That sounds dirty.  Even typing it got me giggling a little.

I didn’t go to work today.  This was at first because I was scheduled to take the GREs, but then, after I canceled them – seven of the eight schools I’m interested in do not require them, and I’m so terrified of the most basic algebra and geometry that I start whimpering like a lost kitten floating down a river on a log – it ended up being because I had already asked for the day, and goddammit, I’m taking it.  My boss didn’t start laughing hysterically or whip me on the side of the head with a torn-off television antennae when I asked, so why not?

I got up early, both out of habit and out of a coke-fiend-esque hankering for coffee.  I threw on some clothes in the kitchen in the dark, imagining Marissa trying to fall back asleep and silently berating me for being so loud and clumsy when I get up before her.  The other day, I got up, poured myself a glass of juice, and sat at the kitchen table.  I took a sip of my delicious juice, and then set the glass down – into thin air.  It clattered to the floor and basted me and a significant part of the kitchen in a fine mist of cran-raspberry, and so I set to crawling around on my hands and knees for fifteen solid minutes with some spray cleaner and paper towels, cleaning up my mess.  This shit happens all the time.  I don’t know how she stops herself from stomping downstairs and throwing me into a vicious ranger chokehold.

I went outside and downstairs, walked up the street towards the Dunkin’ Donuts, both because Cafe on the Corner isn’t open before 7, and because I am a slobbering zombie for that fucking chain.  Tell me whatever you want about how unhealthy it is, what’s in the coffee, the cast of Disney animals they test the blenders on, anything – I will still shuffle over there when I wake up, veritably half-dead, and mutter to the ladies behind the counter that I need a medium regular and I need it fast.  Call it addiction if you’d like – I call it love.

Before I could make it to my salvation, of course, I had to wait for the morning train to go by.  Dover’s got train tracks running right through the center of the downtown area, so several times a day Amtrak passes through, or a seemingly neverending procession of freight cars rumbles by at a crawl – like this morning – and cars on both sides of the tracks are stuck waiting for the most skin-crawlingly tedious fifteen minutes you’ll ever endure in your entire life.  The trains were sort of novel at first, since I’m originally from a place even more rural than here, and it was sometimes rare to see automobiles in my hometown, let alone the sort of hulking locomotives that go by three or four times a day in my current neighborhood.  The novelty wore off relatively quickly, though, right around the seventh or eight time my apartment started shaking while I was sleeping, or perhaps when I was one of the aforementioned people stuck in traffic, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel and imagining the cackling train conductor, shoveling coal into the furnace and giving people the finger as the train went past.  If it wasn’t either of those times, it was definitely this morning, while I stood bitterly in the cold and the dark, watching the train go by, and actually considering how dangerous it would be to try and jump on to one of the metal car connectors and then off on the other side.  Like I said – I want my fucking coffee when I wake up.

The rest of the morning, post-coffee, was great.  I walked home and woke Marissa up and sat on the couch and watched television.  This is, ideally, what I’d like to do for a living – very little.  If there is a company out there on the internet blog-surfing right now, searching desperately for someone to get up and drink coffee and mumble snarky comments to himself about daytime programming, listen, I think you may have found your guy.  I don’t think I’d be remiss in describing myself when it comes to watching television as half-Muhammad Ali, half-missible, and half-Jesus.  I sit on the couch and slurp my coffee in the styrofoam cup and mutter things like, “I must be the greatest,” and the “The champ is – ah, fuck it.”

I saw Marissa off (she actually goes to work – sucker), and then made myself breakfast.  Normally I’m a peanut butter and jelly for breakfast sort of guy.  I don’t know if this is normal, and I’m going to go ahead and suspect that most people eat things like cereal or fruit or oatmeal or what have you, but it’s always made a lot of sense to me.  This is at least partially because half of me is still a child when it comes to food – I’ve gotten better, but even when I’m convinced to eat whole wheat and fruit and salads and that sort of shit, there’s a voice inside of me crying out for hot dogs and grilled cheese and french fries and jelly rolls.  I survived on that shit when I was a kid, and it still speaks to me.  But this morning, despite my habits, felt special – it was my day off! – and I cooked myself bacon and eggs and made it into a sandwich with cheese and fuck me rotten, it was delicious.

While I was cooking, I couldn’t help being enraptured and, admittedly, a little turned on by the smell of greasy bacon in the pan.  I thought to a book I just finished, last night, actually – The Ruins, by Scott Smith.  It’s fantastic, and I’d highly recommend it to anybody and everybody.  I usually read shit that’s hovering on the insufferable border between readable and self-consciously literary, but this was, for the first time in a long time, the sort of thing that actually deserves the moniker page-turner.  It’s a suspense-y, horror-y sort of thing, but whatever it is, it’s great and I’d advise you to look into it.  In any case, if you’re planning on reading the book and want to be surprised, stop reading.  I’m about to take a big, hearty, spoiler-y dump on you.

In The Ruins, there’re these kids, and they’re on vacation, and, from the very beginning, if you’ve ever seen a horror movie, you can tell that they are idiots and that they’re going to die.  And really, the only pleasure to be derived from the book, since it’s not really self-consciously literary and it’s not some linguistic or allegorical exercise or what have you, is in trying to figure out ahead of time how the douchebags are going to fuck up and thus meet their respective, grisly ends.  This is true in horror movies, too – you just want to stick around long enough to see precisely where the axe is going to land.  Only, in this case, the axe in question is a giant, writhing mass of sentient, super-powerful and super-intelligent man-eating vines.

Okay, yeah, I know, this sounds retarded.  I’d apologize on behalf of the book and the author – if it wasn’t so damned good.

There’s something to be said for clear, non-showy, propulsive writing.  It’s not a thing I encounter often (probably my fault more than the authorial community as a whole’s fault, but fuck them!), but it’s a thing that I wish I saw more often.  I don’t understand in a construction sense exactly how to do it, but there’s a way to tell a story that gives just enough information about the characters, the depth of their circumstances, and how the events of the narrative unfold – it’s  particular way to write that is, to me, hard to identify in a hypothetical sense.  It’s a “know it when you see it” sort of thing.  I’m thinking of it in the same sense as watching the hour hand of a clock – you know that it’s moving forward, even if you can’t see or truly sense the exact moment the machinations are taking place.  There’s a way that Scott Smith, the author, pushes forward without the reader even realizing it, and let me tell you, it’s stunning.

Enough gushing.  The point here is that there’s this giant fucking angry plant, and the giant angry plant lives on a big hill, and the big hill, once you step on it, is guarded by a bunch of Mayans with bows and arrows and guns and blank stares.  They’re not going to let you leave, you see, because either they’ve worked out some system with the vine, some truce, or they consider it a God and you’re being sacrificed.  Either way, you’re staying there, and the big angry vine is very interested in fucking with your head for a while, wearing you down, and then taking advantage of your mistakes and slurping you up like a smoothie.  Again, I realize I’m talking about a fucking plant.  Just trust me – it works.  And one of the ways in which it works is by various animal-like behaviors.  The vine can move, it can echo and imitate sounds and human voices (even, it’s implied, as a kind of communication), and it can project smells.  This brings me back to my breakfast.

Now, in the book, once the kids run out of food and start realizing just how fucked they are, the vine starts doing the smell thing – projecting smells to torture these people and weaken their minds, trick them into making a mistake.  And the smells (I’m paraphrasing from memory) progress like this: freshly baked bread, and then meat (cheeseburgers, steaks, hot dogs), and finally, apple pie with whipped cream.  I feel like I would’ve been totally fine with the aforementioned smells, but man, if that fucking vine had started apeing the smell of bacon frying in a pan, I would’ve been diving headfirst into oblivion, tongue out, so fast that my compatriots wouldn’t even have had time to wonder if it was turkey bacon or low-sodium or what.  It would’ve been like this – smell hits the nostrils and you look over and there’s a cloud of hovering Looney Toones smoke where Ken was a second ago, and oh, look, there are his shoes sticking out of the murder plantShucks.

Which brings me to my title question – what’s your favorite smell?

diet_coke_bacon


michael-vick

I haven’t written anything for bloggy-land here in quite some time, and I’m mostly comfortable with that.  What I do miss is coming occasionally to my blog, clicking on the stats menu, and soaking up the amount of times that people had viewed my posts.  It’s not often in terms of things that I write that I can see, statistically speaking, the amount of attention that I’m getting broken down in a black-and-white way like that.  Before bloggyland, I was forced to assume that no one was paying attention to me; now I knew for sure and had figures to back it up.

So, knowing how little anyone way giving a shit, I drifted away, got bored, pretended to start other things and summarily abandoned them, too.  Time passed.  The world turned.  I forgot about this place, about my own little slice of blog.

I happened to open it today, just for kicks.  Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the stats page and saw that I had ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN VIEWS THIS PAST FRIDAY.  What the fuck?  This Friday I was sitting in my cubicle, marinating in a puddle of sweat and misery, just like usual.  What the Hell happened on my blog so that now, suddenly, people want to read it?

I looked through the stats.  Clicked through to see what post had gotten all the attention.  Saw that virtually everyone had gone to a post called “Dogtown,” which I wrote several months ago, and is about dogs, and dogs in movies, and dogs in danger, and dogs fighting and…oh.  Michael Vick.  It’s also about Michael Vick.  Michael Vick was recently released from prison, signed with the Eagles, is back in the headlines.

Goddammit.

What this means, obviously, is that no one’s interested in me, really – they’re interested in random blog-surfing for controversial key words.  There are people hanging out at their houses, in their offices – when it comes down to it, I’m just thinking of Ryan – who are clicking on the “Michael Vick” underlined keyword and hoping that blogger or wordpress brings them to something zany.  And I’m another stop on their constant, never-ending pilgrimage to the holy tower of zany.

What this also means is that now I’m going to start using bullshit tags on my own posts just to try and drive more traffic here to see what happens.  All of my posts from now on are going to be bookended by the following:

Sarah Palin

Michael Vick

gay marriage

infant slaughter

Lady Gaga

Kenny Chesney

Barack Obama socialist secret terrorist jewish bankers that control the world moon landing hoax

Jon and Kate Plus 8

Oh yes, internet, you will be mine.  You will be mine.


A few remembrances, in honor of the apartment I’ve left behind.

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Continue reading ‘Goodnight, 15 Maple’


My little buddy/roommate Josh Lipka (JL Cakes Machine) is in the hospital right now. It’s weird; I came home from work last night, and Ryan said:

“Oh, Ken?”
“What?”
“Josh is in the hospital.”
“WHAT?”
[louder]”Josh is in the hospital.”
“I heard you – why is he in the hospital?”
“Having his appendix taken out, I guess.”
“Oh. Well, let’s watch Lost.”

daniel_faraday

This is a minor deal as far as surgeries go, obviously, and he’s fine, but it’s still sobering for me to think of my friends as being anything but indestructible alcohol consumption factories. I’m a fragile little flower that bends in the slightest easterly breeze, but people like Josh and Ryan are like bulldozers strapped to missiles being shot into the sun to fuck it to death as far as I’m concerned, so it’s particularly arresting to me when they display some sign of weakness. Josh, I mean, was just fine on Tuesday; I sat on the floor in his room and watched the Celtics game and wondered aloud how long it would be before Tommy Heinsohn legitimately had a stroke during a live broadcast.

tommy-heinsohn-the-grinch

Then, apparently, sometime yesterday morning, Josh felt, in his words, “…like there was an alien trying to burst out of my stomach.” Now, let’s be straight here – in and of itself, that’s awesome.  Aliens are awesome, and things bursting out of people’s bodies are awesome, and, well, to combine those two things in a location fairly close to me is so awesome as to nearly render the very word meaningless.  If I came home, and Josh was splayed out on the floor of the living room, bloody and screaming in pain with an alien blooming out of his chest cavity?  Sure, there’d be a twinge of sadness there, about my friend being in not the best of states, but that twinge would be bookended by the most intense fanboy boner and orgasm the world has ever witnessed.

alien_shot5l

Then, Josh said to Ryan, “Welp – see you later,” and walked calmly out of our apartment, to his car, and drove to Wentworth Douglas Hospital and checked in.  A few hours later, some people with knives cut his body open and ripped his appendix out like the remains of an eagle wedged in an airplane engine.

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A few hours after that, Ryan, Josh Austin, Meg, Amanda, and me loaded up a few High Lifes, a bone saw, and about thirty thousand gallons of pure, uncut bro-love and hauled it over to the hospital; we were going to either visit Josh and lift his spirits, bust him out of the joint, or kill everyone in the city trying.  I mean, one of those things, or we’d just stand around awkwardly, making jokes about poop while the nurses awkwardly tried to perform their jobs without punching us in the face.

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There were awkward moments all around, really.  The thing about hospital visits – and this is true regardless of the severity of the patient’s condition – is that they’re always the most forced attempts at restoring normalcy that anyone can muster.  No matter how confident you are, or how strong a particular friendship or relationship may be, there’s no escaping the fact that all of your conversational efforts are aimed at ignoring the fact that, as of a few hours ago, some joker with a paper mask on was rooting around inside your buddy’s insides like a plumber unclogging a drain.  So we made lots of jokes, and the girls took turns rubbing Josh’s feet and scoring him extra helpings of hospital pudding, and Ryan pretended to poop in a bag (maybe not as close to pretend as we’d like – he didn’t make it out of the building, even, before he had to stop and commandeer a  bathroom for a solid twenty minutes).

poop-bags

He’s probably on his way out, now, as I write this, but also, the old man who Josh shared a room with is likely not going anywhere.  I saw him a little, just glimpsed him on the other side of the curtain in the center of the room, and his little old-guy-face looked fixed in surprise; the mouth hanging open, the eyes wide.  I don’t know what he had, exactly, but I’m going to go ahead and guess, sadly, that the health gap between my 22-year-old semi-professional cyclist and his elderly roommate was pretty fucking wide.  The nurse came in to check on Josh, just before we left for the night, and she asked him if he needed anything for the pain.

“No, that’s okay, thank you,” he said.  She turned around and walked out, but as she was, Josh’s elderly roommate-for-the-night muttered, “Meeeee…I do.”  We looked at each other and made yeesh faces, but on the way out, we didn’t talk about the old guy at all, and instead we made jokes about climbing on top of the elevator, like John McClane.

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FUCK TWITTER

29Apr09

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“BRETT? BRETT, IT’S ME, JOHN. JOHN MADDEN. JOHN MADDEN FOOTBALL COMMENTATOR YOUR FRIEND FOOTBALL? BRETT I HEARD ABOUT YOU LEAVING THE GAME OF FOOTBALL AND I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT I HAD TO SIT DOWN ON MY FOOTBALL-SHAPED SOFA AND CALL MY THERAPIST ON MY FOOTBALL PHONE JUST TO CALM MYSELF DOWN – HAD TO CALL A LITTLE TIMEOUT LIKE THE COACHES DO ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD WHEN THERE’S TWO MINUTES TO GO. BUT AFTER THE TV TIMEOUT AND ONE OR TWO BITES OF MY TURDUCKEN I GOT IT BACK TOGETHER, GOT A NEW PLAY IN FROM THE OLD SIDELINES LIKE BOOM AND I SAID TO MYSELF, SELF, I CANNOT LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT BRETTY BRETT. I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE. IF I HAVE TO WAKE UP AND LOOK AT THE SUN SHINING AND KNOW THAT SOMEWHERE YOU AREN’T WEARING A FOOTBALL HELMET OR SHOULDER PADS I FEEL LIKE MY TEARS COULD KICK AN 85-YARD FIELD GOAL TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL SNOW PLOW GAME. TOM BRADY PEYTON MANNING CHEESEHEADS HORSE TRAILER BOOM THAT’S A MAN’S TACKLE, BRETT, AND I DON’T WANT TO IMAGINE A UNIVERSE WITHOUT YOU HUCKING THE BALL THREE HUNDRED YARDS THROUGH SOMEBODY’S THROAT, BRETT. BRETT? BRETT, PLEASE CALL. BRETT?”

“BRETT FARVE FOOTBALL. SADDEST CLOWN, FOOTBALL.”


Friendly ‘Death Star’ Laser To Recreate Sun’s Power.

There are so many reasons that this is a horrible idea.

1) Have you ever seen a major motion picture before? Have you ever heard the good guys talking about a friendly giant fucking sun-creating laser before? I’m pretty sure the good guys are the ones flying spaceships into the butt of the giant sun-creating laser to blow it up from the inside, ladies and gents. The bad guys are the ones who put out the chipper press release and later take the yahoo.com reporters hostage at knifepoint in a last-ditch effort to avoid capture.

2) Any article that legitimately contains the following quotes makes me nervous:

The National Ignition Facility has already test-fired all 192 giant lasers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California as part of this effort. The lasers will eventually focus their power on compressing and heating a single, pea-sized fuel capsule to more than 180 million degrees Fahrenheit in order to trigger thermonuclear fusion.

and:

Just 150 micrograms of deuterium and tritium, or less than one-millionth of a pound, can serve as the fuel for the NIF experiment. But containing the high-temperature plasma from a fusion reaction represents a special challenge — temperatures of 180 million degrees F and up would melt any known substance…

This shit doesn’t even sound real. Can we dispatch someone to make sure that they’re not running Team Fake News over there? Would it surprise anyone to learn that somebody with a hard-on for sci-fi cooked up a story that actually contains the phrase “test-fired all 192 giant lasers”? DEATH STAR IS IN THE TITLE.

3) Can we maybe just install someone in a position of universal authority over all decisions that are made, everywhere? When there’s a decision made, he’ll get a little post-it note delivered to his office summarizing the relevant facts, and then he can either give it a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. We’ll call him the Director of Are You FUCKING SERIOUS?