Last 10 Search terms to return

1. naked kougra (Yahoo)
2. halloween fuck video witch (Google)
3. dave mckean illustrator (Yahoo)
4. yrics new york “neal pollock” (Google)
5. “embarrassing stories” pee (Yahoo)
6. puking pumpkin picture (Yahoo)
7. Song Lyrics: “Pour some sugar on me..I’m hot, sticky, sweet..from my head to my feet...” (Yahoo)
8. graham roumieu (Google)
9. meg ryan in “the cut” pictures scene erotic see here (Google)
10. book report on Margaret Atwood’s oryx and crack (Google)

You can find #6 here. And it's called Oryx and Crake, not Oryx and Crack. Sheesh.
I think I’ll call in sick.

We have a big dry erase board outside my office at work. Occasionally, we’ll write things we’re supposed to be doing or things we must remember to do. According to this coming Monday, “Shave Amy’s head” is on the agenda. Funny.
Extreme Beer Tasting

Samuel Adams: Winter Lager

I’m a fan of the original Samuel Adams beer. It’s got a dark, rich flavor. This seasonal beer is difficult to describe. [sip] It’s got some extra flavor to it, but it’s hard to pinpoint what the flavor is. [sip] I don’t really like it. Written on the paper wrapped around the neck of the bottle, it says: “For centuries, brewers have crafted special beers to celebrate winter. In this tradition, we brew our Samuel Adams Winter Lager to share with friends. This rich and hearty lager is one of the finer pleasures of a winter evening. Cheers!” Then it’s signed ‘Jim Koch’, who I presume to be the president or CEO of The Boston Beer Company. Or, hopefully, maybe he’s the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the original Samuel Adams person. Who knows.

What was Samuel Adams famous for? It says here that he was not only a brewer but a patriot as well. I remember seeing his statue in Boston around government center. After a friend read the plaque at the base, “Samuel Adams blah blah blah”, I remember asking, “Samuel Adams? The beer guy?” At 19, I was an idiot. But even now, I can’t recall what he’s in the history books for. Paul Revere told us that the British were on their way, John Hancock is that guy with really big handwriting, Washington can’t lie and Franklin got electrocuted. Even now, I bet if you went to a history book and looked up “Adams, Samuel” in the index, you’d find “See: Beer”.

Hey, I think they should make a beer for all our forefathers. George Washington Ale, Thomas Jefferson Hefewiezen, Andrew Jackson Porter... You can get shit-faced and be patriotic at the same time.

Getting back to the beer at hand…The box is a icy-pale blue color making you feel all chilly like those mint gum commercials. It makes you wonder if, after you take the first sip, you’ll exhale and see icy cool breath hovering in the air. All the snowflakes on the box and label aid in this expectation.

Unlike the Pete’s Winter Ale, which sports a crass cartoon character in the midst of jumping off a ski lift and performing a split in mid-air, the friendly man (Samuel Adams?) in olde tyme clothing on this label is raising his tankard in cheer and provokes a feeling of goode will. It makes you want to sit in plush leather chairs around a crackling fire in a book-lined parlor with your colleagues, remarking on what a good dinner you just had. Pete’s Winter Ale makes you want to get wasted, party and then pass out in a pile of your own vomit.

On the bottom of the box, which seems to be the new place to hide interesting information [pinky to mouth], there are five pictures of the five different beers that Samuel Adams brews (excluding the Winter Lager). There’s the classic ‘Boston Lager’, the relatively new ‘Sam Adams Light’ (using his nickname to make this light beer appear friendlier) and three seasonal beers: White Ale, Summer Ale and Octoberfest.

If you would like to visit the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, call 1-888-661-2337 for tour times and information. And don’t forget to “savor the flavor responsibly”.

EBT Rating: * * * * - - - - - -


New pictures up at explodingdog.
This is for a novel...

I've just recently learned that you can do anything if you tell people it's research for a novel. Since NaNoWriMo starts this Saturday, I've spent the last couple evenings feverishly scribbling out a plot outline. Ever hear that saying "write what you know"? The only things I seem to know, in order of knowingness, are:

1. Books
2. Beer
3. Computer programming
4. Vermont

Let's take a look at this list.

A book about books sounds kind of lame. Plus, there are several new books out right now covering that theme. 1. Books

A book about beer? I'm down with that. I could make a pub crawl across the country, sampling all the different kinds of brew. Actually, I don't think my bank account (or liver) could handle such a grandiose plan. 2. Beer

Could a reader remain interested (or at least awake) for over 300 pages of computer programming and office humor? Yeah, it's called Microserfs. I could write a programming manual, but that's... that's not a bad idea. I could invent my own programming language and make a fake and funny manual about it. Don't steal my idea! The only problem with this is that it wouldn't be a novel. It would be shelved in the 'Humor' section of a bookstore, only purchased as a Christmas present for that cousin you have that works with computers but you don't really know what he likes. He'd probably like something like this. Then the book spends the rest of it's existence on his bathroom floor, next to the toilet. But it's still a good idea. [Licking tip of pen] I'll just jot this down right here.

Vermont. Here's something I would like to write about but I'm afraid the book might end up being a slap in the face to my state. I do not want to write about all the yuppie people that moved up here from Long Island and call themselves "Vermonters". But if I showcase the real people (eg. my family), there's going to be a lot of 4-wheeling, shotgun shooting, tobacco spitting, cow tipping hillbillies running around in overalls with no shirt or shoes on.

But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Small town living doesn't have to make for a boring read. Hey, it can even win you a Pulitzer. So small town living in Vermont... This town has got to have a general store, one school (encompassing K-12), post office, fire department (volunteer, of course), police station... Now, if I put this town way up in northern Vermont, right on the Canadian border, what would happen if some of the high school kids went up in Canada, bought some beer and tried to smuggle it back in? Would the border patrol catch them?

I visit the U.S. Border Patrol webpage and see that Vermont is in the Swanton Sector. In fact, Swanton is in Vermont. I see a phone number to call if you'd like to visit the office. Hell yeah I wanna visit the office. I've already got some questions: Does the BP cover every single road that connects Vermont to Canada? There are at least 2 dozen marked roads but probably just as many unmarked 4th class roads and trails. What about lakes that the US and Canada shares? Does the BP patrol in boats as well? And snowmobiles in the wintertime?

I place the call and talk to super nice Border Patrol people. I tell them that I'm doing research for a novel and would like to ask some questions about what the USBP does. I'm also going to write this up for YPR. I ask if it would be all right to stop by next weekend (I'll be up in Burlington on Friday night for the Atmosphere concert). The man wonders if Saturday is what I had in mind. I inquire as to whether or not they're open on Saturdays and am promptly laughed at. The U.S. Border Patrol is "open" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Duh. Of course. I'm told to come on up, they'll have an agent waiting for me and I can watch a video that the new recruits watch. Cool. After a little more finagling, they said they'd have a Canadian Mountie waiting for me, too. Double cool plus.

Like I said, if it's research for a novel, you can do anything.
I just recently started reading TMFTML on a regular basis. This is hilarious.


Ahh hah ha haaa!! Bookslut has just announced their First Annual Pecker Contest. This project spawned after Dale Peck (unjustly) called Jessa ditch-dirty stupid. What the hell does that mean?

As for me, I think Peck is just a reviewer who likes to write nasty things about other authors and their books in order to gain personal notoriety. Actual reviewing falls second, just behind saying mean things so people will notice him.

Now, I admit, I’ve been saying some nasty things recently about Madonna. I apologize. I’d like to make up for it by saying some nice things. She’s incredibly limber, she’s really rich, she enjoys her some yoga, she’s married to a nice looking British man… she has good fashion sense… I really liked “Ray of Light”.


The Onion AV Club reviews a cd that's had non-stop play in my stereo for the past couple weeks: Atmosphere's Seven's Travels.
Last 10 Search Terms to Return…

1. Peter Kuper the metamorphosis reviews since October (Google)
2. ALE fluid (Google)
3. kelly ripa gonna have a fourth child (AOL)
4. beyonce wears extensions (Yahoo)
5. “Takashi’s Castle” (AOL)
6. “100mp”Race Cars (Yahoo)
7. frisbee rotation in a fluid (Google)
8. “I don’t know what you heard about me” original (Yahoo)
9. Leonard Shlain Sex Time Power shit (Google)
10. “Def Leopard facts” (Google)
News From the Upper Valley

14-year-old girl shoots 1,300 pound bull moose. “I couldn't believe it,” said Cassandra. “It was only the eleventh moose I had ever seen in my life.”

Well it’s a good thing she shot it, then. I mean, it would have been a shame to let it keep on living, doing moose things and being one with nature.

This is one of the things I hate about Vermont. There really aren’t that many moose around here and I think we should just let them be. I can’t say as I’ve ever eaten moose but I image it’s gamey and gristly. I think that girl could better spend her time learning how to quilt or knit or spin yarn. Or, if she simply has to shoot a gun, send her out to shoot clay pigeons or foam deer. I’m not down with killing moose.
Neil Gaiman makes a good point about Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion”: If you’re filming a movie about Christ and your lead actor is struck by lightning and your assistant director is struck by lightning twice, maybe it’s a sign that someone isn’t too happy with the work you’re doing.


The Shady Lawn Motel is getting pretty famous. It's referenced here as "a roadside Vermont motel". That's almost right. It's more accurately "a sleazy Vermont motel where high school kids go to have sex".
Amazon has a new search inside the book feature. They're also running a contest that features a Segway as the grand prize. All you have to do is write how this new feature worked for you. The entries will be based upon (no lie): Persuasiveness (10%), Humor (20%), Style (20%), Originality (30%), and Creativity (30%). You have until Nov. 15 to enter.

I want that Segway.
Why not submit something to YPR's graphology project?
A couple new images up at explodingdog.


Good lord, I just saw the new Britney Spears video, “Me Against the Music”. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Not only does the song suck, the video features Madonna and tries to capitalize on the infamous “open mouth kiss” the two performed at the MTV Music Awards. The video looks suspiciously like the “Slave 4 U” video, only filmed in cooler tones (plus, Britney’s not looking as hot). What’s Madonna doing in the video? What else: a bunch of yoga moves. Hey, M-dogg, keep it in the gym, all right? I know you’re trying to look straight pimpin’ in your white suit and cane and that’s all right but the push ups, slithering, bending, crawling has to stop. You look like a fucking spaz. By the way, you can’t write.

[Sigh] Britney, Britney, Britney. You’re so hot, why do you have to do things like this? Also, why’s your new album called “In the Zone”? What is that? Wasn’t that a fad diet a while back?
Extreme Beer Tasting

Unibroue: La Fin du Monde

La Fin du Monde, literally “The End of the World”, is 9% alcohol by volume beer that undergoes a triple fermentation process, literally “fermented three times”. What does this mean? It means this beer is going to kick your ass, spank you and call you names. Unibroue, pronounced “unibrow”, is a Canadian company. They brew and bottle their beer in Chambly, Quebec. Quebec is that French-speaking province that wanted to secede from Canada a while ago. All I know about Quebecians… Québécoise… the people of Quebec is that they drive too fucking fast through my state. And I hate the fact that when you get to northern Vermont, the mileage signs on the side of the interstate start showing distances in miles and kilometers. Barton 12 mi (18km). Fuck you! When you’re in the US you leave your dirty fucking metric system at the border!

Let’s see, I’ve had 3 sips of this beer and I wanna fight. This is some good beer. It tastes a little bitter, but maybe that’s because it’s not ice cold. The bottle tells me that “the excellence of triple fermentation through a blend of special yeasts gives this malt beverage LA FIN DU MONDE an exquisitely robust flavor of exceptional refinement.” There are some pictures on the bottle: a close up of hops that looks like peanut/corn nut party mix, an image of a fat bottomed proper beer glass and a tall slender one with a red “x” though it, and a tilted bottle showing a bunch of gunk at the bottle of the bottle . They call this gunk “refer-mented on yeast base.” Refer… mented? Please tell me they only wrote this to have “refer” printed on the label.

The central image that the words “LA FIN DU MONDE” wrap around is a topographic picture of Quebec, complete with a glowy halo surrounding the province and all surrounding area receding into darkness. Unibroue is trying to say “Quebec=good” and everywhere else sucks and is evil.

“This ‘liquid gold’, with its wild spices and incomparable flavour so precious to ancient explorers, could only be brewed in the high lands of America. Travelers of old, it was said, would gladly go to the end of the world to reach La Fin du Monde!” So says the box. First of all, I don’t taste no wild spices. True, it doesn’t taste like ordinary beer (which is probably why the room is spinning) but I don’t think it’s particularly ‘spicy’. Second of all, and I’m going to be U.S.-centric here, I never thought of Canada, or Mexico for that matter, as being in America. Yes, yes, we’re all in “North America”, but Canadians live in Canada (unless you’re French-Canadian), Mexicans live in Mexico and Americans live in the America. We’re all human and I love everyone, I love you man, but I don’t want no Quebecers calling themselves “American”. I’m done. I’m sorry. [sob] I take it all back. I love you all. I don’t want to behave in that “I rule the fucking world cuz I’m an American” fucking manner. That’s, like, why Americans suck. I’m sorrrryyyyy!!

Unibroue: Don de Dieu

[Belch] Fuck me. I don’t know if I can handle another beer after LA FIN DU MONDE. Seriously.

Okay, I’ve just made supper and put it in the oven. I feel a little better now. This Don de Dieu has a pretty picture of a big golden ship sitting in violet waters with rays of sunlight braking through storm clouds in the background. There are loads of men on the ship (Spaniards? French?) and a slew of canoes with Indians paddling up to the side. One of the Spaniards is… pulling one of the Indians up onto the ship. Or maybe receiving a gift from him. I don’t know. The Indians are all wearing feather head-dresses and thongs. Interesting. The Europeans are probably transmitting a virus to the Native Americans that’s going to wipe them out within weeks. It says here that “the Don de Dieu in Tadoussac, June 3, 1608, under the command of Samuel de Champlain de Brouge, commissioned by the King of France to pursue, by way of the great Canadian waterway, the exploration of this vast and inhospitable land called America.” What? There were way too many commas in there. I have to read it again because it’s not making any sense to me. … … Oh okay, I get it now. So-and-so, under the commission of this guy, ordered by that guy, was told to rape and pillage his way across the New World.

“In spite of a higher alcohol content, Don de Dieu is a surprisingly light-tasting beer with a delicious ‘spices’n fruit’ flavour that gets better with every mouthful.” That sounds dirty. I also just noticed that they’re spelling their English in a British manner. I say, the favour of their beer is most pleasing. What say we go down to the theatre at Piccadilly Centre and catch a humourous film? Jolly good idea.

This beer is also 9% alcohol by volume and is bottle refermented. I actually like the taste of this DON DU DIEU beer better than LA FIN DU MONDE. It’s more mellow, not as bitter, but still has a Belgian quality to it. The bottle says that Unibroue is imported by Unibroue USA INC. in Shelburne, Vermont. Shelburne… I think I’ve been there. I think it’s near Stowe? Maybe Ben & Jerry’s is in Shelburne? I know there’s a museum in Shelburne because I hear about it on the radio all the time.

Okay, so [belch] don’t cook while you’re drinking Unibroue beer. Don’t operate heavy machinery. Don’t do anything other than sit quietly in a chair. I’ve just checked on my supper and succeeded in burning off by right index finger. But hey, it’s time to eat.


Check out this article. Now, look at the price of this book in the US and the price of the same book if purchased in the UK. (Hint: Multiply UK sterling by 1.67 for conversion into US dollar.) Very interesting, no?
Amy: [Looking though toy catalog] Oooo... there's all kinds of neopets stuff in here. [Pointing] Look, there's a Skeith toy and Zafara plushie. Look, here's a Kougra plushie. I have a Kougra.

Barbara: [Setting down her book] That's right. How are your neopets doing?

Amy: [Turning slightly away] Fine.

Barbara: Fine? Just... fine?

Amy: Well, I'm having trouble feeding them. Sometimes I forget and, like, they'll be "starving" or "dying."

Barbara: AMY!

Amy: Well the regular food is so EXPENSIVE so I just end up feeding them omlettes everyday because it's free!

Barbara: You just feed them omlettes?

Amy: [Tiny voice] It's free...

Barbara: What kind of a white trash pet owner are you?

Amy: HEY! The price of food has tripled since I first started playing. And the price for spinning the Wheel of Excitement has gone from 100 neopoints to 150 neopoints. Seriously, you have to devote 12 hours a day to neopets if you want to make any money.

Barbara: ...

Amy: But today, I went to the desert fruit stall and I won 15,000 neopoints and a water muffin and... something else. I can't remember what.

Barbara: A 'water muffin'?

Amy: Yeah.

Barbara: What the fuck is a 'water muffin'?

Amy: [Making derisive noise in throat] It's a muffin made out of water. What the fuck does it sound like?

Barbara: What-ever. [Picking up book and reading again]

Amy: [Flipping through toy catalog] I can't believe these plushies are 45 bucks... I want one.


I threw a Halloween-themed party on Saturday that ended up being way more work than it was worth. I made severed fingers, eyeballs, demon horns, witch’s hats, melted witch (with floating hand), spider web a la molde, salsa and the coup de grace: kitty litter. It literally took all day to make. Then guests started arriving: Grim Reaper, Mr. Cow, Mrs. Pumpkin, Medusa, Renaissance Lady, Star Wars Man, etc. I changed into my ninja outfit and tried persuading people to eat the food but the eyeballs looked “gross,” the molde looked “funky” and the kitty litter was “absolutely the most disgusting thing” people had ever seen. It’s just cake, crushed cookies and melted tootsie rolls! Seriously, it’s not really kitty litter. For the remainder of the night I was the drunken ninja slightly dozing on the couch.

Sunday was spent recovering. I played Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly ALL DAY.

Update: Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly on Gamecube sucks. There's all kinds of glitches, it takes forever to load and I finished it in three days. I hear Voodoo Vince on Xbox isn't bad, though... If you like the little kiddie games that aren't stupid (Spyro), try Ty the Tasmanian Tiger on Xbox. That one was really fun. The graphics were solid, the music wasn't annoying and I got into the habit of shouting, "You beauty!" in an Australian accent when something cool in my life happened.
Book Reviews for In The Cut by Susanna Moore

~ Susanna Moore's book is an edgy, taut, fast paced thriller. The story begins with Franny an NYU professor working with students from the projects in a writing class. This is a convenient relationship for her as she is able to work on her own book and fulfill her obsessions with language forms, particularly slang usage in this area of NYC. Some professors comment on her inappropriately close relationship with her students as she often sees them outside of class to discuss their projects as well as her interests. On one particular night she goes to a bar with a student where she witnesses a man and a woman engaged in a sex act and this sets the plot for the book. This book includes a lot of graphic sex scenes that Franny witnesses, recalls and engages in. She is not a particularly likable character and becomes less so as the plot moves along and she becomes involved in an investigation involving the murder of the girl she saw in the bar. The primary detective on the case, Malloy, is an interesting character who Franny senses is dangerous as well as exciting. As their relationship heats up, she begins to feel that she is being drawn into a dangerous, erotic game but doesn't want to stop herself. The last chapters of the book are page turners that I was unable to put down with an ending that doesn't disappoint. This book isn't for everyone though, it is graphic in both its sexual content and violent descriptions of the crime scenes. It is an exciting novel that will leave you thinking about it and its characters well after the book is closed.

~ It is absolute dreck. The "heroine" of the novel, while book smart, is so incredibly lacking in street smarts that it makes her character totally unbelievable and ridiculous. She's such a highly selfish and pathetic character, that I found myself groaning in parts because of the stupid situations that she puts herself in.

~ This book is the literary equivalent of a snuff film. Whatever Moore was trying to say gets lost amidst the gore and sex. This is a novel best forgotten.

~ When I finished the book I promptly threw it away rather than keep such bad juju in my house. I was left with a profound sense of disgust and disappointment that such a talented author could spend her time creating something that was, perhaps, technically laudable, but reprehensible on practically every other level.

~ It's blatant Grand Guignol, blood and gore and sadism, peopled with characters devoid of humanity with whom it's not possible to empathize. I also feel it is totally anti-woman. The macho detectives' attitude toward women is sick-making, but the "heroine" just laps it up, panting to be abused over and over again. P.S., it deserves no stars whatsoever.

~ Moore seems to think that by piling cliche onto cliche and then hanging 'shocking' sex scenes onto an empty plot she can thrill the reader. But she can't. The erotic writing was FAR from erotic and I ended up laughing out loud at the corny situations the characters found themselves. It misses out on a real opportunity to explore the complex and real dangers that women face in an urban environment. Two-dimensional characters and a real sense of laziness about the plot-line combined to make an eminently forgetable experience.

~ Such a boring, pointless story that only an antisocial might find appealing, with an ending that will probably leave you yawning. If you could care any less about the central character, you would be in a coma.

~ The story failed to engage my interest: the main character (what was her name again?) is a smug, would-be brilliant but hopelessly mediocre NYC single woman who pairs up with a big bad cop, delivered straight from Central Casting. One reasonably good sex scene does not a good thriller make. I found the ending neither sensational nor genre-bending; it struck me as a calculated, completely so-what solution to a not very interesting problem.

This movie, starring Meg Ryan, opens Oct. 22 (limited, wide on Oct. 31). I wonder what the reviews of the movie will be like…


Last 10 Search Terms to Return

1. fluid motion hat (Yahoo)
2. izzy prank emails (Google)
3. Brown Recluse Bight Picture (Google)
4. K&S fan ficiton (Yahoo)
5. shizzy bob from accounting (Google)
6. how to wink your left eye (Google)
7. “Mighty Wind” & “song lyrics” (Google)
8. “steve almond” bc (Google)
9. Most Extreme Elimination Challenge Photos (Google)
10. “How to draw naked people” (Google)
Extreme Beer Tasting

I’ve purchased a couple seasonal beers. These beers being flavors I’ve never seen before: Pumpkin. Okay, I can dig that. It sounds interesting. What I’ll do is drink the beer for you and report my findings. See, I’ll be doing all the work for you and saving you mass quantities of money. Extreme Beer Tasting (EBT) will hopefully become a regular addition to my blog.

Blue Moon: Pumpkin Ale

What can I tell you about Blue Moon? Well, you’ve probably seen it in the cooler at supermarkets so you know what it looks like. This particular style of ale is brewed with natural flavors and it’s brewed in the U.S.A. and… If you have questions you can call 1-800-BLE-MOON. I don’t really know anything about this beer, I’m just reading off the box and bottle. 1-800-BLE-MOON, eh? You think 1-800-BLU-MOON was taken? Call one eight hundred bleh moon. Heh heh. It’s probably worth mentioning I’ve nearly finished the first bottle. It tastes not even remotely like pumpkins; it just tastes like beer. This amber-colored naturally flavored ale is brewed only in the autumn and combines the flavor of vine-ripened pumpkin and spices with traditional crystal meth. What?! Crystal malt! It says ‘crystal malt’. Whew, heh heh, sorry about that. I was freaked out for a second there. I’m re-reading the sentence on the bottle and I’m just not tasting the ‘vine-ripened pumpkin and spices’. Which brings me to…

The Shipyard: Pumpkinhead Ale

Ahhh, Shipyard. I have a soft spot in my heart for this beer. I once went to a Geology conference in Portland, Maine and was able to consume a shit load of the local beer while I was still underage. That beer, the beer that had me puking in the bathroom in under 3 hours, was Shipyard. It’s good beer, I like it. This Pumpkinhead has a picture of a statue man on a sitting on a statue horse, with his right arm raised in triumph or victory. Where the statue man’s head should be is a cartoon pumpkin with fairly sinister cut-outs of a mouth, nose and eyes. I don’t know if this is meant to be a Sleepy Hollow reference or what, but it’s cool. Now for the first sip…

Oh yeah! You can totally taste the pumpkin and spices in this. The bottle says that this is a “malt beverage with pumpkin spice added”. It’s probably just some nutmeg and cinnamon mixed in, but it’s good. I should probably pour this into a glass instead of just sucking it straight out of the bottle. I want to see if there are spices floating around in it.

No spices floating about, just a nice amber color. There really isn’t much writing on the bottle. There’s the obligatory government warning, five cent deposit in various states, a scary picture of just the pumpkin head on the neck of the bottle and bar code. [Belch] There isn’t any writing on the box either. Wait, there’s something on the bottom. Oh look, it’s directions on how to get to Federal Jack’s Restaurant & Brew Pub in Kennebunk, Maine. And how to get to The Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. There are even wicked nice maps to go along with the directions. The maps have that old-fashioned cursive, cross-hatch quality to them, complete with pirate ships out in the water and elaborately drawn compasses. There are large fish in the Atlantic Ocean which, if drawn to scale, are about the same size as the pirate ships. I might guess that they’re whales but… they don’t looks like whales. ... ... No, I don't think they're whales. The directions are really in-depth and I think it’s nice. It’s like the directions are kind of hidden on the bottom of the box and if you find them, you be in the Shipyard secret society and allowed into their factory. [Belch] Or something.


I finally got Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers yesterday in the mail. Barbara, Jason and I played a couple times and I tell you, the game didn’t end well. The gameplay is similar to the original Carcassonne game but instead of farmers, you have hunters; instead of thieves, you have fisherman; instead of knights, you have gatherers. Cities are replaces with forests, roads are replaced by rivers and farms are now meadows. That’s all fairly straightforward but now there’s a new rule that says if you finish a forest that contain a gold nugget, you get to draw and place a bonus (special) tile. This happens if you finish any forest, even you don’t ‘own’ it. Here’s what happened during the first game:

* * *
Amy: [Sliding a finishing tile piece toward a forest that Barbara has placed a gatherer in.]

Barbara: Great! Just finish off my forest! I’ve only picked up ONE bonus card since the beginning of the game! You guys have gotten them ALL

Amy: [Tile freezing 4cm from placement] Barbara, Jason and I have only picked up two each… There’s a whole bunch left. Besides, you’re going to be getting- two, four, six… twelve points for the forest after I complete it.

Barbara: Whatever. Just finish it.

Amy: [Moving tile away] Maybe I’ll just put it over here.


Barbara: Jason! GO! It’s you turn.
* * *

You see, these “bonus” tiles inadvertently turned my sister into a bitch. If you’re going to play this game, be forewarned. She bitched about me taking long turns during the second game of Hunters and Gatherers, asking if I going to “see if that tile piece fits into ALL the open areas? … HURRY UP!!” And there’s a loophole in the scoring that Jason abused to the maximum. Instead of finishing the game in the 45-65 point range, Jason finished the first game with 101 and the second with 123. We referred to “putting down a half-assed fisherman or gatherer to collect and return to your pile in one turn” as pulling a “Jason.” Not cool.
Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre has won the Booker Prize. "Dirty But Clean" Pierre is the pen-name of Peter Finley, a seemingly unsavory character with a "murky past" and hounded by creditors... That's what I like to hear. I like writers that live real, abrasive lives and are forced to either write about it or kill themselves. It makes for more colorful stories.


The Iron Wagon by Jason
Sshhhh! by Jason

This past weekend, I read The Iron Wagon and Sshhhh! by a talented Norwegian artist named Jason. Sshhhh! went quickly because, like the title suggests, there’s no writing in it (except for the occasional “tock tock” on doors and “ring ring” of phones). I love these kinds of stories because they essentially rely just on the images to convey plot and provoke emotions. I find that it is these “quiet” books that are usually the most moving. The stories in Sshhhh!! are taken from some of the author’s Mjau Mjau comic panels and focus on one male character (all the characters are different animals, mostly crows, cats and dogs). Vignettes of his sad existence are presented in the form of short stories, which as a whole, show years of his life. In one particularly puzzling set of pictures, the crow’s girlfriend has left him for another man. So he runs through various fantasies: the woman going down in a plane and just before crashing into the side of a mountain, she calls out his name (following the ‘no words’ format, her mouth is open and there’s a word bubble above her with a picture his head on the inside). In another fantasy, the new boyfriend smacks her around and the crow comes to her rescue (brandishing a gun). Next, he imagines her calling out his name (again, head in bubble) while in bed with the new boyfriend. All these fantasies are fairly emotionless. He appears neither happy nor sad to be thinking/doing these things; just… what if it happened, you know? What if she called out his name before crashing into a mountain? It’s not like he would ever know whether she had to not. It’s just something to think about. Well, maybe there is some satisfaction to be taken from imagining her consumed by a horrific death or imagining yourself as her hero again.

For The Iron Wagon, Jason has adapted and illustrated a 1908 Norwegian detective novel written by Stein Riverton. This is an old-fashioned whodunit in which someone dies of unnatural causes, a detective is called in and everything is explained in the end by the detective in a most pedantic manner. During the inspection, someone may ask the detective (over tea) if he has yet deduced who the killer is. He’ll then say thing like, “Oh yes, I of course know. I knew from the first moment I got here. I plan on drawing the perpetrator out, though.” During the story, one of the main characters hadn’t been getting very much sleep and when the detective spoke to him, half of the words were implied to be outside the panel:

How are you
on this fine

Looked something like:

How ar
on this

I particularly liked that. It was a clever way of showing that the character was only half listening and unfocused due to the imsomnia. I highly recommend this book. A very well done story.

If you’d like to find out more about Jason, check out mjau mjau (pronounced “meow meow”). Go back through his weekly comic archive, they’re very good.
I have a new story up at Yankee Pot Roast. Bon appetite.
My cats were at the vet yesterday, being neutered. They were there all day while I was losing my mind in worry. I didn’t really want to get them fixed, but if they’re going to be outdoor cats, you pretty much have to it. So I spent my day dividing my time between cleaning and staring at the telephone. After everything had been cleaned, I decided that TV would be my best bet in eliminating the images of tiny testicles flying through the air that were flashing through my mind. I flip through channels until I get to Food TV and wouldn’t you know it, Tyler’s show is focusing on meatballs today. Meatballs? Meat balls?? This can’t be a coincidence. This is God telling me that I had no right to take away the cats ability to procreate. I set down my scotch & soda and start drunkenly sobbing into my hands. Now there will be no mini-Gatsu and no Griffith Jr. Boo hoooo! I look back at the TV and see Tyler adding some mozzarella cheese to center of his meatball. Sniff. Mozzarella? That’s a good idea. And now he’s coating them in bread crumbs and frying them. Sniff. That looks pretty good. I’m actually kind of hungry. The phone rings. It’s the vet telling me that cats are fine. Yeah, whatever. Maybe I’ll make some meatballs for supper…

Seriously, though. I brought them home and it’s so sad. They’re all shaved back there and they were out of it from the anesthesia. They slept most of the evening and ate a little bit but this morning… it’s so sad, I can’t even believe it. This morning Griffith was like, “Meow” and it sound several octaves higher than normal. Now they’re going to sound like little sissy cats. Little sissy eunuch cats.


My aunt, uncle and cousin returned from two months in Korea a couple days ago. They immigrated to the US from Korea about a year and a half ago and while they’re not fully fluent in English yet, they still like to stop by my place to “talk”. Take last night’s visit for example. I was just getting into my car to go grocery shopping when their car pulls into my driveway.

Amy: Hi! You guys just got back from Korea? I thought you weren’t coming back until next Tuesday.

Uncle: Uh… yes. Last- last night.

Aunt: [sleepily waves from car]

Amy: You were there a long time…

Uncle: We fly Seoul- JFK- Burlington.

Amy: Wow, that’s a long flight… You didn’t stop in California at all?

Uncle: Ehh… [pointing his finger in air] Seoul [arcing his finger to the right] JKF [arcing his finger up] Burlington.

Amy: But the plane didn’t stop in L.A. for gas or anything?

Uncle: Uh... AMY!

Amy: Yeah?

Uncle: You- have birthday [pointing behind him]…

Amy: On Monday. Yeah.

Uncle: You turn… seventy-two.

Amy: Twenty-five, but that’s okay man. Same thing.

Uncle: Here! [pulls money out of thin air and tries to hand it to me]

Amy: No, no, no, it’s okay.

Uncle: Here! You take!

Amy: NO NO NO NO NO!! [backing up] You keep it!

Uncle: Here! [advancing]

Amy: Okay. [Accepts money] Thank you very much.

Uncle: Okay. Bye.

Aunt: [sleepily waves from car]

They drive away and the only think I can think is: There’s no way that plane didn’t stop somewhere to refuel between Seoul and New York. Especially when you’re flying in that direction and you take the rotation of the earth into consideration. If they didn’t stop, the plane would have run out of gas somewhere over, like, Ohio. And then, what? They’d coast the rest of the way to JFK? I don't know. It doesn't make me feel safe.
I read a very, very, VERY funny book last night called In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot. Graham Roumieu does an excellent job writing and illustrating the big guy’s story. From living in the woods to binge drinking in Las Vegas with KoKo the Gorilla to “Nam”, Bigfoot has lived a surprisingly unsheltered life. So funny. My only problem with the book is that it’s too short: 44 pages.
Ever heard of NaNoWriMo before? Me neither. I'm gonna do it!!!


It appears that Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is going to me made into a film. Laurence Fishburne is going to be playing the shepherd boy. I read this book and I envisioned the shepherd boy to be no more than 18-years-old (tops). All right, fine, I can get over the age discrepancy but the fact that Madonna is going to be in the movie ruins EVERYTHING. Oh MAN! [rolling eyes, throwing up hands] You know in interviews she's going to say stupid, self-centered things like, "Well, the philosophy of the book spoke to me, now that I've found the Kabbalah and have become spiritual and I do yoga and pilates and you know I'm satisfied..." Blah blah blah. Madonna has the anti-midas touch when it comes to movies. I saw Die Another Day recently and she suddenly popped up on screen as the fencing instructor. I jumped in my seat, like "Waaait a minute! Nobody told me SHE was in this movie. Ugh... as if this movie wasn't bad enough already."

Dear Madonna: Hey, you have like a bah-jillion dollars and you're scarey-fit. You don't need to make any more movies, music or books. Just go out and... spend money and do your little yoga moves. Okay? No more movies! No! NO! No more movies!!

Aside: And I'm a little unnerved that Coelho's new book, Eleven Minutes, "certainly does not hold back on the steamy and sado-masochistic sex." Compared to all the spiritual writing he's done, this kind of freaks me out.
And congratulations to Governator Schwarzenegger for winning the total recall. Everyone in California must be on crack.
This month's selection over at BookBlog is Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. Discussion starts Oct. 20th (so you still have enough time to read it and participate).
Last 10 search terms to return

1. michel knight hasselhof (Google)
2. “jennifer finney boylan” oprah tape (Google)
3. jhumpa lahiri’s quotes (AOL)
4. List of different kinds of poopy (Google)
5. beyonce hair extension (AOL)
6. thursday song meanings (Google)
7. “def leopard” concert pants ripped friday (Google)
8. “mighty wind” sweater singer remove (Google)
9. 50 cent perms meaning (Google)
10. Compare&Contrast snow white and sleep beauty (AOL)

List of different kinds of poopy? Hasselhof?? Somewhere around here my blog took a wrong turn...


News from the Upper Valley
Tunbridge -- Fred Tuttle, a long-time dairy farmer who gave up the trade because of rickety knees and reinvented himself as the unlikely star of the film Man With a Plan and later as an even more unlikely U.S. Senate candidate, died Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 84.

The New York Times has a more in depth article.

This is so sad. Fred has been a Vermont champion for so long now. Here are some stories about the Man with a Plan's run for political office...

At Salon, BBC and Washington Post.
New York Times interviews Christopher Paolini. What an amazing guy. It makes me want to home-school my [future] children. Those home-schooled kids are always way smarter that regular-schooled kids.
New issue of Bookslut is up.
I hope you all had a nice weekend. I have a bad cold so I spend most of the weekend in bed, sweating. I watched Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (in it's entirety) and found it to be... wierd. One of those things that would have been better as a book unless you have an obscene production budget. You know, the filming had that BBC Dr. Who quality to it. But the next time I watch it, it'll be with Gaiman's commentary on.


Reviews at

“Oh, Jeez, this needs help. Maybe the birds will eat it. Nobody else would.” (2 stars)

Do you know what recipe she’s reviewing? Jambalaya. Why on earth would birds want to eat Jambalaya? She probably scraped some of it into her bird feeder and poisoned them all.

“Even the kids loved it, well the ones that like broccoli anyway.” (4 stars)

'The ones that like broccoli?' How many kids does she have?

“I goofed with this recipe quite a bit. Because I only had about 4 cups broccoli instead of 8, I added a couple carrots. Then I added a dash nutmeg and leftover velvetta. I added some salt, some Lawry's seasoned salt and finally some left over juice from Rotel tomatoes...that did the trick. My guests were impressed and went back for more. Oh yeah...I served it with cornbread.” (5 stars)

This isn’t a review of a recipe; it’s a completely difference recipe. She’s like, ‘Yeah, 5 stars after I changed everything.’

“After 30+ yrs marriage, I finally made a soup my husband enjoys!!!” (5 stars)

Poor old granny finally gets vindicated. Some of these reviews are so sad.

“My husband even took some of the leftovers to work the next day and he NEVER eats leftovers. Ever.” (5 stars)

I mean, like, EVER. NEVER EVER eats leftovers. He HATES the very IDEA of leftovers but this beef stroganoff changed his whole outlook on life.

“If there were a TDF (to die for) category instead of stars, this would be it!” (5 stars)

You’re right. ‘4 Cheese Bacon Burger Creamy Pasta’ is a heart attack on a plate.

“AWESOME!! Ate myself stupid!!” (5 stars)

I don’t think it was the food. What’s even worse is that 4 people even stupider than her voted this as a helpful review.

Flavorless, unless you like the taste of wallpaper paste, flour and water. (1 star)

Ouch. I could say something really dirty here… but I won’t.

“My husband thought it was store bought. I have made it several times and even my children like it.” (5 stars)

Something tasting like ‘store bought’ shouldn’t be a compliment.

“This is as hit with all 5 of my sons.” (5 stars)

Five… FIVE sons?

“I made this for my husband 3 weeks ago and he has had me make it every week since.” (5 stars)

Dude, I’d be all like: “If you like it so much, fucking go make it yourself. I hated it the first time I tasted it.”

“This is by far the best recipe for roast i have ever tried. I don’t eat leftovers but this was so good i ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day!!!” (5 stars)

I would like to stress that she ate roast beef for breakfast. If you’re not a college student or caveman, this is NOT an okay thing to do. This must be the same chick that ate herself stupid.

“Sorry but my family will not go for this one! I anticipated a yummy dinner tonight and instead I have a crock pot full of tasteless mush---must order pizza now.” (1 star)

She didn’t understand that the recipe was actually called ‘A Crock Pot Full of Tasteless Mush.’ And meanwhile, boo hoo, now your kids need to eat pizza for supper. They probably love you more because of it.

“My whole family loved it! Even my 3 year old and 8 year old who are both VERY picky eaters.” (5 stars)

If they’re giving you so much trouble, lady, you ought to just get rid of the little brats. You would not even believe how many reviews mention picky kids. If you do the math, I think it means that one out of every one child is a picky eater. All you need to say is, “Honey, if you don’t eat this, I’m giving you away to an orphanage.” That’ll learn ‘em.

“I made the recipe as written but I found it to be too bland for my taste. My wife liked it.” (4 stars)

Whoa! A dude wrote in! I wonder if he’s a stay-at-home husband. I bet his wife gives him a hard time if dinner isn’t on the table by the time she gets home from work. The poor guy is trying to get a well balanced meal together while the wife is screaming “Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell!” into her cell phone. And during dinner, he’s tries to ask whether or not he can go watch Sunday night football over at T.J.’s, but she’s in the middle of reading the Wall Street Journal and only grunts in reply. He doesn’t know whether that means ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but he doesn’t want to ask again for fear of that she’ll heave a huge sigh, throw down her napkin on the table and leaving the house for Murphy’s Pub. She won’t get home until two a.m. (not that he’s going to be getting any sleep, what with worrying about what she might be doing) reeking of Old Spice cologne and sex. She passes out on the bed next to him and he cries himself to sleep. Poor, poor guy.
I read The Last Castle yesterday evening. This prequel to the current stories in the Fables series is a stand alone comic, or ‘mini graphic novel’. I like it because not only was the story and artwork really good, but there were no advertisements in it.

Snow White starts the narrative off by asking Boy Blue why some of the fables (including himself) go off on a particular night every year and get wasted. Thus begins the story… Back when the adversary was killing off all the fables, there was only one safe place left for them to seek refuge: the last castle. The adversary arrived one day with a mega-horde of troupes and a battle closely resembling the second Lord of the Rings movie ensues. What happens then? You’ll have to dish out the $5.95 at your local comic book shop to find out.

This is a surprisingly sad story that can be read on its own, for those not following the regular series. It’s also a treat to have P. Craig Russell on board for this issue as inker. He’s done a lot of work in the Sandman series, he had the special treat of illustrating the story of Death in ‘Endless Nights’, he illustrated Gaiman’s graphic novel ‘Murder Mysteries’ and he has own collection of adapted stories called ‘Isolation and Illusion’. Oh, and he also draws the short story ‘The Golden Apples of the Sun’ in the new Ray Bradbury graphic novel. He’s probably done hundreds of other things, but that all I can think of at the moment.
When did summer end? It's c-c-cold here now. There’s frost in the mornings, I have to warm my car up before heading to work and have to use a small space heater in my office to prevent my fingers from turning to icicles and snapping off when I type. I was thinking this morning, “Great, I have about 6 more months until it gets warm again.” But I think I’m just in a transitional period now. In two or four or five months, I’ll be used to the cold and it won’t bother me so. Plus, I have Christmas to look forward to. No, that’s too far away. Must think closer… Thanksgiving? Still too far. Halloween? How about the weekend? Yes, that’s the ticket. Today Friday and tomorrow is Saturday, then Sunday… then Monday. Crap, life is just one big vicious circle.


The Brick Testament is now a book! Awesome.
Lots of new pictures up at explodingdog.
I played Carcassonne last night. What fun! Way easier and faster than Settlers. Basically, players take turns setting down land tiles and placing men in fields, cities, roads or cloisters. Farmers work the fields, knights protect the city, thieves steal along the roads and monks hangout at cloisters. It’s really fun because the “board” that you create changes with the varying tile placement every time you play.

I also got the card game Rage without fully understanding what “German Edition” means. It means that if you don’t know how to play this particular game and you’re not fluently literate in German, you’re shit out of luck. I unwrapped the game and cards, like “Woo hoo! Here comes happy happy fun time!” Nope. I just kept turning the rules around and over in my hands, waiting for the English to materialize. I was able to find the rules online, though. Crisis averted.

It’s worth keeping an eye on the current bestsellers and all-time bestsellers over at Funagain. You’re guaranteed a good time with any of the top ten.
A new month, a new issue of BookPage. One caught my attention: Winner of the National Book Award by Jincy Willett. The premise sounds good but the cover makes it look like a self-help book. Also, shouldn’t there be rules against entitling you novel something like that? I could write a book and call it “Pulitzer Prize Winner” or “Millions of People Agree, This is the Best Book You’ll Ever Read.” It’s too pompous when taken out of context.