April 30, 2014

A Hot Dense State

Of all the rhymed couplets in the world, there is none more personally irritating to me than: "Our whole universe was in a hot dense state / then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait."

The whole song is pretty bad, but it's "wait" that irritates me the most. It conveys no meaning. It's only there because they couldn't think of another rhyme for "state." Why are they telling us to wait? What are we waiting for? What is the logic of waiting after expansion has begun?

You know what would have worked better? "Expansion started. Great!" Like they want you to know how great it is that the expansion has begun. Or they could do it in a Brit or Aussie accent: "Expansion started, mate." Or they could pretend they were addressing a girl named Kate or a guy named Nate. Almost anything that rhymes with "state" would be as good as or better than "wait." Do they get paid money every time that show airs? Because that's approximately a zillion times a day which must be lots and lots of money in exchange for something of just about zero value.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:43 PM

Fag Port-gay

I took this buzzfeed quiz, via Althouse, (because insomnia) to determine how "privileged" I am, and the result was: 42% "privileged". That's a whole lot less "privileged" than I actually am, I'm sure, if such a thing really is quantifiable. I answered the questions literally, insofar as I understood them, but I'm sure if I tried to psych the questions out and answer according to what I assume to be their spirit I'd have scored differently. e.g., I was, like a great many of you probably, called a "fag" every single day throughout my childhood, though I wasn't and am not actually gay. If the question is getting at gayness I answered it wrong. Also the questions at the end about "any of your identities" seemed surreal and I couldn't quite relate them to my plain old single identity. I wouldn't doubt that having just one identity rather than a mess of them (unless one of them is Batman) is somehow a big mark of "privilege" in itself but I'm not sure the multiple questions got at that.

I know, some guy just made it up so it's worthless, like everything else on the internet, but it nevertheless made me feel kind of bad somehow, and I'm sure that at least was the point, despite my "good" score (because privileged is bad, right?)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:01 PM

I Don't Need You Now

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:49 AM

Hitler / Girlfriend

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:51 AM

April 29, 2014

Cum on guys...

Very interested in how inaccurate lyrics on the internet get started and take on a life of their own. I've noticed it with my own songs when I've looked them up to try to remember how they go (no it's not "suck cock and asses" thank you very much.) And I've noticed it when I've tried to look up other people's songs to remember how they go too.

I'm pretty sure that the second verse of "Cum on Feel the Noize" says "say I'm a scofflaw but it's no disgrace..." But the internet evidently thinks it's: "along about a week, I stopped this race..." So was it just some Japanese kid trying to parse it out, typing it into web form as best he understood English, and then it just got replicated exponentially till it was truer than reality (because "scofflaw" just wasn't in his vocabulary?) Or maybe it was a kid from Cleveland who didn't have "scofflaw" in his vocabulary? Deep waters...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:48 AM

April 28, 2014

Why Don't People Still Think This Way?

If you talk about anything too much, if you spend too much time defining what you do, or telling people that you're free, or being defensive about your freedom obviously you're not free. Any time you have to push things down people's throat ... you know there's a lot of movements, whether it was like beatniks, hippies, women's lib, they're all just new political structures, they're all new dogma. We want to initiate change, but as soon as you structure your change, as soon as you write political order, you write dogma, you're right there with Catholicism, you're right there with Communism. Any time you start stating this, this, and this, rules and regulations, you're no longer liberated. You're just like a new political game, whether it's religious, spiritual, or social...
-- Patti Smith, from this 1976 video, via Dangerous Minds.
Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:27 PM

April 27, 2014


...brace yourself for the reality that a surprising # of readers will be unable or disinclined to distinguish you from your characters and will blame you personally for their flaws and failings, because internet.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:56 AM

My best writing advice

Don’t bother trying to make your cultural references contemporary. No matter how hard you try they will be out of date by the time your book is published two years after you submit your manuscript. And five years later when you write your first sequel, they will only embarrass you.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:25 AM

Writing Advice from John Updike

Well that was no help at all.

The only writing advice I’ve ever found genuinely helpful is the one from Roald Dahl about stopping in the middle of a section while you’re on a roll so that when you begin the next day you can pick it right up and continue rather than staring at a blank page wondering where to start. An hour a day in an armchair, I just doze off.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:17 AM

April 25, 2014

Out of Place in a Work of Fiction

Finishing up the edits on the King Dork Approximately appendices and keep remembering my favorite negative review of the first book. It's my favorite because it contained this line: "the sarcastic humor will appeal only to mature teens with an interest in 1960s novels, heavy metal music, oral sex, and random beatings." But also, it ended like this: "the included sketches and glossary of English words seem out of place in a work of fiction..."

Guess I never learned my lesson...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:00 PM

April 23, 2014

Sometimes bullying goes all the way to the top

If I ever included a flier like this in one of my books, I'd be accused of double plus un-verisimilitudinousness:


(via Reason.com/blog.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:22 PM

April 22, 2014

"Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend" / "Population: Us"

So here's how to buy that Dr. Frank and the Bye Bye Blackbirds 7" from Good Land Records:

On clear vinyl.

On bone, purple, and black splattered vinyl.

On black vinyl.

This all resulted from a show where I shared the bill with my old bandmate Aaron's current band the Bye Bye Blackbirds a ways back. We thought it would be fun to do a couple of songs with them as the back up band, and I chose a couple of acoustic songs that I'd always wanted to electrify ("Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend" and "Population: Us".) We had enough of a good time doing it that we decided to record them and, after the wind blew away a whole bunch of calendar pages, here they are.

The 7" comes with a digital download code, and I believe it will be on iTunes/Amazon etc. at some point but I can't find it on either at the moment. I'll let you know if it shows up.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:01 PM

So this is going to be a thing


More later.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:55 AM

April 17, 2014

Oakland's Got Talent

Throughout the day and night, amateur rappers walk by my apartment, honing their craft. I hear only brief snatches as they pass by my window with no indication of what went before or came next. The most recent of these went like this:

Y'all need to stick together
like butter on a feather


Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:28 PM

April 16, 2014

The Inspector Calls

I’ve been annoyed for quite awhile by the right side panel displayed on the latest versions of Mac OS Pages, the annoying thing being figuring out how to make it go away when you want. It’s useful when you need it, for font, formatting, alignment, and such. But when just typing I find it distracting. It’s not obvious how to make it go away, though, and until today I’ve just passively elected to live with its mildly irritating presence because figuring out how to get rid of it was just a little too much effort.

Today, though, I decided to look for the switch to make it go away. I figured I’d be looking for a menu item or button called “sidebar” or “format bar” or something like that but no such item seemed available. So, as one does with a program like MSW when finally fed up with it I went through each menu item one by one, regardless of whether it seemed logical. By this brute force method I found the answer.

This sidebar is known as The Inspector. I’m not kidding, The Inspector.

Once you know its secret, utterly counter-intuitive name (they might as well have named it The Brigadier, or the Baker, or the Guy from the Gas Company) you can hide it.

I love Pages and prefer it in every way to MSW. But that ain’t Maclike. It ain’t even Windows-like. It’s stupid-like.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:46 PM

April 15, 2014

Sackcloth and Ashes

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:21 AM

April 10, 2014

A Writer's Life is a Dog's Life, Except You Have Hands

Currently reviewing the second pass proofread of the text of King Dork Approximately and finding very few further corrections to make, which feels either very good or very bad, somehow. (The result of this is going to be the final text that gets published.) I actually read the entire thing out loud in a single sitting that took all day, so my voice is fried and I feel really disoriented and spacey. And my cat looks annoyed. What a weird "job."

(I put this pre-order link at the bottom of all posts if I remember to do it, just in case anyone is interested, or possibly in hopes that people who aren't interested might wind up pre-ordering it anyway by accident.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:51 AM

April 09, 2014

Without Pete

As difficult as it is to imagine the Who without Keith Moon, it's even harder to imagine them this way:

[original drummer]Doug was deeply hurt by [being asked to leave the band], especially because, unknown to me, he had defended me against my being thrown out of the band a few months earlier when another auditioning agent said I was gangly, noisy and ugly.”

That's Pete Townshend talking, from his memoir Who I Am (which I have yet to read.)

(via Althouse.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:47 PM

Electric to Me Turn


Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:57 AM

April 07, 2014

RS 6366


Just replaced another of those missing, possibly ex-girlfriend-confiscated LPs, and it's a big deal. This is a great day. (The vinyl is as NM as it's possible to be and, judging from a name written on the label, it was once owned by someone named Nancy Virtue, which I consider a definite plus. And it sounds simply amazing.)


Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:27 PM

April 04, 2014




(Pre-order it!)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:45 PM

April 03, 2014

Seattle Librarians Take on Portland's Book Nerds

J.D. Salinger... F. Portman... goal!

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:43 AM