Strove to find a way to punch people in the face by using the Internet.


No electricity since Sunday. Hopefully we'll resume our regularly scheduled self-flagellation and hijinx sometime next week.


I'm going to attempt to revive the long-neglected
Bad News Reviews site by posting reviews of really egregious music and film criticism. God knows those insufferable fancy lads at Pitchfork alone generate enough bad writing to keep this project fueled, but if any of my friends out there in Internet land want to point me to examples of really shitty reviews, I'd appreciate it. The higher-profile and more pretentious, the better. Drop me a line at this link, and check out Bad News Reviews if you feel so inclined.



This is Dave. He plays bass for a punk-rock band called
Grabass Charlestons. Today is Dave's birthday, and we're having a party.

Dave likes pinball a lot, so sometimes people call him "Replay." Dave also used to live under a staircase. No word if he ever used that opportunity to hassle the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Jesus... He looks like a cross between Long John Silver and a fruit salad.

Sam: "Dude, your flash didn't go off."
Me: "Sam, I don't know if you noticed, but it's so fucking hot and bright out today that we might as well be on the surface of the damn sun."
Sam: "...Dude. I'm... Really high."

Photo tip of the day: accidentally smearing artichoke dip on your camera results in some very cool effects, evocative of Penthouse magazine circa 1974. Only without all the vaginas.

Aaron takes a ride on the emotional rollercoaster.


You see? You see what happens when you kids get into one of your sangria chugging contests? Unbelievable.

The doctors say that if Meghan responds well to the new medication they're going to let her start riding the long bus to school.

Hmmm, you don't say... I'd rather be smashing up hippies with an axe handle myself.

I don't think you're supposed to put gin in sangria, but whatever. I reckon when you're wasted at 3:00 in the afternoon the rules are gonna get bent a little.

Nice try dude, but I told you she already has a boyfriend.


Heather was very moved by the movie Napoleon Dynamite, and chooses to express these feelings through interpretive dance.

Keith, an oasis of sanity in an otherwise mad, mad world.

Oh dear.

By the way, that thing Thea is sticking in Dave's ear is one of those wretched tofu dogs. Seriously, how can anyone eat those fucking things? Even with a palate damaged by veganism or other such hippie-ness. Tofu dogs exhibit more traits associated with crayons than any kind of actual food. Brrr.


Alright, another pinata! Once again, I ask you: punk rockers + booze + stick + blindfold... What could possibly go wrong?

Well, Dave could get totally mixed up and smash the shit out of a harmless fence, for one.

Harmless fence, Dave. Harmless.

For shame.

The blindfold midget death battle commences. My money's on the broad.


Best Socks award goes to Buddy.

Best Spuds MacKenzie Tattoo award goes to Uri.

...Wait a minute. What the fuck?

Ann mixin' up some foul potion for Dave to drink, because it's apparently some kind of tradition to force the birthday boy to drink something totally, totally gross.

I reckon he's had worse stuff in his mouth. Shit, did you see Heather smoke that cigarette with her dirty foot? This is nothing.


Cockfighting, midget death-battle fighting, gross birthday potions, boozing it up all day in the backyard... Southern Tradition indeed.


A Conversation with My Friend and Colleague Lee
This just took place, about a half an hour ago.

Me: "...Well, Mad Magazine served a very important function in my life, and I'll tell you why. As you know I obviously grew up kind of deprived and..."

Lee: "And your family didn't even have forks?"

"Actually... Heh heh, I had kind of forgotten about this, but we didn't have forks, for a few years. My mom decided she didn't want to 'have the taste of metal in her mouth,' and I think was trying to make some point about western cultural dominance in the, er, west, so for a while we ate with chopsticks."

"You didn't have forks?"


"You really had to eat with chopsticks?"

"For a few years, yeah. Oh man... I had totally repressed that. It all comes flooding back..."

"Well, you're starting to make a lot more sense... Okay, maybe you're not making sense, but I'm beginning to understand why you're the way you are."

"God, the fork thing... I just wanted to... be... a normal kid... Arrrgh."

"Did you sit around eating cereal with — heh heh heh — chopsticks?"

"No... We had... spoons... Harrrgh, the memories burn! They burn!"

"So if she didn't want metal, why were spoons OK? Was it a thing with... the... tines?"

"Look, you're trying to find logic in this, and there was none. But as far as I can remember, it was more of a political issue."

"Didn't you care? You just went along with it?"

"By the time the Great Fork Blackout of 1976 happened, my resistance had been totally worn away. I mean, it's not like that was the weirdest thing I ever had to deal with..."

"I still don't get it. Was it a safety issue? Did you have knives?"

"Sure, we had knives. In fact, we had big kitchen knives. Right around this time is when I started playing this game with my sister where I'd turn off all the lights in the house, grab a big-ass butcher knife and a flashlight, and hide... When I'd hear her get close, I'd pop up, grinning, and flick the flashlight on, and she'd scream and..."

"And you plan to use the fork thing as some sort of defense of this?"

"No, no... Look, this is all beside the point. What I was originally trying to say is that because we were poor, I couldn't go to movies, so I'd get Mad Magazine and..."

"And sit there reading it, eating popcorn with chopsticks."

"Heh heh, no, no... I ate popcorn with my hands. Of course, it was covered in yeast..."


"Yeah, we ate yeast on our popcorn… This dusty, yellow yeast… Oh god, it's all coming back to me now. Nutritional yeast... and seaweed."



"Ummm... Did other kids ever come over to your house or anything?"

"No. Not more than once, anyway. Don't forget, we also had those special tree branches and leaves all over the floor to get rid of fleas."


"ANYWAY, since all I ever wanted was to be like other kids; kids who were being raised by members of their own species, so when they would talk about movies, I'd pretend that I saw the movies too, only I hadn't. I just got really good at guessing what happened in movies by using the Mad Magazine movie spoofs as a rough guide."

"You know, I'm pretty screwed up in some areas myself, but you..."

"Yeah yeah yeah. I'm gonna go in my office and lie down now."



Looking at the big picture, Gainesville didn't get hit too bad — the winds were down to tropical-storm force, more or less, by the time the storm got here. But even the comparatively light pummeling did a number on us. We've got a thick tree canopy in this town, and the hurricane was so damn big and slow moving... We just got hammered for more than 24 hours. Falling branches and trees fucked up the local infrastructure but good, and shit seriously looked like Dawn of the Dead for a few days. Still, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as a lot of folks south of us got it, and I'm damn grateful the hardworking people at our local utilities company got my power cut back on as fast as they did. Anyway, these are just a few snaps from around my neighborhood. A lot of them came out strangely placid, considering the fucking scary-ass conditions I took 'em in... And there were plenty of scenes featuring more spectacular devastation around town, but I decided to leave that shit to the newspaper types and just document what it looked like on my block.

This was taken just as the winds were really starting to pick up... My power went out, and being a total dumbass I figured I'd amuse myself by running around out in the street, where all the falling trees and downed power lines were. It was pretty fucked up — trees and stuff were smashing down all around me, and the wind was pushing me around pretty hard, not to mention loud as shit. After a couple of close calls I figured I'd get away from the thickest part of the tree canopy, and ducked down this street... I was right next to this lone tree when that big-ass branch at the bottom fell down and scared the living hell out of me... I booked down to the end of the street, turned and snapped the pic, and then ran home. I know you'll be disappointed to hear that I didn't soil myself... Probably that was because I didn't have electricity, and all I had eaten all day was a can of garbonzo beans. Otherwise it would've been poo city for sure.

This was strange. After almost getting killed a few times during the afternoon, I retreated to the relative safety of my apartment, but by nightfall was bored enough to venture back out in the storm. I was a block away from some really big fallen trees what looked like a truck and a few guys working to clear the road. Assuming it was the city, I started walking down there to get some photos and see if I could help. A cop car pulled in to the other end of the street, and all of a sudden the truck starts hauling serious ass, zooming down toward me in reverse and dragging the tree in the pic — which wasn't small — from some chains. This huge muscle dude jumps out, screaming, "Go! Go! Fucking go!" and unhooks the tree, leaving it smack dab in the middle of the road. Then he jumps back in and they speed off. The cops had pulled somebody over and were totally ignoring all this. I was standing there going, "What the fuck? Were those guys... Tree poachers? Outlaw road-clearing vigilantes?" It was all pretty surreal. I mean, from what little I could make out it seemed like muscle dude and his buddy were being more helpful than nefarious.

Ever read in the paper about the one idiot who died during the storm, the one guy who went for a stroll and got his head punched in by a flying log or something? Ever wonder what that idiot looks like?

The morning after the worst of it. A little break between squall lines.

This big ol' salad came close to doin' me in the day before. Lucky I'm so nimble.

I walked up to get a closer look at this log, and after a minute noticed I was sharing an ankle-deep puddle with a downed power line. Seriously, how I managed to not die during all these weather shenanigans is a damned mystery. I reckon I may get another chance if that Ivan fucker decides to pay us a visit.


I'm at work right now, where I'm watching water seep into my office. But at least I have electricity, unlike at home, where I've been without power or potable water for three days. Suffice to say I am cranky and starting to generate a serious stank. But I did get a few cool photos, which I'll post whenever they hook the juice back up at my pad (could be as long as another week, they say). Anyway, any e-mail correspondence or comment replies are probably going to be kind of sporadic for a few days. In the meantime, let's hope that fucking Hurricane Ivan decides to give Gainesville a wide berth.


Even Yet Still Plus More Indignities Etc.
Age 12 – I grew up nominally religious, mostly because being raised by a psychopath makes the possibility that some benevolent, all-powerful force exists seem really, really appealing. But I still hadn't found a church in which I felt comfortable – Mom practiced some kookified form of that Wicca nonsense and Dad is Catholic, and neither faith held much appeal for me. Too complicated, too ritualistic, too many weird outfits involved, etc.

My friend Randy, who at the time was devoutly religious, was attending a Christian church he described as non-denominational. Supposedly, the aim of this church was to cut out a lot of the hoo-hah and just get down to the straightforward Bible-y stuff. I liked the sound of that. And I relied on Randy for spiritual guidance, even though he once admitted that he thought babies were made by kissing until he was 12 or 13 or something.

So I accompany Randy to a church "lock-in," where we're to have fun and socialize, potentially with girls. And who knows, maybe this church will be the house of worship I’ve been seeking.

We’re there for a few minutes when the youth pastor starts discussing science-fiction movies, another passion Randy and I share. Excited, I mention how much I enjoyed my recent viewing of Time Bandits.

"You shouldn’t be watching Satanic movies like that, Patrick," the pastor says. "It contains a blasphemous portrayal of a supreme being."

My face flushes. It’s very quiet. Everyone stares at me like I'm wearing a hat made of dogshit. I think about being "locked in" with these people for the rest of the night, and a cold feeling forms deep in the pit of my stomach.

I give up on all that Jesus stuff once and for all.

Age 13 – I go to school without first taking a shower. This is not uncommon, because I am a dirty greaseball, but in this instance turns out to be significant.

You see, the day before, in an effort to join the madcap antics of the cool kids, I had thrown an egg out of the window of my schoolbus. Though it was intended for a passing schoolbus transporting kids from another school, it did not find its mark.

Instead, the universe, sensing that an uncool kid was attempting to perform actions outside of his designated scope, threw a little physics into the mix and used some sort of compressed air cushion to slam my egg back into the edge of my own window. Thus, like an Icarus of social acceptance, my temerity was punished and the cosmic balance of life was once again set right.

Well, really, it was more of a warning than a punishment – I barely got gooed at all, though the other kids, whose eggs all hit our rivals with no major complications, found it remarkable that I was unable to successfully deploy my egg at such close range, and at such a large target. And they let me know this in ways that, if memory serves, included improvising special songs and chants. I sat for the rest of the trip wondering why I even tried to be popular, or regular, or accepted or liked at all, and cleaned up when I got home.

The next day, though, I show up at the bus stop and it's quickly pointed out that I have a few shell fragments in my hair, as well as a faint eggy smell, and it is in this way I announce to the world my spectacular lack of hygiene.


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