Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Roar!

On September 21, next Friday to be more informal, the third annual Roar literary festival takes place here in Edmonton. Click the picture will take you to the official website for the festival. You would do well to go to the website and check it out. There are a ton of great shows going on that night if you are into poetry.

My own little part to play in this year's festival happens at Three Bananas (9918 - 102 Avenue, Edmonton) at 8:00 p.m. I am one of the four poets featured in the "Fabulous Leprechaun Burlesque." The poets in the show recently had a meeting to discuss our plans for the show and I am pretty damn excited to be part of this fanastic show. Aside from me there is Patrick Pilarski, Nicole Pakan, and Adam Snider, all poets whom I am in awe of every time I hear them perform. This is going to be a great show.

If you're looking for something to do next Friday night, do check The Roar out. It'll will shock and enlighten, entertain and enthrall.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thoughts On Being Explicit

So tonight, after I got home from work, I thought that I would kick back and listen to the latest Garner Andrews podcast. After opening up my iTunes and starting the latest podcast I found myself looking through all of my downloaded podcasts and noticed something that made me smile.

As some of you out there may know, or maybe not, I was featured in a couple of episodes of The Raving Poets' podcast Live At The Kasbar. It's an accomplishment that I'm actually very proud of because now when I introduce myself to strangers and such I get to say, "Hello, I'm Michael Appleby. Yes, that Michael Appleby, Mr. Podcast." What made me smile as I was looking at the listing for The Raving Poets' podcast was that it had been labelled explicit, which is iTunes' way of warning potential listeners that somebody in the podcast has a potty mouth or is saying something that may be offensive.

And I smiled.

I kind of like the idea that something I did has been labeled explicit. Now, it may just be something that Randall Edwards, the man who puts the podcasts together, did in the process of uploading the podcasts. You know, kind of like Apple asking people who are podcasting if anything in their podcasts is objectionable in the slightest way please check this box and, voila, you now have an explicit tag. Or, hopefully, somebody somewhere far off in some internet bunker deep in the crust of the earth listens to each and every podcasts and decided objectively whether or not an offering is explicit before labeling it accordingly.

Either way, though, I like the idea of being explicit. It kind of makes me feel a little more dangerous than I really am. I hope that parents shield their kids when they see me because they just don't know what that crazy Appleby character is liable to do. He just can't be trusted.

He just can't be trusted.

It's a liberating feeling. As though I am liable to do anything at any given moment.

If you want to feel better about yourself just do something that is scary like that. Be explicit. It's wonderful.

Oh, and if you haven't checked out the podcasts yet go to link I provided or just click here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War

I very recently finished reading Max Brooks' novel World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War. I had read his other zombie book The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead some time ago and was quite impressed with how thoroughly Brooks approached the subject of a zombie apocalypse. In the survival guide he expounded, at great length, on various strategies for surviving a zombie attack, but what really struck me was how a lot of the examples he provided in that book would make excellent premises for novels. He was giving little glimpses into really captivating zombie stories. In World War Z he goes one step further, instead of siting examples of how survival strategies worked during a zombie infestation he writes about characters who give their accounts of how they coped in a world going through a zombie apocalypse.

No longer would I have to try to imagine for myself how stories in that zombie-ravaged world would go down. Here it was, at greater lengths than the examples provided in The Zombie Survival Guide. Mind you, the stories aren't all that long because the fictitious Max Brooks is interviews many survivors and compiling their accounts of what happened from their points-of-view. That's how the book is presented: a series of interviews chronicling different stages of the war with the zombies, from the onset of the plague to the pushing of humanity to the brink of extinction to the war to reclaim the planet from the zombie oppressors. This manner of telling the story really provides a broad scope and I was really awe-struck by how meticulous Brooks was in exploring facets of how a zombie apocalypse would affect the world. He was finding stories that you just don't see in zombie movies. It was fascinating to see how global the war really felt in World War Z. That is this book's greatest strength and something that I wish makers of zombie movies will learn from.

I love zombie movies. They provide an excellent platform for suspense and for social commentary. The genre lends itself to social commentary so well by virtue of the fact that zombies, by nature, are usually depicted on an epidemic scale. There is never just one zombie, or if there is, that number balloons to epic scales. Naturally, it becomes more than a problem that one person deals with and becomes more of a problem that large groups of people address, opening the door for all that great food-for-thought on societal topics. World War Z takes a lot of that much further than zombie movie has ever gone.

Sometimes, I found the messages and morals were heavy-handed, but I can't really find fault with it since, if these are to be understood as interviews, transcripts really, people tend to be heavy-handed in communicating their viewpoints in their story-telling. I can let the heavy-handedness slide. Other than that, sometimes the really engaging stories just were not long enough for my liking, as though in my mind I was saying, "More, more!" Again, nothing I can fault Brooks with really because that could very well be me loving the book too much.

This is a book you should definitely check out even if you're not into horror books because the way in which this book is presented, the horror of the face-to-face encounters with zombies isn't so much the focus of the stories as the transition of the world in turmoil and the changes in its inhabitants. It's as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. Do check it out. I insist.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Poem - "Affront"

Here's another poem that was performed at the last Raving Poets series that I'm finally getting around to posting. I think this one is more in my loveable scumbag mode of writing. It's called "Affront." Enjoy.

It had to be said.
It had to be whispered
how much I wanted to fuck you
while we sat in church
at your nephew’s christening

because I didn’t want to disturb
the rest of your family
with the sudden rush of blood to the wrong head.

You looked at me
like I was Lucifer himself,
whoever he is,
and angrily whispered back,
“You can’t talk like that in church.”

And to be honest
I got a bit mad too
because I saw it
as more of an affront to God
that he could read my thoughts
and know what I was thinking,
but he couldn’t hear me
speak honestly about what I was thinking
because that was just wrong somehow.

And to be honest,
what I was thinking
was a lot more graphic
than anything that I had just whispered
and God could see it all.

This church was his house.
My house where I always talk dirty to you
was his house.
My own skull was his house too.

I think he would prefer that I tone it down
and omit details like the misplaced banana,
the feather duster, confectioner’s sugar,
and the jar of honey.

As opposed to just
putting it out there.
Every detail
frankly vocalized.
I was doing him a favor in his house
with this minor bit of censorship.
But it had to be said.
It had to be whispered.

-Michael Appleby
May, 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

New Poem - "Spark"

Sorry that I haven't been posting very much lately. I've been a busy boy of late. Lots of living life away from my keyboard. It's not that I haven't been writing, but I've been really distracted from getting to my beloved blogging. Here's a poem that I actually performed a while back in the "Rapture" series with the Raving Poets. You'll notice that it's dated for July and that's because I just did some revising to it and it feels like a busier poem to me now, a little more dynamic than its first draft. Oh, and I've learned how to indent text using html. I never bothered to learn that before, so yay for me! I suggest reading this out loud while listening to the song "A Tender History In Rust" by Do Make Say Think. That's the song I was listening to when I first drafted this poem and I think it makes a great soundtrack. It was meant as a sort of companion piece to "Lamp Men Of Midnight" in that I was going with that same nocturnal feel. I love the night. I love it. Anyway, enjoy it. Feel free to leave feedback or just tell me how much of a pretentious boob I am. It's all welcome.

Nocturnes after midnight and I am looking for a spark in a square mile of darkness.

X-Rays of the Man In The Moon came back negative. Nothing is broken. Not a lunar banana bone is out of place.

All us creeps and sidewalk crawlers walking in the Black-Out City, no electricity the media will say, “crippling,”

all us sullen solipsists and recreational somnambulists are children again, barefooted, open-eyed, jaws yawned in awe of the suddenly apparent spectacle of night, pinholes in black construction paper appearance of night, diamonds on witch’s cat’s ass.

Milling from lit candlewick to tea light to tiki torch, matches in hand, flames as bees on pollen bends,

drunk on boxed win, remembrances of the last great time we heard a Billie Holiday record, incandescent light bulb light

and sodium glow in our neighborhoods after dark.

I am holding your hand.

Your name is on my sleeve along with my heart and your name is in the roots of my hair and the tip of my tongue, at the foundation of 27 different marriage proposals that find comfortable silence beneath the shelter of my breath—

vespers at best.

Just waiting for the moment to be right,

the breeze to part your hair a certain way,

or headlights reflecting halogen crystals in the whites of your eyes.

And the city, turned a bible in and ink well is silent enough that the choruses and choirs humble themselves

to whispers and whistles of songs we recognize, but not quite recognize

or muted bits of laughter cobwebbed between intimate friends

the way you laugh when I hold up a lighter, waving it back and forth, quietly calling out:

Freebird! Freebird!

Somewhere Van Gogh is sighing. His Starry Night is alive in concrete, bronze statues of men on horses, workmen on city benches treating themselves to immortalized lunches, bicycles launched perpetually over the fountains in front of city hall frozen on a time line, cyclists always amazed.

And I’m sighing. You’re sighing. We’re sighing,

sinking down easy on park lawn over riverbanks, waves of hazy navy blue and purples that border of pitch.

Maybe the right moment never arrives,

but I’m at ease with the waiting and the pacing, bellows breath, almost asleep, time and welcomed darkness,

meandering the way that people might or riverbanks do,

realizing that sometimes no spark at all

is all the spark you’ll ever need.

-Michael Appleby
July, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Poem - "Lamp Men Of Midnight"

Okay, not exactly new, but a poem that all but six people have seen in some manner of print. I just thought I would post it finally. I wrote it back in April and performed it at one of the Raving Poets nights pretty much right after writing it. I really like writing these sort of noctunal type poems. Enjoy.

Lamp Men Of Midnight



among the lamp men of midnight, the
shadowed faces cutting headlight eclipses,
silhouettes of the broad-shouldered, chisel-jawed
sucking cherries at the tips of their black cigarettes,

behind the backlit curtains

over street lights,

over the gaudy strips, neon-sign-tin-can-and
candy-stripe alleyways,

over pyrotechnic downtown towers and

over the moon.

We are drinking tea out of eggshell cups with
deft fingers surgeon-like in dexterity (they
play pianos in contemporary speak-easy’s and
carve pornographic legends from scores of sexual
conquests in anonymous doorways and elevators), and
are counting down the finite moments before dawn on
clumsy face watches, infinite estimating, Stephen
Hawking debates that pull intellectual cards never-ending,

making ourselves the extinguishing breed of romantic.

Resigning always, each apex of the morning sun to the
grimness with grimaces that all our hearts calcify
just a little,
we will cease to be musicians, painters, and poets,
Ernest Hemingways or Ernest Borgnines, raunchy
Jesuses and peyote Jim Morrisons,
we will dawn simian suits and
troglodytic postures,
slough our compassionate smiles and arm ourselves
against a sea of disinterest with
stainless steel briefcases and I Hate Mondays oversized coffee mugs.




when you come into the picture, the soft
lips from last night that say until later, mon chere on a
brandy breath that I could hold a lighter to for a torch and
read you Neruda by it, the wisps of hair
that frame a face sinuously, gracefully, echoes from
riverbanks, stirs dreams of velvet Elvises and
being the last loon on a darkened lake,

into daydreams

into the idleness of these balances,

into Hotdogstandia, mall-kiosk-LED-light-keychain-and-
grand-land-of-malcontents pedways,

into pyrotechnic downtown towers and

into the sun.

We were drinking tea out of eggshell cups and the
remembrances of your fingers pulling ghosts out of my skin carefully (they
were regrets accumulated in past lives, jaunts with the chupacabra, the
pig men, the dog men, hash marks on the bed posts where lost loves
were lost, never to be heard from again), and I fell to my knees,
clean, hoping to elicit kisses from your mouth and closure of
your eyes to futility; time was not on our side. It
was clumsy and inaccurate, had to be measured and debated,
had to be quantified instead of qualified,

made ourselves the extinguishing breed of romantic.

Cyclic nature is cyclic nature and the sun goes down as
steadfast as it rises, French kisses the horizon, draws tower-tops in,
puts the factory steams to its belly in billowing clouds before cosmic
fellatio, swallowed whole by the turning of the earth, and these
stuffed collar types, these button-down morning-ham-and-eggers, TPS
report sluggers, walking manilla folder fuckers, well,
they’re all renewed of their romances, given leather devil wings for
another go at immortality, lamp men of midnight, and

your brandy-candy,

pillow-mint mouth of breath is


to be mine all over again.

-Michael Appleby
April, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bulls On Parade

As most of you out there know by now, I work in a casino. In that casino we get live entertainment each and every weekend. I say "live entertainment," but trust me when I say that entertainment isn't always what you get. The bands we get are a mixed bag. Some are actually pretty good and others are pretty bad.

How do you cope with having to remain in that place when a bad band is booked to play?

Good question, internalized voice.

Well, quite often the bands we get play mostly covers. Many of the songs that the bands cover are the same. That is to say, they're from a rather short list of songs that have been known to be crowd-pleasers. Off the top of my head I can think of songs like "Stuck In The Middle With You" or "We're Here For A Good Time" or even "Margaritaville." That kind of music. So if a band is particularly bad one trick I do is to simply try to remember how the original recorded version of that song sounds and play that over in my head while the cover/butchered version is being pounded out on stage. Pretty simple.


And this one is a lot trickier, but definitely my go-to method of coping with the horrible music. I try to imagine the band getting up on stage and just going right into "Bulls On Parade" by Rage Against The Machine. And being almost surgically identical to the original version of the song. Why that song, you ask? Well, I think it's because it has the ballsiest guitar riff in the world. I liken it to an atomic bomb loaded with a payload of rusty chainsaws and angry yellowjackets. I imagine people running, actually running away in fear of the monstrous sound. I think one day I would like to see that happen.

I wonder who does the booking for the bands for our casino and if they've ever tabled and offer to Rage Against The Machine.

They should get in touch if they haven't done so yet.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rant: An Oral Biography Of Buster Casey

So today I finished reading the home stretch of Chuck Palahniuk's latest novel, Rant: An Oral Biography Of Buster Casey. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now or know me personally know that I have a very deep reverence for Palahniuk's work and that I probably spend a tad too much time championing his work. He is my favorite author. Naturally, I was expecting to really love Rant.

It's very safe to say that I was not disappointed.

The novel is the story of a man by the name of Buster Casey and it's told in a series of interviews with the characters who knew the man and interacted with him. The fact that the story is told in this manner is something that I was having trouble coping with early on as I had to train myself to pay attention to which character was saying what, but that was a minor obstacle to overcome. It's also interesting to read a book that unfolds its story in such a way. It shows that Palahniuk is willing to take risks with his style. His prior novel, Haunted: A Novel was a series of short stories told within the framework of a larger encompassing story much like Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which is a style that you don't see very much at all in contemporary literature. At least not in popular literature. I don't think that the oral biography is a style that will suddenly become a trend, but it's refreshing to see something stylistically different.

The story itself revolves around Buster Casey, as I already said. The character of Buster Casey reminded me a lot of Tyler Durden from Palahniuk's most famous novel Fight Club in the sense that he is an outside-the-box thinker and, at times, a bit of a revolutionary, but he's not nearly as outspoken and his perpensity to preach is minimal. Palahniuk does seem to draw a little bit from biblical references to draw parallels to Buster's life and it becomes more and more apparent as the story draws closer to its end.

Buster becomes the leader of an underground demolition derby circuit known as Party Crashing and knowingly spreads rabies to just about everybody, making him a quite effective serial killer. He's an interesting character who exists only in the interviews of the book and for most of the book I found myself very intrigued by his wealth, his rapport with the other characters, and just how a man of his particular background really becomes a legend. He seems to have a really disgusting background, growing up with his limbs stuck down holes in the ground a lot of the time, baiting unseen animals for a bite, hence the source of his deadly strain of rabies, but he's given color in a habit of chewing road tar instead of bubble gum and having extremely heightened senses of taste and smell, which some people may read about and be offended by, but I won't spoil it too much for you. It is a bit on the colorful side. Palahniuk has a great eye for the vulgar and he handles it well in his writing. A lot of detractors say that he goes too far, but I think in this book at least, it's a baseless argument given that the story shifts quite dramatically as it evolves from a story about underground demolition derbies to a story about time travel, legends, and immortality.

And if there is one thing that Rant suffers from it's a plot line that becomes difficult to follow near the end. I think that with me, personally, I had trouble understanding the ins-and-outs of the notion of time-travel as it pertains to the character of Buster Casey. I could tell what was happening, but I had trouble understanding why it was happening or how it was happening. The story gets a bit esoteric when it comes to time travel and it left me, at times, trying to deal with concepts like the Grandfather Paradox and the notion of Holy Trinity of Buster's Father Chet, the history Green Taylor Simms, and Buster himself. I think I would have liked a bit more space devoted to explaining the phenomena, but as it was it did keep the plot going.

Truthfully, I really wish I could tell you more about the latter parts of the book, but I really think that it's best for you to read it and find out what I'm talking about for youself. It's a great book. If and when you get around to reading it talk to me about. Tell me what you think. I really liked the book, but it's fodder for thought and discussion. I need to discuss this.

Anyway, I just thought I would let you know that you need to read this book so that I have something to talk about with you.

Monday, May 14, 2007

You, Sir, Are A Master Debater

The other night I was privileged enough to bear witness to one of the great debaters of our time. For free! Can you imagine it? It was sort of like going to a local outdoor basketball court and finding Michael Jordan shooting hoops or like going to a local hockey rink and getting a chance to watch Wayne Gretzky play shinny. It was that rare of an opportunity! For the few brief moments while I got to watch this man at the height of the debating craft I was in awe.

But wait, I should back it up a little bit and give you some premise.

So there I was on a Friday night in the casino. It was actually a slower Friday than what we in the casino biz are used to. I welcomed it, though, because it made for a more leisurely and pleasant pace in which to toil away.

At one point in the evening one of the cocktail waitresses on duty approached me to tell me about a customer who was being quite rude with her every time he placed an order for drinks. Because of his continued rudeness she decided that it was in her best interests to refuse him further service, which meant that if he wanted to get a drink he would have to go up to the bar to get it himself. Stuff like this happens from time to time. Customers who have been drinking can become a little ornery and unpleasant to have to deal with.

As the cocktail waitress was telling me the story about this man who should approach us where we were standing? That's right, the very man in question! Fireworks were about to fly. You could just look at the situation developing in front of you and just know this was two great pugilists about to do some mighty verbal battling over a refusal of service.

The man starts in with something like, "Hey, did you bring me those beers that I ordered?"

I should note that most of these quotes aren't verbatim because my memory isn't photographic.

The cocktail waitress then explains to him, "No, I did not bring the beers you ordered because as I already told you I'm not going to serve you any more."

"Why not?"

"Because you were quite rude to me."

And this was the moment in the little verbal exchange when you could see our man's eyes light up. She left an opening in the lane and he was coming in for the slam dunk to end all slam dunks.

Now this part is verbatim because you can't even willingly wipe these sorts of counterpoints from your memory even if you tried.

He came back at her explaining to him that he was rude to her with, "Well, whatever, you're ugly."


I'm not sure how our cocktail waitress found the intestinal fortitude to refuse him service after a counter-argument like that, but she did. I guess that goes to show the power of her conviction. You just don't fuck with her like that. She'll throw down!

But seriously, guy, "Well, whatever, you're ugly?" How the hell is that going to convince the waitress that she should continue to serve you drinks? Is this some sort of transcendental form of reverse psychology that you picked up in your years and years as the captain of your high school debate club?

Now, if you had, say, apologized for being rude earlier. Maybe even tip the girl for her trouble. Don't you think that would have gone much further than insulting her in regards to getting her to bring you beers? Then again, I never was big on debate in high school, though, trust me, "Well, whatever, you're ugly," is now going in my big book of utility comebacks for arguments all shapes and sizes. It's comeback gold. Believe you me.

Secondly, I'm no expert on ugliness, but I'm pretty sure that if I had polled the people in the casino which person was more attractive, you or the cocktail waitress, I'm pretty sure that all the men would find her more attractive. And the women too. It's one of those pot calling the kettle black kind of stories I guess.

And, just between you and me, if you considered letting the blue jeans ride a bit lower than 4 inches below your armpits you might have a more successful time with the ladies in general. They weren't blue jeans, they were an adventure.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Go To Hell, Petitions!

Click here.

If, like me, you are shock, outraged, completely discombobulated...

Am I the only person in the world who giggles like a schoolgirl when given the chance to use the word "discombobulated?" It's one of those words in the English language that has its dictionary meaning, or as we in the biz call it, denotative meaning, but it has this sort of allegorical meaning, a hidden meaning, and that is, "Look at me use a fucking six syllable word! Please, please, please look at me!"

Sorry for that aside. We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.

But, if, like me, you are just so moved by the latest saga involving Paris Hilton that you cry a little when you masturbate, well then I don't know what to tell you.

Okay, I probably just lost the half dozen or so of you out there who are actually trying to read this. You're scratching your heads and probably saying, "What the fuck is Michael trying to say? First he uses the word 'discombobulated' and then launches into Paris Hilton drama making him cry when he masturbates. This doesn't make any sense." Sorry about that folks. My ritalin prescription is in the mail, I swear. Let me bring you up to snuff a bit.

Paris Hilton was caught driving 45 miles an hour over a posted speed limit, without headlights, and a suspended driver's license stemming for a prior alcohol-induced reckless driving spree last September. The sentence that was handed down to her in court was 45 long, hard days in jail.

Alright, I know that after hearing how long her sentence is there are probably quite a few of you out there who need to have a seat if you were standing while reading that capsule recap of the story so far. Maybe you'll want to consider taking up smoking. I don't blame you. I'm thinking about taking up smoking right now myself. That's hard time. 45 days in jail will FUCK YOUR SHIT UP. I had to capitalize that last part because it needed emphasis. That's the miracle of the Caps Lock key in case you are new to keyboarding. Have you caught your breath yet? Good.

But the story isn't quite over, though. It seems that petitions directed at California governator Arnold Schwarzenegger for and against clemency in this one particular case. Hundreds of people have made the arduous journey to various internet pages where they can add their names to the growing petitions in hopes of either getting Ms. Hilton off the legal hook or, maybe even, getting the hook sunk in just a litte bit deeper.

And you know what?

Big fucking deal, that's what.

The pro-clemency camp seems utterly devastated by the prospect that Paris Hilton, the barely literate silver-spoon-sphinctered hotel heiress, might be sent to a Federal fuck-you-up-the-ass-with-a-shiv penitentiary for 45 days. Oh my god! This is terrible! This is the biggest miscarriage of justice ever! Didn't that Son Of Sam guy only get 12 days for his killing spree? Why is the penal system picking on Paris? Actually, idiots, Son Of Sam, was only sentenced to 10 days for his killing spree and he got out after serving eight of those days, you know, for good behavior. But seriously now, you're losing sleep over 45 days? I've taking painful shits that have lasted longer than 45 days. Paris just got sentenced to a mild bowel movement's worth of time. Boo fucking hoo.

That's not the point, mister. What if something happens to her while she's on the inside? She's not cut out for prison. She's a Hilton.

Then good for her. She needs to toughen up a little. One thing that has always bugged me about Paris Hilton is that, as far as role models go, she portrays this image of, "It's okay to be soft and fragile all the time." That's a stupid message. People like that get faced with a little adversity like a 45 day jail term and crumble like a fucking flaky piece of pussy pie.

Besides nothing's going to happen to her because she is, as those of us who are cognizant of the class system in the developed world would call her, filthy fucking rich and from a family of considerable influence. She will serve soft time for being soft yet affluent. Yawn! The real sentence for her will be missing out on the 12 or so pedicures she would get in a 45 day span had she been free the whole time.

Which leads me to the people on the opposite side of the petition coin, those people who are petitioning the governor to see to it that her sentence is served. To those people I only have to say the same damn thing that I told the people who cried bloody murder over the sentence. It's 45 fucking days! A month and a half. That's about a dozen updates on my website. It's over before you even knew it began. What difference does it make?

We want to make sure that the message that the public gets is that nobody is above the law.

Oh, don't worry, I'm sure that each day of that month and a half will totally show that the penal system is fucking rock hard when it comes to celebrity justice. Even if she serves the time, which she probably will, the message is still that she's above the law because, just between you and me, when she gets out of jail she can go back into the recording studio and record "music" and that won't at all be considered a violation of her parole.

45 days was a sentence that was more for the benefit of society at large. That's 45 days when we won't have to fear she's planning furthering her music career.

Either way you look at it, you're still splitting hairs over a stupid 45 day sentence.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Latest Michael Appleby News

Last night marked the final game of the 2006-2007 FBA (Farmers Basketball Association) season. It was a good game to end the season on. Now that it's done, though, I'm going to miss playing Tuesday night hoops with all the guys in the league. I call it a league, but really there's only a handful of us and we play a pick-up game each and every week. Oh well, no FBA until October most likely.

Tomorrow will mark the first time I will ever host a Raving Poets show. Mike Gravel has a prior engagement and can't make it out for his regular hosting duties so I've been asked to step in. Just between you and me, I'm very nervous. I've seen the hosting of the show done so many time before, but I'm actually a bit intimidated by having to ad lib so much in one evening and try to remember to say all the things that are supposed to be said in addition to just introducing all the poets as they come up to the mic for their turns. We shall see how it goes.

Once again, if you're interested in seeing the show, it's happening at the Kasbar Lounge in the basement of Yianni's Taverna (10444 - 82 Avenue, Edmonton, AB). The doors open at 7:00 p.m. and we should kick the show off some time before 8:00 p.m. with a bit of luck.

Also, it seems that I've been featured in the latest edition of the Raving Poets Live At The Kasbar podcast, episode 21. The episode features a recording of my poem "Spectator Sport" or, as some of you know the poem, the blow job poem. If you are look for a good podcast to check out or you want to hear me read my poem in front of an appreciative audience do head over to the podcast website located here and I will also put a link to it on the right hand side of this page for your convenience because every update of that podcast is entertaining as hell. Even if you aren't into the whole podcasting deal because you don't have an iPod or iTunes you can still go to the website and check out all the episodes of the podcast so far in the form of streaming audio. It's available to just about everybody that wants it so there's no excuse for not spending some time enlightening yourself with some contemporary poetry.

I'll post again soon. Until then. Keep it real.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

New Poem - "Loneliness"

This week's installment of the Raving Poets' series "Rapture" was one of the best poetry shows I can remember in a long, long time. We had a theme night, the theme being the blues. So for every poet who took a turn behind the microphone the band would play a blues song. What it led to, then, was quite a variety of interpretations on the part of the 16 poets as to how their poems would work around the theme for the night. There were even a few poets who bridged the gap between poetry and actual blues music resulting in some amazing pieces. I was the first poet of the evening and the poem I presented was completely new and it's one that I will share with you right now.

A couple of things before I delve into the new poem. Next Wednesday I have been asked to take over the hosting duties normally performed by Mike Gravel because he has another engagement to attend to. So if you're going to the Raving Poets show and you're wondering why the host next week is soooo lame... Now you know.

Also, I got a couple of poem published in the latest issue of the Blood Ink Literary Journal. Yay! Thank you to all parties responsible for me taking that important step.

Now onto the poem.

"Loneliness" was written over a couple of weeks. That's a bit misleading for me to say, actually, since I wrote half of it one week, almost forgot that I wrote that part of a poem for about a week, looked through my notebook, found that fragment, and said, "Oh shit, I totally forgot about this one." It looks at how loneliness can lead people to desperate measures, but it also tries to look at how a person can really become desensitized to an inundation of sexuality. The voice in the poem talks to a phone sex operator so much that he soons finds getting her speaking on any topic other than sex the sexiest thing she can do. I guess I'm trying to say that the whole woman is sexier than the sum of the parts, verbal or otherwise. Maybe the voice in that poem is coming to that conclusion.

For now enjoy "Loneliness." See you on Wednesday.

Desperate now, how it
came to pass that Cheryl, an
operator at
found her way onto my speed dial.

---And not just
Speed Dial 8 or
Speed Dial 9, but
Speed Dial 1. An
ass-slut who knocked my
mom down a digit on my Speed Dial list and
charges me $3.95/minute for her time.

Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl.

Cheryl who would describe
giving me a rim job so succinctly that
I could feel
her tongue making ringlets on the
insides of my eyelids.

Cheryl who through words
would go
mouth-to-ass- to-ear-to-
ear-to-ass-to-mouth and
then hit her filthiest monologues
only after saying,
“Whew! That was a hell of a warm-up, stud!
Let’s get things started proper now!”

And I thought I hadn’t lived
until I heard Cheryl
telling me to put it in her ear.

The closest thing to a significant other,
a girlfriend,
a wife,
I have
boasts she would gladly floss
with my pubic hair,
you know,
if that was my thing.

Maybe that was my thing
once upon a time.
Maybe there were days
in my past
when a watermelon with
just the right size of a hole cut into it and a
face shot of some supermodel
stapled into its husk
was my thing.

Desperate days.
Days a guy could wake up and
not even be able to fathom a
woman’s presence, a woman’s touch,
days when a woman might as well be a
unicorn, a jackalope, or a chupacabra,
just tighten your fist and let you imagination go ape-shit.

But it gets to be too much.

Listen to a verbal blow job enough,
listen to her scripted moans, her
$3.95/minute coos, and
it will all start to lose its effect.

Cheryl might describe licking sweat off my nuts,
but now, for her, for these late night pillow talk,
garbage bag talk, sessions,
hearing her evoke a tongue on my scrotum
is as tame as hearing other people’s
“Hello. How are you?”

Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl.

And lately, the challenge for me
has been to get Cheryl to talk about anything else.
You learn that all the dirtiest things you could think of,
it’s all just a shield to keep from falling for a filthy animal,
a man who would put 1-900-ASS-SLUT on speed dial.

She might greet me with a rusty trombone or ask for an angry dragon,
use her, abuse her,
but that’s not what she wants, what she really wants, and

that’s the challenge:

getting her talk about anything but sex now.

That’s the sexiest thing she can do for me now.

I call, and
try to steer the conversation to what she had for breakfast,
the last movie she watched,
her favorite book,
if she has a view of the ocean from where she’s sitting,


Nothing significant.

Just anything.

Desperate now, how it
came to pass that Cheryl, an
operator at
found her way onto my speed dial

and the only way I get excited anymore
is if I’m paying her $3.95/minute
to hear her

talk about the weather.

-Michael Appleby
May, 2007

Birthday Wishes

Just a quick note. I want to wish a happy birthday to Nadine, Darcy, Ian, and Cory who are all celebrating birthdays this week. This weekend is going to be off-the-hook I think. It just sucks that I'm battling a terrible cold.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Bottom Ten, April 2007

10.) 107 Wives- Click here. A 74-year-old man from Indonesia was recently put in jail for beating up his wife because he suspected her of infidelity in the marriage. I can't figure out why the fuck any woman would want to be unfaithful to a husband who has 106 other wives. That's not a typo. He has 107 wives in total. From those 107 wives he has 41 children and a small city's worth of grandchildren. This man has made polygamy an extreme sport. But why would a woman even dream of cheating on a husband who has 107 women to try to keep up with. Give the guy a break! Fuck. Imagine, you come home from work and all you want to do is put your feet up and relax, but nooooooo, 30 or 40 of your wives want you to do some menial chores, another 10 or so want to have sex, 50 of them want to argue with you over the fact that there are about 104 shades of lipstick on your collar, and the rest want you watch your 41 kids while they go out shopping with their friends. I mean how bad could a 74-year-old man beat a woman? A 74-year-old man who has had 107 wives for who knows how many years. Women sap men of their will to live. This man must have the physical strength of an anemic kitten with some manner of degenerative bone disease. I bet that when somebody opens a window in his house the breeze that comes through pins him against the wall. If you're getting attacked by this man all you have to do is blow him a kiss and he'll get a concussion. I almost think this man should get some kind of award for having the balls to marry that many nagging women.

9.) "Progressive Uniforms"- After reading my earlier rant on the topic of uniforms the bigwigs at McDonald's changed their signage to read that with employment at one of their fine "restaurants" comes "progressive uniforms." Progressive? Progressive? How the fuck can a shirt and pants be "progressive." Does that mean the uniform isn't even a shirt and pants at all, but forward-thinking leather chaps and pasties? Maybe a beanie with a motorized propeller on the top? A cleverly inserted banana? You fuckers should really do away with the corporate bullshit jargon nonsense and just say what you mean: employees will wear clothes to work that we tell them to wear. How difficult is that?

8.) The Magic Word- Okay, you ask somebody to do something and you carelessly, or maybe even carefully, omit the word "please" when you ask them. Six times out of ten people you ask to do whatever will just do it as long as you're not sounding rude or asking the impossible. Those other four people will stop to ask you, "What's the magic word?" Those four people can kiss my ass! The magic word is "You're wasting precious time between me and my goal with your cutesy etiquette games, you inefficient, ineffectual fuck-ass!" Besides, everybody knows the magic word is and always has been "Alla Kazaam" which has no bearing on your concept of politeness and common courtesy. If you're so desperate to hear somebody say a monosyllabic word because it's "polite" you are too easily satisfied by minutia and you keep the lowest common denominators in our culture on top. Politeness is something that can easily be implied without a fucking monosyllabic word. Example? When people do something that I ask them without fuss I'll give them oral sex. Sure, "please" might satisfy some people when it comes to etiquette, but oral sex will please everybody if it's done right.

7.) Cigarette Pack Warning Labels- Does any smoker ever look at a warning label on a pack of cigarettes and actually say, "Holy fuck, I should really quit smoking these things! Look at that cancer-ridden lung!" No, they don't! Why? They've lost their shock value. You can walk into a whole group of smokers, hardcore smokers, and not a one of them will even notice a warning label. The warning labels, then, only serve the purpose of nauseating non-smokers who were already smart enough to not start smoking in the first place. So what then? Two options, really. One, do away with the stupid warning labels entirely because nobody gives a shit. Or two, make the pictures on the labels even more graphic to re-establish the shock value of them. Instead of a mouth full of rotting yellow teeth or a black lung, why not a picture of a fetus with two cigarette butts mashed into the little hollows where it might one day have eyes and perhaps being sodomized by a lighter? Oooo Oooo...and you can have some rusty syringes being poked into its scalp for good measure! Syringes have nothing to do with smoking really, but if you're going to go for shock value you might as well go hog wild. If that doesn't stop a smoker from smoking, well then, that smoker is fucked beyond salvation.

6.) You Mean It's This Easy?- Click here. So if I ever really need to get laid all I have to do is make up a story about needing to apply medicative cream to my shlong and some woman will be gullible enough to believe it means I have to have sex with her, that it's all part of the treatment for whatever the cream is meant to do? Clinical or not, ladies, what would possess you to even be able to get stimulated enough by a guy who has to have ointment put on his penis to have sex with him? I hate to pry, but, guh, if a woman approached me saying that she had to have ointment applied to her vagina and then I was medically responsible to have sex with her I just don't think I could physically do it. Ointments are bad news. There just aren't any sexy ointments out there. The word "ointment" itself is proably enough to keep me soft for a week. Guh! But to think that all these years I was investing all that time into being a cool guy, a good guy, a romantic guy so that I might fool some woman into having sex with me and no success. But some guy can talk about a "condition" with his penis that require the application of "ointment" and he's knee-deep in nookie. Wow!

5.) WOW! This easy?- Click here. So instead of ointment and venereal diseases I can just save up a bunch of fake gold in a computer game and I can get laid? Dammit! What the fuck am I doing wrong in life?

4.) Jack Thompson- In the early hours of the CNN media blitz surrounding the massacre at Virgina Tech Jack Thompason was thoughtful enough to call in and give his two cents on the topic of the motives of the killer. His summation was that it was video games. Bravo, Mr. Thompson. Bravo. I wish there was an emoticon for sarcastic applause. You've done a bang-up job of placing the blame solely on electronic entertainment. For a while there I was worried that it was the guy with the gun, but I'm so glad, and enlightened, to learn it was the video game designers who were the real culprits behind the attack all along. Whew! Okay, if I can be serious for a second here, the psychological make-up of 99.9% of people is a lot more complex than "video games did it" will allow. If video games were really to blame then how does a multibillion dollar industry not churn out more killers? I'm willing to wager that a vast, vast, vast majority of people who play video games have never killed a person. A slight case of over-simplification? Oh hell yeah!

3.) The Disappearance Of Adults Only Rooms From Video Stores- As a kid growing up I was always fascinated by the room that I was forbidden to enter every time we went to the video store for movies. Then I grew up and there's nothing that could hold me back from entering the Adults Only room except the fact that there aren't any Adults Only rooms left in most video stores. And that's a shame. Not because I want to rent porn. I have the internet after all. It's just great to have a room in the video store where children and their crying to get the latest Pokemon movie can't disturb me. If there were more Adults Only rooms in video stores I would have more places to take the boxes of Pauly Shore movies to read up on their intricate plotlines. Those fucking movies are too damn complicated!

2.) Shoe Lace Nibs- Fuck. How old would you say shoe lace technology is? At least 12 years. 12 years ago some guy invented shoe laces (probably) and the shoe lace nib (most likely) and how far has the technology progressed since then. Velcro? Fuck velcro. But, seriously, shoe lace nibs are always cracking and falling off and then lacing your shoes becomes next to impossible. Why the fuck can't we create shoe lace nibs that don't crack and fall off? We have fucking titanium razor blades, why not titanium shoe lace nibs?

1.) Titanium Razor Blades- And since I'm on the subject of titanium razor blades... If you're a man and you need to use titanium razor blades to shave because the steel variety just aren't strong enough I don't think you're shaving right. You're trying to cut off the hair growing out of your face, not skin yourself down to your fucking skull? Note to the razor industry: who the fuck needs to shave so close that you can see their skull? That's not hot. That's not even in the same vicinity of smooth. That's a Halloween costume. Your efforts in pushing razor technology forward are misguided. Make a razor that just sits in my medicine cabinet and shoots at my facial hair with a laser cannon. That's an advance! Skinning me down to my cheekbones won't get me laid, not even for all the fake gold and penis ointments in the world.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Classic Michael Appleby

Tonight I'm posting a rerun. Many of you out there probably haven't read this one so it might not actually be a rerun for you. Some of you have read or heard it before so I welcome you to amuse yourself in the archives somewhere. Actually, I was going to post my Bottom Ten for April, but my browser crashed as I was drafting it and I'm too frustrated to start drafting it all over again tonight. I'll get the Bottom Ten up soon, though.

The poem is inspired by Alex Grey's artwork actually. I wanted to create something that was very focused on the human body and to just stick with that.

Knot Garden
Bodies interlocked in grapple.

Start at the fingertips.
Feel the ridges of prints
like skin tumblers
and rolling into the knots
that knuckles make
before palms are pressed
to palms
and the long chutes of digits
lock to form skinny, bony gates.
Fleshy webs
that transcend,
become intricate vines at wrists,
become intersecting channels,
become, become, become.
And the crossovers at elbows
that aspire to blushing,
freckled x’s
with the narrowest of hinges,
flexing and reflexing apexes,
where four biceps
sinew this pair.

This is more than
the gesture of a kiss.

This exceeds the limits
of any embrace.

This isn’t sex
and it isn’t war.

Shoulders conspire
and the proximity of faces
practically makes them
the mirror folded in on itself.
Hair sweeps from one head to another.
Where ribs are,
they make for calcium rich walls,
walls of marrow:
anastomosis of bones,
perfect pearly xylophones.
Pumping hearts attain synchronicity;
melodies ebb
in the laying back and rolling.
Neck becomes neck.
One skin hybridizes another,
reaches to be a chameleon.
Legs wrap around a waist
or a waist falls into the hold
and feet dive between knees.
Body odors absorb each other,
become more than the sum of their parts.

When we twist,
we maintain this tightening knot,
it’s fibres kept in tact.
The act of tying
isn’t so much of an act of aggression
as it is
an act of compression.
What we learn from Greco-Roman wrestlers
are more than ways in which to brutalize each other.
We find ways to merge.

I discover new nearnesses to you.
You find ways to become a part of me.

-Michael Appleby
May, 2004

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Huge Thank You

Last night I received a belated birthday present from my very good friends Brodie and Kristin. They bought me an autographed Alex Grey poster. For those of you who want to see what the poster looks like do click the link to go to Alex Grey's site, click the shop link or click here and go to the posters page. The poster they bought me is of the "Oversoul" painting. It's freakin' beautiful!

Thank you so much, you two! I absolutely love it. As soon as I buy a frame to put it in that sucker is going up on my wall.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Here's A Headline For You, Asshole: NOBODY CARES!

So, here's another story from my job. It's kind of funny in that sort of way that makes me wish that the rest of humanity was rendered sterile so that people would not be able to bring more fuckwits into the world.

Let me first set the stage a little for you because I could potentially lose you in my little narrative if I don't. Our casino recently converted all of its slot machines to a system we call TITO, which is not only named for the most famous of the Jacksons, but is also a clever acronym for Touch It To Orgasm, no word of a lie. Actually, I lie, TITO actually is a clever acronym that stands for Ticket In Ticket Out, though maybe I should Touch It To Orgasm before I continue.

Ahhhhhh, much better.

So, anyway, Ticket In Ticket Out means, in a nutshell, that instead of slot machines giving you a shitload of coins every time it pays you out for anything you get a little ticket with a barcode on it that can be scanned by a cashier or automated ticket redemption machine and turned into cold, hard cash. It's a great system because the tickets are more accurate and they never short people what they are owed. However, since this system is relatively new in our casino there's a bit of a learning process involved in properly running it. So there are a bunch of little things that a guy like me has to learn as the situations arise.

This is a story about one of those little things.

All tickets that get printed by a slot machine have an expiry date on them. The tickets themselves are good for a month and after that they cannot be cashed in properly. Pretty simple concept, right? Say you have a ticket for a hundred bucks. The expiry on the ticket makes it so that you have to cash that ticket in within a month's time before that ticket is no good anymore. It's like milk or pills. You don't drink expired milk. You don't pop expired pills. Expired tickets aren't as grave a matter as milk or pills, but how hard is it to get a ticket redeemed within a month's time or receiving it?

And if you have your thinking caps on, people, you're probably wondering what kind of person would get a ticket for a substantial amount of money and just hold on to the ticket until it expires since what the fuck good is a ticket to a person when they could instead have the cash. Well, to be honest, I wondered that shit too. I mean, who just keeps the ticket? Why would you want a ticket instead of money?

Last night I found a man who, for some reason or other, thought that holding onto a ticket for $75.00 was way cooler in the long run than cashing that ticket in and actually having $75.00. He let that ticket expire (our casino has been converted to TITO for over a month now) and last night decided, Oh hey, the novelty of this stupid ticket with its sexy barcode and black ink lettering has worn off enough that I think I'll cash this ticket in and get the cash.

Except, of course, the ticket was expired.

After being notified that his ticket could not be redeemed by the cashier because the ticket was expired he demanded to talk to the manager, me:

Are you the manager? Good! This girl won't cash in my ticket because she says it's expired! This is an outrage I demand that you give me the money that I am owed!

So I look at his ticket and, yes, it is expired. When I noticed this I said, "But sir, this ticket is expired. We shouldn't cash this in. These tickets have expiry dates clearly printed on them. Why would you hold on to a ticket for that long?"

The man, in order to establish the upper hand in this debate came back with this:

Fine then! I'll go to the newspapers and tell them my story! This will make the front page!

I guess his strategy by threatening me with a newspaper article was that it would somehow put the fear in me and make me see things his way. Really, though, dealing with these matters was all new to me as I stated earlier. I was going to need to consult with my boss through a telephone call before I ultimately ended up paying him his money because I guess the rules leave it up to the discretion of the managers in charge whether or not an expired ticket gets paid. I paid him, though not because of the newspaper threat, but just because I have to pity anybody who would somehow treasure a ticket more than the money that he would keep the ticket on his person for over a month when he could have easily had the cash for it a long, long time ago.

I mean seriously, does this guy go home and erect a shrine to his unclaimed tickets? You know, just light some incense in front of them. Pray to them. Frame them and show them off to his neighbors and family. That's the only kind of person that I could think of that would want to have a fucking stupid-ass ticket for that long. What the fuck, man?

And another thing, what exactly would you tell the people at the newspapers?

Hi there. I was gambling in a casino and I got a ticket out of a machine and the casino refused to cash the ticket in like they're supposed to because they said the ticket was expired! This is an outrage! I'm bringing this story to you because this is the scoop of the century! I admire your publication and I think this is the type of story that belongs on page 1! I'll even pose for a picture holding the ticket that the evil scumbag slot manager refused to authorize the redemption of! When's a good time for me to come down for the exclusive interview?

I'm sure the editor of a newspaper would do that thing where he's sipping on his morning coffee when he takes this phone call from the ticket fetishist and he would spit the coffee out of him mouth like somebody just punched him in the stomach. There might even be somebody sitting across his desk from him when he spits and whoever it is gets soaked in the ensuing geyser of hot coffee. Then the editor says something almost like Charlton Heston, something along the lines of:





Then the editor would sort of shake his head a little as the euphoria of this monumental story of hardship and injustice washes off. Then he thinks to ask:

"Okay sir, I've got everybody scrambling over here to get your story to our newspaper's front page for tomorrow. I just need a couple of details. How much money were you denied? Was the ticket actually expired?"

Our hapless victim, then:

$75.00 and, yes, the ticket was expired. But I had a good reason to hold onto that ticket for as long as I did.

"What reason would that would be?"

Fuck expiry dates! That's why!


Look, sometimes when you go to a casino, or any other place of business for that matter, there are new concepts, new ideas, new procedures, etc, that the staff has to learn their way around. Innovations work like that. Implementation of some things takes longer than others. When you know that the staff has to deal with things that they haven't had to deal with before you can expect a lot of delay and for there to be no cast-in-stone rules. Be patient. The first thing out your mouth doesn't have to be a threat to go to a newspaper because while you're mouth might be saying, "I'll go to the press with this! You'll be eaten alive and made a fool on CNN! They'll skewer you on the Larry King Show for months and months! What they did to Anna Nicole Smith will be done to you tenfold! Tenfold!" All I hear is, "I'm a jackass and I let my ticket expire because I can't read expiry dates."

And given the sheer number of stories of hardship that the press has to report to the people I doubt that your $75.00 ranks so high that your story is front page, banner headline material.

So just take a deep breath and calmly say, "Look, I wasn't aware that tickets expire. Could you do something to see to it that I am reimbursed for the money that I am missing because of this expired ticket, please?" I would hear you much more clearly then.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bad Idea #238

So I was doing my regular perusal of the news around the internet thanks to the good folks at Fark and I found a link to this article on CNN:

Click here.

The link goes to an article about porn addiction. I'm sure it's something that affects somebody somewhere. Okay, maybe not just "somebody somewhere," it affects a lot of people. Okay, you're clearly onto my clever ruse, I have a window open on my desktop with a huge pair of tits that are practically begging me to lick them. Yeah, giant pair of titties on my desktop, I'm looking at you. Thankfully, I'm an accurate typist otherwise these worlds would all be fucked up beyond all recognition. Okay, you got me, I'm typing this one handed.

Wait for it. Wait for it.

Oh god yes!

At this time I would like to thank my proud sponsors at Kleenex.

Okay, but if I can be fucking serious now...

So, if you look at the article I linked to there will be some stats right at the top of the screen. That's what I want you to see. The article itself is not as pornographic as you're probably hoping it is. Now, can anybody guess why I want to draw your attention to the stats at the top of the article?

Is it because you want us to be aware that at any given point in time there are approximately 28,258 people viewing pornography on the internet?

Noooooooo, but you're close. And, if I might just do a little aside here (it's my fucking right as a blogger to have an aside), that number is disappointingly small. Think about it, there are probably hundreds of thousands of pages of porn, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of videos, erotic text, and interactive video games, and, at any given time only a fraction of it all is actually being used by somebody. Now, unless these people, wankers most of them, are multitasking and viewing four or five different pieces of pornography at one time then we clearly have a waste of valuable pornographic resources happening constantly. But that's just an aside. You should open up some porn at this point as you continue to read my brilliant missive so that all that porn isn't going to waste. Back to my tirade.

What I did actually want to draw to your attention, first and foremost, is breakfast.

You mean the breakfast event that was designed for men to talk about how pornography is having an affect on their lives and verility?

Yes, that bit. You are an astute audience if ever I did write for one.

Now, we've all had breakfast before. Isn't it great? You sit yourself down at the kitchen table or Denny's or wherever the fuck you are. In front of you is a plate with a short stack of pancakes covered with maple syrup, maybe a few sausages and some buttered toast or an English muffin, a tall glass of milk. It looks like a fucking breakfast feast, that's what that is. You are about to be thoroughly satisfied. You take your fork and knife and you cut through that first pancake and it's literally dripping with maple syrup, the nectar of the gods, if the gods were all maple trees, and then somebody speaks up:

Hi, my name is Frank, and I'm addicted to porn. I started young, looking at my dad's Playboys and touching myself. I use to shoot loads and loads of hot, sticky cum into an old gym sock and...

And, suddenly, breakfast takes a very weird, very horrible turn for tragedy. I mean, there you are, and you've just stuffed this wonderful bit of pancake into your mouth and it's just so delicious and when you put it into your mouth there was so much maple syrup on it that some of it dribbled onto your chin before some guy named Frank had to go and start talking about splooging into a sock.

How the fuck do you digest food listening to that?

Hi there, my name is Dave, and for me it was always the sick, twisted Japanese stuff that works for me best. I love, I mean, I absolutely love watching barely legal Japanese girls when they shit on older men's chests.

And you've just started eating your sausages.

I like Bukkake! some anonymous weirdo blurts out like that's just something you say to a room filled with strangers.

That milk you just finished sipping doesn't seem so good now, does it?

Now, I'm sure that whoever had this brainchild had good intentions, but there's a time and place to talk about porn and anything to do with male plumbling. If people need help with their porn addictions they need help with their porn addictions. Bravo for trying to be there for them. Breakfast, though you might think that it's perfect for such things, is actually not.

Holy shit. If some guy comes up to me when I'm dining on an exquisite breakfast and starts talking about how the night before he watched a movie where a woman sucked off a zebra I'm stabbing that fuckwit in the face with my fork. There are about 375,234 things you can start discussing at any meal that will make me want to vomit on your shoe and zebra blowjobs are easily somewhere in the top 50 or so. I don't know where it is precisely on the list insofar as rank goes because it makes me want to puke even going through the list, but, trust me, it's there.

It's great that you want to "help" all these people with porn addiction, but couldn't it wait until they're not stuffing their faces full of sausages and pancakes? I don't know. It's just a suggestion. I'm just just trying to help poor people with their meals. Call me a concerned citizen. I have the welfare of innocent eaters on my mind.

In all seriousness, though, only a small fraction of all the porn on the internet is getting used at any given time. A small fraction. That's wasteful. Wasteful, indeed. Make sure you do your part to give all that porn a reason for being there. If there's one thing that makes the internet cry, it's a waste of resources.

If this porn keeps getting wasted like that I'm afraid I'll have to shut down the internet. Don't let it come to that.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Free Uniform? Thanks, But No Thanks, Assholes!

About two weeks ago I was finding myself a few spare moments to eat a very quick dinner after work. I was on my way to the weekly Raving Poets show at Yianni's, but didn't feel much like eating Greek food that night. So anyway, a little bit of time, a quick dinner? I went to McDonald's.

Now, bear in mind that I've drastically cut down my McDonald's intake over the past few years. In fact, I can hardly keep up with all the weird shit they've been doing with their menu (a topic for another rant should be how fast food joints get away with calling their list of barely passable food as a "menu") so in order to get something that I want to eat I decided it best to forgo the drive-thru where I would hold up traffic while I ponder the french fry du jour and other possibilities.

While inside the restaurant I looked up at the menu board and noticed a Help Wanted graphic on the display, which is really no rare sight in Alberta these days, but what struck me about this Help Wanted ad was that it gave a fairly comprehensive list of the advantages of working at McDonald's. The listed off things like scholarships and growth potential, but one peculiar thing I noticed that was also listed was "Free Uniforms."

Free uniforms?

Free uniforms.

You mean to tell me that if I get a job at McDonald's I can get a free uniform?


Holy fucking shit! I can't sign a job application fast enough for that shit! Why didn't you assholes tell me about the free uniforms sooner?

Alright, here's the deal. If the job ad you are looking at touts free uniforms as one of the deal-closing advantages of the job opening you are considering yourself for it's probably not that good of a job. In fact, "free uniforms" should read, if only in your mind, "free corporate whore costume."

Okay, I'm probably being a little too harsh on people who have to wear a uniform to work. Really, they're good people and they're not actually "corporate whores," but it just bugs me, the gall of whoever puts the help wanted ads together to suggest that being required to wear a uniform to work is a deal-closing advantage. It's like the ad is geared toward people who have trouble coordinating their outfits and are looking for an employer who will offer free help for their socially debilitating disease. Maybe it's people who just lost all their clothes in a fire or ninja attack and they need free clothes, any clothes, even McDonald's uniforms just so that their wangs aren't hanging out.

Either way, I just can't see in my mind's eye somebody walking in to a McDonald's restaurant, seeing the Help Wanted ad, noticing the "Free Uniform" advantage and practically jizzing their underwear to fill out a job application based on the fact that they might finally get a job where they can dress exactly like everybody else in the room. I'd even go so far as to suggest that if somebody did come in, jizz their pants at "Free Uniform" and immediately apply for a job, that I wouldn't hire that person based solely on the fact that something is fucking wrong with their heads, not too mention the jizz stains.

The rule of thumb for "Free Uniforms" being listed as an advantage of any given job should be as follows. If the uniform is such that the Chief Executive Officer of the company is willing to wear it to work each day then it's a uniform that can feasibly be listed as being an advantage because the only Chief Executive Officers who would be willing to wear a shitty looking, stigmatizing uniform to his cushy six figure desk job are the same Chief Executive Officers who suffer from something so bad that I don't think I can understand what it is. All other uniforms, then, are not listed as an advantage to a job. It might even be listed as a drawback.

That should be the rule.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Definitive 200

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has recently released it's Definitive 200 albums list. These are the albums you are supposed to own. I'm not sure how I feel about the list myself. Naturally, not everybody is going to agree with all the selections, but it's a good topic of discussion. Where would you rank some of these albums? Would some of these albums not even rank at all? Are there albums not on this list that you think should be there? I'm interested in hearing this sort of shit.

[author's note: Tool's Lateralus ranks on this list at #123. Not too shabby. Not too shabby.]

Click Here To View The List

Neon Bible

I suppose there are a few of you out there who are wondering why it took me so long to finally get around to posting a review (or my best attempt at a review)of The Arcade Fire's latest album, Neon Bible. It's definitely not a case of me not buying the album as soon as humanly possible, that's for sure. I was at HMV the morning of the release to pick it up as is customary for me when it comes to music releases that I highly anticipate (remember, I did book a day off work just for the day that Tool's 10,000 Days was released). So why the delay in telling you, my gentle readers, what I thought of the disc?

Well, to be very honest with you, I wanted to love the album as much as I possibly could so that I could properly gush over it. In order to do that I had to listen to it a number of times just so that it could emerge from the mighty, practically monolithic, shadow that the Arcade Fire album that preceeded it Funeral I knew would cast. I love Funeral so much that I'm sure I'll be gushing about that one for years and years to come. My grandchildren (or the grandchildren that I one day hope to have) will find it more than mildly irritating to listen to me hype Funeral and that will be decades and decades from now. They will subsequently disown me, but you know what? Fuck 'em! Funeral is that fucking great!

So you can imagine how difficult for me it would be to just pick up any album that would have the gall to try to follow-up such a huge album.

I don't want you to think that the album didn't appeal to me at all when I first heard it. Almost instantly "Intervention" had me hooked, but, truthfully, I bought it as a pre-release single off iTunes weeks before Neon Bible came out so it had some time to sink in. Even though "Keep The Car Running" seems to be the first single from the disc I think it will be "Intervention" that will hook the casual listeners. I mean how many radio-friendly songs out there are built around the sound of a big church organ? 274. I checked. But damn it, this one will be 275!

What Neon Bible does more than Funeral is it brings to the forefront of The Arcade Fire's music an immense sound. Immediately I was struck by how loud this CD can get at times. The aforementioned organ in "Intervention" is grandiose, and it gets even bigger, possibly as big as an organ can sound during "My Heart Is A Cage." But aside from the organ, horns come to life in "An Ocean Of Noise" and strings almost drown lead singer Win Butler's voice out during the Bruce Springsteen-esque "(Antichrist Television Blues)."

Gone, though, is a lot of the romance that really made Funeral so stunning for me to listen to. And at first I was actually a little disappointed by that, but now I see it as necessary. The subject matter that the band is dealing with here is actually quite a bit darker, but ultimately I think the message that comes through is that there is redemption to be had. The romance that I detected in Funeral had a time and place and it was on that album. This album is a completely different beast and has its own voice and messages to convey. There is a bleakness that seems to haunt a lot of the music here:

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
show me where the bombs will fall,"

Win Butler closes "Black Mirror" with. He then goes on to sing:

"Oh God! well look at you now!
Oh! you lost it, but you don't know how!
In the light of a golden calf,
Oh God! I had to laugh!
Take the poison of your age
Don't lick your fingers when you turn the page,
It was wrong but you said it was right,
In the future I will read at night."

in Neon Bible's title track. This is bleak. And, sure enough, as the album nears its end the message becomes more uplifting; its ultimate optimism starts to show.

Which leads me to a somewhat interesting aside about this CD. The second-to-last track on the disc is "No Cars Go," which puzzled me by its inclusion since it was a song that was released on a prior recording by The Arcade Fire, in particular, their self-titled EP, which even got some more widespread commercial appeal in a reissue after the band became a critical darling. So it was odd to see a song that was already released being re-release, albeit arranged slightly differently than its first incarnation. However, in the scheme of Neon Bible's evolution, it's a song from the catalogue that fits in the cycle perfectly, being the last song before the culmination of the album.

The culmination comes in the form of "My Body Is A Cage" and it's my favorite track on the disc so far because its the biggest sound and it erupts from such a humble start. But the message of redemption is its most painfully obvious during this last song. And climax? This song has climax in spades:

"Set my spirit free!
Set my body free!"

You have to check this album out. It comes with my highest recommendation.

I'll leave you with a video that I found on youtube of an unofficial music video some guy made for "My Body Is A Cage" out of ripped footage from Once Upon A Time In The West. I love how technology is letting people do stuff like this. It's strange to see this song played over a gunfight, but it seems to work. Check the video out even if you just want to hear a good song.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Bottom Ten, March 2007

10.) Tony Blair- Click here. Apparently in his youth the current Prime Minister of England made a lewd hand gesture in a photograph once. Gasp! On top of that he flashed an office full of secretaries through a window in a building across the street. Shudder! Why is any of this even news? Nobody fucking cares what happened over 30 years ago with a lewd hand gesture and/or flashing a bunch of middle-aged secretaries. No complaints were made at the time so why the fuck should complaints be made now? I'm no fan of Tony Blair, but come on, a scandal is whipping your dick out of window and probably not even being seen by anyone?

9.) Pantyhose For Men- Click here. I don't even know what the fuck to say about this. Gah! There, that's my quick response. What the hell is there for any man to gain from wearing pantyhose?

8.) The P-Mate- Click here. Between this and the pantyhose for men I'm predicting a totally androgenous society by the year 2013. Enjoy your genders while you can, folks.

7.) Dick Cheney- Click here. Oh, so when Dick Cheney leads police on a high speed chase all he gets is sent in for a psychiatric evaluation. This is bullshit! I fucking wish I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

6.) Van Wilder: The Rise Of Taj- Okay, so there's a sequel to National Lampoon's Van Wilder. It stars Kal Penn, that guy from the original movie who went on to be Kumar of Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle fame. Van Wilder, for those of you out there who aren't familiar with the movie is about a guy named Van Wilder and his college adventures (or at least that's the movie in a nutshell). Kal Penn didn't play Van Wilder in the original and yet the sequel still bears the name Van Wilder. Only there's no Van Wilder in it at all. Now, I'm no tinseltown big shot, but what we have here is a movie which bears the name of a character who doesn't even appear in the movie. Can you imagine if they made an Indiana Jones movie without Indiana Jones in it? How the fuck did this movie even get a green light? Who sits behind a desk and thinks to himself, "I know, I'll make a sequel to that movie about that guy Van Wilder, but I won't actually put that character in that movie at all. And I'll keep the title of the movie Van Wilder just to fuck with people's heads. I'm a fucking genius!" It's really been a long time since I've seen a movie idea this bad. Incidentally, you can rent Van Wilder: The Rise Of Taj on DVD now. You know, if you're a glutton for punishment or something.

5.) Rise Of The Zombies- Click here. I, for one, welcome out forthcoming zombie overlords and I would like to inform them that as a somewhat middle-tier internet celebrity as well as being a man wih years of supervisory experience under his belt I would be most excellent at rounding up fresh human brains for you to pilfer and snack on. But seriously, zombie cows? Wouldn't the necrosis of zombie flesh make zombie beef a little on the gamey side?

4.) The Resemblance Of A Bearded Man Being Likened To Jesus- Click here. Why is that every time an ultrasound scan or a grease stain or an oil spill or a pancake takes on the resemblance to an image of a bearded man it gets called an image of Jesus? Why don't any of these naturally occurring resemblances to bearded men get likened to ZZ Top or Santa Claus? I think ZZ Top and Santa Claus have beards that are just as majestic and just as likely to be seen in a grease stain or pancake as that of Jesus.

3.) Oh Snap!- Click here. What's the proper salutation on an email to your college professor when you've accidentally submitted a CD-ROM filled with child pornography instead of a CD-ROM with your final exam on it? That's right, "Oh snap." Why the fuck would a college professor even have students do final exams on CD-ROM at home anyway? What guarantee is there that the student who is supposed to be taking the test is the one writing the test? I hate how whoever wrote this article failed to even look into why students at this college get to write their final exams at home on their computers while for five years I had to slug it through the cold Canadian tundra to write my final exams on old-fashioned paper? It ain't right! I am outraged by this story!

2.) Anna Nicole Smith- Proof that there is life after death for B-list celebrities even if it's only on CNN.

1.) Fall-Out Boy- That ain't a song, it's a goddamn waste of 5 minutes of my life!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No Threat

No Threat
#1 A prop telephone for
my brilliant one-man skits
involving telephone conversations.

#13 A somewhat surprisingly sturdy
with a grip that is velvety smooth,
and easy on my calluses.

#20 An impromptu piece
of exercise equipment,
the bending back and forth.
I can feel the burn in my chest
that may or may not heartache.

I have found twenty uses for your dildo
since you stormed out in a fit of rage
yesterday afternoon.

You used to reassure me
that it posed no threat to my manhood
and for the first time
I can actually see that it doesn’t.

Quite the contrary.

#21 A prosthetic hand
to scare away solicitors,
girl guides and jehovah’s witnesses
that misguide themselves
toward our door.

What you meant to say
was that I, too, would derive enjoyment
from such a trifle.
No threat at all, but rather a utensil.

And yesterday,
our latest fight.
No matter how many nails I hammer
with this rubber dong,
how many
“Oh my god it’s the President”
telephone conversations
I have with myself
(he’s usually asking me
to save the world from terrorists,
nasty, nasty terrorists),
I can’t get your monologue
out of my mind.

Twenty-four hours later
I think you may have been right.
I’m not going anywhere.
I’m not doing anything.
Look at me,
I’m trying to scratch my back
with an eight-inch factory-built cock
for Christ’s sake.
A university degree will hang on the wall,
but goddamn if I’m going to let

#22 A veiny dick-shaped snake
that springs forth out of the gutted peanut can.

go to waste.

Every job interview ended infamously.
Every resume written cynically.

And look at me.

#23 The sexiest flyswatter you have ever seen

firmly in hand,
like some boring hippo
sits in a mudhole
and tries to swat at flies.
I just sit there.
That’s my problem.

You were right.

And now I feel bad.

I want you back and
it’s scary to admit it
because I have my pride and
it takes a lot,
a lot to admit that I was wrong.

But here I am.

And baby,
if you come back,
you can have a new dildo,
no threat to me,
bigger, better than this dildo,
which I would given back to you

#24 The implement to Ron Jeremy out stubborn toilet clogs.

But, please, come back.

-Michael Appleby
March, 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Lori's 30th Birthday Party

So this weekend marked Lori's 30th birthday party (happy birthday, Lori!). And the gang got together as the gang is wont to do on such an occasion. We started our Saturday night with a dinner at Chianti's and then finished our night at The Billiard Club.

All-in-all it was a hell of a night, but for some reason I only got a few pictures and only a couple of those pictures turned out well. So here are a couple of pictures that I managed to get.

Jay, Darcy, Jordan, and Jeff give the night the thumbs up.

Nadine, Lori (the birthday girl), and Cathy share a moment.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rapture: Raving Poets Live!

The latest reading series from The Raving Poets is set to kick off tonight. The name of the series is Rapture.

So if you are looking for something entertaining to do on Wednesday nights between now (February 21, 2007) and then (May 31, 2007) you should definitely come on down to Yianni's Taverna (10444 - 82 Ave, Edmonton, Alberta) for some literary ass-kickery.

They've streamlined the format a little this time around. Instead of their customary 22 reader line-up, which made for some long nights of poetry, which while great for literary enthusiasts still made for a long night, the founding fathers of The Raving Poets movement have cut the line-up down to 16 readers per night. Those 16 will be determined by a draw. So there might be nights when I read. There might be nights when I don't read. It's a surprise every week. They're also going to be kicking the evening off earlier this time around with sign-up for the draw starting at 7:30 p.m. and the show itself starting at 8:00 p.m.

So if you're interested in coming down to a good old-fashioned poetry reading show with some interesting twists, you should definitely come on down and check us out. Here's the pertinent information one more time for you...

Rapture: Raving Poets Live!
Yianni's Taverna
10444 - 82 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta

Sign-up: 7:30 p.m.
Show starts at: 8:00 p.m.

I hope to see you all there.

Friday, February 16, 2007

My 30th Birthday Party: A Photo Essay

Sorry for the lateness in finally posting something. My work schedule has been a little crazy lately (waking up "really early" now as opposed to "just early"), but here's a little peak at some of the better photographs we got from my big 30th birthday bash.

A group shot at Beerfest.

Our table of dead soldiers at Beerfest.


Jeff and Jay rawking out.

Before Jeff gives his official endorsement of water at The Billards Club on Whyte. That Jeff, he's hard fuckin' core! To the max!

Lori and Jordan being all mushy with each other. For fuck's sake, get a room you jerks!

A toast at The Billiards Club.

Aftermath of the toast. Don't worry, folks. I kept that one down.

Hey ladies! Two cunning linguists flash their skills.

After another round. Oh yeah, I kept that one down too.

Group sex.

I don't know how to describe this one. I was checking out the official Jay Sparrow autograph on Jordan's chest.

Then Jay goes to inspect his own autograph. And more!

The best picture of Ian anybody has ever taken.

It was nice that everybody was having so much fun.

A hug from Nadine.

Michelle and Stephanie.

I just had to post this one because I really had to photoshop the hell out of this one. The glare was amazing before I started working on this one. Maybe if people would tan more I wouldn't have this problem.

Two geezers show their disdain for 30. Yeah 30, you ain't so fucking tough. You ain't nothin' at all, bitch!

A birthday kiss from Stephanie.

And I will leave you now with what is, quite possibly, the greatest single photograph of a human being I have ever seen. I'm not just saying that, either. I have literally seen thousands and thousands of pictures of people, but none have matched the brilliance of this last photograph. I really need to build the hype on this one because it's absolutely stunning. I wish that I was the photographer who captured this next bit of the human spirit, but, sadly, it's not one that I snapped because I happened to be the model in the picture. Brace yourself

Thirty ain't shit!