The Family Stinkbug

This is the family stinkbug, Bob. “How large is this magnificent arctic stinkbug crawling toward the backyard hammock?” you ask. Oh ho, quite small, of course, and photographed here on the kitchen window.

Bob has been wintering with us all season. He was commonly seen in the upstairs bathroom but has, of late, been venturing downstairs. We cannot let him out because of the cold, and because we would miss him, and he us.

Things I Can Say About MFA Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One

After eight years of teaching at the graduate level, I grew increasingly intolerant of writing designed to make the writer look smart, clever, or edgy….I told a few students over the years that their only job was to keep me entertained, and the ones who got it started to enjoy themselves, and the work got better. Those who didn’t get it were stuck on the notion that their writing was a tool designed to procure my validation. The funny thing is, if you can put your ego on the back burner and focus on giving someone a wonderful reading experience, that’s the cleverest writing.

from Ryan Boudinot’s essay, “Things I Can Say About MFA Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One“.

Welcome to Night Vale

Very late discovering this, but the podcast WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is the greatest thing ever. The family and I just listened to the first two episodes by the light of our wood stove and were instantly addicted.

Weasel Riding a Woodpecker

Via Buzzfeed

Owls Can Swim

Random Thoughts About Godspeed You! Black Emperor

  • gybePost-rock is a term for music that could also be called post-symphonic.
  • The apocalypse sounds interesting.
  • Sometimes visionary bands get so ouroborosy about their work, their music is overshadowed by how annoying they get while rejecting common praise, but somehow this hasn’t yet happened with GY!BE, because their music remains fantastically good.
  • Some wives, and I’m not necessarily talking about anyone specific, will accompany their husbands to a GY!BE concert at the now-defunct Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ and take years before admitting that yes, GY!BE is a good band.
  • We could perhaps call it metamorphic rock.
  • It’s worth noting that certain husbands will suffer tinnitus after accompanying their wives to a Dinosaur Jr. concert, which is so loud he never actually perceives a melody, so let’s call it even.
  • One of their LPs is called F♯A♯∞ (pronounced “F-sharp, A-sharp, Infinity”), and the second side of the vinyl edition ends with a closed groove, so the needle will keep playing a drone forever.
  • In an age when almost no decent band on Earth retains any degree of mystique, GY!BE still sounds like something you’d accidentally hear on a fuzzy radio at 3AM, or on an unlabelled mix tape you found in the street.
  • One afternoon I didn’t even realize I’d been listening to the infinite vinyl drone for 30+ minutes.
  • They have a new LP coming out in March.
  • I went into a tiny record store last year, looking for a copy of the latest GY!BE album, which they didn’t seem to have until I asked the clerk, who coincidentally had a single album — the one I wanted — under the counter. He and I were both a little weirded out by that, and a little delighted.

Octopus Ambushes Crab on Land


saulI’ve seen the excellent first three episodes of BETTER CALL SAUL — each episode better than the last — and started thinking about the series’ future. How to avoid the prequel curse? The trouble with prequels, everyone knows, is that we already know the “end”. We know Saul survives BREAKING BAD, so we know he survives BETTER CALL SAUL, and that robs the latter series of fundamental dramatic tension. Things can’t get epically bad for Saul because we know he lives to become Walter White’s self-assured lawyer, so I’ll never fear for his life and well-being as deeply as I feared for Walt’s.

But co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are too smart for this. There’s a simple solution they’ve already teased in Episode 1. I haven’t read any articles about the series at this point, so for all I know this is a common theory, but here’s my guess: BETTER CALL SAUL won’t end before the chronological beginning of BREAKING BAD. The series will end with Saul’s life after BREAKING BAD, at which point it’s virgin narrative territory, and the full dramatic tension returns, and anyone who survived BREAKING BAD — including Jesse Pinkman — can return to play a role.

Now that I’m typing this, it seems ridiculously obvious, especially since the series opens with Saul working at Cinnabon in the throes of post-BAD anxiety. I’m probably the millionth person to think of it. But I’m jazzed with the idea, and I’d bet money that’s the way it ultimately goes: BETTER CALL SAUL will finally be both a prequel and a sequel.

Ice Volcano Forms in Upstate NY

A five-story “ice volcano” has formed from a geyser in Letchworth State Park, NY.


Twitter Fiction Festival 2015

I’m excited to be a featured author for Twitter’s Fiction Festival this May. I’ll be tweeting a murderous love story.

Please follow me at @Giganticide and I will tweet things at you.



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