Thursday, November 30, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I've always loved Tom Waits a whole lot. I once paid $500 for a pair of tickets to see him in concert and would do so again in a heartbeat. He was on Letterman last night, one of the few places he's ever interviewed, and just killed. "Most of them are hit by cars while dining".
Saturday, November 25, 2006
mostly because I'm just sick of myself. And I'm a little sick of this whole self-promotional machine that I built or at least piloted for the book. I'm sick of thinking worse of myself when my Amazon ranking goes down and I'm sick of thinking better of myself when it goes back up again.
I'm sick of some blogger making me feel like crap (calling me a "disembodied voice", no god damn it I am a human being with a body and a voice, thanks) and making me forget about the legit book reviewers who said good things about the book and the cool MySpace comments from random teenagers who latched on to the book.
I'm sick of people leaving comments on this, my more or less personal blog, ripping into me about the method in which I chose to write a damn book. I delete those comments, and that might be against the code of blogging or whatever but screw it, I don't care, I'll do whatever I please, but honestly, what possesses people to say nasty things about someone while commenting on their blog? I mean, have we fallen so far that we simply cannot be civil?
I'm sick of the acrimony of politics and people who feel like I should be a receptacle of that acrimony just because I wrote a book about my own experiences. At this thing I did the other night, I was supposed to be "playing the part" of a conservative at this completely liberal-packed event and the guy I was supposed to be arguing against got to be himself and just say really mean horrible things. That was the schtick, I understand that, but geez, I was the Guy Fawkes statue at their post-election celebration.
I'll try to update this thing as events warrant or when my kids say weird crap. But Christ, even though I don't have a scrap of the writing chops of Thomas Pynchon, I understand why he's just said Screw it, all you people. I understand why Douglas Brinkley doesn't own a computer or why Daniel Schorr types on a typewriter.
There were some other fairly intense things going down at the same time as the book launched as alert readers know and maybe now I'm just decompressing but I almost feel like I got a case of the bends. Not to worry, I'll be back to relentlessly publicizing myself soon I'm sure. I mean, boo-hoo, right? The poor guy gets to write a book and tour the country supporting it and we're supposed to feel sorry for him? No, you're not. But it feels like living on a stage. A stage I walked on to willingly.
I'll probably delete this post later.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Seattle Follies: The Brawl at Town Hall
Thursday, November 16, 7:30 pm
Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark hosts the post-election edition of Seattle Follies. Joining her, and providing slashing and trenchant commentary on who really won and lost in the vote are blogger and humorist David Goldstein of horsesass.org, speaking from the left, and John Moe, public radio personality and author of the recently published book, Conservatize Me, promoting the view from the right. “The Brawl at Town Hall” will feature these two in a verbal boxing match with timed rounds, refereed by Ms. Clark. Councilmember Richard Conlin, former chair of the Council’s transportation committee and a champion of mass transit and sustainable neighborhoods, offers his tongue-in-cheek alternatives to the current and controversial proposals for the new 520 bridge. Musical guests are the great Irish musicians Dale Russ and Finn MacGinty, and Rob Jones tickles the ivories all night long. As always, the audience plays, “Who Said What,” the currents events game with chocolate prizes for the winners. Beer and wine available. Downstairs at Town Hall, enter on Seneca Street.
Advance tickets are $12/$10 Town Hall members, seniors & students only at www.brownpapertickets.com or 1800/838-3006. $15/$13 at the door.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
HIM: Dad, I don't like a lot of the shows that Kate likes.
ME: Well, you're older and you're a boy and you just have different tastes.
HIM: I like grown-up shows. I like to watch them with Mom.
ME: Like Oprah?
HIM: Yeah, I like Oprah. And all the grown-up shows with people arguing. So I'm kind of a weird kid, huh?
ME: I don't think you're a weird kid.
HIM: I do.
ME: You have some weird tastes but that doesn't make you a weird kid.
HIM: Well, I think it does.
We agree to disagree on that one. But the occasion of his birthday today makes me reflect on various things written about him as I've slowly and methodically exploited his childhood.
REAL AND IMAGINED THINGS MY 3-MONTH-OLD SON CHARLIE HAS SAID (McSweeney's)
WHAT I FOUND IN MY TWO-YEAR-OLD SON'S PLAYROOM (McSweeney's)
Conversation At The Toy Store Between Myself And My Son Charlie (Almost Three)
A Conversation With Charlie (Age 3) In The Car Last Night (Joined Midway Through)
A Conversation With Charlie, Age 4
The Imminent Threat of Chickens
The Home Improvement Plan
A Brief Conversation with Charlie (Age 4) About Future Plans
A Conversation with Charlie (Age 5) and Kate (Age 3) About Responsibilities
Jokes Written by Charlie (Age 5) That Indicate Either a Lack of Understanding About What Jokes Are, or an Absolute Mastery of the Medium
You May Wish to Avoid Charlie (Age 5) on April 1st
Happy birthday Charlie.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
HER: Charlie, where's Mom?
HIM: She's in your brain.
HIM: She's in your brain, Kate. Mom is insiiiiiiiiide your brain.
HER: No, she's not! Mom isn't inside my brain!
HIM: It's true.
HER: DAD! CHARLIE SAYS MOM IS INSIDE MY BRAIN!
ME: I'm going to let you guys work this one out on your own.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
ME: So there's going to be some new people helping to run the country.
HIM: What does that mean?
ME: It's these people who don't agree with President Bush on some things like the war and they'll have more of a say in it than the people who usually agree with President Bush.
HIM: And what are their names?
ME: Well, there's a lot of them. But they're called the Democrats. You probably haven't heard of them, they haven't been around much since you were born.
HIM: Are they going to flush Bush down the toilet?
ME: No. Well, in a philosophical sense, perhaps--
HIM: REALLY?! THEY'RE REALLY GOING TO FLUSH HIM DOWN THE TOILET?!
ME: No, no they're not going to flush him down the toilet.
HIM: That's too bad.
Monday, November 06, 2006
If this goes the way everyone seems to think it will, it's going to be a result of the conservatives abandoning the Republicans and perhaps shacking up with the Democrats.
Coming back from the tour, I waited at the baggage carousel. Nearby there was a table designated for public use and it was covered with signs saying that the airport is not responsible for what goes on at the table, it's just a soapbox for groups to do whatever they like. There was a LaRouchie on duty with crude hand drawn signs calling for Bush and Cheney to be impeached and stacks of literature, all of it about LaRouche and all of it, presumably, with bad copy editing. He was there to proselytize. But people kept coming up to him to ask where to get a cab or where Delta airlines had it's baggage claim office. I watched him try to talk to these folks about his theories and calls to arms but they just wanted to get a cab and go to their hotels. Finally, he just started telling them where the cabs were. And he offered them some literature. No one took the literature.
It will not be raining indoors. This is your penultimate chance to see a Conservatize Me (hardback edition) reading. The magic phrase to win a special prize is "Your book is a choco-taco of insight and hilarity". Tonight's prize is pretty special, too.
Monday • November 6 • 7pm
Friday, November 03, 2006
David Rakoff is scared that he's about to be shot to death. I don't know this even though I'm seated right next to him. The murder of the acclaimed writer, if it happens, would be even more shocking for me since minutes ago he gave me a pecan that he found growing wild on a path often walked by George W. Bush. This came a few minutes after he and I seemingly presided over a session of the Texas state senate. Am I about to be splattered with the very finely developed brain of David Rakoff, so soon after, I think, becoming friends with him?
I am in Austin, Texas. It is the Texas Book Festival. It was started by Laura Bush.
There were writers flying in to Austin in great numbers for the festival and t-shirt clad festival volunteers swarming the airport ready to give them rides. There was a Live Strong convention happening simulataneously and volunteers for that one were picking up attendees as well but since no one ever accuses writers of living strong, confusion was not an issue. I was delivered to my hotel around 5pm and with little else to do until morning, went to the restaurant and ordered a big steak and a glass of red wine.
This was followed by one of my regular constitutional strolls around the city, down 6th street where every building is a bar and every bar has a live band and it's 6pm and every band is quite fond indeed of Stevie Ray Vaughn.
The next morning I woke up (which is normal) and went to breakfast at the Texas Governor's Mansion (which is not) but the governor was not there to join me for breakfast (which is normal) nor were many of the other big names at the festival. They let us tour the inside of the house but served us breakfast on the lawn since we are, after all, writers.
I was told that my event, a panel discussion with the estimable David Rakoff, would take place in the Capitol building itself. I figured that meant a conference room somewhere, possibly a hallway. But nope: we were in the senate chambers. Massive room, ornate decor, statesmanlike. Many folks coming to watch sat in the gallery but the senators' seats were also filled up with festival attendees as if they would vote on our funniness quotient. After an hour of warm reception and jokes flying about, we were escorted to our signing tent. Along the way, David found pecans on the ground and was told that they grow on trees in Austing. Delighted, he offered me one, which I gladly ate (how often do top-notch humorists give you pecans? you've got to carpe the diem).
At our table, there was a small stream of autograph seekers for David and a trickle for me. This, we consoled ourselves, was due to the Shea-Stadium-for-The-Beatles-like mob that was going bananas for Barack Obama. He had been in the House chambers while we were in the Senate. I never even saw him, whisked, as he was, from building to signing tent and then off to save the country or something. As David and I sat there, a man approached wearing a big parka (on an 85 degree day) and appeared to be reaching for something in his pocket as he looked straight at/through David Rakoff. It turned out to be...a book which was quickly signed and the fella dispatched with less small talk than normal. Turns out, David was convinced the man had a gun and that this would be the end of his life. He had made some disparaging remarks about the famously hostile Barbara Bush in his book and thought "aha, now that I'm in Texas, her posse has come to rub me out."
After the signing petered out, Mr. Rakoff, who I'm happy to report is a heck of a nice guy despite living in fear of assassination, walked with me to the C-SPAN BookTV traveling bus for my interview. You sit down, a microphone is clipped on, and before you quite realize it, you're on television. Or at least you will be. When they air it. And I don't know when that will be.
David was doing an event with Amy Sedaris later, giving me a chance to get her book signed for my wife (Amy is also very nice, it's okay to be a fan). Then I walked back to the hotel, was driven to the airport and my book tour was over. I flew from Dallas to Seattle in first class, the first time I had ever flown first class in my life. It was much nicer than the first time I tried chewing tobacco. That experience is chronicled in my book. Have I mentioned I wrote a book?
Thursday, November 02, 2006
ME: So who do you play with at recess?
HIM: Oh, lots of people. Boys. All the boys.
ME: Any...uh...particular boys?
HIM: There's sort of like a boys team.
ME: And are you on that team?
ME: And what does the boys team do?
HIM: Oh, mostly tries to destroy the girls team.
ME: Destroy them how?
HIM: Hmm. Well, I don't know about all the plans just yet.