Horror Business: Natanya Ann Pulley

Horror Business is a novel I that wrote. It’s coming out in February 2015. Horror movies play a huge role in the narrative.

“Horror Business” is a sporadic column where I ask influential/invaluable writers and people of interest the following question: What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

I met Natanya Ann Pulley while getting my Bachelors in English at the University of Utah and she’s the only friend I’ve retained from my time at the U. I believe that attending creative writing workshops is a practice in self-control anywhere, but in Utah, there were so many times that we were analyzing Mormon-centric stories where writers applauded the virtues of chastity and it makes you feel a little insane. (I guess that kind of stuff spawns multi-million dollar franchises now, so what do I know?)

But Pulley‘s writing was dark in a way that felt new—and still does. Never have I met a writer who can mix menace, surrealism, Brian Evenson-ian unease, body horror, history, humor and mythology like she can. She’s written for A Bad Penny Review, District Lit, Ducts and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, where her essay “An Open Letter To Johnny Depp’s Tonto” made the national rounds.

She is also a hell of an editor, having served as Fiction Editor for Quarterly West and currently South Dakota ReviewIn fact, she is usually the first person who sees anything that I write: Horror Business would not have been a possibility without her invaluable feedback six (!) years ago.

What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

There’s a mason jar in a barn and it is filled with something red and oozing. Not the blood red that one might expect, but a glowing red like lava—actually now that I think about it, lava is orange. But it was glowing. It was red. It reminded me of lava.

That’s all I remember from the scene. Something caught on late night TV when I was 8. When I seldom had the clicker to myself. When I was still a kid to my 13 year old brother and his pack of friends turning all wolf and howl. Not the sexy and full-coated beasts, but the boy turning into something with wild hairs and rankness and fuel teen wolfs. I loved their world.

I hated mine. The only interesting thing about my 8 year old world was the doll my mom made for me. It was my size. My shape. My eye color. My hair color. We saw Poltergeist on video often and the doll was always that scary killer clown inside. I was afraid of an inner scary killer clown self. Nothing like those eventually wild and beating boys. My brother and I hid the doll away from us as often as possible. My mother or the nanny returned it regularly to my bed.

When I had the TV to myself in some late hour that only happens when one’s nanny is propped up on pillows in the other room talking to a boyfriend, I could sit around waiting for Duran Duran or Billy Idol to show up on my MTV. Or I could bypass the things I knew and head toward the channels that seemed out of my reach, even though back then there weren’t nearly as many as now.

That’s when I saw the jar of lava-but-red ooze. It was the devil. Or a demon. Or a possessed soul. I knew ghosts from Ghostbusters and Nancy Drew books. I knew monsters from sitting oh-so-quietly in the corner of my brother’s bedroom when I was given entrance to the latest D&D game (if I hardly breathed). I knew slashers from behind my dad’s hands—somehow always only hearing the cries of teens and never seeing the thing that caught them again and again. I knew vampires from the black and whites (not yet from love, Fright Night and Lost Boys were long away). But I didn’t know demons except for this jar.

Maybe I watched some of the scenes before and after. I remember a kid running from barn to house or house to barn. I remember night time and shadows. Scary music and that film-type from a decade earlier, not yet shiny. Hair and pant bottoms out of bounds. The strange squawking of over-acting and too long beats of people listening. And still listening. And that jar. For many years, I couldn’t sleep because I’d close my eyes after a day of yard-play and pushing about objects in my room and crying over having to learn how to read and play the piano. The cries of my new baby brother the soundtrack to that time. I’d close my eyes and there it would be: this thing left forgotten in the barn pulsing, never taking shape, like the weird swirl of atoms and stardust I use to see in Star Trek when they were beamed up. But this time, something different. Something too menacing in its continual pull around the glass of the jar. Like it might pull everything inward. The jar wouldn’t break or open, it would just disengrate one day and all the things I knew, including the monsters and evils that played out safely in front of me on the screen and the ones of childhood that play out in slow motion like watching a parent cry or being lost for three seconds at a carnival, would be swallowed by a new type of lava—one that didn’t burn, but undid us all. One that worked at any barriers we had. Angels, hymns, the strength in my brother’s arms when he’d pick me up after a fall, the soft fleece of my baby brother’s blanket, even the idea that I could walk safely through my yard or could imagine which stickers I wanted to buy next for my sticker collection. Something told me in those late hours lying in bed listening to the baby fuss and the strangled sound of my parent’s bedroom TV that nothing could ever be stored or contained. There was always—right then and right this now—a lure in our plasma to our own undoing.



Horror Business: Juliet Escoria

Horror Business is a novel I that wrote. It’s coming out in February 2015. Horror movies play a huge role in the narrative.

“Horror Business” is a sporadic column where I ask influential/invaluable writers and people of interest the following question: What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

Just like everybody else this year, I fell in love with Juliet Escoria‘s Black Cloud

Being a horror guy, it’s easy to use the genre to make everyday darkness into something more palatable: anxiety, depression, anger, fear of the body, fear of strangers, abuse—give it a knife and dress it up in a mask and suddenly it’s a horror film.

Considering that, I’m of the opinion Black Cloud is a collection of horror stories without a mask. True horror. These stories are full of drugs, sex, smart people doing mean things to each other, lies, and mental illness.

What I find most riveting about her book is that there’s no outlet for moral rubbernecking. There are no lessons, no happy endings. And, just like Dr. Frankenstein’s admission of his own monstrosity, only the most perceptive of us will recognize ourselves reflected in Escoria’s stories.

What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

juliet escoriaJE: “Breaking Out” scene in Raising Arizona (1987)

My parents were big into this movie when it came out on VHS. We were, coincidentally, living in Arizona at the time.

My mom and dad had met each other through skydiving. My mom stopped for the most part after I was born, but still on most Saturdays the three of us would go out to the drop zone.

I’m not sure skydivers are the best people for a small child to be hanging out around. I remember them making a lot of jokes I didn’t understand. I remember crude drawings on chalkboards that were supposed to be there so people could diagram their jump formations. I remember a man getting naked once during a Halloween party where everyone got too drunk, and my mother grabbing me and shielding my eyes.

Raising Arizona seemed to fit in line with all the weird grown-up stuff that happened at the drop zone– things that were confusing and weird and a little bit dark and shrouded in that incomprehensible thing called sex. For some reason, this scene in particular encapsulated all of those things to me. I didn’t understand what was happening in the movie– that this scene depicted a jailbreak. I thought that, like the jokes at the drop zone, it was about more than it seemed and that it was about something dirty. The scene gave me recurring nightmares for a while. In them, I couldn’t breathe or see because everything was covered in mud, and I was screaming and clawing but I just couldn’t get the mud out of my mouth, my eyes, my nose, my ears.

When I finally saw this movie as an adult, I was really surprised to find out that it was more or less a comedy.  While I no longer find this scene as scary as I once did, there is something definitively birthlike in it, and birth is creepy as shit.

john goodman

Horror Business: Nick Antosca

Horror Business is a novel I that wrote. It’s coming out in February 2015. Horror movies play a huge role in the narrative.

“Horror Business” is a sporadic column where I ask influential/invaluable writers and people of interest the following question: What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

When I think of the term “literary horror,” Nick Antosca is the first name to come to mind. Before I read his book Midnight Picnic, I still thought of horror in a very stereotypically lurid, cut-and-dry, genre sense. Just like everyone, I was a product of the Stephen King school of horror.

Midnight Picnic changed my perception of what horror could be. It didn’t have to be flashy. It could be gentle. Subtle. It could be ethereal and sad. Yes, there are some terrifying parts in that book, but most of the horror is cumulative, one that stays reader when the book is done. It reminded me of reading a deeply-personal journal that you’ve forgotten you’ve written and realize that you’ve been haunted at one point in your life.

Last year, he put out a story collection called The Girlfriend Gamewhich is fantastic and includes his story “Predator Bait,” about a decoy used in a To Catch a Predator-like showIt’s probably my favorite thing I’ve read by him.

And if that’s not inspirational enough, he also has written for bunch of rad shows shows like Last Resort, Teen Wolf and Hannibal. Plus, he just sold a script for The Disappearance, which will be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Damn.

What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

nickantoscaNA: This is a well-timed question, because one of my answers is that scene in Twin Peaks when Bob climbs over the couch. That is fucking terrifying.  The way it changes the landscape of a familiar place – a living room – and shows Bob as this otherworldly sort of entity that doesn’t treat living rooms like they’re supposed to be treated (you’re not supposed to climb over the couch! normal people – human beings – in safe, familiar living rooms don’t do that!) gives you this disorienting feeling.  That’s a scene I’ve actually had a nightmare about.

One of my favorite horror movie scenes is also the scene in The Orphanage where the main character has to play the knock-knock game she played as a little girl with her friends… but all those little friends are now dead, and they’re somewhere in the house, still children, waiting for her.  She is terrified but she needs to call them to find out what happened to her missing son, so she faces the wall and knocks, knowing that when she turns around, the empty doorway behind her might not be empty anymore… It’s so scary, and it’s also elegant screenwriting, a beautifully set up scene.

Another great, scary scene is the last scene in Enemy, the Jake Gyllenhaal doppelgänger movie.  I won’t spoil it.  It’s a real “what the fuck” moment. Some people I know whose opinions I respect felt totally cheated by it. It freaked me out.

Also the scenes of the house just being watched in Michael Haneke’s Cache.

Oh wait, no – I know what the scariest scene in any movie is for me.  It’s the “borrowing some eggs” scene in Haneke’s original Funny Games.  The excruciating social awkwardness and the growing sense of dread – we KNOW these kids are eventually going to do something awful to this poor woman and her family – make the scene feel so real.  Makes me queasy every time.


Horror Business: Adrian Van Young

Horror Business is a novel I that wrote. It’s coming out in February 2015. Horror movies play a huge role in the narrative.

“Horror Business” is a sporadic column where I ask influential/invaluable writers and people of interest the following question: What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

There are few writers who know horror as well as Adrian Van Young, which I consider  a fantastic quality in a human being. Most of the time. The problem with Young is that he’s got a chameleonic, writerly prowess to match—and that is subtly infuriating and jealousy-inducing.

Take his story collection The Man Who Noticed Everythingfor example. It’s by far one of the best—yet widely-diverse—story collections I’ve ever read. He can jump from Lovecraftian in “Hard Rain” (a story that left me feeling icky for days) to King/”The Body”-esque nostalgia in “Them Bones.” And yes, they are diverse, but they’re not disparate. It’s a collection of a writer comfortable with stretching his muscles farther than most others.

When he’s not rocking print, he’s saying very smart things about horror franchises for The Believer and explaining Louisiana-as-a-character in True Detective for Slate. Plus, his  story “The Skin Thing” is probably the creepiest thing you’ll read online this October.

What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?


 Every year on Halloween my parents allowed me one R-rated movie. I knew all the boxes: Basket Case, Pumpkinhead, The Serpent & The Rainbow, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Based on the pictures adorning these boxes, I’d cherry-pick the year’s selection. It was Pet Sematary the year I was 12—bloody corpse side-eye, uncanny misspelling—based on the book by Stephen King, co-starring the guy from Munsters (Fred Gwynne). So you’re watching the movie and watching the movie, which is pretty affecting as horror flicks go (there’s a reason that King boxed it up in a drawer to chill out a few years before he unleashed it) and then you get to Zelda’s death. This scene, literally, provoked me to tears. I cowered in between my parents, begging them to turn it off, and when they obliged me I mustered composure, sheepishly asked them to turn it back on. My reaction was visceral, primal, immediate. And even now at 32, having re-watched the movie in varying states no less than a dozen times, I cannot watch the Zelda scene without metastasizing chills. (This most recent viewing I still couldn’t watch it without my partner next to me, herself a horror movie buff. I poked my head into our room. All that I needed to ask her was: “Zelda?”) The scene happens, maybe, a half-an-hour in, an unexpected early scare and well before the bloody woes that batter at the Creed Family, who have the misfortune of buying a house at the edge of an “Indian burial ground” (ah, Stephen King and his racist nostalgia!). In it, we have Rachel Creed (Denise Crosby) narrating her husband the death of her sister, claimed by spinal meningitis. The cinematography drops into flashback. Everything looks more self-consciously staged, as though it were being performed in a dollhouse, a credit to the mis-en-scene of unsung director, I think, Mary Lambert. Rachel’s voiceover narrates the scene while Rachel in childhood relives it again: “She was in the back bedroom like some dirty secret.” Zelda, a croke-backed and hideous creature played by male actor Andrew Hubatsek (reportedly, because they couldn’t find a woman skinny enough for the role), writhes in an open-backed nightgown in bed, her hair a straggled ginger mess. Rachel has been charged to feed her. Making gurgling and groaning and strangling sounds in between calling the name of her sister—a creaking-door cackle that smote on my ears (“Raaaaaaachel! Raaaaaaaaachel!”)— she rolls the knuckles of her spine. It sounds like kindling taking up. Her head wrenches sideways, neck bunching and twisting, giving Linda Blair’s Regan a run for her money. The jaundiced and gender-ambiguous face, with its wide knobby jawbone, accuses the viewer: you let me die! Not Rachel, you! And she flops lifelessly on the side of the bed. Granted, this sequence is over-the-top; to spinal-meningitis patients, more than borderline offensive. But Lambert’s not going for stark realism. It’s filtered through Rachel, her view of events, and if she remembers her suffering sister as “some [kind of] monster” that’s what she remembers. Lambert achieves something difficult here, unreliable narration in a cinematic context, a conceit which she furthers as girl-Rachel flees from the house of her trauma while grown-Rachel narrates: “Even now I wake up and I think: is Zelda dead yet?” The terror’s inescapable. For Rachel Creed. For you. For me. That’s why I’ve watched it so many damn times: so I know every link in the narrative chain. That way I’ll see the warning signs before I have to hit fast forward.


2. THE VERY LAST SCENE IN DON’T LOOK NOW (1973): To discuss it at all would be a huge spoiler so all I’ll say is: no. Just, no. A totally unacceptable thing to perpetrate on your viewer. Nicolas Roeg should be ashamed of himself.

Horror Business: Lindsay Hunter

Horror Business is a novel I that wrote. It’s coming out in February 2015. Horror movies play a huge role in the narrative.

“Horror Business” is a sporadic column where I ask influential/invaluable writers and people of interest the following question: What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

lindsay hunterLindsay Hunter is a writer whom I’ve admired for as long as I’ve taken writing seriously. I saw her read in San Diego, maybe back in 2010—before I had any idea that authors could exist outside the EW book section—and she basically shouted the entirety of her story “Candles” (I think), a story that appears in her fantastic collection Don’t Kiss Me. I remember thinking, not just of her delivery, but of her writing: Can writers do that? Is that allowed? Everything about her stuff seemed so fearless in a way that I’d never experienced before.

Hunter’s writing is also dark. I don’t think I’ve read a post-apocalyptic story quite as bleak as “After,” another story that appears in Don’t Kiss MeI’ve also had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of her novel Ugly Girls (which comes out on November 15) and it was the first time I’ve ever taken a picture of text with my phone so I could remember it. It’s veiny, pulsing book, a reminder that the heart is the ugliest organ. Few books feel this alive. So you should preorder it.

What scene from a movie has scared/troubled/shaken you the most?

LH: 1. The single knock on the door in The Strangers. Liv Tyler is alone in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Not somewhere you’d expect to hear a sudden knock at the door. And–I’ve thought about this a lot–the fact that it’s a single knock, each time. Not the usual rap-rap. It gives the knock (and the knock-er) the feel of something inhuman, something outside any sort of norms we’re used to seeing. All bets are off. There is no urgency in the knock, either. It’s confident it is getting the attention it needs, and it is confident in its utter power over its prey. That single knock lets you know there will be no mercy, there will be no escape.


2. When, in The Exorcist, Reagan suddenly appears at her mother’s raucous dinner party, announces, “They’re all gonna die up there,” and then pees on the floor. The “they” is never identified satisfactorily. And up where? And is the urine Reagan’s body’s loss of control, her giving of power over to the demon, the absolute soprano note of fear in her? Or is it the demon wanting to horrify, to disgust, Reagan’s mother and her guests? It is inscrutable and never explained.

HORROR BUSINESS ep. 1: Book cover

horror_business_bookcoverCover for Horror Business, to be released by Month9Books, February 2015.

I’m sitting down to write the acknowledgments page for this, which feels surreal. Never thought this would escape the self-published trenches. Also, this thing is good. The editors really pushed me on this thing. It’s very different than all other iterations. Scarier, I think/hope.

But mostly, I’ve been thinking a lot about horror on a bigger scale. Like, what it means to me and why it’s still important. From now until the book release, I’m going to devote this place to meditations, analyses and discussions on horror.

I finally picked up some Thomas Ligotti and found this quote in the intro to The Nightmare Factory, which tied me up hard:

Clearly we… want to know the worst, both about ourselves and the world. The oldest, possibly the only theme is that of forbidden knowledge. And no forbidden knowledge ever consoled its possessor… It is particularly forbidden because the mere possibility of such knowledge introduces a monstrous and perverse temptation to trade the quiet pleasures of mundane existence for the bright lights of alienage, doom, and, in some rare cases, eternal damnation.

So we not only wish to know the worst, but to experience it as well.


Social media diary, week 4

A weekly journal to chronicle my social media usage in an attempt to reduce emotional investment and raise self-awareness to the value of what I’m contributing to “the conversation”

January 25, 2014

Tweet: I still have guilt for lying so much about being sick in HS, so there’s a little bit of satisfaction when i tell ppl i’m sick and it’s true

Got hella sick this week. Major sick. Like, I googled “air coming out of my eyes should I worry?” It was the flu, I think, because I don’t believe you can get a cold in San Diego. I actually wouldn’t say that I lied in high school, but embellished a lot. Tried to remember what there was to do when you stayed home back then. Think I listened to a lot of music in my basement room which is a lot more dramatic for a teen than how it looks in hindsight. Oh, so the point of this tweet was express how I was feeling after being too sick to go to work, and my boss was all: @drolland: “@theryanbradford This could still be part of an elaborate lie. I’m watching you.”

and then I was like:

Tweet .@drolland this is about what my day’s looking like right now :( 


because I’m Cathy. Ack.

January 26, 2014

Tweet: I hope Rat Boat crashes into the grammys tonight.

Rat Boat is my favorite thing to happen recently. I’ve been obsessed. I tried explaining it to my wife, but was so sick and delirious on cold medicine that it sounded like RAH BO RAH BO and now I’m in jail. EDIT: Forgot I posted something similar to Facebook on January 24th regarding Rat Boat crashing into the Superbowl, because, you know, fuck NFL football etc. etc.

Tweet: Thought for a second LL said Rat Boat, but he just said rap.

I had one tweet set aside for Grammy goofs. I don’t regret how I used it.

January 27, 2014

Tweet: 4th day of flu: transcended sickness. closer to godliness.

After being this sick for this long, you reach a level of enlightenment that allows you to think only in Smashing Pumpkins-esque dramatics. Despite all my rage I’m still just a rat on a boat.

Tweet: guys u were all realy mean with ur grammie tweets last night their just trying to put on a good show

I actually liked watching Grammys. Feel that if you take it too seriously or get mad at it, you’re probably not that big into music anyway. I like the idea of a an alien race reading our collective twitter feeds in the future, getting to this point and being like “What was up with this hat?” But man, there were some vicious tweets. I used to be into watching events with Twitter, but now I just think it turns funny people into shitburgers. At least TMZ gets paid for being awful.

Today’s moment of restraint came from me wanting to post this link to the Lana Del Rey cover of ‘Once Upon a Dream’ from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty revamp. I think Lana’s cool.

January 28, 2014

Tweet: Teaser poster for 2014’s BLACK CANDIES.


Promotional tweet. If you don’t know about Black Candies, and you want to, email me. Awesome artwork by @adamvieyra

Tweet: thinking of making a chicken restaurant called Thigh Gapzz. p much will be Hooters but with really REALLY hot girls.

I was watching Entertainment Tonight and the anchors were reviewing Beyonce’s Grammy performance and commenting on her “really nice thigh gap” or something like that, and I thought of that old Seinfeld joke where he’s talking about stuffed crust pizza and applauding our limitless knack for finding new places to store cheese. Like, will there ever be a limit to the miniscule and arbitrary ways to objectify women, or will there always be a new place for scrutiny? That said, I decided right then that I would become a “thigh gap man.”

Today’s moment of restraint came from wanting to post this “real life” ghost story. Actually, I did post to my secret Facebook group and said  “Pretty long read, but fucking incredible story. Like the perfect modern horror story: paranormal shit, mental disorders (probably), poverty, class, race, etc.” Then somebody commented that it was boring, which made me regret showing so much enthusiasm in the post and made me regret posting it altogether.

January 29, 2014

Tweet: Missed the first part of the sotu last night. Did I miss any updates on rat boat?

I don’t want to belabor the point, but there is a mass of steel, rust, and disease floating out there. When the world ends in a furry embrace, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Thinking that POTUS should’ve at least mentioned the RODUS, nah mean?

Tweet: anyone ever do serious covers of weird al songs and called themselves norm al? EDIT: asked my wife that and now we’re divorced

I’ve spent long hours wondering how a parody of a parody would go. Would they just be the originals? Or would heir have to be a recurring theme? Since Weird Al uses food to deliver his jokes, maybe it would have to be something like office supplies? Oh one year I got a karaoke machine for Christmas, which is a GREAT gift to give to a 21-year-old. Me and the roommates would get wasted and sing to each other in our basement. Then one of them sang an amazing rendition of Weird Al’s ‘Taco Grande’. After the song, he shattered the mic against the floor, took out his money, and threw cash all over our living room.

Today’s moment of restraint came from not posting this link to this fake Red Hot Chili Peppers song that Jon Daly wrote. Which is probably not true, cuz I posted it in the comments of a lot of people’s posts that were even remotely related to football, Super Bowl, or music in general. (Although, as easy as it is to make fun of RHCP, I once saw live them and it was fun. Also, me and my man @ryenschlegel were HS seniors in this weight class filled with sophomores and we controlled the music, which would mostly be ‘Suck My Kiss’ on repeat)

January 30, 2014

Facebook: “there’s a brave new world raging inside of me.” A perfect, triumphant performance of such a heartbreaking song, and I can’t watch it without getting tears in my eyes.

My wife came in when I was watching this and said “It’s amazing that we live in a world where an album called Transgender Dysphoria Blues is celebrated on national TV.” I love this album more and more each time I listen to it, and the emotions I feel from listening to it transcend any criticisms. I was telling some friend that, after the restraint in the last two AM! albums (which I actually really liked), this one sounds like an explosion.

Tweet: ‘be the loogies in cops’ fast food that you want to see in the world’ – gandhi

Saw this story about a Pizza Hut employee spitting in the pizza of an officer that had previously arrested her for a DUI. If that’s not civil disobedience, I don’t know what is.

Tweet: working on some craft small-batch, artisan hot dogs rolled in tortillas if there are any foodies in the crowd

I watched a video about hipsters linked on the Huffington Post with an emotion I’ll refer to as “bored sloth” (animal or Goonies character). This comes from five years worth of watching media try to squeeze a little bit more pus out of a dead horse’s zit. @dbreunig said  “@theryanbradford You joke, but there are multiple sincere people doing that down the block every Saturday.” I believe him, cuz he lives in NY, where people aren’t self-aware of their ability to live simultaneously in the past and future, which is the characteristic necessary to appreciate hot-dog roll-ups.

Sign out: Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 5.14.03 PM

Social media diary, week 3

A weekly journal to chronicle my social media usage in an attempt to reduce emotional investment and raise self-awareness to the value of what I’m contributing to “the conversation”

January 17, 2014

Tweet: wife is gone til monday. will someone come over and be assertive to the bank and cable company until she gets back?

My wife doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook, but any time I can use the idea of her as a vehicle to highlight my own shortcomings as a human being, I’m gonna take it. In general, I don’t support talking about people on social media when they’re not using it, or using social media to vent grievances (not that this hasn’t ever happened). Like, jesus, the amount of shit that teachers talk on their students via fbook is astounding.

January 18, 2014

Tweet: just woke up from a dream that i was at a mall signing for justin beiber, katy perry, and new phenom: ‘smyler’ (smile + tyler)

During the dream, I overheard a teen fan wanting to get in the ‘Smyler’ line because it was the shortest of the three. Remember feeling really bad for Smyler at that point. Fav’d by @laura_condi, who is a funny comedian and it validates my entire existence when funny people approve of my jokes (despite the ephemeral sadness I felt toward ‘Smyler’ for the rest of the day)

Tweet: ate cereal with the word ‘cluster’ in the title this morning and been paying for that decision all day #clusterslaststand #garbageheap

Sometimes I worry that I have IBS. Rec’d no favs or RTs. PS: #garbageheap was a hastag invented by @ryenschlegel to describe Idaho, I think.

January 19, 2014

Tweet: thought too hard about the classist undertones of ernest p worrell yesterday

Me and @peterholslin watched ‘Ernest Goes to Camp,’ and ‘Ernest Goes to Jail’ in one sitting. We shared a meat-lovers pizza and a bag of Limon-flavored chips. I unsuccessfully tried to argue that Jim Varney was a p handsome man. Just two smart dudes with college degrees here. Fav’d and RT’d by @jemersmith, who, by the attention he gave to this tweet, is also really smart.

Tweet: Thanks but no thanks, coconut water. I already know what semen tastes like.

Get your lukewarm sweet and sour cumjuice outta my face. PS: Kind of feel that any dude who says they don’t know what their own semen tastes like are either lying or do not lead adventurous lives.

Facebook: This year will be my first time going to AWP. Would really like to meet everyone I haven’t in-person, and like to go to cool readings and panels and all that but also really want to find a place to do karaoke on Friday night.

Yeah, I’m going to AWP. Let’s meet up.

January 20, 2014

Tweet: had a dream where i went to hell and the first thing the devil asked was “so when are you going to have kids?”

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Fav’d and RT’d by @mcbroomifer, so it got quite a bit of favs by people who also like the devil and not having babies right now.

Tweet: Everybody freaks out about the arrow between the E and the x in ‘FedEx’, but I think the spoon between the e and the d is much cooler

Came up with this tweet while at the gym and a FedEx truck parked right in front of the elliptical. This is my routine: 30 mins on the “harder” elliptical or 40 minutes on the “easier” elliptical (designations based on completely arbitrary [I’m sure] observations, ie handle shape]. Do that 4-5 times a week. I don’t think it’s very effective, but then again, I don’t really know what my goal is. To lose weight? To get fit? Of course, both these things are superficially desirable—and I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a little bit of body anxiety, but even that’s gone down in the last couple years (what’s the point of getting married if you can’t get fat?). Anyway, will continue to analyze this. Feel free to share your own exercise regimens in the comments.

January 21, 2014

Tweet: .@badsandwich The new lawrence arms is great. it’s fast and strong, but also pulling heartstrings in unexpected ways. congrats.

The Lawrence Arms have been one of my favorite bands since high school—just love a lot of that darker pop-punk that was coming out of Chicago during the early 2000s. But where bands like Alkaline Trio (one of my other faves) have veered into melodrama and theatrics over the years, I feel like TLA have kept producing fast, powerful, bitter and funny songs for their entire run. This new one—Metropole—is their first full-length in eight years, and it doesn’t disappoint, but it’s really dark and sad in ways that I’ve never heard in TLA before. Aging seems to be a prevalent theme, or at least time passing, and the passage from then to now has been ugly, full of forgetfulness, bitterness toward a lost youth, an unfulfilled life, or something. There’s no, “look at us, we’re back!”; it’s the anti-comeback album. Anyway, I think it’s probably the most honest record that a band like them could put out right now, and I’m thankful for it. Felt like I should let singer/bassist Brendan Kelly know, because he’s got a very funny/caustic presence on twitter and I think people like that have to endure a bunch of other “funny” people on twitter, and probably don’t get a lot of earnest praise…? I could be wrong about that, but you know how people on the internet are: for every person who can be gross and funny, there’s a bunch more without any tact, trying to one-up you.

Tweet: An unsuccessful breakthru in pizza technology that reveals a new place to store more crust

Imagine a pizza scientist, working with pizza beakers, and pizza bunsen burners. He’s taking notes on a clipboard made of pizza and pepperoni graphics on his labcoat. Picture this scientist, working sleepless nights, on the weekends… goddamnit, abandoning joke.

January 22, 2014

Tweet: everybody who orders at starbucks could be the singer for red hot chili peppers

Making Starbucks and RHCP jokes, respectively, is like fish in barrels; together, it’s like blasting a whale with a canon from the inside of it. ‘Can I have a bippity cali danni frappachino?’ Fav’d by @lindsaydevon who is my favorite writer right now and it always makes me feel like I did something good when she approves of my tweets.

January 23

Tweet: I hated seaworld before it was cool.

Okay, so I guess I should explain my qualms with Blackfish, since it’s basically the straw that broke my social media back. I mean, I get people’s fascination with it, because the film does present whale psychosis in a pretty interesting way (tried to get #whalepsychosis trending once), but it’s manipulative in the worst, sensationalist, PETA-type of way. The emotions that it evokes feel cheap. And it’s like, I get sad when smart people let movies inform their decisions. Did you think SeaWorld was really that great before you saw Blackfish? Does there need to be similar doc about zoos to convince you that animals would probably be happier without cages?

Tweet: justin bieber giving a bad name to all yellow lamborghini drivers

After hitting send on a topical joke tweet, reward yourself with a frozen burrito. Give it an extra 30 seconds in the microwave for every RT you receive. With enough practice, you will be a regular commenter on the internet and eating fully-cooked burritos in no time.

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Social media diary, week 2

A weekly journal to chronicle my social media usage in an attempt to reduce emotional investment and raise self-awareness to the value of what I’m contributing to “the conversation”

January 10, 2014

Tweet: i’ve recently developed the ability to shoot air out of my eye-socket when I plug my nose and breath i think it’s serious but also fun

This is true. I sneezed one morning and it tickled my eye. Then I looked at myself in the mirror, held my nose and blew air out. Saw little bubbles forming in my bottom eyelid. Feeling was not unpleasant—just unlike anything I’ve ever felt before, which was cause for a little concern, I guess. Then I looked up those lizards that shoot blood out of their eyes in self-defense. What a wonderful ability. Got a reply from @brianallencarr: “you’re a cigar away from blowing smoke out your eyes.” Don’t know if ashy smoke from a cigar going through my eye-socket is the most healthy thing, but your eyes only yolo once. Rec’d no favs or RTs.

January 11, 2014

Tweet: wonder if at its height, bookstore employees would comment to each other: somebody’s got a case of the Tuesdays with Morrie

I was made to read Tuesdays With Morrie in 10th grade English. I think at the time to read it, my mom also had a copy, and I was disappointed that we had to read a “mom book,” but I remember enjoying it. However, the next book we read in that class was I Am the Cheese, which, I’m pretty sure, was my first experience with a first-person, present narrative. I had never heard of it, and thought the title was stupid, but it ended up having a huge impact on me. @spinning_yarn  fav’d it, so that was sweet.

Tweet: (assuming that Tuesdays were/are horrible days to work in a bookstore)

Follow up to the previous tweet. Would consider myself a fan of the two-parter tweets. Like, imagine if you just RT’d this one, how insane you would look. Rec’d no RTs or favs. None.

January 12, 2014

Tweet: everyone’s raving about ScarJo’s performance in ‘her’ but i just didn’t see it

Seemed like the ultimate dad joke since you literally never see SJ in the movie. If you were around me when I said it aloud, I would sustain uncomfortable eye-contact and drawl out a slow ‘ehh?’ Saw the movie the night before and liked it all right, but it felt very innocuous, like it offered no intellectual challenge or even that much of a conflict. Ambitious for sure—one of Spike Jonze’s strengths is the ability turn high-concepts into entertainment—but I got a little bored through the middle part with the but what is consciousness/realness?? hammer they kept gently tapping you over the head with. Seemed kind of like the epitome of #emorevival. However, there is a sex-surrogate scene that is perhaps the weirdest thing that I’ve seen in movies in a while. Can’t imagine trying to write it.

Tweet: For the record, there are ppl in San Diego who dont like football (even if no 1 knows where they r right now and what’s this strange meat?)

This was the day the San Diego Chargers were playing the Denver Broncos and lost. Everyone I saw today was wearing a Chargers shirt, even a homeless guy. Thought of a post-apocalyptic scenario where people in San Diego would be forced ‘bolt-up’ or be turned into meat. Also slightly bums me out when people refer to themselves as part of the team (i.e. we lost today). You’re not on the team. Oh wait, you have the shirt on, so maybe you are. What do I know. Rec’d no RTs or favs all day. Golden Globes were also on today. Didn’t read anyone’s tweets about that. ‘Livetweeting’ culture was one of the reasons that prompted me to start this diary, but I’m sure I’ll talk about that later.

January 13, 2014

Tweet: As per ‘brony’ phenom, gonna try and get a campaign to rename adult, male hentai fans to ‘broctopus’ [broctupi]

Pretty new to the whole brony (male My Little Pony fans) phenomenon, although coworkers told me that it’s nothing new. Am just now realizing that most hentai fans are probably male, thereby negating the joke. Related: ever since this whole cutting back on social media thing started, I’ve been playing a lot more iphone games, specifically Robot Unicorn Attack 2. Anyone else? It’s a fantastic game. There were a bunch of alternate versions of this tweet, mostly related to the game, which seemed too ‘insider baseball’ if you haven’t seen or played the game. Not too happy with this tweet. Rec’d no RTs or favs, as it shouldn’t. Gained one follower though. Moderate happiness.

Felt really badass being able to screenshot Robot Unicorn 2 during gameplay

Felt really badass being able to screenshot Robot Unicorn 2 during gameplay

Tweet: working on idea where vinyl guys freak out over the selection at urban outfitters or UO employees in record store wonder where beanies are

Was in Urban Outfitters over the weekend and saw some kid in one of those beanies that looks like your head just took a dump going through the vinyl selection. Hard to imagine anyone shopping there being really into anything, like, at all. Seems that UO caters to people without any real interests. Bought two shirts though. San Diego writer @thisbrokenwheel replied: “Basically I once saw that play out for real in the Amoeba Records in Berkeley.” Ha! Nice.

Today’s moment of restraint came from not posting the NME stream of Against Me!’s new album—their first since the singer came out as transgendered. I remember when she first broke the news that there seemed to be this overwhelming amount of support from the internet, but some of these songs are just fucking heartbreaking and feel very bleak. Get tears in my eyes during the first song, but there are also so many moments of transcendence that make it feel like a victory lap: “There’s a brave new world that’s raging inside of me.” I think this might be the most important album to come out in a long time.

January 14th, 2014

Tweet: just got an email from exxonmobile asking if i want to unsubscribe from their email list. what should I do? opening the floor for discussion

This was goof on Mellow Pages Library’s whole drama. Long story short: Brooklyn indie library who provides a lot of indie publications and zines came out with this story about how exxonmobile offered to fund them for a year, but they were hesitant to take the money—moral dilemmas and whatnot—and asked fans/members their opinions on whether to take the money. Story got covered on the Awl and Fanzine. Turned out, they never got the offer in the first place, and this was some last ditch effort to raise money? awareness? Whatever. It was dumb. Feel like I would’ve respected if they had just owned up to it as a prank and been like ‘got you’ instead of trying to pass it off as performance art or some shit like that. Seems typical of writers to intellectualize everything. But yeah, still think Mellow Pages provides a cool service, but cool people can still do dumb things. We don’t have to like everything everyone does. Rec’d no RTs or favs.

Tweet: funny how ‘bun in the oven’ could be used as euphemism for the birth or death of your child

Rec’d no RTs or favs. Didn’t really matter. I was pissed off this day from reading too much into some emails. Felt good to tweet some gross things though—probably similar to how a serial killer must feel when he/she tweets a really good joke that gets a lot of favs.

Facebook: Posted a video about how facebook sucks. Felt really smug to my current shunning of fbook, but then I returned to Facebook multiple times to see who had shared from my original link (3 people). Feel like this was a step backward.

Today’s moment of restraint came from wanting to post this Grantland article about Against Me! Seriously: this album.

January 15, 2014

Tweet: I wrote about @ModernTimesBeer’s awesome tastine room, designed by the talented @amybkrone: http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-12610-modern-times-beer-designer-makes-drinking-look-pretty-weird.html

Self-promotional tweet. Although I didn’t notice the typo (“tastine”) until hours after I posted it. This is funny because my boss/editor @drolland RT’d it because, you know, it’s a good article and sends people to CityBeat, but I’m sure it killed him to RT a typo. Sorry Dave. Also RT’d by @amybkrone and fav’d by @ModernTimesBeer, cuz like, if they didn’t, I guess we’d be enemies…?

Tweet: If san diego keeps it at this temperature, this weekend is gonna be Martin Luther King JRts weekend (jorts)

My legs, free at last. Fav’d by @jeffhammett, who I consider my bro in jorts humor, and @lwboyack, who’s been one of my best friends forever, and she’ll give me pity favs every now and then. I don’t need your pity favs, Lauren (yes I do).

Facebook: Shared the the Amy Krone story there too. Selfishly going to tweet/fbook anything that I’ve directly had a hand in creating, and feel that should go without saying. I wonder how this is going to affect the birthday wishes I get on my facebook wall once the time comes :/

January 16, 2014

Tweet: watched a show about deer last night cuz wife didn’t want to watch spaceballs

Every time I say ‘wife’ on this thin or in real life, in any situation, I want to attribute it to put quotes around it and attribute it to Borat. Think Borat jokes could be funny again. Also, feel tweets like this say lots more about my taste than ‘my wife’’s. No RT or favs, but my other boss @citybeatkelly replied ‘Married life sux’ and SD’s premier news reporter @jemersmith replied ‘Was it the Deer Hunter?’—both responses made me lol. @jeffhammett also said ‘shoulda included the Bill Pullman clause in your prenup.’ Sorry Jeff: I used up that space for the Bill Paxton clause. By far the most twitter interaction I had all week with this. Lots of people feel strongly about spaceballs and/or deer.

Tweet pic: I seem to have found myself at a falling in reverse show


Went to a Falling in Reverse show to see my friend Ryan Seaman drum for them. Was nearly twice the age of everyone there. Place smelled like sour, goth hormones. But it was great seeing Seaman. We were in a HS called The Flare who recorded for and appeared in a made-for-TV Disney movie called The Poof Point, which I’ve been trying to find on DVD for years. Last night, he was playing on this like 15-ft riser with double bass drums and all I could think was damn. Felt so proud of him—it’s been about 10 years since we’ve seen each other. He was a fantastic drummer back in HS, but he’s just gotten so much better.

This is The Flare album that Disney paid for:


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