Goldschmutz White Bean Zombie

Made a new video with the kid this weekend, Goldschmutz White Bean Zombie, with Bela Lugosi, bodhran and white bean soundtrack:

(Uses footage from White Zombie, which is allegedly no longer under copyright, and footage Gamma shot in and near Vienna a while back.)

Dz, dz, dz

A story of mine (“Immune”, a zombie love story) was just published online as a podcast at Words with JAM. What is especially awesome IMO is the musical piece that accompanies it.


Our home wifi went out so I told my wife to fix it. She spent several hours on the phone with our provider’s tech hotline and they ultimately told her to reinstall everything. To do this we needed an installation CD-ROM, which she asked me to fetch from the shop.

The first shop I went to, after work, was the second-nearest to my office. I thought the nearest, which was downtown, would take longer to get to due to city traffic. So I went to a mall, despite my dislike of malls. This one was huge and I found the maps confusing but managed to find the shop without too many detours and no tears. The saleswoman at the shop was kind and friendly and phoned around to the other shops to see if they had installation CD-ROMs, because this particular shop was fresh out of them.

I had a choice between the shop clear across town, on the far outskirts of Vienna, or the one in Lugner City, an inner-city shopping center I had until now avoided. Since I would basically drive past that one on my way to the one clear across town, I had her reserve me the last installation CD-ROM they had at the Lugner City shop. Forty-five minutes of congested streets later, I parked in space #712 at Lugner City and went inside. The air was stale, the quality of light in the parking garage was calculated to resemble that in horror films or action movies that begin with a crime in a parking garage. Nothing changed upon entering the shopping center, either, air-wise although the light became harsher, like when a crime is committed in a tacky shopping center in an action movie. I stopped and stood in front of a map, trying to figure it out. It was not drawn to regular map logic, unfortunately.

“What’s your problem?” asked an old man.

“Kilgore Trout?” I said. “Are you my guide here in the underworld?”

He nodded silently and pointed at a small square on the map. I could not tell which floor it was on, though. So we wandered all the floors.

“Answer my question,” he said.

“Yeah, well,” I said. “You know the Buddhist thing about no hierarchies? We’re all the same or something like that? I try to subscribe to that, and the social hierarchies implied by shopping malls freak me out. The last mall I was at I thought was bad, you know, the, ahem, low-class people you see at malls? I am not referring so much to income as aesthetics, education, curiosity, that sort of things. And this mall makes the other mall look like heaven.”

“Purgatory, actually,” he said.


“The other mall was purgatory.”

“And this?”

He pointed at another map. “First circle, second circle. Et cetera. Okay?”


“Okay. Your shop, it says here, is on the first circle. The circle of hell for people who can’t read maps.”

We went there. I had passed there before. It was now a shop selling faded plastic suitcases. Kilgore Trout pointed at a sign, ink-jet printed on green paper. “We’re Moving!” It said until they had finished moving, another shop was covering their business.

A few minutes later we were in the other shop.

“It’s like a zombie movie, you’re thinking,” Kilgore Trout said.

I nodded. Everyone looked like a constituent of the radical-right party, or one of the foreigners they hated so much. They all wore jogging suits and gold chains.

In the shop that was covering for the other shop while it moved, I waited for twenty minutes. First I waited behind a mother and her daughter at one cash register, but I guess I was standing too close and creeped them out so I moved to another cash register where a young man, his mother and his girlfriend were explaining smart phone reception problems to a clerk who told them that was the first time he had heard of that particular problem.

“Really?” said the young man.

His mother gave me a look I could not gauge because my glasses were smeared and I was standing at an angle from which, when I looked at something, I saw three versions of it in different focii.

“Really,” said the salesman. He sold them a SIM card to get rid of them.

“Finally,” said Kilgore Trout under his breath.

I told the salesman I was there for my installation CD-ROM. He asked me which one. I told him.

“Oh, you have to go to the other shop,” he said.

“Wut?” I said.

He pointed across the shopping center. I could see the other shop from where I stood.

“Hrm,” I said. “The map still has the old location, and at the old location there is a sign saying to come here.”

“Oh, is that sign still up?” he said.

I went to the other shop and spent ten minutes listening to one salesman selling a smartphone to a woman and her daughter, and another sell something else to what appeared to be a twenty-something heterosexual couple.

“I’m here for my installation CD-ROM,” I said, when my turn came.

“For…?” the salesman said.

I told him my name.

“Exactly,” he said. “The saleswoman at the other shop had trouble with it,” he chuckled.

I began to tell him she wasn’t the first to have trouble with my name, but then I just took the CD-ROM and thanked him because I wanted to get out of there.

At the elevator a man in a dirty sweat suit stood in front of the button. He appeared to be waiting for the elevator, but he looked even gimpier than the other patrons, as if it were totally possible that he was just standing there. So after this Schroedinger-like period of time in which we were both waiting for the elevator and just standing there, the elevator came, with piss inside.

We got in, he on one side of the piss, me on the other.

The elevator stopped at every circle of hell on the way down to the parking garage, and everyone who got in said something about the piss. Every time I had to fight the urge to say, “sorry, couldn’t hold it any more.” The urge was made easier to fight by the fact that it took me forever to figure out a suitably coherent, idiomatic way to say it. The elevator reached the final circle before I had figured anything out, and by then the moment had passed.

Turned out the elevator didn’t even go to the parking garage, I had to wander around more to get there. I took this ramp thing that led downwards. Since the parking was underground, downwards seemed good. The ramp also went past restrooms and was covered with toilet paper and other debris, as well as regular dirt. The light dimmed until it matched that I remembered from parking my car, and sure enough I was in the garage. I said “bye” to Kilgore Trout, gave him a couple drachmas and took my leave.

Then I realized I was in the wrong circle of parking garage hell. I wandered around that level for a couple minutes, but the validated parking ticket in my pocket wasn’t getting any fresher. I went down another level and finally found my car and drove home, although it took a while due to all the traffic, and listened to some Arvo Pärt because, come on.

The moral, I guess, is I need to get out more but geeze.

The people I usually hang out with, you take them for the norm. All you classy people, my cello teacher, musician friends, artist friends, wife, kids, all that stuff. People who make me feel like a Morlock among the Eloi. But I guess I am, instead, a Time Traveller somewhere in the middle. Assuming a non-Buddhist world view.

The other moral is, our wifi is working again, although just as buggy as before, and I don’t know who to get mad at, our provider, or the router/modem thing.

And it came to pass, that rock and roll was born (the artist formerly known as the Smallest Man in the World, continued)

TAFKATSMITW comes home from his top-secret seminar and his wife says, your mother called.

He laughs and says, we were just talking about her.

He goes through the house with a bucket of fairy dust or something, maybe love, tossing it like confetti.

He sees the cracks in his daughter’s evil adolescent facade, he convinces himself. This too shall pass, he thinks, in a good way.

He gets along with his wife.

His mother calls and tries to negate him for an hour with her negativity and he shuts that down too. All the right buttons were pressed, but the dancing chicken didn’t dance and his energy is not depleted when he hangs up.

All sorts of things.

He prays to Nikola Tesla he’ll figure out how to channel this energy.

Different group with the seminar this time, bunch of guys. He wondered if it was because he always ended up with a woman on his lap in the other group, in the constellations they did. Or hugging. But it turns out that’s the way these things work – he ended up with a guy on his lap this time. And his arm around another.

TAFKATSMITW is more surprised than you or I, believe me.

He laughed all the way home.

You know what his dream home used to be? A zombie-proof bunker.

They did this guided meditation, among a million other things. Blah-blah spiral staircase blah breathing. There’s a house, what’s it look like? Smell? Who’s in there? The punchline is it’s your heart. Does the door open easily? Added bonus: you can kick people out who don’t belong there.

His is made of cedar and glass and looks like a cathedral and the doors are huge and swing open easily. His family’s in there and favorite people and when he sees his grandmother and her husband, whom he never knew, he has to cry.

It looks like a church, only with a Tesla coil on top instead of a cross, crackling.

The zombies were all in his imagination.

What’s wrong with you kids get off my lawn!

Snowing, yes, yet again. Various cereals in me, Alpha’s banana bread in the kid. Trim fixed on car, new haircut, plans to go out to lunch today, ballroom dance class tonight, ball tomorrow, Alpha business trip Sunday. Wow, hard to find markets for zombie stories! Who knew? In reaction, entire zombie novel takes shape in brain. Yes. Pretending I have a drama allergy. Now, when things get dramatic, I swell up and gasp for air. When the choice is drama or laughing, I’ll take laughing, thx. What’s wrong with kids nowadays, you kids your music sucks when you remove the drama nothing is left. Well, some narcissism. Gotta go, bye!

BeeGee Apocalypse

It was snowing this morning, like something from a Sigur Ros greatest hits video, maybe because I had a Sigur Ros CD in the player. Not that Sigur Ros causes snow, just Sigur Ros similes. It wasn’t a greatest hits CD, though, but a specific CD, the whitish one with a little person in some treeish things.

My day started off productively.  I think my coffee was stronger than usual, at least it sounded that way when I listed to my wife my pre-6.30 achievements. Fed the cats! Got the paper! Made bacon and eggs for the kid and me! Cleaned the litterbox! Fed the birds! And more! I am a god! (Just kidding, God).

A day of win, and still so early. The trick is, I say the trick, actually a trick, a trick is to expect the worst, then it’s never worse than you expected, and usually better, so not only no disappointment, but actually usually a nice surprise. The inner contradiction of this method, of course, is that it — the method — hinges on not expecting the worst. The method, examined closely, is expecting things to be average but pretending to yourself to expect the worst – pretending to be an absolute pessimist. So, kind of a dishonest method. Also, it’s hard to expect the worst, because you can always think of something worse than what you just thought of. Zombies! No, wait, zombies holding your family hostage! No, wait zombies eating your family! No, wait, BeeGees eating your family! BeeGee apocalypse!

Aim for the teeth!

After that it all sort of unravelled, because suddenly the BeeGees were in Ireland and people were arguing over how they could get to Ireland in an apocalypse, and deciding RyanAir and stuff.

The Sense of Being Stared at by Zombies

This morning, after being awoken by kittens at 4 AM after spending my first night alone while my wife was away on business and my children skiing with their grandparents and aunt, and kicking them out into the hall and ignoring their scratching at the door and then falling back to sleep and getting up at 5.30 to feed them and the big cats and then eat breakfast and feed the birds and clean litter boxes and take a shower and shave, I went upstairs to get dressed and standing there in the walk-in closet found the phrase “The Sense of Being Stared at by Zombies” in my head at the same time that I heard something scratching in the walls, much like the sounds taken to be rats in the ceiling or attic, I forget which, at the start of the novel “The Exorcist” (after reading that as a kid I lost any interest in watching the movie), and so stood there, wondering on the one hand what new resident this was I was hearing, a nest of martens, perhaps, or rats or birds or demons (when I thought of demons, another phrase entered my head: “The bad thing about slicing open demons is more demons come out”) and on the other what would differentiate the sense of being stared at by zombies from the sense of being stared at in general, and if it was humorous to imagine Rupert Sheldrake discussing the first draft of his book ultimately published as “The Sense of Being Stared At” with his agent, and his agent advising him to take out the zombies then it might be okay, or if I was one of those people who should not live alone for an extended time.