Checklist: Getting ready for the ball

  • tickets: check
  • table reservation: check
  • buy hat: check
  • practice dance steps: check
  • shower: check
  • shave: check
  • discover clean suit in cleaner’s bag was the old polyester one: check
  • find newer suit that’s still pretty clean: check
  • get dressed: check
  • help kid make brownies: check
  • pet cat: check
  • blogging while wife still running around naked upstairs: check

Careers in Science: Zymurgy

The zymurgist is so over finding it cool being the last scientist in the dictionary he’s even over being irritated at others finding it cool. Getting into the shower in the morning, he tries to take an objective view of his physique, and then abandons that pursuit as too painful. Putting on his underwear, the elastic twangs like… he spends the rest of the day searching for the perfect simile. Like a piano wire across a stool pigeon’s larynx. Like a guy-wire on a radio tower in a windstorm. He should do something about it. One of these days. Very soon.

Little-known facts about the Sheepshead porgy

  • Most important fact: the sheepshead porgy belongs to the Sparidae family, so don’t fucking fuck with it.
  • According to Wikipedia, the sheepshead porgy is the most celebrated sea bream, culinarily. Hence the picture here, geddit?
  • Also according to Wikipedia, the sheepshead porgy is found only in the Atlantic, and “its teeth are of like a sheep’s.”
  • That’s all.
  • But according to the Internet, the sheepshead porgy, or Calamus penna, is also sometimes called a mutton snapper, making it one of few marine creatures with multiple cool names.
  • Seriously. “Hey, you little mutton snappers, get off my lawn!”
  • The sheepshead porgy likes it warm, so we’re talking Gulf, Caribbean, South America, stuff like that.
  • Max. length = 46 cm, max. published weight 1 kg.
  • Driving to work this morning, the sheepshead porgy saw a billboard advertising a newspaper, reading, in large letters, “Mehr Trends, mehr Lifestyle, mehr TV”, and wondered if that was likely in the current day and age. More trends? The sheepshead porgy imagined a trend to fewer trends and less lifestyle, and more authenticity. The sheepshead porgy imagined people getting sick of TV, and the Internet, and other entertainment, and taking things into their own hands. The sheepshead porgy became giddy, and just missed a streetcar.
  • The sheepshead porgy also imagined a trend toward finally taxing, significantly, dumbfucks with so much money they have nothing better to do with it than speculate with it on Wall St. The sheepshead porgy differentiates between investors, who invest in companies, which is a useful activity, and jackasses who are just speculating in order to get rich. If they have nothing better to do with their money than that, they should be relieved of it by society, which does have something better to do with it, namely build an infrastructure, feed the starving, educate the seething masses, shorten the work week, build grocery rockets, good stuff like that.
  • Juveniles often found in sea grass. Juvenile delinquents often found loitering in convenience store parking lots.
  • It is silvery, and marketed fresh and frozen.

Bright idea number three, or something

There was the idea for solar-powered slotcar freeways, and the idea for something else, I forget what. Here is another idea for the world that I have been carrying around since I was a kid. I can’t figure out how to get rich from it, though, so I’m putting it up for grabs here:

Reciprocal development aid. By this, I mean not only would rich countries send aid workers to poor countries to drill wells, or vaccinate, or work on industrial development programs. Poor countries would also send teachers to rich countries to train people how to undevelop, and live with less.

How to write a killer blog post

I can’t read anything lately. Fiction sucks, blog posts* suck, self-help sucks, self-help blog posts suck most of all. Poetry is still okay, and maybe essays, haven’t read any of the latter lately. Soon, maybe, I’ll look for an essay on “How to get a Christmas tree out of your house without getting needles on everything or the kittens escaping.”

I have been stumbling across the occasional self-help blog post, and it is this scourge I’d like to address here. I missed the Web 2.0 make money with your blog memo, but there seem to be tons of people who didn’t, and there are all these new blogs out about how to do things.

This is caused, I guess, by the “find your niche” thing. Be an expert on something, and they will come.

Do those guys who do this really make money?

This, too, will pass, I guess. The nabobs will be all nattered out eventually. Because, eventually, it all boils down to getting into your car, and chasing Buddha down the road.

It’s not called self-help for nothing.

I read this article on How to be Independent yesterday. I read it by accident, I wasn’t googling “please tell me how to be independent” or anything.

It boiled down to popping a cap in Buddha’s ass. Pack your own lunch, stuff like that.

That’s my New Year’s resolution right there. Be less of a jerk. Pack my own lunch. This Car Does Not Break For Buddhas bumper sticker.

You should see the bumper stickers on Beta’s car. I drove it to work once when my car was in the shop and my co-workers now think I’m a maniac.

Here is my advice to all of you new bloggers who want to write killer blog posts: learn to play backgammon, and do that instead. Fuck. No one cares what you have to say. Some of us have been doing this for ten years now, or more, and we are much better at it, and no one cares what we have to say either.

Do some push-ups and sit-ups instead, and cut down on the refined carbohydrates.

Learn to play a musical instrument.

Fuck, I don’t know.

Why do you want to write a killer blog post, anyway? Who cares about blog posts? Blog posts are stupid.

Also: write something every day, to something-something with all those people who subscribe to your DNA feed or whatever it’s called.

Be independent, basically.

By “independent,” I mean “you”.

There are days you will be cranky and of the view that blogging is stupid: write a post about that! Maybe it will make you famous or something, and Amanda Palmer will play you a Radiohead song on her ukulele in her underwear.

Remember that less is more. Write, then cut everything out again. After ten years at this, it is easier. So keep it up, too.

Also, get a muse. I have several. Gamma was giving me good advice the other night. I was telling her a bedtime story about the Mayan prediction that the world will come to an end in 2012, and she said, “see, that’s the difference between the stories you write down and the stories you tell me,” (she finds the latter superior to the former). (In the story I was telling her, a little girl had heard a strange noise and was searching her darkened house.) “You would just write, ‘she looked everywhere,’ but when you tell me the story, you say, ‘she looked in that room, and then she looked in the other room, and then she went around the corner and looked in the next room, behind the cabinets…’ and so on. And I like that better.” So, remember to include lots of details and don’t cut out too much.

Also, give away free e-books for some reason.

And have contests!**

*except yours

** that reminds me, Valentine’s Day looms, doesn’t it.

The game of life

It is the weekend. Alpha and I are having a glass of wine (each) and playing the Game of Life with Gamma, and joking about each other’s playing styles, (e.g. Alpha buys every sort of insurance available and ends up with a higher income and lives in a nice house*, while Mig buys no insurance, lives in a trailer and is An Artist, and Gamma is a police officer AND the banker, and gets $5000 every time someone spins a 10 (speeding ticket), which Alpha does with statistically-improbable regularity, while Mig never does) and theorizing about what that says about each other. Gamma does a great job with the bank and keeping track of things.

“If I ever open up an Irish pub, I’ll hire you to be the bartender,” says Mig to Gamma. “You’re funny and charming and good with money.”

“And I have eleven years experience dealing with drunks,” says Gamma.

*and ultimately wins the game