Monday 8 December 2014

2014: My Year in Review


Turned the bitter, acrimonious end of my marriage into a cult hit Adult Swim show

Took several tentative bites out of crime

Cooked and ate a lobster roll every time I felt like a phony

Conquered your father to become Wino Daddy of the Year (Regional)

Stole a machine gun from my priest

Wrote an incendiary yet tender, acidic yet achingly emotional, witty yet piercing debut novel. Butter Butt Bobcats on the Loose in Lusitania!

Convinced myself that isolation and loneliness are just extremely painful abstractions


Pined with great futility for the phantom maiden of Ogden Creek

Failed to change the face of Scottish Highland dancing

Unlearned everything I was taught at the feet of that sinister cult leader

Became convinced that I could change the rabid, brain-dead mountain lion I dated for two months

Emotionally alienated the brilliant and drop-dead gorgeous woman I am blackmailing

Took a devastating punch to the sternum for five hundred dollars below my usual rate

Lent hundreds of thousands of dollars to that guy who turned out not to be Boz Scaggs

Saturday 1 November 2014

Quotes from the Screenplay I'm Writing That Is a SCATHING Critique of Our So-Called Media Landscape

"If it BLEEDS, it LEADS!"

"I don't care about nice stories, I want stories about MURDER! That's what gets viewers!"

"I may not have a soul- but look at all of my TWITTER FOLLOWERS!"

"If we're not making grandmas afraid, we're not doing our jobs, gang!"

"Like I said previously- if it BLEEDS, it LEADS!"

"But people are gonna think-"
"People are gonna think what we TELL them to think!"

"Guys, we're not broadcasters. We're drug dealers, and our viewers are jonesin' for that fix!"

(Evil station owner runs comb through slicked-back hair)

"'Politician Embezzles Money'? That's not a story to me. 'Politician Kills Guy With Chainsaw'? Now THOSE are the cookies daddy likes!"

"For the last time: if it BLEEDS, it l- oh, shit, I'm bleeding."

Wednesday 1 October 2014

You Wouldn’t Ask Me to Move My Bag from the Seat Next to Me If You Knew Its Dad Had Just Died

Look, I understand. You had a long day, and you’re exhausted. What’s worse, this bus is packed; literally every single seat is occupied. If I was in your position, I’d probably be somewhat desperate too. It’s only natural to start looking around, anxious to find someone—or yes, something—that may not be in dire need of a seat. I get it. You see my backpack placed on the seat next to me and you think to yourself: “Why does a backpack need its own seat? Surely a backpack wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a seat and a lap; it would be just as comfortable sitting on either.” This sentiment, while understandable, is highly presumptuous and, quite frankly, insensitive. I have a feeling you wouldn’t be quite so indignant at the placement of my backpack if you only knew that, just yesterday, my backpack’s father passed away.

Hmm, not so annoyed now, are you? In fact, you look downright confused as to how I could offer such a seemingly outlandish explanation with such confidence. The reason for your bafflement is a simple one: prejudice. You’ve been conditioned by your upbringing (one that, no doubt, came at the hands of a starved and angry pit bull) that backpacks can never know the pain of losing a loved one, particularly in a tragic backpack fire that took out an entire city block of Dayton, Ohio. It never once occurred to you that a being of cloth and vinyl might know the exquisite, incendiary pangs of loss. Well, take this to heart: this backpack has lived. It once had, for a short yet intense period, a serious problem with alcohol. (I put a flask in it but forgot to screw the cap on tight enough, so it spilled.) It has loved. (A dog humped it once in the park.) It has lost. (Well, it’s been lost. I left it in an Applebee’s after I got blackout-drunk on my step-grandma’s birthday.) It has certainly been mistreated. (One time, in order to impress his buddies, a very rude teen humped it in the park.)

And so, in light of these indignities great and small, is it really such a tall order to allow this backpack, a being that once saw Lou Reed in the store in which it lived before I purchased it (he was drunk and lost on a Labor Day weekend), its own temporary square of public real estate? Its own zone of comfort and tranquility? Yes, I’m sure we agree that it isn’t. And I would challenge you, upon leaving this bus, to go out into the world and spread my backpack’s message of kindness and peace to all whom you meet. Perhaps you can start with those three ten-pound bags of potatoes you’re towing? Revolutions begin at home, after all!

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Five Best Don Pardo Moments in SNL History

1) November 15, 1975: Casually adds the word "honey" to the end of every sentence he speaks throughout the entire episode

2) January 29, 2011: Spends a whole show yelping happily at a tiny squirrel named Footsy he'd brought into the booth to keep him company

3) October 31, 1981: In the middle of musical guest Fear's second song, Pardo repeatedly chain-whips one of the slam dancers brought in to populate the area in front of the stage. One of the dancers, Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye, is brought to tears by the sight of a merciless Pardo swinging his chain and yelling "Fake punks die!"

4) May 6, 1995: Adopts a thick yet surprisingly convincing Swedish accent for reasons that he never explained

5) February 20, 1988: Interrupts several sketches to read from his unpublished historical novel The Glistening Phony Horse of Horace Horst

Saturday 19 July 2014

The Old iTunes Shuffle!

Hello all. Recently I read and enjoyed my friend Dan McRae’s exercise in which he put his iTunes on shuffle and critiqued each song that came up, in the style of the old “Random Rules” feature in the AV Club. I have decided to do the same. In lieu of a review of each song, however, I have decided, with each entry, to include a random passage from a historical detective novel I’ve been working on. It’s set in Victorian England and is called Excuse Me, Death, May I Have a Word?

The sky held a tinge of red, thought famed detective Charles Snapes that morning. Blood, perhaps? Was it blood? Was it? Blood? No.

The constable tasted the ground with his mouth. “Hmmmm. Regrettable decision, that. Both unpleasant… and unfruitful.”

The man in the diaper seemed angry and confused, thought Snapes. Kidnapping him was a bad idea.

Bark beetles are so gross. Keep them away from me. END OF CHAPTER 58

Professor Hogwhitechurch kicked the dead body. “He is probably still alive.” The professor leaned down and slapped the body. The dead man’s foot fell off. “Goodbye, foot.”

“Where were you on the night of the murder?”
“I will never have sex. No way, jack. It’s dirty, filthy biz-nasssss.”
“Miss, please try to focus. That’s not what I was asking you about…”
“I don’t have sex and I never will,” she shouted, falling backwards into the shark pit.

“Look at them down there,” muttered Shackleford. “They almost look like little ants running hither and thither.”
“That’s because they ARE ants. You’re looking at ants.”
“I am?”
Boris laughed. “No, I’m just kidding. Those are people.”
“Really? Then why am I able to step on them?”
“Because you’re 800 feet tall, sir.”
“I am?”
“No. I’m kidding again. Those are ants.”

Snapes looked up at the incredibly big sky above him. He could see that it would rain soon, and he would need to work quickly to work out the kinks in his plan. He wasn’t exactly a big fan of the kinks (in his plan).

Shackleford spun around, pistol in his hand. Then he spun the other way, holding a burrito this time. A third spin revealed that he was now gripping a lake trout. He then exploded.

Bath beads. Snapes laughed out loud at the thought. How could something so foamy be so evil? THE END

Monday 14 July 2014

Five Cheap Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer

Summer, a period that many argue is the hottest of the four seasons, is now upon us, and unless you are a cyber-humanoid with coolant pumping through its veins, you’re probably looking for easy ways to beat the heat. (If you are a cyber-humanoid, I welcome your eventual full-scale takeover of humanity!) But what’s that you say? You’re on a budget? You weren’t born into a family of tenacious and successful gun-runners like I was? And as a result, you can’t afford an AC unit or the increased utility bills it would generate?  No problem! Here are five ways to keep cool in July and August that won’t hurt your cheque book. (This is assuming that you, as I do, make absolutely every purchase using cheques, regardless of whether it is convenient or even acceptable.   

1)   Buy a Handheld Portable Fan
A handheld portable fan is an affordable and fun way to stay frosty even on the stickiest of days! Prices vary from $4 to $12 dollars if purchased legally. Do keep in mind, however, that these fans are absolutely free if stolen from your neighbor Gary’s house while you’re at one of his dumb barbecues! Hey Gary, I hate you so much, Gary!   

2) Discount Movie Matinees
Who doesn’t love a nice, air-conditioned movie theater on a scorching afternoon? Especially if it’s in a discount theater that screens films near the end of their theatrical run? Probably my awful neighbor Gary, a man devoid of joy or imagination. He certainly would never think of sneaking in his own snacks in a backpack instead of paying exorbitant concession prices. I mean, what a repellent, stink-laden moron!

      3)   Drink Hot Liquids
I know what you’re thinking:  Hot liquids are supposed to keep me cool? Are you nuts?” Well, first of all, shut up Gary, you don’t know anything. Hot liquids such as tea or coffee will elevate your body’s core temperature, causing you to sweat, and cool down, more rapidly. It figures you wouldn’t know that, Gary—you’re stupid enough to think I don’t know what’s going on between you and my wife!  

            4)  Wear Black Clothing, Not White
“But wait a minute,” you might be saying to yourself, “isn’t white clothing supposed to be more heat-resistant than dark?” Wow, you just don’t know when to shut up, do you Gary? Dark clothing might attract more heat from the sun, but it also absorbs more body heat, unlike white clothing, which reflects it back at you, making you hotter. For more information on the science behind this, please ask my wife the next time you guys are “canoodling,” Gary, you human sewer. (My wife is a scientist. I still love her so much.) 

5) Cooler Full of Ice
Look, I know I haven’t been a great husband. I will admit to that. I could be a better listener, and I’m emotionally withdrawn, and I’m gone often because I don’t like our house and it turns out I don’t like living with someone. But is that any reason to seek the arms of another man? Especially Gary, who is more swamp creature than human being? He’s a failed plumber, Karen! He couldn’t succeed in an industry that‘s virtually recession-free! Karen, if you’re reading this, please come home. I probably won’t be there if you do, because I’m gone a lot, but it’ll be nice to imagine you there. A Coleman cooler will probably set you back about $70 or so. Fill it with ice and it’ll be cold.

Monday 12 May 2014

Stop Looking Down at Your Technological Gadgets and Start Looking Up at the Beauty of the World: A Poem by Darren Springer

I was looking at my smart phone the other day,
Texting and scrolling my life away,
When I realized something very important:
Technology in general is really bad, except for the fact that it puts me in touch more easily with other people who write That's So Raven fan fiction.

This media we call "social" is, ironically, not
We just sit around staring at screens like robots
And not even talking in person with loved ones
And that mostly sucks, although I will say it's not as bad when I'm writing That's So Raven fan fiction (which is most of the time) because talking to people will only distract me.

Can anyone doubt technology's role
In ensuring we all grow up without souls?
We don't even know how to communicate
But I do. I actually put a lot of myself into my That's So Raven fan fiction. Some of the autobiographical elements are so thinly veiled that it's actually hard for me to read. (For instance, a lot of my experience with painkiller addiction can be read into the story I wrote about Raven's dad leaving his bag lunch at home instead of bringing it to work.) That's my form of communication, which I think is better and more personal than "tweeting" (pffft!).

We spend so much time on Twitter and Facebook
That we don't even stop to take a good look
At the people around us that we claim to care about
But with me it's different, because most of the people I really care about are my fellow "Ravenettes" in the That's So Raven fan fiction community, and it's kind of a far-flung bunch. Most of them don't live anywhere near me. So with me it's different, like I said. (Shout-out to ToddRantinAndRaven in Orlando. Ha ha, you piece of shit!)

These "wonderful" devices are just tools of delusion
Spreading isolation and awful confusion
These machines that are designed to make us more productive
Are instead, in contrast, proving downright destructive. (Although, if I'm out doing errands and a great idea for a Raven plotline hits me, like "Chelsea gets a bad sunburn" or "someone's grandma dies and it was Raven's fault," then it's actually nice to have an iPad handy to jot it down or even start drafting it. So yeah, the way I use it is actually productive, but the way you use it is probably super-shitty.)

The next time you're riding on a bus or a train
Maybe try going against the grain
And actually speak to whoever's next to you
And then let me know how that goes. I've never done it myself because I'm usually reading other That's So Raven fan fiction so I know what plotlines have been used and what haven't. I recently had an idea for a story where Cory takes some bad acid at school and runs to the zoo and eats an alligator, but then another Ravenette posted a very similar story involving Eddie and some peyote, so that was out. Sometimes the pressure of coming up with something new and fresh for a long-cancelled Disney show doesn't seem worth it. But anyway, you should throw your laptop in the garbage.

And so I will leave you with these caring words
This technology we worship is just for the birds
So put away all of your gadgets and gidgets
And help me brainstorm this plot I came up with where Raven discovers that she can halt the earth's rotation whenever she fidgets.

Thursday 8 May 2014

I Am a Strong, Independent Woman and Murderer

I am strong. I am fierce.

I am proud. I am beautiful. I will not bow to society’s rules. I will not look a certain way just because you want me to. And I will not stop committing a series of random, baffling murders.

I will not listen to the voices of the haters. I will not listen to those who try to shame me because I don’t conform to their standards of beauty. I will only listen to the voices in my head telling me to collect more souls to fortify God’s army in heaven.

I don’t need your smugness. I don’t need your condescension. And I don’t need you suggesting that I have not been chosen by divine decree to pass judgment on the wicked.

Only I will decide what I will or will not wear. Only I will decide my body’s ideal shape. And only I will decide which drifters at the bus stop I will pick up and then let loose in a field while I open fire on them calmly and deliberately.

Oh, you’d rather I dress more modestly? Oh, you’d rather I not wear such tight clothing? Oh, you’d rather I view my victims as human beings and not soulless hunks of protein? Sorry, ‘fraid not!!!

Remember: YOU do not get to demand that I remain a size one. YOU cannot force me into pursuing the laughable absurdity that is a “thigh gap”. YOU cannot suggest that at some point I suffered a psychotic break from reality that has taken me down a path of violence and chaos.

Remember: my body is MY body. I am me. You are you. We are they. Life is death. The way in is the way out. There is no right or wrong. All that we have been we will be again, in heaven, as I sit at God’s right and we conduct the heavenly orchestra.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Star Wars Has Driven Me... "Star" Crazy!!

I’m not normally this blunt, but I am absolutely incensed by the casting for the upcoming Star Wars movie!  I have never felt so betrayed! Seriously, imagine if you married someone, and they promised to love and protect you, and then they killed your whole family and left town with all of your money. Now imagine that you watched a movie afterwards to cheer yourself up, and the movie turned out to be incredibly disappointing. Well, the movie you watched would be the new Star Wars! I just hope I never marry anyone who ends up killing my family and stealing my money, for that reason alone! Let’s examine some of the casting choices:

-Max von Sydow as Snowshoe the Deformer? I’m sorry, did I hallucinate during all 87 of my viewings of the original Star Wars, or is Snowshoe the Reformer not a 12 year old boy??!! Max von Sydow is at least 40, if his name is any indication (I’ve never heard of him before and am completely unfamiliar with his work). How can he possibly capture the apple-pie Boy Scout quality of Snowshoe the Performer? Is he really going to be believable delivering lines like “No football should be this filthy, Senator?” Give me a break!

-Oscar Isaac as Sammy the Clam? This man is entirely too handsome to be convincing as a pockmarked, syphilis-ridden, snot-caked prizefighter who constantly threatens to kiss Boba Fett on his “sweet St. Louis butt”! Of course, some of you might argue that no actor would be ugly enough for the part. Pfft. How typical of you, and how typical of Hollywood to take parts away from actors that don’t even exist!

-Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Shosheesh the Labia Climber? Um, ha ha, hello, he’s too old! How is someone pushing 70 supposed to scale literally hundreds of 80-foot vaginas in order to appease Emperor Kyle? It’s time for a younger character with a similarly rakish, devil-may-care attitude toward propelling himself up gigantic pudenda!  Guys, let’s move on here!!

-Andy Serkis as Patio Pete? Serkis is a fine actor, but he lacks the powerful thighs and protruding buttocks required to safely and effectively lift patio furniture and move it to another area of the patio. In the original movie, this was a crucial post-final-credits sequence that illustrated perfectly how important outdoor patios were to Tatooine culture. If Serkis and J.J. Abrams screw this up, I will vomit until my life becomes meaningful!

-Craig? Seriously? Craig???!!! CRAIG???!!!!

Anyway, if you are a true Star Wars fan (or “Warsie”), please join me in boycotting this future travesty. We must stop at nothing until this abomination is struck from the world. Quit your jobs if you must. (I can’t, as I support several hamsters and a small, perpetually drunk Paraguayan man that sleeps in my pantry.)