurley's pointless, interminable road trip
Norma the teenage superhero cheerleader
David Duchovny as a drag queen DEA agent
the crappy musical interludes
other (see Comments)
There was nothing bad about season 2 of Twin Peaks.
I have never seen season 2 of Twin Peaks.
I don't remember/I remember but I don't care.

Which of the following things influence your decision to see a movie?

who the director is
who's starring in it
who the screenwriter is
who the producers are
what studio released it
whether it is a sequel to a film I liked
whether it is an adaptation of something I liked in another medium
its box office performance
its overall critical reception
the opinion of particular critics
its word of mouth/the recommendation of friends
CCpM (total number of car chases per minute)
whether or not I can see it for free
other (see Comments)

Which statement best describes your music-listening habits?

I listen mostly to contemporary music.
I listen mostly to music that was popular when I was a bit younger
I listen mostly to music that was popular when I was much younger.
I listen mostly to music that was popular before I was born.
I listen to a mix of contemporary and older music.

Tell me the name of one of your favorite novels, and then suggest a way it could be even better.