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. 

Buy a shirt here. 

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. 

Buy a Deerman shirt

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Deerman, Digital Media Ghost, Quizzleboon


Deerman, Episode 5 is live for patrons right now. Next week, it'll be live for the whole world.

Will Viharo asked me a few questions for Digital Media Ghost. Read it here! You should also buy Will Viharo's latest book here.

I'm currently reading Quizzleboon and it is hilarious. You'll love it. Trust me. It's great. Go get it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Deerman Spooktacular: VOICE OF GOD is live!

October is the spooky month. October is the month to revel in horror. Welcome to the Deerman Spooktacular.

Our first story, on the eve of Friday the 13th, is VOICE OF GOD. Enjoy! You can purchase the chapbook it was included in here.

Please consider becoming a patron! You get early access to all Deerman episodes and Inbetweeners!

Listen to Voice of God on Patreon or listen on PodBean or YouTube below.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Post Office is terrible

Allow me, friends, to vent.

The US Postal Service wants to ruin my life.

A little while ago, a month to be exact, my mailbox was broken into. This should strike you as odd because there's no reason anyone would ever want to break into my mailbox. I have nothing that is useful to anybody. This blog should be resounding proof of that. Well, my neighborhood has these mailboxes that are really everybody's mailboxes. It's a locker system. It stinks.

I know why that's there. It's Texas. It's hot. Going door to door will cause a person to sweat through their own personhood. It's being controlled by a Congress that is inept. Many of the problems that face USPS today are not of its own making. I understand.

I do not understand the USPS system to report a broken into mailbox. You call the postal inspector at 1-877-876-2455. You have to speak your answers into the phone. You don't hit a number like the good old days. You don't speak to a human like the gooder old days. You have to speak to a machine that is wet-brained. The machine understands 10% of the time. This happens.

But do you know what happens when the machine doesn't understand? It HANGS UP on you after saying, "I didn't understand your answer. Goodbye." It doesn't start from the very beginning. It doesn't keep trying in an endless loop. It doesn't give up and call a human. It just fucking hangs up.

I was so pissed after the fourth time this happened that I shoved my phone down my throat and tried to see if shitting it out would help me. A bowel obstruction and an anger management class later, I'm still drinking smoothies with no help to my lack-of-mail situation.

It's been a month and the mailbox still hasn't been fixed. I go once a week to pick up my mail at the post office. This would be great if the post office was a mile away. It's 20-30 minutes away in Austin traffic. Nobody knows when the mailboxes will be fixed. There's a spate of mailbox theft going around in Austin.

To make matters worse, my HOA is charging a late fee for a bill that was sent during this period. It is the only bill sent to me in my name but we're apparently a year behind. I figured out that they'd been sending bills to the old owner but a bureaucracy never admits fault and only doubles down.

The HOA is worse. The USPS has to exist. The HOA is there to take money and not protect your mailboxes.

What have I become?