Nosferatu: free public domain horror goodness

Yes, it’s legal. Do you wish it weren’t?

Of course you do. Forbidden fruit is sweetest. Don’t let it deter you. This is the horror film that started it all.


To you, Mr. Murnau. To you.


Water vs. God

One of the interesting things about keeping company with pagans is the reaction of non-pagans when they find out. I have heard more Wicker Man jokes, I swear to God, than I have nickels in the bank right now. When I mention that I have pagan friends, others have adopted a frightened, froglike attitude, leaping mid-conversation into the pond of Hollywood and coming up with this gem: “They worship Satan?!

Know what? Some do. Why not? As far as I’m concerned, he’s just as made-up as the other guy. But most pagans I know take what I think is the healthiest of all possible approaches and worship nature. For example, water. I know people who worship water. Let’s face it: God’s not 70% of your body. Satan isn’t, either! If those guys exist, then they are basically powerful versions of yourself who don’t choose to talk to you. Do you not have enough of that in your life? Water’s there for ya, baby. Have a nice cool glass and thank those wonderful little molecules of H2O. Water water water. Delicious source of life. Mmmmmm-mm.

The best part is that water doesn’t care if you dance around and have a ceremony. It just wants you to be part of the great Water Cycle. Your worship can be as simple as a nice, chill lemonade on the front porch followed by a pleasant and satisfying bathroom run. On the other hand, you can get super intense: the quality of water can be destroyed by thoughtless human actions, including farm runoff and hydrofracking. You could campaign for water. Protect water. Save water! When did you ever get to save God? Never, that’s when. God insists on saving you but can’t take it in return. Red flag much? True: you can try to shout down people who are anti-God or try to convert people who dislike God, but theoretically those actions aren’t going to endanger God’s safety because nothing can do that. God literally doesn’t need anything from you. He wants you to do stuff, but if you don’t, it’s not him who will suffer for it.

Nevertheless, he will magnanimously save you from your own wickedness and idiocy time and time again, though he doesn’t actually do anything to stop you from making bad decisions. In fact, the more bad decisions you make, the more contact with God you get to have. Or have to have. It’s unclear what God gets out of all this. If he had an equal amount of faith in you as you have in him, he might actually talk to you now and then, but the deprivation experience sets you up for an undue amount of anxiety and the very real potential that you’ll be exploited by someone who says they’re talking to God when in fact they just want your money. Furthermore, I don’t trust the savior shtick. My experience suggests that people who continually engineer situations where they get to rescue you from a danger of which you were not aware often have something else going on that involves tapping into your inherent sense of obligation. Why not just come right out and ask for what you want? Unless, of course, what you want is horrifying. If you do successfully make God the center of your entire life, he might (might!) let you spend the rest of eternity praising his name. If you leave God alone and try to live your life on your own terms, he’ll get mad and torture you for the rest of time.

Suffice to say that God is not my cup of tea.

Water, on the other hand, just wants you to be hydrated. And to be nice and clean, of course. Water is my cup of tea in every possible way. I am drinking water in an actual cup of actual tea right now. Water is currently making me feel absolutely great in exchange for my active participation in the ecology. And I even get to steep tasty stuff in it! Hail water!

I realize that not everyone’s concept of God is going to focus on the deranged omnipowerful narcissist model that I outlined above. God loves us, God wants us to be happy, God is a construct that maintains a social structure through personal accountability and large monetary donations to religious institutions, etc. Believe it or not, I grew up with God, so I do understand the draw. It’s an awesome feeling when the guy in charge of your parents says that you’re absolved of all your personal flaws just because you really want to be. It feels great to know that God loves you even though everyone at school calls you a dorkus and your parents are fighting all the time. If you can imagine God watching you all day long, maybe you’ll have an easier time hanging onto sobriety, marital faithfulness, or your diet. If God works for you, matzel tov. God has many fine qualities.

However, I’m sticking with water. It’s tastier and has more interesting chemical properties. It’s more versatile than God and its wisdom is in its very nature. I feel like I can learn a lot about going with the flow from water, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. And I’ll keep my personal flaws, too, thank you very much.


1. Artisanal ice

$1 per cube? Maybe if you carved it into the Brooklyn Bridge. I do so love bridges.

Seriously: I’d pay for something that deserves the artisanal moniker by having true artistic merit. But these aren’t even infused with anything. It’s like having artisanal toast…oh, hm. Artisanal water, I guess – seriously? There’s artisanal water? Fine, artisanal air, then. What. OK. That has to be a spoof. That’s a joke, right guys?


2. Keurig cups

A K-Cup. Wild Mountain Blueberry

Thank you, BoingBoing.

What’s that, Lassie? Humans are so selfish and short-sighted that we’re sacrificing the integrity of the environment in exchange for the convenience of a 1-minute cup of coffee whose waste product would encircle the Earth more than ten times?

Yes, I got visited by the Keurig Regret Fairy last night after having a hot chocolate at work. Her arguments were very thorough. I guess she’d have had a ton of time to come up with them over however many thousands of years it took for Keurigs to be invented.


3. Ebola Panic Dude

ebola panic suit

Thank you, U.S. News

STOP IT. JUST STOP. If you’re so scared of getting sick, go live in the woods like this guy. Admit it: you want an outbreak. You want to be Ebola Rick Grimes. Sorry to disappoint ya, chuck, but you don’t get to be a hero in this story unless you care to handle sick people, and frankly I don’t have that much faith in your status as a thoughtful and compassionate human being.

I don’t have time for this today

Seriously. No time. I have two samples, a review, and an article on kibble to write before midnight. Then I have to make banana bread because THE BANANAS ARE DYING AND THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO SAVE THEM. Then I have to dose one of my cats with aspirin so her adorable little ticker doesn’t give out, which involves tricking the other two cats into thinking that they’re getting aspirin too and that is hard because the Bengal is smarter than 46% of Harvard graduates. I have no fucking time to talk to you today. Today, you are going to have to make do with Nyan Cat.

Happy National Cat Day. Fuck!

Why is Mindy Kaling more popular than me?

I seriously do wonder about that, but not as much as you’d think. I used to watch a lot of The Office because I worked in an office-type setting where I was probably more of a Dwight than a Jim. This was where I cultivated my momentarily-fantastic taste in music, for there was often little to do at this job except jam ecstatically in my giant solo office with my very own door closed. It was like having my own little kingdom that I ruled by way of my badass air guitar skillz.

That’s not true. I swear that’s not true. Oh my God Shannon if you read this I swear I did my work. The previous paragraph was just a gag. Really.


Anywho, I’m always impressed when I see someone like Kaling, who effectively ignored the rules that I scrupulously followed into a day job, massive student loan debt, and responsible adult stuff like that, succeed. I wonder how they knew. I also wonder if I would have done anything differently if I’d known. Probably not. I have a pretty sweet life: ubiquitously wonderful fiancee, great home city, two simultaneous careers that I like equally well, plenty of friends, no substance dependencies. Plus, I live in The Future, so I get to overshare at will on this blog.

And yet…

I do think of alternatives fairly often. After all, it’s not too late to do a Crazy Ivan if I start feeling constrained by the high-pressure librarian existence. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Kerouac it up
This plan involves persuading my fiancee to join me in an epic lifelong trek across the globe, making our living as traveling gambolers of the Medieval variety. We would modify an RV into a tiny house on wheels that runs off of kitchen scraps. Quaint, no? The only potential negative is the presence of our three cats. I do not want to imagine how we would handle the litter situation in a tiny house on wheels.

2. Artiste Mode
Imagine me, wearing a beret and headphones, hunched over my Macbook in some hip cafe. A sonic wall of music gently numbs the mind as percussive spits of industrial alt rock leak from my headphones and into your brain. You look over my shoulder to check my contract. Five dollars an hour for erotica? How painfully hip! You may choose to offer me a cigarette, giving me the opportunity to whip out my inhaler and give you a superior stare as I suck down a double dose of asthma medication. “I want you to know,” I would say, clearly suffering, “that I paid for this out of pocket.” What an artist.

3. Superhero
I’d really just run around after my fiancee saving her from stuff. A dog? I’ll save you, dearest! A homeless guy? Quickly, run to safety – I’ll distract him with this dollar! My drive: to keep her safe. My reward: her limitless amusement.

4. Houseywife
Believe it or not, housewifery holds a certain appeal for this otherwise rock-solid butch dyke. My father stayed home and raised the kids while my mom supported the family, so I feel like I have a pretty good template. All I have to do is build a house while simultaneously baking a chicken and cleaning the toilet and doing a kid count every three minutes. No sweat. I’ll start right now. Child roll call: 0. Damn. Now I’m depressed. Maybe if we just keep trying?

5. Consultant
I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what I’d do. But if it keeps a pestilent, syphillis-ridden clown like Joe Murphy in bacon, I imagine I’ll be a millionaire before the year is out.

Why am I writing?

Recently, I realized that my personal meterstick of success is whether or not you write. This is sort of a jarring epiphany. It explains too much too accurately. I voted for Obama because his book turned out to be a better story than Romney’s did. I think Atul Gawande is a great doctor because he happens to have written several books. He probably sucks as a surgeon, but what do I care? Everything I know about sawbones comes from the podcast. Gawande’s got books! And they’re pretty good! Sign me up for surgery, doc! Take anything that looks unused.
This attitude opens up a number of worrying vulnerabilities. Hell, I just elected for open-option surgery, and I’m not sure I wasn’t serious. Taking candy from babies doesn’t begin to describe it. If a hedge fund manager had a book, I’d probably hand over my life savings without batting an eyelash.
What I can’t decide is if this delusion is some kind of internal construct fabricated by my brain to convince me that I’m at the top of the social food chain. Probably. I must be an expert if I write so much. But the fallout is just not sustainable. I can’t go giving my wallet to every pickpocket with a Cracked article. Part of the problem being that I don’t have a wallet, having nothing to put within it viz the public service job and moonlit writing gig.
On the other hand, suppose I did have a wallet. We’re walking down the street, me and my wallet, having a great time together, when suddenly a hedge fund manager and a pickpocket spring out of the bushes. The pickpocket says, “give me your wallet! I have a Cracked article!” The hedge fund manager says, “no, give ME your wallet! My book is on the New York Times Bestselling Business Hardcover Nonfiction List!” Who do I give my wallet to? The hedge fund manager, obvs. He has more write-fu. His write-fu-ness overpowers the pickpocket, who leaves in shame.
Now suppose that I had written a New York Times bestselling book, too. The pickpocket has no chance even if he’s alone because my write-fu overcomes his. He slinks away, dejected. However, what of the hedge fund manager?
“My book is nonfiction! That takes technical expertise,” he growls.
“Well my book is about polka dotted dragons and requires imagination,” I retort.
“Mine’s read by adults!”
“I’ve got the teen market!”
“Mine’s about real problems!”
“Mine’s good for mental health!”
“My editor is better!”
“I publish on my merits and not my brand as a TV personality!”
At this, the hedge fund manager reels, his puffy, veiny red face approaching critical blood pressure levels. Soon, his eyes explode and he runs off, howling. My wallet and I, hopefully not too badly splattered, continue to walk down the street.
The only problem with this scenario is that I have not yet written a New York Times Besteller and therefore continue to be vulnerable to exploitation by other writers. I’ve decided that I need to repair this state of affairs as soon as possible. Meanwhile, however, I’ll need to be clever. I wonder what I’d need to pay Dennis LeHane to be my bodyguard.

You Sleigh Me

Recently, I wrote a blog for my employer, Wilmington Memorial Library. I realized that it was growing by 100 pageviews per month, not because it was unique or stellar, but because I was posting every damn day. Yahtzee! Why am I not doing this in my very own life? I asked. Why am I not utilizing my writerly talents to absorb the adulation of the throbbing masses?

I could come up with no answer, so I decided to pick up on Strange Days again. As I have little to talk about at the moment, I will talk about music.

Right now, I am listening to Treats by Sleigh Bells. I fucking love Sleigh Bells and I don’t care what that says about my personality, taste, or prospects. I have a fiancee who loves me despite Sleigh Bells, a family who tolerates me even when I insist on liking Sleigh Bells, and readers like you who might even, possibly, also enjoy Sleigh Bells. Treats is currently my very favorite Sleigh Bells song. I don’t know why. I don’t care enough to navel-gaze about it. It’s just a hardcore song that makes me feel like a badass. Here’s the music video. Maybe you can figure it out.