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Last update: 2015-03-22

Man Writing Short Story

2015-03-22 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

Short story idea: Guy doesn't like his dog, so he takes it to the vet and tells them it bit, and they put him down.

Does the dog understand the level of betrayal? Maybe it’s written from the dog’s perspective. No, that’s small time. Don’t write it from the dog’s perspective. It’s great because this is the type of thing that we are all capable of. It’s evil, but it’s in that way that everyone is kind of evil. But that gets into heavier issues, duality of man, are we basically good or basically evil, etc. I don’t know if I am ready to take those issues on in this format. It’s just a short story. You have to say a lot with a little. What type of dog should it be? My dog is a corgi mixed with a spaniel, but I don’t think I should use that, because I don’t want people thinking I am just talking about my life. Real writers make up things that have never happened to them. The dog choice is important, because if it was a Chihuahua I don’t think it would have the same emotional impact as a Golden Retriever. But Golden Retriever is much too obvious, it would be a small time choice, but I think it should definitely be a pure breed. I don’t really know what the plot is, like I don’t know how we get from one scene to the next, and how it should end, but that’s ok because short stories don’t have to make sense. Half the short stories I read I have no idea what they’re trying to say. But I’m reading them in anthologies, so somehow someone is thinking they are good. I’m not sure how much back story there should be. I mean, were they friends at one time? It would be dumb if there were some larger reason for the murder, like the dog had a bomb in his stomach, or a disease strain that would infect the entire world, and therefore the killing becomes noble. That is the type of pseudo-redeeming schlock you would find in a Hollywood thriller, but that’s not what this story is. Now, if it becomes successful and is optioned for a movie by a Hollywood type then they might want to go in that direction, but by that point I no longer have any control over the creative rights of the story, so it’s best not to worry about it.

 I’m not sure how it starts, or how it ends, but I definitely know about the scene where he takes the dog to the vet and tells them the dog bit him. Can they tell he’s lying? What if they can, but they see this thing all the time—like every day—so they really don’t care that much. No, that would be a comedic spin, and it would be a copout because this is a more intellectual/philosophical piece—not a comedy hour. Maybe the veterinarian receptionist tries to talk him out of it. But she has to do it in code, because she knows what’s really going on here (because she sees the sadness in the dog’s eyes??), but she can’t call him out on it, because it would spook him and then he would just definitely do it so he could get out of there. So she’s like talking to him about not (will have to figure this out, what is the code she comes up with? Quick ideas: taking the garbage out, pouring out old coffee, putting a cow out to pasture (these are all terrible, but you’ll think of something)) murdering the dog, in the coded language…I’m not sure if this interaction between man and receptionist (sexual power politics theme??) is important to the story. But the Hollywood type might have a better idea of what to do with it, how to use it for an emotional boost, so I’ll just kind of put a few sentences in about it, nothing too heavy, and he can take it from there. …


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Podcast Episode 4: How Did We Get Here?

2015-03-09 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

I reflect on the doleful state of customer service in America.

Also—now there is intro music!

I also sing. So if you were down on your luck and needed to blackmail me you could use that for bait. But that would require me having any pride or self-respect—I've always been in short supply of those.

Download: http://jdspot.podomatic.com/enclosure/2015-03-09T20_49_54-07_00.mp3

Stream: http://jdspot.podomatic.com/entry/2015-03-09T20_49_54-07_00


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Podcast Episode 3: The Interviews

2015-03-02 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

What do I have in common with Bill Cosby and David Letterman?

On second thought, don't let your mind wander too far on that one, let me just tell you—as of tonight, we have all interviewed small children for cheap laughs. It's just so fun and easy, how can you not do it?

I have a talent for being vaguely insulting to kids—I don't know if you've ever heard a three-year-old evince nervous laughter, but it's kind of fun to hear.

Editors note: The interview subject switches from Russell to Nolan at about the 1:50 mark. 
Download: http://jdspot.podomatic.com/enclosure/2015-03-02T21_10_39-08_00.mp3

Stream: http://jdspot.podomatic.com/entry/2015-03-02T21_10_39-08_00


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Podcast: The Blocked Artist, Episode #1

2015-03-02 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

Well, I'm a podcaster now. I published an MP3 to the web using a podcasting site, so that makes it true. Which is a bit like telling someone how to get to the local 7/11, and then calling yourself a teacher.

This podcast is for an audience of one. It's not even for that many people. I'm just using it as a tool. I want to stop feeling blocked and scared and dumb when I sit down to write. I've made a lot of progress over the last year, but I still have a long way to go. My main problem boils down to this: I feel like I don't have anything to say. The way I sometimes get over this is by writing a lot and a lot and a lot until something good finally comes out. But it's hard to stay on myself. 
I have always toyed with the idea of having a podcast. So the day finally arrived.
It's just a tool. I need to break down the internal censor that says "Nope, you can't think of anything good to say. And that thing you just said--not that good." And you don't break the censor by defying logic, buckling down, and eking out some clever words. You break the censor by overwhelming it, overloading it, until it drowns in the flood of your words.
So another medium opens more possibilities. I am trying to refrain from telling you that it sucks, and don't listen to it. It is what it is. I am beyond an amateur--I'm a podcasting infant--no, a podcasting fetus (which is, of course, controversial relative to the pro-life/pro-choice debate, so let's leave it at podcasting infant). I am attempting this to try and better myself. I expect to have five faithful listeners, most, if not all, blood-related. You know what?--that's just fine.
Have a listen. You can click the following to download the audio: The Blocked Artist, Episode #1: Setting the Table
Or you can go here to stream: http://jdspot.podomatic.com/entry/2015-02-20T17_47_06-08_00
To quote one of my favorite artists: Don't say I didn't, say I didn't warn ya.
Oh, I think I'm also supposed to publish this link on the blog. Maybe it helps people subscribe to the podcast, or something? http://feeds.feedburner.com/needtheeggs/cPiS And this one: http://www.needtheeggs.com/feeds/posts/default


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Podcast: The Blocked Artist, Episode #2, Religion

2015-02-23 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

Title for this episode: Oh My God, He's Talking about Religion

I was mulling over potential topics for the podcast this weekend, and I decided that I needed to begin at the beginning. Religion/spirituality is at the core of who I am. It's probably neurotic, a little nutty, over the top and disproportionate. Yes, it is all of those things, but it is also fundamentally me. If I am trying to find my voice, slay fears, unblock myself, it started to make a lot of sense to me that I should explore this thing inside of me.

No one wants to talk religion. Talking about religion in public makes me very uncomfortable. Hell, talking about religion at church makes me fairly uncomfortable. But if progress only gets made outside of your comfort zone . . .

I like to think that my worldview, my beliefs, are fairly inoffensive. That's not by conscious design (I hope), but I try to be aware of how my words and actions affect others, and one of my prime directives is kindness. Now that is strange, because I can have a bit of an edge, and I like to poke people, but paradoxically I want to be nice to people, and for them to feel validated by me. Look, I don't get it either, and I don't have enough money to pay a shrink to sort it out, so we're all going to have to deal with it.

Anyway—I hate keeping all of my thoughts on God inside, afraid to share them with people, so here they are, uncorked for you in this podcast.

Stream: http://jdspot.podomatic.com/entry/2015-02-22T20_24_46-08_00

Download: http://jdspot.podomatic.com/enclosure/2015-02-22T20_24_46-08_00.mp3


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Frequent Flyer

2015-01-20 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

Some people are sad they don't get to take exotic vacations, but if I told you before you were born that once a year you could take a trip around the sun you would have punched your palm and said "hot damn!"


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The Flaw of Art Reviews

2015-01-10 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

Just saw Inherent Vice. I feel like I can't even be objective about it, because I love Paul Thomas Anderson so much. I love his movies, even if I don't necessarily totally enjoy them--is that weird or what?

But now I'm doing my typical ritual after I witness an epic film--going and reading what everyone else thinks about it. It's a weird thing. Opinion is a weird thing. If people disagree with me, it means they're wrong, but that's impossible when you're talking about an opinion, right? No. I don't think that's entirely true. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and people can disagree in good faith . . . but I think sometimes people are just mean. An opinion is irrefutable, cannot be said to be wrong, and I think sometimes people get lazy with that. It allows them to be cutting and cruel because they're too lazy to be more incisive and searching. I just came across an example of that, and it made me want to tear every last hair from my head.

This is from the New Yorker review of the film:

"Joaquin Phoenix is one of the best living actors, but as Doc Sportello, he’s coasting—digging deep neither into the emotional life of the character he’s playing nor, apparently, into his own, and not subjecting his performance to the pressure of a precise and demanding gesture-repertory. (There are a very few exceptions—a few glorious seconds of physical comedy dispersed throughout the film). Anderson seems happy to let Phoenix merely signify Phoenix-hood and doesn’t nudge him to be Phoenix. The character coasts on the bleary charm of the actor’s line readings and the slouch of his garb: his sideburns seem to be doing most of the work."

This is the problem with opinions--people can just say stuff like this. No, no, no, reviewer from the New Yorker, Phoenix was not "letting his sideburns do the work." He was playing a drugged out stoner who had no aim, no clue, no constitution. He was playing the hand he was dealt, playing the character he was asked to play. He played it brilliantly, as he always does, as every other review that I've read asserts. But this reviewer comes along and decided to take a shot at Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson because it makes him feel like a big man to do it. Sickening.

You're entitled to your own opinion, unless you're an idiot. See? Now I'm just getting downright mean. And inarticulate. I'm blinded by rage. It's a flaw in the medium of criticism--in the name of passing judgment, clever people can be mean and unfair, but masquerade as dispassionate intellectuals merely offering an "opinion." What garbage.…


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Living is Dying

2015-01-06 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

Living is dying.
You are dead to all of the world’s possibilities, save for the one thing you are doing right now.
What could be more tragic? 
I’ll tell you what could be more tragic: If you’re not happy doing the one thing in the world that you have chosen to do right now.
But how can you possibly be happy doing the one thing you are doing right now, knowing that in so doing you have died to all of the other billion billion things you could be doing right now?
I know this is a stupid line of reasoning—but it is one I find myself stuck in all of the time.
I used to be one of those people who judged others who had hang-ups and silly things they couldn’t get past. Thank God I finally realized I was one of them. Now I look at people funny if they seem like they DON’T have irrational demons they cannot get the better of.

Living is dying; dying to a billion things that you choose to exchange for a few.…


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Setting 2014 Free

2014-12-31 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

2014 was a good year. In the grand scheme of things, they’re all good years, the ones that you have. But squinting shows you peaks and valleys. This year for me, personally, saw many peaks, a few valleys, but I found those valleys to be in the service of more peaks. If it was all peaks you would need to get your head checked, or buy a lottery ticket. Valleys are necessary--it's all yin and yang, reaping and sewing, needing the bad to know the good, and vice versa.

In 2015 we will see our family expand, our hearts expand. I will not spend tonight worrying about a corresponding expansion in our wallet. I have plenty of time to get that worrying in, and maybe in setting it aside I will make some bold discovery--like it is unhelpful, and that maybe I should put it aside more often. We expect too much of ourselves, which is why we’re so disappointed all the time. I cannot will myself to stop worrying, to shut down timeworn functions of my character at the drop of a hat, at the demand of a fleeting whim. I cannot shut it down for good, but maybe an evening is not too much to ask.

I am looking forward to playing Chutes and Ladders and Candyland with my family tonight and just having a good time. Tonight is only for fun. No writing, no thinking, no expanding my horizons. No utility, no scheming, no mulling my options and moves. Candyland. A martini. A New Year's dance I will commission my three & four-year-old sons to perform.

2015 will be a good year. They're all good years, the ones that you have. As long as you don't squint.


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Life Summed Up in a Tweet

2014-12-22 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

It doesn't happen often, but when life can be summed up in 140 characters or less, it shall be preserved here at We Need The Eggs.


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I Wish I Had This Kind of Passion

2014-12-22 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

And if you're wondering if I'm being serious or not--yes, I am. There are countless times when I wish I could cry, but no tears come. It's a good tool to have--being able to mourn things properly.


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The End of Thought

2014-12-20 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

I was sifting through some notes and I came across this one from 9 months ago. I am particularly proud of it because I wasn't sure if I wrote it, or if I had copied it down from someone wiser than myself. Yes, that is the height of conceit, but I'm just saying I am extremely committed to this non-dogma thing. Certainty is the end of thought!

"In art, music, politics, never tie yourself down to one viewpoint. Stay airy and above it all, make all of the suckers regret committing to a position & defending it passionately. Much easier to defend not defending a position."

Certainty is not a bad place to be. I'm certain that I love my wife and kids, so I don't need to spend time thinking on and pondering the alternatives. I'm not certain that conservatives are right about much, or anything, much less so liberals, so, I'm sorry to say, much thinking is to be done over their frequently poisonous ideas. Although, thankfully I have discovered that politics is much less important, much less central to my life than talk radio & the television news cycle would make you think. Politics are important, but they come after the importance of developing my topspin in tennis, mowing my lawn, cleaning my garage, writing a book--this list goes on for awhile, "thinking about politics" checks in at about 103, but I won't bore you with taking you all the way there.…


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Cocktail Party: The Stuff of Nightmares

2014-12-06 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

You have no idea how much anxiety this image produces in me.
I’m going to a cocktail party tonight. This is not my thing. These make me seize up like an engine without oil. But I have had some good moments, some victories at these type of things a time or two.
I once talked with a conductor of a local orchestra.
At cocktail parties, this is how it works for me. Get to the party. Grab a drink right away. I squeeze this drink way too tight, and take a sip about every 8 to 11 seconds. I scan the crowd for someone who looks as sadsack as me. I never find them; I am the worst. I am the party’s sole loser. I am the only one with issues. Everyone else is talking, look, they’re talking. But I can’t do it. Oh, I can’t do it. I can talk, but once I get out past word 8 or 9 . . . things start to get pretty dicey.
By this time I’ve finished my drink, so I go back for drink two. Going back for drink two is awesome because you get to stand in line. I have a task! I’m DOING something! I’ve legitimized myself! I pick the longest line. I notice other people trying to catch my eye. They want to talk while standing in line. I refuse. I’ve EARNED this, dammit. The whole point of these parties is to talk to other people--you can’t force me to talk when I’m already so engaged in my task.
So anyway, I strike up a conversation with a conductor. I don’t remember who approached who. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that most likely it was he who started the conversation. Anyway, it was an interesting conversation. I asked him all about what it was like to be a conductor. I was surprised to find out that there were a lot of similarities to the way I think about writing. I asked him question after question, kept him talking--that is how I survive cocktail parties--keep your mark talking. The more flapping they do, the less psychological hyperventilating I do. The conversation ended with him giving me two tickets to an upcoming performance. I felt very validated as a conversational partner.
Speaking of conductors. I took my wife to the Seattle Symphony once (I know I sound amazing, but it was only once, never again, and it was only because I was worrying she might think about leaving me if I didn’t do something fancy now and again). We saw Rachmaninoff. Is that how you talk about a symphony, does that work? Anyway, it was occasionally pleasant, but it was also interminable. Once you have heard ten minutes or so, I am not really sure why anyone would need more. Obviously they didn’t agree, because it had to have gone on for over an hour. But at the end, right after it crescendoed into its climax, a guy from one of the first rows yelled out, “YES!”
I had to think that made the conductor feel pretty damn good.
So that is how I do cocktail parties. And that is all I know about orchestra conductors.


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Instructions For Today

2014-12-02 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

The life you planned—it doesn’t work out. Not necessarily. Maybe not at all. Maybe you’re supposed to follow your passion, which will lead to success. Maybe your abundance of passion will never get you there because you just don’t have the talent. You don’t know. I don’t know. Your future isn’t waiting to be discovered. It isn’t waiting. Your future doesn’t depend on you. Not solely. There are so many factors beyond your control: biology, DNA, weather, governmental policy, corporate policy, the decisions of others, the decisions of your parents while you are a child, when your tire will blow out, which person the serial killer selects, where the lightning will strike, who will be put in your 3rd grade class, which university will accept you, who will cross the yellow line when you’re on the other side, etc. I apologize for the embarrassingly incomplete list. Your future will largely be determined by forces outside of your control—you are your only chance to do what you want. It may not work out, but you have no alternative. You are the largest tool in your toolbox. 
The world will enact itself upon you. Whether the future is written or not makes no difference to you—it looks the same from here, from the present. A large, unflinching question mark.
Do you play it safe and become an accountant? Do you roll the dice and play your guitar night after night before an audience of a handful? I don’t know. The people who know the answer and give it to you with unflappable confidence, I don’t think they’re very helpful. I think they mean well, but they’re not trying to help, they’re trying to comfort. There is a time for everything, but 24/7 comfort leaves you fat, complacent, unambitious. 24/7 comfort leaves you nowhere. But comfort is nice, and countless are content to spend their entire lives there. That’s ok. We weren’t all called to ambition and achievement.

The human drive is a mysterious and unknowable thing, built on a framework of conscious and unconscious desires at raging war among themselves. For a lifetime. Why do I want what I don’t seem to have? Why do I get a little of it, then run from it to comfort? There will always be mystery. The point isn't to solve all of the mysteries, you can't do that; the point is to get comfortable with mystery. Instead of always trying to push them out of the car, learn to put their seat belt on for them.
The life you planned—it may not work out. You may choose the wrong road and not know it for a lifetime. You might get halfway there and stall out—lot's of people do. But not trying, holding back for fear, keeping your options open—these are forms of suicide. Suicide that draws itself out, day by day.…


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What Does a Ninja Killer Daydream About?

2014-11-30 :: jd@needtheeggs.com


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How Should We Talk About Ferguson?

2014-11-28 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

I don't enjoy being controversial. I used to enjoy it enormously. I used to like to make bombastic and over the top declarations, because I thought they were conversation/argument stimulants. I was a perfect creation of political talk radio.

I don't think that way anymore. I like to spend time thinking, keeping an open mind,  and considering things. I like to leave the door open on an idea or person for as long as possible. And one reason I write this blog is to invite people to take that thought journey with me. I have decided that the best place to begin with people who don't think like you is common ground. This may not be true, but this is where I am at right now. I have this belief that if you want people to listen to you, you should be nice to them.

With that out of the way, I can say what I want to say, which are my thoughts inspired by the picture above. I think I am on shaky ground here, and I am not 100% certain in the declaration I am about to make, but I am comfortable enough with my belief to put it in print and attempt to defend it:

With regard to the picture above: Talk like this is a conversation ender, not a conversation starter.

This is a variation of the statement "black lives matter" that has found its way onto many signs in many Ferguson protests in many cities across America, and the world.

How can you respond to that? The only people who truly don't care about black lives are unreconstructed inveterate racist reprobates who are only liked and respected by their friends and family who think like them. They are a very tiny portion of  the population, and they have little to no influence outside of their toxic circle. They are usually ugly, smell bad, have less teeth than should be expected, and we all know very few, if any of them. The rest of the country, which is the overwhelming majority of the country, care, to varying degrees of commitment, for the black community, as well as the rest of the colors of communities, while they're at it.

Because the community of racist-to-their-core reprobates is so tiny, it is ok to say that basically everyone cares about the general well-being and flourishing of all other lives in this country. How do I measure this? This is how I define "caring" at its most basic level: If you could, at no risk to yourself, pull a drowning person out of a river, you would do it. And it would make no difference to you what color their skin was. You would do it. That means you care if that person lives or dies.

But it all changes from there. The more risk, cost and effort it requires of you reveals your level of care. This is a moral and ethical calculation that every human performs, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. For instance, I choose to spend the bulk of my time, money and effort on feeding my own children and seeing to their flourishing, and not flying to the other side of the world, leaving my own children, for the most part, hungry, and feeding strangers, instead. 99.9 percent of people would agree with my moral/ethical calculus, but isn't there something a touch barbaric in NOT devoting every waking moment to ensuring that all life lives, and then flourishes? But that's for another post. Unfortunately we are finite. Unfortunately we do not contain the ability to give adequate care to every thing and every person who requires it.

What am I saying? I am saying that we do all care about black lives, we all get the golden star on our sheet. But the protesters are saying that most of us need to care a little more than we do, and they are probably right. I personally wish they were nicer about it. I think talk like this puts reconciliation farther away. But that's just a matter of taste, as we all know there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Or fix a broken political/social system.

But to what extent are we supposed to "care more"? What does it looks like to "care more"? It's incredibly complicated, and there is not a right answer. And the answer is different for everyone. And there isn't just one problem. There's a lot of problems. And there are probably even problems that we haven't been able to even articulate. There are problems in the white community, and there are problems in the black community. We don't all have an equal share in these problems, and we don't all have an equal share in their solutions.

So what the f--- is it that we are supposed to do? I don't know. But talking about it probably helps. And being nice about it probably helps, even more. But even that is not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes people just need to get their anger out. If you can be nice, and hang in there with them through that, maybe they can get to what they actually think, now that they have that out of the way.…


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Ways to Avoid the Normal Chitchat This Holiday Season

2014-11-25 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

The Holiday Season kicks off in just two days—two days, people!

Now if you're like me—well, first of all, I'm sorry to hear that. But if you're like me (which means you're a raging introvert, you get nervous when talking to strangers—relatives you see twice a year qualify as strangers; holding up your end of the conversation can sometimes feel like holding up the Brooklyn Bridge, you linger in the bathroom at parties, you take random trips out to the car because you "forgot something," you are over-eager to speak with kids because they are more forgiving of your social problem, but even still you find a way to alienate them, the bastards; etc, etc.)

As you can see, fellow non-small talkers, I feel your pain. I jotted down some ideas this morning on how we might combat our complex. Feel free to add some of your own techniques or ideas in the comments section—and thank you in advance for not doing so. Because then I would have to find a way to thank you or validate you in a follow up comment, and I wouldn't know what to say, or I wouldn't do it right, and the whole thing would just be awkward and painful.

Ways to Avoid the Normal Chitchat This Holiday Season:

Wear sunglasses and pretend you’re asleep.Ask people what THEY think about current events. No dialogue. Dialogue leads to argument. But just keep asking them what they think.“What ifs.” Instead of, how is work going, just start conversations with “what if.” What if you lost your job? What if baseball was never invented? What if thanksgiving was on a Tuesday? What if Jennifer Lawrence or Taylor Swift started flirting with me (something I’ve been worrying about lately)?Ask people what their hobbies are.Let everyone know that the news-industrial complex in this country is rotting out our brains. Ask them to boycott the 24 news cycle. You’ll have to think fast if they ask what that means, though, because I don’t really know. But if feels like it’s headed in the right direction.Hmm. Let’s think of a new way to talk about religion. Talking about religion is uncomfortable. But it’s a big deal, and I don’t like the idea of just leaving it out. Hmm. Maybe, ask people, if they had to invent a religion, what would be some of the components they would incorporate? What would be some hard and fast rules you would lay down? And then which rules would you throw in there that you know no one will ever keep, but for some reason you want to include them?If you want to end a conversation, just pull out your phone and start scrolling through your pictures, giving a detailed explanation for each one of them. Check every few pics to see if the person is still there.Keep your mouth full of food. (This is my usual go to when I am trying to avoid chitchat, but I’m on a diet this year, so I’m really going to have to reach for ways to still keep this as a viable option. Slower chewing? No chewing?)Movies! If you ever hear me talking about movies or televisions shows at a party, it is because I burned through the normal topics (work, school, family) in about 49 seconds. I wish all of my introverts much luck and success in this year's jungle of small talk. If you ever need any help know that you can't call me to talk about it—I will only exacerbate your issues. Give your mom or your lawyer a call—they are all too happy to keep you on the phone for as long as they possibly can.


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How To Get Fired

2014-11-18 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

"You'll pay for this."

From job after job my grandmother was fired.

"You'll pay for this," she would say. Sometimes she would say it while slightly waving a fist back and forth, for emphasis. The words would creep out of her mouth as she burned her eyes into theirs.

The store managers would try to reason with her, to explain the problem, but it never helped.

"You'll pay for this."

But they were right to fire her--she was a cashier and the customers did not appreciate her humor.


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If the Jig is Ever Up

2014-11-11 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

If we ever find God on this earth, and it turns out that he wasn’t really God, but just a guy who never died, with magical powers enough to make us think there was a God, well, I don’t think we’ll be that mad at him. “Thank you for the experience,” we’ll say. But then we will find a way to kill him. Again, we wouldn’t be mad, but we can’t really let him keep it up, now that we know.


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Steal From The Best

2014-11-05 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

One of my heroes is the writer, Jack Handy. You may remember some of Jack's work from Saturday Night Live in the 90s. He would write these wonderfully bizarre and hilarious "Deep Thoughts." He's not topical, he's not crass, he's not relevant—he's just mind mindbogglingly hilarious.

I did an exercise where I ripped off his form. They are nothing close to what he does, but you've gotta start somewhere, right?

My attempts at Jack Handy-style jokes:

If a man wants to get hair to grow on his back, I don’t think it’s a problem to keep it caked with fertilizer and water it periodically. But my wife does.

People like to be flattered. But they don’t like to be faltered—that’s why it’s so important to know how to spell.

There’s nothing worse than an incomplete thought. Well there is one thing, but it’s immensely if you can put it down again.

We obsess about the order of words, but do you think the words really care all that much? I think they’re just happy to be noticed.

You know when you get down on all fours and follow your dog around ironically to get him to think about his position in the universe? Well they should make special pads for your hands and knees for that, it's a lot of work.

Apples probably think they’re pretty great, but I doubt pears have the same complex. But a pear can be good, too. Apples are just jerks.

If your name was Melvin, it seems like it would be a good idea to wear chaps, spurs and a six-shooter.

A funny thing to do with a can of cut green beans is to empty it out, fill it with fake eyeballs, reseal it, then wait for your spouse to open it.

If a shirt could talk, I think that it would spend so much time trying to talk itself through how it could have ever gotten to this point, that I think it would be years until it really had anything meaningful to say. And you would probably get so tired of it that you would throw it in the fire before it even got close. So actually, with that lesson learned, if your shirt ever does start to talk, just immediately throw it in the fire.

A lot of people think that kings have it the best in this world, but don’t you think that sometimes, late at night, kings think “I just want my mommy”? And if that’s true, that would mean that actually mommies have it best. But that’s a dumb idea.

If you were bleeding internally, it might help to swallow tons of paste. But I would also feel bad if you chose to try my theory instead of seeking medical attention, and then you died. But then I would stand over you and say, “Why did you listen to me? I’m not a medical professional, the blood is on your hands”.

I think that if you woke up to a robber in your house, a funny gag would be to say “finally!, I’ve been waiting for an accomplice.” But once you had his trust you would do a swinging back kick to his head, of course.

A good way to relieve stress, when you’re home alone, is to scream violent obscenities until you go hoarse. But make sure you don’t forget your kids stayed home from school, because it was a Saturday, because if they’re anything like my kids, they’ll be white as sheets.

You know, if God was really as big and powerful as he said he was, he would do a lot more lightning and miracles to impress us. Just goes to show that our heroes don’t always live up to our standards.…


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10 Ways To Make Your Life Better

2014-11-01 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

I was talking to my brother the other day, and I told him something that was true, but I just hadn't realized it yet. I'm an introvert, and a thinker, so I rarely open my mouth unless I know exactly what's going to come out. This is not an ideal mental profile for an aspiring creative type. If I'm not surprised by what I say, it's not very likely that anyone else will be, either. Surprise, spontaneity, unpredictability—these are all things you want, if you're alive.

I told him: I guess I've been waiting for my story to happen to me. I've been sitting around, tapping my foot, waiting for things to start to click—instead of realizing that in order for "my story" to happen, I actually have to go out and make it happen. To quote The Royal Tenenbaums—immediately after I said it I knew that it was true.

As we all know it's a symptom of our age: Andy Warhol rather casually informed us that we will all get our 15 minutes of fame. Man did that screw us over, or what? Between lottery tickets, viral videos, celebrities from every corner of the nation, proliferating like zombies at the Apocalypse, media outlets thirsting for more and more gossip/clicks/dollars, how is it that people are still getting out of bed and putting in a hard day's work when they could be the next YouTube star simply by yelling at their kid, dancing in their living room, or give a quirky interview to the news media?

I had a friend tell me once that he had an idea for a book, but he didn't want to write it until he was assured by a publisher that it would see print. Yeah, at the time I judged him for it, but brother, I don't know about you, but that's me, too. Not all of me, but a very large chunk, expects it to be handed to me. Now I have much too much pride and tact to admit this, or otherwise let it show, but I know it's true in the center of me that no one else can see.

You and I are hardwired to be lazy and take the path of least resistance. Committing yourself to the knowledge that you will undertake hard work is the hardest thing you will ever do.

That last sentence, it's not entirely true. But it is at least 60, 70 percent true, and that's pretty good. Especially for this half-cocked world we inhabit. The best sermons are the ones we need to preach to ourselves. This year I've tried to do something that I've never done before. From what little progress I have made, I can see that I will need to continually refer to the above list if I am to progress.…


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When Life Feels Predictable

2014-10-25 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

One of the things that gets us down about life is that it can feel so predictable. From the moment you open your eyes in the morning you know how your day will proceed and end. You know what the commute will be like, you know the hassles at work, the stress. You know what shows you will watch in the evening, what you will eat, and that you will lie your head down again on the self same pillow from whence you are about to proceed.
The only problem with this is that it is a lie. 
You don't actually know what your day has in store for you. Just because the previous 2,999 days were similar does not mean the 3,000th will be the same. That is a logical fallacy. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking your life is predictable, you may even have a lot of convincing evidence, but it cannot possibly be true for anyone. You don't know if any of the following are in store for you today: car crash, blazing psychological insight, stroke, the birth of a habit, recognition of a life altering fact that has been hiding in plain sight, the death of a habit, a resolve to change, dog bite, power outage, forgiveness, either needed or given, weather anomaly, coup d' etat, laid off, subpoena, a gift, a new friend, gout or flowers.
The most damning fact of all: the expectation of predictability only helps to shield you further from the positives on the above list.…


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A Story

2014-10-23 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

This story starts with an opening sentence. It accomplishes the feat of both capturing your attention, as well as being a magnificent explication of what clearly will be a complicated, tantalizing and rewarding tale. As it progresses you pick up on the author's effortless but substantive style. Before you know it, you've turned the page four or five times. You look at the clock—23 minutes has gone by, and you had no idea. You get more comfortable in your chair.

The main character, she is perfect in all the ways women want to be, and vulnerable and cute in all the ways that women hope to be noticed. She faces challenges, not altogether different from other women that you might know, or maybe even you, yourself. She tries to face them with a steady aplomb, but there just seems to be something missing.

Him. He is the jig to her saw, the missing face in the eventual adorable family photos. They somehow keep missing each other. The descriptions that you read of him cause you to muse on all of the potential romances that you missed out on, simply for the fact that time is finite, and there are only so many opportunities you can have in this life. How many people would have been a good fit for you? What would it have been like if you went left, instead of right, six years ago on a rainy Tuesday, while on your way to return library books three weeks overdue?

Much conflict and misunderstanding ensues. This is the world we live in, so far from perfect. So often the longing to be understood manifests itself in such unhelpful ways. It causes your heart to break, as the fledgling couple pad their way through the dark cavern of a challenging relationship. They realize their upbringing programmed their unconscious with ideas and notions they were not before privy to. But a hilarious incident at the company picnic leads them to realize that their differences cannot outweigh their unity.

The wedding ceremony is beautiful, perhaps overwrought. Six months into the marriage there is a misunderstanding they think pushes them to their limits. It is eventually clarified, torrential relief floods the home. We've been shown they really are going to make it—challenges slayed, they go on to their reward of a happy life. The story is at its end.…


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When We Were Hamsters

2014-10-20 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

Early childhood development is a fascinating thing. Right now my four-year-old is obsessed with inhabiting any character he comes in contact with. He's been Minnie Mouse, our dog Bennett, our Roomba, our hamster, and at least a dozen more cartoon characters. When he's in character you cannot refer to him by his born name, he will remind you every time. "Has Nolan eaten lunch?" I'll ask my wife. He will interject "you mean Bennett," a bit pedantically; willing to work with me, but showing that his patience with my inattention to his transitory identity will soon run out. Then he will remember George, his hamster, and will interrupt our conversation to let us know that he is now George, then will drop to the floor and do his best imitation of a hamster.

I vaguely remember hearing about this stage of development somewhere in the whirlwind of my college education. I could look it up, refresh myself, and read about the "why" of why my son is doing this. I'm sure it would be fascinating, but maybe there is something altogether un-fun about the scientific description of my son's current preoccupation. Something in me doesn't want to take the magic away. Yes, this is a stage of development, every child goes through it. But I'm not watching a "stage," I'm not watching "a child," I'm watching my own son, a flesh and blood person.

I like to wonder what is going through his mind. What is he getting out of becoming everyone else? It is interesting that he becomes everything else—except for what he is. He never inhabits one of the numerous little boys that he sees on the screen. It's like he's already got that one down. Right now is for devoting his attention to what he is not, perhaps to find out how those people (and animals, and robots) tick. What does it mean to be someone else? Who are these people?


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Short Story: "Resumè"

2014-10-17 :: jd@needtheeggs.com

I was contemplating some tweets the other day, and I soon realized I had a short story on my hands. To copy and paste my Twitter feed is much to arduous and costly a process—even though the verisimilitude would be spectacular—so below I render the tweets in plain text. Enjoy. Oh, also, please take this moment to go ahead and follow me on Twitter. Thanks!

I call this story, “Resumè”

If we had intro music when we arrived at work, WWE style, I'm just saying I think it would really ease slicing off that tiny piece of life.

I’m rocking new pants at work today. New pants really are a form of invincibility. You can’t bring me down today, world—new pants!

Note to self: wear new pants to work every day as hedge against crippling anxiety & sense of meaninglessness in universe.

Further note to self: Send cover letter & resume to universe. I’m a nice, useful guy; get it to stop ignoring you.

Attributes I would list for universe: strong-willed, multitasker, manages stress well, solution focused, ie not a complainer or “worry wart”

Things I would do as an “Office Administrator C” for the universe: MAKE SURE PPL FEEL MY PAIN. Make sure Gary gets his.

Gary said I was being “thoughtless” bc I ate his kosher lunch. Get a clue Gary—I couldnt stop thinking how crappy it was as I choked it down

Gary can’t find his sales report. Maybe it was shredded. Maybe it’s a metaphor for how he shredded my feelings over that whole lunch thing.

Gary is the kind of guy that would do well in a cement plant. Then he wouldn’t get so much attention from Sue who only likes him 4 his hair.

The thing about a guy like Gary is that he really wants you to think he’s a nice guy. Always bringing in donuts—he’s going to leave us.

Gary’s going 2 far—he wants 2 have a reconciliation mtg w/ our manager. Gary, you know how this ends—I let the air out of your tires. Again.

It’s been a long day. I need a good dinner before I go to my hole of an apartment, lie on my mattress, and cry softly into my pillow.…


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We Need The Eggs

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We Need The Eggs

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