Monday, December 24, 2012

A Timely Notion

"Life gets so much better when you give up on Perfect and set your sights on Better Than It Was Before."It's not my failure to post a new entry that depresses me.  It's my failure to even realize that I hadn't.  I feel I'm descending to a whole new level of depravity, here.  Pretty soon I'll be pouring Wild Turkey over my cereal, eating it out of a frisbee at 4 AM while arguing with the teevee, and wondering dimly who wet my pants.

But!  Until then, here is a piece of word art that my fantastic and totally undeserved buddy DR34MR made out of something I posted a little while ago.  (Y'all check her out - she is so unbelievably real.  The kind of gal who can tell a stain from twenty feet, and wear Cheerios in her hair with more class and style than ever came out of a bottle of Clairol.)

Anyway, I think it is especially appropriate here over the holidays, when things often don't turn out as splendid and lovely as Norman Rockwell promised they would, and it is too easy to blame yourself for letting down Martha Stewart, Bing Crosby, and the good people of the KISS Christmas Special. 

So here's to love, imperfection, and contentment, y'all.  Let's see if we can coax our ambitions out of that fancy get-up and into a nice pair of gravy-stained sweat pants.

--Hang on, Santa. We're coming.
--Hurry, boys. The eggs are hatching!
--What do we do?
--Wait a second. Everyone knows pterodactyls can't stand the screech of a guitar!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

10 Things I Learned From Watching "Skyfall"

Well, I tried to cut this for spoilers, but I can't get the dang cut to work.  So let me do this the old fashioned way and say


There's some spoilers here.

So probably you should see the movie first.

With that said...

10 Things I Learned From Watching "Skyfall"

1. If a female agent has a hard time driving big cars and assassinating bad guys, she'd probably be happier as a secretary.

2. Corollary to #1: if you have to fire a woman for gross incompetence, make sure you replace her with a man ASAP. 

3. Flicking your cigarette butt into a coworker's drink is a fun way to show how you respect her as a colleague and an equal.

4. Surprising a rape survivor in her shower is a great way to get laid.

5. Using a woman for target practice is *definitely* a waste of good Scotch.

6. Homosexuals are bad people who will molest you at the first opportunity. 

7. Corollary to #6: any good guys who happen to be homosexual will have the decency to keep that to themselves.

8. Nerds can type on their little keyboards all they want, but if you need to crack the unbreakable computer code, let a real man take a look at it.

9. Corollary to #8: you probably shouldn't have let Poindexter play with it in the first place - he's only going to make a bigger mess.

10. It's okay to be a physically and mentally unfit alcoholic pillhead who botches jobs and gets people killed, as long as you get the bad guy.

Look, I know it's supposed to be a fun spy movie, not a monumental step forward in the quest for diversity and social progress.  And I get that this is the James Bond franchise, not the MI6 Justice Friends.  He's the hero, so he's supposed to do most of the cool stuff and have all the deep and interesting flaws.

But that's exactly the problem.  If James Bond is a flawed hero, then I'm supposed to ride along in his head and root for him while he makes terrible decisions and treats women like garbage.  If he's a fundamentally broken anti-hero and we're *not* meant to identify with him, then this is basically a story about a guy who is rewarded for being a terrific asshole, mostly by virtue of being the least incompetent person in the movie.

I dunno.  This thing is currently sitting on $260 million and 92% on the Tomatometer, so it's clearly given a lot of people some solid entertainment.  But I'll say this much: anyone who still wants to lament America's descent into a dark age of political correctness needs to clam up and catch another matinee.

What do you say about a man like that?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writer's Digestion: After the Elephant

I'm sure you guys have heard it before.  When you're despairing over your writing and how unfathomably far you have to go, some angelic soul will invariably offer you a comforting pat on the back and that sage advice: "it's like eating an elephant: just take it one bite at a time."

So you tie your bib like the obi sash of a battle-hardened samurai, daub HP sauce under your eyes, and make valkyries of your knife and fork, until the bones of your enemy lie devastated and fleshless before you.

There are other elephants after that, of course.  Some smaller, others tougher, maybe one or two abandoned halfway through the brisket, when the sun and the flies beat you to the punch.  But you sharpen your eating-irons and step up your game, until - an indeterminate tonnage of meat later - you finally achieve that coveted Diners Club card, and entry into the blessed realm of Cornutopia.

Where you are woefully unprepared for what awaits you.

The Writer's Food Pyramid?

It's wonderful, of course.  No more sweating over a solitary carcass: here, you are seated amidst the beautiful people, with ten thousand delectable niceties passed from one illustrious peer to the next.  The variety is astonishing, delightful; the camaraderie intoxicating; the honor immense.

Until you notice that you're falling behind.  More and more goodies pile up on your plate, untasted, growing cold, as you frantically stuff yourself, marveling in despair at the swift, graceful ease with which your betters not only seem to dispatch every dish - website Wellington, chicken-fried conference, blog au jus - but keep carving themselves fresh slices of elephant all the while.  And then you begin to wonder whether the unsettled churning in your gut is indigestion, or the bile-soaked fear that you just might not belong here after all.

Or maybe you don't.  Maybe you were smarter than me and didn't spend five years living exclusively on malt liquor and elephant.  Maybe you started working this other stuff into your regimen a long time ago.

But if you didn't or haven't or just started wondering what might happen when you finally do start to get somewhere, I'll tell you what I've figured out so far.

1.  If you feel overwhelmed by it all, it's probably because you're still trying to do All of Something, and it's hard to switch to Some of Everything.

2.  Nobody else is really doing All of Everything, even if it looks like they are.

3.  Since you can't possibly do All of Everything, you might as well focus on the Somethings that you actually enjoy, and the ones that will get you closer to your goals.  (The more closely you can align those two, the better.)

4.  Ultimately, the worst thing you can do is Nothing.

5.  Life gets so much better when you give up on Perfect and set your sights on Better Than It Was Before.

And because I can't resist: apologies to everyone, for everything.  There's so much I'm dying to write and read and talk about, and all I want for Christmas is to sit down and interbrain with you.  Gimme a few more days to make it home again, and I will pre-empt the hell out of Santa.

If you could put my lunch in a blender and liquefy it and put it into a caulking gun and then inject it right into my femoral artery, even better.