Monday, September 25, 2006

Snow*Vigate Anthology

I'm stealing this news from Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz's blog.

As a result of a generous grant from Indiana State
University, Snow*Vigate Press will be publishing a
printed anthology of the best on-line writing which
has appeared over the past ten years. Hopefully the
anthology will be released in August 2007.

The book will include poetry broken into lines, prose
poetry, flash fiction, long fiction pieces, creative
non-fiction, and 10 minute plays. If you would like
to nominate your own on-line work or work from others,
please follow these guidelines:

Paste the URLs of no more than 20 works in the body of
your email. You may nominate ONE piece from 20
different writers, or a total of 20 pieces from a
combination of writers (ONE piece from SIX different
writers, FOUR pieces from ONE writer, and 10 pieces of
your own writing, for example). The combination does
not matter, but please limit your submissions to no
more than 20 links. In the subject line of your
email, please type "Submission to Snow*Vigate
Anthology." Send all submissions to
dougmartin832(at) (Replace
(at) with @)

Work from any on-line site is acceptable, as long as
it has not been published in printed form.

The submission period will end on October 15, 2006.

If you have any questions, please contact Doug Martin
dougmartin832(at) (replace (at) with @).

So there's the deal. I'm going to surf around the next couple of days to pick out my favorite 20 pieces from the web. Anyone reading this, PLEASE feel free to post suggestions in the comments here, or e-mail them to me. (and don't be shy, send me links to YOUR stuff, too.)

And, I in no way think I've got one of the best pieces on the web. But if you'd just love to nominate something by me, I'm not adverse to it, either. (<--yes that's my blatant whoring.) May I suggest one of these pieces?
I, Candy --

Going Yard --

/end whoring

Now send me your stuff!

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Never

Found this just this morning, and quite loved it. "A Friendly Game of I-Never" by Jason Shaffner.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Official Guide to Office Wellness

William R. Vitanyi, Jr., author of the office satire Kyuboria, brings us his latest office lampoon, The Official Guide to Office Wellness. This quirky and funny manual demonstrates 101 common office maladies and pairs them with animal-inspired techniques and exercises to relieve the condition. Each one is charmingly demonstrated by real office workers in the accompanying photos.

There's a little something for every office dweller inside this book's pages, and more often than not, workers will chuckle at the conditions, smirk at the remedies, and laugh even harder at the full decriptions. From Bluescreenism to Coworker Adhesion Syndrome, Vitanyi proves that he's no office slouch. This is an environment he's in synch with, and his spot-on, wry observations are seldom discussed in general public in such a humorous manner, let alone compiled and chronicled so thoroughly as in this book. But that's part of the brilliance of the work. Because while it's "fresh" material, it's also instantly recognizable to other office drones. Even if the reader doesn't suffer from some of the maladies, such as Compliance Disorder -- which every longtime office dweller should suffer at some juncture -- or Ambitionism, they'll surely recognize one of their office mates who does suffer from the afflictions.

How he convinced so many people to pose in such a silly manner, I'll never know, though I suspect it has something to do with Task Exuberance. No matter how he pulled it off, this manual is the perfect escape to look forward to as a lunchtime break for those suffering from Noonism. And it'll make an even better coffee table book for office folks with a good sense of humor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Deja Vu

Perhaps the appearance of Paula Abdul on last night's Rock Star wasn't just a charming television curiosity. Perhaps it was meant as some sort of producer foreshadowing. Because didn't the way things played out seem a bit familiar to you Idol fans?

In case not, I give you this brief photo essay.

Going out at number four:

Going out at number three:
The Cute Guy Who Sings the Best

Runner up:
The sweet chick who ends up villianized when we see through the charade and witness her self-serving ways and bitchy looks

They guy who dances like he's either drunk or having a seizure. Or having a drunken seizure. He sings alright, you know. But those wild gyrations are what really clinches it.


So this season of Rock Star comes to a close, with Lukas Rossi being picked as frontman for Supernova. I hope to have a couple more words of commentary on the finale in the next couple of days, but just in case I get sidetracked, I just want to thank everyone who nudged me toward this show. I'm glad I watched. I didn't get as much snarky mileage out of it as I did with Idol, but a large part of that is because yes, the House Band DOES fucking ROCK. They're great. And my hate for Dave disolved, and I'm now satisfied to consider him the worthy Godfather of (commercial) Goth.

But it's okay that I lost one hate-on, because in Taoist balance, I gained another, much more worthy of disdain in hatchet-faced Gilby Clarke.

Poor fucking Dilana. Her runner-up prize? Gilby offered to produce and CO-WRITE her CD. Even squint-eyed Ryan got a fucking car. But Dilana didn't even get the Chocolate phone from LG that they'd been hocking mercilessly all season. Oh no! Instead she gets an offer to get one of the all-time lamest songwriters to help her on her CD. And this while they all shower her with "we love you" sentiments. Fuck me! If that's love, I guess these guys are SERIOUSLY into the S&M idea of it all. Pain is pleasure, baby. Now suck it up and go make an album and sing profoundly asinine lyrics about tarantula fuzz!

But thus ends the build-up. There was lots of flirting from himbo Tommy along the way, though we never got to see Tommy's much ballyhooed great big cock that Brooke Burke so often not-so-coyly mentioned. But this is network television. And it doesn't matter anyhow. It's something we've already seen before. It was nice to just relive the glory days again, with a little different flavor and spin this time.

And that's exactly what Supernova is setting out to do. Jason, hatchet-faced Gilby, and big-dicked T. Lee on the road, with new guy Lukas Rossi. I'm sure Lukas will hear plenty about the good-ole-days. And I hope gets to revel in some brand new fun of his own.

The Bimbo Mirror Has Two Faces

And the two faces met last night on Rock Star: Supernova. I knew I saw Paula Abdul in all her cheezy, metallic-fabriced, drug-addled, stiff armed-clapping glory in the audience. What was truly spectacular though was when Dave Navarro (whom I now love with the intensity of a supernova) pointed her out and T. Lee stood up and waved and in a schoolgirl voice said, "Hi Paula!"

Sweet-natured, utterly lovable and mockable idiot-judge-in-the-middle with a propensity for showing up to tapings half-looped on expensive narcotics and cheap liquor, please meet your female counterpart from another network!

Great television. Hey, if Idol can have Hasselhoff in all his moist-eyed absurdity, Rock Star can have Paula.

After that, the performances of the final four were just fine, but I'll admit I don't know who the hell they're going to choose. I assume Toby, since they've gone the distance to drag down darling Dilana, and because I just can't see them tolerating Lukas, and Magni just seems a touch too normal. I highly doubt they really care about songwriting skills, because I'd previously heard that all of Supernova's tracks were going to be written by Butch Walker anyhow. I think they're just trying to give themselves, and their singer, some cred with stressing the original material. Oh yeah, and they're selling all those original tracks on MSN.

Anyhow, loathe though I am to admit it, Lukas's "Headspin" is alright. Toby's "Throw it Away" is quite catchy, even on first listen, which means it probably doesn't have much longevity, because even though it's got a rock feel, it's quite poppy. But I think that's right up Supernova's alley. Compare it to Magni's "When the Time Comes" which has an old-school, rock drive but lacks the instant hook. It's somewhat reminiscent of Judas Priest, which you'd think would be right in the wheelhouse for "rockers" like Supernova. But no. They're old, and they want to make fat cash and make it quick, so they much prefer the pop-hook treatment. And certainly, Dilana's "Super Soul" is almost embarrassing, but the fact that fucking hack Gilby has the balls to tell her that the lyrics are too literal or whatever makes me almost pee my pants.

You ever check out any of this asshole's lyrics? Here you Go . In case you're too lazy to search that in depth, let me give you a taste:
From his masterpiece, "Skin & Bones":
I had a little sister who could drink up a storm If the liquor
didn't kill her she'd be twenty-one The good times, bad
times can't remember them all Must have been the thunder
and alcohol

The skeletons in the closet keep me awake at night The
thing that really scares me are the monsters I live with

Oh Yeah, Gil. That's neither literal nor overwrought you fucking self-absorbed twunt. That wasn't enough to convince you, gentle readers? How about this little gem, called "Cure Me or Kill Me":
When the first car hit the wall
Was the gulit still in or head?
In your magic crystal ball
Is the poweer that made you mad
You can't save yourself, it's a pleasure cruise
You're damned for a million years
There's a viper in your bedroom
Under the sheets is tarantula fuzz
When she bites, she bites for murder
I bleed the Addams Family blood
There's a spell on me that I can't reverse
It's a sympathy cross you burn

You have GOT to be fucking kidding me!

He has the brass balls to write about bleeding Addams Family blood and tarantula fuzz and then tell Dilana that her lyrics aren't so great? Hypocrite on a Triscuit, Gilby Clarke! Plus, he's also a condescending prick. I'm so sick of his affected voice when he's giving his feedback. Him and his ridiculous hair and self-loving face. What a world of luck this asshole fell ass-backwards into. He was, at best, an unimaginative, pedestrian guitarist who managed to claim some street cred by being in a band with Axl and Slash, and now, twenty years later, he's still riding that good fortune and selling it out for even more fame and cash by hooking up with the manufactured super-band Supernova. But he could at least have the decency to know what luck he's had and shut the fuck up and duck and cover and appreciate his good fortune instead of actually believing the hype and thinking he'd be anywhere near a fucking television camera if he wasn't flanked by Dave and Tommy. Fuck off, Gilby! Just fuck off already.

And with my hate now completely transferred, I owe at least a passing mea culpa to Dave Navarro. The eyebrows. The throne. The sartorial choices. I love it all, and I love him. He'd pretty much cracked me anyhow, but last week, when he got up and did "Suffragette City" with Storm, he had me. That's right. He had me at "Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma'am." He gave her a kiss on the cheek, and after it all, he told her he could've gotten up and performed with anyone he wanted to, but he chose her. And I loved him for that. Storm had arguably the best original song with "What the What is Ladylike." And all season, Storm's taken a lot of shit from Supernova and handled it all with not just class and grace, but with guts and style.

I'm a week late, but that was a great twist to the evening. We all knew Storm was the next to go. Something about her crazy eyes and Kim Catrall meets Kid Rock look just wasn't going to be something these fellows from Supernova could handle. So -- fuck Supernova. Get DAVE up there, which had to be ten times more gratifying for Storm anyhow.

What the fuck is ladylike? Beats me. But Storm is the very definition of a dame. And I was glad to see her get to play with Dave. Why SHOULD she have to suffer the indignity of having Gilby Clarke fuck up one of her songs? Of course T. Lee wouldn't take the stage with her, she'd pull attention away from him. And Jason? Methinks if Jason had shadowed and then jostled Stormy the way he had flaccid Phil, he'd have ended up thrown onto the other side of the stage with her then walking across his back.

Don't get me wrong, I dig Jason, and I think he does hold the "credibility" factor in the whole Supernova formula. That's why they routinely edit out his comments -- because they make sense but they aren't sensational. I mean, it just doesn't make for as good television to have Jason prattling on about tone and constricting and energy when you can choose to show Tommy slumped back with his shirt unbuttoned and summing up a performance by going, "That was just...*insert growly sexual noise*."

Anyhow. Tonight they'll pick their new lead singer. The runners-up will certainly be issued a Chocolate phone from LG, and perhaps one of them will take away a Honda CRV, because that is what we're now supposed to Crave. Because that is the new face of rock-n-roll, staring back at us in the mirror. It's not an ugly, sexy beast that thumps for the sake of being heard through its frustration. It's a preening marketing tactic. But sometimes, it's also got a shimmery reflection that shows us what can be, like in moments when Navarro takes the stage with Storm: Unexpected, sexy, and totally upstaging the status quo.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Blue by J.D. Riso

J.D. Riso's debut novel, Blue is now available from Murphy's Law Press

From the back cover:

In an industrial neighborhood of San Diego there is a lonely, forgotten lot guarded by nothing more than a chain-link fence. Little remains of the establishment that reigned here once, or of the painted ladies who once graced its stage.

Stiletto heels protrude from the seared earth like tawdry tombstones. Sunlight glints off a garden of broken mirrors and scattered rhinestones. Sparkling appari-tions flit about in the breeze. They are specters of the dancers who have been scat-tered like some lost tribe of Babylon.

Amid the rubble one thing remains intact: a blue sequined mask.


I read this book this week, and was completely engrossed. Here's my thoughts on it:

Meet Blue Rivers. She's the result of her mother's rape back in high school, and her mother, Christine, has never developed any maternal love for her. Instead, after Christine's new boyfriend abuses Blue when she's just freshly graduated from high school, her mother kicks her out. Blue's only friend is Belinda, who at eighteen has already discovered the trick to getting men's attention, and money. She and Blue travel from Arizona to California, but when Blue isn't content to whore herself out, she parts with Belinda and lands a waitress job.

But then Blue's existence is again thrown into upheaval when she meets the darkly charming Kevin. Through a practiced routine of emotional games, Kevin manages to convince Blue to become a nude dancer. Thus begins Blue's descent into a career of stripping.

Riso takes us unabashedly through this strange and sometimes sordid world in all its variations. But if you're looking for a tantalizing piece of erotica, this isn't the book for you. Riso doesn't shy away from any of the sexual aspects, but she's not extorting them, either. Instead, through Blue's eyes, we get an honest, behind-the-scenes peek at the Pink Palace, where Blue first enters the world (and often returns), an LA private dancing company, a Vegas club, and even a journey around the world to Guam.

Riso manages to successfully have her cake and eat it too, because through honesty, certain stereotypes are both reinforced and shattered. Strong characters and shady motivations color and darken the pages, but it's Blue's inner core that never gets lost. She's a girl who struggles with baggage and issues, and seems ripe for predators. But though she allows her heart to lead her down dangerous paths, and though she seems emotionally fragile, in reality her spirit and self-realization is stronger than most people's. She'll bend and suffer to please Kevin, but he can't ever break her. For as low as her self-esteem can appear, she's got a hidden reserve that combines with her fierce intelligence to reveal true beauty.

Riso's writing is both accessible and elegant. This works well for the novel, as it's written in first person, and Blue's friends and colleagues are quick to notice her intelligence and verbal wit, and it keeps the reader engaged not just on the plot level, but on an artistic one as well.

This is a fine debut from Riso. Nestled among the lovely words and gritty settings, there's a beautiful character in here, and she'll keep readers enraptured through her entire show, even as she brushes up the dollars from the stage.

Blue is available right here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Caramel Flava is currently #29 on the New York Times Paperback Bestseller list.

Holy Shit!

I don't feel that I've earned bragging rights, because I know very well that Zane is selling this book, not me. But it still feels most excellent to be a small part of it.

I got some contributor copies, and I've read through the entire book now. I'll post more thoughts on it at a later date, but for now, suffice to say that it's sizzling hot and Zane did a great job of compiling eclectic works that do justice to the Latin theme.

My story in the book is a Cuban-spiced sizzler titled "Found in Translation" and it's been singled out in a couple of reviews -- favorably. (!) That's some good juju, alright. But if you're looking for something steamy to prolong the summer heat or warm up the quickly approaching autumn nights, you can't go wrong with this book.

Congrats to Zane, and to all the other writers included in this anthology. I'm so proud and honored to be included with you talented, daring, and brave writers.

As a little mini-celebration, I'll be happy to send out a signed copy of the book (along with a little special bonus) to three people. All you have to do is drop me an e-mail (susandiplacido AT saying you'd like a copy of it, and be willing to tell me your address, and I'll send it to you. First three e-mails get a copy. And please note, it's only signed by me, not by Zane.

Designated Blogger

Baseball fans, and especially Yanks lovers, here's a new blog for you to check out: Designated Blogger. I'm not a Yank fan, because I just can't tolerate the DH. Also, I'm a Met fan. (YAY Mets!!) But already the Designated Blogger has a very astute entry about A Rod and how (and why) fans are reacting to him. So check him out.

Also in minor sports news, my love for the World Cup Champion Italian soccer team still hasn't faded. (that's true love) And today, after accepting a two game ban that will force him to miss the rematch between France and Italy, Marco Materazzi finally goes public with what he said that prompted superstar Zinedine Zidane to head-butt him and get himself thrown out of the championship match. It makes me giggle because it's so cliche.

Anyhow. I am still watching Rock Star. I was glad that Ryan got the boot last week. I've just been buried with some office work lately so I missed doing a recap. I'll try to get my shit in order for this week.