Date Archives May 2008

The First Rule of a Chuck Palahniuk Reading is…

“So, this book is about a gangbang.”

The interviewer paused, and stared pointedly at the woman who had brought not one, not two, but three young children to last night’s reading.

“A G-A-N-G-B-A-N-G. A gangbang.”

Even though Chuck had gone to the trouble of passing out earplugs to the audience, the woman huffed, grabbed her children, and left.

Then, friends, it was time for the contest. In order to reward those with the greatest lung capacity, blow-up dolls were tossed out into the audience.

To me, there’s something special about watching a people desperately, frantically blowing up sex dolls, as if their very lives were dependent upon it.

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When the reading began, the audience was now studded with blow-up dolls, dead plastic eyes facing forward. The fact that this reading was taking place in what used to be a church made the whole event extra sacrelicious.


Instead of reading to us from the book he was on tour to promote (Snuff), Chuck read everyone an unpublished short story that changes slightly in every city he stops at; intending for no one to hear this story exactly the way we have, to thank us for supporting him, for coming to see him on a Thursday night. I settled in and let his words wash over me. Chuck is a gifted storyteller; I could have listened to him for hours. Though I don’t have a recording of last night’s reading, I do have a recording of a reading he did in 2003 in New York, promoting ‘Diary’ by reading a story rejected by Playboy, entitled Guts. You can listen to it here, but be forewarned: On this tour, over 60 people passed out listening to this story. It’s graphic, shocking, and the first time I heard it, it even made ME a little woozy. For all that, it’s awesome.

Last night’s story was about a college-age kid, going on a game show (clearly styled after The Price is Right, but not mentioned by name) while on an acid trip which started with consuming a strawberry-flavored Hello Kitty stamp that was made by a guy who works as a janitor in the chemistry lab.




When the reading came to an end, Chuck was interviewed onstage about Snuff, his writing process, how much fun he and his friends had coming up with porn titles to work into ‘Snuff’, and his plans for future books, but before that could happen, both interviewer and interviewee belted down some gin. Quote of the moment: “Well, there go MY three hours of sobriety. It looks like we’re playing ‘bad cop….despicable cop’.” One of the interesting things he talked about is how the protagnist(s) of Fight Club embody the three main archetypes of modern story characters all in one: the callous destructor, the sad shy self-destructor, and the detached survivor. An example: In Gone With The Wind, you don’t want to be Scarlett. She’s mean, she pushes people around, and in the end, she’s friendless, loveless, her child is dead, and she’s alone. You want to be Rhett, who just doesn’t give a damn. Detached. He’s able to walk away from anything that could hurt him.

After the interview, we watched a trailer for ‘Choke’, which is hitting theaters in September–though if you live in Seattle, you can see it on June 5th or June 7th at the Seattle International Film Festival.

More blowup dolls and autographed schwag were tossed out into the audience, and then Chuck resumed signing books for people with signing tickets; only the first 150 people to buy ‘Snuff’ from the university book store got signing tickets. I was counted among that number, but barely: I was number 143.


When it was my turn, I mentioned my friends and I have played the porn title game as well, whiling away the hours at work while coming up with pirate porn names for Arrdor, Inc.  He snorted and then groaned when he realized what an awful, hilarious name ‘Arrdor’ is.

So, that’s how I ended up with this signed into my book:


That’s me. Pirate porn star. He then sprayed my book with Stetson cologne, so now it smells like a cowboy.


If you want an explanation for this one, you’ll have to listen to Guts.

And then, I got my picture taken with Palahniuk. And a blow-up doll.


The jellyrolls, they do nothing!

As the days grow warmer and longer, my evening walks with Napoleon have taken on a whole new dimension of sights, sounds, smells…and live prey. By which I mean that all across the apartment complex, the neighbors are setting their cats free into the night, which has proved especially problematic when you’re walking a dog with a small-prey drive that puts actual predators to shame. Here is an incomplete list of things that Do Not Belong In His Yard And Must Be Destroyed As They Are A Threat To Our Placid Community:

-Rabbits -Particularly Large Crows -Dogs Of All Sizes -Certain Attention-Worthy Bugs -Barbeque Grills With Flapping Covers

But above all, cats. Luckily for the cats, though his small-prey drive is strong, his actual hunting instinct blows goats. This is a dog who, on occasion, has difficulty finding ME within the confines of my 900 square foot apartment, a not-insignificant part of which I don’t want to even admit exists. I will toss him a toy and then run in my bedroom or my bathroom, or if the lights are off, even back in the hallway near the laundry machines. Once, I hid behind my door and watched him run into the room, pounce on the bed, look behind pillows, the headboard, etc, run out and search the living room, and go back and forth SEVEN TIMES before my laughter gave me away. Otherwise, I’m fairly certain he’d still be looking. It was equally funny when I hid underneath my beanbag while calling his name, and he kept bouncing on top, not being able to process where I might be hiding. He simply doesn’t know how to use his nose to seek anything out.

So, a majority of the time, I will have spotted a cat in the distance and have already tightened my grip on him WELL before he’s aware he’s in the presence of That Which Must Not Live…but the cats have also pretty clearly cottoned onto what Napoleon is all about and are starting a psychological torture campaign.

Let me backtrack for a moment: In order to train for the half-marathon I’m doing exactly a month from today, I have set a goal of walking at least seven miles a day. Whilst I walk, I listen to music, as it helps keep me motivated to not only walk longer, but also faster. On my ipod, I have a couple of cds of techno music that are split up in bits ranging from 30 seconds to a few minutes to a max of 10 minutes, and the rule I instituted in February is that whenever one of these bits comes up on shuffle, I must run for the duration of the track. No excuses; I must always be prepared to run, because if I give myself an out once, I will ALWAYS give myself an out. This has occasionally meant that I run short bursts while sick or holding up my pants with one hand or in unsuitable shoes. The rules are the rules. Some nights, I run once or twice, and some nights not at all.

Last week, my ipod apparently decided to kick my ass. If I were playing a tabletop game, I imagine that it would be like rolling enough ones to not only kill my character, but everyone else’s, and then choking on a cheeto and dying right there at the table. Song after song after song after song demanded I run, according to the very rules I laid out for myself, rules which I’ve sworn never to break. My face was set in a chilling grimace of disbelief and sheer determination as I ran several miles. My lungs began to burn. My Eddie Haskell brain began to hint that it might be a swell idea to huck my ipod in a bush, call a cab to drive me back across the apartment complex, and never move again. Before I could give in to that urge, sweet relief kicked in as a running-song ended, and a non-running song began. Oh wait. I HATE this goddamn song, how did it get on here? I skipped it, and then immediately regretted my folly, as the next track was YET ANOTHER RUNNING SONG. I’d rather listen to Celine Dion in a loop than run again. I’d rather pretend to like Coldplay and become a forever-and-always fan club president than run again. I’d rather cut out my own liver and replace it with a copy of Mariah Carey’s greatest hits than run again.

I must have looked like a lurching zombie when I started running again. I was exhausted. My fat ass was not made for this. Rules were made to be broken. I felt as if someone had jumped out of a bush and nailed me in the side with a rusty ninja star. And yet I shambled forward.

It was at that exact moment, while I’m off-balance and focusing only on my agony, that Psychological Torture Cat swooped in and streaked across the path, directly in front of Napoleon’s nose. And did he go for the bait? You’re damn right, he did. He lunged forward with a surprising amount of strength for a twenty-pound dog. So surprising, in fact, that he yanked me straight off my feet, affording me the opportunity to slam the concrete sidewalk like it was a Thai ladyboy ten dollar hooker, ripping up my pants, shirt, and exposed skin, while simultaneously knocking the wind out of me. It was all I could do to continue to hold on to the leash with a still-struggling dog on the end and curl up in a ball and just lay on the ground, gasping for air.

I’m sure the neighbors loved it, and now plan on setting even more cats free into the night. Who doesn’t love a free show and an opportunity to videotape someone’s pain for a shot at winning some prize money? This exercise shit is dangerous–who ever heard of faceplanting while reclining on a couch watching cartoons? Not me.

Hazelnut Face Mask

Give me a holiday weekend, and I’ll pack it so full of activities that I’ll slouch into work Tuesday morning, more exhausted than ever. I really have no one other than myself to blame; Friday and Saturday night, I was out until 5 and 4am, respectively, laughing and chatting with jimhark, poetrix618, and amazoni. Somehow, jimhark beat me at Apples to Apples AGAIN, and, as I am the sorest loser who ever was sore, this sort of aggression will not stand.

I’d intended on going to Crypticon on Saturday, but found myself dragging and in no condition to attend. On Sunday, I forced myself out of bed and to the Doubletree–as someone nuts enough about the horror genre to watch a horror movie per day during the month of October, this convention was really put on for me, and I’d be remiss not to attend.

It was small. Really small. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it small. For all that, they managed to book some very awesome guests and some kickass vendors. Much to my embarrassment, I missed daemonwolf–I remember her entries about MAKING her bone mask, I remember SEEING a bone mask at the con, noting how cool it was and making a mental note that I should tell her about it later, yet somehow I couldn’t connect the dots and realize it actually WAS her. Once again, I’ll choose to lay blame somewhere other than on myself, and shake my fist in someone’s general direction.

Here she is with Sid Haig!

That guy is such a dick, but in a very awesome way. He just doesn’t give a fuck. Bill Moseley, on the other hand, is one of the nicest guys ever–more than happy to talk with you at length about damn near anything. As it turns out, he’s done a bunch of work with Buckethead, releasing albums under the name ‘Cornbugs’; as someone who considers herself well-versed in both Buckethead AND Bill Moseley’s catalogues, I do have to admit some embarrassment in not knowing about this earlier.

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If only the line were “…daddy like” it’d be absolutely perfect.



I spent most of my time at the con in the movie room, watching ‘The Devil’s Rejects’, which gets better every time I watch it. Afterward, Bill and Sid came into the room and did a Q&A session, which was incredibly awesome, aside from one douche/freakazoid (seriously, no one give this guy a gun) who apparently believed that it was his opportunity to have a private conversation with both of them and attempted to dominate the panel at every turn. Eventually, someone who appeared to be his girlfriend (thusly proving that there CAN be someone for everyone out there) practically clapped a hand over his mouth and other people managed to get questions in. People do this to comics as well. Point of etiquette: Unless you are invited to speak, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Bill had mentioned earlier that one of his scenes with Priscilla Barnes was particularly harrowing to do, and so my question was how they put themselves in a mental place to do those sorts of intensely horrifying things in such a believable manner, as showing their discomfort whatsoever would’ve pushed the movies into camp. Bill’s response was that particularly violent scenes were a lot like the invisible bridge in Indiana Jones; more than anything, you have to trust yourself and the people around you to get to where you want to be, and hopefully make something worthwhile.

Also, for anyone who saw ‘Grindhouse’, ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’ might be made into an expanded feature!

Yesterday, I participated in the act of honoring our veterans by eating delicious grilled meats with v1c1ous and co; my goddamned neighbors did the same with some extremely loud mariachi music and a velociraptor triathalon.