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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beard Trustworthiness

I know this has been going around for awhile now, but this is the first time I've had a chance to post this. I'm not sure whether I'm happy or a little disappointed that I have the most trustworthy beard type. I guess parenthood really has taken the edge off. Someday I'm gonna let it go and become the Philosopher, though. Honest.

Beard Trustworthiness Index.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A few notes about the Apocalypse

So, as I've mentioned before, I'm currently working on a piece of apocalyptic fiction involving angels and demons and the mortal peeps caught in the crossfire of heaven and hell*. And since I've been spending a lot of time thinking (obsessing?) about the end of the world, which happens with me a lot around the ending/beginning of the year, my eye has been drawn to all of the apocalyptic talk about the economy and the social order here in the ole' US. It seems I'm not the only one thinking about the end times** so I figured I would let loose with a bunch of apocalyptic linky-dinks. Think of this as a potpourri for Armageddon, if you will.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Noble Three complete on ukulele

Noble Three has reunited once more to bring the masses a cover of The Beatles classic mid-sixties jaunt, "Paperback Writer." It was for the coolest project ever, The Beatles Complete on Ukulele, in which David Barrett records a cover version of all 185 Beatles original recordings, all complete with a ukulele track on each of them. Before you think this ridiculous, listen to some of these tracks and be amazed at the ingenius way Mr. Barrett manages to put uke in these songs.

Patrick and I decided to go with a faster song and slow it down to a bluegrassy swing. Mr. Barrett then took our source tracks and made it into a puff of glass. It's beautiful. I hope y'all like it.

You can read Mr. Barrett's hilarious and insightful essay, as well as listen to our cover version, here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Now's a good time for a week-after-Christmas rant

Now that Christmas is over and we're heading into a new year I figured I would chat a little bit about a story I recently read in the New York Times about yet another humiliation modern writers have to experience on their way to publication, an evil thing called Pitchapalooza.

Now, the story is written from a "gee-whiz-look at the new-fangled way agents and publishing houses are creating to find new talent" angle, but I see this as the modern literary equivalent of gladiator sports, hundreds of writers duking it out in no-holds-barred combat to determine who gets the "honor" of an audience with a real-life agent. It's the lottery. From the writer's perspective they get a one in five hundred chance at maybe getting listened to; from the agent/publishing house perspective they get 500 chances at finding a hungry author they can exploit for the cost of renting out a small meeting hall.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another one from the Times

Here's author Gail Godwin talking about being an older writer, which is an interesting counterpoint to all the talk of young writers.

Monday, December 20, 2010

True Grit

Here's a cool article in the New York Times about the reclusive author of True Grit, Charles Portis.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Writing Links!

decomP has released its December, 2010 issue, and it includes some faces you might recognize (xTx, J. Bradley for starters). Mine isn't one of them, but I don't care, because this issue is the cat's pajamas.

Chad Harbach at Slate posits that there are now two distinct literary cultures in America: NYC vs. MFA's. Long but interesting read.

And then, of course, there's this end of year crap.

More interesting is this from The Millions.

The New York Times reviews Jonathan Lethem's latest book, a critique of John Carpenter's 1988 "classic" They Live.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

He is Talking to the Fat Lady

As soon as I heard xTx had a chapbook coming out on Safety Third Enterprises, I made sure I was waiting in the e-line the day it came on sale. Good thing I did because the darn thing sold out in a day.

Well, the adorable little green book came last week and over the weekend I had the chance to devour it in one sitting. While I had read some of the stories before they were certainly deserving of a second pass through, and the new ones were pretty much exactly as I expected: harsh, brutal, and absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, due to the whole sold out nature of the chapbook, any of you who don't already have it can't get a copy, but several of the stories have been published before, including the titular story.

Anyway, the chapbook is great, read xTx. Go to her blog.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dog Eat Crow Magazine

So, it has occurred to me over the last few months that this blog has become far too solipsistic and thematically fragmented to warrant posting other author's fiction here. It seems strange to show off great works by other people in between posts about college football and bragging about my latest writerly conquest.

So, I have no started Dog Eat Crow Magazine for the sole purpose of showcasing great fiction by people who are not me. You can still come here for the normal off-topic (or on-topic) blogging and rantation, but as often as I can I'll be posting short stories, poetry, and flash fiction over at DECM.

Anyway, so, like, I just wanted to let you know. The first official Dog Eat Crow Magazine story went live a week or so ago. It's Jordan Matthew Walsh's curiosity "The Dog You Hated Died Today, Thought You'd Like To Know."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Whoa, time passed like the blink of an eye...

It seems like I went to sleep and woke and suddenly I hadn't posted a blog in two weeks. I'm sorry about that, peeps. With the Holidays and my 30th birthday and everything the last few weeks got totally crazy. I'll try to rectify the situation by posting more frequently going forward, but I would say to expect the posting to be pretty light for most of the rest of the year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Picks of the Week

So the past week saw the Big Ten get muddier, my beloved Wolverines reach their potential, the SEC and Big 12 get clearer, and proved Oregon can also play defense when they have to.

With just two more weeks in the regular season most of the major conference races are pretty well sewed up: South Carolina will be playing against Auburn in the SEC championship game, Nebraska will most likely be playing a team from Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game, and Florida State and Virginia Tech seemed destined for a collision course in the ACC. Oregon has two tough conference match-ups coming up, but will be the Pac 10 champs if they win at least one of them, though their National Championship hopes rest on remaining undefeated. Only the Big Ten remains a mystery, as Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State all have only one loss and have pundits scanning the rule book to determine who might be representing the conference in the automatic BCS bid. The problem is that both Ohio State and Wisconsin have tough tests ahead of them, which could put MSU in the lead.

Last week I went 4 for 6 to bring my total to 54 out of 79 games, or 68%. Not too shabby, though it's clear by now I am no prognosticator.

Here're the week's big games:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Late to the party

So, since about every other writer I know has already posted about this, I figure I will offer my late, but no less sincere, thoughts on National Novel Writing Month. As a writer, and one that feels writing definitely could use a higher profile among this country's cultural products, I couldn't be happier that there is an organization out there promoting the most writerly of feats, the novel. As a person who has actually completed a novel, though, I can't help but feel NaNoWriMo's stated objective of 50K words in a month is perhaps a little on the disingenuous side. To put it bluntly, there is practically no way in Hades that a person with a full time job, a family, and a life outside of work, family, and writing could possibly write 50K words of quality fiction in a 30 day period. To break it down, that means this writer would need to write about 1600 words a day everyday for a month. If this writer has never attempted a novel before, or written multiple short stories, this is an enormously daunting task to subject a relative day tripper to. My over-arching fear in too many people joining in with NaNoWriMo is that what will end up happening is, rather than a bunch of great, life-changing novels getting written/started, we will instead have an army of frustrated, hopeless novel-haters, who will point to November, 2010 as the month they realized they could never be writers and that they are failures at life.

So, I ask what is the true purpose of NaNoWriMO? I think that NaNoWriMo is actually a nefarious plot by under appreciated, and devious novel writers who wish to make the general populace more appreciative of their (the devious novel writers') toils. It is true that writing a novel is a massive, complicated, nerve-destroying process that rarely takes less than three months, and usually takes years or decades. Writers put huge swaths of their souls into novels, they sell their futures, their pasts, their relationships in service of this one story that, if told correctly could alter their fortunes, but probably will still just sit in a drawer, or in a file folder on their desktop. Novels are mystical puzzles that only the very talented and the very lucky truly figure out. They are fever-dreams that represent everything that an author is, her paranoias and frustrations, her observations, her memories. Novels are the summation of everything an author has ever experienced, seen, thought, or been. Novels are all.

So, it seems a bit precocious to fill the minds of relative newbies with a lot of claptrap about getting a good start on this life-altering cancerous growth by writing a lot in this one month. So, this brings me back to the idea that the creators of this iron maiden of a plan are in actuality hoping to get as many people as possible to join up so that all these people will fail, and by doing so will realize how truly amazing an achievement actually finishing a novel is. By telling everyone they can write a 50K novel in a month, they are practically setting every one of these peeps up for a frustrated, agonizing 30 days, in which they spend every day worrying constantly about not writing enough. It's like a fad diet, but with words instead of calories. And in the end, these devious writers will look really cool at dinner parties.

Now, some of you may say, "Tres, aren't you taking this a bit seriously?" To which I would reply, "Of course I'm taking it too seriously. That's what I do. Have you been reading this blog?" Then some of you may say, "But Tres on the NaNoWriMo website it pretty clearly states that the goal of writing a 50K word novel is unrealistic and the whole purpose is to simply get non-writers with writer dreams to get the ball rolling and start the hard work toward achieving their dreams, and furthermore they provide a crap ton more links and hints for getting passed the major roadblocks writers face than your blog does. So why, Tres, why are you a killer of dreams?" To which I would reply, "Because I'm 40K words into writing a monster of a novel of my own and I'm jealous as hell of anyone who can actually complete a novel by the end of this month, because strait-up I want this story out of me asap before it strangles me to death. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it." To which you would probably reply, "Dude, chill." And you'd be right.

All joking aside, peeps, NaNoWriMo is really really really cool and several of my fav authors are taking the challenge. Like her and her, for instance. I myself am not participating in any meaningful sense merely because I am elbow-deep in a novel which I can neither quit to start something else, or finish reasonably within a month. I feel very good about this novel; it makes me happy in ways nothing I've written before has done, though the subject matter is very sad. I'm writing a novel about God and the ways in which His broken creations relate to Him. There are angels and demons and drunks and whores in this novel. None of them are very happy, and yet I think there will be a happy ending. Happy, of course, is a relative term. I think this novel is neo-sentamentalist. I hope to finish it before this time next year.

To all of you who have thrown down the gauntlet, I salute you. You are brave. I believe in you. Enjoy every minute of this horrible journey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Picks of the Week

Well, it was a pretty crazy week of football. My Wolverines had to score 67 points in 3 overtimes in order to become bowl eligible and hang a W on the Fighting Illini. In other crazy news, Oklahoma lost and Nebraska barely made it passed Iowa State and LSU somehow beat Alabama. All in all I went 4 for 6 to bring my total to 50 out of 73 games, or 68%. Eh.

This week has some very interesting conference match-ups, especially in the schizo SEC, which features two games between Top 25 teams.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Picks of the Week

After last weekend's horrible Halloween joke the gods played on me in Happy Valley, a lot of my enthusiasm for the season has waned. I'm not gonna lie, my Wolverines are killing me. Beyond that, my picks also went woefully south. I went a measly 2 for 5 to bring my season total to 46 out of 67, or 69%. Bah humbug.

This week brings some interesting tests for the top rated teams, like Washington versus Oregon, or Chattanooga versus Auburn, or...oh wait, never mind, the top teams are all playing cupcakes this week. That is, except Utah and TCU who are playing each other for all the marble in the Mountain West. Other than that game the fireworks will all be in the SEC, where 'Bama gets the earn the right to spoil Auburn's NC hopes in the Iron Bowl at the end of the month.

No. 21 Baylor at No. 17 Oklahoma State
If you want evidence that the Big 12 has completely fallen apart look no further than the fact that Baylor is actually in control of its destiny in the Big 12 South. They need only beat Oklahoma and they could actually get the opportunity to have their butts chewed off by Nebraska in Dallas in December. This will be a pretty big test for them. I doubt they'll survive the night.
Baylor 24 Oklahoma State 35

No. 3 TCU at No. 5 Utah
The only reason both of these teams are ranked this high this week is because everyone knows one of them will have a loss after this week. I expect Utah, who will lose this game, to fall off a cliff in the polls on Sunday. TCU is a very good team this season, and Utah has been largely untested. I expect the Horned Frogs to leap ahead of the Utes. HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
TCU 28 Utah 16

Illinois at Michigan
AHHHHHHH! Last weekend was interminable. For the third week in a row the Wolverines went down by 21 points early in a game and spent the rest of the time playing catch-up only to fall just short as time expired. Our defense is the worst in the country; our offense is great most of the time, but can't afford to stumble when they know the defense is going to allow a score every time the opposing team touches the ball. This is not football, this is playing chess with a bunch of queens and no pawns. I expect Michigan to struggle with a rising Illini, but hope springs eternal. If the defense can get a few stops the Michigan offense might actually be able to win a game.
Illinois 35 Michigan 38

No. 18 Arkansas at No. 19 South Carolina
While Arkansas is pretty much out of the running in the SEC West, South Carolina really needs to win this game to stay ahead in the East. Add the fact that the game is being played in Columbia, and I think the Cocks might ride away into the sunset with another SEC win.
Arkansas 21 South Carolina 28

No. 6 Alabama at No. 10 LSU
This is definitely the key match-up in the SEC West. An LSU win here pretty well shores up the West for Auburn, while a win for 'Bama sets the stage for some major fireworks at the end of the month in the Iron Bowl. Not only do I have zero confidence in The Gambler's ability to beat Nick Satan, but I'm sure the SEC refs will make sure that the focus stays on the league well into November. Alabama runs away with it.
Alabama 28 LSU 16

No. 15 Arizona at No. 13 Stanford
The Pac 10 slate is full of pillow fights this week, expect for this bonfire between The Cardinal and the Wildcats. An Arizona win means that they could theoretically win the conference with a win against Oregon later in the month, while a Stanford victory more or less means Oregon will win out, unless they happen to stumble twice in their remaining schedule. I think Stanford is rolling.
Arizona 28 Stanford 35

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What You Have Done

Awww heck, I'll just throw another Greenland tune out there for y'all. Toward the end of the first end of Greenland we were starting to record random songs in Michael's garage-attic-turned-studio because, well, we had the time and technology. That, plus Michael is the kind of guy who is capable of singular, sustained obsessions and after going through the hassle of setting up the garage attic studio he became seriously curious about recording techniques and was looking for any excuse to try them out. The fact that he was in a band certainly helped satisfy his curiosity since he could simple have one of us come over whenever we were available and screw around for awhile.

Monday, November 1, 2010

You are the 5000th visitor!!!

...or maybe it was the person before you, or after you, I can't really be sure. But the fact remains that at some point today the 5000th visitor will have come and checked out Dog Eat Crow World. I honestly can't tell you how crazy that is to me, to think that that many people have stopped by and read my zaniness. On top of that this also happens to be the one year anniversary of the blog, so I figured I would spend this post taking a look back at what has made it so much fun to do.

Here are some random things you probably don't know.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Paris Review Interviews

The Paris Review has opened up the vaults on all its author interviews of the years. It's a staggering list.

Here's the link.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Picks of the Week

Hey, there were some big games on the line last weekend and I managed to call every single one of them. I went five for five, to bring my total up to 44 out of 62 games, or 71% on the season. last weekend Auburn and Michigan State and Missouri did a great deal to help solidify themselves as front runners. Oregon too is up there, and probably deserves to be #1 but the flailing Pac 10 ain't helping them out any, while the relative strength of the SEC West is giving Auburn a huge boost (though I wonder if anyone has noticed the steady downward drift of teams like South Carolina, and Miss St?).

This week there are really only three games of national significance. While there are a slew of middling games that will help clarify who goes to what unimportant bowl games for each conference, there are really only three important ones. MSU goes to Iowa for the last of the difficult games on their schedule, Missouri faces Big 12 North rivals Nebraska, and Oregon travels to the Coliseum to take on a USC program that would kill for a statement win right about now. It's hard to predict what will happen when so much is on the line and three of the top six teams are on the road against stiff conference opponents. I think one of these teams will lose. Stay tuned for which.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Young Me Now Me

Some of these pictures make me laugh. Some make me cry. But all of them remind me of how much we stay the same even as we change.

You Me Now Me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Appalachian Gothic

The tag line for Charles Dodd White's debut novel, Lambs of Men, reads, "The war comes home," yet the phrase doesn't quite do this complex, subtle novel justice. A better tag line would have been, "The war was here all along." And war is indeed at the heart of this short, but intense, story. It twines between the characters, holding them hostage, and binding them together in surprising ways.

White is primarily known as an Appalachian specialist, setting nearly all of his fiction in the vast, rich mountain region between New York and Georgia, and certainly the mountains and its environs play a distinct role in this drama. Not since Louis L'Amour has the physical environment of a world been so lovingly conjured. White spends pages describing in depth the trees and sun and clouds and mountains, and yet not once does it become tedious or unnecessary. These hills are characters in themselves, the birth mother of this story and the characters that populate it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picks of the Week

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. I had a pretty good run until this past weekend when everything completely fell apart for me. I went a measly 2 for 7 bringing my total for the season down to 39 out of 57, or 68%. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

This week has some monsters in it, and while it won't completely clarify anything in any conference, it will certainly help decide who is for real and who isn't.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Well shucks, y'all, now you're just embarrassin' me

My fine friends at decomP have gone and outdone themselves this time. They've nominated my short "The Devil's Courtyard" for the 2010 Pushcart Prize. For those of you who may not know, the Pushcart is like the Pulitzer of small presses, which basically means I'm as awesome as Cormac McCarthy and even awesomer than Stephen King...ya know, because, like, he hasn't been nominated for a Pushcart or a Pulitzer. Which I guess that means me and Cormac are both awesomer than Stephen King. Cool.

I guess this means my quest to become the most beloved ginger-haired author in the world is just that much closer now. I'll be signing autographed photos of myself out of the back of my CRV behind the Walmart on Clairmont tomorrow for those of you who are interested. I'll even supply the pens. There was a special at Staples last week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Out and Out

By Ron Koppelberger

The enticement was living and breathing beast in tandem between courage and the dominion of sin. He was in the flesh of the moment, the conception of apples for loincloths and thorns. Theodore Scullion was absorbed by his unsullied temptation, growling uninterrupted by sentiment or guilt, he thought of his desire instead.


He would unlock the secret realms of gold, gold and diamond gemstone, piles of crisp one hundred dollar bills stacked in perfect union and quiet whispering arrangements of fortune.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Communion

Greenland didn't last very long. I think we were together for about a year and a half total, but during that time we came out with a seven-song EP, made two music videos, played a bunch of shows, and got flown to NYC for a brief appearance on Good Morning America. I got to meet Diane Sawyer and she kind of almost looked at me once. I almost ran full-on into Jeff Gordon, the very small in stature race car driver, in the Green(land) room, and we were given spray-painted mouses (mice?) as the prize for winning Best Video in the YouTube Underground contest. It was a special year and a half.

However musically workmanlike Greenland was, the band always lacked the sort of X-factor spark that sends other bands to the tippy-top of the hit parade. In all honesty we just weren't that good of friends. Certainly we liked each other and enjoyed our time together, but we were a band formed of several fathers and husbands and serious boyfriends and dudes who had real jobs and bills to pay. We didn't have much free time and what free time we had we spent practicing, so we didn't get a lot of time to hang out and get to know each other really well. Perhaps this wouldn't have seemed unsatisfying to me if I hadn't just emerged from the crazy drunken intense fraternity of Oblivion, but since I had, it did.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Picks of the Week

Man, I seriously got thrown for a loop last week. It was mostly the SEC's fault with nearly every game ending in some sort of crazy upset or topsy-turvy match-up. SoCar upended the No. 1 team, LSU actually went in The Swamp and got the job done, Michigan State gave my Wolverines a sore paw. Sheesh. That brings me to 37 out of 50 games, or 74%, which is still a respectable percentage I guess.

This week doesn't have quite the intrigue of last, but a lot of stuff will get clarified in the Big Ten after Week Seven's match-ups. With MSU hosting Illinois, Michigan hosting Iowa, and the Buckeyes and Badgers facing off in Madison, the opportunities for upsets are everywhere.

Let's get to it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cherry-Red

By Sheldon Compton

It's dead relatives people get hung up on when they start thinking about dying, particularly when they start thinking about dying in the self-inflicted sort of way.

No need to analyze this as the connection is obvious, and I mention it only because this evening I will kill myself. No worries. It's not a big deal, really. The thing is, now that I'm going to do it I realize I'd not thought much about Virginia in the days leading up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Publication is Mine!

Hey. I got a short, short story that went live last month without me even knowing about it until right now. It's called "The Golden Age of Cinema" and my fine friends at Weirdyear saw fit to put it in print (code?). Thank you much, guys.

I hope you like it.

You can check out the story here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Godspeed You Black Emperor: Chapter Three

Sorry it took so long, folks. Here's Chapter Three of my not-entirely-finished novel, Godspeed You Black Emperor. I've linked to the first two chapters if you want to catch up.

Chapter One: The Lev
Chapter Two: Daniel Fischer
Chapter Three: The Agents

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Writing Links!

Alan Stewart Carl has a brilliant apocalyptic story here, in Necessary Fiction.

Amber Sparks, who is currently the Writer In Residence over at Necessary Fiction, has also started an interesting blog/project titled The Ancient City, which showcases little ditties from names you prolly recognize from this here blog. I still am not entirely sure what the heck the ancient city is or what is going on at this website, but the stories are great, and the mystery just makes it better.

Jason Jordan whacks 'em and stacks 'em here at >kill author, with his short story "Do Not Let Them Take You."

The wondrous xTx is teaming up with Matt DeBenedictus' Safety Third Enterprises to release her very first chapbook, titled He Is Talking To The Fat Lady. Press release, and ordering info here.

Roxane Gay writes about the joys of the Jheri Curl at Defunct.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Picks of the Week

Hmmm, for the most part Week Five went exactly as everyone predicted it would. Michigan and Indiana played a shoot-out that wasn't decided until the very end, Oklahoma beat a Longhorns team in the throes of a down year, Iowa proved Penn State really aren't very good, 'Bama proved that they are. For the most part I did really well, only getting caught with my pants down twice (I misjudged Michigan State's worth, and I missed the Stanford/Oregon toss-up), to bring my total through five weeks to 33 out of 42 (79%).

Week Five proved to indeed be a clarifying week, with many questions being answered, and even more being brought up. Which Big Ten team will beat Ohio State? Will anyone beat Alabama? What's wrong with Texas?

Week Six brings more of the same, with a few hard-hitting matches that will help determine a lot in several of the AQ conferences, especially the SEC, Big Ten, and Pac 10.

So, without further ado, here are my predictions for Week Six.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This is the part of the story where I pretend to bow real low and be humble and stuff

The beautiful peeps at decomP have nominated my short story "The Devil's Courtyard" for Dzanc Books' Best of the Web compilation. For those of you who don't know, this is like the biggest deal in the whole world and pretty much proves I'm the awesomest person ever, etc., etc.

Honestly, though, this is a huuuuuuuge honor, and I'm so proud to be considered for this. With writing, kudos don't come very often, so when they do you sort of have to bask in the radiance of it. Thanks a bunch, decomP. You're the best. We're BFF's foreva, for reals.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Party Crashers

About six months into Noble Three's short but prolific career we decided that it would be cool to set up a small mobile recording studio in Patrick's house and make small one-off recordings to put up on the web in between the official e-single releases. The idea was for these recordings to be aural sketches, off-the-cuff, without too much thought or fuss put into them. Certainly there were plenty of songs that we wanted to give the full Fuson treatment to, but these "sketches" would just be Patrick and me with as few instruments as we could get away with.

Well, it happened that about the third time we got together, to record the song "My Loneliest Year," we ended up screwing around with some keyboards and came up with the one and only Noble Three instrumental. There are no lyrics and the inspiration for it came simply from this really awesome synth patch I found on one of Patrick's keyboards, which lent a ton of ambiance to the recording.

The title comes from the Chuck Palahniuk novel Rant in which young people drive around getting wasted in the hopes of getting in horrible car wrecks. The witty, and somewhat twisted, term for these revelers is "party crashers." For me, I just liked the double meaning and so we offered this relatively throw-away title for this statistical outlier of a song.

We recorded two versions of the song. The first was very loose and shorter and was thrown together almost on the spot. Patrick liked this version better for its spontaneity and verve. I always preferred the second version though because I think it is a more fleshed-out iteration of the concept. There's more going on, IMO. And since it's my blog it is the second version y'all are getting here.

There are no lyrics so the lyrics come courtesy of no one.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Swamp Thing and the Green Movement

Is Swamp Thing the most morally complicated DC Comic book character? Possibly. Here's why.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Picks of the Week

Well, I had a pretty good week last week. I went out on a few limbs and for the most part those limbs snapped underneath me and tossed me to the floor, but I went 5 for 7, bringing my total through four weeks to 27 out of 34, or 79%.

Week Five opens up league play for most of the Big Six conferences, which brings all sorts of crazy games. Several conference races should be considerably clearer after Saturday, which should lend momentum to several Top Ten teams heading into the meat of conference play. So, here are the top games of Week Five.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chapbooks

Chapbook - A generic term covering a particular genre of pocket-sized booklet, popular from the sixteenth through to the later part of the 19th century.

In the 21st century, "chapbook" means this and this and this.

Chapbooks have become the literary equivalent of 45 rpm singles back in the day. They are relatively easy to produce and thus can be sold very cheaply. And because they are both short short-run and personalized creations they have a uniqueness to them that makes them interesting creative artifacts.

I've been thinking about putting out a few chapbooks myself, not just with my own writing but also with other authors whose work I truly respect and admire. So, what do you think? What author would you like to see a chapbook from?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Straitjacket

I wrote "Straightjacket" in the same night I wrote the beginnings of "The Way It Is," sitting alone on my bed in Nashville, in a singular fit of creativity that has never really been matched. While the two songs have little in common sonically, they are both imbued with the melancholy of that one evening. "The Way It Is" is the tale of a young man so infected with ennui that he can't be bothered to change anything in his life. The repeated refrain: "People never change their ways/that's the way it/that's the way it."

"Straightjacket" plumbs those depths further, positing a world in which the narrator is not only trapped in a cell of their own making, but one in which they've gone and handed the keys to someone else so they can never get out. The narrator of this tune has friends, but those friends only cinch the straightjacket tighter and stand around watching him drown.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fiction from the news

Here's an article about a recent medical study that determined a previously unstudied optical illusion. Apparently if you stare at your own face in a mirror in a dimly-lit room, 100% of people will see at least some distortion of their face, if not a full-blown hallucination. This is probably the basis of the Bloody Mary urban myth*, but it still sounds creepy as heck. Maybe it's the horror fan in me, but reading this article just got all sorts of crazy fiction gears turning in my brain. I'll post any story sent to me about this phenomenon. It seems ripe for a Hollywoodish horror flick to me.

You can read the article here.


*Which, to be honest, is about 110% responsible for the fact that I refuse to look in a mirror if the lights are off.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Picks of the Week

So, I had another drop off in percentage last week, mainly because I went out on a limb with the UT-UF and MSU-ND games, and was completely blind-sided by Arizona's turning out to actually be good. With my three whiffs this week, my totals fall to 22 out of 27 (81%).

This week is a lot like last week. There aren't a lot of good games, but what there are should be interesting.

No. 19 Miami at Pittsburgh
After Miami's "interesting" performance against Ohio State and Pitt's OT loss to Utah in Week One, much of the luster has certainly worn off this game. But both of these teams are good and with Fall starting to turn in the North, this should be a good test for Miami. I think that Jacory Harris will have a good night and send the Hurricanes to another W.
Miami 28 Pittsburgh 21

Bowling Green at No. 21 Michigan
I have no explanation for what happened to Michigan's defense last week against UMass, but the offense was reliable and Denard Robinson kept his unbelievable numbers going with a 100 yd game rushing and 200+ yard game in the air. Bowling Green is no UMass, though, and I expect my Wolverines to get their act together. Plus I will be at this game live and in person, so they know to step it up. I suspect this could be a blood bath.
Bowling Green 17 Michigan 52

No. 1 Alabama at No. 10 Arkansas
Most of this week's marquee games come courtesy of the SEC, and none are more important than this doozie. Ostensibly this game is the SEC West Divisional title game (unless Auburn or LSU pull out the upset against 'Bama) and Arkansas got some of their heebie jeebies out against UGA last weekend. Despite the high-powered offenses featured, this is gonna be an old-school defensive romp. 'Bama's got more talent but Arkansas might have home-field advantage on their side. I'm torn. Here's me, out on a limb.
Alabama 24 Arkansas 27

No. 16 Stanford at Notre Dame
Hmmm, the last two weeks tell me that this could be a very bad night for the Fighting Irish, yet God does not forsake Notre Dame for very long, and Brian Kelly seems to have racked up a lot of bad juju these last two weeks. It's very possible that the UM and MSU games were just the gasp before God starts blowing up the Pac 10. I dunno, or maybe Notre Dame just isn't all that good this year.
Stanford 35 Notre Dame 30

No. 12 South Carolina at No. 17 Auburn
Auburn was lucky to escape last week's game against Clemson with a win. South Carolina took a while to get warmed up but then dismantled Furman. Though these two teams are not in the same division, they both could use a quality win in the SEC to launch their Divisional title campaigns. I think South Carolina is the real deal and will have a little better luck than Clemson. For the second week in a row Auburn hosts a team from South Carolina, but this time they bite the curb.
South Carolina 28 Auburn 17

No. 24 Oregon State at No. 3 Boise State
Boise State took a serious hit to their reputation when Virginia Tech dropped an easy one against James Madison in Week Two, so they will be especially eager to pounce on the Beavers on the Blue Turf in Boise. This is BSU's last chance to prove their BCS mettle before heading into the doldrums purgatory of their WAC schedule, where they will drift alone and unaided unless one (or more) of the BCS conference teams fall waaaay off a cliff in the next few months. The Broncos have way more to play for here and it's at home. I give this one to them.
Oregon State 21 Boise State 35

No. 22 West Virginia at No. 15 LSU
This is the third of the big SEC games going on this week. LSU has managed to pull out of the dive they appeared to be in after barely scraping passed a depleted UNC team. West Virginia are trying to prove they are better than their Big East pedigree would suggest. The Mountaineers don't have a lot of opportunity to prove themselves, and Week Two's near-miss against Marshall didn't win much confidence, but going into Louisiana and coming out with a W over a good LSU team will sure help with the voters. They won't do it, but it would be cool if they did.
West Virginia 13 LSU 21

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The political significance of 28 Days Later

Christian Thorne, an English professor at Williams College, has a freaking incredible four part essay on the politics of Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. It's nothing new that zombies are inherently political metaphors, but I've never read anything that breaks it down so thoroughly and so brilliantly. This is must read for genre lovers, for movie lovers, for lover lovers.

You can read Part One of the essay here and then just follow the links through to the end. Also, when you're done, stick around and read all the other truly interestingt hings Mr. Thorne has to say about pop culture.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Homeric Epic, Exit no. 3

So, when Oblivion went into the studio to craft what would become The Garden in the Machine, we felt that we'd learned quite a few things about making good records, and creating a solid aural experience. The year+ grind of making Ellipsis, and the ultimate shoddiness of that record taught us that you have to have a plan before you start to record or you will easily lose your way on the many-forked road that is album creation*. You must remember that at the time we were only working part time jobs and finishing up our Bachelors, so we had a crap ton of time to think about this sort of stuff.

At the same time that we were beginning to write the songs that would be on TGitM, we were beginning to revisit, or discover, classic albums that all featured exquisite sequencing and tone. I was listening to a lot of psychedelic-era Beatles, Ben was diving back into Pink Floyd, and the whole group was collectively digging Tool's magnum opus Lateralus and a little-known, but absolutely brilliant, album by Toronto-based Change of Heart titled Tummysuckle. Despite the various genres of rock, these albums had many things in common: they all start off with strong openers and finish with languid, sizzling closers; most songs flowed one to the other without any breaks; they all feature a variety of styles within the albums themselves.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Picks of the Week

Well, it was bound to happen. I whiffed on a couple of picks last week: I really thought Georgia was gonna beat South Carolina, and there was no way of knowing Florida State was gonna look so bad against Oklahoma. But, with my 100% from last week, this puts me at a sort of surprisingly good 90% (18 of 20). This week we have a lot less big games, but there are a few of interest.

No. 12 Arkansas at Georgia
This game is sort of do or die for the Bulldogs. After a crushing defeat in Columbia to the Gamecocks, Mark Richt needs to basically win the rest of his SEC games in order to have any hope of winning the SEC East. Unfortunately for him his two non-East opponents are Auburn and Arkansas, two teams who are in the front running for upsetsville against 'Bama. Considering Georgia's defense looked like poo against South Carolina and they are facing Ryan Mallett and his amazing cannon arm this week, I think the Dawgs have their work cut out for them. I hate to say it, but I think Mallett has an air of inevitability about him. I give this one to the Hogs.
Arkansas 45 Georgia 30

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Great interview with Kim Stanley Robinson

Gerry Canavan has a heck of an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, the Science Fiction master, about science, Sci-Fi, and politics. It is an interview from the Canavan-edited Polygraph #22, which can now be purchased on Amazon. I, for one, know one way I'm spending $10 this week.

You can read the interview here at Canavan's blog.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You like me, you really like me...

The fine people at -Zine Scene have done a review of the latest two issues of decomP and one of the short stories they chose to write about was my very own ditty "The Devil's Courtyard" from the September, 2010 issue. While the write up is brief, I am proud and honored to have any attention called to my fictionalizing exploits. So, hats off to -Zine Scene and thank you very much for the fine work you're doing in calling attention to all the crazy talent bubbling up in the underground internet publishing scene.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sing This Song

I guess I'll give y'all a break this week with the music and totally shift gears. The last few weeks I introduced you to my old hard rock buddies, Oblivion, but now it's time to sink into the low, soft lullaby of the first official Tres Crow song recorded by the duo Noble Three.

By now you may be familiar with the progression (Greenland sky-rocketed to "international fame" with our adorable little video for "The Way It Is" only to crash land when we realized that YouTube may be a household name, but they don't yet have to clout to launch musical careers. Out of the ruins of Greenland came the short-lived, but no less prolific, Noble Three), so I'll just tell you about the song.

Friday, September 10, 2010

15 Minutes

I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile, but then I got side-tracked. So, here it is now. I'm sure by now you've all seen the ridiculous video of Antoine Dodson ranting about his sister getting assaulted in her house, and the intensely clever autotune remix that went viral last month. What you may not know is that Mr. Dodson has a blog in which he documents the astounding rise from absolute obscurity to national fame that he's been caught up in. The rise itself is not spectacular* in and of itself, but what is, is that Dodson has managed to create a living, breathing document of what it's like to go from nobody to somebody in a matter of a few days. He's get promotional spots, the song that his rant inspired has sold over 91,000 copies on iTunes and cracked the Hot 100 on Billboard**, and he is being stopped on the street in his hometown of Huntsville, AL, and he documents it all on his blog. One of the most interesting videos is of him going to a restaurant and all these people wanting to get their pictures with him. The strange unfolding of the modern world continues.

Andy Warhol said that in the future we would all get our fifteen minutes of fame, and for the most part he's correct, but with the internet we have come to a point in real-life celeb culture in which we can not only witness the product of overnight celebrity, but also the effects on the ONC's life. This is interesting stuff, my friends.

Here's a New York Times article about the comedy/music crew who made "The Bed Intruder Song," and the effect the song's success is having on their lives.


*Though actually turning internet success to monetary gain is little impressive.
**The Gregory Brothers, who turned Dodson's rant into the internet hit "The Bed Intruder Song" have been kind enough to split the proceeds with Dodson. Assuming a $.99 price tag for the song, that would mean that Dodson is probably making around $.40 per download. That means, as of right now, Dodson has made approx. $36K from a 30 second clip on Huntsville, Alabama's local news station. Not bad at all.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Picks of the Week

Last week was the most incredible POTW I've ever had. Not once have I ever gone 100%, so even I'm a little shocked at seeing that total. And yet that is what happened, ever team I picked to win did, so right now my season percentage is at a sure-to-go-downhill total of 100%.

This week only has a few big games but they are doozies. There are no less than three matchups between Top 25 teams, with a few other games of conference or national import. So, let's just get down to it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

April

For those of you who may have had the glorious fortune of living most of your lives in warmer climes, let me tell you about the state of Michigan. The state of Michigan has only two seasons: SprummerFall and WINTER!, each lasting approx. six months.

I moved down to Nashville in the middle of July and everyday until about mid-September I thought that my blood was literally boiling in my arteries. It was so damn hot! And everybody kept telling me, "Oh, you'll get used to it," and I kept thinking they were full of crap. But you know what? They were right. Five years in I actually am used to it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Publication is once again mine!

The fine chaps/chapettes over at decomP have seen fit to publish my flash piece, "The Devil's Courtyard". I am exceedingly proud at being allowed in such great company. You may notice that the story is reminiscent of Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, and that's because when I wrote this I was reading several books about the Belgian massacre of the Congo*, which if you may remember from high school english, is the subject of HOD. The story has some slightly strong language but should be otherwise safe for the faint of heart or your IT Department.

You can read the story here. And be sure to check out the other great pieces of fiction in this issue.


*Most notably the aforementioned HOD and well as Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, which is hands-down one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read.

Friday, September 3, 2010

PSA for the day

I'm not usually one for making this blog political, but this open letter from Berkeley professor of public policy Michael O'Hare is simply too good to not pass on. While his argument is broad, and thus open to all sorts of nit picky responses, I feel the general message is sound. US citizens are faced with a variety of Godzilla-sized monsters which we are only capable of combating or corralling through an entity equally as large (or larger). That entity, our Voltron if you will, is government, like it or hate it. Government is the only voice (true or not) of the collective in this country, and "starving the beast" for the last 30 years has simply led to an America that has willingly handed the vast majority of our cultural, military, and social control to unmanageably large, government-sized corporations who have only one goal in mind...profit. Not social welfare, not the betterment of Man. Profit.

I'm all for correcting the excesses of government; as the sole representative for the people of the United States, our elected officials should be held to a higher standard. But the elimination of government, and the under-funding of its coffers, will stand as the greatest folly of this and future generations if we continue to accept this debacle as the truth. If the wealthiest nation that has ever existed on this planet is not capable of feeding, educating, and providing essential services to its people then there is no hope for mankind in the long term.

Alright. I am now stepping off my soapbox. Back to my fictional worlds.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Picks of the Week

It's that time again, folks. After nearly eight months of sheer, college football free hell, the greatest sport ever invented by man is back on and consequently I'm back with my usually wrong predictions. This is the first week so it's very likely I will be waaaaay off base with these guesses, so bear with me, folks. It may take a few weeks for me to get my bearings.

A few notes about this blog post, and subsequent posts in the series:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Accidents of Style

It's not like authors have a lack of choices when it comes to style and grammar reference books but Charles Harrington Elster's Accidents of Style: Good Advice on How Not To Write Badly, has been getting a lot of press lately. I haven't checked out the book myself but here's a little ditty from the Lexington Examiner.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Squealing Like A Pig

Deliverance turns 40 this year. I'm an idiot. I didn't even know the movie was based on a book. Add one more novel to my ever-growing list of modern classics I need to read.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ophelia

Oblivion spent over a year writing, recording, and mixing our first record, Ellipsis (whose title was actually, "...", but since that is irritatingly difficult to write in any kind of easily understood way, I will from here on out call it Ellipsis, which is the official name for three dots in a row, signifying a continuation of whatever preceded it in the sentence, or sequence. A heady, arrogant title for a bunch of drunken upstarts don't you think?), which was entirely funded, and created by us five guys. We made the artwork, wrote the music, played the instruments, helped with the mixing, and we generally coddled the damn thing like it was our baby, which, of course, it was. It was the first living thing any of us had brought into the world and like all new parents we treated that record like it was the most special thing on Earth.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Excerpt from the upcoming Kunstler novel

Jim Kunstler, author of one of my favorite books The Geography of Nowhere, has posted a chapter from his upcoming novel, The Witch of Hebron. The novel is the sequel to his 2009 novel A World Made By Hand, which describes a post-oil world. While I'm not entirely convinced that Kunstler is a good writer*, he is definitely a passable storyteller and a fascinating thinker. I would definitely take the time to read the chapter, and keep on heading back to his blog every Monday for his weekly blog post from the edge. He's either crazy or he's the John the Baptist of Peak Oil. I haven't decided which yet.

You can read the chapter here.


*Exempla Gratia, there's a lot of unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, the tone and dialogue in the beginning are a little uneven, his descriptions of sex are downright puritanical, and I'm not entirely convinced that a old-school plantation owner type can also be a kitana-wielding ninja all of a sudden. Other than that the chapter is great! I especially liked the ridiculous banter at the end of the chapter between the Head Thief and the Big Man.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jason Sanford sees the future of Sci-Fi

Jason Sanford, the author of weird, unclassifiable Sci-Fi stories, recently posted on his blog that he thinks the future of science fiction is something he calls Sci-Fi Strange. As with any literary movement it is easy to spot but hard to explain, and Mr. Sanford doesn't do that great a job of explaining, but from reading the examples he linked to* in the post it seems SFS is a genre that blurs the lines between fantasy, realism, and science fiction so thoroughly that it is impossible to tell what genre the work belongs to. Therefore, invent a new one. Sci-Fi Strange's most frequent haunts? Genre magazines like Clarkesworld, Interzone, and Strange Horizons**.

You can read the post here.

And you can read Mr. Sanford's brilliant Sci-Fi Strange piece, "The Ships Like Clouds, Risen By Their Rain" here. I can't even begin to explain this one, but let's just say it takes place on a world in which clouds are replaced by ships and the ships drop organic materials on the people below and slowly bury their houses, so they have to keep building up to avoid being buried alive. So imaginative.


*All of which are amazing. You should definitely take the time to read them all.
**In fact, I have a short story titled "The New Fantasy--FURTHUR!," which could probably be classified as Sci-Fi Strange, that has been rejected by Clarkesworld, and is currently being looked at by Strange Horizons. I didn't know about Interzone, so I'll definitely have to send it to them if SH doesn't want it. It's a good story, so I hope one of them takes it so y'all can read it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writer Spotlight: xTx

xTx writes beautiful stories. By beautiful I mean she writes stories that stick daggers in your stomach and then draw exquisite paintings in the sand with your blood. She writes stories that are edgy and dangerous and make you feel a little uncomfortable, like you stumbled on your boss and his secretary banging in the utility closet and they didn't see you and you start to walk away, but then something in you keeps you rooted to the spot, and instead you watch. xTx writes stories that feel like memories you never had, or acid trips you're glad you never had, or something you saw on TV while falling asleep. She is not safe for work. She reaches into your subconscious and takes the bad stuff and the good stuff and squishes them together until you're so mixed up that you can't tell whether you're enjoying the heel to your neck, or if she's just told you that you like it. She writes stories like that, and that is why she is one of the best writers around.

I managed to stop the Mad Typer long enough to get some witty and insightful answers to a few of my questions about her evocative and brilliant writing. You can read the interview after the jump.

Ed. Note: At some point this interview became a launching point for a theory about the underground writing scene that I've been kicking around for awhile, that I may or may not regret airing the second I post this. Pardon my indulgence.

Oh yeah, and there's swearing in this interview for those of you who may want to turn back now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Lines

As every author knows the last line of a story/novel/poem can be the most important of the whole piece. It can sum up, or refute everything that came before it. It has the power of all those lines that preceded it and can use that power for good or for ill. Entertainment Weekly recently listed 20 of the best last lines from classic books. The gallery is pretty cool, though I have to admit many of these last lines don't make much sense, and certainly don't hold much power, when presented out of context of the larger work.

You can check out the gallery here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Leaf

By Nicholas J. Carter

Ed. Note: This is a response, of sorts, to Franz Kafka's "An Old Leaf." Mr. Carter's story certainly stands on its own, but for a richer understanding of the story, head over to the link and read Kafka's story too.

Much has happened since our ancestors drove their herds from the motherland, and perhaps every successive generation is to blame for the changes that have occurred in our absence. We were so late in returning! The strangulation of the proud-backed forests and comely hills we never thought possible. And why should we have? The other lands through which we have driven our horses, our sheep and our cattle have always been clear and full of beautiful grass for them to graze upon. Had we come back to this land a century ago, even a decade ago, we would surely have found the area clean and lush.

Now we are trapped. The squatters that occupy the motherland have left scarcely any room for us. I have no space to work and insufficient tools for my trade. Our smiths sharpen and repair what instruments we have, but even when we do this for sixteen hours a day our swords just become duller and our spades even more broken. It seems impossible, but they do indeed break more every day. One would think that after a certain point they would be as broken as they could possibly be. It is as if our labor simply drains into the ground.

The squatters have crowded their houses—those giant, inhospitable stone squares—so close together that each sits like a brick in a great wall, and the only room left in the settlement is an empty square with an icy-cold fountain in the heart of the town. Strangely, only a few thin alleys branch from it, and these confusing paths invariably only circulate back to the square. Those rat-like squatters can find their way around this warren easily, it appears, but it is impossible for us to leave.

We can’t comprehend how we even arrived here: one moment we were on the green hills and this place was a grey speck on the horizon, and next we were tangled in its paths. Nobody knows how anyone could make sense of this place. Frequently, we see new faces appearing and disappearing in the alleys. I get chills when I think of how many squatters there must be. It’s as if new men and women are grown daily, rising up whole and complete from the earth itself. There must be more and more of them every day but it is impossible to tell; they wear their homes like snail’s shells. Usually, only a few venture out at a time.

There is one exception to this: they emerge from their homes each morning and quietly and industriously clean away the vegetable plots we have arranged and fertilized. These people can’t be reasoned with or spoken to. The noises they make—these must only be noises, for they are far too sibilant and suspicious to be a language—are angry ones. Their wide eyes go full white in their faces until they resemble fried eggs. At first we attempted to communicate by doing the same, thinking that this was part of their language, but the squatters only become angrier and angrier until, fearing for our safety, (even a mouse must fight if it has nowhere to go) we would swing our horse-whips around to frighten them off.

If only they could understand that we are willing to share the land. More than willing to share, eager even, but that they are also expected to share. They cower when we enter their homes even though we only take food—which we must because we cannot plant anything, and have already had to slaughter all of our meat animals—and we always say please and thank you, even though they don’t understand, but the politeness is what counts. They are invited to browse our tents for anything they need, of course, or they would be if only we had something to give, and anyway we probably have nothing they want. We hate to borrow. First and foremost we do not want to appear as beggars, but we also don’t like their food. The people here are ravenous meat eaters. There is little grain and few plants; they snatch these morsels away to stuff into their animals until they are so fat that you might think they would explode. And so even our horses must be fed meat, while their horses are so fat that they are useless for any sort of labor.

A fat butcher occupies every second building. The other day, one of these butchers sent us an ox to slaughter rather than doing the work himself. He must have expected we would take it anyway. We must ask that he never do this again. How were we to butcher the animal when our camp is cleared away each morning, when we have no wood for fires, no way make or repair our tools, no room to work? We watched as several of our hunters tried anyway, hewing the beast apart with swords so notched that they resembled saws. The ox fought back with the most awful braying and crying, and the little squatters hid behind their walls, terrified of the sound, so none of them witnessed the ox kick three of our men to the ground and subsequently trample them before falling over from its wounds. Beast and man lay together in a heap, the former covered in ragged marks that resembled animal bites.

Beyond the gates of their leader’s home many more soldiers are appearing now; their coats are red and speckled with gold, their shoulders are squared, the crests of their hats a heavy, mournful blue. Each soldier carries a spear that breathes fire, and the spearpoints are sharp as dragon’s teeth, like those an ancient hero sowed into warriors. And yet they are afraid of us! Of us! The least of their men is dressed like the best of ours, in leather and fur that shame our leaders. Our shaman, our head warrior, our chief all mope in their huts; none of them willing to leave. We are told to go on with our work, as if we even could, for we aren’t up to the task on this hard ground and with the constant interruptions from these rodent people. We have no wish to stay but we cannot go because they have deprived us of the means to feed ourselves. And even if they had not done so, this labyrinth in which they live eternally confuses us: we ride away only to find ourselves riding backwards into the path opposite the one from which we left. Without leadership, our salvation is left in the hands of herders, milkers and sheep shearers. We aren’t capable of fighting, nor would anyone suggest we ever were. We are trapped in the city square, squatting on our useless hands while the least efforts of the least of these people have proved the ruin of us.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Love Story

Keith Rossen wrote a story I like over at PANK. I think you'll like it to. It has ghosts and love and other stuff that is hard to prove but easy to believe in.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Publication is mine!

My short story "Looking at Yourself Looking in the Mirror" has gone live this week over at The Foundling Review. It's a simple story about a young bank teller who wishes more than anything to be a famous writer. Sound familiar? It should. It's my life. And yes, working at a bank is actually like this. For reals*.


You can read the story here.


*Let me be clear about this, though. I actually enjoy my job, for the most part. Some customers are this annoying, but they pay my bills and keep my son fed, so I suppose I owe them a certain amount of gratitude. I hope you like the story.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Zombie Summer! + Publication! = Way too many exclamation points for one post title!!!

My story "Stillborn" went live over the weekend on xTx's blog, Nothing To Say, as part of her totally rad Zombie Summer! "Stillborn" only uses zombies as a conceit; the story is really a love letter to marriage. I hope you like it.

You can read the story here.

Ed. Note: There is some swearing and horizontal mambo in the story so beware the IT demons in your work computers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Writing Links

Greg Shemkovitz has a nice little story about time and wounded hands over at The Foundling Review.

Short Round's got some movie/book reviews for you over at Alternative 1985. Oh, and here's some more of his awesomely hilarious "Summaries Of Movies [He Doesn't] Remember."

And here's the New York Times' review of the very book Short Round mentions in this post, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.

Matt Stewart's got some good pointers on how to be a good little Literary Automaton at The Millions.

And, finally, you need to know this guy...or at least his writing. He's got a gut-puncher in PANK 4. If you don't own it, buy it here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Engine Troubled

My buddy Nicholas J. Carter wonders what Stephen King's Christine would be like if Artie and the titular automobile switched souls to hilarious and thought-provoking results in this twisted little tale over at Everyday Weirdness.

You can check it out here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Warships

Up to this point I have primarily written about my Nashville experience, but I had an entire external hard drive worth of musical doodads and humdingers long before I moved below the Mason-Dixon line. So, to catch y'all up to speed I'll give you a small primer in Tres Crow's musical history.

I came to the University of Michigan in the fall of 1998 with one goal in mind (other than those obvious other things *wink wink nudge nudge*): to start a band and become a huge rock star. For those of you who may not remember, in the fall of 1998 the biggest rock star in the world was Fred Durst of the now very much passe nu-metal outfit Limp Bizkit. I, being only 17 at the time, was not immune to the narcotic testosterone-fueled pull of a tiny Napoleonic b-boy wannabe shouting about broken hearts and how society'd done 'im wrong, and so I, like just about every other Midwestern boy of my age, was a huge Limp Bizkit fan (and by extension, Korn, Deftones, Coal Chamber, etc., etc.). This is to say that in the fall of 1998, I wanted to form a hard rock band and become a huge rock star.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Boz strikes again!

Mel Bosworth has the sort of wit that leads you along on a leash and then kicks your legs out from under you just as you're getting into your stride. He has a brilliantly messed up story over at Nothing To Say as his contribution to Zombie Summer!.


You can read the story here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

West Coast is the Best Coast

Anne Yoder of The Millions has a great essay about the West Coast literary scene, with especial emphasis on Ken Kesey, that greatest of acid luminaries.

You can read the essay here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

China Mieville's Squid

The Times has a great piece about sci-fi author China Mieville and his latest mind-trip, Kraken. For those who don't know, Mieville has been warping brains since the late 1990's when his debut novel, King Rat, exploded onto the scene with its bizarre mix of steampunk, science fiction, and dark fantasy.

You can read the article here and check out Mieville's blog here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Loneliest Year

This is another of those sad-just-moved-to-Nashville songs which I wrote so many of in the first few months of my diaspora. While I've never been all that fond of the lyrics, I do think there is a quaint, almost child-like quality to them, which I have never employed since. Their earnestness and sincerity sort of shocks me all these years later, but the truth is I meant these words when I wrote them down even if they really aren't fair to the people I refer to, and even if the sentiment of meeting a woman "down by the river" who saves your life is a little on the naive side.

The curious thing, though? I actually met my wife four months later in a bar only a few blocks from the Cumberland River. And she saved my life. How cute, eh?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Call Me Mr. Perfect Pants!

This little nugget of internet craziness comes courtesy of Patrick, the other half of Noble Three, circa 2008 as we were recording our Shipwrecked e-Single in Josh Fuson's too hot to handle attic. Patrick made the mistake of bringing a video camera into the studio on a few days when I had little to nothing to do on the track. This is the result*.

To view the video click here. BTW, it is safe for work**.


*One thing I like about this, other than the fact that it sets up an Abbott and Costello-esque dichotomy betwixt the two of us in less than a minute, is that it actually is a pretty good documentation of the recording of that single (which included "Shipwrecked," "Our Love," and a gorgeous Patrick song titled "I Would Run"). I spent most of the recording cutting up while Patrick and Josh spent the time actually laying down tracks and getting things done. But as you will see, I played a mean hand-cymbal. Also, it is a testament to how advanced recording technology has become, that we were able to create something so professional sounding in a drafty attic, with egg crates tacked to pieces of wood.

**And yes, that is actually me, for anyone curious about such things.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Turn it off

Gary Shteyngart of the New York Times wrote an interesting essay about addiction to electronic devies as it relates to writers.

Here it is.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Write LIke...

So, there's this new website invented by a crazy Russian dude in which you paste a sample of your writing and it tells you who you write like*. It's completely useless except as a party trick, though the inventor has grander plans in the works.

Here's a news story about the site.

And here's the site.


*Surprise, surprise, I write like David Foster Wallace...seriously.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is Science Fiction dead?

John Gray over at the New Statesman posits as much in his thought-provoking essay "War of the Words". It's a pretty short read, but Mr. Gray packs a lot of ideas into such a short piece.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Way It Is

This song was on Greenland's one and only EP, which was released in 2007. Michael Green and Matt Goetz then went and worked their little tails off on a stop-motion video using about 50+ toys and taking hours upon hours. That video managed to win the Best Song category on the Youtube Underground contest and has, to this point, been viewed by half a million people worldwide. You can view the video here.

That much you may know already, but here's a little more: this song comes from the mid-point in Greenland's short, but intense career. Forming Greenland really helped start to pull me out of the depressive tailspin I was in upon moving to Nashville (the eventual completion of which happened after I met my future wife), and so after playing with the guys for almost six months I finally started to feel like I belonged somewhere in this new city. We'd played a few well-received shows; we were making music we cared about and made us happy; and I was getting invited to some parties finally, so I wasn't spending every weekend sitting on my hands. So, with a sense of belonging out of the way, I trained my sights on women, all the while maintaining my usual sense of melancholy and despair about the whole thing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

PANK Magazine

If you don't know about PANK, that's a damn shame. PANK is the brain child of M. Bartley Seigel*, an extremely talented writer in his own right, who started the online, print, and small run publishing house collective in 2006. According to the magazine's website, by 2009 the magazine had 80,000 readers in 138 countries, which sounds about right to me. PANK is the premier online literary magazine, boasting an aesthetic that is both humorous and witty, yet not afraid to get serious when that is what the story calls for.

If you are a reader then you can check out the website, which posts a new story every day of the year, or you can order one of the uber-beautiful print editions, whenever they release those. PANK 4 was recently released, and can be gotten here.

If you are a writer, do your research and then submit. This is one of the few markets that have virtually no submission guidelines, other than to not suck and have an idea of what PANK publishes before you submit.

So, check out the website, check out the magazine, see your name in lights. Either way show PANK some love, because such a brilliant, unpretentious literary market is a rare gem indeed.


*And also, co-edited by the lovely Roxane Gay.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Genesis (redux)

By Misopogon

Ed. note: Contrary to popular opinion, coffee was not created on the first day. Here is the latest translation of the Book of Genesis by my esteemed colleague, Misopogon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hollywood and Children

Times film critic A.O. Scott has an interesting piece in last Monday's Times about how children and growing up are depicted in movies.

You can check it out here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another scorcher from CDW

My man Charles Dodd White has another great piece of fiction that just went live at Fried Chicken and Coffee entitled "Give Up And Go Home, Jasper". It's short, sweet, and relentless.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shipwrecked

Of all the songs I've written I don't think any have had quite the "legs" as "Shipwrecked". Written nearly three years ago, and recorded about two, "Shipwrecked" has won Best Indie Song on Ourstage, was featured in the film Sneakers & Soul, and has generally been the best received song I ever recorded. And all this, at least a year after Noble Three split up.

The song has a slightly complicated origin, in that the lyrics are both a metaphor for my declining interest in pursuing music as a profession and a literal telling of a belief that has grown in me for years. I guess, I'll tackle these one at a time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mark Twain

The Great American Author has a new autobiography coming out after 100 years of sitting mostly on the shelf. Incredible.

Read about it here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Publication is Mine!

My story "Just A Feeling" has been included in the Down in the Dirt collection Bound. It includes a ton of other great fiction featured in DITD over the last year and sports a nifty BDSM cover design to impress all your friends. The volume is only $26.62 for the big version and $19.84 for the little one without all the shiny pictures.

You can pick up the book here.

Naturally I would appreciate it if you would support those who have supported me, but if you can't swing the scratch then you can read, or reread, the story here (Yes, I know that this is a link to Ascent Aspirations, who also ran the story, but the DITD link doesn't take you directly to the story soooooo, Ascent Aspirations).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lit Thursday!

Here's a hodge podge of lit links for your Thursday afternoon:

The venerable decomP has their latest issue live right here.

PANK got one of those stories which they've become so famous for...you know, good. It's by David Frederick Thomas and you can read it here.

Staccato's got some brilliant little gems for you in their Summer Issue here.

And, one more for the road, so to speak...Roxane Gay sort of gives you the five-fingered death punch in this one from Emprise Review. Here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another great piece from The Millions

Once again The Millions delivers with a thought-provoking inquiry into the eerie similarities between the Airborne Toxic Event in Don DeLillo's dystopic masterpiece White Noise and the Gulf Oil Spill. The Millions is quickly becoming mandatory reading for me.

Check out the essay here.

Congratulations!

Congrats are in order for Mr. Alan Stewart Carl over at It Ain't What'cha Write for graduating with an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Mr. Carl is a helluva talent and I wish him the best of luck with his shiny new degree.

For a resfresher you can read my interview with Mr. Carl from earlier this year here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zombie Summer continues!

Zombie Summer over at xTx's blog, Nothing to Say, keeps on rolling with today's impressive short story, "Outside the Box" by John Haggerty.

Check out the story here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Love

I realized recently that the last time I posted some of my songs I sort of just threw them up here without any context as to why they should be important or anything like that. So, in order to rectify that situation, here's a re-post of the lyrics and mp3 of one of my songs, which I recorded with my misnomered duo, Noble Three (with Patrick Rickelton of prattle on, rick. and now Nuelore).

Here the sitch with the song:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th, y'all!

ZIP! BANG! BOOM!

Happy Independence Day to all my American friends!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Blogs of note

Here you go. This has nothing to do with writing, per se, but the definitions for these completely made up words are hilarious and insightful. Check it out: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

My favorite by far is the "Cissy Kick":

"Twang of resentment at the sibilant c—as in porcine, decent, and celery—a letter that could k but instead simpers amongst the more kickass consonants like a sloth trying to make friends in a crosswalk."

Sloth in a crosswalk making friends--damn that knocks me out everytime I read it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Writer Spotlight: River T. Huffman

River Huffman is a chameleon. His stories deal with hitmen and hungry wolves and down and out pitchers, never alighting in the same place twice. Yet throughout his work a slim ribbon of dread traces between the words and sentences, turning poetry readings into panic-inducing events, and a late morning lie-in into a master class in duplicity. His stories are concise, and pianful, and traverse the wide gulf between what we say to one another and what we mean. Though much of his work is hard to find on the internet, I've linked to one of his best, "The Reliever" in the interview I conducted with him last month over email.

The interview follows after the jump, and you can find the link to "The Reliever" in question #2.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sometimes reading isn't fun...and that's what can make it great

Garth Risk Hallberg of The Millions chats about grappling with the 800 page gorilla that is Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren. In his essay Hallberg tries to both understand the book better for himself, and to describe the experience of reading something that is at once enormously difficult to understand, but also extraordinarily satisfying. Reminds me of that one book I read last summer.

You can read the article here.