Pumpkin Muffins Are Violence-Enablers

I wanted to surprise my wife this morning with pumpkin muffins topped with a gingerbread butter icing.

I slowly slinked out of bed, carefully removing her arm from my chest like Indiana Jones did the idol in the Mayan shrine. I let the dogs out in the murky cold rain and began prepping the muffins, only to discover that I was not only out of milk, but also eggs. So after letting them in and toweling them off, I set off to Publix to grab the aforementioned necessaries.

I was freezing, mostly because of my very poor choice of footwear - a pair of Adidas flipflops. I figured I was just going to run in and run out, but the cold wet morning made it much more of a slog through hell... And the lack of jacket and close parking didn't help.

As I was walking to the door, I saw a man who I swear to God, if I didn't already know he's too much of a jackass to do his own shopping, I'd think was Kanye West... Shutter shades and all. And beside him was the shortish, mid-50's checkout clerk I've known for years at the store pushing this man's cart full of groceries out the door to his car. Now, I'm pretty sure just seeing that this fuckstick had a woman pushing a cart out into the cold rain to haul his groceries for him was enough to get me to start barking, but what really set it off is when I saw him pull out the umbrella... And hold it only over himself.

If I was on the witness stand, this is the part where I'd say "I don't remember doing this, I was out of my mind." Because I mostly was. But I marched over to the pair and immediately yelled "What the FUCK, man?"

Dude cocked his cocky head my way. The clerk was taken aback - she knew who I was, but we aren't on conversational terms or anything, just pleasant hellos and goodbyes and whatnot when I shop. So seeing me in this light probably startled her.

"Wha?" The guy barely managed to squeek out.

"Why the fuck is she pushing your groceries out to your car, you fucking jackass?" I half-asked, half demanded. "It's not like you can't push a fucking cart yourself - and why couldn't you at least offer that umbrella to her?"

He couldn't answer. He tried, but I didn't let him.

"Fucking... Lady, let that cart go!" I yelled to her. "Let this dude, push his own shit!"

Now, it's her job to push groceries out to the car when requested. Her JOB. She was doing what earned her her paycheck. I understand this logically. But there's something incredibly disgusting about entitlement - I hate it, all of it. No one is entitled to a fucking thing on this Earth, and when you're a healthy male capable of pushing a wheeled basket out to a car and you opt to let an older, much smaller woman do it for you, I just don't CARE what rationalizations you have for the task, it's wrong.

The two looked at each other, then it looked like he was about to turn back to me and say something. He could have even been saying "Okay" and agreeing that he had made a bad choice. But again, I didn't let him. "Fucking NOW, jackass!" I said.

He put his umbrella in the basket, took control of the buggy, and began walking straight ahead. The clerk didn't have a clue what to think, much less what to say. I just went on into the store to finish making muffins for my wife.

That was my morning. How was yours?


For The Ladies: The Ins And Outs Of Getting Racked

This post is primarily for the ladies out there.

The reason it's for the ladies is because men already know all of this stuff. They've known it since the age of six of so. It's a constant part of our consciousness. It never leaves our minds, ever. It's pervasive to the point of being an immediate physical reaction that precludes thought and logic... Anytime anything approaches any area even remotely near our twig and berries, we immediately go into "guard" position.

But women just don't get it. They don't quite understand why the pain of being racked is such that it deserves this sort of attention. And the hard part of this is that it's several reasons packed into one, all of which aren't very easily described. But I'm going to try.

Of course, there's the embarrassment factor. Contact was just made with our unmentionables. A violation has just taken place. Aside from the immediate and lasting impact of the actual pain, there's been an emasculation, and we don't like it. That's our BOYS. You don't touch our boys... Unless its a mutually agreed-upon exchange involving intimate contact, and even then, you do it GENTLY.

Then, there's the generational impact. It's instinctive to men to protect the progenitor of future generations, and when we get racked, there's a base animal rage that flows through us in reaction to the possibility that we may have just lost our "go juice," so to speak. It's primal, and its uncontrollable, and if we could, we'd immediately kill the individual who just attempted to kill the millions upon millions of unborn lives packaged in our danglies.

But we can't, because it hurts in a way that nothing else has ever hurt, ever. I won't go so far as to say its the most excruciating pain I've ever felt... Breaking a limb (or several), or pulling a muscle / ligament from the bone, or yes, childbirth, might have higher pain thresholds. But the worst part of the pain from being racked isn't the physical sensation of pain, it's the complete shutdown of the rest of our entire bodies.

The sensation is akin to being punched in the stomach... But coupled with the inability to breathe and the black hole that just formed in the area of impact, there is a dull, throbbing pain deep within our bodies. If you asked any man to point directly to where it hurt, and they were capable of moving and/or speaking at that moment, you'd get a pointer to somewhere between the nads and the small of the back. And the pain actually varies based on the type of impact. The following guide assumes no puncture or laceration, with a force insufficient to permanently incapacitate the area:

The full-blown nutshot: This is full contact, full force on both orbs. The pain is severe, but distributed. The body shuts down. The lungs lose air. The throat can only groan. The mind concentrates immediately on the affected area.
Pain index: 8
Time of incapacity: 45-60 seconds
Lasting pain: 5-7 minutes for immediate tenderness, dull aches for an hour

The single-nut slammer: This is full contact, full force on one orb. The pain is severe, concentrated to a single roundy. As with the full-blown nutshot, the body shuts down, you can't breathe or talk. But the pain is actually more severe, being in just the single bobbly.
Pain index: 9
Time of incapacity: 60-120 seconds, depending on force
Lasting pain: an hour or more for immediate tenderness, dull aches for 2 hours after

The glancing blow: BY FAR the worst of the three. You'd think hitting both boys would be the worst, but no. The slight clipping of a buckeye is, without a doubt, the worst pain a man can feel. It's crippling, and for reasons you'd never expect - we can still move; we're not completely incapacitated like the full-blown nutshot or single-nut slammer. But I'm fucked if I know why I'd want to, because every single muscle and nerve ending is now tied directly to that ball. If I so much as flex my index finger, I feel pain in the area. It's not dull, it's VERY sharp and piercing. It's almost like being stabbed. A completely different sensation, and it destroys the rest of your day.
Pain index: It goes to 11
Time of incapacity: hard to articulate. Not incapacitated like the other two injuries... But you sure as hell think you are.
Lasting pain: The whole day. Maybe even the next afternoon. In case I haven't been clear, it's BAD.

And so, combining all of this into one morsel of knowledge, you now know why, if you asked a man which he'd rather have injured - [any body part here] or his best buddies, he'd pick [any body part] 9 times out of 8. It's not just the pain (although, that has a lot to do with it). It's the combination of evolutionary imperative, pride and excruciating pain.

And you now also know why you guys can't go comparing this pain with childbirth. Yes, you win - childbirth is more painful. But the buildup to it is 9 months, and you know it's coming and can opt for a cocktail of awesome drugs to cope. But with dudes, you get the double whammy on the double baggy of unexpected pain with loss of pride, topped with the cherry of knowledge that it could happen again almost immediately, and without warning.

And as always, ladies, you're welcome for yet another look into the world of men.


Digital Fatigue

I don't have a clue if "Digital Fatigue" is a real term or not - and I can't be bothered to Google it, because if it isn't, then I am a fool for using made up terms, and if it is, then I am a thief for stealing it. So let's just let the term float around this post, like that butterfly you couldn't catch in the jar as a kid, but was still there in your company, as much "yours" as if it was in that jar. Fair?


Anyway, that's what I'm suffering from lately - Digital Fatigue. I'm sick of technology. I seriously can't stand to open Twitter or visit Facebook or turn on my Xbox or even use my iPod right now. I can't really explain it any better than this: for the first time in my adult life, the thought that technology's pendulum has begun to swing in the direction of harm has crept into my head.

I can't tell you how horrible the hives are when I hear someone who used to make fun of me for being so internet-inclined and device-savvy get excited about this brand new Pandora app they found for their iPhone. In fact, you can't go to dinner in any restaurant in the United States these days - from Waffle House to Per Se - without seeing someone with their nose in a mobile device... Even the servers.

Sure, the argument has been made before, with every single major advancement in technology. The telegraph would ruin letter writing. Radio would cause cancer. TV would wreck society (and of course, it has, but never in my years have I honestly considered society something that wasn't wrecked in the first place). And it's not that I see the internet or even technology in general as evil... I'm just plain tired of it. It's like the rest of the entire world finally caught on about this thing I and many other first-adopters had to fight like hell to not only build, but be respected for even using.

"You met that girl on the internet? She's probably psycho... Or a GUY! HAHAHAHAetc"

"You read that story on the internet? Can't possibly be true... Huh? What the hell is 'Reuters?'"

"You bought that over the internet? Aren't you afraid it'll break?"

"You chat with people on the internet? Don't you have a life?"

And now, everything's Twitter this and Facebook that and App Store those. Everyone I've ever known - even people in the 3rd grade - have the same level of access to me as my best friend Mike does on Facebook. I take no joy in discovery on the internet, or with development or digital design, because to me, the discovery is now gone. No matter where you look, someone's already there, planting a flag and pretending they're the ones who discovered it. And they're not... They just can't see the people standing 20 feet away on the same plot of digital land, because their attention is solely focused on their own individual standing in this social internet whatever.

Again, I'm not saying these are bad things. I'm just WORN. OUT. Pretty shitty timing for it, too, given that my new book releases in a week and 3 days.


How To Flood Your Kitchen

There are many, many ways one could go about flooding their kitchen, and I'm not going to judge you for picking a method other than my preferred method, even if you are stupid for ignoring a clearly superior method... You asshole.

1) Have your wife complain that the hot water is running out too fast. This is the lynchpin in the entire process - your wife must complain during a shower that the hot water is running out too quickly. Or, it could be your husband. I won't judge, even if he's not the sort of man to go about flooding your kitchen and passes off responsibility to you... That pussy.

2) Have a truck with a flat tire in the driveway. This is optional, but will help greatly with the process, as you need something else to work on while you're flooding your kitchen. Or it could be a car.

3) Turn off the hot water valve at the water heater. This will halt the flow of water into your water heater. You can leave it on, but then you'd be a fucking retard. Don't be a fucking retard. Turn it off.

4) Connect a drain hose to the exit valve of the water heater. This is so you can drain the water heater and clear it of sediment and clear any air pressure that has built in the resovior. Yes, I know I spelled resovoir wrong. I don't give a fuck. I won't let you or this stupid red line underlining the word tell me what to do. I'm my own man, who fixes his own water heater and floods his own kitchen.

5) Turn on the hot water valve in the kitchen. This is to open the pipe and allow air to enter as you drain the water heater. If you don't do this, you won't get any movement out of the exit valve on the water heater.

6) Remove the sprayer nozzle from its hose. This is so you can blow into that end and expedite the siphon action on the exit valve on the water heater. NOTE: It is VITAL that you leave the hose without the sprayer handle hanging over the edge of the sink and pointed at the floor when you go out to begin drawing the water out of the exit valve.

7) Watch a ton of shit pour out of your water heater. This crap is why your hot water stops getting so hot, and why your wife complains in the shower. Or your husband the pussy. Either one.

8) Jack up your truck and begin working on the flat tire.

9) Decide to stop working on the flat tire because you cut your finger and need to put a bandage on it, and after you've done that, decide the water heater has done enough draining for the day.

10) Turn off the exit valve on the water heater.

11) Remove the drain hose.

12) Turn on the hot water valve to the water heater.

13) Finish working on your truck's flat tire. Take as long as you want. The more time you spend doing this, the better result you'll get on your final goal.

14) Hear the dog barking.

15) Look back toward the kitchen door leading to the garage.

16) See water flowing through the space of the slightly-opened door.

17) Say aloud the following words: "Oh, SHIT!"

Congratulations. You've just flooded your kitchen. I'm very proud of you.


Being The Early Bird

You ever hear that the early bird gets the worm?

What the fuck kind of incentive is that?!? No only do you have to crawl out of an environment that as close to the womb as you've managed to attain since being born, probably interrupting a really great dream involving twins (any dream, with any twins - twins are just neat, no matter what they're doing, even fixing bicycles). But you have to do it to eat worms!!!!

That's why I'm never the early bird.

Also, did you ever notice that, while the early birds try to fly with full stomachs, they lose their agility and can't dodge the engines of the Boeings flying the first-of-day commuters?

All that waking up stuff... Highly overrated.


A Last Line Before Dying

Okay, the subject of this post needs explaining. No, I'm not posting a suicide letter to the web. I have a lot to live for, like Tuesday night's U2 concert. I mean, sure, I could commit suicide NOW, and I will have seen Tuesday night's U2 concert, but then I wouldn't be able to see future U2 concerts. Of course, this could also be true if one or several of the memebers of U2 committed suicide now too. Which means that I didn't commit suicide for no reason.

Well, not for no reason. Just not that reason, because it would be moot (not mute, morons-who-misuse-this-term. MOOT. Know it.)

But there's also more to live for than just U2 concerts, I suppose. Like butter cookies, or watching a baby giraffe learn to walk. But it's the U2 concert that reminded me of an assignment I had to do in high school, where we were tasked with writing a letter to someone, assuming it's the last letter we'll ever write before we die. And why did the U2 concert remind me of that? Well, now you're asking me to explain how my brain works. And if I understood THAT, I'd probably never need to write again.

I think it's one of those long chain association things, where going to this show reminded me of going to the shows in high school, which reminded me of how many people thought it was weird that I was into U2, considering my affinity for Public Enemy and the Rollins Band, and how no one there really understood anything about me anyway, especially my teachers, which is where the memory of this stupid letter assignment came from.

I remember the teacher, Mrs. Williams, explaining in detail how the assignment should make us feel. Do we have things we wish we'd said that we haven't said? Is there anyone we've wronged that we wish to apologize to? Anyone in our lives who did something wonderful who we never thanked?

But the assignment on the board said, rather clearly: "A Last Line Before Dying: write a letter to someone in your life as if it's the last letter you'll write before you die."

We were asked to read our letters aloud to the class - which, as an aside, I now realize was a VERY unfair thing to ask teenagers to do. Think about it - you've just asked a 15 year old to spill their guts about something they're horribly remorseful for or share a private moment of thanks with their peer group. And perhaps this whole endeavor was in the spirit of freeing us and having us write in the moment or whatever... Bu knowing Mrs. Williams, I think she just got off on watching people in pain.

Anyway, so people read their letters aloud, and they typically fell into one of the two categories I mentioned above. "I'm so sorry I forgot to feed your cat and it died," "You were there for me when my parents divorced and I never thanked you," "I wish I'd gone bungee jumping with the rest of the wrestling team," all of that.

To the best of my ability, I've recreated my letter below:

Dear Clara,

Yeah, I agree completely, Seinfield is definitely one of the best shows on TV. I don't get much time to watch it these days - not that I'm busy or anything, it's just that my dad has put me on restriction from TV... Again. I think I've seen three programs on television in the past year. I did get my TV back last week, but then report cards came out yesterday and, as usual, five F's and an A in PE... So. Last night, in a tizzy, he unplugged it and put it on the shelf above my desk, where' it's been precariously perched since. It doesn't really fit up there. But he wanted to give me a constant reminder of what I'd be missing out on until I bring my grades up... AGAIN.

Anyway, I've been drawing a lot lately and have been considering submitting my work to a comics publisher... AGAIN. I know I write a lot of the same things every single week, but that's pretty much what goes on in my life. If it's not football or wrestling, it's restriction and drawing. And the occasional trip to the Emergency room.

I've had quite a bit of coffee this evening, and can't really hold my leg still. I'm shaking the entire desk (and probably the rest of the room) with the insane bouncing. It's making drawing difficult. I'm just glad I have my headphones on so I don't have to hear the toys and crap on my shelf clack and bang. I swear, one of these days something's going to...

Only instead of "..." i had a long streak of ink trailing from the o.

When I read this aloud to the class, everyone was confused. Mrs. Williams asked me just what the heck any of that had to do with my feelings before death.

I explained to her that I had more than 20 different pen pals - some international, some I met at the crazy Christian camps my parents sent me to during the summer. But I LOVED writing letters (and still do - thanks to email, i'm down to only three people I trade actual pen-and-paper letters with, but hey, I'm always up for more if you're bored and promise you'll write back). I wrote one a day, just about every day, to various people.

And I realized, if I was going to write one last letter before I died, it was likely to be to one of those fine people - and more than likely, it'd have been to Clara, a girl I traded two letters a week with. And I also realized, since I'm not the suicide type and death rarely comes when we expect it, that it'd more than likely not be all that interesting.

Some of the kids in the class caught on, and thought it was pretty funny. Mrs. Williams gave me an F.

I hated high school. But I loved the U2 show the other night.

...Hey, you signed up to read this thing, I didn't hold a gun to your head... Or drop a TV on it.


Coffee Snobs Can Enjoy The Complex Flavors of DEEZ NUTS

Hi there, coffee snobs. You know who you are.

It's about time someone calls you on your bullshit. Fuck you and your complex flavors and your aromas and your delicate blend nonsense. I'm glad you've found your way around your own pallette to enjoy a bittery black fluid as some sort of delicate vintage of fermented beverage. But really, if you've found time in your day to roast your own beans to the perfect color, grind them with a titanium burr-grinder to the perfect kernel size, brew them at exactly the right temperature and enjoy the complex flavors of the perfectly brewed cup of coffee, you're not doing enough with your life.

Get the fuck out of your retardo selfish life and go volunteer at a homeless shelter for an afternoon. You'll soon figure out that the perfect cup of coffee is the one you can afford to drink right this very second.

Now, don't get me wrong - weak-as-piss, overbrewed crap coffee makes me gag. And I absolutely do prefer a well-brewed cup of coffee to a watery hodge-podge of soaked grounds that's been warmed to room temperature - this is why I like Starbucks and not Waffle House. The coffee is strong, stout and tasty. But there's a very fine line between crap, "something made correctly" and "something taken to its unnatural, elitist extremes." See-thru coffee = crap. Starbucks = correctly made. What you guys are doing... Well, I think you've gotten the point by now.

And no matter how well the coffee is made, there's no point in drinking the shit black. It's bitter and gross. I absolutely require cream and sugar in my coffee - it's how I like my drink. It's tasty. It makes me happy, and it speeds the delivery of caffeine to my system, which is coffee's purpose. It's high-octane and legal and makes me a better person. The flavor is something you tolerate until you learn to enjoy it. Humanity's relationship with coffee is a multi-generational case of Stockholm Syndrome with a beverage. It holds us hostage, and we learn to love it. Case closed. Any attempt to find delicacies in a cup of coffee makes you a fucking prick.

I'm not sorry. Shut the fuck up already and let me drink my coffee.


The Final Book! LQQK!

Check it out, I just got a copy of the final finished OMG I HAVE A FREAKIN' BOOK:

It's so great to see the final, finished product and touch it and hold it in my hands an call it George. But to be very honest, that's not the most exciting part for me. The best thing about seeing the final book was seeing my sister, Virginia Hall's awesome photo being credited on a Penguin book:

Maybe it's just the big-brother factor, but that's really the thing my heart screamed with joy about. I am so proud of her and her career, and we got a chance to work together on something - and it makes me super happy.

Anyway, yeah, there's probably going to be a lot more book shit going on in this blog the next month or two. I'll do my best to be actually funny and worth reading between those posts.


Book Release Party Nov. 7th 2009 - Set In Stone Edition

The book release party is now set in stone!

It's official: Twain's in Decatur, 7pm Saturday November 7th, 2009. There will be drinks, there will be food, there will be books with sharpies and perhaps even a dork to sign them. You have to come out and see for yourself.

Decatur is home to both hotels (click for a list - I recommend the Holiday Inn) and Marta, with a very vibrant and fun shopping district. It's a short train ride away from the GA Aquarium, World of Coke (which, honestly, I don't advise, unless you just REALLY fucking like Coke), and other events.

There's a Thrashers game that Sunday, Nov. 8th - Mike and I will be going. If you'd like to join us, let us know so I can get a group discount on tickets.

If you're on Facebook, please RSVP on this event!

If you're not and you still think you'll be there, email me and let me know.