Ahead on Differential

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Koopa (2012–2022) and his human (1988–) in April 2022

Note: this article contains instances of death, both animal and familial, bodily injury, and hospitalization.

I. A Cat Lost

I'm kind of in the middle of an annus horribilis.

Save for my yearly roundups, I don't mention personal events all that much on this blog. And none of what I'm about to share was jockeying for a spot on the Top 100 come December. You'll understand why.

In March, five days before my 34th birthday, my father died of a heart attack. He was 56. He was driving a snowmobile at the time. This was less than a year after he got heat stroke working on a roof, fell the fuck off, and ate shit on a bed of decorative stones two storeys below. An unromantic ending to a tragic, country song-ass life. The funeral was a pain in the ass to get to and was a deeply awkward experience for myriad reasons that are outside the scope of this post.

In early June this year, I was hospitalized for the first time in my adult life. What I thought was appendicitis turned out to be a renal embolism. An “embolism” is an egghead term for a clot. In other words, my right kidney stroked out and lost 30% of its working mass to necrosis. I think I cried more in the first week of June 2022 than I have in the rest of my life combined, and none of it was because of physical pain. I've been on blood thinners since the event and will be until at least the end of this month. Even with insurance, the dent these meds make every week in my wallet is substantial.

And last week, out of nowhere, my cat Koopa, our longest-standing feline companion, died at the age of 10, just a few days shy of his 10th adoptaversary. I was woken up by a wheezing sound I'd never heard before, and by that point, he was already long gone. He died in Steph's arms a few minutes after I found him on the floor. Our best guess is that his heart gave out.

Oh yeah, and COVID-19 is still an ongoing concern. That's cool.

When I think of Koopa now, I can only see him in his last moments, and I've been trying to make a conscious effort to change that. This is, in part, what this post is about: an attempt to memorialize the specifics of Koopa as a living being. And before you say something akin to “wait, you're memorializing your cat but not your dad:” look, I had a respectful, if distant, relationship with my dad in my adulthood, but Koopa was with me every day for a decade. That counts for something.

So Koopa, then. I'm building a hall of moments in your name. The way your tail would twitch as I arrived home from work. The chirrups of confirmation when you successfully meowed for my attention. The way you developed a more vigorous style of kneading that used all four paws, which we took to calling “quadkneading.” The way you'd hound us to go to bed so you could park yourself on my pillow. This pillow was your spot. The way you snuggled by my legs if I slept on the couch. The way you always wanted to change the shoulder you were resting on when I picked you up, regardless of which shoulder you were resting on first. Your prodigious heft. Those big goofball eyes. The callus on your front paw. The small slit on the edge of your left ear, the result of an early tussle with Ruby, a slit you returned to her in kind on her right ear. Thousands of head bonks and assorted affections. The crooked cowl and uneven socks of your tuxedo. The way your presence signalled that this was a home.

I am going to miss you so much, my sweet boy. Rest easy.

II. A Cat Found

I need to preface this next section by saying that I don't believe in reincarnation or the transmutation of souls or any similar thing. But what I do believe in is Jungian synchronicity. Someone once said (and I tried to source this; no luck) that all artists are Jungians, and I'm inclined to agree; we all deal in archetypes, and we all play with the images of the collective unconscious. As a writer, I enjoy creating ideas and imagery by triangulating two disparate ideas: this, too, is operating in the realm of meaningful coincidences. When you write, you go out looking for them. But sometimes, when you're minding your own business or having the worst year of your life, they find you.

A mere seven hours after Koopa died—depending on the level of cosmic you want to ascribe to this, it might as well have been simultaneous—a mutual friend visiting their parents in Ottawa sends the group chat a picture.

As our friend exited her car, this flea-bitten, malnourished grey-and-tan tabby accosts them. Perhaps this cat thought, not unfairly, that where there are humans, there's food. Being the friend to the animals that she is, she and her sister drove out to the suburb of Stittsville so a vet could (a) check if she was chipped and (b) prescribe something to help with her nasty case of fleas. They needed a name for the form. They chose “Biscotti.”

We don't know if she has humans; social media posts from the Ottawa SPCA have turned up no leads. We don't know how old she is, but the best guesses of the professionals place her age between 9 and 12. We don't know how long she's been outside; it's as if she just materialized from the ether of the capital.

I mean, look at this fucking cat

There are five people in this group chat. At first, Biscotti was going to live with one of the mutual friends who found her, but their partner is allergic to cats. Our other friend who found her already had two cats and lives with a third friend, who also has a cat. That left Steph and me; as of seven hours prior, we were out one middle-aged cat. Fate is whatever, but sometimes the signals are too obvious to ignore.

I mean, Steph did beseech Koopa to “please haunt us.”

Biscotti has been eating and drinking normally since being rescued, save for her penchant for eating clay-based litter. Besides this odd pica, the fleas, and the abscess on her right shoulder, she seems all right. Just a sweet, affectionate middle-aged cat with a gravelly meow and a full, loud purr. A cat who chases birds in her dreams. A cat who squares up a paw against whatever she's sleeping on, as if she wants to make sure the edge of the world doesn't fall away as she slumbers. This cat who appeared out of nowhere, 200 kilometres away, as if it sensed there was love out there without a proper conduit. Biscotti didn't have time to be a stranger; she was immediately vaulted to the status of salve. I don't know that we're adopting this cat so much as following the Universe's carefully laid-out instructions.

In a year full of Ls, Biscotti, this mystery cat, this furry apparition, our unlikely avatar of feline continuity, is a bright and shining W, and I've not even been in the same province as her yet. This changes Sunday, when we welcome her into our home, a home that she will, in her way, make whole again.

Biscotti having a snooze

Last night, I was idly plugging things into the YouTube search bar when I stumbled upon the video above. It's footage from the 1953 Vincente Minnelli musical The Band Wagon cut to Spoon's “Let Me Be Mine,” from their 2014 album They Want My Soul.

It's a delightful piece of work (the channel, attributed to one Rapha Eumon, is chock full of similar edits), and I can't quite articulate why it moves me as much as it does. Maybe it's because it feels like this is just someone's hobby, and they're putting it out there for themselves rather than for anyone else, and other people crossing paths with it is just a welcome bonus. Most of these videos have under 500 views; the channel itself has under 600 subscribers. I will make that total go up by one.

Stumbling upon something organically like this is so refreshing. There's something Old Internet about it.

#video #music #movies

The man in the blooming onion suite is smart and thoughtful.

“This is a thing I'm working on as a parent, in both directions: embracing the idea that you're not responsible for somebody else's feelings. You are responsible for your own actions and the consequences of them, but like— my daughter is at the age where when she does something she's not supposed to do, she really obsesses over, like, 'are you mad at me?' And my answer is not yes or no. My answer is 'You are not responsible for my feelings.' Like, I am responsible for my feelings. I have to deal with them, I have to, sort of like, carry them with me and cope with them. But, like, you can't live life trying to manifest feelings-based outcomes in other people, because it's just out of your control. You should be a thoughtful person, a good member of your community, an empathetic person, a good listener, all of those things. But none of those things guarantee that someone will like you, will be happy with you, will be happy with themselves, because you can't— that is the thing you can't control. You can control your own behaviour, and not somebody else's feelings. That, to me, is, like, behind a lot of this. It's like, 'how do I keep somebody from being mad at me?' You can't! You really can't. You can just try to make good decisions because they're what feel comfortable to you.” —Ryan Nanni, Shutdown Fullcast, 2021-11-24 [x]


Sadly, Bad News Barnes and those slick Spirits unis did not make the cut

  1. Escape from New York was shot there
  2. those 16 games or whatever Brett Hull and Wayne Gretzky played for the Blues together
  3. Ozzie Smith
  4. Chuck Berry (music only)
  5. that big-ass croquet hoop they've got


It's Ruby!

Here are ten things.

  1. A belated note: January 8th was my cat Ruby's fourth adoptiversary. That picture up there is the first picture I took of her when we got home. As we say around these parts, what a baby!
  2. I got my booster shot on Thursday, which knocked me on my ass for about 36 hours. Worth every ache.
  3. Getting lost in the archives of San Jose-based film critic Fernando F. Croce, whose 300ish-word capsules read like poetry (in part because they allude to poems, and novels, and other movies, natch). To wit, on one of the great films, RoboCop:
    His Calvary is a limb-pulverizing fusillade, with frenetic views of his torso in flayed close-up giving way to a reverse tracking shot of memories vanishing into the ether.
  4. Cult MTL film critic/local legend Justine Smith prefaced her year-end top ten with a smart, sobering state of the profession. “The best critics don't speak for a generation; they speak for themselves.”
  5. Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that I've been into sentence diagramming as of late for... reasons. I finally found a readily-available vulgarized resource that can help me out when I'm in a pinch: A Sentence Diagramming Primer: The Reed & Kellogg System Step-By-Step by Dr. Judith Coats.
  6. RIP Ronnie Spector. If I had to draft a list of perfect songs, “Be My Baby” would be one of the first ones I jot down, due in no small part to Spector's voice; sometimes it doesn't have to be more complicated than “For every kiss you give me, I'll give you three.” Brian Wilson knew what was up, so did Martin Scorsese.
  7. RIP Bob Saget. Sure, there was Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos and the ecstatically filthy stand-up comedy; to me, he's the guy who directed one of the most sublimely idiotic and totally hilarious scenes in any 90s comedy.
  8. One of my odder ongoing pet projects is what I'm tentatively calling “chillhop auteurism;” the plan is to listen to lo-fi hip hop, a ubiquitous genre of music that is meant to be experienced passively, as I would any other album, i.e. in an “active” way. Who are the artists with interesting influences, points of view, and bodies of work? Who is out here shaking up the formulas? I recognize some of these artists by name, but what makes their music theirs? This week's case studies: beat tape 12 by Dutch producer Eevee, Pool Days by Norwegian producer HM Surf, and the best of this bunch, Like the Sky, or Something Else by American producer Sleepy Fish.
  9. At time of writing, I am on pace to watch 494 movies this year, which is a pace I will absolutely not maintain. Some recent favourites: the operatic and stylish Casino (look at all the shout outs Marty is getting), the time-dilated WWII moodtape Dunkirk, and the beautiful rip-roaring animated sci-fi pulp actioner Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie.
  10. A bit of found poetry, courtesy of this video by Toronto-based YouTuber and comedian Kurtis Conner:
    First thing you do when you wake up? Pour a bottle of red wine on your sheets. And then, I don't care how fucking thirsty you are, you go downstairs and you have a sleeve of saltines all to yourself. And then you do some beta breathing. It's kind of like alpha breathing, but instead, on every exhale, you go “ooh, I'm a little cuck!” Next, instead of meditating, you're going to play the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song at full blast and you're going to sit there and think about every single mistake you've ever made in your life. And then you go upstairs, get in the shower, and you make it as hot as you can. Make it so hot that it sets your journal on fire. And while that wet, wet journal is up in flames, you make a “to feel” list and you leave it blank. Today, you feel nothing. Then you go back downstairs, pull out your blender, pour a can of Mountain Dew in there along with a fistful of cosmic brownies and you just guzzle that down until you can't feel your legs anymore, okay? And that's fine, you don't need them for what you're about to do. You're going to park your ass down to play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 until you pass out due to exhaustion or a heart attack from the smoothie. Good morning! [x]


Shout out to the Criterion Collection for these sick banners.

Here are ten things.

  1. For the last five weeks, I've had lots of fun on laserdisc.party running the Movie Bowl, a week-long single-elimination poll tournament where 16 movies, selected CFP-style with a deliberately obtuse mix of “box office performance, awards performance, critical reception, long-term popularity, and a vague secret sauce [we're] calling 'canonization',” vie for the title of best movie of that year. We just wrapped up the event for 1999, which The Matrix won quite handily from the 6-seed, defeating the 16-seed Cinderella The Mummy by a score of 83-42. The Matrix joins previous winners Fargo, Jaws, The Princess Bride, Spirited Away, and The Shining.
  2. I got the daily Wordle puzzle in two guesses, two days in a row.
  3. Cam Macaulay, a student at Syracuse University, released the first act of The Chronicles of Syracuse Men's Lacrosse. This series is obviously indebted in spirit and style to the work of the great Jon Bois (especially The History of the Seattle Mariners), and it sometimes feels like regional Boispolitation, but Macauley's own passion, voice, and choices make this an engrossing piece of work in its own right; there's a bigger focus here on institutional forces and, uh, straight-up historical dominance than in the Bois projects. I can't wait for Act II to drop, and from the looks of it, so does Jon.
  4. On her 40th birthday, New Yorker writer Helen Rosner tweeted out a thread of great advice. A relevant entry for yours truly:
    “You can just write things. An article. A poem. A book. You don't have to wait for someone else to say you should. You can just do it. This is still unbelievable to me.”
  5. I watched the Robert Greene wrestling doc Fake It So Real. It follows a troupe of down-on-their-luck wrestlers in North Carolina during the lead up to a big show. Heartbreaking and invigorating.
  6. I had myself an Alfred Hitchcock triple feature of The 39 Steps (good), The Lady Vanishes (great), and Rope (HOLY SHIT!). Hitch sure knew his way around a thriller.
  7. RIP Sidney Poitier and Peter Bogdanovich. In the Heat of the Night and Paper Moon would be my suggested double feature here.
  8. I got a big box of belated Christmas gifts from my family, including a pair of Doc Martens from my eldest sister. I heard third-hand that people in their 30s dress like the cool teen they wanted to be, and between these boots, the long hair, and the new tattoos, I think that would explain a thing or two.
  9. Speaking of Christmas gifts, I used the Mystic Mondays tarot deck Steph gifted me to draw myself a spread for the new year, courtesy of Yoshi Yoshitani. It's a lot of info to parse, but I'm not super duper thrilled about that Tower card for December.
  10. A poem, from the ever-delightful Wikipedia Haiku:
    Politeness, among
    just a few other things, seems
    to go a long way


  1. There's no way #1 wasn't going to be publishing a whole damn book, right? Well, it's a poetry chapbook, but it's a book nonetheless. It's called My House But Not My House, and I've taken to calling it “15 poems about dreams, obsolete tech, the Apocalypse, and other shit.”
  2. The same publisher that put out my book, Montreal's Cactus Press, also put out great work by some friends of mine: Xenia by Willow Loveday Little, Selected Leavings by Jacalyn den Haan, and The Wrong Poem and Others Like It by Jerome Ramcharitar.
  3. Sharing my work on the stage and elsewhere, like that time in August I was filmed reading my poem “The Pearl.”
  4. Vaccination. Kind of speaks for itself.
  5. I got my first two tattoos at the age of 33: the knowledge band from Fantastic Planet on my inner left forearm, and the Rider-Waite-Smith Fool tarot card on my inner right forearm. A thousand thank yous to Valeria from the Grey Market Salon for her wonderful work.
  6. I wrote some blog posts I liked this year, and one of them was “In Praise of Giant Ox”, which is one part my philosophy of playing Magic: The Gathering, one part bad card apologia.
  7. Another blog post that I kept going back to was this one on movies that are “short, good, and secret,” because my movie recommendations could use a little spicing up.
  8. I am eternally grateful to my friends for indulging me in probably the dorkiest thing I ever coaxed them into doing: Big Picture-style movie drafts.
  9. The work of cosmic country troubadour Dougie Poole, specifically his superlative album The Freelancer's Blues.
  10. My Halloween costume, and my friend Emily's Halloween costume.
  11. Every new Doc Destructo is a cause for celebration. His third entry in his Narratives of Disaster series, “Tito Is Just Standing There”, is delightful.
  12. The canon of “American Anime”.
  13. Getting to watch movies in a theatre again, however briefly.
  14. Blaseball continues to be the more interest experiment in emergent storytelling on the whole damn internet. Go Garages!
  15. No pandemic or health mandate will ever be able to destroy the games behemoth known as Jank City.
  16. This October, I went on my first-ever writer's retreat near Mont-Sainte-Anne. It was fun as hell, surprising precisely no one.
  17. Rediscovering nail polish.
  18. Like much of the internet, I was captivated by the “Who Is the Bad Art Friend?” saga.
  19. Jon Bois heads already knew, but this year, scorigami went viral, first thanks to the great Mina Kimes, and then with the help of the Shield itself.
  20. I have fallen down the snake-infested moon crater known as Shutdown Fullcast, the funniest, most freewheeling podcast I've had the pleasure of bingeing this year.
  21. Thanks to the Fullcast, I am now a card-carrying member of the cult of San Diego State's cannon-legged punter Matt Araiza, aka Punt God. Alex Kirschner wrote a great profile of him for FiveThirtyEight.
  22. Season 3 of Joe Pera Talks With You, continuing a run of hilarious and gentle normcore television.
  23. I am super duper ill-read, but I did tear through Patricia Lockwood's No One Is Talking About This, which is funny and perceptive and melancholy in equal amounts. Novels by poets just hit different.
  24. My pal Ian clued me into the work of Vancouver dream-pop band Readymade, which I immediately fell in love with. “Terminal Sounds at Night” was in heavy rotation.
  25. My friend group's private Spotify playlist broke 1,500 songs.
  26. That same friend group organized a surprise 30th birthday party for my friend Catherine, which was a highlight of my summer.
  27. I wrote 46 whole-ass poems; maybe in 2022 I'll hit one a week.
  28. The War on Drugs's fantastic, shimmering new album I Don't Live Here Anymore.
  29. One of the new movies I was fortunate enough to watch in a theatre (specifically and the wonderful Cinéma Moderne) this year was Pig, which features a soulful, subdued performance by the great Nicolas Cage. Mild spoiler: the credits song is an absolutely killer rendition of Bruce Springsteen's “I'm on Fire” by singer-songwriter Cassandra Violet.
  30. At the same theatre, I saw a beautiful 2K restoration of the bugnuts Canadian cult comedy Crime Wave.
  31. I was entranced and befuddled in equal amounts by the Sparks-penned musical Annette. The Mael brothers had a big year besides that; they were also the subject of the very thorough, very enjoyable documentary The Sparks Brothers, directed by superfan Edgar Wright.
  32. From the twisted mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes Old, the exact kind of nutso thriller you want to see on the big screen.
  33. My favourite documentary of the year is Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror, directed by local legend Kier-La Janisse. Thorough, engrossing, informative, stylish.
  34. My second-favourite documentary is The History of the Atlanta Falcons, Secret Base's spiritual sequel to last year's Seattle Marniers doc. As much as I like Jon Bois as a writer, his work as a director is simply staggering.
  35. Rediscovering the simple pleasures of brunch.
  36. My 12th anniversary with my wonderful partner Steph.
  37. Lazy days lounging in athleisure, all tights and tees and hoodies.
  38. Growing my hair out again; I haven't gotten a haircut since last July.
  39. My buddy Alex's work as Dads FM, the ambassador of all things smooth.
  40. Reading tarot for my friends.
  41. My favourite Montreal band, Men I Trust, put out their awesome fourth studio album, the cheekily-titled Untourable Album.
  42. Speaking of awesome fourth albums: Atlanta's finest Faye Webster released the dazzling I Know I'm Funny haha; “In a Good Way” is one of my favourite songs from this year.
  43. The collected online output of Melbourne-based writer Dakota Warren, especially her YouTube channel.
  44. The cinephile deathmatch known as the Movie Bowl.
  45. The top 50 favourite older movies I saw for the first time this year: a thread.
  46. Wojciech Kalinowski's Nova Cut typeface.
  47. My most-watched director this year was the Oklahoma-based filmmaker Mickey Reece and it wasn't particularly close. I discovered him thanks to Katie Rife's awesome profile in the A.V. Club and proceeded to tear through his available back catalogue (check out his bizarre Elvis “biopic” Alien and his wayward-nun riff Agnes).
  48. I got really into sentence diagramming this year, specifically using the Reed–Kellogg system.
  49. Every pet that saw the beginning of the year also made it to the end; shout out to the cats Koopa and Ruby, and the rats Aurora and Dottie.
  50. Austin Kleon continues to be one of the most interesting people I follow on the internet; once again, I must not that I've stolen this whole gimmick from him. His newsletter continues to rule.
  51. Speaking of newsletters, Laura Olin's weekly missive continues to be one of the best things in my inbox.
  52. Matthew Ogle's poetry newsletter Pome is a perfect tiny object.
  53. My friend Amelia is still writing her hilarious Lifetime movie newsletter Don't Threaten Me With a Good Lifetime.
  54. For The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh on the great film writer Danny Peary and his seminal tome Cult Movies.
  55. For Pitchfork, Cat Zhang on city pop.
  56. For Blood Knife, RS Benedict on the sexlessness of the modern blockbuster.
  57. Will Sloan on his time in the fim-crit trenches.
  58. For The New Yorker, Richard Brody on Paul Schrader
  59. Also for The New Yorker, Mike Sacks on the legendary Simpsons writer John Swatrzwelder.
  60. For the Hollywood Reporter, Seth Abramovitch profiles the great Shelley Duvall.
  61. A look inside Bay Area projectionist Paul Clipson's book Reel.
  62. A brief history of the Cheez-It.
  63. It's always fun when an expansion team lands in a major sports league. To that end, say hello to the NHL's Seattle Kraken! Here's a video breaking down how their logo came to be.
  64. For GQ, Chris Gayomali on blink-182 bassist/cancer survivor Mark Hoppus.
  65. Bo Burhman's ourobouric comedy special Inside, just about the best piece of art about the long-term effects of being terminally online.
  66. F.D. Signifier's two-part video essay on the relationship between Kayne West and kayfabe. Part one is here.
  67. Titane, Julie Ducorneau's bizarre, gloppy, emotionally knotty Palme d'Or-winning thriller. This thing is destines to see a million midnight screenings.
  68. The delightful action movie junk food of Nobody. Bob Odenkirk just murking dudes is a sight to behold.
  69. black midi's cavernous, cacophonous every-King-Crimson-album-playing-at-once opus Cavalcade.
  70. Deerhoof are one of those bands I fear I take for granted, because their records are so consistently great. This year they released another one of those, Actually, You Can.
  71. Producer Floating Points, jazz legend Pharoah Sanders, and the entire god damn London Symphony Orchestra got together and created Promises, the lushest and most hypnotic album I've heard all year.
  72. Toronto-via-Charlottetown rockers Kiwi jr. dust off their Pavement and Kinks records and follow up their impressive debut Football Money with the just-as-impressive Cooler Returns.
  73. New York dream-pop band Lightning Bug keeping the 4AD flame alive with their awesome sophomore record A Color of the Sky.
  74. Musk Ox, the finest goth-adjacent instrumental chamber folk trio in the Ottawa Valley, put out their fantastic new record Inheritance.
  75. Everything you need to know about Richmond, Virginia-based Dazy's collection of delectable power pop nuggets is right in the title: MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD.
  76. The Weather Station put out Ignorance, her flirtation with 80s sophisti-pop. Cool as ice.
  77. Two wonderful guitarists, Marisa Anderson and William Tyler, joined forces and released the beautiful, winsome Lost Futures. Music to watch sunsets by.
  78. Steph got me the beautiful Mystic Mondays tarot deck. The edges are holographic and the artwork is vaporwave as hell.
  79. That one time I got super stoned and ate 5,000 calories of Domino's and Krispy Kreme.
  80. The continuing excellence of my favourite podcast All Fantasy Everything.
  81. Brian Raftery's podcast miniseries Gene and Roger, chronicling the relationship and legacy between film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Catnip for an Ebert-head like me.
  82. It's been another stellar year of podcasting from the great Merlin Mann, but his Wisdom Project might be his magnum opus.
  83. My Mastodon instance laserdisc.party trucks on!
  84. A wonderful late-summer road trip to a lakefront cabin in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
  85. Blank Check's excellent miniseries on the films of John Carpenter, They Podcast.
  86. Using Inktober prompts as springboard for poems.
  87. Some Quinton Reviews video that I can only describe as self-flagellation in the form of media criticism: 220 minutes on FRED, 334 minutes on Victorious, and a staggering 500 minutes (that's eight-plus hours over two videos) on iCarly. You simply must respect it.
  88. Montreal institution Argo moved to a new location a bit further up Sainte-Catherine Street.
  89. Pandemic MVP Jackbox Games put out the highly-anticipated (by me and my friends, at least) Jackbox Party Pack 8. The masters of local multiplayer deliver yet again.
  90. My buddy Ben's brie melt.
  91. 2021 was, much like 2020, the year of the Blue Nile. They were the band I listened to the most and it wasn't particularly close. Hats continues to be a masterpiece among masterpieces.
  92. Baccarat baseball, which is probably the dorkiest thing I've ever come up with, and believe me, there's stiff competition there.
  93. My friends and I's zodiac playlists: Cat's Big Aries Energy and Big Leo Energy, Emily's Big Pisces Energy, and my own Pisces playlist, ZODIAC AQUAMAN.
  94. The good ship Middlebrow Madness inches along, slowly but surely adjudicating the IMDb Top 250 in search of the greatest movie of all time*.
  95. A great Letterboxd list: films that in some shape or form anticipated the notion of being too online.
  96. Petsitting.
  97. The deceptive depth of Wikipedia Haiku.
  98. Remember Lingo? (Any Game Show Network heads out there?) Well, meet Wordle.
  99. FilmGrab, a wonderful repository of film stills.
  100. I'm calling it now: 2022 is the year I get really into Mojave 3.


And this is the cover

Well, I wrote a chapbook. It's called My House But Not My House. It's fifteen poems about dreams, obsolete tech, the Apocalypse, and other shit. I know for a fact that the first printing sold out, but you can still order it from Cactus Press, the mightiest little independent press in Montreal. Best of all, it'll only set you back ten bucks.

This is still so wild to me. If you've even so much as glanced at my poetry in the past, thank you, thank you, thank you.


Here are ten things.

  1. It was Halloween! Because I am an incorrigible dork, I went as Luke Wilson as Richie Tenenbaum. My pal Emily went as Owen Wilson as Eli Cash. It was uncanny. Bonus: true to her handle, Steph went as the softest bunny.
  2. A bunch of us had a quiet night in of costumes, snacks, and the new Jackbox Party Pack. The standout game for me was Job Job, where players use words in each other's answers to prompts to answer completely different questions. A little Survive the Internet, a little Quiplash.
  3. The new big update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons dropped a day early, sending all the Nookheads I know into a tizzy.
  4. Blaseball is back, baby! This new run of seasons, called Short Circuits, is taking place in a different part of the Blaseball metaverse, so the continuing adventures of Jaylen Hotdogfingers will have to wait. But for now, my beloved Seattle Garages are the best team in the Solid League and have an eight-game lead on their nearest division rival. Damn, now I know this is an alternate universe!
  5. Pen nerd shit: I've been having a fun time writing with these Pilot Razor Points. I'm just a sucker for an ultra-fine felt tip pen.
  6. Indianapolis Colts 45, New York Jets 30. I love gridiron football games that have Arenaball scores, but that's not why I'm including this game as one of the ten things. I'm including it here because 45-30 is scorigami, baby! I still love you, Carson Wentz.
  7. Speaking of football: we turn to the college ranks for the silliest news story of the week, in which the Texas Longhorns special teams coach's exotic dancer girlfriend's emotional support monkey fucking bit a kid on Halloween. Yes, you read that correctly. Alex McDaniel at USA Today has a good write-up of the story so far, and the legends at Shutdown Fullcast dedicated an entire episode to it.
  8. Speaking of podcasts (damn, look at this fool go, two segues in a row): We'll Take This One, a podcast about advice columns that is hosted by some online buddies of mine, has shaken off the cobwebs and dropped a new episode. A passing reference is made to the great Wayne White, which made me remember how dope the documentary Beauty Is Embarrassing is (that's a Short Good Secret Hall of Famer right there).
  9. The new War on Drugs record I Don't Live Here Anymore fucking goes. It is precisely my shit.
  10. A poem, via Matthew Ogle's essential newsletter Pome:

I believe in steep drop-offs, the thunderstorm across the lake in 1949, cold winds, empty swimming pools, the overgrown path to the creek, raw garlic, used tires, taverns, saloons, bars, gallons of red wine, abandoned farmhouses, stunted lilac groves, gravel roads that end, brush piles, thickets, girls who haven’t quite gone totally wild, river eddies, leaky wooden boats, the smell of used engine oil, turbulent rivers, lakes without cottages lost in the woods, the primrose growing out of a cow skull, the thousands of birds I’ve talked to all of my life, the dogs that talked back, the Chihuahuan ravens that follow me on long walks. The rattler escaping the cold hose, the fluttering unknown gods that I nearly see from the left corner of my blind eye, struggling to stay alive in a world that grinds them underfoot. —Jim Harrison, “I Believe”

#lists #tenthings

Here are ten things.

  1. I've been loving the Blank Check miniseries on the films of the great John Carpenter. Their last episode at time of writing was on the Chevy Chase vehicle Memoirs of an Invisible Man. This movie is by most accounts Carpenter's first out-and-out dud, snapping an impressive 11-movie winning streak that lasted from 1974 to 1988. Who else had comparable runs? QT? Miyazaki? Malick? Kurosawa?

  2. This leads to my hot take of the week: if you don't have a run of ten good movies (not even masterpieces, just good movies), you're disqualified from the GOAT conversation. Sorry, Steven Spielberg!

  3. I went on a writing retreat out east with nine other writers and it was fun as hell. Aside from getting some actual work done, the experience reminded me of all the positive parts of dorm life (communal meals, drifting in and out of several coversations, spontaneous group activities). My freind Laura went HAM and made the lot of us a four-course meal on the Saturday. I ate panna cotta for the first time. It was rad.

  4. The collected life wisdom of podcaster extraordinaire Merlin Mann.

  5. The Argo, the oldest independent English-language bookstore in Montréal (and the first place I ever read poetry IRL), has settled into a new home.

  6. The new Elvis Costello & the Imposters single “Magnificent Hurt” fucking whips.

  7. What are the records in your Autumn Album Canon? This thread has some dope answers, but my fall listening habits consist of alternating between Neil Young's Harvest and the Clientele's Strange Geometry.

  8. Goth Derek paid me a visit: I got a wild hair up my ass and painted my nails for the first time in over 15 years. My girlfriend Steph said it best: “It's good to be adorned.” For those playing the home game, this is what I ended up using.

  9. RIP Alan Hawkshaw, an English musician and legendary figure in the world of library music. The great Jon Bois eulogized him in a tweet, and there are tons of sick tunes to check out in the replies.

In an effort to get people to look into each other’s eyes more, and also to appease the mutes, the government has decided to allot each person exactly one hundred and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear without saying hello. In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup. I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover, proudly say I only used fifty-nine today. I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond, I know she’s used up all her words, so I slowly whisper I love you thirty-two and a third times. After that, we just sit on the line and listen to each other breathe.
—Jeffrey McDaniel, “The Quiet World”

#lists #tenthings