Sunday, November 17, 2013

One Direction - Straight to Dad Hell

I took 15-year-old Daughter to Barnes and Noble because she wanted to pick up some stuff.  I browsed calendars.  When I took the Dogs Underwater calendar out of its slot, I saw this giant 18-month One Direction calendar stuffed behind it.

Now I have NOTHING against One Direction.  I think they are a bunch of fine young men who are clean-cut, talentless, arrogant, self-congratulatory, and annoying. 

[Daughter], on the other hand, would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars for tickets to see this group die in a fire.  She truly despises them and wishes them to be carried off by vultures.

So it was only in the purest spirit of Dad Mischief that I took the calendar and held it by my side as I went looking for [Daughter].

I found her browsing and casually asked her to "hold this while I go into the mall to get a pretzel?  I'll be right back," handed it to her and took off toward the store exit at a swift pace.

From behind me I heard the outraged "HEY! Take this back!" as she looked at what she was holding.

I kept walking.  I could hear her coming up behind me and demanding I take it back from her.  I didn't look back.

Finally the poor girl was nearly shouting, "Dad!  DAD!", and setting up the Dad-Prank perfect situation.

I turned around (walking backward) and found other customers looking at her waving the calendar above her head while calling me, just so I could tell her with a typical Exasperated Dad expression that "for the LAST TIME, [Daughter], I am NOT buying you that One Direction calendar no matter HOW much you beg me!".

I managed to stifle my giant grin as I turned and walked the last few feet out of the store where she couldn't follow because she had merchandise.

Outside the store I peeked back to find her glaring at me with eyes narrowed and nostrils flared, looking EXACTLY like her mother.

I love being a dad.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cetacean Nation

[Wife] : My nostril is whistling. It's so annoying.
Me: I think it's beautiful. Like whale song.
[Wife]: (gives Wife Look)
Me: Maybe I can get mine to do sonar clicks!  And that's called Romance!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Enjoying My Joy! (Subject to the Obi-Wan Rule)

People keep telling me “Happy Birthday” today because people do that each year around this time.  When they ask how my weekend was I tell them it was "FANTASTIC!".
I don't know what they conjure in their head when I say "fantastic" because hell if I know what their fantasies are - I don't know what qualifies as FANTASTIC to them.  But for me, this weekend was THE BOMB.  It was WICKED COOL.  It was THE BEE’S KNEES.  My weekend was fantasy come to life.  It was all this man could hope for and then some.
The Epic quality of my weekend is, like everything else of, subject to the Obi-Wan Rule of Truth.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."
My point of view: I am a rich, rich, wealthy man.  
I work a ton of hours and waste Thanksgiving-style portions of my life commuting.  I have a small house and two car payments, so my family doesn't go on vacation.  We rarely go to a restaurant or the movies.  I am out of shape, vaguely unhealthy and some important parts of my body have been abused and no longer work properly.  My entire structural integrity is iffy at best.  My doctor gets drunk and cries in despair after I visit her office.  AND I have a well-documented attitude problem.
And I am a wealthy, wealthy man who just enjoyed the mess out of THE BEST WEEKEND EVER.
I rid myself of the foul taste of Work Week with Friday Night Movie Night. [Daughter] had friends on her sofa.  I had [Wife] and [Dog] on the love seat.  I did my usual thing where I turn the movie volume up painfully high until [Wife] complains, so I compromise and turn the volume down to the Very High Level I actually wanted and everybody is happy.  The walls shook with the sound of space explosions.  Good times.
On Saturday afternoon I dragged [Wife] and [Daughter] bowling.  I haven’t been bowling in at least a decade.  I probably should have used a little happy-colored 9-pound ball because I am weak and floppy.  Instead I used MY OWN DAMN BALL, which is a blood-red 15-pounder that’s drilled for my OWN DAMN FINGERS.  And thank you very much, I got ELEVEN STRIKES over three games with my own damn ball that I could barely control after the first two games.  I tore up my left hamstring and pulled a muscle in the right side of my back, and I did it all using MY OWN DAMN BALL.  It was GREAT.  And now I walk with a cool-ass Pimp Strut!
Saturday evening (ice on hamstring, ice on back, borderline overdose on Advil), [Wife] gave me twenty minutes’ notice to get cleaned up before a parade of friends came to my house to celebrate my birthday (Also known as: my inexorable downward slide toward birthday gifts of removable teeth and devices with large buttons).  
[Wife] had set up the party in secret because I am curmudgeonly and a pain in the ass about my birthday.  This was allegedly a Midlife Birthday Party; kind of a Birthday Party Greatest Hits party because I never have parties.
As the evening progressed, amazing people just kept coming through my door: my wee home was packed with people I've been meaning to call, people I haven’t been in the same room with for fifteen or twenty years, people I miss dearly, people who I grew up with and people who kept me company while I refused to grow up.
It wasn't everybody I love, but I loved everybody who came.  My home was filled with food and spirits and a steady stream of outrageous conversation that was in no way suitable for polite company.  Thankfully, my wife didn't invite any polite company.  I spilled sauce on myself and snorted beer out my nose.  I laughed like it was my last chance to laugh before the Laugh Police came to outlaw laughter. I woke up hoarse on Sunday.
On Sunday evening, despite my proven track record of saying things that cause the entire room to freeze in their tracks and then stare at me, [Wife] and I attended an Imminent Infant Shower for our friends.  Their home was filled with people they love.  There was champagne and unidentifiable snacks and laughter and young humans using the unidentifiable snacks as role-play objects.  There was spilled alcohol and tiny outfits and stories of Vagina-Mangling Newborns and Epidurals Gone Wild and LOVE ALL AROUND.
Stereotypical Mid-life Crisis Guy Birthday Weekend script: Guy rents sports car, drives to Las Vegas, picks up Random Young Hot Chick, has wild weekend of drunken debauchery, comes home to angry wife and apologizes with fingers crossed behind his back.
No crisis for me - I dig my life.  Also I cannot afford a sports car or a trip to Vegas.
These two weekend parties filled with Award-Winning-Caliber strangewonderful folks was my version of a wild Las Vegas weekend.  And I did get to have an alcohol-fueled Honeymoon-level bed-breaking weekend with the Hot Chick I married.  And that’s a good thing, because my right hand and wrist are useless after bowling.
Getting back to Obi-Wan:
Depending on your point of view, my weekend wasn't anything truly epic or unbelievable.  But it's all about my point of view.
And from my glass-half-full point of view I:
  • went to TWO parties filled with high-quality mega-talented people
  • was physically debilitated by multiple ball-handling activities I very much enjoyed
  • watched my Oakland Athletics sweep their division rivals and reduce their Magic Number to Eight
Sure, from a certain point of view my weekend could have been better.  Everything could always be “better”.  But that way lies madness and discontent.
From my point of view?


MY LIFE IS FREAKING AWESOME.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ian's Friday of Very Nearly SUPER AWESOME!

Like you, I work hard for a living.  So like you, I look forward to the end of my Friday workday like I look forward to my hot wife, a cold beer, and lukewarm reviews of my writing.


The end of my Friday workday brought THREE ALMOST-AWESOME THINGS:


Almost-Awesome thing #1:


My boss got field-level ticket vouchers to see my American League West Champion Oakland Athletics, and gave them to me for the final home stand this week.  AWESOME.


Today is September 13th, which is now under arrest for willfully and maliciously appearing on the calendar after the expiration date on these vouchers.

Almost-Awesome Thing #2:


I got off my (ever larger) behind and took the Sales Manager tour of my local health club.  This place has EVERYTHING!  Pools spa sauna equipment-y machines FREE classes tennis courts basketball courts racquetball courts Superior Courts so you can work out during Jury Duty!  This gym has a Chiropractor and a Masseuse!  AWESOME.
Q. What does a membership with [Don't Be Hecka Fat] Health Clubs cost?
A. Our company policy is not to quote membership rates over the phone, because the price depends on the type of membership that would best fit your lifestyle.  This membership costs six-tenths of the annual GDP of Equatorial Guinea.
Q. What forms of payment are accepted for the monthly dues payments?
A. We prefer checking or savings ACH information and will also accept credit cards (Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express). No prepaid cards.  We accept payment in major limbs, but there will of course be a processing fee.


I’m pretty sure I can get sleek and sexy in my free week.  I’m good.


Almost-Awesome Thing #3


I got to be Hero Dad and save the day!  


A contingent of giggly teenage girls (“Dad!  We do NOT GIGGLE!!!” *glare, followed by eye roll*) is converging on my home tonight to watch a BRAND-NEW movie that the USPS was supposed to have at my house today.


I got home as the mailman pulled up to the mailbox. Bills, junk mail, urgent mail OPEN NOW oh nope that was junk mail too - no movie.  POSTAL SERVICE, THOU HAST FAILED ME!


Hero Dad to the rescue! Whipping out the Dad Phone, I reserve the movie on Redbox, retrieve it from the red movie Tardis and march triumphantly back to the house carrying my kill.  HERO DAD SAVES THE DAY!  AWESOME.



Already on the mantel at home:


[Wife]: Oh.  It arrived yesterday.


A: We are watching the movie that I BROUGHT HOME.
B: Those girls absolutely DO giggle.
C: LET’S GO, OAK-LAND!
D: I still get a cold beer.
E: My wife is still Hawt.

F: AWESOME.



Saturday, July 20, 2013

About Books: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous to the FREAKING Hysterical.

My Books To Read shelf has gotten short shrift this year, as I've been catching up on my comic book reading instead.  I have read all of 2008 and am in the beginning of 2009, comic-book-wise.  At this pace I've got about five years worth of non-comic books staring at me reproachfully so I need to become independently wealthy soon and get to reading more.
{on a related note: Man Seeks Philanthropic Readers to Help Make Life Pillowy-Soft}
I have read two and a half books since whenever the last time was I posted a book review:
Tenth of December by George Saunders.  This is possibly the most amazingly brilliant book I have read in my entire life as far as I can remember right now.  I won't say I couldn't put it down, because the opposite is true.  I NEEDED to put it down quite frequently.  This is a book of short stories, each one of them an absolute masterpiece; each one of them containing the equivalent emotional impact of being hit by a cement truck.


This is an athletic read.  Each story is told sparely, and it's up to the reader to fill in all the little details.  There is no superfluous word, there is nothing in any of the stories that is not ABSOLUTELY NECCESSARY.  Oftentimes my hamster wheel brain struggled along with the story, working and working to discern what was actually going on and why.  Then (when Saunders doles out the last few pieces of relevant information) everything clicks and you understand the story (brilliant, joyous, horrifying, or funny - often all of the above), you are captured.  Saunders HAS you.  You are trapped in the intellectual and emotional reality he has created, and your own day-to-day reality is nowhere near as compelling.  IT'S THAT GOOD.
I occasionally thought I was going to abandon Tenth of December because I wasn't man enough to handle the heartbreak of watching characters who live at the mercy of the dubious quality of our humanity.  But I was always compelled to pick it back up, because who wants to say they weren't emotionally capable of finishing the most brilliant book they've ever read?
George Saunders (bless him) finished up with two lovely and redeeming stories.  
Because I read e-books now (which is still weird for me and feels like a betrayal of the rest of my book-reading life reading paper books - books books), I didn't know I was at the end of the book until I was done.  It was a shock that there were no more stories.  I felt robbed of the rest of what I could have read, had there actually been any more.  It was like I had made a friend in the afternoon and then found out in the evening that the friend had just died.  Only - it was a book.
If you're strong enough, READ TENTH OF DECEMBER.
Maybe it's my fault.  I wanted some lighter reading after George's book so I picked up My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler, with whom I am not familiar but the interwebs say she's freaking hilarious.

I'm a fan of people who detail their own personal shortcomings because we can all laugh at the stupid things we humans do, right?  Ite's why those Liberty Mutual commercials are so fun to watch.  Humans are hysterical, especially when we recognize how stupid we are and yet do our stupid human things anyway and have to live with the consequences.
Either I missed the parts where Chelsea was funny when detailing her own failings, or Chelsea missed all the parts where she was supposed to write things in a way that was funny.
I was not amused by this book.  I was not amused by Chelsea Handler's Chelsea character, her worldview, the things she said, or much of anything that happened to Chelsea in her book.  I found the Chelsea character to be shallow and repugnant and tiresome and not funny.
Maybe Chelsea is hysterical in real life but is just not good enough a writer to make me see how hysterically funny she is.
Maybe the second half of the book is deliriously fun, but I was done before I hit the halfway point.  ABANDON SHIP.
I laugh a lot.  I laugh at things nobody else thinks are funny, but if its funny to me then I'm sure as hell going to laugh at it.  Sometimes that makes me the @$$hole in the room.  Sometimes I have to LEAVE the room while under direct fire from LASER DEATH WIFE LASER GAZE.  Sometimes I even have to sleep on the couch.

But I don't really laugh out loud at books anymore.  I'll stop reading and look up from my book with a big smile and say "WOW . . .!" because for me that means "I just read something really really fantastic and it was so much better and different than the things I think to myself that are funny, but THAT - that thing I just read?  THAT was pretty damn good!"
And then Everything's Perfect When You're a Liar by Kelly Oxford., which starts out fairly good (amusing self-absorbed bratty kid) to meh (okay dumb teenager) to "hey that's pretty good and worth my time to read" to "damn, that was totally good", to the David Copperfield chapter which was "Oh my God that is the most brilliantly honest and funny goddamn thing I have ever read in my entire life this year!"  
It is at THAT point that I know I will read every single word of the rest of the book even if it gets a little bit boring, and even if the rest of the book sucks (which it totally did NOT), I will still insist my friends read it even just for the David Copperfield chapter.  And also I will buy Kelly's next book.
In fact, I told my wife she had to read the David Copperfield chapter and she gave me her noncommittal grunt.  Later, I mentioned it again and she went all wifenuts and told me SHE KNOWS I want her to read it and this is the THIRD TIME I have told her to read it and STOP BUGGING.
I tried to tell her she was exaggerating because this was only the second time I had mentioned it and she didn't even speak, she just gave the the You're Stupid look and held up three fingers because even when I am You're Stupid, surely I can count three fingers.
[Later, when she was ready, my wife read the David Copperfield chapter and nearly peed herself.]
If you're reading this and haven't read Kelly Oxford's book, stop reading this and go read that instead.  It's better than this review you're reading.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Not The Best Food Authority

[Daughter], foraging in pantry: What's in these crackers?

Me: Ants.  And butter and wheat.  But mostly ants.  It's what makes them crunchy.

(silence, while [Daughter] looks at me with her best dead-eye expression)

[Daughter]: Mom, what's in these crackers?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Re: Your Cat

Before I start talking about you and your cat, let's start with a moment of consensus:
Please raise your hand if you are a big fan of cat poop.
. . . [waits] . . .
Unless you are a dog and you think cat poop is a tasty meat-based candy treat (in which case ohmygodI'mgonnabarf), I shouldn't see a whole lot of hands in the air.
If you are a cat owner / enabler who attempts to keep your feline and its poop inside an enclosed area then I salute you and appreciate you, while still acknowledging your basic character weakness in the area of pet selection.
Disclosure: I do not like cats.  This fact doesn't change, even just for YOUR kitty who is a GOOD kitty and who "acts just like a dog".  NO IT DOESN'T.  IT IS A CAT and it acts like a CAT and I do not like cats.
Nevertheless I accede to society's ruling that cats are somehow more acceptable as pets than feral, rabid, lesion-sporting rats, although I do not agree.
But this isn't about how your cat behaves at your house, it's about how your cat behaves at my house.
If you are one of the MILLIONS of cat owner / enablers who feeds their cat and lets it roam, THIS IS ABOUT YOU.
Have you wondered where your kitty goes when it wanders, enjoying its freedom? I will tell you: IT COMES TO MY HOUSE AND CRAPS.  It craps in my flowers and on my lawn.  It craps in the mulch where my vegetables try to grow.  It craps right outside my living room window, the main source of fresh air in my home.  
I find your cat’s poo daily.  My favorite is every week when I canvass each quadrant of the lawn very slowly and pick up all the cat crap I can find before starting the mower and stepping in/rolling over the pile I always miss.
At night your kitty mates near my bedroom window (with all the spine-shredding screaming and fighting and spitting that cat-mating entails).  While your cat is mating outside my bedroom, I am not mating inside my bedroom.  I am outside hunting for the goddamn garden hose.  If there was that much screaming and fighting inside my bedroom then there wouldn't be any mating for at LEAST a week.
During the day (in-between rounds of "Hide the Feces Somewhere Surprising" in my yard), your cat kills birds and leaves the carcasses on my porch as if to say "Thank you for cleaning up my diarrhea yesterday; I'm leaving you this gift to find after a 106-degree day.  And by the way, bird feathers make me vomit.  Guess where?".
This behavior makes me hate you much like I hate your cat.  I am not by nature a hateful person, but really what choice do I have left?
When the subject of super powers comes up (Flight or Invisibility?  Super-Strength or Super-Speed?) I say this: I want the power to track cat crap back to the cat who made it, then track the cat back to the home of the last person to feed it, then to teleport both the cat AND its crap INSIDE THE HOME OF THAT PERSON.  
Outside their bedroom door if possible.



Also: Discovery: Crazy Cat-Lady Syndrome and Cat Poop Raises Owners Suicide Risk




Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fall, Winter, Spring, Shirtless

For those of you who have not met me in real life, I probably have to explain what happens every summer when I remove my shirt.

Every single summer in the eyes of women, I am inextricably linked to the image of Daniel Craig shirtless.


It's probably because we share a common Scottish heritage; we are both vital, virile animals that can bend a woman's will until she begs us to please for god's sake put the shirt back on before she loses all self-control.

We are linked.  I have not yet met a woman who can gaze upon me bare-chested and not think to herself, "I wish it was Daniel Craig shirtless instead of this guy.  I am going to lose control of my lunch".

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends and loved ones who have cast away time and energy and life and breath and sanity and dignity and personal boundaries in the pursuit of raising small humans in hopes of training them to be serviceable members of society, instead of Congresspeople.
There is never a guarantee of success or appreciation, but I appreciate the mothers in my life.
Yesterday [Wife] and I had a good conversation about my mom's lasting impact on how we parent the Reddoch spawn. Although we've missed my mom for the last nine years, my kids continue to reap the benefits of the privilege of being her grandchildren.
So this is me hoisting a beer in honor of moms I know.
I am still drinking it out of the bottle, and I am not using a coaster.
Keep on Mom-ing, Moms.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Baseball is Not a Coy Game

[Wife] on the Oakland Athletics scoring six runs off the Houston Astros in the bottom of the FIRST INNING:
"No way!  You can't just give it all up like that in the first inning - that's not professional baseball!  You can't just give it up like that, like a drunken coke whore at a bachelor party! 
At least be like the friendly debutante after the ball - put up a good fight, let the other team spend time on the other bases for a while, then give it all up in the late innings - THAT I get. 
But the FIRST INNING?!  You haven't even seen all nine guys yet!  Have some self-respect, Astros."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pet Calendar

On April 14th my Oakland Athletics are hosting the Detroit Tigers and having their yearly Pet Calendar and Pet Adoption Day.  Sure, it SOUNDS harmless enough, but I have mixed feelings. 
I often used to participate in this day, but it always led to heartbreak.
I LOVED my last pet calendar, but sadly it expired just one year after I adopted it. 
Every day after I took it for a walk, it looked a little more tired and ragged.  As each month passed, my pet calendar got thinner and thinner. 
Finally I could see the writing on the wall. 
...But I suppose I should have known: every pet calendar's days are numbered.

This economy is just nuts

Saddest economic indicator at the grocery store today.

Cashew Halves being promoted with bright signs at the middle of the shelf.

On the bottom shelf of the end cap: Cashew Halve nots.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

[Daughter returns home after performing in an all-schools concert]

Me: Did you have fun tonight?

[Daughter]: Everybody had fun tonight!

Me: Oh! Did everybody Wang Chung tonight?

[Daughter]:  What?!

Me: Did.  EVERYBODY.  Wang.  Chung.  TONIGHT.

[Daughter, giving skeptical teenager look]: Nobody had Chinese food.  Is this an old person thing?

Me: Me and your mom would've Wang Chung-ed.

[Daughter]: I'm leaving now.

Me, shouting after her: WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE, EVERYBODY WOULD'VE WANG CHUNG-ED TONIGHT!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Acting Advice

[Daughter]: I'm going to be featured in a drama showcase in May!
Me: You mean people are coming to our house to watch that thing you do every morning when you get up late and then fly into a tearful, shouting arm-waving panic because you're going to be late and your parents are ruining your life because we make you eat breakfast anyway?
[Daughter]: ... No. I'm going to do a scene and sing a couple of songs.
Me: Well, get up on stage on time and don't sing with your mouth full.

Monday, February 11, 2013

How did I get to be the Masshole in this argument?

Crisis at work today nearly ended badly when I stood on a chair and yelled, "I can't believe all of this pointless bickering! At a time like this when we all need level heads, we must pool our resources and focus on the goal or we will absolutely FAIL! This is no time to be petty and selfish - there's too much at stake."

With all eyes on me in the moment of silence, I told my coworkers, "Now - handle things like adults - despite your differences. I need to continue building alliances among the Quarians and the Krogans, so we can all of us together construct the Prothean megaweapon and destroy the Reapers before there's no one left in the galaxy to argue!"

I take it as a personal triumph that no one contradicted me or stopped me from going to my car.

On a related note, I finally started playing Mass Effect 3 this weekend.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Daughter's Family Barbecue

[Wife] and I in the kitchen, talking in low tones. We say [Daughter]'s name in conversation.

[Daughter] (yelling from a far-flung corner of the house): "DID YOU CALL ME?!"

Me: "NOBODY CALLED YOU! WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT YOU."

[Daughter]: "WHAT WAS IT ABOUT?"

[Wife]: "WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, SWEETIE!"

[Daughter]: "REALLY?!"

Me: "ALMOST. WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW GOOD AND LEAN YOU ARE, AND HOW SWEET YOU WOULD BE IF WE BARBECUED YOU."

[Daughter]: "WHAT?!!"

Me: "WE'RE THINKING ABOUT A LUAU PIT, BUT I'M NOT A VERY GOOD COOK, SO YOUR MOM WOULD HAVE TO MONITOR THE PROCESS. HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU THINK YOU'D FEED? KEEP IN MIND WE WOULD ALSO HAVE SIDE DISHES."

[Daughter]: "YOU'RE A HORRIBLE FATHER!"

Me: "NO, I'M A HORRIBLE COOK! I AM A GOOD FATHER WHO'S PLANNING TO SHARE YOUR GOODNESS AND SWEETNESS WITH A WHOLE PARTY FULL OF PEOPLE! I'LL EVEN LET YOU CHOOSE WHAT KIND OF BARBECUE SAUCE WE'LL USE! CHOOSE SOMETHING THAT WILL STILL ALLOW YOU TO DEVELOP A CRISPY SKIN."

[Daughter]: "WAAAAAH! I'M RUNNING AWAY TO DISNEYLAND!"

Me: "DON'T BUTT INTO OTHER PEOPLE'S COVERSATIONS, THEN!"


Saturday, February 9, 2013

About Books: John Dies at the End by David Wong.

Last weekend I read John Dies at the End by David Wong.


It's got all kinds of accolades, which you can easily find for yourself here. 

The only/best quote I'll repeat goes something like "A cross between Douglas Adams and Stephen King."


John Dies At The End began as an online goof and became a popular web-episodic project, and then it was a book that people loved, and now it is also a movie opening very very soon.  Or now, depending on your geographic location.  Also there is a sequel called This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, which sits on my bookshelf waiting for me to get to it one of these years when everybody else has already read it, loved it, and long-since moved on.


Bottom line:  Ian liked John Dies at the End.  I was highly entertained and laughed out loud many times.  Not the kind of laughed out loud that ends in me writing LOL, but the kind of laughed out loud that caused my family to look at me funny and, in the case of the dog, jump off my lap and go sulk in another room.  I don't get enough time to read, but I gobbled this thing down in a single weekend.


The book's protagonist (David Wong) is a career loser.  Always been a loser, continues being a loser during the book.  Sometimes Loser is also known as Average Guy, but that's not accurate.  Some of us are below average, which can result in being the protagonist of this book.  Wong's best friend John is also a loser and as a bonus reminds me 100% of a dude I knew in College also named John, also a severe social misfit also a druggie, also holding a severe misconception of himself as an actual musician.  So it's him I pictured throughout the book, which made the whole thing funnier to me.


There is a level of prolific imagination throughout the novel that is often exhausting.  It's like mental gymnastics (which, for lazy people like myself, can result in the burning of actual calories).


As a reader I can see where the author’s initial love and enthusiasm for this project flagged and was replaced with a case of the "Well, NOW what?s".  The middle of the book lags, then kind of slowly ramps up to become a decent novel without the density of experience that we had in the first half.  So while I can call the book "uneven", an uneven road can be one helluva ride.  And this one is quite a ride.  With penis jokes and poo jokes.


I don't have a ratings system and I'm not going to use one.  I can give it a "Two Feet Up" rating because that's how I spent my weekend, but that's as close as I'll get.


I believe I'm looking forward to the movie, opening right now at a theater near me.

The Not Roger Ebert Movie Review


The John Dies at the End book page on Amazon

The actual review quote I was too lazy to put in the body of my actual post:
“David Wong is like a mash-up of Douglas Adams and Stephen King . . . ‘page-turner’ is an understatement.” --Don Coscarelli, director, Phantasm IV and Bubba Ho-tep [Um, this is also the guy who directed the John Dies at the End movie - Ian]


An actual review from an actual book reviewer:

From Publishers Weekly

In this reissue of an Internet phenomenon originally slapped between two covers in 2007 by indie Permutus Press, Wong—Cracked.com editor Jason Pargin's alter ego—adroitly spoofs the horror genre while simultaneously offering up a genuinely horrifying story. The terror is rooted in a substance known as soy sauce, a paranormal psychoactive that opens video store clerk Wong's—and his penis-obsessed friend John's—minds to higher levels of consciousness. Or is it just hell seeping into the unnamed Midwestern town where Wong and the others live? Meat monsters, wig-wearing scorpion aberrations and wingless white flies that burrow into human skin threaten to kill Wong and his crew before infesting the rest of the world. A multidimensional plot unfolds as the unlikely heroes drink lots of beer and battle the paradoxes of time and space, as well as the clich├ęs of first-person-shooter video games and fantasy gore films. Sure to please the Fangoriaset while appealing to a wider audience, the book's smart take on fear manages to tap into readers' existential dread on one page, then have them laughing the next. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


The actual book flap text:
STOP.
You should not have touched this book with your bare hands.
NO, don’t put it down. It’s too late.
They’re watching you.
My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours.
You may not want to know about the things you’ll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it’s too late. You touched the book. You’re in the game. You’re under the eye.
The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why? You just have to trust me.

The important thing is this:
The drug is called Soy Sauce and it gives users a window into another dimension.
John and I never had the chance to say no.
You still do.
Unfortunately for us, if you make the right choice, we’ll have a much harder time explaining how to fight off the otherworldly invasion currently threatening to enslave humanity.
        I’m sorry to have involved you in this, I really am. But as you read about these terrible events and the very dark epoch the world is about to enter as a result, it is crucial you keep one thing in mind:

None of this is was my fault.