Brain Squeezin’s

Random thoughts in 3… 2… 1…

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You can buy a whiskey called Writer’s Tears. I don’t know what it tastes like. But if it were in any way authentic it would taste of ink and flopsweat, of the brine of insecurity and the heady broth of ego. It would have a nose of shame and a finish of triumph. It would feel like book pages on your tongue. It would burn the doubt out of your belly.

It’s probably not that good.

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One flavor in a writer’s liquor cabinet should not be sour grapes. It’s easy to look at those more successful than us and feel that acrid twinge of jealousy that says they’re better than us, that twist of the intestines that says they don’t deserve it. Thing is, you’ll always have someone who’s earned more, by dint of deserving it or by luck or by the sheer fortune of having plunged teats-deep into unknowably trendy waters.

You’ll always have someone with another zero on their advance. With more reviews. With a better cover. With a greater command of prose. Better shelf space. Better percentage on e-books. More awards. More Twitter followers. Cooler hair. Nicer beard. (DAMN YOU AUTHORS WITH NICER BEARDS THAN ME. I WILL FIND YOU AND SHAVE YOU AND SALT THE EARTH. Ahem.)

It’s easy to get caught up in it. To splash around in the warm, green waters of envy. It’ll do you no good. Sour grapes are a kind of slow-acting poison. Look upon other writers and be inspired. Inspired by their success. Inspired to try to do better yourself. High-five them, don’t kick them in the junk drawer. More to the point: don’t kick yourself in the junk drawer with all those stupid, worthless, poisonous feelings. Celebrate, don’t denigrate.

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We’re all going to die, so what the hell. The flu’s going to kill us one day. Not this flu. The next one. Some bat is going to fuck some monkey and their little bat-monkey baby is going to kill and eat an exotic possum and in this nature red in bat-wing and monkey-tail mess some mosquitoes are going to have a fucking field day and grab the new zoonotic Super-Flu virus and carry it to the far-flung corners of the world where it will destroy 9/10ths of humanity.

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I see some people getting a little cocky over their flu shots. Some folks get sick and it’s like, “OHH, IF ONLY THERE WAS A WAY TO STOP THE FLU OH WAIT THERE IS SHOULDA GOTTEN YOUR FLU SHOTS DUMMIES.” You probably shouldn’t think that way? First, because, you know, it’s not nice. “You have flu, and I am going to mock you for it,” is not particularly nice. It’s just chastising a gut-shot man for not wearing a bulletproof vest (“OHHH IF ONLY THERE WAS A WAY TO STOP BULLETS HAR HAR”).

Second because, umm, the flu vaccine doesn’t work like other vaccines, exactly. It is an imperfect creature — worth getting, but depending on which study you read they’re only 60-80% effective, and that’s only if they prevent a strain programmed into the vaccine (which does not include the Super Possum Flu that will obliterate us all). One study even suggests it’s not all that useful for kids under two or adults over 65. Article also notes:

“The perception that current [flu] vaccines are already highly effective in preventing influenza is a major barrier to pursuing game-changing alternatives.”

Plus, there’s a whole spate of flu-like sicknesses that aren’t flu.

Meaning, the vaccine does diddly-poop against them.

(Then there’s the norovirus, where you geyser your internals out the front and back for days!)

So, yeah, definitely get that shot — but don’t expect that it’s going to save you from the flu. And don’t relish in the fluey-ness of others. Because that’s what dicks do.

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Then again, maybe it’s the unkillable gonorrhea that’ll get us all.

Slather your wangly bits in kevlar, folks.

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“Slather” is a really good word.

Other good words: “Plethora.” “Hoarfrost.” “Scintillate.” “Frisson.”

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Dan Brown has a new book out.

I mean, on the one hand: whoop-dee-doo, I guess. But it’s low-hanging fruit to go after him, or Meyers, or even the 50 Shades of Grey series. Let them be. Whatever. Snooki writes a cookbook and we all lose our shit but I figure that the Snooki-money and the Dan-Brown-geld bring in enough cash to keep publishers around, publishers that can then spend a little of that money on trying out new talent. That’s perfect-world-theorizing, of course, but sometimes I like to pretend we’re in that world. It makes me feel warm and cozy and like everything’s possible.

Like I’m wrapped in the warm skin of a bat-monkey hybrid.

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Indie writers will point that out a lot. “Traditional publishers release garbage too.” Like that’s a reason to excuse it in your own world. “John took a shit in the water fountain, so why can’t I?” Besides, even a Snooki book or the eventual publishing arm created by some monster-blob lab-created monster born of the DNA of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga (GAGABIEBER BIEBERGAGA IA! IA! FTHAGN!) still puts out books that are at least crafted with the bare minimum of quality in mind. I mean, it’s still a pile of shit, but it’s shit lacquered with gold leaf, by golly.

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Are we still mad about them using that word, “indie?”

Language changes. Each word is not a single bullet.

Multiple meanings are okay. Words only mean what we need them to anyway.

Besides, a self-publisher is still a publisher, independent of all the others.

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I like Lena Dunham. But a lot of you sure seem to hate her.

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Teaching B-Dub certain words is an act of diminishing returns.

Me: “Say ‘ladder.'”

B-Dub: “Adder!”

Me: “Say ‘lllll-adder.'”

B-Dub: “Arble!”

Me: “Lad-der.”


Me: “LAD-DER.”


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I think our 20-month old is better at the iPad than I am.

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Last night I made roasted strawberry slash creme fraiche ice cream.

I’ve only had a taste (ice cream is a weekend treat), but my face exploded with joy.

I cannot recommend the Jeni’s ice cream cookbook enough.

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I think I miss Mitt Romney.

Like, I don’t want him to be president, but he was such a hilariously tone-deaf goon.

He needs a reality TV show. I’d totally watch that show. Especially if it put him in awkward situations his LEGO hair-brain couldn’t handle. Like teaching an inner-city school or… having to have empathy somewhere for someone. He’d short-circuit! Cue the laugh track.

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I don’t get the Big Bang Theory.

This is not to say you should not enjoy it.

I don’t really buy that it’s “blackface” for nerds, exactly — it does seem to celebrate laughing at them more than with them but to me the issue is, I just don’t know that I find it funny? (Further, I’m not a fan of laugh tracks. It’s a thing with me, not with you.)

Ever see the videos where they cut the laugh track from shows?

Here’s one for BBT.

I’ve seen some debate that suggests Community is better than BBT, blah blah blah, and while I don’t know that it’s better, I certainly prefer (read: adore) Community. But I think the difference is that maybe, just maybe — and this is only if these designations matter to you or carry any weight at all — BBT is more for “nerds” and Community is more for “geeks.” I haven’t really sussed that one out yet, but maybe there’s something there?

Maybe it’s just that I don’t think I’m smart enough to be a nerd.

But I’m comfortable being geeky?

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I didn’t get Seinfeld, either.

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I’m really enjoying The Mindy Project.

And Happy Endings is the funniest show you’re not watching.

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Mister Doyce Testerman takes aim at steampunk and all the other -punk subgenre categorizations. I’m not sold. I’m sure some things labeled “steampunk” are not as anti-establishment as we’d like, but for the most part — provided we’re not just talking steampunk as a fashion accessory — I see threads of anti-authority middle-finger punk attitude in there. Then again, maybe I’m just protecting myself since I continue to refer to my upcoming YA series as “cornpunk” (which came out of a joke, honestly but there it is).

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It’s no secret that I am a fan of the artist Poe, who disappeared due to all kinds of awful record label bullshittery a while back. (Poe’s brother, by the way, is Mark Danielewski, author of House of Leaves, and her album, Haunted, has ties to that novel.) Lo and behold, I had no idea she popped up on the grid back in the fall with a tiny little new song:


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I also like this video. And the song, obviously.

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And this is my jam.

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I should shut up now.

Have a nice day, everybody.