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Let Me Sing You The Song Of My People

The Song of my People

Despite my affection for quotes, there are some that annoy the hell out of me. “Only boring people get bored.” Really? Is that so? Then I’m one hell of a boring guy.

Whenever I find myself bored and allow that quote to sneak into my head, I almost get angry. Partly at whoever first said it, partly at whoever keeps propagating it, but mainly at myself for allowing it to sneak into my head. And that’s when I invent games.

I know I’m not the only one to Gamify their lives. Heck, I distinctly remember putting a huge section of games I made up as a kid on the first rendition of Shyzer. SWAT, Milk Jug Volleyball, King of the Raft, and Skill Ball were the shit!

I found myself dangerously close to boredom the other day and it’s hard to play your sibling childhood games when you live alone. I had been writing all day and had word games on my mind. I don’t really know how, but I ended up picking a random number, shuffling my iTunes library, and plucking the 48th word from the first 30 songs to play.

All way the like I
Given moment that open monkey
Queens your matter car they’re
Pieces step oh Berlin ripe
Forever do the final washed
Her the lonely I’m summer

Hmmm. Not sure what I was expecting, but that wasn’t it. I figured what the hell and why not use only those words to write something that at least made sense.

Oh, I like the given moment
Do your way
They’re all that matter
Berlin, ripe, forever summer
Her final lonely step
I’m the washed open pieces
The queens monkey car

Hahaha, that final sentence was quite the leftover.

I probably did that for at least two hours before deciding to let the songs themselves do the work for me. I picked a low number, because actually counting 48 words into a song was fucking tedious, and pulled the 8th line from 30 shuffled songs.

The sun don’t seem to shine, on that ol’ County Road
And cut them in two
And it cried to see your face
I am cured, when I’m by your side
I haven’t got fucking anything

New born son
To love you, love you, love you
Make a decision
Put the butterfly in the bill jar
Who’s ever felt this way?

I’m gonna get on that riverboat
Face away and pretend I’m not
Tight against her hollows, her unholy child
Life in slow motion somehow it don’t feel real
In my best clothes

Of yesterdays hurting child
Somebody who I’m really not
Make me somewhere I can call a home
Tell them to stop
I wanna be a self-made man

Everyone keeps on talking
And I really want to see you tonight
I wish you woulda put yourself in my suitcase
Behind a cigarette
Flipping through a thrift store magazine

And we’ll leave the rest
As I whisper the joy of this pain
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
And I knew the odds were I’d never win

Well, that didn’t really make any more sense, but we’re at least getting somewhere. Problem is a good chunck of the songs it played were pretty shitty. At the very least, it’s not stuff I listen to anymore. So I decided to pluck the 6th line from anything I’ve played in the last 6 months.

You could say anything
I’m reaching you my hand
Dreaming of way back when
There will be a next time
And that’s you’re big mistake

I wanna feel the cold raising hair
I just came to say hello
You want to be European
So I shake off defeat and I start again
I got pretty music in my ear

Every time I look at you
I will be chasing a starlight
And you don’t know which you need the most
Burning off alone
But when all is said and done

You can take a picture of something you see
Calling out
But now we’ve found it
To judge but when they spoke, said “Not at all”
Can someone send a runner

Damn, that sounds close enough to an actual song for me. My work here is done.

So what games do you play?

I’ve Been Inked For Years

Originally drafted on April 16, 2011. This is part of a new series where I clean out my Drafts folder.

There’s an old proverb that says “the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” At least I think that’s how it goes. I should probably write it down.

I was constantly terrified of writer’s block when I started Shyzer. I soon discovered the real threat was thinking of a great idea while sitting on the bus and then completely blanking once I finally got my ass to a computer. I spent dozens of hours trying to recreate moments in the off chance that it would help me remember whatever it was I thought I was forgetting. “Okay, so I was sitting on the couch like this, watching Price is Right and eating half a box of Froot Loops. Wait, no, maybe it was half a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch…”

I finally went out and bought one of these little spiral notepads when I was living in Australia. The fact that I was keeping great company was a mere bonus on top of never forgetting anything. They were the perfect dimension for riding in your back pocket, but the spiral inevitably destroyed itself. I blamed it on the lax Indonesian construction standards, but it probably had something to do with all the falling down that mysteriously coincided with my discovery of beer.

After some searching, I was able to find Field Notes. And yeah, that’s clearly a stock image. There’s no way my handwriting is that fancy.

This was a vastly superior option. I liked the grid layout and the pad itself held together with an unusually strong spine. However, the reason I had to use a stock image above was because every freaking pad I bought ended up looking like this.

I don’t know why in the world the cover is so flimsy, but it is. It came off on every pad I owned within weeks. It didn’t really bother me at first, but eventually the ink on exposed pages began to fade and blur, so once again I was in the market for a new pad.

Enter Moleskine. I’d used their larger notepads for journals, sketch & joke ideas, etc. But it was only recently that I tried out their softcover pocket pad. Tough as nail spine, lined pages, bookmark string, back pocket for scrap paper, and elastic band to keep it closed. You can’t beat it.

Oh, and don’t bother with any other pen than Uni-ball’s Jetstream. They’re like writing with magical Unicorn blood.

This Post Earned the Goob Stamp of Approval

I made a hanko stamp!

Goob's Finishing Stamp

For the uninitiated, they’re actually really easy to make. I tried all three methods and can attest that printing block material is the best way to go. The eraser / cardboard style was tedious at best, but the eraser was actually a happy medium if you’ve got the patience and a simple enough design.

You should go make one. They’re fun.

Don’t Draw Something

Bad DrawSomething Image

So I kind of suck at drawing. I half expect the game to ban me.

I Still Haven’t Won A Lunch

I’ve been going through a bunch of older comedy from the 80s and 90s that I missed. I don’t know what the hell I did as a child. I had friends who adored Monty Pyton or SNL, others who traded burnt CDs of underground comedy like they were blocks of herion, and then there was me playing with Legos and on Super Nintendo. Oops.

Oh well. I tried my best to make up for it in college, where I finally discovered Mitch Hedberg. And that, my friends, is how you bluntly segue into the following quote I just found on his new website in honor of his memory.

Once, while being driven from the Atlanta airport to the hotel, our cab driver started talking shit. He was creeping towards a racist rant. We were still a ways away from the hotel when it dawned on us that he felt super okay with being a hateful weirdo.

Mitch leans forward, “Hey Man. Up here on the right is a deli that sells Boar’s Head Ham. Can you stop so we can grab something to eat?”


Mitch returned with THREE subs. No one spoke for the rest of the trip.

Lesson learned. It’s impossible to spew racist crap while eating a delicious sandwich.

Seriously, kids, don’t do drugs. Cause then I’ll start to like you, but you’ll die before I get a chance to meet you and, yes, it’s all about me in the longrun.

Don’t Worry, I Almost Don’t Care Either

I’m going to post 50 times over the next 50 days. Crap like this is the only thing that routinely gets me back in the habit of writing. So whatever I’m thinking about or doing over the next two-ish months, you’ll get a front row seat. I completely understand if you duck out after the first act to beat traffic.

And yes, this totally counts as today’s post.

Facebook Idiots

One of the reasons I wanted to get this site running was to collect some of my work in one place. The problem with writing is that I tend to lose track of 99% of it while in reality only 98% is truly forgettable. I’ve run or contributed to dozens of websites and trying to remember, let alone find copies of, it all can be daunting.

I figured I’d start with FacebookTalk.com. I started it in September … 2006? I have no idea. It was when Facebook rolled out the infamous “newsfeed” that everybody hated for a few days before forgetting all about. That’s when the media also took notice of Facebook and since so many people were angry, that’s all they talked about. I thought the furor and subsequent news coverage was not only stupid, but funny, so I slapped together a site and started writing.

It didn’t take long for me to get bored. Seriously, how long can you talk about Facebook before wanting to bash in your face? Exactly. Now try running an entire website dedicated to it.

I abandoned the site (partially to put more time into HIF) and figured that was that. A few months later I noticed I had a ton of email in my FBT inbox. It was all crap like “how do I change my password?” or “how can I read my girlfriend’s private messages?” Turns out that, by some crazy fluke, my site was the first Google result for “contact Facebook.”

What resulted was a series of back and forths where I made fun of people who couldn’t read that my site had no affiliation with Facebook. The jokes themselves aren’t all gold (though I still cackle at the race car bed exchange). However the series always held a special place in my heart because it was the first stuff I’d written that got attention by other blogs and that turned into a paying gig (National Lampoon bought the site).

And remember, FacebookTalk looked nothing like Facebook and had giant text saying not to contact me for Facebook tech support.

What’s In A Name?

Shadowy Pretend Figure: Hey Goob, what did you do yesterday?

Goob: Oh, not much, just spent a few hours working and then researching how to get a species of tapeworm named after me.

Shadowy Pretend Figure: Oh, cool, what freebies did you find … wait, what?

Goob: What freebies did I find? Um, I found a Yoplait yogurt coupon and-

Shadowy Pretend Figure: -No, no, the other part. You want to get a species of tapeworm named after you?

Goob: Oh, yeah! Apparently there are tens of thousands of tapeworm species still to be named! They’re already named 6,000 of them, so I figure all the leading parasite and tapeworm scientists already have a few species named after them. How cool would it be to have one of the remained species named after me?

Shadowy Pretend Figure: Aaaaand, that’s my cue to leave.

Thirty Days Hath September

Growing up, the only day I looked forward to more than Christmas was my birthday. All the attention, presents, and densely packed sugar was hard not to love. I always thought my February birthday was perfect – there were no nearby major holidays and it was placed almost like a stepping stone between Christmas and Spring Break. From there you were weeks away from summer, then the family vacation, and suddenly it’s Halloween and the process is starting all over again.

My eldest brother did his best to pull a Jesus, but hung around in the womb just a few hours too long. I always felt he got gypped on the whole birthday experience. After weeks, if not months, of festivities leading up to Christmas, nobody was ever in their most chipper of moods come December 26. Plus the Present Department was always lacking for him. I can’t tell you how many times he got a Christmas/Birthday gift! How such an activity isn’t next to mutiny and treason in the law books has always baffled me.

However, 2009 brought with it a special event. His 21st birthday.

To say that there were many “flask opportunities” would be an understatement. I still question whether the photos from that evening weren’t doctored. I don’t have any recollection of the man resembling myself in them and I sure as hell don’t make it a habit of wearing as little as he was in the photos timestamped after 3am.

The first thing I noticed when I sobered up days later was a path of destruction rivaling anything Mother Nature could conjure. Cell phones smashed, clothes shredded, and a stack of receipts totaling Burundi’s GDP. I quickly surmised that a self-imposed punishment was in order.

From December 28 to February 6 I drank not a single drop of alcohol. I’ve never been a heavy drinker but at the same time I’ve always had a beer here, a whiskey there. Answering user e-mails from HIF is always easier with a scotch in one hand and who can attend an elementary school play without at least a few swigs from the flask?

At first, the experience was harder than I’d ever imagined. For the first two weeks, Happy Hour would roll around and I’d instinctively reach for a brew. There weren’t any physical pains, it wasn’t as if I went through withdrawal. But the simple act of consciously and repeatedly checking myself tested a part of my willpower that hasn’t had to work in a long time.

By the end of January, the urge to drink had evaporated entirely. I finally cracked a beer on my birthday as never drinking again hadn’t been the goal at all. However, I now drink barely half as much as previously and the experience left me curious as to what else I could give up for a month.

The list has grown to both things to give up and activities to do. So far I have:

Give Up

  • meat
  • talking
  • vehicles


  • saying yes to everything
  • try a new thing a day
  • talk a one stranger per day
  • get in touch with one person per day
  • meditate

I know, not that inspiring so far. Of course, I’m open to suggestions *hint hint*. Mind you, I plan to blog the hell out of these activities, so help me come up with some events that are somewhat worthwhile, challenging, and interesting. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to partake in a bit of imbibing.

It’s Easier Getting Your Pilot’s License

If you think about your favorite TV show, chances are its pilot sucked. I’d even wager that its first season paled in comparison to many of its latter. Seinfeld was famously almost canceled during its first season. The West Wing, winner of a bazillion awards, bumbled along throughout its rookie campaign. For every show you can think of that started out strong, I can name a dozen that fell flat on their face from Day 1.

When you think about it, it’s really not that hard to see why. There are so many parts in play, all of which are coming together for the first time, that the chance they fall in sync is nil at best. Show creators have to communicate the precise vision in their head (a surprisingly hard task). A group of random writers must flesh out not just characters, but at the minimum a seasonal story arc, all while finding the right tone and voice of the show. Actors struggle to get into the minds of their characters. Executives, always watching the bottom line, tinker and “suggest” plots and themes. All in all, it’s an effing mess.

Which is all the more reason why the first season of Lost is even better in retrospect. I watched the two hour premier last night and was blown away by not just how fast it jumps right into the mystery, but how quickly I began giving a shit about many of the characters. Why’s that old dude so creepy? What did the hot chick do to get arrested? And what the hell is up with that polar bear?

Sure, every season hasn’t been stellar. I remember throwing my hands up right around the time Jack was playing Peeping Tom on the security cameras and Eko was meeting the Smoke Monster. But for better or worse, they always managed to pull me back in. The one continuous trait that every season seemed to have was the amazing finales. What’s in the hatch? Will Desmond and Penny reunite? We have to go back!

When the writer’s strike happened a few years ago, a site called Why We Write cropped up where quasi-famous people published stories on what made them tick creatively. I wasn’t too impressed with most of the entries, but just as I was about to click elsewhere, I saw Damon Lindelof’s post. I’ve probably read it a million times since. For some reason, it finally struck home the notion that every book, every show, even every song I’ve ever loved were all created by some other person. The characters or plots or lyrics are theirs, not mine. If you truly respect their work, you’ll hand over your trust for a few hours, kick up your feet, and just go along for the ride.

I have no idea how the show will end tonight. I honestly don’t care. I like to think the old saying “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” applies to every aspect of my life and hot damn was this journey a hell of a ride. For that alone, I think Lindelof and Cuse have earned the right to end the show however they damn well please.

I guess that’s why I chose to write about a freaking TV show as my first post in over a year. While watching the pilot last night, I realized how similar it was to this site. I kind of know what I want it to be in my head, I’ve got to remember this isn’t an old character I played in the past, and there’s a hot chick in a bikini. No, wait, that’s part of another vision in my head.

I’m not going to hit a home run with every post. I’ll probably even piss you off from time to time. But I hope you stick with me and give me a chance to win you over, even if just for this first season. And if not, well, there’s always CSI Toledo. Or Dooce. I’ve kinda lost track of this metaphor.

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