Tag Archives: Curiouser and Curiouser

Kelly Boyker


Curiouser & Curiouser:​ What’s the master plan to get Craig Wallwork to come to the U.S. and have lunch with us? So far he seems mainly scared. Is there a way to do this without causing him a psychological breakdown?

Kelly: ​First we set up a crowd funding sight to raise funds to bring Craig to the states. Of course, we do this without Craig’s knowledge. Once we have met our funding goal, oh say $10,000.00, we hire a minor celebrity. The minor celebrity along with a bevy of excited strangers and a camera crew will go to Craig’s house and ring his doorbell. Craig will answer the door and the extras will all cheer en masse and the minor celebrity will excitedly inform Craig that he has won a special sweepstakes and hand him a giant cardboard check for an all expense paid vacation to the USA. Of course, there will also be confetti and people tooting kazoos plus the camera crew recording everything. The camera crew is key because those that donated to the fund will have the reward of getting to see the moment when Craig’s face lights up with delight.

There will be no need for Craig to pack because we will have bought him an entire new wardrobe for his trip. We will have to pre-arrange all of this with his wife, of course, and also get his clothing and shoe size from her. Come to think of it, we will also have to pre-arrange with his employer. Next thing Craig knows he traveling to the airport in high style in a white stretch limousine, sipping champagne and joyfully sniffing the dozen red-roses strewn artfully about the limo. He will ask about his destination but that shall be shrouded in mystery and terribly hush-hush.

He will be driven to the nearest airport, placed on a private jet and flown directly to the Port Columbus International Airport- Columbus, OH. I will have arrived at your house in Jackson ahead of time and assisted in the lunchtime preparations. Lunch will have an ancient Roman/George RR Martin theme because, why not? The menu will consist of Columella Salad (which has mint, coriander, parsley, leaks and cheese), Soft Boiled Eggs in Pine Nut Sauce, Lentils with Coriander, Roast Wild Boar with honey drippings, Ostrich Ragout with candied dates, mint and honey, Roast Tuna with anchovy paste, shallots and mint, Fried Veal Escalope with Raisins, and for dessert, a Nut Tart made with pistachios, pine nuts almonds, honey and goat’s milk. Of course, we shall have tea and absinthe. The table will be fancy and set outside under some shade trees (I am hoping that you have shade trees on your farm). At any rate, Craig shall be driven to your house in a black stretch Hummer and we will greet him with wide smiles and all of his fears and psychosis will subside and he will have an enjoyable picnic with us with rich conversation and laughter. After that, it’s anybody’s guess.

C&C:​ That sounds perfect! And totally plausible! We should hang a sheet on the clothesline and project movies onto it in the evening. Do you have any Special Favorite Horror films?

K: ​Horror is my favorite movie genre. Most beloved directors and movies include Dario Argento (Suspiria and Phenomena — staring a very young Jennifer Connelly), George R. Romero (all the Living Dead series), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse and The Cure), Toby Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) everything by Guillermo Del Toro, everything by David Cronenberg, Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), Jennifer Chambers Lynch (Boxing Helena), Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror) and Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). We’d need to pow-wow about what movies to play on the sheet because I know we’re all horror fans. I am always looking for tips to horror movies I have not seen.

C&C:​ Tell me about your babies!

​K: I previously had a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Tiki whom I loved to no end. She had a heart attack before her time, was rushed to the vet and died. I will never forget her silky ears, steadfast demeanor and outright love. After she died, I did not think I would have another dog for a very long time. But it turned out that my husband (Gio) and I were super lucky to buy a wonderful house with a huge yard (for Seattle) that is bordered on three sides by a vast green belt. Thus, it made sense to get a dog. We researched breeds extensively; I knew I could not handle another hound dog so soon, so we decided on a Belgian Shepherd. I need to add at this point that we have four rescue cats, two that are now elderly with special medical needs. So, rather than adopt a rescue dog, we wanted to find a breed that could grow up with our cats, respect them, and provide protection so a Belgian Shepherd seemed perfect. We first found Sagan (after Carl Sagan) who is a Belgian Tervuren and also a total butt-head. We were so taken with Belgian Shepherds that my husband Gio drove all the way to Minnesota to get Sabine, also a Belgian Shepherd, but she is a Groenendael (all black). They are both super sweet, although Sagan is now able to leap up and catch birds mid-flight, which is a bit distressing. Belgian Shepherds are all about their teeth, so they are constantly bearing them in play also in big dog smiles.

C&C:​ What are your plans for Halloween?

K: ​Nothing fancy party-wise or anything. However, we are competitive candy-hander-outers. We give out full-sized candy, meaning our house is very popular in our neighborhood. We might do dry ice this year for an extra spooky effect. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors and see all the cute costumes.

C&C: ​Did you trick-or-treat as a kid? What was your favorite childhood Halloween costume?

K: ​Yes, I trick-or-treated and then would try to make my candy last for months, which of course, resulted in stale candy. Favorite costumes as a kid that I remember are going as the Raven from Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, going as Wednesday from The Addams Family and just going as a generic bloody dead little girl. I really cannot remember a time in my life when I was not attracted to the morbid. I was fascinated by the idea of death. My favorite costume as an adult was going as Samara, the girl from the well in The Ring.

C&C:​ Do you have any tattoos?

K: ​I have a half sleeve tattoo of an adaptation of a Margaret Keane big-eyed girl. She is wearing a Tutu, holding a flower and surrounded by bizarre other worldly flowers. This tattoo goes all around my upper arm and shoulder including into my armpits, which hurt so much! I initially went to the tattoo artist with a few ideas for tattoos and he was like “what, are you going to get a bunch of sticker tattoos?” He basically made the sticker tattoo people seem like wimps and not wanting to be a wimp, I went for the half sleeve. Fun fact: I once had a lady in a grocery store ask me if the tattoo was of my daughter, I said yes and told her my daughter died tragically by drinking lye. The lady was horrified and I am certain Edward Gorey chuckled a bit in his urn.


C&C: Who was your first hardcore crush?

​K: In eighth grade, a new guy came to our very small private school and all the girls wanted him, including me. He was my boyfriend, briefly, though we never even went to second base. He “dumped” me for my best friend because she had boobs (which he explicitly informed me). Before the dumping, I wrote him a three-page love poem which I dropped in our neighborhood mailbox and then immediately regretted it. I waited at the mailbox and begged the mailman to give me my letter back. He told me that would be a federal crime and would not give me my letter. Thus, the poem was mailed and I was mortified. Said crush told everyone at school and I nearly died of embarrassment. Fairly recently, that poem managed to reach through the years and freshly re-horrify me. A couple of years ago we were searching for said first hardcore crush for a school reunion and I managed to locate his mother. When I called and said I was “Kelly Boyker”, she said, “oh my, you wrote that poem which we all read at the kitchen table one morning, it was very sweet”. Complete re-mortification.

​My ultimate boyfriend would be the hitman, Anton Chigurh, from No Country for Old Men played by the delicious Javier Bardem. The attraction is not based on his hotness; the attraction is based on his pure clinical lack of emotion in carrying out his kills. I don’t really know how the mechanics would work about actually having a cold-hearted hitman as your boyfriend, but a girl can dream.

C&C:​ I am much more horrified by your re-mortification than by your hitman crush. I hope this ex’s mother went on to tell you that he was dead, tragically killed in a domesticated bird attack, which was his greatest fear all through life. Are you afraid of any animals?

K:​I am not afraid of any animals but I have a ridiculous fear of spiders, even the shape of a spider. I have only one slightly interesting anecdotal story about a bats although I am not afraid of them. When I was a little girl I had super long, slightly curly hair and most of my friends were boys because that was who lived in our neighborhood. I was swinging on a rope swing attached to a giant chestnut tree when a roosting bat fell down into my hair and became tangled. The boys I was with dragged me down to the street, put my head over the curb and proceeded to whack the bat with a baseball bat while it was entangled in my hair. Needless to say I had pieces of mangled bat and bat blood caught in my hair and it was very difficult to pick the pieces out. I was never scared but felt sad about the bat and furious with my boy pals.

C&C:​ What do you have in your pockets?

K: ​Because I am in the habit of wearing super skinny jeans, I rarely have anything in my pockets. Coat pockets usually contain chap stick and one mitten (I am a chronic mitten loser) and tons of those single serving salt and pepper packages, because you never know when you are going to need salt and pepper.

C&C:​ Since this is our Halloween interview, let’s keep this morbid. Is there such thing as a romantic death, and what death would you choose, if you believe so? Say, Ophelia, or Juliet (blah), or splat off a building, or have yourself baked into a pie for your unknowing loved ones….

K: ​When I was a kid, I was highly influenced by Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, so of course wanted to have my body reduced to a broth that all my friends could sip while sitting at the same table and “Grok my essence”. I still believe there is something powerful in ritualistic cannibalism. I once ate a small piece of Tyrannosaurus Rex when was I was in archeological field school. I have always thought it would be wonderful to eat a small part of an asteroid also. I like your idea of being baked in a pie, but I’d want the diners to know that they are dining on me. As far as death goes, I think it would be very interesting to die via guillotine. Especially those few precious moments when your head is severed from your body, but you still have just enough oxygen in your brain to be conscious. Those last moments would be spectacular. While I do believe that scientifically there may be other dimensions, I do not believe that there is a god or that we have a life after death. I figure getting to be alive just once is heaven or hell enough, no afterlife is necessary.


Zoonosis: http://hyacinthgirlpress.com/yearthree/zoonosis.html

Menacing Hedge


Complete Autumn 2014 Line-up

Well, kids, Halloween is almost upon us! Are you excited? As a pre-Halloween gift, while I spend my Friday night in furry yellow socks drinking the evil Coca-Cola and watching American Mary for the 50th time (it takes me to my happy place, bless you, Soskas!), I’ll give you the complete line-up for C&C’s newest batch of interviews.

I’ve been lucky, very lucky. I made out an interview schedule, then with very little resistance and lots of beautiful enthusiasm on the part of my prospective interviewees, secured the cooperation of every person on that first scribbled list. So let’s just do that and call it good until….after Christmas? Who knows!

My point being, ten people immediately came to mind, and all ten I have or will present to you!

9/30/14 – Heather Foster

10/7/14 – Benjamin Whitmer

10/14/14 – Letitia Trent

10/21/14 – Brien Piechos

10/28/14 – Kelly Boyker

11/4/14 – Court Merrigan

11/11/14 – Leah Rhyne

11/18/14 – Heath Lowrance

12/2/14 – Gayle Towell

12/9/14 – Karen Abbott

(Post will updated with links as new interviews go live!)


Happy Halloween (almost)!

To Return When the Leaves Unfold…

Alice’s winter hibernation has begun. Picture her, if you will, on a chaise lounge next to a long window, her skull and crossbones Snuggie divided into four smaller rectangles by cold late afternoon sun. On the table beside her is a mug of coffee, a tall green bottle with a fairy on the label and a stack of books. A blue caterpillar climbs a lettuce leaf in an empty mayonaisse jar on the shelf above, his boredom evident behind the half-peeled Hellman’s label.

She’ll read. She’ll sleep. She’ll draw sloppy pen and ink sketches on unfolded prescription drug warning inserts, and she’ll make new lists of impossibly interesting writers on the palms of her hands and the foil from packs of Marlboro Lights.

The mail slot is under the mirror, and Alice will check it daily for words of interest. And when pinafore weather returns, so will the posts filled with questions.

Because an intended short run of interviews turned into something magical, and all the people she interrogated were honest and funny and lovable. So she wants to do it again.

Do you??

Crowd-sourcing for 2013 interviews begins now. If you’re interested in answering ten questions, FB-inbox Curiouser and Curiouser or Amanda Gowin, comment on this post, or slip a letter through the mail slot.

And thank you all for reading. And answering. And being wonderful.

David James Keaton

C&C: What do you have in your pockets?

 You picked a very good pocket day! Actually sort of sad pocket day. I have the broken strap of my favorite watch. Apparently my sweat is like acid because this thing was made for deep-sea divers and the rubber cracked in half after a year. I loved this watch. It was larger than most watches. This is the watch where someone the other day said, “What a big watch. Are you overcompensating?” Which led to me quizzing this person about why he thought a watch was for wearing on a penis. Seriously though. My watch was so big, you could switch one word and all the classic ‘big dick’ jokes would still make sense. My watch is so big I use it for an umbrella, etc. Some even make MORE sense. Examples. My watch is so big it arrives five minutes before I do. See what I’m saying? Much better as a watch joke. My watch is so big it won’t return Spielberg’s phone calls. Right?! There are watch phone combos now. It’s the future! My watch is so big it has its own dick. I mean, watch. Get it? All the extra watch features are like little watches in the watch? No? Okay, I’m reaching a little bit on that one. Here we go. My watch is so big movie popcorn is labeled “Large,” “Extra Large,” and “My Dick Watch!” I don’t know what I’m saying at this point. Also in my pocket, about 75 cents. I like barbecue baked chips. They’re like gold at work.

C&C: What was your favorite/most fun/most ambitious Halloween costume?  

I’m much more ambitious with pumpkin carving than with costumes. Throughout high school I would usually just tuck a Hawaiian shirt into my jeans, carry around a squirt gun and be like, “I’m Magnum P.I. Leave me alone.” It was pathetic. I had a fairly decent attempt at Donnie Darko costume though, back when the movie was new. Mostly because it was easy. I just made a skeleton hoodie, wrote the date for the end of the world on my arm, and carried around a stuffed one-eyed bunny. Actually that was a disaster. No one knew who the fuck I was.

(Batman 3D Pumpkin glasses)

C&C: Tell me three favorite movie quotes.

For some reason, I often think of the line in the terrible Deep Rising where they’re on the elevator between action scenes and the one guy says, “What is that?” “Peanut.” Then he drops it in the water and is sad. To this day this cracks me UP.

 I mutter “Time…to die” a lot from Blade Runner, usually after something fun has just ended. It’s like mild Tourette’s. Doesn’t add to the conversation, but I can’t help repeating it.

 It might be more of a movie concept than a movie quote, but every time there is a pairing of like-minded people or two similar objects next to each other, I’ll announce that it is “The Quickening!” This might have been funny once, but that was in 1987 when Highlander hit video. That may never stop either.

C&C: Do children frighten you? Because they’re tiny weird little people?

The only children that have ever frightened me when I wasn’t a child myself were the ones described in the book ‘Salem’s Lot (the ones on the bus and the one he dragged out into the sun). And the ones in the movie The Brood. What’s weird unusual is The Brood is successful at scaring you with creepy children NOT because they’re weird beaked monster children that are physical manifestations of their mother’s rage (we’re in David Cronenbergland here of course). They’re scary because they’re often filmed standing casually in their bright orange and yellow snowmobile suits in broad daylight milling around with other kids on the playground and you know what’s under the hoods but the other kids don’t. Freaky. And they don’t sing or dance about or ask us to “play with them forever” (yes, that was effective in the Shining, but oh such a cliché now).

C&C: How old were you the first time you had stitches, and what were the circumstances? I love injury stories…

 Oh, man. You hit the jackpot on this one. You know the injury contest in Jaws? I do that all the time, even though mine are mostly like Hooper’s gag story, “Ellen Moffit. She broke my heart!” I think the first time I got stitches was sports related (which I was terrible at but kept playing because my older brother was quite good).

One of the only times they let me on the field in football, I broke a finger by punching a guy in the helmet during the last seconds of the fourth quarter, a part of the game I referred to as the“kickoff” since it was the only time I was allowed anywhere near the game. That wasn’t very smart, but that kid had stepped on my hand when I was crawling on the ground desperately trying to get involved in a tackle after the fact that was nowhere near me. The things you do with your dad in the bleachers! I’d taken my helmet off and demanded that he do the same. He laughed and said, “No way!” so I punched him anyway and cracked the top knuckle on my ring finger on his metal chin-strap snap. Now I’ve got a bulbous, peanut-looking digit and had two stitches I think? Maybe three. Actually, earlier than that, I wrapped my car around a telephone pole and put my left hand a right foot into the dashboard, right through the plastic grille covering the vent. I milked that injury for all it was worth. It happened on the way to school, in my little red, two-seater Fiaro, called a “poor-man’s Corvette” by a snarky classmate and which, on impact, reveals that it’s probably fashioned out of Legos. All the buses, even the short ones, filed by my stupid car on their way in since it was a very small town and the site of my wreck was the last major road to our high school. Later I heard that after homeroom, I was officially “dead.” It was amazing. My girlfriend at the time had to leave her science class crying when she heard the news. Can you imagine the attention I got from her after that?! I’ve never been so happy about someone else’s misery in my life. I acted like I just got back from storming the beach at Normandy, walking around with my bandages, pointing at things for no reason. I enjoyed the attention…until these two other kids got hit by a goddamn train three days later. One of them broke his leg when the train dragged their car about a hundred yards down the tracks, and when he came back to school on his crutches (he was only out for one day!) with a fucking piece of his car still stuck in his elbow, so no one gave a shit about my hand anymore.
Wait! Here’s a good one. I was sitting on the edge of one of those aboveground pools once when I was 6 or 7, and I fell backwards and my palm slapped this row of exposed screws where it wasn’t quite finished being put together, and they punched three big holes in my hand right down to the bones. They had trouble with the stitches on that one because they were puncture wounds and not cuts. I remember staring at the holes waiting for them to bleed.

Oh, here’s a real good one where I look like a genius! I had this golf ball, and I was standing on our porch with a neighbor girl and whipping it at the ground over and over to see how many times I could get it to rebound off the roof and floor of the porch (you can see where this is going) and I threw it as hard as I could and Smack! Smack! Twice right in the fucking mouth. Slow-motion replay shows the golf ball hit the roof, hit my mouth, hit the ground, hit me in the mouth again, putting my top two teeth through my bottom lip, then me dropping to the ground very confused. And it took forever for my mouth to heal. I was proudly displaying this huge, greasy sausage lip with two oozing white holes in it and a big stitch criss-crossed in it. It looked like I got bit trying to kiss a snake. That was last Thursday. Just kidding. I think I was 9. Shit, I can think of about fifty more, but the absolute earliest earliest might be the one time when I was real little I was running with a big stick over these big, broken slabs of highway, and I tripped and jammed the stick through the center of my hand. Luckily it popped into that fan of skinny bones and didn’t pop out the top, but it left another round puncture wound that took forever to close up. I tried to save those stitches when they took them out, and did for awhile, but then I ran to show them to somebody and the paper towel I was holding them in flipped up in the breeze and they were lost in the carpet forever.

C&C: Did you make any progress with the wedding ring search? You do know that if you break your finger while wearing a titanium carbide ring, they have to cut off your finger, get the ring off, then sew your finger back on, right?

Nasty! I don’t know why, but that makes me want to wear rings on all my fingers and toes at all times. Actually I watched about a dozen videos of various people hammering rings into oblivion to finally come to the conclusion that I will probably not face a situation where someone sledgehammers my ring finger. Unless I get caught cheating at poker. Which I would totally do. In fact, when I was playing Little League baseball, I would get bored at the end of the bench and think up all sorts of schemes to cheat the other team. My dad was the coach, so he knew better than to put me in the game. So instead I would write down the other teams’ signals, diagram ways to hide the ball to tag people out Bad News Bears style. He would usually glance at whatever Rube Goldberg nonsense I’d jotted down and then make a paper airplane out of it. Then he’d ask if I could put all the equipment in the van. He said if I did this enough I would finally get a cap that matched the rest of the team (they ran out).
C&C: I think your watch story is bullshit, it breaking all on its own like that. Did you test the watch for durability?
If someone isn’t around me on a daily basis and hasn’t experienced the bizarre sight of watches constantly exploding off my arms, I can understand your skepticism. So I have included a photo of my broken watch where you can clearly see my sweat devoured the band like molecular acid. Actually this watch lasted longer than my last watch. That’s a long time for a watch, right? Aren’t they supposed to have the same lifespan as your shoes? Way less than a titanium carbide finger-munching Ring of Doom?
C&C: Do you sing or dance in front of people?
I think white people look silly dancing unless they’re dance-punching out their frustrations alone in a factory. I have been known to sing Prince songs after a couple Coca-Colas. “Seven,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Purple Rain” bring down the house. I like singing Meat Loaf songs, too. I plan on signing “Bat Out Of Hell” in its entirety, sans teleprompter, at a reception in the near future.
C&C: Have you seen Dead and Breakfast? What did you think?
I did. It was okay for a grubby little zombie import. No Shaun of the Dead or anything. I totally scooped them though and thought of the “zombie bed & breakfast” idea first, back when I was trying to do it for real. And obviously in their story, there isn’t an attempt to stage a zombie assault for fun. But I was still feeling defensive when the e-book got picked up for print, so I decided to set the record straight and actually referenced that movie in the expanded version of Zee Bee & Bee, as well as calling out a certain song by a local artist that I’m totally convinced ripped me off. The guy who wrote this song dated an ex who was around when I was trying to finance my actual Zombie Bed & Breakfast, so there’s no way that’s a coincidence. Here’s the passage (the talk of the “banker” is a thinly-veiled reference to our publication date being ahead of the plagiarist’s song):

“I helped hand-pick a crew, and by the next fall, we had everything up and running, but oddly enough, two full years after we’d started making enough money to think about our first 4:00 a.m. commercial spot, a low-budget flick popped up in the video stores called Dead and Breakfast that sounded a little too close to home. Everyone panicked a little. But, luckily, it bore no resemblance to our original idea of staging an attack for fun and profit. This movie was just another siege on a house, and it took the situation more seriously, even for a supposed comedy. Their storyline treated everything as if it was actually happening, something even the occasional survivalist couple rarely considered for long. Clever title though, we all had to admit. But if that wasn’t suspicious enough, a jazz/calypso fusion song about zombies ‘partying it up at a bed and breakfast’ was released the same summer we flicked on our ‘vacancy’ sign. The song was called “The Zombie and B,” but, thank Christ, it had two inherent problems that quickly relegated it to our pay-no-mind list. One, it hit the radio a full 48 hours after the story of this story was first transcribed by a banker where we secured our loan. And two, unless you say that title out loud, stressing the second syllable of ‘zombie,’ you don’t get the gag at all. You’d just think it was another stupid love song.”

C&C: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen a domesticated animal do?
Are turtles domesticated? Because that turtle-having-sex video on YouTube has haunted me ever since. The sounds it was making were utterly human. At first I didn’t believe it. I had to bang a turtle to verify. Turns out that’s how you domesticate ’em.
C&C Disclaimer: Do not click the link below if you have a shred of innocence left within:

Kealan Patrick Burke

Ohio?? How did you end up in Ohio? I haven’t heard a lot of stories that begin in Ireland and end in Columbus. How did that happen?

Why, a woman, of course! I was working in a bar in Ireland when an American tourist came in. It was a quiet night, so we spent some hours chatting. She went back to the states the next day, but on my birthday, she sent me a 3-month return plane ticket. I never ended up using the return part of it.

That’s ridiculously romantic. Seriously ridiculous. If people don’t groan from that story, they should (but seriously it’s awesome and most would punch you from romantic jealousy). Tell me one intresting surprise difference between your home and this odd place – some part of the dialect, an odd animal or living situation…

Romantic right up until the divorce. 😉wink Such is life though.

Birds. The robin here is the size of a Thanksgiving turkey. Ours is the size of a sparrow. We have puffins too, cliff dwellers that have to be the cutest creatures on earth. They look like little David Schwimmers, only a lot less dull.

Also, people don’t high-five in Ireland. Or at least they didn’t when I left. They probably do now thanks to a new generation who seem to be trying desperately hard to be American.

What do you have in your pockets?

My iPhone, wallet, and a bunch of book store receipts.

There are lots of photos of you floating around on the internet where you’re completely green. That question sort of asks itself…

I’m the jealous type.

 Don’t bail on that question! Explain the green!

Okay, okay. Those are shots from my role in SLIME CITY MASSACRE, a gory splatfest follow up to Greg Lamberson’s cult classic SLIME CITY. I spent a lot of time in monster makeup, which I loved, though the removal process took a lot of my face away with it. All in the name of fun.

What was your first job?

Waiter in a seafront hotel. I hated every minute of it, and the boss was a tyrant. It’s actually going to be the basis for my next horror novel.

What did you doodle on your notebooks/desks in middle school?

I doodled lyrics from rock songs on my desk, or added to existing drawings that had been etched there over the decades. Our desks were always ancient.

Do you know who The Enigma is? Not from the comic books, the guy with the jigsaw full-body tattoo. And the Lizard Man? Who wins in coolness between the two?

I’d have to go with The Enigma, though I think they’re both nuts. I have four tattoos and would consider more, but there’s a line, man. I’m oddly shaped enough without paying to make it worse.

Do you dress up for Halloween every year?

I always plan to, but never do. I just get too wrapped up in the planning of the annual parties to remember the costume. I did go naked one year, but that was only because I was lazy and broke.

Did you win the Costume Contest?

I did not win the costume contest. Nobody but the cops showed up.

Nik Korpon

C&C: What do you have in your pockets?

I only wear (Levi’s) 511s so I don’t have a lot of pocket space. Right now, I’ve got my phone, a button from the Cock Sparrer show a couple weeks ago that I can’t seem to take out of my pocket because I’m still trying to relive that set, a receipt for parking from the MWA dinner last night, a to-do list for writing, a to-do list for the house, a grocery list and a to-do list of my to-do lists. I’m not joking about the last one. I really wish I was. I can’t help it.


C&C: You’re a tattoo artist? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to tattoo on someone/the strangest story of a tattoo session (or both)?

I help run a shop but don’t actually tattoo. A couple of my friends said I could tattoo them but I’ve never gotten round to it. That aside, I’ve been hanging out at shops for the last ten years and have seen a bunch of weird stuff. Probably my favorite was at Inksmith and Rogers in Jacksonville. This dude wanted a super-realistic indian chief head on his shoulder with an American flag waving behind it and an eagle somewhere in there. I said, ‘You do understand the relationship between indians and Americans, right?’ to which he replied, ‘Yeah, but I wanted the flag waving, like the wind’s blowing real hard.’ Another guy down there wanted USMC written in Kanji. I asked him the same question (but with Chinese subbed for indian) and mentioned the threat of nuclear oblivion and he called me a hippie faggot. Florida’s got all kinds of great stories for tattoos.

 The ones we see most now are either meaningful words/Beatles lyrics in script on the ribs or all these college girls who come in to get a cross on their wrist. When you get a tattoo, it should be oriented for the viewer, not the wearer. They don’t listen to us when we tell them that so there are a bunch of Prada girls walking around Baltimore with upside-down crosses on their wrists. It’s the small things in life you have to appreciate.


C&C: How many tattoos do you have? 

Five: My arms, my legs and my torso.


C&C: What was your first job?

I worked at a steak stand then a sausage stand in the Renaissance Festival for two years when I was 14 and 15. If you haven’t seen the Ren Fest, it’s basically people dressing up in medieval swag and drinking beer from oversized steins and eating drumsticks of meat and it’s an excuse for debauchery and public vomiting. My bosses liked me because I was clever and people wanted to see a fourteen-year-old kid yelling out these incredibly innuendo-laden calls for people to eat my meat and whatnot. It was horribly inappropriate but I thought it was funny. I always wanted to be one of the jouster-people but the guy told me I was too fat. He was a dick.

 There was a dumpling stand a couple doors down from us. We’d trade steak and sausage for their whipped cream cans and do whip-its in the back path area. It looked like a teenage Vietnam, all these kids laid out from whip-its. The customers always complained because there was never any whipped cream for their dumplings.


C&C: What did you scribble and draw on your notebooks/desks in school? 

When I was in kindergarten I drew turtles with speech bubbles that said School Sucks. I’d show them to this girl, Kathy, who sat beside me and she’d laugh, so I’d draw more. My family went to the same church as my teachers, so they’d tell my parents and they’d ground me. I think middle/high school was mainly Guns-n-Roses pictures, Nirvana, Bones Brigade and Kryptonics logos and those little flipbook drawing of people doing tricks I couldn’t figure out how to do on a real board. I still can’t do them, actually; even 25 years later, all I do is big slow ollies and power slides. I’d also copy these creepy drawings I found in various books that Kurt Cobain did. I was big into Nirvana. Real big. Hearing ‘Lithium’ for first time changed the way I thought about things and I’m convinced if it wasn’t for that song, I wouldn’t be who I am today. That got me heavily into punk rock (because I could never find the bands that were in the old Powell Peralta videos when my mom took me to Sam Goody [remember when CDs came in those gigantic packages? Like the liner cards or whatever they’re called for books? And you could grip a rack of cassettes like an eight-track Wolverine?]) I started writing songs–which led into shitty Beat poems which led to shitty Nick Hornby stories which led to the shitty Jim Thompson stories I write now–when I was around thirteen and would find these random Nirvana bootlegs and appropriate his lyrics as my own because my friends hadn’t heard the songs. They said, ‘Man! That sounds just like Nirvana!’ and I’d say, ‘Yeah, I was just messing around and it happened.’ I remember crying when my Bestamor (grandmother) died, and crying when my parents told me they were getting divorced, but I bawled when I heard Kurt Cobain did himself. Well, I don’t think he actually killed himself and have heard pretty convincing arguments from people in that circle, but that’s a different story.

 What was the question again? Oh yeah. Courtney Love can suck it.


C&C: Is Halloween your favorite holiday? And do you trick-or-treat?

Totally, though I also really like the four weeks leading up to Christmas, what with all the decorations and music and people being relatively civil with each other. I don’t care much about Christmas Day because I feel uncomfortable with people buying me stuff (residual Catholic Guilt) and I’ve been working since I was fourteen, so I can buy what I need myself.

 But, yeah, Halloween. We actually just brought up our decorations and are super stoked to scare-up the house. Last year was the first time I’d gone trick-or-treating because I took my son, but I went all the time when I was younger. Probably the reason I’ve had most of my teeth filled. My Wee One is going as a bee this year and wife will be the queen bee, but I can’t find a costume to look like Yaritza Burgos, so I don’t know what I’ll be. Possibly a skeleton or werewolf. They’re classic for a reason.

 On a related note, they should make sequel to Trick-R-Treat every year rather than remaking all the good old movies.


C&C: No meat at all? Health or philosophy, or both?

I started eating seafood when I was 22 because my doctor told me I’d have a stroke in ten years if I didn’t change my diet, so I’m not a vegetarian. Well, I call myself an 80s-vegetarian, back when fish wasn’t meat and ketchup was a vegetable. It started at philosophy, though the hardline stance has softened over the years. As long as the animals are humanely raised and slaughtered with no hormones and crap, I don’t have a problem with it. I do think everyone should see an animal both before it’s slaughtered and during, just so they have an appreciation for it. That’s my whole outlook on food, though, is that there’s a very large disconnect between what’s in the fields and what’s on our tables. Industrial farming has ruined our relationship with our meals for a number of years. It’s nice to see the local-food movement taking our bodies back from government subsidies.


C&C: Which Batmobile is your favorite? Go back to Adam West’s for the show, all the way through Bale’s Tumbler, give it a think and tell me your honest opinion.

Tim Burton’s. I like Adam West’s as an actual car more than the Batmobile, and though the Nolan one is pretty gnarly, it’s a little too high-tech for me. Don’t get me started on that Bat-wing thing. I wanted to see Batman, not Independence Day dressed in black.


 C&C: What was your first pet?

A box turtle called Boxey, a chameleon called Chameley, a beta fish called Betty and a huge tortoise called Biggie. If you read my books, you’ll see that same creativity at work. The first pet I had who was actually mine was a cat called Isabela, named after Bela Lugosi because she drew blood from me on a regular basis. She was my homegirl for ten years and I had to put her down last winter. I bawled like a little girl with a skinned knee. I wanted to get a tattoo for her, but a dude with a picture of his cat on him isn’t very tough.


C&C: How many times have you seen Back to the Future?

Enough that I’ve used it to build a class lecture on narrative chronology (which none of the class understood because they’d never seen BttF [Fitzgerald did not write about The Damned Generation; I teach them]) and written an essay about the inherent time-ism (prejudice regarding era as opposed to race or class) of the movie for my Masters program. My professors weren’t nearly as impressed as I’d thought they’d be. Sometimes Brits have no sense of humor. I also wrote the main points of that essay into a conversation in my book Stay God but cut it out because it wandered a bit too far.

So, a couple times.


Michael J. Seidlinger

C&C: What do you have in your pockets?

 A tattered notepad full of various thoughts and ideas that, at the time of my writing, seemed to be worth jotting down but more often than not the ideas are scribbled out. Not that the handwriting is very legible anyway. Hmm, what else. Phone, not a smartphone; I’m too poor for that. A wallet with no money in it. Same reason: poor. A lighter in the event that I have something to smoke. Keys because we all carry keys even if we don’t know what they’re for. And… yeah, that’s about it.

C&C: Do you wear shoes in the house? Why or why not?

 Nope. It’s probably due to the way I was raised. We never wore shoes in the house. The house was always clean, with some sort of order. Very homely.

C&C: Who do you fight??

 Myself? Words? I fight to stay awake. I fight to stay interested in what’s around me. Other than that, I’ve fought a few people in the ring with boxing gloves and weeks/months of training. A number of rounds to make a statement or to KO the other guy.

C&C: I cheated and read an interview with you – you say you can never relax. This makes us very good friends automatically, as I can never relax either. What are some of the ways you’ve TRIED to relax? Jig-saw puzzles, vivisection, coffee, yoga, etc.

 I’ve tried thinking of nothing – getting all Zen – doesn’t work. I’ve tried staying up until I’m beyond exhausted… doesn’t work. I end up staying up all night into the new day. By then I’m wired and tired. But still no relaxing. I’ve tried long walks, which works surprisingly well; I’ve tried extensive exercise, but that just makes me tired. I’ve tried liquor, but that’s a temporary kind of relief because inevitably I end up fighting back the groggy feeling post-inebriation with whatever I have on my plate to finish. Like right now, I’m writing this after a number of drinks and having completely sobered up and yet I feel a need to answer these questions.

 Coffee is effective until enough caffeine gives me that rapid jolt of upbeat energy. Umm. I think the long walks and casual exercise proved to be the most effective.

C&C: Can you dance?

 No, but we can pretend that I do.

C&C:  Ooooh, what dances do you pretend to be able to do? The running man? Crumping? This pretend-dancing interests me. What is your bad dancing like?
My pretend-dancing knows no bounds. I can dance any dance, many of them haven’t yet been invented yet but, guess what? On the imaginary dance floor, I’m inventing 10 dances a night. My bad dancing consists of average to below-average slow dancing and pretty much nothing else. After a couple pre-teen mishaps, I discovered I couldn’t keep up to any beat faster than the ballad. I was a mean mosher back in my late teens, though. Nowadays, the only dancing I do is the occasional dance of the shadowboxer.
C&C: Did you have super hero underoos as a small child?
Hmm. I’d most likely say that I never wear underwear but, as a child at least, I was familiar with the joy of wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajamas. Does that count?
C&C: Who was your first crush?
Ah, you just had to ask. I’ve had quite a few crushes. I mean, who doesn’t? Unless you’re completely heartless, you tend to find something attractive in another human being. Many of mine begin and end without any pursuit. Its typically something I like about how the person carries herself, the way she half-grins or talks about something she adores. In the case of crushes, I’m more quantity over quality. At any given point in time, there’s probably someone I could fall for. I’ll settle on one that happened during the tail end of high school.
She didn’t have any of my classes and she didn’t go to my school. Rather, she worked at a nearby pharmacy, one of those CVS/Walgreens kind of places, and she was slightly older than me. Probably a year into college. Predictably, I noticed her while picking up something unimportant after school but after I knew she existed, I made a point to show up every day and buy… something. I went through a wide range of snack foods before trying cigarettes just to get to talk to her for more than a few seconds. The only reason I ever bothered smoking cigarettes was to talk to her. Kind of unusual now that I think about it. Anyway, like most of my crushes, they never amount to much. By the time I even thought about asking her out, she had quit her job. I only had a first name, Monica, and so there wasn’t anything to do. I didn’t want to ask any of her former colleagues because that would be too weird.
What a waste, now that I think about it. She was quite the bubbly and intelligent type. Hey Monica, are you out there?
C&C: How did you get into boxing? Was there something specific that made you want to put on the gloves?
I tried other martial arts before I got into boxing. Combat is deeply rooted into my childhood. I always watched kung fu flicks, played fighting games, and practiced various martial arts. I attended Tae-Quan-Do up to purple belt, I believe, and afterwards, I bought a lot of different VHS Sambo training videos.
When I was 19 or so, I gave boxing a shot and got more and more into it. It definitely fit my needs for trading punches and evading danger. A brush with mortality. It reminds me that I’m alive and that I won’t always be so lucky.
C&C: Are birds evil? Do they want to bite you, like ALL of them, do you think? I think that.
If we are talking about women, as in that term nobody uses anymore, then I’d say that birds may in fact be evil but I love evil and I’m more than willing to play with evil.
If we are talking about actual birds, I’d disagree. Birds are, at most, misunderstood. They are prey animals after all. They do what they need to do to survive. Ever talked to a parrot or watched a crow carefully wait out its victim? There’s an eerily high degree of intelligence in such a small and compact skin.
Animals, birds, other human beings, etc… I’d like to think they like me. If they want to bite, it’s only to get my attention. I never bite back.