Curse the Common Cold

My apologies for not updating these past days, in my defense, I was struck down by the almighty common cold. I'm one of those people that rarely gets sick, which means that when I do get sick it's pretty bad. But when I get sick I also try to find out different ways to get better, like one of my earlier posts about drinking water to cure my headache.

This time I found out that cough syrup, that fowl substance that was spoon-fed to me every winter has been found to have absolutely no effect on suppressing symptoms of the common cold. All these years later, I can be proud of the fact that in my youth when I told my mom or dad that I didn't want to take my cough medicine because it didn't do anything; I was right.

I like to have Halls Defense on hand throughout the year, because it's nice to have something on hand to divert your hunger or general sore throat. Yesterday, I found out, upon closer examination of the hard candy's wrapper, that there are little motivational quotes written in fine print. These are some of the actual phrases printed on the wrappers:

“Go For It.”

“Don’t waste a precious minute.”

“Get back in there champ!”

I might be wrong but shouldn't they be more comforting than enthusiastic. Shouldn't they read more like:

“Get some rest, you’ve earned it!”

“Take the day off, you’re obviously sick.”

“Going to work isn’t worth getting your friends sick.”

I learned that water and honey also had nil effect on suppressing the common cold. The more I read, the more I found out that the common cold is just something that we as humans live through, the same way we make it through traffic jams or visits to the dentist's office. We grin and bare it, and try to have the most optimistic outlook. Since statistically speaking optimistic people get sick fewer times than pessimistic people and recover faster as well.

So while I admit that I'm still sick I believe that I'm getting better and will feel 100% better soon enough. And thus far that seems to be the best cure for the common cold.

The Harsh Reality of Fast Food

My wife sent me this picture yesterday and while I knew this to be true in my mind, it was an enlightening experience to see the reality of fast food side by side with its fantasy counterpart.

I doubt this will detract me from continuing to have the occasional fast food burger, but it does increase my immunity to their commercials. At this point, it almost seems like fast food restaurants are bordering on false advertisements because the product they are advertising is so far removed from the actual product.

Maybe in the future, McDonald’s can spend more money on making their burgers great again and not worry about becoming the next Starbucks. That way, the next time a report like this comes out it’ll be much harder to tell the difference between the fantasy and the reality of eating at a fast food restaurant.

Thunder! Thunder! Thundercats! OH NO!

When the Tron Legacy footage came out onto the web from a small little hand-cam it was met with rave reviews and should really get credit for reinvigorating the franchise. When I heard that footage from The Thundercats film had been released I figured it was probably something similar.

But I was surprised to find that it was high quality trailer with much better audio and video to boot. Unfortunately that is the only thing it had going for it. Poor character design, poor writing, staging, etc. pretty much insure that this will be a complete flop. If Warner Brothers hopes to salvage this project, they’ll need to really do a lot more work and scrap this scene in its entirety.

Experimental Narratives – House of Leaves

I gave one of my friends a copy of Jonathan Safran Froer’s new book Tree of Codes, which was created by die-cutting one of Froer’s favorite books The Street of Crocodiles into an entirely new book. He said that if I was interested in avant-garde literature I might like Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves. He said it was difficult to explain it but that he’d bring in a copy for me to peruse through.

Yesterday, I got to see it and it is bizarre and in the best way a book can be. When looking through it I felt like I was going through an unorganized folio of collected material and it was my job to decode the information and make sense of the whole thing. I felt like it was my duty to find the through line, the plot, the narrative, the meaning, etc. It was a unique and wonderful experience. And this is prior to reading a single page of text, for all I know, the story could be crap, but if this mood of investigation and discovery is what Danielewski is after, he’s already succeeding before page one, which says a lot. I’m looking forward to challenge of figuring this the book out and hopefully making my way to the end.

If you're interested in experimental literature I recommend checking this book out for at least a quick flip through its 700+ pages.

Take Care.

A Short-Short Story From Arthur C. Clarke

First off, I learned about the site “Letters of Note”, which is a site that collects letters from various people and then posts them for display on their website. I highly recommend subscribing to their feed since they continually put out great content.

Secondly, be sure to check their most recent post, "siseneG", a short story written by the science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. It’s a short-short piece, but very clever in its minimalist approach to “End of the World” story. In this sub-genre of short-short stories about the end of the world it goes up there with Isaac Asimov’s “The Last Question”, which was also one of Asimov's favorites as well.


You Can Now Buy Lies

Gizmodo did an article called “How to Cheat Online—And Get Away with It” which offered up an alibi and excuse service provided by a website called “Alibi Network.” Just for clarification this is not a joke, prank, etc. this is a real live service provider for people looking to increase the illusion of their false statements. Here is a price chart from their website:

Services                                                        Price

Custom Alibis For Affairs                               Depends on individual circumstances

Virtual Travel Agency                                    From $175

Virtual Hotel Service                                     From $175

Virtual Seminar/Training                               From $175

Worldwide Telephone and Fax                        From $175

Virtual Employment                                      From $175

Virtual Doctor's Office                                   From $175

Rescue Call Service                                       From $75

Virtual Buddy                                                From $75

Sensitive Matters                                          From $75

Discreet Shopping                                         From $35

Untraceable Phone Numbers                           From $75

Pretend You Are Anywhere                             From $75

Virtual Business/Office Phone Number             From $75

For example you might want to use their “Call in Sick Service”, which “provides clients with a cast-iron sickness alibis. We would call a place of your work for you and pretend to be your doctor/dentist or a spouse, etc. and tell your boss that you can’t come in. So you will not have to fake it on the phone!”

So for any terrible liars out there with a relaxed-conscious and money to spare, there is a now a place where you can purchase lies. I'd like to end with a video from the Rollins Band, which I feel pretty much sums up everything I have to say about the Alibi Network:

Short Story Rejection

Photo By Sean MacEnteeIt’s been a while since I’ve had a submission rejected, mostly because my work has been academically focused for the past couple years, and I’ve found it much easier to publish nonfiction than fiction. But I’ve always had a passion for storytelling, and with my Masters complete, I wanted to wedge my foot back into the fiction field. Rejection letters don’t bear the weight on me that they used to when I was starting out writing and mailing off pieces I’d labored on, only to receive a form letter three months later.

Nowadays, I just move on or submit the piece somewhere else, which is the case with this story. That being said, this is one of the nicest rejections that I've received and figured it was worth sharing. So for any writers out there who are dealing with those crushing heavy blows of the first rejection letters, I hope this will be encouragement.


Thanks for your submission to [Magazine]. I've opted to decline using your story; it's something we aren't looking for at this time. However, the piece had a nice flow and I encourage you to submit "A Note to Liza" to magazines that accept more of a psychological suspense or thriller type story. Remember, this is only my opinion and I wish you luck placing this story elsewhere.


[Person's Name]

Head Editor, [Magazine]


I Didn't know K-K-King George VI Stammered

My wife and I saw The King's Speech yesterday, which was a terrific film on all accounts. I can't say enough good things about it. The writing was excellent. The performances were outstanding. The direction was meaningful and each shot was photgraphically beautiful.

I'll be the first to admit that English History is not my strong suit, something my wife deplores in me (She majored in history and enjoys lecturing me on various historical events), so it was news to me to hear that the King George VI had a stammered and that the man that aided him in his speech did not have an MA after his name nor a Ph.D.

For anyone who has not seen the film, my apologies for ruining any unforseen plot twists. Hope you enjoy the film.

The New Captain America Trailer

The new trailer debuted yesterday during the Superbowl and after that quick shot of the Red Skull towards the end of the trailer I went to see if there was info on who was going to play vile neo-nazi. To my surprise, it looks like Hugo Weaving snatched up the role, which I think will be an excellent role for him. Needless to say, my excitement is growing for this film and look forward to it for no other reason now than to see Hugo Weaving play Captain America's arch-nemesis.


"Star Wars Begins" By Jambe Davdar

A truly wonderful and enlightening documentary on the "holy" sci-fi trilogy. And it also has more deleted scenes and outtakes than any of the official film releases offered to fans. Lucas if you're listening, this is what we wanted six years, this is what you'll need to beat with your Blu-ray release. And to Jambe Davdar a sincere thank you for making a truly awesome documentary.

Here's Links to the 14 part documentary on YouTube (Hopefully they'll last a while):


Skin Spraygun, Where Were You 15 Years Ago?

When I was nine years old I was in a bicycle accident that left me with third-degree road burns up and down my left arm and second-degree road burns on my left leg. Now in the latter half of my twenties, my scars have faded to the point where they aren’t even recognized by people I’ve known for years.

I was lucky because the day before I was scheduled to have a skin graft done on my left arm the doctor said that I had shown remarkable healing in the past week and that skin grafting would not be necessary. However if this “Skin Gun” had been an option fifteen years ago, you can bet your life that I would have taken it. I think this is going to be a major step forward for modern medicine.


To-may-toh, To-mah-toh, British, English? Not Quite

If you're an American citizen who passed Geography class by the skin of their teeth, like yours truly, then this video will answer some of those lingering questions about what the whole "United Kingdom" thing is and who it applies to. This little tidbit of information comes from Colin Grey and more specifically from his post: The difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England (and a whole lot more)



My Reading Year 2010

Yesterday, I tallied up all the books I read in 2010 and came up with 25. For a kid who had only read 6 or 7 books (start to finish) by the age of 17, this was pleasant surprise to learn about myself. Here’s a list of what I read this past year:

1. The Iliad – Homer

2. Junky – William S. Burroughs

3. Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

4. The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting – Darren Wershler-Henry

5. Paradise Lost – John Milton

6. The Rape of the Lock – Alexander Pope

7. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

8. King Lear – William Shakespeare

9. Richard II – William Shakespeare

10. Design As Art – Bruno Munari

11. Dubliners – James Joyce

12. The Truth About An Author – Arnold Bennett

13. Bartleby the Scrivener – Herman Melville

14. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

15. The Outfit – Darwyn Cooke and Donald E. Westlake

16. The Now Habit – Neil Fiore

17. Poetics – Aristotle


18. Lyrical Ballads – William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge


19. Walden – Henry David Thoreau

20. Beowulf – Anonymous with Seamus Heaney


21. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift


22. Inferno – Dante


23. Everyman – Anonymous


24. Three Theban Plays – Sophocles


25. Tree of Codes – Jonathan Safran Froer