In which I’m suddenly taken seriously

I should probably hold this information back a little bit, because right now I don’t have much more than what I’m going to tell you and there’s certainly a lot more to know, but I just got my panel schedule back for ConGlomeration this April in Louisville. And whoa.

First of all, I have a panel schedule. I’ve been doing cons for like four years and I’ve been on one panel. There were four people in the audience. One was my wife. (One of the other three bought a book, though!) I am doing five panels at ConGlomeration.

Friday, April 19, 1 PM: Writing Dialog
2 PM: Writing Compelling Characters
7 PM: Writing Science Fiction

Saturday, April 20, 3 PM: Setting Yourself Up for Success as an Indie
8 PM: Writing Fantasy

I’m not on any panels with Timothy Zahn, which makes me kinda sad, but I think Michael Z. Williamson is on the Writing Science Fiction one? He’s holding a gun with an attached silencer in his picture on Wikipedia and he once wrote a book called Brilliant Liberal Logic: Three Lies in Three Words,  which implies that the word “liberal” is, itself, somehow a lie, which I’m not sure it is.

I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.

In which white people make terrible decisions

I seriously thought Ralph Northam’s stupid lying racist ass was the dumbest thing I was going to encounter this week, I really did. He issued what I thought was a pretty decent apology the night that the blackface/Klan picture broke, and I almost– almost– thought that maybe he shouldn’t have to immediately resign.

Well, fuck me for giving a racist a second’s benefit of the doubt, because the very next morning this asshole is not only trying to take back his admission that it was him in the picture, he “defends himself” by saying he wasn’t in blackface that time but there was this other time that he did it and man, isn’t shoe polish hard to get off your face?

So fuck that guy. He can go. Ain’t nobody gonna miss him.

(I won’t be entertaining a lot of debate on this point, for the record. We can lose everybody who ever wore blackface, period. I don’t give a fuck who you are or when you did it. I can’t believe that not only am I still having this fucking conversation, but it’s like the third time in a few weeks.)

And then I log onto Twitter for a moment during my lunch break and I get to play the Dead or an Asshole? game, since Liam Neeson is trending for some fucking reason. A wise man once said that the Internet plays a game where every day a new person is chosen as the Main Character of the Internet, and you win the game if that person is never you.  So, Liam lost the game today.

And Liam’s story kinda had me fucked up for a minute, you know? Because– and stay with me, here, because I’m phrasing this carefully– I very much do get the feeling that something terrible has happened to someone you care about, and you weren’t able to do anything about it. I very much do get the idea that in response to that trauma he went a little crazy for a little while. That’s not the problem.

No, the problem for Neeson is that he phrases this whole thing in terms of revenge, which … uh, randomly walking around with a club in your pocket and hoping that somebody black starts shit with you isn’t actually revenge, Liam. That’s racism. It’s not revenge when somebody does something to you or someone you care about and you beat the hell out of somebody who maybe sorta looks like the person who did it. That’s not what that word means. And from what I’ve read, he didn’t seem to recognize that distinction at all during his deeply weird interview for a movie that I already wasn’t going to see because I can’t tell if it’s a revenge fantasy or some sort of weird, fucked-up Fargo-level black comedy shit. Nothing about Cold Pursuit was worth this shit. Nothing.

I mean, ultimately I think Neeson’s gonna skate on this, because the story basically just boils down to I had some terrible racist thoughts for a while that didn’t lead to any actual actions, and that’s not enough to have a serious effect on his career unless it turns out he’s got some stories in his past where he did do some shady shit. I’ll call it 50-50 that that happens, we’ll see. But … dude? Why the hell did you decide to tell this story in the first place? This is shit for your shrink, not a goddamned junket interview!

We also watched the first half of the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary last night, a process so horrifying that my wife legitimately looked over at me and asked if I was okay a couple of times. It’s not even Tuesday, y’all, and I have had enough stories of stupid white people to last me until next Black History Month, thanks. We can be done now.

In which I almost die because I’m stupid but then I don’t so it’s okay

I have made a number of very bad driveway-related decisions in the last 48-72 hours, guys.

BAD DECISION THE FIRST: I did not get up at five this morning to clear the driveway before going to work. This ensured that a day and night’s worth of wet, heavy snow was on my driveway– the type of snow that doesn’t basically disintegrate back into fluffy snow when the snowblower tosses it, but limply splats back onto your driveway a few feet away, ensuring that you just have to move the same snow over and over again and that the job gets harder and harder the closer you get to being done.

BAD DECISION THE SECOND: I did not clear the driveway of the relatively small amount of snow that had fallen in previous days either– basically I should have hit the driveway at least twice instead of zero times in the last four or five days– which ensured that under the wet, heavy snow is now a layer of hard-packed, days-old, repeatedly driven-on ice, meaning that at least twice I got a split-second holy shit I’m about to break my leg and die out here scare while clearing the driveway. Now, neither time did I fall and break my leg, but another inch or so of sliding either way and something really shitty woulda happened.

BAD DECISION THE THIRD: I had on my beastcoat. Understand that I have two articles of cold-weather outerwear: a “winter coat” and a Winter Coat. I wear my “winter coat” most of the time and I rarely button it. I am Of the North and the cold generally does not bother me very much, but all of the talk of fifty below wind chills over the next couple of days has somewhat thrown me off of my game. My Winter Coat is rated to sixty below zero, and I need you to understand that in the most literal sense possible my Winter Coat possesses no chill whatsoever. It’s a Carhartt, for those of who who will understand that. And I need to be careful when I wear it, because most of the time it’s way too goddamn much coat for what I need. For example, if I’m going to wear it in the car I cannot have the heat on. I’ll be sweaty by the time I get out of the car, even on a short drive. Opening the windows is actually not a bad idea.

Wearing this motherfucker outside, with a sweater on underneath, on what isn’t really that cold of a day (yet) while performing strenuous work– another disadvantage of the ice is that the wheels on the snowblower don’t work at all and I’m basically just ceaselessly shoving it through 6-8″ of, again, heavy wet snow– meant that I realized halfway through the job that I was feeling kind of woozy because of, no shit, impending Goddamn heatstroke.

Yeah. My wife wasn’t home yet and my son was inside by himself doing who knows what, so if I break a leg and then die in the driveway I’mma stay leg-broke and dead in the driveway until she gets home, because it ain’t like he can move me, or that he’d even look up from the iPad long enough to notice my dead ass out there. So I went inside for a few minutes, let my heart rate slow down, took off the sweater and the beastcoat, and swapped my soaked-in-sweat knit winter hat for a regular baseball cap. And then made …

BAD DECISION THE FOURTH, which was going back outside before mopping my stupid, covered-in-sweat body off. Because what with all of the sweating and dying from roasting myself alive inside my fucking Beastcoat I’d forgotten that, while not much by historical standards, it was actually fucking cold outside, and that you really do not want to be outside on even moderately cold days if you are soaking fucking wet. And while I can’t be trusted to say whether the temperature had actually dropped while I was inside– it’s not like I was feeling the actual air temperature anyway– I can sure as hell state with certainty that the wind picked up pretty substantially while I was inside, meaning that any residual body heat I had left was gone, gone gone within minutes of getting back outside, and I still had half the damn driveway to do. Eventually I had to come back inside and put a third hat on, and the first thing I had to do when I finally came back inside for good was mop off my beard, which is super fun.

On the plus side, now that I’ve survived all this stupid bullshit, warmed up and cooled off and dried off, I’m going to go take a shower and then change into sweatpants and a sweater and I am not going outside under any circumstances for the next three days, whether work calls off or not. Chicken soup time, motherfuckers.

In which I’m writing about Weezer for some reason

I know, I’m as surprised as you are.

I’m not a fan of Weezer. I’m not not a fan, if that makes any sense; there are probably a dozen Weezer songs that I have at least partially memorized and might sing along with given the opportunity, but if you asked me right now to name even one Weezer song I wouldn’t be able to do it. If a song was playing and you asked me “Is this a Weezer song?” I could probably tell you yes or no, but I wouldn’t bet a lot of money on any one song. They’ve been around a long time and I don’t dislike them, they’re just not my people musically, for whatever that’s worth.

You may have heard about the Teal album. The Teal album is utterly unique in that I can review it merely by listing the tracks on it:

  1. Africa
  2. Everybody Wants to Rule the World
  3. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
  4. Take on Me
  5. Happy Together
  6. Paranoid
  7. Mr. Blue Sky
  8. No Scrubs
  9. Billie Jean
  10. Stand by Me

And right away, boom, you know if you’re going to like the Teal album. (Weezer apparently has named most of their albums Weezer, and then distinguishes them by the color of the cover? Also a thing I didn’t know, so I don’t know if I should be italicizing Teal when it shows up or not. Weird-ass band.) And, more importantly, based on whether you’re wondering why the hell they bothered or you’re right now opening iTunes so you can download this, I know within about five or six years how old you are, because it’s a good damn bet you’re in the decade around being born in 1976 somewhere.

There is not a single song on here that I have ever decided to deliberately listen to, except maybe for No Scrubs, and in that case it’s been a very long time. And yet I literally purchased and downloaded this album within ten seconds of knowing it existed. Ask my wife; she was standing right next to me when it happened. And I’m listening to it right now, and I’m enjoying the hell out of it, and I don’t understand what has happened that those things are true. I mean, don’t get me wrong, these are all good songs, but … why? Why? This album is simultaneously the whitest thing that has ever happened and utterly delightful, and those should not both be true, and I’m very very confused right now.

It is a crime that Never Gonna Give You Up is not on here, by the way.

And here’s what is probably the weirdest part: I feel like it’s weird that the Teal album is my only Weezer album in my music collection, which is over 1100 albums strong (and, for the record, very close to 100% legitimately purchased) and now I feel like I need to spend some more money and buy at least one Weezer album where they’re playing their own music. Am I going to listen to it? I dunno, maybe not. I mean, the next thing I did after buying the Teal album yesterday was buy TLC’s Fanmail, because I didn’t like the idea that Weezer’s version was the only version of No Scrubs I had. So it’s not like this isn’t without precedent, y’know? What album would I buy? Am I just picking my favorite color or looking for a Greatest Hits or their debut (my usual move with a band I don’t own any music from) or …

Yeah. When I complain about not having enough money, remind me of shit like this, will you?

EDIT: Upon checking iTunes again, I note that Weezer has released a collection, called Blue/Green/Red, that is in fact just those three albums, for $13.99. So now I own four Weezer albums. (Also: Oh! These are the Buddy Holly guys! Of course they are.) They also apparently have released an album called Hurley, the cover art of which is a headshot of the guy who played Hurley in Lost. I don’t know what to do with that information, but I felt like those of you who didn’t know it need to.

EDIT EDIT: Island in the Sun and Blister in the Sun are not the same song, and I’d like to tender my sincere apologies to the Violent Femmes for my momentary loss of sense.

This is why I have an iPhone

My wife’s phone just … created this video, and offered to share it with her? Which means that Google is combing through her pictures to find photos of cats, without being asked, and then just … making stuff?

Sure.