2008 recap - worst year ever (especially for Zune owners)

So yesterday, I twittered (tweeted?) a little missive about how I thought 2008 was one of the worst years ever. A lot of you agreed.

Then, this morning, I saw on Gizmodo that, apparently, every Microsoft Zune 30gb device has frozen at the same time. That's every Zune that anyone purchased, anywhere across the globe (all 12 of them).

So, let's go through the list, in no particular order, of things that happened to me and the world this year:

And all of this made 2008 pretty damn bad... But then, Microsoft Zune owners experiencing simulatneous freezing on the last day of the damn year - that capped it. Worst year ever. Not even finding my beloved Nike Air Minots could save the year.

There were a bunch more stupid events in 2008, but I'm tired of looking through my blog history and Wikipedia's 2008 recap now. If you can think of some I missed, please comment and let me know what they were (or, shitty shit that happened to you - either one is valid).


@chickenlittle: I'd totally eat a penguin

My dear dear friend @chickenlittle on Twitter asked the question "If you had to eat a panda, a zebra, a penguin, a dalmatian, a skunk or a raccoon, which would it be?"

I was going to respond to her on Twitter, but I realized that there are a fair number of you out there who have never heard me go off on this particular diatribe. I don't think it's come up at book signings or events, and really, why would it? But for the curious, I'll have you know that on my list of 100 things to do before I die, "Eat a penguin" is firmly in the #54 spot.

Now why, of all the things I could and should do before I die, would "Eat a penguin" make it to the list? Well why the fuck not? I want to eat a penguin before I die. I seriously do. And I can't really explain why that particular desire arose within me. I think it came to me during a discussion on items you can't find on any menu in any restaurant anywhere. We deduced that you can eat whale in Russia and Alaska, and horse is on the menus in France. Both dog and cat (and anything with 4 legs, really) are on menus in China and East Asia, elephant can be had in Africa... But no one serves penguin anywhere.

And as near as I can tell, there's no reason whatsoever why this should be true. The damn things can't fly. They CANNOT FLY AWAY. They also run at a glacial pace, and have no real defense against our ensnaring them and flaying them and grilling them over a hot fire, save their cuteness and penchant for being the icon for popular open source operating systems.

No, there's no good reason why penguin shouldn't grace the menu of restaurants what should normally have access to them, and yet, we've never seen it anywhere. So, in the spirit of simply making things right in terms of the food chain and my place in it, I've decided that I must some day devour a penguin.

In other news, you had fair warning that I wasn't going to be writing much of anything worth reading this week. You only have yourself to blame. Yell at me on Twitter about it.


Joe's top 10 most popular posts of 2008

Since every other blog in the freakin' world is doing this, I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon and list out the top 10 most popular posts I made in 2008. Even though 2008 isn't quite over yet, it's pretty safe to do this, as I plan to update my blog with pictures of cats and traffic mishaps for the rest of the year. I have NOTHING worth writing about at the moment.

Traffic and read figures come from adding up all reads on my journal, as well as Facebook, MySpace and Livejournal (where my blog is syndicated in full). You'll notice the spike that occurs between numbers 10 and 9, and number 8 and beyond. 10 and 9 are what happens when I write something people email or bookmark on Del.icio.us and pass around, and 8 begins the postings to Fark, Reddit, Digg and whatnot.

And now, the list:

10) Ten Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage (and How Stupid They Are): The title pretty much spells out the article. I wish this one was much more popular, but it seems that it was outshone by fist fighting, Xbox error codes, Athiests and - of course - bacon mac and cheese.

9) Pizza Hut's Bacon Mac & Cheese Sucks Butts: Not really the title of the article, but it's true.

8) 80169d94: The error code that appears on Xbox Live when your account is marked for "fraud". It's a protection that Microsoft levies on your behalf, since they think someone's been trying to steal your info. What it really means is that you can't add Microsoft Points to your account by any method, which means you can't buy the new Rush music packs on Rock Band. Which is infuriating. This one is huge in Google, and it's my number one "search term" traffic source. Which makes me sad, since it means so many people can't buy Rush music packs for Rock Band.

7) The Top 20 Workout Songs Ever Ever: Just my little mixtape for the internet. Caused a rather long discussion on workout music at Fark. Fun fun fun.

6) The Tattoo Recap: It got posted on Japanator and Wired, and from there, the internet got to know my left arm pretty intimately. I just hope it turns into traffic for Todo, because he's a badass.

5) The Absolute Beginner's Guide To Working Out: A huge topic for a huge audience, and one I'm VERY proud to have written. I've been emailed a LOT about this article, more than any other. I guess people don't like commenting publically when they're just starting out with the gym, but I'm honored that so many folks found this to be the inspiration and education they needed to better their life. In 2009, I'll be doing a full series on working out for the average person, including videos of how to do every exercise I do and why they're good for you. I think that the majority of videos and how-to's out there include images of these top 1% of human being bodies, and that really throws people off and deflates them. I think if an average guy with a bit of a gut but a lot of fitness were to produce a series on how you can be livably, sustainably fit, it'd do a lot of people good. Maybe I'm wrong tho.

4) Why Men Fist-Bump: What can I say? Kid n' Play wins them over every time.

3) The "Swiffer WetJet Gonna Kill Yo' Puppy" email forward: Again, a rant turns into a movement. Who knew? What's really amazing is the fact that this article was done in the middle of December and skyrocketed to #3 on my list. It also started quite a long chemestry debate on Reddit. Insane.

2) How To Actually Talk To Atheists (If You're Christian). I don't have the first clue what to say about this one. I guess my rants make sense to people... Either that, or there's a TON of unicorn lovers out there. The only real opinion I have on this one is that I'm glad it's getting some discussion, because it's a topic that really resonates with me. The dichotomy between "being a Christian" and "acting like a Chrisitan" is one of the most interesting things in the world. It's probably my 2nd favorite thing to talk about, next to Battlestar Galactica. Also, it was officially blessed and recommended by no less than the Church of England. Holy crap, right?

1) How to Actually Win A Fist Fight: I had no idea this would end up being so popular (or even popular at all). It ended up on Digg, Fark, Reddit and StumbleUpon, then on every single MMA and fighting forum on the net (just about). And it still gets over 1,000 reads a week. Just goes to show, you never know what's going to resonate with people. Another article I am extremely proud of, based on the emails I've received from folks who have either won their first fist fight (mostly young teens who used to get bullied) or have gained a measure of confidence just from knowing the rules.

I hope you enjoyed my little corner of the internet in 2008, and I will go ahead and tell you not to expect much in the way of good stuff in 2009, because I used up all my creative juice in 2008. I'm depleated. Expect nothing but kitten pictures and recipies for halibut next year.


One of the best Christmas short films ever

Thanks to my buddy Joe Hunt (the PhotoGnome) for reminding me this exists:

And Merry Christmas to everyone, even those of you who don't celebrate it.


Just got into an accident? Need help from a bystander to live? Fuck you.

This just blows my mind. Can you imagine getting sued because you didn't sit by and let a person suffer in a mangled car after a wreck? What if someone needed CPR and you gave it to them, but broke a rib in the process? Or if someone was in a burning building and you rushed in to save them, tripped with them on your shoulder, and had them fall and receive a bruise?

I understand from a PURELY LEGAL standpoint where this decision is coming from. If you consider it from the standpoint of who is responsible for individual injuries, and someone's about to die from smoke inhalation in a mattress factory fire, and you drag them out by the arm and dislocate their shoulder in the process... Yeah, you caused them harm. For the courts to say "no, you cannot sue this person for injuring you because they were attempting to render aid" is to completely nullify any and all basis for malpractice by any doctor or licensed medical professional... I mean, sure, they inject you with penicillin even though you had a medic alert bracelet saying you were allergic, but they were trying to help, so they're not liable, right?

But really, fuck you if you actually go through with that lawsuit. I understand that you wouldn't have gotten an injury if not for my actions, but I just yanked your ass out of a fire, or got your heart going, or caused you to start breathing, or kept a train from nailing you on the tracks... Show a little fucking gratitude, huh?

Here's the thing - even if I knew I was going to get sued, I'd still have to help. I couldn't stand by and allow something as petty and stupid as a lawsuit keep me from watching someone die. I hold an ardent belief that if someone needs your help and you're capable of giving it, and refuse to do so, you're liable for any ill that befalls them. But I swear to God, if I ever save any of you from anything and you sue me for it, I'm going to give you a few more injuries you can sue me for.


N.O. XPLODE WILL TAKE YOUR HEAD OFF (and ruin your chair).

I have been using workout supplements for the past year and a half of training. And one of the things I learned early on is that you have to cycle these things on and off, or else a) they wear your body down, and b) once that happens, resistance forms and you end up just pissing them away, wasting money.

My supplement regimen is a very simple one: Muscle Stack from MyoGenesis (Creatine for volumization, Glutamine for sustained aerobic energy, zinc and magnesium to promote testosterone production), protein powder, and an energy booster. My choice for months and months was VPX's "Redline".

Redline, quite simply, is rocket fuel. It's INSANE. It makes you want to run through walls like the Kool-Aid man. The problem is, your body builds up a tolerance to it over time, so you have to come off of it for a month or so every three months for it to do any good. I've also noticed that your "useful cycle" (that is, the three months it actually works) begins to taper to 2 months, then to one month between "rest cycles."

So I decided to try something new. After many, many recommendations, I bought a bottle of N.O. XPLODE from GNC:

I took three scoops before working out. It takes about thirty minutes to really get moving in your system, but once it does...


I had to stop after every single lift to catch my breath. I felt like I was sprinting a mile every time I did a movement. My heart was pounding and I was sweating like a madman. But even with the huffing and the puffing, the energy was there - I was able to push as hard as I used to with the Redline product, doing extra reps and staying at a higher weight longer than I normally would.

So, as an experiment, I took some just as a "wake me up" this morning, instead of coffee.

Don't do this.

I am sitting here at my desk, literally shaking in a cold sweat. My heart is pounding and I'm sitting on towels trying to keep from ruining my chair with my perspiration. I have had to retype several words while writing this due to the jitters in my fingertipss. I think I'm going to have to go run a few miles just to get this stuff to settle down. At any rate, a change of clothes and a shower are definitely called for right about now.


I caused the AFL's failure

I know it was certain before, but now it's absolutely definite - I won't be playing in the AFL this year.

Subject: Force Open Tryout Refunds
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 7:26:48 -0500
From: Atlanta Falcons
Reply-To: Atlanta Falcons

The Arena Football League announced Monday it is suspending operations
for the 2009 season.

For this reason, the Georgia Force is issuing refunds of the $75 tryout
fees to all who registered for open tryouts in 2008.

Those who paid with credit cards will be receiving a credit to their
account in the next 48 hours. Those who paid by check or cash will be
mailed a check in the next 7 days.

We thank you for your interest in the Georgia Force, and we look forward
to seeing you in 2010.

Georgia Force Football Club

As you surely know from reading my book and website, I am a weirdness magnet. I caused yellow jackets to swarm and hospitalize a boy just by walking down some stairs. I caused PeTA protesters dressed as cows to shut down a steak restaurant, just by choosing to dine there. And I have surmised (and actually been directly told) that the AFL has shut down because I chose to train for two years to try to make it.

But hey, look at it this way, it didn't shut down last year, because I wasn't ready. Perhaps this is an indicator that I actually COULD have made it this year?

Oh well. I guess I'll go try to be a writer for Real Housewives of Atlanta, hopefully bringing about the end of that piece of shit.


Only YOU can prevent bullshit email forwards, "swiffer-will-kill-your-puppy" edition

Folks, let me share with you a little bit of information that, until this morning, I thought everyone knew:

It's 2008.

I know, right? There's a lot of stupid people out there, but even the most functionally retarded among them knows by December 16 that they've been living almost an entire year in 2008. That's 19 years after Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, 39 years after the invention of the internet in general, and a whopping 172 years after Charles Babbage invented the first computer, the analytical engine. In 2008, there are more computers than there are people in this nation, and almost all of them are connected to the internet - as are cell phones, music players, wrist watches... There are even toasters and alarm clocks that are connected to the internet.

So why the FUCK don't people use these miracles of modern ingenuity to check Snopes.com whenever a hyperbolic, exclamation-mark filled email warns them about complete bullshit instead of just hitting the stupid "Forward" button?

The latest one to hit my inbox? The "Swiffer Wetjet Will Kill Your Puppy In The Liver!" email:

From: [Name Withheld]

-------Original Message-------

I checked with snoopes this one is true.
Take care of your pets
[note from me - whoever "HV" was on the original chain, he or she is a FUCKING LIAR.]

-----Inline Message Follows-----


Recently someone had to have their 5-year old German Shepherd dog put down due

To liver failure. The dog was completely healthy until

A few weeks ago, so they

Had a necropsy done to see what the cause was. The

Liver levels were

Unbelievable, as if the d og had ingested poison of

Some kind. The dog is kept

Inside, and when he's outside, someone's with him, so

The idea of him

Getting into something unknown was hard to believe..

My neighbor started going through all the items in the

House. When he got to

The Swiffer Wetjet, he noticed, in very tiny print, a

Warning which stated

'may be harmful to small children and animals.' He

Called the company to

Ask what the contents of the cleaning agent are and

Was astounded to find out

That antifreeze is one of the ingredients (actually,

He was told it's a

Compound which is one molecule away from antifreeze).

Therefore , just by the

Dog walking on the floor cleaned with the solution,

Then lickin g its=2 0own paws,

It ingested enough of the solution to destroy its


Soon after his dog's death, his housekeepers' two cats

Also died of

Liver failure. They both used the Swiffer Wetjet for

Quick cleanups on their

Floors. Necropsies weren't done on the cats, so they

Couldn't file a

Lawsuit, but he asked that we spread the word to as

Many people as possible so

They don't lose

Their animals.

This is equally harmful to babies and small children

That play on the floor a

Lot and put their fingers in their mouths a lot.








(Sorry for the word wrapping. It came to me that way, and I'm not about to go copy-edit this hunk of filth.)

Now, Snopes has done a fine job of dissecting this email's vailidity based on their proven methods (antecdotal evidence, no hard facts, no case records, statements from Proctor & Gamble and the ASPCA, etc). But there's one aspect they didn't go into (probably because they're nice) that I would like to explore a bit (probably because I'm not nice).

Basic high school chemistry teaches us that "one molecule away from [x]" is completely meaningless. It's purely semantic how closely related one molecule is to another, and it's only worrisome based on your brain's comprehension of English and what words mean. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ACTUAL SCIENCE.

Saying that Swiffer WetJet cleaning solution is "one molecule away from anti-freeze - so it'll kill your pet like anti-freeze" is like saying that table salt is one atom away from chlorine, so you can clean your pool with it. It's borderline retarded. Only in a nation full of dummies could a statement like that even remotely bother anyone.

Think I'm being too hard on the poor animal lovers who fell for this? Think that I am insisting that any level of understanding in a specialized field for the general populace is unfair? Well, you're a dummy too.

Look, I write stupid books about myself for a living. I don't know jack fucking shit about chemistry. But I do understand what atoms are, what molecules are and how, when a mommy atom and a daddy atom love each other very much, they bond and form a substance, and that some substances in the world share similar building agents as others. Which means that me - an untrained non-expert who sat through high school chemestry class, understands that just because substances share root atoms doesn't make them the same (or even nearly the same... The same atom which makes a Hydrogen bomb go "BOOM" is found in your drinking water).

A basic level of understanding of how things work is not too much to ask of people. If you know how to press the "forward" button in your email client, you should also know how to Google shit. You don't even have to know the name Snopes to find it with a basic search for "Swiffer WetJet pets".

I sent out an email to the 300 or so people whose email addresses appeared in the chain of the conversation. It was worded civilly and explained the points I made above, but nicely. It also requested that everyone in the chain pass the information backward to everyone they've sent the email to. I stopped short of asking whoever "HV" was to go choke on a cock and die for lying to everyone the way they did.

What I'd ask of you, kind reader, is that you begin doing the same. Begin emailing anyone and everyone who forwards you nonsense. Let them know that, with the wildfire of email misinformation spreading as it does, that you've decided to become the fire marshal. Give them sources to check, call them on their bullshit if they say they checked them, and politely embarrass them into knocking this shit off (feel free to use letmegooglethatforyou.com's embarrassing Google forwarder. I love it and use it often, mostly on Jeremy).

I don't mind the email. I like contact with people. I don't consider it "spam." I do, however, consider it insulting and lazy that people claiming to care enough to pass this shit along, but don't ACTUALLY care enough to research the material and find out if, at the VERY least, they've been exposing their pet to danger all this time so maybe if something does crop up, they can let the vet know.


More deviant than furries (SFW)

You know, it's awfully hard for me to talk about deviant sexual lifestyles.

Now, I'm not talking about homosexuality, because homosexuality isn't deviant, it's inborn. And I'm not talking about BDSM, or role-play / cosplay, because I don't really consider any of that "deviant" because a significant enough number of people engage in those behaviors (note, not signifigant - signifigant ENOUGH) that it's not really something I consider strange or unusual. It's not what I do, but hey, it works for some folks.

What I'm referring to is the actual fringe of sexual behavior. Furries, Plushies, Beasties, and the like. And this new one I just learned about, Objectums, makes them look normal by comparison:

I find this sort of thing hard to discuss because, deep down, I really want to be accepting of these folks. I want to just accept that, hey - it's their gig, they don't hurt anyone doing it, and at the end of the day, we all have our little peccadilloes that we do - sexual and non-sexual - that bring strange looks and judgment from people.

But fucking a tilt-a-whirl is about where I draw the line. That chick is a freak.


Looks like playing in the AFL is not going to happen...

... And not because I didn't do well at tryouts or they didn't like me.

According to some insider people whatevers, the AFL is canceling their 2009 season. It's not official from the AFL, and I'm checking with the players and coaches I know to verify.

It actually blows my mind that this is happening (if indeed it is), given the magnitude of the tryouts this year for every single team. I've kept in contact with people who read my blog and see my youtube tryout videos that are trying out for other teams, and everyone has reported that their respective cities had HUGE turnouts for tryouts.



MI Meetup Ohio Recap

Geez, this is a bit late, huh?

Anyway, we had a great time in Ohio. I have no pictures, so forgive that (I think people took some, and they're being emailed, so I'll update with pics when I get them).

These things usually go pretty well, so I'll spare you the "I think I did alright" bullcrap and stick to talking more about the stuff that was different this time around. This is the first meetup Andrea's ever been to, and for the most part, it was exactly what she expected. What she DIDN'T expect was to be the center of attention, so that was a bit strange for her. She had a great time, and really enjoyed meeting the Columbus crowd.

This was also the first time I've done 2 talks in one day. I didn't think it'd be a challenge, but one of the aspects I didn't really consider until I got to the 2nd talk was that a majority of the audience had already heard me talk for an hour at the book signing - so I had to go into new territory for the 2nd talk, but I couldn't just flat-out leave off the book-related stuff because there were new audience members for the 2nd talk. So it was kinda challenging to be new and original with the same old stuff. But I think I did alright - those listening are better judges of that.

Speaking of the talks, I had several non-me-related challenges with this meetup. First, God decided to go dump snow all over Columbus the day of the signing and meetup. This probably wouldn't be a big deal if it weren't the first real snow of the year, which resulted in just about everyone on the roads FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. We saw more knocked-over lightposts on High Street than I've ever seen in my life. It took us 30 minutes to crawl almost 2 miles from a restaurant to the bookstore. But despite the weather, everyone still came and helped make the event fun.

The bookstore, Aeropagitica Books, was fantastic though. They actually set up coffee and cookies for us! It was killer! I cannot possibly thank them enough for stepping in and hosting all of us - they were delightful and accomodating, and I will definitely sign there again for SURE.

Now, Kafe Kerouac... that's a different story sort-of. Even though I called and booked the place, and they had me on their website and signs, the worker-bee behind the counter that evening had no idea I was coming in, so she did very little to help us get the room set up. In fact, it was inhabited by OSU students cramming for their finals. I felt like a dick when we arrived, because we pretty much forced them out.


But the night went well, we had about 30 in the room listening to me go on and on about myself and stories and Penguin and whatnots. We had a few brand-newbies to the whole "Joe" thing, and I think at first they had no idea what to expect - but once they saw me talking and listened to a few stories, they knew that I was insane and there was no good reason to actually sit through all this. But speaking with Andrea really helped, since she's sane and worth talking to. So she kept them around.

Outside of the signing, I've been on the road quite a lot this week, and will be travelling until Thursday. December is usually a very busy travel month for me, and it's good that it's centered around things I like doing this year. Next year will be even more insane, given that I have an agreed-upon book signing quota I have to fill. Which cities will I go to then, I wonder?

Anyway, very special thanks to Nick (SexCPotatoes) and Tonee (TimeRacer) for setting the whole thing up. You guys rock. And thanks to everyone for coming out and sharing some laughs and brews and pizza with us. I had a blast, and I hope you did too.


Mike the vagrant

We picked up a vagrant on the way to Ohio. Says his name is Mike...


Mentally Incontinent on Google Books (if they'll quit screwing with me)

My first book, Mentally Incontinent, was on Google Books 100% for free for two years. Then, for whatever reason, my login as the owner of This Is Not Art! Productions wouldn't let me in, and hasn't since they merged all Google Services into one Google Login.

This wasn't really a big deal, until I decided to do a new revision to fix some more bugs and typos (and change some names, since apparently I didn't do a good enough job the first time). So I had Google Books remove the old copy, and decided I'd upload the revision under my already-created-and-working-just-fine login that I use for gmail and gtalk and everything else Google.

I did this three weeks ago. The book has been in 'pending' status all this time, until today, when Google sent me this email:

Subject: Notification about Google Books Partner Program Account
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 16:12:49 -0800 (PST)
From: Google Book Search
To: my gmail


Thank you for entering book information in your Google Books Partner Program
account. This program is designed for legal copyright owners who would like to
make their books discoverable on Google Book Search.

We use a number of automated and manual checks to determine whether our partners
are the legal copyright holders of books they've submitted for inclusion. During
our review we were unable to confirm whether you are the current copyright
holder for the titles below. We apologize for any inconvenience, but we are
conservative in our review process to ensure that we only display books
submitted by authorized copyright holders.

Mentally Incontinent (ISBN:0977418405)

If you are the legal copyright holder for the above book(s), or are authorized
by the copyright holder, please let us know so that we can include this material
on Google Book Search. In order to verify that you control these rights, follow
the steps outlined here:

Please note that until you have verified your copyright ownership, we will not
be able to include these books in the Google Book Search Partner Program. We
appreciate your assistance as we try to make sure that each book we display is
submitted by its proper copyright holder.

The Google Book Search Team

My name on the account is Joe Peacock.

My name on the book is Joe Peacock.

On the 2nd page in the book, you will see a notation that reads "Copyright © 2008 Joe Peacock."


I mean, I appreciate that Google Books has to cover their own buttocks - that's fine. But come on.

Anyway, the book will be back on Google Books and 100% free just as soon as Google Books unfucks themselves. In the meantime, there's a new story posted today, which hasn't happened in 4 months. Go read it and let me know what you think!


Why companies should invest in a copywriter

And you know, honestly, it doesn't even take spending money on copywriters - just hire competent web development people who know better than to use lorem ipsum in META descriptions.

The NFL - giving football-playing software developers a bad name since 1920.

U. S. S. A.

This is not supposed to happen.

Not here. Not in MY country. Not in the country founded on this document with these enumerated rights and this declaration of independence from state-mandated tyrrany signed by these men.

I wrote about this 2 months ago, and then, my family and friends and readers called me over-reactionary. So here I am writing about it again, and I'm sure I'll get "Oh, it's not that bad, we need those troops to help defend us."

The police and sherrifs are supposed to handle law enforcement. The National Guard is supposed to handle civic emergency response. The military is for fighting wars. Deploying the military on United States soil is declaring war against the inhabitants of that land.

That's us, citizens.

And yes, I know they SAY it's to bolster security against terrorism and national emergencies. Just like the Patriot Act and FISA and No-Fly Lists were supposed to do. And yet, everyday citizens are being prosecuted or restricted based on discoveries from these "protective" mandates for non-terrorism or treasonous activity.

George Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning, not a guidebook.

Welcome to the U. S. S. A.