By request

>> Thursday, February 28, 2008

This is the Week Of Jim, it would appear. Sometime, there will surely be an entry on the fortieth anniversary of Night Of The Living Dead and an "Oh By The Way" on Ummagumma (double album, will take a little longer to re-listen and write). Maybe not tomorrow: I might (or might not) go see Les Claypool when he plays up the street. But tonight, tonight we have a sort of "by request" entry that wasn't really requested.

The origin goes something like this: Jim, over at Stonekettle Station, posted an entry that attempts to promote an internet meme--tell the world about yourself in thirty-five questions. In the comments thread to the post, I raised a question about the significance of honesty in answering such a quiz, and provided honest, heartfelt, completely legitimate, and totally above-board answers to three of the questions. Jim and Janeice were extremely supportive, and suggested I should answer more of the questions with the same ruthlessly introspective honesty I applied to the three I attacked. I assume they are masochists of some sort. In any event, I have gone on to answer the remaining thirty-two questions (the three answers I left in Jim's thread are also reproduced here).

I can only hope that my difficult, solitary journey into the realms of unsparing self-reflection and candid examination of not just the ego, superego and id, but also of the sort of smudgy stuff that gets jammed between the id and that little nubbly whatchamacallit will in some way help advance civilization, bridge the gaps between people, and fill in the yawning voids between things that are not close together but can be made to appear adjacent if you close one eye and stand so that one is slightly in front of the other.

To those who may read the following and question whether I am in fact being honest in my responses and perhaps I'm not taking things sufficiently seriously or that I am in some way being a coward by not sufficiently exposing my inner self to the world, I can only say: yes. When you understand what drives you to project your own self-consciousness upon one as fearlessly fearless as myself, you too will have achieved the kind of enlightenment that has taken me years of sitting in a dark room crying and drinking cheap scotch while watching blurry porn meditation, exercise and healthy diet to achieve.

1) Ever been in a relationship lasting over 5 years?
No, my probation officer keeps taking me to court and getting my sentence activated. You might say she has commitment issues.

2) What was one of your dreams growing up?
The moon low over the twice-burnt wood
Birds circle 'round the fallen keep
The Prince hides no more, flashing his mail
Overseas the wolf stirs in his slumbers.

3) What talent do you wish you had?
Corey Feldman and/or Corey Haim. Those guys are due for a comeback, and whoever is representing them will be rolling in it.

4) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
How the fuck should I know? What is this, “You'll never guess what you're getting for Christmas...”? Yeah, somehow every time Mr. Grudder at the orphanage asked me that, the answer always turned out to be “Put your hand in my pocket and see!” I must have fallen for that four times before I finally said, “I'm not touching your penis this year, Mr. Grudder!” And that was the Christmas Stinky Wertham became Mr. Grudder's favorite orphan, which made it the worst one ever. So screw you and your... I'm sorry, what was the question?

5) Favorite books?
I'm a big fan of anything featuring Russian women and ponies. Especially in color.

6) What was the last book you read?
I've been trying to finish this dippy little play called The King In Yellow, but this weird, pasty-looking man keeps driving a hearse around my block and shouting things like, “Hey, hurry up in there, I'm coming for your Yellow Sign as soon as you're done!” Which is a huge distraction and so I haven't been able to get much past the part where Camilla actually gets Dmitri to tell her what he dropped in the Lake Of Hali during the new moon. I keep having to put the book down to shout, “Why don't you just steal the fucking 'yield' sign up the road if you want one so bad?” the next time he drives by. I've called the cops, but they just laugh at me. I swear, if I had a gun. But I gotta tell you, the play really isn't that good. I just wanted to read it before the movie version with Will Smith and Robin Williams comes out next year.

If you mean the last one I completely finished, it was Death of a Transvestite Hooker by Edward D. Wood, Jr. There's a real writer.

7) Astrology: Menace to science education or entertainment?
Neither. Look: when is Great Cthulhu coming? When the stars are right. How will you know when the stars are right? Ask an astrologer. Duh.

8) Any tattoos and/or piercings? Explain where.
My soul has been tattooed by the weeping of the widows and my heart pierced by the wailing of the orphans of the five men I had to kill on my way to Silverton. Nah, I'm just joshing. The look on that one little girl's face when I did an impression of her daddy falling underneath that train was just priceless.

9) Worst habit?
Bringing gruesome death to my enemies before they have made peace with their deity, with the unfortunate result that I am constantly plagued by a horde of mewling, dismembered ghosts bent on a revenge they will forever be denied.

10) Best attribute?
Dex, since it can improve your AC, Reflex saves, and several useful skills like Move Silently. Also, it provides a combat bonus with ranged weapons and also mêlée weapons if you take Weapons Finesse.

11) What are your favorite hobbies?
Merry was totally the coolest, and then maybe Sam. Frodo got kinda whiny towards the end and Pippin was a jerk.

12) Do you have a negative or optimistic attitude?

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
Clarification: do I have a Coleman stove and barbecue sauce?

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
This lottery check is much smaller than I expected.

15) Best thing to ever happen to you?
The mysterious, gruesome, and poetically apt lamentable and accidental deaths of the other five people in the tontine my friends and I formed after successfully recovering the elusive treasure of Oak Island. I'm sorry, I meant to say that this was the worst thing that ever happened to me. They were very dear friends, and I miss them greatly. Also, eight people saw me ordering wings at Guffy's on April 17th of last year, and anyway, I don't know anything about electrical wiring. Just thought I'd mention that for no particular reason.

16) Tell me one weird fact about you.
Although I did not actually invent the internet (contrary to what it says in Kitty Kelley's unauthorized biography, American Legend), I was the first person to upload pornography onto Arpanet in 1969, almost two full years before I was born in '72. Although the image was rather unimpressive (the 80px x 60px 2-bit color render looked like a tiny rectangle full of polka dots, frankly) and took three hours to download, I had 2,231,567 hits on the first day alone.

17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
Clarification: do I have a Coleman stove and barbecue sauce?

18) What was your first impression of me? (Answered as if I was asking you,so that you are you and me is me... um... okay.)
I think you started with the one of me ordering a pizza, which was kind of funny, but the one you do now of me haggling for a date with a pre-op tranny hooker is just mean and I wish you'd stop doing it.

19) What scares you?
The Clowns. Especially Steve Clown, you know, Gene Clown's “brother” who keeps dropping off those duffel bags once a week, after two a.m. I thought drugs, at first, but I swear I saw one of those bags dripping the last time he stopped at their house.

20) If you could change one thing about how you are, what would it be?
I'm too honest. Also, my modesty: sometimes, when I'm telling people about how awesome I am, I start leaving things out so they don't feel as inferior. Sorry, I guess that was two things.

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
Hey pal, what's this "partner" shit? You work for me. I'm keeping an eye on you, bub.

22) What color eyes do you have?
I'm still missing a set of hazels, if you want to trade sometime. (In all fairness, the blue-and-gold ones I have to trade have gone off, so if you want those I can throw in an extra set of greens.)

23) Ever been arrested? If so, what for?
For telling truth to power. By urinating on a statue on public display. In front of a bunch of little kids on a field trip. In a museum. Hey, I thought education was supposed to be important, okay? Also, I was drunk.

24) Favorite dessert?

25) If you won $1000 today, what would you do with it?
Invest it in cheap hookers. I could probably get somewhere between 20 and 50, depending on what they thought I was asking for and how coked up they were. Then I'd see how many of them could fit in a phone booth. Then I'd take a picture and post it on flickr with the caption “Off The Hook(ers)” or some lameass shit like that.

26) Tell me something you want me to know about you.
This isn't a gun in my pocket, but I'm not actually all that happy to see you. I've been thinking about going to the doctor about it, if you really want to know.

27) What's your favorite place to hang out?
Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo. I do believe it. I do believe it's true. Woo-oo-oo.

28) Do you believe in ghosts? Aliens?
The idea of ghosts is absurd, and there's no such thing as aliens. Ghost aliens, however, are a distinct possibility. Unlike alien ghosts. Your philosophy, Horatio, and all that shit.

29) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Take my iPod out to the park, put in some earbuds, cue up “Yakety Sax” and then use my mental control over the space-time continuum to cause joggers to run backwards and forwards or at exaggerated rates of speed, just like in a Benny Hill sketch. But I have to be careful not to drink anything while I do it, because it would make a terrible mess.

30) Do you swear a lot?
Yes. I've been an expert witness at over 230 trials, even when nobody has asked me to.

31) Biggest pet peeve?
George. But the two littlest peeves (Sam and Diane) managed to have a litter last week, and Philbert is a healthy eater, so you might want to ask me again in about a month.

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?

33) Do you believe in/appreciate romance?
Well, I think it's well-established that Latin is a real language, Dr. Everett Billbeck's assertion that the Roman Catholic Church had made it up having been contradicted by Professor Aberstradding's discovery of an ancient, 2,000-year-old 45 called “Areolas Magnas Amo”* by Brutus And The Dreamboats.

34) Most unusual place you've had sex?

35) Do you believe in an afterlife?
No, you go first.

And that's it. Wow, are my arms tired. Once again, it would have been easier to just do it right, but I'm an asshole. Goodnight.

*EDIT, March 1, 2008: Wellsian fixed this joke. Thanks, dude. I know that's why you spent all that time learning Latin--for the smutty jokes.


Tania Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 8:13:00 PM EST  

Note to self - Do not read Eric's stuff while at work or in meetings. Barking laughs and snorts give away that you are probably not looking at work related items.

Nathan Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:49:00 PM EST  

Oh, and I forgot. The newlywed footage? I knew exactly what was coming as soon as I saw her face there. I even remembered her hideous husband before I hit "play".

Eric Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 10:03:00 PM EST  

I don't know how anyone can see that question without thinking of the Newlywed clip or the story. A classic.

Y'know, as I watch it again, I find myself hoping that those two are still married, and still having wild crazy sex in the... car. It's been what, 30, 35 years? It ought to be true love, if such a thing exists.

Jim Wright Friday, February 29, 2008 at 1:45:00 AM EST  

Holy Crap, I think I just laughed myself sober!

I'm kidding, of course - nothing could do that.

I've haven't seen that clip in years, damn, that's funny. Like you said, I hope they're still married and still doing the wild thing.

Thanks, Eric.

Janiece Murphy Friday, February 29, 2008 at 10:46:00 AM EST  

Hey, Jim! Eric's our new dancing monkey!

Dance, monkey, dance!

I like monkeys.

Eric Friday, February 29, 2008 at 11:45:00 AM EST  

Ah, Janeice, you've brought back such awesome memories! I can picture Mr. Grudder in his office at the orphanage, with a big mug of his "grown-up juice," encouraging us while we would put on a show for him. He would get six or seven of us, me, Stinky Wertham, Stanley Scheiner, Booger-Miner Pete and maybe two or three other favorites, and we'd have a talent show.

We even got to wear costumes. Mr. Grudder had a big trunk in the attic full of really cool stuff. It was mostly pirate clothes, these frilly sashes and shirts and boots and shoes with long heels and frilly pirate underwear and lacey pirate stockings. Also, there were a lot of feathery scarves and corsets. I guess fat pirates wore those to look less fat.

Anyway, we'd get all dressed up and Mr. Grudder would get us to put on some makeup, like actors, because his office was pretty dark and so we needed to really exaggerate our eyes and lips so he could see our acting (also, keep in mind that pirates wear makeup--cf. Pirates Of The Carribean), and then we'd go up and do little dances and things in his office while he drank from his mug and watched us perform. Sometimes, Mr. Grudder would shout, "Dance, monkeys, dance!" Which is why Janeice's comment reminded me of the old theater/pirates afficianado.

I remember this one time, Mr. Grudder was so impressed by our theatrical skills that we moved him to tears. Seriously. Booger Miner Pete had just finished singing "Tomorrow," from Annie (he'd found this bright red wig that went really well with one of the corsets and a cool pair of stockings that had sort of a net-texture; you might have to see them to know what I'm talking about), and Mr. Grudder began to sob, which was unusual. Normally, he would have just shouted at Stinky Wertham to get him some more grown-up juice from the locked cabinet in the corner. And then (I'll never forget this) he said, "What in God's name am I doing? Daddy would be so ashamed of me." (Daddy Warbucks, you may remember, was a character in Annie). And then he pushed us all out of the office and locked the door. We heard him set off a firecracker to cheer himself up, and that was the last time any of us saw Mr. Grudder. He retired the very next day without even saying goodbye to "Grudder's Gals" (as he liked to call us, for some obscure reason; it was an all-boys home).

For some stupid reason, Mr. Grudder's replacement (Mr. Hackney) thought I needed to see a psychiatrist, which was annoying. Especially since the shrink had no appreciation of theater: when I tried to show him the version of "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago that I was working on when Mr. Grudder retired, he didn't want to see it and I had to start taking these pills that gave me headaches and made my tongue fuzzy.

Philistine. Some people just don't understand art.

wellsian,  Friday, February 29, 2008 at 3:06:00 PM EST  

Best attribute is INT you noob.

Eric Friday, February 29, 2008 at 3:24:00 PM EST  

Just for that, if I get to run anything the next time you're in town, you can expect hallways full of pit traps, hidden darts, falling bricks, random blasts of flame, and ceiling-mounted scythes. And lots of monsters that make touch attacks.

Eric Friday, February 29, 2008 at 3:29:00 PM EST  

Oh, and I'm not sure whether or not to be distressed that you didn't correct the lousy Latin I got from an online translator. I figured you'd pipe in with a correction that I could then steal, making myself look smarter. Some pedagogue you turned out to be. What's the use of all that hifalutin' edumacation if you're not going to use it to be pedantic on the internet, huh?

You disappoint me, sir. (disappointedly shakes head to physically indicate disappointment)

wellsian,  Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 1:39:00 PM EST  

Traps? Don't matter when you got the skillz my man.

Oh, and "ego" was redundant, as "amo" already contains the information (first person singular, "I love"). Since you want to emphasize your love of a big areola, proper Latin composition would suggest: "magnus areola amo."

And "a big areola" doesn't make much sense, does it? Ordinary English idiom would probably go: "I love big areolas." So you want "magnae areolae amo."

Ah, but not so fast! You've kept everything in the nominative. So your phrase literally translates to this: "I, a big areola, love." Now, while I might agree that you are a big areola, I'm pretty sure that that was not what you intended. The transitive verb needs an object. In the plural accusative. So, "magnas areolas amo."

Proper style probably would put the adjective second, much as modern romance languages like French do. So, "areolas magnas amo."


(You asked for it ;) )

Eric Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 5:13:00 PM EST  

I not only asked for it, I went back and fixed the joke because of it.


Anne C. Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 12:13:00 PM EST  

I prefer the original, "I, a big areola, love." (After it was translated by Wellsian, of course.)

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