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.

Sign out:

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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:


Sign out: 

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Social media diary, week 1

A couple days ago, I was watching a debate about the movie Blackfish unfold on my facebook feed. I can’t even remember what it was about, but I remember being mad. No, furious. Like dumb-mad. Incensed. I had a scathing response written in the dialog box, ready to hit send, when I thought: wait, what am I doing? What is wrong with me? 

Perhaps I have finally become numb enough to that all-too-familiar, concentrated rage that goes hand-in-hand with being on the internet that self-awareness finally won out. What would my contribution to this debate proveWhat am I adding here besides vitriol? 

So I decided that 2014 is the year I scale back from social media, unquestionably the source of these strong, mis-invested feelings.

I’ll be the first to admit these grand announcements are insufferable due to the self-righteousness that comes with these statements, and that nobody really gives a shit. I’m not trying to find out if life is better without virtual connection, or if I’m not “living in the moment” enough. Rather, I’m hoping that this scaling back will influence my emotional well-being. I believe that the less you invest in social media (posts, comments, etc), the less you expect, and you can use that emotional investment elsewhere. I’ve heard that there’s a similarity between social media behavior and a gambling addiction—that the risk/reward element of getting ‘likes’ is as emotionally satisfying on winning big at slots. But if I’m not putting money in in the first place, it erases that constant need for fulfillment.

And plus, I hate feeling like I have to have the cleverest thing to say/link to post, etc, which is also an ugly, narcissistic symptom of Facebook reliance that I’ve fallen prey to.

Rather than opting out completely (my regular job—like most media jobs, I suspect—requires me to be on social media to an extent), I’ve come up with this arbitrary system of confinements that I hope will affect my internet behavior positively: no more than two tweets a day and three facebook posts a week (not counting posts to private groups because I don’t consider those vying for mass attention). Instagram is excepted because I don’t spend that much time there. The writer Ken Baumann just wrote a good piece on quieting himself on the internet. I like that. Just think of this as a quieting rather than a silencing.

Additionally, like a goal-oriented person, I’ve decided to track my progress/failures through a social media diary, which you’re about to read. I’m hoping that this will provide a little pop-up video/behind the music insight to how I think. Maybe it’ll be funny. Maybe it’ll be sad. It will also give me a chance to contribute some old-fashioned, longform blogging to the internet, which I think has become too streamlined, “clean” and “simple”. Let’s get some text on this mofo.

(PS I kind of hate myself right now).


January 3, 2014

Tweet: When we tell children to follow their dreams, we’re essentially raising little Freddie Kruegers.

Received no RTs or favs. Perhaps was confusing due to the fact that, despite Freddie’s reign in the kingdom of nightmares, the dreams in the Nightmare on Elm St. movies belong to the victims.

Tweet: Here’s the deal: every time you post an attention-craving selfie, I’m going to photoshop you into unattainable beauty.

Have a couple friends who like to post near-nudes and that makes me sad. But then again, they have tons more followers than me, so. While composing this tweet, kept thinking about the words “media’s unrealistic expectations of beauty.” Tried to reformat that into the ultimate burn. Received no favs or RTs, but I stand by it. Quality tweet. Nay: an honest tweet.

UPDATE: @missysolis fav’d this 6 hours later, but have lost 1 follower in the meantime. Down to 314 followers. My emotions are out of control.

January 4, 2014

Tweet: Missed the opportunity to get a discounted flu shot because I was afraid of autism. Thanks Jenny McCarthy/Obama.

Man, how mad was I at Jenny McCarthy? Have tried not to use the “Thanks Obama” joke because like, um feel that it’s an easy joke for unfunny people. But felt it would be funny to rope the leader of the free world in with a tweet about Jenny McCarthy, as if she had the same influence/power. In retrospect, this tweet feels too topical. Not proud of it. Feeling mild amounts of embarrassment. Received no favs or RTs. PS I don’t actually fear autism.

Tweet: Just cuz I instagram some feces, doesn’t mean I’m eating them. Grow up.

Didn’t want to tweet this during a weekday, with the possibility of seeing my coworkers. Rec’d no RTs, favs. Obvs.

January 5, 2014

Tweet: A ‘we didn’t start the fire’ -like tune to help you remember the order of all your antidepressants.

Think, ideally, this would’ve been better if I used “antipsychotics” instead of “antidepressants,” but feel that it might worry some people. Still, I imagine Billy Joel doing this every morning, an alternative tweet I was thinking about here was “Did Billy Joel and his piano ever fuck?” Meant to be said with the same nonchalant perviness of people that ask if Mulder and Skully ever fucked, or any pop-culture team with sexual tension. Rec’d no RTs, favs. Can’t say I’m surprised, but it still stings.

Tweet: Please womyn: get your hispes checked out.

Tried to analyze this tweet for a solid minute, (after 6 hours since posting it) and my brain just went: ‘let it die.’ Rec’d no RTs or favs.

January 6, 2013

Tweet: if the chargers win the superbowl, imagine what that would do to san diego’s literary scene!

Rec’d 3 favs! Celebrated by treating myself to a Fresh N’ Easy salad with chicken in it.

Tweet: if the chargers lose the superbowl, imagine what that would do to san diego’s suicide scene!

Waited 7 hours to post this follow-up tweet. They say the key to comedy is timing. @brianallencarr replied: iSnt sandiego paradise? Felt almost vague anxiety for not responding, because he’s a great writer and a funny guy to joke around with on the internet. But if you’re reading this: yes Brian, San Diego is paradise and the perfect place to kill yourself.

Today’s moment of restraint came from wanting to post the video for The Lawrence Arms’ new song, but didn’t.

January 7, 2013

Tweet: A superfood is just a carrot without its glasses on.

I can’t believe I spent money seeing Man of Steel in the theaters. Ugh. (Actually, I can’t believe I spend money to see any non-Ernest movies. Ever)  But the idea of carrots with glasses on reminds me of this Eels video. Rec’d no RTs or favs, which I feel ambivalent about. I don’t feel that such goofiness should necessarily be rewarded.

Tweet: Everyone killed by friendly fire became friendly ghosts, the friendliest ghosts you know.

Was trying to remember where I actually heard the Casper theme, cuz I didn’t watch it as a kid. Maybe my mom sang it often enough? It’s weird how these things just become absorbed through the peripheral. Rec’d one fav from @missysolis, who is basically keeping my twitter levels up at the moment. She’s also a great writer and should publish a book someday.

January 8, 2014

Tweet: Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen, both in a china shop.

When I was 8 or so, I was huge into the Barcelona ‘92 dream team and the Bulls. In fact, I credit the later rivalry of Jazz vs. Bulls as the reason why I can’t get into sports: my love of Bulls vs. my allegiance to hometown team broke my brain. Now I become slightly depressed at the height of any sports season, when people are posting about their teams. Feels like I can’t get excited about these very basic joys, and often cover up my anxiety about this with sarcasm and that annoying self-righteousness punk vs. jock mentality that people who don’t like/can’t do sports have. Rec’d no RTs or favs.

Tweet: What if your life-affirming backpacking trip/spirit quest/walkabout only got a couple ‘likes’?

Really hate those articles or posts that are like “live your life!” “travel!” “I hate domesticity!” Feel if people actually believed this, there wouldn’t be any articles or post about it because people would be out there, doing it. Otherwise, it’s like ‘fuck you. Even if you’re travelling, you’re still on facebook and the internet and doing the same fucking thing I am. Just in a different country. Don’t try to make me feel bad about having a job.” Probably saw a post like this to spur this kind of reaction. Surprisingly (but thankfully) rec’d a fav from @andy_keatts, a good SD reporter, and an RT @beritellingsen, a very talented writer. Also got RT’d by a backpacking bot. Good for that bot. Feeling like I could say “lovin’ life!” right now if someone asked how I was doing.

Facebook: Posted a picture of a the MFA vs. NYC book that came to CityBeat on writer Juliet Escoria’s wall. On the previous day, she and another writer Scott McClanahan were making fun of it in a quite-hilarious back and forth on McClanahan’s wall, so it was weird to see it materialized. One of those instances where coincidences made me so rabid to share that I dropped everything to take the photo. Happy with the results, but not proud of the initial bodily reaction that it caused within me.

January 9, 2014

Tweet: ‘DUHH DUH DOI I’M A STUPID IDIOT DUH FART SOUND JK LOL’ – my impression of Coachella

I literally can’t imagine a worse situation to see bands you want to see than Coachella. I tried. And shit can get weird in my head. Fav’d by @CandiceSD, who has good taste in music, so that made me feel good.

Tweet: This year, I’m going to save $$ on Coachella tix by staying home, turning up MGMT, and listening to it from downstairs while I eat poison.

You know, I tried getting into MGMT’s new album. I thought maybe there was just some elitist stonewall that sometimes happens when hip people like a band a little, then it gets insanely popular, and the next thing the band makes is not as good and those hip people, feeling duped into initially liking something sub-intelligent, unleash their wrath, as if music was something owed to them (see also: Black Kids). But no. I gave the new MGMT album a listen and it’s like those dreams you have where your high school NOFX cover band (YESFX) accidentally scores big with a novelty song about diarrhea and everyone is like, well maybe we should just keep going? Maybe we have something here? That is MGMT’s entire career. RT’d by @owlandbear, a big San Diego music blog, which resulted in a lot more RTs and Favs. Ending this week strong.

Today’s moment of restraint came from wanting to post the the link for this band SDCB music editor Jeff Terich showed me: Big Ups. They rip.

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Maybe readings aren’t boring. Maybe it’s you.

Wrote this in response to an article about boring readings.

Maybe readings aren’t boring.

Maybe it’s you.

Not just you, but all writers.

Maybe when we perpetuate the image of a sad, boring writer, we’re going to be sad and boring.

Writers: quit perpetuating your weaknesses

Quit perpetuating self-loathing.

Quit being bitter.

Quit engaging with your detractors.

Quit relying on booze as a social crutch.

Quit being unapproachable.

Quit being fucking weirdos.

This, coming from a guy who was diagnosed with anxiety and depression this year.

This, coming from a guy who just lost his cat.

Just be regular human beings.

Who can have conversations.

Who have other interests besides literature.

Who don’t have to have the most interesting things to say all the time.

Who can be awkward, and that’s okay.

I’m hella awkward.

Nobody has ever said a Scott McClanahan reading was boring.

Being human is a major theme in his writing.

Don’t talk about the reading while at the reading.

You don’t go to a party and talk about literature.

(if you do, then that party sucks)

There will be nobody who is as in love with your writing as you are.

But a reading is your chance to sell it.

If you’re a “boring” reader, get stage-coaching.

You care enough to get your writing edited, but not enough to get your performance edited?

Sorry, bud.

The insular writer doesn’t exist anymore.

Not if doing this for living is your ultimate goal.

It’s weird that we can be so self-involved while perpetuating the idea that we’re miserable people.

Quit aggrandizing “writing” as this untouchable art.

Our writing is not doing anyone any favors.

We’re doing it because otherwise we’d die.

It is like breathing.

Breathing isn’t boring.

Finding boredom in watching someone else breathe says more about you than the breather.

Focus on that.

Not your qualms with Big Publishing.

(who, in the Grand Scheme of Things, are not nearly as evil as the record or movie biz)

Not your twitter following.

Not James Franco.

I’m not saying don’t be sad.

I’m not saying be more happy.

I’m saying don’t perpetuate the idea that our lives our pathetic.

I’m saying there is nothing wrong with being a writer.