Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guide to "The Last Easy Summer"

I just finished a near-final draft of my short story "The Last Easy Summer," which I've been slaving over these last few weeks. Actually, I've been working on this story for over 3 years, ever since my love of Southern Gothic literature intertwined in my mind with the fear of a rusty, chain link fence that I frequently passed by at Boston University.

This is effectively the short story I've always wanted to write and it is clear that all my writing before now has led to this work. I almost want to disown that earlier work just so "The Last Easy Summer" can stand proudly on its own.

For potential future readers, some themes you should know about Southern Gothic Lit:

* The setting and or/characters are Southern
* There is always an element of the grotesque
* Cruelty pervades the tone
* There is often a revelatory moment

Personal goals I strove for in writing:

* Sparse prose, akin to other Southern Gothic writers like O'Connor and Faulkner.
- people who know me know this a difficult thing, to wrangle my predilection for long sentences and difficult diction.
* Some ambiguity, but not too much
* Incorporating a continuing thread of figurative imagery, similar to Joyce's beautification of the disgusting
* Suspense

I don't want to talk much about meaning or themes because that's for other people to explore and discover. But an interesting theme, or perhaps framework, that arose that I think people might miss is a weird recapitulation within the text, as if at some basic level, the same events keep occurring with slight variation. I'll admit, it was unintentional, but I love that it's there.

Email me if you'd like a copy to read:

It may take me a little while longer before I feel ready to relinquish the work and strong enough to take the inevitable and important criticism, so please be patient.

Star Wars Ewok Gospel

I thought this was pretty lame ...until the special guest showed up. I think I just geeked out.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mario Kart Wii

Allured by Gamestop's "Turn in 2 Select Wii Games and Buy Mario Kart Wii for $10 deal," I picked up my copy and an extra controller shell Sunday. This game is a blast. The online ranking, match-ups, and content are leagues ahead of Super Smash Bros Brawl.

Despite several reviews, I think I prefer (as does my brother) using the Wii wheel. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's much more immersive, not to mention rewarding when you win a race.

There's been a lot of hype about GTAIV this week. I'm eager to see how that sandbox of pretentiousness, violence and boredom ultimately stacks up against Nintendo's titular racer.

ERV on the Move

So it appears as if some tech-savvy creationists have disabled Abbie Smith's wonderful blog, and my personal daily reading, Endogenousretrovirus or ERV. The link is now dead. Remember kids, you can have freedom of speech, just so long as you say what Jesus wants you to say.

But fret not! Like the mythical phoenix, a new ERV blog has sprung from the ashes of the old. It's now part of that godless conglomerate otherwise known as "Science Blogs."

I've changed the link in my blog roll to the appropriate site. ENJOY!

Mika - Lollipop

Catchy song + Awesome animation = Win!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Celebrating Crazy [Padre Pio]

So, a bunch of Catholics have exhumed the rotting corpse of St. Padre Pio and are parading him around, worshiping him, and bilking money from the poor suffering who hope for a few minor, posthumous miracles.

His face is so badly decomposed that it has been "reconstructed with a lifelike silicone mask."

I know what you're thinking. Aren't the bodies of saints supposed to be incorruptible? And doesn't all this worshiping sound suspiciously close to that terrible sin of idolatry?

Well, rest assured, there are no conflicts of faith here. Sure, Pope John XXIII believed Padre Pio was a fraud who had 'incorrect' relations with women and sure, there's some evidence, though tenuous, that suggests he used carbolic acid to fake his famous stigmata wounds.

But see, Pope John Paul II was persuaded to bestow sainthood on Padre Pio. And since the Pope is infallible, Padre Pio is therefore worthy of sainthood. Case closed. Logic and reason triumph!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sex Ed Fails; Anti-Intellectualism to Blame

Surprise, surprise.

Experts Say Sex Abstinence Program Doesn't Work

Experts from the American Public Health Association and U.S. Institute of Medicine testified that scientific studies have not found that abstinence-only teaching works to cut pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases or the age when sexual activity begins.

The American Psychological Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also issued statements to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform criticizing the abstinence-only programs.

Lawmakers cited government statistics showing that one in four U.S. teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease and 30 percent of U.S. girls become pregnant before the age of 20.

Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican, said that it seems "rather elitist" that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Record!

Disapproval of Bush Breaks Record

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Featured Doodle -- Jay's Cartoon Mouse

Every cartoonist has a "mouse character." Here's one of my earlier attempts:



Monday, April 21, 2008

What Would Sexy Jesus Do?

Presenting the trailer for "Hamlet 2":

"Mango ice tea is my kryptonite!"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Science Paranoia

I dropped this comment on a digg article about "Expelled." I thought I'd post it here.

"The anti-science sentiment in America is staggering. This is the same science that has given our species 50 years of extra life, vaccines, technology, agricultural advances and a million other survival extravagances. And how do we show our appreciation? We sit in our air-conditioned houses, chomping on corn byproduct, drinking our filtered water, and declare those kooky scientists with their "theories" nothing but elitist conspirators against God. It's sickening, to say the least."

Friday, April 18, 2008


I awoke at about 5:30am this morning to find my bed unnervingly rocking back and forth. What was my first thought? What, as a supposed man of reason, science, and stoic rationalism, formerly of LA, was my first conclusion?

My bed is haunted!

I leaped out of bed and met my mom, dad, and brother downstairs, also awakened by the 5.4 earthquake. Slowly, my senses returned to me.

I can't imagine what our earliest ancestors must have thought. What kind of strained rationalization did they exercise? How many fairy tales have been born out of ignorance, ignited by the unexplainable, and accumulating on the brain like a black tar?

The latest, and possibly strongest, aftershock woke me up again. Apparently they've been going off periodically. More info.
Stupid Illinois. >:(

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Priest and the Buffoon

I don't know why I spent half of my day making this. But I did. So here we are.

And They've Got the Big Breakfast Taste that Kids Love!

What if you lived with a family of voice-over artists?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happiness is Submission to Godzilla!

Praise be to Him! RAWR!

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Monty Hall Problem

Monty Hall wants to make a deal. He asks you to choose one of three doors. Behind one door there is a brand new car! Behind the other two doors are goats.

After you have chosen your door, Monty Hall opens one of the doors with a goat behind it. He then asks you if you are going to stick with your first door choice or if you'd like to switch to the remaining door. What do you do?

Well, you might think, "There are only two doors left, so I have a 50/50 chance of winning. I'll just stick with my first choice."

Well, I'm afraid you are wrong. In fact, there is a 66% chance that the car is behind the other door. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SWITCH.

It's pretty counterintuitive, eh? This video clip might help:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Digital Voice Recorder

The digital voice recorder I ordered from Amazon came in the mail today (thanks Uncle Brian and Family!). It's a pretty cool little gadget. Hopefully it will help my writing productivity as well as serve as a valuable memory assistant.

In other news, I was shocked and appalled to see a trailer for that carnival of ignorance and maliciousness otherwise known as Expelled play on my television. No joke, I teared up a little at the thought of all the poor children who are about to be inculcated with the Big Lie, ridiculous paranoia and unwarranted self-righteousness.

So I'm doing my part to ensure that google searches lead intrepid inquisitors first to the NCSE's counter-propaganda site.

Here it is just a few more times.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kids, You Decide this Family Vacation: The Vatican or Love City?

ROME (Reuters) - She had no desire to be just another smiling face in Italian politics. So when porn star Milly D'Abbraccio designed her campaign posters, it was obvious she was going to show off her bottom.

Targeting her male fan base, the veteran of Italy's adult entertainment industry has plastered images of her derriere all around the Eternal City in a bid to win a seat in Rome's city hall.

If elected, D'Abbraccio wants to create a red light area with strip clubs, erotic discos and sex shops called "Love City" just kilometers away from the Vatican.

"It would be something cute, clean -- nothing to do with prostitution," said the actress whose films include "The Kiss of the Cobra" and "Paolina Borghese, Imperial Nymphomaniac."


Hahaha. Awesome.

Full Article

New Song - Shadows Theme II

Please take a few moments to check out my totally revamped, original music blog, now entitled Video Game Composer. It's super easy to navigate! And many tracks feature higher quality, streaming music!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Doodle - Envious Tap-Dancing Crab


"I could have danced circles around Sebastian!"


Friday, April 11, 2008

The Promise of Living

(By Aaron Copland)

In other news, I won 60 bucks in poker last night. Woohoo!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wing It [Short Film]

The Shadows crew back at BU have put together a terrific short film entitled "Wing It" for this year's Campus Movie Fest competition. I think it might just beat our entry "The Cranemaker" from last year.

Way to go, guys! Great job!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Remarkable Mr. Darwin

A couple of years ago, I read a collection of Darwin's personal letters and autobiography, compiled and edited by his son Francis Darwin. I'm considering buying a copy because it's really such a wonderful read. In the meantime, I've found several online sites dedicated to hosting the texts.

I've excerpted a few of the tasty bits Darwin wrote on religion, but please, if you're in the market for a new book, I highly recommend either picking up a copy or reading the autobiography online.

Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I suppose it was the noveltry of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian.

By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is suppoted, -- that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become, -- that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us, -- that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneous with the events, -- that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; -- by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least noveltry or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight on me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can hardly be denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories.

That there is much suffering in he world no one disputes. Some have attempted to explain this in reference to man by imagining that it serves for his moral improvement. But the number of men in the world is as nothing compared with that of all other sentinent beings, and these often suffer greatly without any moral improvement. A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to supose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the suffering of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time?

But then arises the doubt -- can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as the possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such a grand conclusions? May not these be the result of the connection between cause and effect which strikes us as a necessary one, but probably depends merely on inherited experience? Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.

I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble to us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.

You know that feeling you get when you read something and it's as if some powerful ghost from the past is speaking directly to you, moving you, tickling your brain? That's how I feel when I read Darwin. Simply stirring!

Darwin on Religion


Monday, April 7, 2008

Well, That's Not Smart!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spring Break 2008 [in pics]

I had a great time in Fort Myers. Here are some pictures!

Our Hotel:


View from inside:


Out to eat (not seafood fans):


Surfin' gators:


Shuffle board!


Fun in the sun:


Friday, April 4, 2008

Drunk Goldblum

Some genius realized that Jeff Goldblum's fast, slurry speech might sound like the mumblings of a hilarious drunk when slowed down. I can't wait until they do a few clips from Jurassic Park.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Best Ice Cream in Town

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr G's House of 2000 Flavors.

Living in Indiana for so long, I thought I had started to go crazy. I have looked up and down the Hoosier state for good, really good, transcendent, homemade ice cream, and every time, I've come up short. It's either too creamy, too watery, too flavorless, too custardy, or too something. These past years, I've been pretty much resigned to the idea that Nana's Ice Cream in Narragansett, Rhode Island must just be a wonderful fluke of homemade ice creamery.

Last night, I was proven wrong --and, believe me, being wrong has never tasted quite so sweet! I ordered a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone with chocolate jimmies (okay, this time I chickened out and called them 'sprinkles') and from the first lick, I was transported to a flavor world of deliciousness. Mr G's House of 2000 Flavor's brought back a flood of good memories and, dare I say it, might even best my favorite Nana's.

I have a theory about this. I think the salt in the air coming off the ocean does something to make the ice cream transform from being merely sweet, to becoming savory. But my data set supporting this theory is pretty small.

Oh, all you poor saps in Indiana, I feel for you. You're truly missing out. If you ever take a trip to Fort Myers, I suggest a stop at Mr. G's House. Mmmm.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Featured Doodle -- There's a Lizard on my Head!


I like this doodle because it has a somewhat unusual style --drawn with quick strokes that rarely connect.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You've Got to be Kidding

Well, life just continues to suck. There I was, wading peacefully in the shallows here in Florida, minding my own business, when I feel a little tug on my right hand. The tug was so slight that I mistook it for a rolling wave and ignored it. Boy was that a mistake.

About a minute later, there's a huge splash to my side and a red-hot searing pain tears through my index, middle and ring finger. I look down just in time to see a small, dark shadow beneath the water motor away. And yes, there's blood EVERYWHERE.

It's not until I'm out of the water and on the beach that I notice my fingers are MISSING. This is just great. There go all those piano lessons. And now I'm here in the hotel typing this entry with bandaged, bloodied stubs.

Thankfully. Man, I hope I didn't just jinx myself.