Friday, December 24, 2010

Isaac and the Whale: A Road Trip Blog

(This blog has nothing to do with Christmas. Deal with it. Merry Christmas.)

I will assume none of you know anything about me and tell you that I recently acquired a 1977 RV and am now living in it full time, no hobo. For the last 6 months or so it has been at an RV shop getting its interior updated to the level of luxury and comfort to which I am accustomed. *cough* On the day it was finished, my girlfriend Nichole and I smashed a bottle of fine champagne on her hull (the RV's, not Nichole's) and took her on her maiden voyage. (the RV, not Nichole.)

The route? Southbound on Highway 101, a scenic byway that traces the west coast. The destination? Las Vegas, for my girlfriend's wedding--I mean, her brother's wedding. I keep accidentally telling people "my girlfriend's wedding", but that just doesn't make sense. It would be weird and awkward to attend my own girlfriend's wedding. I envision some seriously tense undercurrents in the congratulatory handshakes. Anyway--a road trip!!!

Our first stop of note: Tillamook Cheese Factory. We tour the facility. Where are all the wise old elvish cheesemongers lovingly rolling wheels of handcrafted artisan cheese into ancient caves and cellars to sleep for years and age to perfection? What are all these conveyor belts and tattooed girls in hairnets? This is bullshit. I will never buy Tillamook again.

What follows is a harrowing late night race down the 101, which claims to be a federal highway but has the curves and hills and world-rocking potholes of a disused logging road. At one point we careen around a corner and the trees open up revealing a vast empty blackness beyond the freeway. Nichole screams--we are about to drive off the edge of the universe into the nightmarish void beyond!!! But it turns out that's just how the ocean looks in the dark when you're on a perilous cliff. We continue south, listening to our dishes shattering in their cupboards as pothole after bottomless pothole sends the RV airborne.

We eventually come out of the woods and reach safe haven: a brewery. We park for the night and enjoy some beers in celebration of not getting raped by hillbillies. We actually win at bar trivia, even though there are only two of us and neither of us are all that smart. It's the first time I've ever won anything in my life.
(False. I once won 50 cents on a 25 cent pull-tab.)

The next day I wake up and sweep open my windshield curtains and realize that we are parked literally 200 feet from the ocean. I immediately dump any doubts I ever had about my plan to live in an RV.

Not a bad view for 0$ a month...


1977 GMC Birchaven

Name: "Baleen the Big Blue Whale"

Length: 23 feet

Wheels: 6

Sleeps: 2 comfortably, 3 uncomfortably, 4 hatefully

Kitchen: Yes

Bathroom: Phonebooth-sized

Engine: Oldsmobile 455 V8

Fuel economy: Sobering

Looks like:

Travel continues at a breakneck pace. We have only 8 days to cover 1,608 miles of scenic byway littered with tourist traps and roadside attractions marked by cartoonishly oversized road signs screaming for attention. We stop in the Redwood Forest at a place called Trees of Mystery. There are a lot of trees, but none of them are particularly mysterious. It does, however, afford us the opportunity to take photos next to Paul Bunyan's pet ox's giant blue balls.


The ox is named Babe the Blue Ox. Babe the Blue Ox and Baleen the Big Blue Whale have some bonding time and discuss the pleasures and pitfalls of being big and blue. (I assume)

We stop in a very maritime little seaside shanty town by the sea and eat ocean-style chowder at a marine-themed restaurant near the water. The chowder is mediocre but our senses finally shake free from their cream-soaked stupor when we hear a harsh, alien barking noise coming from the direction of the oceanic bayside sea area. We knock our chowder off the tables and run to the dock.


(They go apeshit at 00:25)

Listen to them roar! King of the underwater jungle! 
Apparently they just hang out on this dock all day, barking and roaring and generally making asses of themselves in the most adorable way. Nichole has about 50 cutegasms watching them.


We continue south. Time is running out. We camp in a few gas stations. I make Nichole eggs benedict for breakfast. She is unimpressed. We continue south.


We park Baleen near Venice Beach and meet up with Steve, a fancy Hollywood type whose wife Bruna is the producer for the upcoming picture show, WARM BODIES. Bruna loans us her Prius.



Steve directs us to a bar at a cool hotel where lots of famous people have died and/or killed themselves. Neither Nichole or I die or kill ourselves there. I guess we are not famous enough.

Later, Steve takes us to a fancy Hollywood-type place called the Soho Club. Not just any old riff-raff can go there. You have to be a Soho Club Member. They have tall and attractive women of color at all their help desks (I assume their consistent color is coincidence but find myself wondering) and the elevators have plush walls. There are cool trinkets everywhere. There are live trees in the bar and we can see the entire city through the wall-to-wall glass and Steve buys me a Scotch drink. Steve is the coolest man living.

We sleep in Baleen and leave LA at the crack of dawn. (Nichole cracks dawn at around 11:00) We drive all damn day.


We are in Las Vegas for Nichole's wed--Nichole's BROTHER's wedding. Nichole's mom has rented us a room at the Excalibur, a hotel that looks like a giant Playskool castle.

This is not a cartoon.

I have never been to Vegas before. The first thing we do is run across town to the MGM Grand to attend a country music award show. (Nichole thinks she is a hillbilly.)

This is a cartoon.

This was not the Country Music Awards. (CMAs) It was the American Country Awards. (ACAs) I'm not totally sure if they were giving out awards to the musicians or if the musicians were just there to give awards to America, which is by far the most American of all the American countries. Either way, America definitely won, and Toby Kieth sang a song about 9/11.

Later that night, we went to a fancy Vegas-type club. Someone took us into a velvety back room where young women with suspiciously spherical breasts kneeled in front of our table and poured drinks for us like we were some sort of fancy Hollywood types or maybe Persian kings. I got sleepy so I bought a Red Bull, and it cost 9 dollars. Later, some things happened in Vegas which will, according to legend, stay in Vegas.

The next day Nichole's brother got married at his wedding. Then Nichole's whole family and I went out on the streets and got Vegas-style drunk. Did you know? You can drink ANYwhere in Vegas! I walked up to a little stand on the sidewalk and bought a Long Island Iced Tea, then walked around dranking that drank amongst crowds of mothers and children.


I play beer pong! We go to a college-themed frat bar and we play several rounds of beer pong! (or "Beet Pong" as I call it in a Twitter tweet while under the influence of beets--I mean beer) I discover it is my favorite competitive sport! I almost win twice!

I get very, very drunk.
Things get hazy at this point.
A taxi driver talking about beating up his customers...?
Fat girls dancing on the bar at Coyote Ugly...?
Mike Tyson's house...? No that's from a movie...


The next day we wake up and don't feel so good. There must be something in the Vegas air that is giving us headaches and stomachaches and soulaches. We leave Vegas.


We're done. Finished. Vanquished. We're going home. We revisit LA, this time with much more time to spare. We go to Hollywood, where I find to my surprise that I already have a star on the Walk of Fame.

If I'm this famous, why didn't I die/kill myself at that hotel earlier? It's a puzzle.

We go to the wax museum and take touristy pictures with the wax figures go to some exclusive Hollywood clubs and hang out with celebrities. I scope out hotties with George. Nichole understands.

Dude. George. That girl keeps looking over here. You should like, talk to her.

After we leave the exclusive Hollywood clubs we get abducted by time-traveling Starfleet Officers because only I can save the future. Nichole snaps a candid shot of me giving commands to the two greatest men in space history.

"Make it happen!" or whatever.

We park Baleen on a freeway overpass and spend two nights there. Baleen bounces around and rocks back and forth every time a truck drives under us. It feels like we're involved in a street riot. When the van's a-rockin'...etc.

When we finally leave LA, we enter a fugue state in which we drive for hours and hours with no food or water or conversation. I-5 is the most boring freeway in America, which is why it's the fastest.

Literally nothing happens the entire way home. We get home.

We're home now.

The End


I want you all to contemplate the fact that this exists.

Nothing says Holiday Cheer like severed baby heads hung from a tree.

Nichole prays to her goddess. Beyonce grants her a fine ass.

Yeah I drive in sweatpants. And camp in Wal-Mart parking lots.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Anarchy in the UK

A little slow in mentioning this, but Warm Bodies is now on the bookshelves in the UK. Don't believe me? What, you think I staged this photo?

See? One shelf above Let The Right One In, and just to the left of Zombie Cupcakes! (to be fair, this was a Halloween themed display.)

Good reviews are trickling in, too. There's one in women's magazine Marie Claire, one in The Guardian (it's like England's New York Times!) and a little feature in WIRED, as well as a few in various blogs and, ahem, teen magazines. (One of them positions it right next to Justin Bieber's new book! Me and Biebs, conquering the world together!)

Even a few non-teens have offered words of praise. Josh Bazell (Beat the Reaper) Nick Harkaway (The Gone-Away World) Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and Simon Pegg (writer/actor, Shaun of the Dead) have all lent glowing quotes to be plastered all over the cover.
If I hadn't recently misplaced my emotion chip, I'd be slavering with joy right now. Things are looking bright.

Or you can pre-order the US version (hardcover!) which comes out March 8.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A short film and an even shorter trailer for that short film

The man who made a short film out of my short story "Room Enough In This Town" (retitled "That's Not Me") has released a trailer. Hopefully he'll have information soon about when, where, and how you can see the actual film, but I just thought this was exciting and wanted to show you all NOW, because NOW is always more fun than...well, the alternative.

Room Enough Trailer from Mehran Torgoley on Vimeo.

In related news, which I can't remember if I've announced before or not, I'm deep into the writing of a screenplay for an actual feature-length adaptation of this story. In fact I was about halfway done with it before I had to put the project on hold to finish things up with WARM BODIES, and then I got all fired up about FLASHLIGHTS IN THE BASEMENT and had to write the two epic novellas that bookend that book, and yada yada yada, it's still only half done.

But once I finish FLASHLIGHTS (mid to late November, I'm thinking) I go back to work on that script. Not that this will mean anything tangible to you people for years to come, if ever, case you're my mom or sisters and are wondering what I do with all my free time....there it is.
Marion out.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Factual Facts About Halloween

A good costume idea

Halloween is that special time of year when parents dress their children as classic representations of evil and send them out to demand sugary taxes from their neighbors on threat of violence. But what a lot of kids don�t realize is that there is more to Halloween than just eating so much candy that you throw up and lie huddled in bed all night twitching and cursing God. Halloween is also an important cultural holiday for zombies, vampires, Spidermans, and other manifestations of our collective consciousness� darkest dreams.

Although witches and demons have been part of our culture for centuries, and skeletons have been around since the early Paleozoic Era, Halloween is a relatively modern invention. After observing the successful creation of the African-American holiday Kwanzaa in 1966, an unnamed zombie proposed a similar celebration for his own people as a way to promote species awareness and acceptance, and also to make hunting easier by flooding the streets with costumed decoys. No one expected the holiday to catch on outside the undead community, but the �60s were a time of profound social upheaval, and since the youth culture had already begun to embrace monsters�who possessed an undeniable charisma and sinister cool that humans couldn�t help but envy and want to imitate�Halloween quickly exploded into one of the world�s most popular holidays.

Another good costume idea
Halloween is celebrated in all English-speaking countries and most Pashtu-speaking tribal lands, but the traditions associated with it vary from place to place. In my own city, Seattle, Halloween looks very different than it does in, say, London. The basic spirit is the same; our kids still go Trick-or-Treating and dress up as aborted goat fetuses and schizophrenic hallucinations, but because of Seattle�s frequent, heavy rainfall, we must make some adjustments. Since October is our wet season, the streets are usually not navigable by land, so on the morning of the 31st every family has a �Creepy Craft Party� where we help the kids build canoes out of paper and popsicle sticks. We then load the little rascals into their boats and set them adrift in the floodwaters, where the violent currents whip them through the streets until they eventually run aground on a random neighbor�s porch. From there, the Trick-or-Treating resumes more or less traditionally. The neighbors take the waterlogged tykes inside, dry them off, and perform any necessary CPR. The eager kids are then treated to an extravagant feast of generic bulk candy and put to bed in the garage if the neighbors have one, or under the sink if they don�t. The next morning, the neighbors look up their little guests� barcode tattoos on, find the parents� addresses, and return the children home only slightly worse for wear. That is, of course, if they weren�t drowned or eaten by river vampires the night before.
A good couple's costume

All this may sound like an anxious night for the kids� parents, but playing the odds�even with such morbidly high stakes!�is just part of the Halloween experience in Seattle. With over eight hundred casinos�more per square mile than libraries, schools, and coffee shops combined!�Seattle is known around the world as a gambling city, and the question of whether or not the children will make it home from Trick-or-Treating is the subject of much extravagant wagering. In 2009, an estimated forty million dollars changed hands via Halloween betting. Traditionally, parents will always bet against their own kid, so that if he or she does end up being eaten by river vampires, the parents will at least have their winnings as consolation.

Losing a child is always a hard thing, but the thrill of the risk�along with the fun of friendly competition between neighbors�is what that keeps Halloween interesting for Seattle�s adults, most of whom can no longer enjoy candy due to suppurating stomach ulcers. Some may call our holiday traditions inappropriate or even irresponsible, but after all, it�s Halloween. If you want warmth, good times, and your children to be alive, you can go celebrate Christmas.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bite Size Matters

Is there any food in the world with more size gradations than Shredded Wheat?

Frosted Mini Wheats are certainly the most popular, so much that most people forget there was ever a non miniaturized Wheat. But there was, and is.

In fact, Mini Wheats are the third largest Wheat. And there is now also a Wheat even smaller than Mini, a seemingly impossible feat of wheat engineering called the Mini Wheat Nano Little Bite. Then, moving up the scale from the standard Mini Wheat, we have the Mini Wheat Big Bite, whose self-contradictory name seems to have been caused by an explosion at the marketing factory when they couldn't figure out how to demarcate the two sizes while still retaining the popular "Mini Wheat" branding.
Then there's the original, the one you rarely see in stores anymore, lurking in the dusty shadows of cereal history, the big daddy that your granddaddy probably used to eat with a knife and fork with no sugar or honey or fruit, soaked in rat's milk from pregnant dead rats he caught in a rat trap he built by hand:


(*"fucking" added for dramatic emphasis)

There's no denying this stuff is impressive--the size! The sheer un-mini-ness of it!--but why was this cereal ever created? Who thought giant bricks of wheat that don't even fit in a bowl was a good idea? And why has Kellogg's been apologizing to us for 50-some years by inventing ever-smaller iterations of Wheats? It's one of the many mysteries of the cereal industry, which has always been shrouded in weirdness.

Since I figure a lot of people reading this blog will be trying to figure out the intended purpose of all the different sizes of wheats, trying to understand the pros and cons of each size in order to determine which one is right for them, I've included this image comparing all four, with a bottle of Sriracha for scale, since I don't have any pop cans, which are the traditionally accepted unit of size in America.

Note that the Mini Wheat Little Bite is not appreciably "littler" than the standard Mini Wheat, indicating that making truly "little" wheats is not physically possible and this new size was created purely to satisfy one of the rarer OCD compulsions known to psychology: "cereal shrinking", the irrational need to constantly invent, produce, and market smaller and smaller cereals.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This is a song that I sang

I wrote and recorded this a couple years ago, then recently re-recorded it at Bearhead Studios just for fun. This time we had live drums (Ken French) and badass guitar (Jared McSharry) instead of....whatever the hell I used on my solo version.

Thanks Steven Aguilar of Bearhead for his time and skillz. Hopefully this song will appear in some form on a future Moon Colony or Tallest Building In the World album.

The video is just for something to look at. It's my fucking hands in front of a webcam. Don't expect anything to happen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This is a book that I wrote.

Hot off the British presses.

Fuck. Yes.

Oh and apparently you can pre-order the US version on Amazon already!

Maybe if the US publisher starts seeing a wave of pre-orders, they'll feel confident enough to let us have a jacket as cool as the British one...?


Saturday, September 11, 2010


I have just noticed something. I'm not sure if it's an accent, a result of genetics, or something more affected, but there is a distinctive male speaking style that I keep hearing lately. Actor Paul Walker has it. The guy who played Kirk's father in the new Star Trek has it. This guy hitting on this girl in this coffee shop I'm in has it. What is it?

Here's a couple videos to show you what I'm talking about:

For the moment, until further research can shed light on the condition, let's call it Douchevoice. I'm pretty sure we've all met someone who talks this way. The voice seems to be intentionally deepened, as if their normal speaking voice is too thin so they're forcing the timbre lower, further down into the throat than it naturally wants to go in order to sound manlier, which results in a weird, hollow, "I have a cold" sound. Douchevoice is also usually accompanied by a slightly southern, vaguely African American drawl.

I have no further points. Just another curiosity. But if you catch your friends developing this affected toughguy dialect, be sure to point out to them that they're speaking in Douchevoice, and help them return their speech to normal before they're lost forever in a downward spiral of doucheyness and end up dying alone on a spaceship being blown up by Romulans from the future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gnat Balls

You know gnat balls?
You know those big balls of gnats that gnats make when they all want to hang out?

Tons of gnats. Awesome!

How do you think they decide where to hold those events? I mean they're usually just in some random location, floating in some arbitrary point in mid-air, and yet somehow, all those hundreds of gnats had to agree on that spot, right? Otherwise they'd all be in different spots like, "I'm at the spot I thought we said. Where's all the other gnats?" And there wouldn't be any gnat balls, there'd just be gnats.

One gnat. Boring.

Do you think it's the same as with human parties, and one motivated gnat has to pick a location and then go around calling all his gnat friends and inviting them to come be in the ball? He's like, "Let's meet five feet above the sidewalk at Harvard Ave and Roy Street. Listen guys. This is going to be so fun." And some of them say they're totally going to come, but then they totally don't come?

Do you think gnats always choose to have their balls at human-face height because watching humans choke and gag on a mouthful of gnats is funny to them?

What about the gnats that get choked and gagged on? Those gnats can't possibly find it funny.

It seems like it'd be a lot of work to put together a party as big as gnat balls are. There are probably at least two hundred gnats in those balls. The original gnat that first decided he or she needed to have a gnat ball that night--I'm assuming he or she wouldn't schedule it in advance since gnats only live one day--must be not only really popular but also really energetic and committed to making social stuff happen.

Why do we say social butterfly? We should say social gnat. Gnats are the ones that know how to throw a party, and you'll notice they never invite any butterflies.

I bet butterflies are assholes.

Thinks he's so cool but he's not.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


We finally have a cover for the US edition of WARM BODIES!

Oh and also the novel's themes evolved somewhat during the editing process. Now it's about men, women, and the Navy.

That should silence all that silly "Zombie Twilight" snarkery going on out there.

But seriously guys, come on. If Warm Bodies is Twilight, then Eternal Sunshine is Men In Black. They both have machines that erase memories, don't they?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Do Nerds Dream of Nerdy Sheep?

I had a really obvious, heavy-handed dream last night. Usually they're more oblique, but this one didn't bother with subtlety. I went to bed with two things weighing on my mind:

1. Problems with my printer and difficulties designing a cover for Flashlights in the Basement. 
2. My first major interview about Warm Bodies with a British sci-fi magazine called SFX.

What was my dream about? Part 1 involved me struggling to print out a portrait of Lieutenant Worf and mount it inside a picture frame that kept changing size and defying geometry. Part 2 involved an alien race deciding that humanity was unfit to live and threatening to wipe us out unless my friend Erin and I could write an essay convincing them that we are actually pretty cool. So they abducted us to their planet and set us up in a newsroom type office, and for a while I thought it was kind of an honor that they thought I was a good enough guy to speak for humanity, that they must kinda respect me, but the alien they assigned to oversee us--played by Party Down's Adam Scott--was a total dick about it and it became pretty clear pretty quickly that they didn't respect me at all and saw me as some kind of repulsive lab animal. 


So yeah, pretty cliche dreams, subconscious. Way to point a blinking arrow at my two biggest stressors and not-so-subtly underline my insecurities. I have diarrhea today, what am I going to dream about tonight? Having diarrhea?

Stupid subconscious.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Conservation is just for the little people

7,000 gallons of jet fuel per hour
As the Blue Angels jets shriek back and forth over my apartment in Seattle, it occurs to me that there's a pretty serious chasm between people's environmental conservation efforts at home and the example set by our government--not just at the international industry level, but the local, municipal level. Our fountains, our decorative lighting, our firework shows, parades, Sea Fairs... For such a progressive, forward-thinking city, we do some pretty indulgent stuff, don't you think?

I'm not suggesting getting rid of all this stuff and stripping the city down to a spartan landscape of unadorned concrete. I'm just finding it very hard to take my own conservation efforts seriously when I consider that in one hour, a single Blue Angels jet will burn 1,200 gallons of JET fuel. (which is much more highly concentrated than car fuel)

Blue Angels performances last an hour, and involve 6 jets.


A single Blue Angels air show will burn up more gas than you will save in an entire lifetime of taking your bike to work.

Does that seem fair to you as you puff and sweat your way through traffic every day? And that hour of Blue Angels performance only comes after THOUSANDS of hours of training for all these pilots, all burning 1,200 gallons per hour.

More food for thought:

9,567 bulbs
If you install energy efficient bulbs all through your house and turn every light off the moment you leave the room for a year, you might save enough energy to power the Times Square New Year's ball for...5 seconds?

Follow common sustainability suggestions and install low pressure showerheads. Only flush the toilet when you take a dump. In a year you might save enough water to run the Seattle Center fountain for one minute. Although you'll need to unplug all your electronics every day for about a decade to save enough power for the fountain's pumps, lights, and sound system.

It really shoots that high
I'm not entirely sure what my point is. I'm not saying we should stop conserving, and I'm not saying the government should shut down all nonessential expenditures. I just think the disparity needs to be acknowledged, because it feels pretty silly for me to go through all the inconvenience and expense of "Going Green" when the savings my efforts create are so infinitesimal compared to the energy burned every day by all these frivolities no one's even talking about. The whole Green Movement looks like a joke when you put their "energy tips" next to the kind of massive-scale waste going unchallenged every day in every city in America.

I can't help feeling a little patronized in all this. "There you go. Good boy. Put a sweater on and turn down your thermostat. Oh, this full-size commercial airliner that flies the president wherever he needs to go? Don't worry about that. It's for grownups."


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Release dates

Some little bits of tender news jerky: official release dates for WARM BODIES.

In the US, from Atria Books -- March 8, 2011

In the UK, from Vintage Originals -- October 28, 2010

And I have no idea when the 14 or 15 other language versions will be out, but keep your polyglot ears to the street.

On the film front, I'm afraid the details I promised in the last posting were deemed classified by my handlers, sad-face. All I can tell you is that there is a very real likelihood of the shooting beginning next March, possibly even earlier. That's right, the movie may start shooting in the very same month the book is hitting shelves. Omgwtf.

On the other book front, I'm still trying to finish up the second of two novellas that will appear in FLASHLIGHTS IN THE BASEMENT, then there is editing to be done, but when I at least finish writing the first draft of "Three Kids, Living", I will have a better guess at when the book will be available.

More to come. Thanks for giving a shit.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Update on new book, new stories, Warm Bodies prequel...?

I've been tweeting and Facebooking about this plenty lately but haven't said much on the official-type blog thing, so....update! My short-story collection, FLASHLIGHTS IN THE BASEMENT, is close to done. It's going to contain several new stories that I haven't published on the internets, not even one of the many possible internets I have to choose from.

Two of these new stories are notable. The first, called "The Basement", is over a hundred pages long--almost a novella, really. It's unlike anything I've ever written, very strange in both content and style, yet probably a lot more "fun" than most of my stuff. Lighthearted and kinda goofy, while also being insanely dark and creepy. It's a highly fictionalized version of my time living with 5 college kids in a college house in a college town last fall. With um...supernatural elements. Weird ones.

The second notable story, called "Two Kids, Living" takes place in the world of WARM BODIES several years prior to R's little adventure. It shows what happened to Nora Greene after she was abandoned in the ruins by her parents, including encounters with certain other characters at earlier stages of their lives and post-lives. Still writing this one, but it's going to be pretty substantial as well. Really excited about it.

Once I finish "Two Kids, Living", all that's left to do is a few editing passes of this and the other stories, and the book will begin production at the same print shop where I did the original runs of WARM BODIES.

Also, stay tuned (you know, with your internet tuning forks?) for updates on the WARM BODIES movie, which is rapidly moving forward. I'll tell you more as soon as my handlers give me the go-ahead.



Monday, June 28, 2010

Buying a goddamn book online

I'd like to relate to you some thoughts and emotions I experienced today involving my purchase of a book and its subsequent shipping via UPS.

A week or two ago, on a whim, I decided to buy a lighthearted book of humor, in case I needed the occasional chuckle here and there. It was the kind of purchase that just barely crosses the I want this item but I don't want it bad enough to fish my wallet out and type in the credit card number threshold.


But cross that threshold it did, the order was processed, and I promptly forgot about it. Then today I received a card in the mail from UPS, saying they had tried to deliver a package to me but I wasn't home to sign for it. So I'd have to come to their shipping center to pick it up.

First let's take a brief digression to to talk about how absurd it is for UPS, FEDEX, and the good old US American Postal Service of America, to require signatures for packages. How are they expecting this to work? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the average American goes to work during the day on weekdays. And coincidentally, during the day on weekdays is exactly the timeframe in which these mail services deliver their packages. So what exactly is the plan here? Is everyone supposed to take a few days off work around the time they're expecting the package and just hang out by the door, waiting, naked? Or are we still operating on 1950s rules, where we assume I have a cute and cheerful wife in a skirt and apron waiting at home for packages while cooking me a meatloaf and polishing the sex-swing for when I get home? (Despite common assumptions to the contrary, 1950s housewives did crazy sex stuff, probably.)

So since I neither took a day off nor got married to a 1950s housewife yesterday, I missed the delivery, and I now basically have to do a day's work as a UPS driver just to retrieve this stupid little book I bought on a whim, or they will ship it back to the seller in 3 days.

And as you all know, picking up a package is not a simple matter of walking down to the corner and dipping into the nearest UPS branch. You have to go to their actual shipping warehouse deep in the industrial district, navigating traffic jams of delivery trucks and 18-wheelers in lovely, welcoming areas like this:

So basically, my decision to buy this dumb little humor book has created this gigantic work task that I have to do in the middle of my day, in the sweaty heat, in rush-hour traffic. Which is why I've decided to never buy, sell, or do anything ever again.



Have you ever wondered why our landfills are filling up and our resources are dwindling and leading experts are probably estimating that the world will be completely depleted of trees and hydrogen by the year 2018? Well, here's the answer:

Everything you see in this picture except the desk, the window, the windowpane, and the shrubbery outside, was used to ship this book.

How big is this little 207 page humor book?

THAT BIG! And it's not like I have super giant sized hands or anything. It's a small fucking book. It's too bad Random House doesn't publish microwaves too, because I could have fit one of those into the same box and saved a lot on shipping! Jesus Herbert Christ.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Things That Are Gross When You're Wearing In-Ear Headphones

1. Eating. (musha musha squisha squisha)

2. Drinking (gurgle glug glurt splurt)

3. Breathing heavily, like when jogging for instance (guhhhh HEEEE guhhhhh HEEEE )

4. Yogurt left in the fridge for too many months. (the in-ear headphones don't make it grosser, it's just gross.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fish Fun

This is a real fish.
It is called a Blobfish.


This is a model of a real prehistoric shark. It has a Skil-Saw for a mouth.


This is a real fish. It is called a Bat Fish. Instead of swimming, it walks along the ocean floor on its leg-like fins. It wears bright red hooker lipstick all the time.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Review of the hit theatrical nature doc, "OCEANS"

The era of nature documentaries being shown in major mainstream theaters is upon us. First "EARTH", now "OCEANS". I guess in this time of environmental peril, these films are sent as a message, to remind us that our planet...exists.

"Oceans. Remember those? Those are cool."

It's kind of like those commercials for generic commodities like BEEF and MILK. Oh yeahhh...I forgot about those!

"Beef. It's what's for dinner."
"Milk. It does the body good."
"Cheese. It's like milk, but firmer."
"Rice. It goes under your chicken."
"Beans. These are food."
"Flour. You can make other food with it."

OCEANS is directed by Jacques Cluzaud. Did you know Jacques is not actually a name, but the French word for "oceanographer"? Google it. It is narrated by Pierce Brosnan doing an impression of Patrick Stewart doing tons of drugs. Seriously, the narration is so woozy and uninformative I'm pretty sure Pierce just got in the recording booth, smoked a pound of hash, then watched the movie for the first time and recorded whatever loopy lunacy came out of his mouth. You might think people seeing a nature documentary in a multiplex would get impatient with all the education and start demanding some boobs and explosions, but my friends and I actually found ourselves LONGING for some dull marine biology exposition, because Pierce offers us almost nothing in the way of information about all the crazy shit he's showing us on the screen. For example:

We're following a fish through the sea, watching it from behind as it swims about. Pierce is talking about the ocean being a story...that sometimes has surprise twists! Suddenly, TWO FUCKING LEGS pop out of the back end of the fish, paddle for a moment, then slip back inside the fish.

Tell us what the fish is called? Why it has fucking legs? Show it walking?

Nope. Cut to next scene. Moving on.

Same goes for a stunning shot of a diver swimming next to a MONSTROUS jellyfish that's about the size of a minivan.

What's that thing? Why is it so big? What does it do? Is it the biggest jellyfish in the world? Does it eat planets?

Nope. Cut to next scene.

When Pierce does decide to comment on the freaky stuff we're looking at, he does so in cryptic haikus that end with him trailing off into a deep, druggy slumber.

Example: We're looking at the most fucked up fish ever, a thing with a bulbous, wrinkled forehead and a gnarled, protruding chin that makes you think that if this thing isn't called a Popeye fish, we need new scientists. Pierce educates us with the following riddle:

"One sign of the ocean's health is that it is home to such very old fish."
[shot of the fish's crazy face]
"To wear such a mask of wisdom, one must be around a very long tiiiiimmmeeee...snorrrrree..."

Other choice lines:

[shot of the arctic ocean]
"If dragons really existed, here is where you would find the narwhal.....[long pause, so long you think he's finished]..............THE UNICORN OF THE SEA!"

"The blue fin tuna can make some SERIOUS TIME."  (I think he means it's fast?)

"As far as the eye can see, north, south, east, west.....the ocean smiles at the sky...."

And the closing line, so deep it must have been dredged up from the Marianas trench:

"Perhaps the question we should ask is not 'what is the ocean'......but rather.....'who are we?"

All that being said, the movie does have some incredible underwater footage, showing some images I have literally never seen before, like a Blue Whale puffed up like a balloon while feeding on krill, and some absolutely alien creatures that were completely new to me, despite me being a pretty gigantic nerd. But it really would have been nice to actually LEARN SOMETHING about these creatures. All I took away from this film, educationally, was that the Great White Shark's fearsome jowls may actually just be a smiiiiilllleeeee...snorrre....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reviews of Hit Films

I have a blog so I figured I might as well become a film critic. Here are my reviews of some recent Hit Films.


I saw Iron Man 2 with some friends and later we went to a pizza place and got pizzas. I heard Robert Downey Jr. is a good actor. I liked the parts with Iron Man.


I saw this on DVD yesterday. I was eating salad with chop sticks so I had to be looking down at my plate a lot so I wouldn't drop salad all over, so I missed the beginning of the movie. Some people say Avatar is a rip off of Fern Gully, Dances With Wolves, and Pocahontas, but I haven't seen any of those movies so it was cool. I liked the part with the blue people.


This is a remake of a Disney movie from when I was a kid, except in that one all the people were animals for some reason. This one was more realistic and had a lot more battles and stuff, but the girl wasn't as hot as the fox girl in the Disney one. Some people think this movie is overlong, convoluted, and underwhelming, but I don't know what those words mean so it was cool. I liked the part where Robin Hood shot arrows.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Energy Conservation Tips

Hi, I'm Eco-Isaac, Isaac Marion's environmentally sustainable alter-ego, and I'm here to share with you some important tips for conserving energy.

What is energy conservation, and why is it important? Well, it's like this. Most of modern society runs off of fossil fuels, which produce large amounts of greenhouse gases, ozone gases, carbon gases, and other unsustainable gases that all combine to create pollution. Believe it or not, even natural gas is pollution. "Natural gas?" you say. "But that sounds so natural!"
Trust me. It's not.

"But what about my Sega Saturn?" you ask. "That doesn't run on fossil fuels, it runs on electricity." Well guess what. Electricity is just fossil fuel in the form of electricity. All the electricity we use--even the electricity generated by wind and solar generators--is generated by fossil fuels. The more electricity you use, the more fossil fuels get burned. And the more stuff you do, the more electricity you use.

"So what can I do to help?" you ask. Well, it's simple. Everything you do consumes energy. When you pet your dog, it consumes energy--about 35 calories. When you wave to your mom, it consumes energy--about 28 calories. Where does that energy come from, you ask? From food, of course! But where does food come from? From the grocery store. And guess what? That apple you're about to eat? The grocery store used lots and lots of fossil fuels to create that apple. So every time you eat food, you are burning fossil fuels and destroying the environment for your children.

"Should I stop eating food?" you ask. Of course not! You'd die! :) But there is one important thing you must remember in order to make energy sustainable---everything you do burns fossil fuels.

That's right, even waving to your mom! Because every time you move or think, it burns calories, and calories have to be replaced by food, and food is created by grocery stores using machines made from fossil fuels.

"Now I'm getting it!" you say. "This is where the 'cycle' in 'recycle' comes from! We're all connected in the cycle of life, so I need to reduce my energy usage!"

Now you're getting it! Here are just a few of the millions of tips I know for reducing how much you destroy the environment for your children every single day:

Not only is it fun, you'll save millions of pounds of energy every additional hour you sleep in. And if you lose your job in the process, you can triple that number based off not needing to drive a car and do unsustainable work for non-green businesses.

Did you know that jogging around the block one time consumes as much energy as leaving a lightbulb on for two years? Next time you feel the urge to go for a run, consider just thinking about running instead!

Believe it or not, even just thinking consumes energy! That's right, the human brain runs on electricity, which comes from food, which comes from fossil fuels, so slow down there, Einstein! Watching a Daddy Longlegs spider crawl up a blank white wall uses one third the energy of formulating biochemistry theories, and it's way easier! So next time you're thinking about writing a great novel or entering the medical sciences, think about its impact on the environment. Or don't! You'll save energy!

When you're stressed, your heart rate increases, and your body goes into an energy-inefficient "fight or flight" mode in which large quantities of unsustainable energy are wasted on unsustainable body functions like sweating, stuttering, and getting pimples. Relax! Avoid situations that might lead to stress. That cute girl that you keep bumping into in the Chilton's Auto Repair Reference Manual section at the library? Think about how much stress energy you'll burn if you decide to talk to her! Consider going home alone instead--but don't masturbate! That consumes almost as much energy as having sex!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Things My Dog Hates


1. Music
2. Babies
3. Kittens
4. Bunnies
5. Her fellow dogs
6. People that aren't me
7. When I leave the house
8. When I go upstairs
9. When I go to the bathroom
10. When I move
11. Hopes
12. Dreams
13. Being alive

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Newest Enemy in the Animal Kingdom

Friends, I have discovered  something horrifying that I must share with you all. Bees have found an unlikely ally in their war against humanity and happiness--the Hippo.

Hippopotamus amphibius, more commonly known as "Hippopotamus", "Deathbringer", or simply "Hippo", although generally considered one of the fattest and cutest animals ever, is also considered the most aggressive and ferocious creatures in the continent of Africa.
AFRICA--heard of it? It's where they have fucking LIONS.

Hippos kill 100 to 150 humans per year. To put this in perspective, BEARS kill only 5 to 10. This fatality rate puts the hippo at number 7 on the list of Top 10 Deadliest Animals in the World.
In the WORLD--heard of it? It's where they have fucking EVERYTHING.


Despite having the leg length and belly-to-ground clearance of a weiner dog, Hippos can inexplicably, magically, in defiance of all laws of physics, run 30 miles per hour.
Think about that next time you're thinking that buying a Vespa so you can commute to work without getting gored by hippos is a good idea, because it's not gonna help.

Hippos ooze a natural sunscreen from their pores, so they never get sunburned and stay looking youthful throughout their entire lives. It's kind of a win-lose though because they have to be covered in red slime all the time. Although they probably enjoy that because of how sick and fucked up hippos are.

When Hippos poop, they spin their tail around like a helicopter so as to spew their poop in all directions as far as possible. Scientists say they do this so as to spread their scent all over their territory, but WE know they do it just to be sick and fucked up.

In addition to being nature's shit sprinkler, Hippos are "retromingent", which means they pee backwards, even the males. I'm not sure if this means they have rear-facing hippodicks, but it wouldn't surprise me AT ALL.

Hippos are designed by God for murder. Their mouths can open up to four feet wide, and guess what's inside? Fucking TEETH! Teeth that make the saber toothed tiger look like a platypus. A hippo can kill you so many different ways, you will lose count halfway through the experience.

Hippos look fat and silly but they are not silly, only fat. Never make fun of a hippo's weight; he will only make himself heavier by eating you.

The Bible has a whole chapter (Job 40) about how awesome hippos are. God seems to think hippos are pretty fucking badass. And If GOD thinks you're badass, how badass does that make you? Science has no gauge for it. In fact, God somehow uses the fact that hippos are badass to justify all suffering and injustice in Creation. (Job 40:6-8) How badass is that??

JOB: Oh Lord, I am a righteous follower of thy law and have served thee faithfully all my life. Why hast thou slain all my livestock, smitten all my crops, afflicted me with painful boils and diseases, and murdered my entire family with flaming hailstones from heaven?

Check out this Hippo I made! Isn't it badass?

JOB: Damn, that thing IS badass! Nevermind about all that suffering and injustice stuff--sorry I asked!

(Paraphrased from the New King James)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today in Religion

It's so beautiful to see that regardless of age, race or nationality, people all over the world can come together under their religious beliefs and make lunatic statements about earthquakes: