Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Memorial Day Murph

Against my better judgement, under the pressure of an older sibling who makes these things sound much easier and more fun than they really are, signed up for the local round of the 2013 Memorial Day Murph. I'm joking, it's for a great cause and although my body will hate me afterward, it's doable and should be a cool experience.

from their website:

June 28th, 2005 
A team of 4 Navy SEALs led by LT. Michael P. Murphy on a mission to capture or kill a key Taliban leader, found themselves seriously outnumbered in a firefight with well over 100 enemy troops. Pinned down and under intense enemy fire, their communications operator severely wounded, they were in desperate need for help. Due to the mountainous terrain, their communications could not be received. Understanding the situation, LT. Michael P. Murphy moved to open exposing himself to enemy fire, to use his satelite phone to request immediate support to save his team. LT Murphy was mortally wounded making that call. They continued fighting until Lt. Murphy and two of his three team mates were mortally wounded. His fourth team member, severly injured himself, managed to escape where he was taken in by a local villager until he was rescued 4 days later. He went on to tell the story in a book titled “The Lone Survivor”
For his selfless leadership, courageous actions and extraordinary devotion to duty, LT. Michael P. Murphy received the Medal of Honor, the first service menber to receive the medal in Operation Enduring Freedom, and the first Navy recipient of the medal since Vietnam. 
Lt Murphy had a favorite workout he would do to prepare for his deployments. He would make sure he wore his body armor for this workout, which he started calling “Body Armor” After his death, it was renamed and would now be referred to as “Murph”. A very demanding workout had just been given a name, and a soul.

What is 'The Murph'?

  • 1 Mile Run to start
  • 100 Pull-ups
  • 200 Push-ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1 mile run to finish
I'm just going to go ahead and start apologizing to my quads now. To prepare, and in a fruitless effort to compete with my over-the-top-fit S.W.A.T. bro, I'll be attempting it at least once per week as part of my normal workout routine because I'm an idiot. Maybe I can talk him into doing it with his kevlar and/or gear on...

Yesterday was my initial run through. I skipped the running and ran out of time.
60 pullups / 120 push-ups / 180 squats in 22 minutes.
According to Logsitall.com the average on the Murph is 45:00. I'd be happy with 50:00.
My goal is:
10:00 1 mile run
30:00 pull ups/push-ups/squats
10:00 1 mile run

I have until 5-27-13 to make that happen.

Issuing a formal apology to my body, as a whole, in advance.

If you want to sign up and give it a go, check out http://mdmfundraiser.com/

don't ask

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


serious thought

I am an atheist by deduction.
That said, I fantasize about leaving mainstream social bindings and living a life of asceticism.... without the religion, of course. I probably wouldn’t do it forever, but I’d definitely enjoy the solitude. I can go days without interacting with another human being except for my children, because, well, they ask a lot of fucking questions and I do receive an immense amount of personal joy from their presence, watching them and being a part of their lives… but… the life of a recluse seems so numbing. And wonderful.
I can imagine being the only person left on the planet and being just perfectly fine with that.
I would crawl back in on myself and live in the world in my own head. Content. Peaceful. Without guilt or judgement or consequence.
There’s a medicinal equivalent of this... It is lovely. For awhile.
There’s a mental equivalent of this... It can be lovely. For awhile.
I don’t want to ever fall asleep again. I want to bask in my own delusions and build a perfect society in my head until the time comes when I finally meet the finality of the final sleep.
Sorry, you guys aren’t invited. It would kind of defeat the purpose.
In death, because I do not believe in an afterlife, I find solace in the dream that the world I’ve come to fantasize about will thrive in my head forever and I’ll leave this existence behind and relish in my own thought, leaving the concept of passed time far behind.


Monday, March 18, 2013


My Amazon bestseller made me nothing

My novel shot to the top of the site's bestseller list last summer. You won't believe how little I got paid

(Credit: iStockphoto/alexsl/Salon)

In one more week I was going to be a millionaire.
At least, that was the rumor circulating around my wife’s family. One more week on Amazon’s best-seller list and I would have seven figures in the bank, easily. Her cousin had looked this fact up on the Internet, so it had to be true.
“Please tell them that is nowhere near true,” I said. “But don’t tell them how much money I’m actually going to make.”
“OK,” my wife said. “Can I tell them how many books you sold?”
“Absolutely not.”
I didn’t have a good answer. Secrecy seemed like the practical, professional response in times of success.
It made me wonder where this writerly knee-jerk reaction comes from. It wasn’t that people would think I made too much money. The opposite, actually.
* * *
This past summer, my novel, “Broken Piano for President,” shot to the top of the best-seller lists for a week. After Jack Daniel’s sent me a ridiculously polite cease and desist letter, the story went viral and was featured in places like Forbes, Time magazine and NPR’s Weekend Edition. The New Yorker wrote one whole, entire, punctuated-and-everything sentence about me! My book was the No. 6 bestselling title in America for a while, right behind all the different “50 Shades of Grey” and “Gone Girl.” It was selling more copies than “Hunger Games” and “Bossypants.” So, I can sort of see why people thought I was going to start wearing monogrammed silk pajamas and smoking a pipe.
But the truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English. There’s a reason most authors drive dented cars. There’s a reason most writers have bad teeth. It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty. It’s that poverty has chosen our profession.
Even when there’s money in writing, there’s not much money.
* * *
I was reminded of a single page in “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”; specifically, the section where Dave Eggers breaks down his $100,000 advance on sales from his publisher. He then lists all his expenses. In the end the author banked a little less than half. It wasn’t bad money — just not the “I bet Dave Eggers totally owns a Jaguar”-type of income I expected. I mean, his name was on the cover of a book! He must be rich.
That honesty was refreshing and voyeuristic. I always said if I ever had a chance, I’d make a similar gesture. As a person learning about writing and publishing, there was something helpful about Eggers’ transparency. So here is my stab at similar honesty: the sugar bowls full of cocaine, bathtubs full of whiskey, semi-nude bookstore employees scattered throughout my bedroom tale of bestseller riches.
This is what it’s like, financially, to have the indie book publicity story of the year and be near the top of the bestseller list.
Drum roll.
Hi-hat crash.
* * *
I just started getting my royalty checks from July the other day (the publishing industry is slow like that). From what I can tell so far, I made about $12,000 from “Broken Piano” sales. That comes directly to me without all those pesky taxes taken out yet (the IRS is helpful like that).
Don’t get me wrong; as a guy with a couple of books out on an independent publisher I never thought I’d see that kind of money. Previously, my largest royalty check was about $153. I’m thrilled and very proud to say I earned any money as a writer. That’s a miracle. It’s just not the jewel-encrusted miracle most people think bestseller bank accounts are made from.
The book sold plus or minus 4,000 copies. (The publishing industry is hazy like that. What with sales in fishy-sounding third-world countries like Germany and England.) Being on an indie press I receive a more generous royalty split than most: 50 percent after expenses were deducted.
You can do the math. I’m clearly not buying a mansion. Hell, my measly dreams of constructing a Roald Dahl-style writing cottage in the backyard are even shelved. Twelve-thousand bucks is amazing, but it’s not life-changing money. Unless, of course, I need one of those clearance sale $11,999 kidneys.
In the end, I bought my wife a pretty dress to say thank you for putting up with me and my fiscally idiotic quest to write books. I also did the most rock star thing imaginable for a stay-at-home-dad/recipient-of-a-famous-cease-and-desist: I used the money to send my kid to daycare two days a week so I can have more time to write.
* * *
Now that I have some quiet time around the house, I’ve started wondering: Why didn’t I just tell my wife’s family the truth to begin with? Why don’t most authors talk about money?
My theory: because it’s embarrassing.
Sure, there’s a headline-grabbing thrill when Lena Dunham snags a yacht-load of money for writing about stuff only her gynecologist should know. But when a friend of mine, who is a terrific writer, told me he was offered $5,000 for his latest book, which came out on a major publisher, it left me kind of flat. It left me even more silent when it became clear that’s a pretty normal deal. This financial underwhelming hush is the same feeling I was left with after reading Eggers’ fiscal rundown. It’s something people whispered about back when I was dreaming of having a book with my name on the cover and maybe being in the cross hairs of a legal shit storm involving whiskey.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Somehow this book had slipped through my radar over the years. I think the horrible straight to VHS flicks with Corey Haim and Marc Singer from my days as a wee boy solidified my desire to skip this one on the library shelf. Recently, after falling in love with the 'Odd Thomas' series I ventured out to older Dean Koontz to see if there were any other gems I’d overlooked. I found 'Watchers'.

I’m a dog guy. My best friend is my Gray Ghost, Dexter. I’m a sucker for anything dogs. I’ll switch cellular providers if the Boston Terrier in the commercial is adorable enough. 'Watchers' was like crack. It takes everything I love in a book and wrapped it in Beggin’ Strips. The book may have been a little random at points and there were holes here and there, plus the plot may have been dated and far fetched even for a sci-fi supposedly based in more sci than fi, but I didn’t care.

I’m not going into details on the synopsis or why you should read this. In fact, I don’t know when I’ll start reading another book after finishing this. It has rendered me content. I’m not looking for the next piece of fiction right now. I just want to let this soak in and stew for a while.

If you love dogs, love sci-fi and want a reason to feel something honest, read 'Watchers'. Hell, re-read 'Watchers'.

favorite excerpt:
Nora threw her arms around the retriever and hugged him. ”Don’t you even think such a thing. You’re a part of us. You’re family, damn you, we’re all family, we’re all in this together, and we stick it out together because that’s what families do.” She stopped hugging the dog and took his head in both hands, met him nose to nose, peered deep into his eyes. ”If I woke up some morning and found you’d left us, it’d break my heart.” Tears shimmered in her eyes, a tremor in her voice. ”Do you understand me, fur face? It would break my heart if you went off on your own.”
The dog pulled away from her and began to choose lettered tiles again: I WOULD DIE.
“You would die if you left us?” Travis asked.
The dog chose more letters, waited for them to study the words, then looked solemnly at each of them to be sure they understood what he meant: I WOULD DIE OF LONELY

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

what if...

what if we're all stuck in an alternate timeline, simply playing out a series of choices conceived, but never committed to, unknowingly biding time, waiting for that moment the original choice is decided upon and we all cease to exist?


prime numbers belong to the most arbitrary and ornery objects studied by mathematicians: they grow like weeds among the natural numbers, seeming to obey no other law than that of chance, and nobody can predict where the next one will sprout
Don Zagier

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

shortology [ALIEN]

'Lost in Infinity' Book Trailer

Have you seen the book trailer for 'Lost in Infinity'?

DIY home security...

Proof Claimed for Deep Connection between Prime Numbers

Mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University in Japan has released a 500-page proof of the abc conjecture, which proposes a relationship between whole numbers — a ‘Diophantine’ problem.
The Ulam Spiral or Prime spiral shown really has nothing whatsoever to do with ABC Conjecture yet every article I’ve seen on Mochizuki has the damn thing in there because his theorem is so far outside of the box, no one is intelligent enough to understand it or dispute it at this point regardless of how simple the concept seems so in order for publications to get anyone to even skim notes on his finding they keep throwing in prime spiral art to flash the page up.
Even the math community needs spin doctors apparently.

Monday, March 11, 2013

...I will have all of eternity to do it

Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

You might think that watching them struggle through various kinds of rehab would be heartbreaking, considering that they are often destined to die young. But there is no heartbreak here. Their small triumphs thrill them as much as winning a marathon might thrill you. They know moments of unadulterated joy, they know wonder, and they have hope. Their spirits won’t be chained. In my months among them, I have never heard one child complain.
As medical science has advanced, such institutions as St. Bart’s have fewer kids damaged by severe cerebral palsy, by toxoplasmosis, by well-understood chromosomal abnormalities. Their beds are taken these days by the offspring of women who preferred not to give up cocaine or ecstasy, or hallucinogens, for nine boring months, who played dice with the devil. Other children here were badly beaten-skulls cracked, brains damaged-by their drunken fathers, by their mothers’ meth-rotted boyfriends.
With so many new cells and lightless pits required, Hell must be going through a construction boom these days.
Some will accuse me of being judgmental. Thank you. And proud of it. You wreck a kid’s life, I have no pity for you.
Maybe my lack of compassion for these abusers of children- and other failures of mine-means I won’t see Stormy on the Other Side, that the fire I face will be consuming rather than purifying. But at least if I wind up in that palpable dark where having no cable TV is the least of the inconveniences, I will have the pleasure of seeking you out if you have beaten a child. I will know just what to do with you, and I will have all of eternity to do it.

best ever

"Sometimes I like to get really high and watch movies in other languages. This was my pick today, and this shit is tight. I like the part when the dude was all like "I ank a nai a durrim" and then this other dude was like "guru dah nai loon" and then they laughed, and I laughed, and we were all laughing, and I had no idea why I laughed.

up next

David Small - 'Stitches'