Yuletide Update

As promised I have ditched dy in favor of The Advend Calendar this month. (Hopefully you have not been following The Advend Calendar and are unaware that I have kind of ditched that as well, although I have been making up lost ground this morning.) Some recent reviews include Oats ‘N Honey Granola Bars, the PureFit Chocolate Brownie Energy Bar, and, yes, Beef Jerky.

I was on the radio last week, doing my annual board games segment. Here is the link. Sorry I didn’t give you a heads-up in advance, but it was prerecorded and I didn’t know when it was going to run. Shortly after it did I had this conversation with my mother:

Mom: Hey, I heard you on the radio this afternoon.

Me: Really?

Mom: Yeah, talking about games.

Me: Huh. I didn’t know it was going to be on the air.

Mom: You didn’t?

Me: No.

{Long pause}

Mom: Then what … did you think you were doing … in the studio …?

After I explained that it wasn’t live, and didn’t know it was going to be on the air that day, it made more sense to her.

Also, I am writing my ninth (holy hell, ninth?) annual Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers. And when I say “am writing” I of course mean “should start writing” since it’s due to be published Wednesday, but throwing this thing together at the last possible moment hews with both theme and tradition. If you know of some unfathomly stupid crap available for purchase on the intarweb, please mention it in the comments of this post or drop me an email. Thanks! You are the best and I am not just saying that because I am again in a jam and desperately need your help although it is admittedly odd that I never say it otherwise.

Better Late?

Last month I told Eden that I would be “participating” in NaBloPoMo, probably leading her to believe that I would be posting on my blog every day in the month of November, which is kind of the mission statement of the whole gig. So far, though, my participation has been mostly of the feeling-vaguely-guilty-about-not-actually-doing-it variety.

Anyway, that changes today, and may continue for three or possibly even four days thereafter.


My New Year’s Resolution for 2009 was to “complete 12 projects”. In making the vow, I left “project” largely undefined–pretty much anything that I wanted to do and that would take a fair amount of effort qualified, as far as I was concerned. I chose twelve thinking that each would take me a few weeks, and I could therefore knock out one a month over the course of the year.

Since work on these projects is largely response for my defective yeti hiatus, I thought I owed y’all an update on their progress. Here they are in chronological order:

Project 1 (January) “Day Trader”: A two-player card game I designed. I have been shopping it around to a few game companies but, as the typical response rate is 2-3 months, have only had it rejected twice so far. Hopefully things will pick up in the latter half of the year and I will have it rejected three to four more times. Status: Complete (my mental definition of this project was “design the game”, with no thought toward what would happen to it afterward).

Project 2 (February) “Janus”: A short story I wrote and hope to soon publish on the web in a fairly unusual format. Status: Halfway done, but I won’t consider it complete until I actually publish. Will do so by year’s end to ensure I get “credit” for it.

Project 3 (March) “The Office – Personas”: The screenplay for The Office I wrote. I submitted it to the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition, where it was one of only 40 scripts that advanced to the second round. It didn’t make it any farther, alas, but the second round was the best I could have hoped for what is essentially a “stunt script” (as they say in the business). Yay me. Status: Completed. And a big shout-out to Ryan who suggested I send the script to the Austin Film Festival.

Project 4 (April) [redacted]: A dumb, one-joke website I made anonymously, and that I am not publicizing here. But I had to teach myself some programming and css stuff to build it, so it was worth the effort. Status: Completed.

Projects 5-7 (May-September) “Infinite Summer”: A moderately clever idea that kind of turned into a big deal. Here’s me getting interviewed by the LA Times, and here we are getting namechecked by TIME Magazine, etc. The event is a crapload of fun and Infinite Jest is as amazing as rumored, but man-oh-mighty did this wind up being more work than I envisioned. I decided to retroactively award myself three projects worth of credit for this one, as it has consumed an entire season of my free time. If you haven’t been following along, please note that we are right now trying to decide the future of the project, and I would love for more dy readers to get involved (especially those who waded through Catch-22 and Lolita with me in years past). Don’t tell, but I’m 80% sure we will be reading Dracula in October. Status: Reading of Infinite Jest ends in three weeks, so completion seems certain barring a spectacular failure of some sort.

Project 8 (now): I’d be a damned fool to launch a new project with I.S. still in full swing, but I may do so all the same. For this one I am seeking lists–you know, like those that appear on McSweeney. If you’ve been carrying one around in your head and would like to help out, drop me a line.

Other items on my todo list (i.e., writings that I have yet to complete, but that fall short of full “project” designation): a humor piece for Let’s Panic (that dingo ad on the front page is mine, by the way), another print-and-play game review for Jay is Games (previously I did Zombie in My Pocket, something to The Morning News, and a week’s worth of posts here regarding the various television shows I have been devouring on DVDs. Hell, maybe I’ll do that this week. Stranger things have happened.

There’s No Page Like Home

Mimi Smartypants–author, national treasure, and blogger since the Taft Administration–has moved off Diaryland and onto her own domain: mimismartypants.com.

Ever since I set up the Infinite Summer website I have been in a WordPress frenzy, and poor Mimi sort of got caught in the whirlwind. Having completed that redesign (which consisted mostly of M. Smartypants sending emails like “Please make the site as plain and nondescript as possible, thx!”), I have turned my attention to my own, and have already imported all dy entries from Movable Type into here (hi!). Consequentially, the look of this site will probably be pretty volatile over the next few days. The theme I finally settle on will be whichever was last installed at the moment when my newfound WordPress enthusiasm abruptly sputters out (i.e., 2:52 PST on July 11th).

As for content: well, despite the fact that I appear to have embroiled myself in hoitytoity literary capital-e Event, I promise that I will continue posting here at approximately the same rate as before. Which, as you will recall, was averaging about one post per season.

The defective yeti Concert Calendar

Here are some upcoming dates and events that all citizens are required by law to know

Layer Tennis: A new season of Layer Tennis kicked off a few weeks ago, if I can mix my sports metaphors, and history suggests that I can. Last year, you may recall, I provided color commentary for the Halloween match. I’ll be donning the smoking jacket and doling out the bon mot again tomorrow at 2:00 EST. If you want to keep abreast of All Things Layer Tennis, you can sign up for season tickets here and follow them on Twitter over yonder.

The Academy Awards: The Oscars will be held this Sunday, February 22, and it’s not to late to whip up a quick Oscar Poll with the Make-Yer-Own Oscar Pool Page. Well, honestly, it probably is too late. But you have only yourself to blame for that, slacker.

Customer Service: Hey, remember that short story I wrote a while back, the one called “Customer Service”? No? Don’t remember it? Then you are the target audience for Sex, Thugs, and Rock & Roll, an anthology of crime fiction will contains the tale. Be sure to pick up a copy, snuggle up with it on the couch, read the first three sentence of my story, and exclaim “aww shit–I did read this before, goddamn it.”


Those of you who have commented on my “humor” posts and urged me to “keep my day job” will be pleased to know that I have taken your advice.

And if you’ve ever wondered what that day job entails, you can find out here.

Journey of a Thousand Miles

Sorry about the irregular posting schedule around here recently, but National Start! Walking Day was on April 16th and that’s been keeping me pretty busy.

Speaking of which, if anyone knows when National Stop! Walking Day is, could you let me know? I probably should have checked before I left. Right now I’m about 7 miles outside of Spokane, heading east on I-90–just drive around until you find me. I’m covering about 30-35 miles a day, so keep take that into account. Also, if you could bring some power bars and water, that would be awesome, thanks.

Up For Air

Hi! Hi! Sorry!

I’m still here. Everything is fine. I’ve just been busy on this thing. And this other thing.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: I’m not one of those people who writes because he “needs to,” I’m one of the people who writes because, at the end of the day, he likes having written (in the much the same way that I would love to know how to play guitar, but am not particularly interested in learning how). So if, at 8 PM, I’ve already cranked out 1000 words on some non-dy piece or another, I’m pretty much done for the day. Sorry NetarWeb.

The flip side is that, for five years or so, all my other projects have been getting the shaft: I’d write on defective yeti and punt on everything else, having already hit my word count quota for the day.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2008 was to chip away at those projects that I have been putting off (crime stories, board game designs, etc.) This is the exact same resolution I made in 2007 and then more-or-less ignored for the subsequent 12 months. Last year I completed, like, one of my listed projects; right now I am wrapping up my third for 2008. Whether blog abstinence is contributing to my productivity or is a side-effect of it is anyone’s guess, but it would appear that I can only work on one project at a time, and defective yeti qualifies as a project.

Sarah Hepola wrote eloquently (as usual) about this phenomenon in her Slate essay Why I Shut Down My Blog. Which isn’t in any way to compare my ability to write to that of Sarah Hepola, only my ability to quit.

There have been some other factors keeping my out of the blogosphere as well. For one thing, the project I am currently working is about blogs, a upshot of which is that I am thoroughly sick of them. Except for yours, I mean. I still check yours twice daily.

(For the record, I am not being coy about the exact nature of this project because you’ll hear about it soon and I need to keep it under wraps, but because the chances of it going anywhere are fat and slim. That said, remember this post when you start seeing ads for “Bla-La-Logs! The Musical!!” I’ve said too much already.)

Also, about two months ago, The Queen read the first 700 pages of The Stand and promptly came down with the superflu, so I had to spend a week spoon-feeding her chicken soup. That signaled the start of my hiatus. I had only intended to take a few days off, but then banded together with a motley crew of exhaustively described characters to walk to Las Vegas and confront the Walkin’ Dude. So the whole thing took a bit longer than anticipated.

ANYway, my head is suffused with the observational detritus I have accumulated over weeks of not writing here, so I’ll be back for this week at least. After that, we’ll see how it goes. Cheers!

P.S. Thanks to everyone who who kept the home fires burning. It is comforting to know that, should I ever fall into a well, a crack team of blogonauts is standing by, ready to mock my absence.

P.S.S. My god, is there anything as intrinsically bloggy as a long and tedious post explaining why you haven’t been blogging? Someone should start a blog that consists solely of daily, long-winded, and humorous entries purporting to explain why it hasn’t been updated. Free idea. Yours for the taking.