January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
You can find it in any ebook format–Kindle, Nook, ipad, pdf, whatever–at my smashwords page.
Or you can get it for your Kindle from amazon here.
It is also available for your Nook directly from Barnes and Noble’s site.
There is also a handsome physical version, much like the mysteriously minimalist first two episodes, but with a pink inner cover. If you live in the Twin Cities, you’ll be able to find it at Common Good Books in St. Paul or Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis by the middle of the month; you can stay tuned to the facebook group for announcements about when they receive the latest deliveries. Or, if you live elsewhere, you can mail-order it from my Etsy store.
I normally reserve the free previews for http://www.slashserial.com, but since this one is mostly comedy, I thought I’d post it here, too. To get a sense of the series as a whole, you can preview the whole first chapter here and an excerpt from Episode Two here, but all you need to know for this scene is that Alex is painfully shy and trying to foil a potential serial killer without drawing too much attention to herself.
As soon as she had skimmed to the end, Alex started searching for some way to contact Sylvia Camp, the young woman who played Mel.
Audiences so loved Sylvia’s sassy courage that they’d been demanding a spinoff even before season 3 ended: Momma Mel and Mel’s Many Munchkins were leading title suggestions on the Internet (though Alex had always thought Mel’s Mammaries would best capture the appeal). In the true test of whether a character had seized the nation’s subconscious, kkslash.net had been inundated with slash stories starring Mel over the winter and spring. A few featured her and Stephie making love, but Alex always felt like she was cheating on her fantasy when she read them—and preferred to read about Mel giving it to Lissa, anyways. Despite America’s yearnings, Sylvia hadn’t been content to play Mel for a minute more than she needed to; during the few discussions Alex had managed to sustain with her, Sylvia bragged that she was hoping to use Koop’s Kitchen as a stepping-stone to more serious acting. So even though Alex had heard—during one of Lissa’s jealous tantrums—that PJ had offered Sylvia a recurring role for the fourth season, she’d left the show for new roles as soon as her contract was up.
Since moving on, she’d easily surpassed Alex’s level of fame with a few talk-show appearances, and this summer had been scantily-clad in nearly as many magazines as Lissa (though she tended to be in Maxim air-brushed bikini shoots as opposed to candid tabloid up-skirts). With two B-grade teen comedies on her CV, Lissa was still more famous, but, searching the Internet, Alex realized Sylvia might soon eclipse her as well.
Horror fan communities online were abuzz with news of Bull God: adapted from an acclaimed novel by an enigmatic director and starring Sylvia Camp, the minutest details of production were daily news, including the location where principal filming had begun a week ago. Alex was thrilled to finally have her research provide an answer but, as she’d only hit dead ends so far, was unsure of how to proceed. The studio lot where they were filming was between her apartment and the Koop’s Kitchen studios, but she couldn’t just show up at Sylvia’s trailer: Hey, remember me? The short lady who looks like she’s thirteen and always stares at your breasts? Yeah, thanks, I’m good—just stopped by to warn you: last night I read a seemingly-prophetic piece of fan fiction in which Lissa Blaine and I fucked across the hall from your corpse…
It would be easier if both ends were anonymous, so she decided to call in a bomb threat to the entire studio. While the phone rang, she realized, first, that she didn’t know what to say and, second, that she shouldn’t call from her own phone. As a result, she was thankful when a recording asked her to leave a message or call back during normal business hours. It was still only 4am, so she showered and dressed, then refreshed and refreshed her search results to make sure she wasn’t already too late when she left her apartment at 6.
She called again from a gas-station payphone, and when a man answered—“Thanks for calling DM Studios, this is Chet. How may I help you?”—she realized she still hadn’t thought of what to say. “Hellooooo?”
“Um, yes, sorry,” she tried to speak like a man, from deep in her throat. “I’m calling today to report a bomb threat.” While satisfied with the gravelly affectation disguising her voice, Alex was disappointed her meek manners shone through.
“Oh, no,” Chet said blandly. “Did you actually see the bomb, or is it just suspicious activity?”
“I’ve seen the bomb myself, yes.”
Chet continued, only slightly more concerned, “Because the New York City block in B6 is being used to film a pilot for a new bomb-squad procedural called Tick, Tock, Boom. Were you in B6?”
“Jeez, okay. I’ll call security right now. Where were you?”
“I’m not going to say.”
“I don’t want you to find it. I hid it.”
“Oh shit: so you aren’t actually ‘reporting’ a bomb threat, you want to make one. You’re calling to threaten with a bomb.”
“Sure, I guess. Yes. Consider yourself threatened.”
Finally, Chet sounded worried: “Why?”
“Um.” Throat getting raw, Alex croaked, “Because of your… culture of promiscuity which you promote through your films and programs… with loose sex and scantily clad women… and men, too, I guess… and gays and…”
“Then fuck you,” Chet interrupted, and Alex hung up.
April 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
It turns out I’m much more in to blogging than I thought I would be. I log on everyday to check if any of you kind people have looked at the page, and I’ve been googling various keywords like my name and the title to see how easy it would be for someone to find or stumble across the page. Unfortunately, there are several Evan Kingstons out there who don’t seem to be as afraid of the internet as me and the blog is pretty far down the list when you google The Oldest Jokes in the World.
On the upside, though, this funny Reuter’s article was at the top of the list. When I decided on the name, it didn’t even occur to me that we might have ancient jokes on record, but it turns out a few years ago Dave TV commissioned a study of the oldest jokes in the world, several of which are included in the article.
Though the Sumerian example–“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”–made me laugh, I’m not sure I totally get it. Nevertheless, I find it very exciting that these jokes, though separated from us by thousands of years, are still easily recognizable as humor to our modern sensibilities. The fact that they’re all about sex surely helps–and reinforces the Chesterton quote I posted earlier in the week: we joke about whatever is most important to us.
“Jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles,” said the report’s writer Dr Paul McDonald, senior lecturer at the university.
“What they all share however, is a willingness to deal with taboos and a degree of rebellion. Modern puns, Essex girl jokes and toilet humour can all be traced back to the very earliest jokes identified in this research.”
Just as they are today, the oldest jokes in the world were a way for their tellers to talk about matters of such import that serious language couldn’t handle them.
Anyhow, thanks again for reading. And if anyone knows how to get the blog to show up at the top of google or what I’m missing in the joke about the young Sumerian woman farting, please comment below.
April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
One of my main goals in starting this blog is to combat the notion that there are subjects outside the realm of comedy. I don’t believe the world is divided into matters of laughing and no-laughing or that there exist any situations best approached with your sense of humor blindfolded.
Of course, this isn’t the gravest misconception in our society, which is why I’m blogging about it in my spare time instead of occupying somewhere. One can imagine a children’s blockbuster in which jokes are outlawed and secret police listen for laughter; a land where one brave boy must place his palm perfectly into the pit of his arm to simulate flatulence, a ripping rumble that travels the world, teaching us all how to smile again.
Thankfully, we don’t live in such a world, and my inclination to take things a little less than seriously most of the time has only ever landed me in minor trouble: in school, I learned which teachers took a good pun as evidence of engagement with the material and engaged a little less with the material of those who didn’t; the mostly-serious, overly-somber, and easily-offended have never lasted long among my close friends; and whenever a boss has asked me to take the job a little bit more seriously, I’ve just waited to continue commiserating with my coworkers until he was gone (and added his name into the punchlines).
So I’ve never felt like my comedic stylings were outlawed—just censored or circumscribed. What makes it feel so stifling is that I I’ve most always wanted to learn much, be friendly, and work hard—those things just feel both easier and more complete with a little humor. Since I feel humor is a way of lightening our situation without denying it, stopping laughter has always seemed like a double silencing to me: “Shut up so we can all pretend we’re not here.”
As a result, I’ve felt this silencing most concretely in the realm of my life where I have no aim besides making our lives more joyously bearable and honestly clear: my writing. Time and time again, in seminars and workshops (though never outweighing my positive experiences), I struggled against the opinion that humor and true “serious” art are in opposition. I agree that humor is surely seriousness’ opposite, but couldn’t understand why seriousness got sole claim to the truth. It was the rawest, truest parts of my work that always seemed to demand—and provide—the most humor, but I was never sure quite how to explain this to my more sober professors and peers.
Thankfully G.K. Chesterton explains it all in Heretics:
A critic once remonstrated with me saying, with an air of indignant reasonableness, “If you must make jokes, at least you need not make them on such serious subjects.” I replied with a natural simplicity and wonder, “About what other subjects can one make jokes except serious subjects?” It is quite useless to talk about profane jesting. All jesting is in its nature profane, in the sense that it must be the sudden realization that something which thinks itself solemn is not so very solemn after all. If a joke is not a joke about religion or morals, it is a joke about police-magistrates or scientific professors or undergraduates dressed up as Queen Victoria. […] men are always speaking gravely and earnestly and with the utmost possible care about the things that are not important, but always talking frivolously about the things that are. Men talk for hours with the faces of a college of cardinals about things like golf, or tobacco, or waistcoats, or party politics. But all the most grave and dreadful things in the world are the oldest jokes in the world–-being married; being hanged.
You can see that I’ve taken the blog’s title from the quote and hopefully, someday soon, you’ll be able to see that it’s sentiment is the driving logic behind much of my writing. A joke is nothing frivolous; when a subject makes us laugh, it must be of grave importance.