Your Holiday Guide to New York

I have tons of thoughts on marketing and writing and creating paintings with fans and stuff…but I had to get to dinner downtown last night and my cab ride took sixteen days because of traffic. And that doesn’t even make any sense.

Apparently it is time once again for my holiday guide to New York

Take heed, all you visitors to my fair city.

1.  STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE TREE:

Seriously.  Please. It’s a tree.  Yes it’s actually quite pretty and yes it’s very large but you don’t understand what you’re doing when you go visit the stupid thing. The foot traffic around Rockefeller Center creates a chain reaction that snarls traffic up in all directions. I don’t want a bus ride across the park to take two hours just because you want to see some lights.

Look.  Here is the location of the tree:

tree-location

Now here is my estimation of the area that becomes affected by congestion due to tree traffic:

tree-traffic

Please don’t go near the tree. I’m sick of telling my cab drivers to take the long way through Nicaragua to avoid traffic when I’m trying to get across town.

2. STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM CHINATOWN:

Chinatown isn’t known for it’s fast moving foot traffic under the best of circumstances but during this time of year it becomes another thing entirely. Somehow all of humanity stopping and pointing at the little shops that sell weird toys and disgusting fruits manages to bend time or something so that I seriously think the foot traffic actually starts to move backwards. And if you’re in a car just forget about it.

You think I’m kidding?

Here is a shot of Chinatown in June:

Chinatown Dialogue

Just try to imagine it when it’s crowded with holiday traffic. Occasionally I like to go there and get dumplings with family this time of year. Off limits.

3. STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM ANYWHERE I MIGHT WANT TO GO DRINKING:

There is a bar in Murray Hill called Rolf’s. This is what Rolf’s looks like (this was taken with my phone so sorry for the quality):

rolfs

You’re waiting for a punchline, aren’t you?

There isn’t one. Rolf’s is its own punchline. Around the holidays the owners go completely out of their minds and put up more decorations than, to be honest, the actual tree probably has. Rolf’s is known far and wide as the bar where Christmas goes to projectile vomit then die.

You may go to Rolf’s. The heat from the lights and the general creepiness of the dolls they hang up make it hard to last more than two beers there during the holidays.

Oh. Here are some of the dolls:

rolfs-dolls

One year some of the dolls had mustaches.

Maybe lasting two beers would be stretching it.

Feel free to crowd into this place as, even if I do go there, I won’t be staying long.

Otherwise the rest of the bars are off limits.

4. NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT, JUST STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM NEW YORK ENTIRELY:

Honestly. It’s closed or something. And they built a wall around the tree this year. Here look:

tree-wall

It’s bedlam.

Stay away.

If you want to you can gaze at this picture of the tree. That should satisfy:

the-tree

It really is pretty, isn’t it? And when you catch a glimpse of it as you turn the corner and look down that long alley of evergreens and statues and then walk in close to where the skating rink is and smell the chestnut vendors…

God damn it.

Okay. You can come to see the tree.

Just, you know, try and keep it down while you’re here.

10 Things Overheard on the Set of Luck

A few weeks ago HBO announced the cancellation of the show Luck before the first season had even finished airing. The show, an interwoven story line of multiple characters centering on a horse track in California, had a slow start but picked up drastically towards the end and could have really been a show to watch.

The reason it was cancelled was utterly baffling to me; it seemed too many horses were dying on set. Considering the show’s central theme was how all of the characters were made more human by their contact with horses, and that their love of these creatures were often their roads to salvation, I had to wonder what on earth was going on at that set.

Some light was shed on this question when I came across a tape from a hidden microphone capturing some pretty surprising things that were overheard on the set of Luck:

  1. “Now, in this moment Mister Hoffman’s character’s gruff exterior is stripped away while we close the scene out with him nuzzling the horse’s neck and the horse responds with gentle reciprocation. So somebody chain that fucking horse down so it can’t move.”
  2.  “Hey, they really do taste like chicken!”
  3. “Okay, as they round the final turn I want to see that, you know, ‘Oomph,’ of speed and pure animal power.”
    “Got it. At the final turn, release the tigers.”
  4. “Will you stop reenacting Ben-Hur and get the horses to set!”
  5. “Mister Nolte’s character had everything taken away from him when his horse was killed all those years ago for insurance money, his connection with that horse is integral to all of his scenes with that horse’s offspring, who he is currently training in an attempt at redeeming himself. That pain must be present, so before every one of his scenes I want a horse shot to death in front of Mister Nolte.”
  6. “Will you stop reenacting The Godfather and get the horses to set! No…no not the one without the head. Just throw him on the pile with the others.”
  7. “Here we have a synergy produced between Rosie and her horse as they cross the finish line, they must appear as one. Pretty sure our best bet is to lop off the horses legs, slap it on a table, and green-screen the racetrack background in later.”
  8. “I’m sorry, Mister Nolte, but your contract clearly limits you to three pints of horse blood per day.
  9. “Will you stop reenacting Braveheart and get the horses to oh fuck it.”
  10. “They eat what?!”

 

 

10 Quick Facts About Korea

Korea

In light of the breaking news this week that North Korea’s weirdly androgynous leader has passed away, I thought I would do everyone a public service and put together ten key facts about Korea so you can seem smart without having to wade through all those newspaper articles.

 

  1. Korea is believed to have been written between the years 610 and 632.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, Muhammad is not believed to have written Korea, instead it is believed that he dictated Korea to his companions, who then transcribed it.
  3. Scholars of Korea believe that it contains prophesies that can exist in no other book written by humans.
  4. Korea…what? What do you mean I researched the wrong word?
  5. Look, just shut up, I’m doing my thing here.
  6. Korea is divided into 114 chapters, known as suras, which…wait that doesn’t sound right.
  7. What the fuck is a Koran?
  8. Where is Korea again? It’s up by Russia, right?
  9. I don’t know…they probably eat fish or something.
  10. Stop looking at me! What am I, the tour guide?! For the love of god I try and do something nice for you people and this is the thanks I get…just forget it!

Your Holiday Guide to New York

It’s that time of year again, when going below 55th street means participating in a mosh pit and traffic stands still for about four weeks. Ah, yes, the holidays in New York.

I have a handy guide to help me keep my sanity through these times..there might be some secondary benefit for you as well but that isn’t really the point:

I have lived on the island of Manhattan for ten years now and every year there is a massive influx of tourists and visitors and merry-makers during the holidays.  People come for many reasons and to enjoy a wide variety of activities and so I’ve decided to put together some of my thoughts in order to help out all these weary pilgrims who make the journey to my fair city.

1.  STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE TREE:

Seriously.  Please. It’s a tree.  Yes it’s actually quite pretty and yes it’s very large but you don’t understand what you’re doing when you go visit the stupid thing. The foot traffic around Rockefeller Center creates a chain reaction that snarls traffic up in all directions. I don’t want a bus ride across the park to take two hours just because you want to see some lights.

Look.  Here is the location of the tree:

tree-location

Now here is my estimation of the area that becomes affected by congestion due to tree traffic:

tree-traffic

Please don’t go near the tree. I’m sick of telling my cab drivers to take the long way through Nicaragua to avoid traffic when I’m trying to get across town.

2. STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM CHINATOWN:

Chinatown isn’t known for it’s fast moving foot traffic under the best of circumstances but during this time of year it becomes another thing entirely. Somehow all of humanity stopping and pointing at the little shops that sell weird toys and disgusting fruits manages to bend time or something so that I seriously think the foot traffic actually starts to move backwards. And if you’re in a car just forget about it.

You think I’m kidding?

Here is a shot of Chinatown in June:

Chinatown Dialogue

Just try to imagine it when it’s crowded with holiday traffic. Occasionally I like to go there and get dumplings with family this time of year. Off limits.

3. STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM ANYWHERE I MIGHT WANT TO GO DRINKING:

There is a bar in Murray Hill called Rolf’s. This is what Rolf’s looks like (this was taken with my phone so sorry for the quality):

rolfs

You’re waiting for a punchline, aren’t you?

There isn’t one. Rolf’s is its own punchline. Around the holidays the owners go completely out of their minds and put up more decorations than, to be honest, the actual tree probably has. Rolf’s is known far and wide as the bar where Christmas goes to projectile vomit then die.

You may go to Rolf’s. The heat from the lights and the general creepiness of the dolls they hang up make it hard to last more than two beers there during the holidays.

Oh. Here are some of the dolls:

rolfs-dolls

One year some of the dolls had mustaches.

Maybe lasting two beers would be stretching it.

Feel free to crowd into this place as, even if I do go there, I won’t be staying long.

Otherwise the rest of the bars are off limits.

4. NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT, JUST STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM NEW YORK ENTIRELY:

Honestly. It’s closed or something. And they built a wall around the tree this year. Here look:

tree-wall

It’s bedlam.

Stay away.

If you want to you can gaze at this picture of the tree. That should satisfy:

the-tree

It really is pretty, isn’t it? And when you catch a glimpse of it as you turn the corner and look down that long alley of evergreens and statues and then walk in close to where the skating rink is and smell the chestnut vendors…

God damn it.

Okay. You can come to see the tree.

Just, you know, try and keep it down while you’re here.

Clock Day

Sunset

This weekend forty-eight fiftieths of the United States, or something, will change their clocks and set them back an hour. This creates confusion, tons of messed up schedules, and programming madness.

But it’s all worthwhile so our farmers can get more sleep. Or our lights can be on less. Or our daylight savings bonds can mature faster.

Why do we do this? What is the secret behind this mystery?

Yes, it’s time for me to roll out my extensive explanation of Daylight Savings Time, it’s history, it’s reasoning, and it’s seamless integration into our lives.

Click here for my old, yet always pertinent, explanation of Daylight Savings Time.

Probability Angels – Now with More Pumpkins!!!

PumpkinsOn the one block walk to get my coffee this morning I was assaulted by no less than three different adds all telling me that someone was selling their normal products, only now they was crammed ass-full of pumpkin. You’ve got pumpkin coffees at Starbucks, pumpkin muffins at the corner muffin place, pumpkin doughnuts at Dunkin.

Everyone’s suddenly fucking nuts for pumpkins.

I mean, I understand why, the whole winter gourd phenomenon isn’t a new thing, but the sheer number of pumpkins being crammed into my eyeballs during a one block walk got me thinking.

Maybe I should try and cash in on this…

So I’m releasing a special edition copy of Probability Angels, only it’s got pumpkins all over the motherfucking place.

Probapumpkin Pumpkins

And we’re not stopping with mere cosmetic changes to the cover. Hell no.

You all remember that early scene where Matthew goes to meet Epp in the park? Epp has the tape set up and Matthew steps into it and watches as sound drops away and a lone firefly freezes in time?

Guess what. Now it’s got fucking pumpkins everywhere:

The first difference was as immediate as it was obvious. All noise ceased. Also pumpkins were all over the place. Pumpkins…luscious, sexy, orange pumpkins everywhere. It was like a god-damned pumpkin D-day. As Matthew straightened himself up there was no more wind in the trees, no more muffled sounds of traffic from Central Park West. You know what there were, though? There were some pumpkins all over the fucking place. He continued walking down the path that had pumpkins on it, the second change slowly sinking in as he realized he was no longer walking through a post-midnight darkness. And also he realized how many pumpkins there were. The air was now mellower, lighter, like it was only a little past dusk. You know what color the sky is around dusk? It’s orange. Like a certain winter gourd that right now you wish you could bake down, puree, fill a hot tub with, and sink into like some crazy-ass spa treatment. Then he stopped short and walked a slow circle around a single point of light, smiling as he recognized a firefly, its bottom flashing electric green, frozen in time, hovering in the air. Probably there were some pumpkins here, too. I don’t know. Fuck it, the firefly’s name was Pumpkin. How’s that? He reached a finger up and slowly pointed it towards the glowing beetle, was about to tap it to see what would happen when a voice spoke up behind him.

“Pumpkins.”

Matthew jumped and turned, then smiled and shook his head. “Jesus, Epp, you scared the hell out of me. And why are you slathered in that gross orange mucous crap that’s inside of pumpkins while wearing a pumpkin-orange suit and eating a slice of pumpkin pie and standing on a pumpkin and reading the scene from Cinderella where her stagecoach turns back into a pumpkin?”

Thrilling, isn’ t it?

This version should be hitting stores soon…

Soul Glow and Probability Angels

Every so often I go searching through the internet for myself, checking to see if any interesting reviews have popped up or if a forum somewhere might have been discussing me. It’s a little scary sometimes how little of the internet one actually sees.

During these searches, in which I wander far far far far into the google results of various queries, I find that, like, 80% of the internet makes no sense.

It’s just pages of babble or crazy-ass products crammed together or complete mirrors of Amazon, only crappily laid out and with zero hope of generating any traffic.

I usually can get some small grip on how some of these sites came into existence.

Then I came across this and my brain stopped:

Black Hair Weave – Your Discount Weave Store

I give up. I don’t understand the internet.

Your Guide to Building a Family Website

Happy FamilyRecently my cousin contacted me via text looking for some help setting up a family website where he could share pictures and news with all of his relatives. Since I have website experience he came to me for help. I thought my informative replies could aid anyone out there looking to do the same.

 

My Cousin: I want to setup myfamily.com but don’t know how to. The one thing that I can’t do and want to do is a landing page myfamily.com where my family signs in and then they can see pictures and other shit. How do I buy my own website?

JD: You don’t need that. Go to posterous.com

My Cousin: I want myfamily.com. Posterous doesnt do that.

JD: Posterous does exactly what you asked for. You don’t have to use a posterous site. You could purchase the domain you want and run posterous through there, most likely via wordpress.

My Cousin: Hmmmm. So “myfamily.com” and then a link inside it that takes us to Posterous.com? That sucks. I’m reinventing the wheel here. I don’t want to have my family website on any other website just my own.

JD: Go nuts. Let me know when you start using Posterous.

My Cousin: When I send you a message that says visit myfamily.com but with no username or password you’ll know it’s done.

JD: That makes absolutely no sense.

My Cousin: It won’t be Posterous.com/myfamily.

JD:

JD: Posterous does exactly what you asked for. You don’t have to use a posterous site. You could purchase the domain you want and run posterous through there, most likely via wordpress.

My Cousin: No that’s not right. I want my own website.

JD: (headdesk) Posterous does exactly what you asked for. You don’t have to use a posterous site. You could purchase the domain you want and run posterous through there, most likely via wordpress.

My Cousin: No you don’t get what I’m trying to do here.

(five minute pause)

JD: (knowing he’ll regret reentering the conversation) Did you want to be the only one posting pictures or do you want to have the whole family able to contribute?

My Cousin: If I can why can’t they? I’m not sure yet, though. For now just me.

JD: It’s a matter of the simplest interface. Is your mom going to want to open up a new wordpress post and upload pictures and arrange them? Is your sister? Is your brother? Are you? With your own domain running WP you can set up Posterous, which has a simple interface, to be the method of writing posts. Plus, with Posterous running, people have the option of interacting with the site however they choose. They can receive and send things entirely through email, they can visit the site proper and post via posterous, or they can login to the wordpress dashboard and create posts there.

My Cousin: Does your family use it?

JD: I set it up for my family. My sisters used it for awhile. My sister-in-law tried to upload a video and quit. My mom insists she isn’t getting any of the emails but complains constantly that posterous is sending her spam. My dad swears he’s never heard of the site every one of the four hundred times I’ve explained it to him.

My Cousin: What’s your address?

JD: It’s password protected.

My Cousin: You can do that?…

(ten minute pause)

My Cousin: Hey I found this site called Posterous. I’m going to use it for myfamily.com.

JD: I swear to god I’m fucking adopted.

My Cousin: I can’t get it to accept my website.

JD: I’m done here.

My Cousin: No you’re not.

JD: What the fuck are you even talking about?! I don’t know what that means? What is “it?!” What is “my website?” The whole reason I sent you to Posterous is because of the numerous options it has. I have zero idea what screen you’re looking at right now nor what you are attempting. And you know what? That’s the whole point. Look at this conversation. See how you plowed through every answer I gave without bothering to understand what I was saying, or checking whether you even grasped the basic definitions of the terms I was using? Can you imagine that from my end? How annoying it was? Because that’s what you’re setting yourself up for. Twenty-six hundred conversations with your family where they ignore whatever you’re saying. You know why? Because nobody understand the fucking Internet. But everyone thinks they understand it. And they think that it operates based on whatever magical web of insanity and toad-sweat induced fantasy they’ve invented to explain it. You’ll have people telling you that their Google isn’t accepting their password. Or that their AOL can’t view picture files. Or that they logged into the site but it isn’t scanning their email. What the fuck does that even mean?!? I don’t know! And neither will you because it HAS no meaning. Give up! Give up while there’s still time!!

(five minute pause)

My Cousin: Can google help me finish this website? That’s what you’re saying?

Places I Want to Live

My sister and her family are currently on a road trip, which means that she’s constantly texting me for entertainment, which means I wind up on crazy-ass trips through the internet looking for fun links.

The best so far has been this list of Unusual City Names.

Some of my favorites:

I giggled the first time I read it. I giggled when I pasted the code in. I’m still giggling now.

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Humptulips,+WA&hl=en&sll=34.56083,-88.46611&sspn=0.028203,0.036736&vpsrc=0&z=12 width=350 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

Yes. I’m a third grade boy who can’t stop laughing at dick jokes. Somehow I also write works of serious literary intent…that sometimes have dick jokes in them.

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps?q=New+Erection,+Harrisonburg,+Virginia&hl=en&sll=47.232865,-123.959341&sspn=0.186032,0.293884&vpsrc=0&z=15 width=350 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

I can’t tell if this would be the most awesome place in the world to live or the worst. Depends, I guess, on what hobo type we’re talking about. Are these romanticized type hobos: living life on the rails, cutting a cord of wood to earn a piece of delicious freshly baked blackberry pie, following the sacred code of the hobos? Or do we have a hobo steeped in a more realistic tradition: reeking of feces, fighting over garbage, syphilis?

Only one way to find out…

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Hobo+Station,+Marietta,+Mississippi&hl=en&sll=35.36139,-80.54306&sspn=0.027929,0.036736&vpsrc=0&z=15 width=350 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

Yeah, here’s another dick joke.

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps?q=dickshooter,+idaho&hl=en&sll=38.47361,-78.92778&sspn=0.026811,0.036736&vpsrc=0&z=10 width=350 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

This one’s just stupid. I’m sure they were aiming for “Cute” or “Catchy” or something, but they wound up with “Idiot Tourist Trying to Get Directions to Nearest Restaurant.”

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps?q=yum+yum,+tn&hl=en&sll=35.601567,-87.278444&sspn=6.78682,10.316162&vpsrc=0&hnear=Yum+Yum,+Fayette,+Tennessee&t=m&z=15&iwloc=A width=350 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

We’ll end here because I actually just mailed off some copies of Probability Angels and Persistent Illusions to this very town. So apparently I have a reader here.

Synergy.

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps?q=boring,+oregon&hl=en&sll=35.34655,-89.363548&sspn=0.027934,0.036736&vpsrc=0&z=13 width=350 height=425 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

 

Your Guide For the Holidays in New York

I just spent like sixteen hours trying to walk two blocks in mid-town. Clearly everyone is in need of a refresher course from me on how to behave while you are visiting my little town over the holidays, all seventy kajillion of you. So for the sake of my sanity I’m going to repost my holiday guide from last year…there might be some secondary benefit for you as well but that isn’t really the point:

I have lived on the island of Manhattan for ten years now and every year there is a massive influx of tourists and visitors and merry-makers during the holidays.  People come for many reasons and to enjoy a wide variety of activities and so I’ve decided to put together some of my thoughts in order to help out all these weary pilgrims who make the journey to my fair city.

1.  STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE TREE:

Seriously.  Please. It’s a tree.  Yes it’s actually quite pretty and yes it’s very large but you don’t understand what you’re doing when you go visit the stupid thing. The foot traffic around Rockefeller Center creates a chain reaction that snarls traffic up in all directions. I don’t want a bus ride across the park to take two hours just because you want to see some lights.

Look.  Here is the location of the tree:

tree-location

Now here is my estimation of the area that becomes affected by congestion due to tree traffic:

tree-traffic

Please don’t go near the tree. I’m sick of telling my cab drivers to take the long way through Nicaragua to avoid traffic when I’m trying to get across town.

 

2. STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM CHINATOWN:

Chinatown isn’t known for it’s fast moving foot traffic under the best of circumstances but during this time of year it becomes another thing entirely. Somehow all of humanity stopping and pointing at the little shops that sell weird toys and disgusting fruits manages to bend time or something so that I seriously think the foot traffic actually starts to move backwards. And if you’re in a car just forget about it.

You think I’m kidding?

Here is a shot of Chinatown in June:

Chinatown Dialogue

Just try to imagine it when it’s crowded with holiday traffic. Occasionally I like to go there and get dumplings with family this time of year. Off limits.

 

3. STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM ANYWHERE I MIGHT WANT TO GO DRINKING:

There is a bar in Murray Hill called Rolf’s. This is what Rolf’s looks like (this was taken with my phone so sorry for the quality):

rolfs

You’re waiting for a punchline, aren’t you?

There isn’t one. Rolf’s is its own punchline. Around the holidays the owners go completely out of their minds and put up more decorations than, to be honest, the actual tree probably has. Rolf’s is known far and wide as the bar where Christmas goes to projectile vomit then die.

You may go to Rolf’s. The heat from the lights and the general creepiness of the dolls they hang up make it hard to last more than two beers there during the holidays.

Oh. Here are some of the dolls:

rolfs-dolls

One year some of the dolls had mustaches.

Maybe lasting two beers would be stretching it.

Feel free to crowd into this place as, even if I do go there, I won’t be staying long.

Otherwise the rest of the bars are off limits.

 

 

4. NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT, JUST STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM NEW YORK ENTIRELY:

Honestly. It’s closed or something. And they built a wall around the tree this year. Here look:

tree-wall

It’s bedlam.

Stay away.

If you want to you can gaze at this picture of the tree. That should satisfy:

the-tree

It really is pretty, isn’t it? And when you catch a glimpse of it as you turn the corner and look down that long alley of evergreens and statues and then walk in close to where the skating rink is and smell the chestnut vendors…

God damn it.

Okay. You can come to see the tree.

Just, you know, try and keep it down while you’re here.