Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Politics of Bile

I'm sitting here thinking about nothing and there's this pit in my stomach. I'm not sick but I feel like I have to throw up. It's finally happened.

The internet is making me sick.

I think it's making us all sick.

The internet itself is not bad but the way we've decided to organize within it is what is making me sick. Social networks are garbage.

Driving to work, I heard some dickhead on NPR saying how we have many selves but social networks force us to delete context and become one self. Your self at work among coworkers is different than your self in your hometown with your family. They are equally you because they are facets of you. Your personality changes with context. That's important.

On social networks, we're forced to be the same person to everyone regardless of context. So we take an average of what we believe our different groups think of us and that becomes us. Or we take the extremes of what we are and all of the sudden, that's our new self. We're constantly yelling and screaming about utter bullshit online and we've finally merged our internet brains with our going-to-the-coffee-shop brains. You can be nice to a barista even if you're not nice about them online. It's okay. Nobody will think you're phoney. You don't have to be a Holden Caulfield monologue.

There once was a time on the internet when we didn't connect to anyone we actually knew unless we emailed them or IMed them or ICQd them or whatever. It took a desire to communicate with somebody. Communication wasn't on display for the whole world so we didn't have to have to labor over every single word so as to not betray any notion of who we were to other people in our real social networks.

Facebook Messenger is good. I like it. It's like AIM and it's private. But the majority of what I'm talking about is how we are all projecting just how low our nutsacks dangle with our immovable opinions and shitposts.

Message boards were great because being a troll was awesome, if you were so inclined. You could choose to be a troll and nobody was the wiser. You could choose not to be a troll and still have just as fulfilling of a life on the internet. You could make two accounts and be both, perfectly happy with your dual nature. You could kiss your mama with the same mouth you kissed the gaming intelligence agency's message board filled Final Fantasy VII hentai fan art. Now we're all trolls and we're not even good at it. We're all repeating the same meme over and over again as if it unlocks some magical truth that will shame somebody who disagrees with us into changing their minds.

Nothing works and everything is disgusting.

I deleted the Facebook app off my phone because I was tethered to it. I was mindlessly scrolling and getting irritated by all the posturing on there. I deleted it because I was also constantly posturing. I was tailoring my life to look one way but I'm not an actor playing a character in one movie. I'm just a person who holds contradictory beliefs and changes my mind frequently. I'm not ashamed of it. I'm being truthful and I'm willing to engage with people over a beer or over chicken wings or something but I'm absolutely not willing to engage online anymore.

Somebody has a stupid opinion? Great. There's no need for me to go in there in an underwear and a cape to argue with them. If I know them in the physical world, I can make fun of them in the physical world where they will probably admit they were being a jerk and take my ribbing for what it is: good-natured and not cruel.

I still have a Facebook because I like to keep up with people's lives and their art. I like to support people who are creating. I like to see pictures of my family and friends' kids and pets. But I don't have to see it all the time. I don't have to sift through brain-shit to get to the stuff that brings happiness. I only go on when I'm sitting at my computer. My mood has improved. I don't hate everyone. It feels great.

There are some real assholes out there and I'm not trying to say that they aren't dangerous. I'm just not willing to engage with every lie or insult out there anymore. We're all slinging feces at each other on every medium anyways. I'd like to limit my exposure to some of the shit slingers.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest! Totally multiple podcasts edition!

Fear shall consume the planet and New Yorker cartoons is all we will have for humor. We will prefer fear!

"Of course you're offended."

"I hope that guy who eats the bus isn't on this one."

"I told him to wear a fucking seat belt."

So many cool things are happening. 

First! Trey Hudson and I have started a new weirdo-genre zine called the Cockroach Conservatory. Check it out right here.  If you're a writer - submit! 

We're also planning a 24 hour live telethon in the summer to raise money and awareness for our cause. Watch this website to get the skinny. 

Deerman is progressing chaotically and that's the way we like it! Meet the Deerdad in the latest episode! Consider donating via Patreon here or via Paypal here. Buy a shirt here!

Max Booth III and I started a new Podcast called The Taco Summit! Check it out here.

Holy God! More podcasts! The Book Boizzzzzzz interview Lucas Mangum. Check it out here. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

For here or to go?

A list of acceptable responses to the question, "For here or to go?" when at a coffee shop:

For here.

To go.

A list of unacceptable responses to the question:

I'll have it here but in a to go cup.

Is there a difference in the cups?

Do you have any cups made of fair trade oat hemp?

Are these cups bio-degradable if I stick them up my asshole for sexual pleasure?

Can I get it in a to go cup but can you put a thousand sleeves on them so that my precious little fingers don't feel any heat?

I'm going to get it in a to go cup but I'm going to come back for fifteen refills and will request a new to go cup every single time because a tree killed my family and I must avenge them.

I'm going to drink it in the parking lot.

I'm allergic to paper and ceramic; can I lap it out of your palms?

This is an inappropriate intrusion. I demand to see a manager.

I'm an Elite Yelper. Is everything free?

Hold on. I'm on the phone with a very important mom.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Who Killed Andrew Hilbert?: A Look Back

Holy shit, folks.

I didn't even post to tell you about Who Killed Andrew Hilbert? a Radio drama.

Well, let me tell you about it now.

A little while back I heard Isaac Kirkman and Paul Garth were coming into town at the same time. Always wanting to insert myself into the lives of others, I offered to help organize a reading. As these things go, I procrastinated quite a bit until I was able to get my boss to give me the go ahead on having the reading at Radio.

Paul Garth ended up not being able to make it but we were able to get a pretty impressive list of readers.

Gabino Iglesias and Robert Dean are always down for a local reading so I invited them. J David Osborne and Rios de la Luz came in from El Paso. Isaac Kirkman came from Tucson, Arizona. Max Booth III came in from Cibolo, TX. Cheryl Couture came in from North Austin. Trey Hudson crawled out of his poetry trailer to grow a mustache and wear my clothes on stage.

It was a fun night.

Trey and I figured that readings by themselves are very boring. We didn't want any audience member to feel time pass too slowly. No matter how good writers are at reading their own work, if it goes on too long without any kind of break, people are going to get bored. We decided to frame the whole thing as a "murder mystery" and name the thing Who Killed Andrew Hilbert? to attract a crowd.

We didn't expect a crowd.

But the Austin Chronicle recommended the event.

The readers slated to perform were impressive.

Trey and I put up posters everywhere around town.

The place was packed on a Sunday night for a reading. It was great.

Anyways, most of the event was livestreamed so here it is.

There's a new Deerman up, too. Check it out here. 

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

18 Resolutions for 2018

It's resolution time for the world. It's a time where we all sit around the family table with a pencil in our hand writing down all the promises to ourselves that we're going to erase at the stroke of midnight on January 2018.

Don't believe the idiots on social media that will proclaim to live their best lives this year. That doesn't mean anything. They're going to fart themselves to death under a pile of Cheetos dust while watching MSNBC and getting a brand new hemorrhoid any time anyone mentions Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

2018 is going to be more of the same folks. The same battles re-fought, over and over again, until we're blue in the face or until Donald Trump is Forevemperor of America or he is in Guantanamo Bay. Hell, maybe we really screw things up by having both!

I don't doubt anything anymore, folks. You tell me conspiracy theorists are going to deny the existence of an alien alloy and a government plot to cover it up once it's reported by the New York Times... wait, that already happened?

It's bizarro-planet folks. We're on Planet X and Planet X doesn't occupy a physical space, it just occupies the small tumor on our brain that's gone undetected for too long and will soon kill us all.

Anyways! Here's 18 resolutions for 2018.

18. I promise never to lift my ass up when farting in the car while the heater is on and locking the windows to telegraph that I'm about to commit a war crime and blame it on the dog. I swear.

17. I promise that when I pick my nose, I'll roll up whatever I found in there and stick it behind my ear to chew later. I'll never do it in front of anybody again.

16. I'll always pick my dog's shit off my neighbor's lawn and put it in their mailbox. It's good for the environment.

15. When somebody tells me they like Dan Brown, I won't make fun of their taste in music to make them feel stupid about everything. (Hey! Robert Dean! It's not 2018 yet so take that!)

14. When somebody tells me their kid did something like put ketchup and mustard on something that those are natural condiments on, I'll stop saying, "Oh, but I bet you had to cut it up into little pieces so they don't choke. Not so fucking smart. Get out of my face."

13. I'll never write a list longer than five deep. This sucks.

12. Whenever somebody tells me P. Terry's is better than In N Out, I'll just tell the truth: "Our allegiances say more about the efficacy of corporate marketing than it does about our tastes. Sure, these companies are different in terms of size and scale but in the end, their goal is to separate us from our money to provide an addictive food with very little nutritional value. You can say "Go Local" or "In N Out pays their workers very well" but you can also just note that those are effective marketing tactics to reach a certain type of consumer. And it works. We are all slaves to the system.

11. I went to a Starbucks the other day because I had to. I was on the road and I wasn't driving and it was the only place to get coffee without pulling out Google Maps. I looked at their espresso machine. The only human interaction the barista has with the machine is pushing a button and dropping a cup underneath it. They don't weigh their beans, they don't tamp, they don't do anything. It's like watching a glorified Keurig machine. I looked at the beans. They were dark and oily. I had a sip of my coffee. It tasted like California wildfire. It's also considerably more expensive than decent coffee. I don't get it. But this is the future we are living in. Keurig machines are creating overpriced coffee so that people can wear t-shirts that say, "Don't fuck me until I get my coffee."

10. Target now forces you to go into the self-checkout line. There are big monitors above every register and it has a blink graphic that says, "Monitoring in Progress." I would take selfies all the time in it because I thought it was hilarious. Then I looked at Instagram and everybody fucking does that. We're all joking with a faceless corporation that only asks of us our obedience.

9. I promise never again to ask somebody who has a beard that comments on my mustache, "Yeah, when are you going to take off your training wheels?"

8. I promise never to skip a number in a long list just to get to the end more quickly.

6. But that is next year. This is 2017 and anarchy still reigns supreme.

5. I'm going to buy more small press books. I buy a considerable amount now. But I'm going to buy more. I know it will take me awhile to get to the bottom of my "To Read" pile, especially as it keeps growing, but the best stuff I read this year was from the small press. Everyone should do it.

4. When someone wears a Hawaiian shirt I will stop saying, "I didn't know you played bass in a ska-punk cover band," or, "Congratulations on the promotion to bowling alley assistant manager."

3. I canceled Spotify because it's a terrible way to listen to music. I find myself listening to the same song over and over again and it is mind numbing. Nothing is important when everything is available. I will never listen to music again. I promise.

2. Who are the fucking people in the world that get on their knees to lock a public restroom stall from the outside so that nobody can walk into it? I work at a bar/coffee shop and this happens often enough to wonder if this is part of the psychopath test. I'm going to find you in 2018.

1. I'm going to write more. I'm going to read more. I'm going to draw more. I'm going to walk more. I'm going to unfollow the people I follow to just get irritated by. Goodbye 2017. You were a bummer but you were also kind of great. Just like everything else in the world.

There's a new Deerman here.

Listen to me read an excerpt from my work in progress, The Pasternaks, here. 

Books and Beer: Episode 2 is here. 

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Post Thanksgiving Stomach Jam Podcast

Hello, world.

Big, cool stuff right here! Zach Chapman, Miguel Villa, and I started a podcast called Books and Beer. Each month we explore different subgenres/tropes and read a shit-ton while drinking beer. It is part of the One Of Us podcast network and will be a monthly show! The first episode is haunted houses. Take a listen on over there now!

Also! The new Deerman episode is up for patrons. Non-patrons get it next week! Become a patron today.

Just in time for the holidays, buy somebody you love or are indifferent towards a Deerman tshirt. Get it here.

There's more to say, folks. I just wanted to update you with that stuff. Until then, please enjoy a Family Circus cartoon. More to come shortly. 

This fucking asshole doesn't update his calendar.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Game 7. The Dodgers. The World Series.

This World Series has been absolute magic.

These two teams have gone head to head, back and forth, trading leads, emptying out their tanks every night and it has been euphoric to watch as a fan.

I have been a Dodger fan all my life. I'm not going to pretend that I have this wealth of baseball knowledge, I'm not going to pretend I can recite stats, or whatever. But I can tell you that much of my childhood is colored by Dodger blue.

My grandpa, Larry, was an avid baseball fan. He had season tickets to Dodger games and he and my grandma, Donna, would take my brothers and I often. When we were in fifth and sixth grade, discovering music, we would try to sneak AM/FM Walkmen into the game to try to liven it up with Power 106 or 92.3 The Beat. His rule was, if you're listening to anything but Vin Scully while watching the Dodger game, it's getting turned off.

We didn't think he'd actually check. But he did. And he turned it off often.

This is not a bad memory. This is a good memory. He wasn't religious but he understood the merits of boredom. You have to be present for life's moments. You also don't want to get hit in the face by a foul ball in the orange lodge seats, right field side.

Just how often my grandparents picked us up for games is astounding when I think about it. So much of our young lives were spent at Dodgers games. I'd get ice cream malts and peanuts, Dodger dogs and more peanuts, cotton candy and more peanuts.

My favorite players moved from Orel Hershiser (that one was easy, I was 2 when he was the hero and the glow never left him), Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, and Raul Mondesi over the years. I saw myself as a catcher when I was a kid even though I never played the position. I was a wimp. I couldn't handle the stress of guarding the plate. I was so untalented defensively that I was relegated to right field or left field where I would just throw my mitt in the air out of boredom. That's why I chose Raul Mondesi as my favorite player as my Little League career stagnated. I was a decent hitter, though. So was Raul.

When my grandpa was killed by a drunk driver in August of 1998 while my brothers and I stayed at his house, the Dodger game attendance slowed down. We no longer had season tickets but we continued to watch on TV and listen on the radio. Every year was our year. And we came close a couple of times. We continued to go to Dodger games as often as we could which wasn't very much.

When my wife and I first started dating in 2011 on our very first trip back to California to visit my family, we went to a Dodger game. I remember saying to her jokingly, "I am okay with you not being a Lakers fan but please, please, please be a Dodgers fan." I bought her a Dodgers hat before that trip.

We're married now and she regularly updates me on the score when I'm at work and don't have time to devote attention to games. She's become quite the Dodgers fan.

This year my mom texted my brother to tell him she bought plenty of beer for game 1. He didn't have to buy any. If you know my mom, you know this is crazy. She doesn't drink and she certainly doesn't buy beer for anything. When my brother got home to a house filled with 10 people, my mom had purchased a 6 pack. Baby steps.

This World Series is different. This World Series is exciting. When I'm watching the Dodgers and the Astros go toe to toe, I'm filled with excitement and I can just imagine being a kid and watching this series. I can just imagine how my grandpa would feel. I get glimpses of his spirit here and there through pictures of my dad and my brother attending game 2.

When I was in college, the bunny ears would be tuned to Dodger baseball constantly. James Loney was group favorite at the time. We were good in those years, too. Those years felt like our years. Elizabeth, Jack, and I watched a hell of a lot of them in our apartment on 10th and Stanley in Long Beach with our friends coming in and out to drink cheap beer and play ping pong. Shortly after college, I remember my friend, Mark, calling me to tell me to turn on the game. The game was already on, duh. He was behind home plate waving at the camera. I don't know how the hell he got those tickets but I know I took a picture of it on some janky digital camera that is lost forever. 

This year, I went to a Buffalo Wild Wings for the NLCS because I couldn't be sure any local joints would care about the Dodger game nor could I be guaranteed anyone knew how to change the channels. I'm positive that's part of the training course at Buffalo Wild Wings. Nina and I were the only people watching the biggest screen as the Dodgers put away the Cubs.

Now picture this: a man freshly shaved with a brand new devastating mustache with his wife over four or five empty baskets of chicken wings wearing Dodger blue as the rest of the crowd watches the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Raiders. Picture this man weeping in joy at a gosh darn Buffalo Wild Wings. It's pretty sad, right?

Now picture this same man in his Dodger blue pajama pants, hunched over a keyboard, weeping in joy at the mere thought of tonight's game 7.

Win or lose, this series has been incredible. This series encapsulates why baseball is America's sport.

Go Dodgers.

Post-script: one of my first decent stories featured Orel and Kershaw, named after two Dodgers from different eras. Read it here