Sunday, December 04, 2016

10 Greatest Things 2016

Everybody has been wondering and wanting and waiting to know the ten greatest things. Therefore I made a list of ten things that are considered greatest. Here are the ten greatest things that happened in 2016, according to this list. 10. Our TV blew up. 9. My friend swallowed a gnat. 8. I forgot Grady Sutton's name. 7. I went to the dry cleaners and locked my keys in the car. 6. My mom told me to eat a lot of jelly because it "oils up your joints." 5. We learned about hot corn girls. Only six 10 greatest things happened this year and technically the hot corn girls are from 1854.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Crickets, Owls, Railway Trains

As you know I don't "blog" anymore unless I read a book with an owl in it and have to put it on my compulsively updated list of books with owls in them, or for some other reason. So remember when Megan Abbott and I were reading the third volume of Simon Callow's biography of Orson Welles? We've skipped back to the first volume now, in which Callow parenthetically lists some of the traditional gramophone-produced sound effects in theatrical productions; you can see them right there in the title of this "post." You know what else is in this book? H.V. Kaltenborn. I am sure you will recall that for a while there it seemed as if H.V. Kaltenborn - I've never heard of him either - would appear in every selection of the now defunct (?) Doomed Book Club. In conclusion, I am very happy that this book has an owl in it because it gives me an excuse to tell you, as long as I am required to be here, that within these covers Callow describes Bob Hope as "soigné." That is a fair description of Bob Hope! Why, we see Hope here (above) in his green velvet smoking jacket from I'LL TAKE SWEDEN, which I never got to "blog" about (the green velvet smoking jacket, that is) because the day I "blogged" about I'LL TAKE SWEDEN destroying our television set was the day I stopped "blogging." You'll note that the monogram is "BH." His character shared his initials, probably at his command, probably so he could keep the jacket. Bob Hope was a notorious cheapskate, as you know from your obsession with this "blog," which no longer exists, obviously.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fly As Ever

Here's a photo from Kent's party. Look at all these geniuses. There's Adam in the foreground, as well he should be. And the back of Em Partridge's head is deep in conversation with Rebecca Sugar. And then I thought that was the back of Aleks Sennwald's head but Kent says that is the back of Tom Herpich's head! In fact, Kent pointed out, Aleks is visible way back there in the background, in another room, or another plane, ethereal and floating in a violet-blue (?) light. I just assumed she was a ghost! Oh, but continuing along toward the poster on the back wall we see Jesse Balmer and why there's none other than Seo Kim herself, thoughtfully musing! Meanwhile Jesse Moynihan leans against the other wall, as fly as ever in his downy sweater. I also see an elbow and a pocket flap and the back of another head. I'm not "blogging" anymore, but come on, you have to let me get the rest of this ADVENTURE TIME stuff off my chest. You don't want me to bottle it up inside, do you? DO YOU?

Monday, November 21, 2016


I don't know whether you can tell, but sometimes the faulty camera on Kent's computer bathed everything in a mysterious golden light, as in this "screen grab" of Kent with Julia Pott.
Three days a week for over four years I got to see some variation on this beautiful sight, beamed to me from Burbank as I sat right here in Mississippi, usually with my cat Pan. Today it happened for the last time. I want to thank everybody, but especially my constant comrades from the writers' room: Adam Muto, Pen Ward, Kent, Ashly Burch, and Julia. Here are Pen and Ashly in the writers' room looking serious.
Here are Ashly and Julia and Adam in the writers' room looking smiley:
There's nothing to say! How could there ever be a better job with better people? I want to thank Kent Osborne for recommending me for the position to begin with. I don't know what to say about Adam and Pen, except maybe that they're the Apollo and Dionysus of ADVENTURE TIME. Ha ha, that's horrible. [Here there was excised a long panegyric in which Pendarvis compared Pendleton Ward and Adam Muto to William Blake and John Milton and William Faulkner and Jack Kirby and H.P. Lovecraft and Dante in really flowery and completely accurate ways they'd both hate. - ed.] The brilliant (in every sense) Ashly Burch gave us an electric jolt just when we needed it most. I got truly downhearted when she left the show. I felt like a drug addict when they take away the drugs! But then Julia parachuted in at perhaps the most mind boggling moment in the sweeping arc of the series (no spoilers!), just totally undaunted, and showed incredible spirit and ingeniousness that encouraged us to press forward. What an example she is for everything you'd hope to be, including a dazzlingly original thinker and a true friend. Kent always got us rolling. He created a mood in the room that encouraged deeply personal storytelling and brought out the best in everyone. He's a crafty wizard and he'll lead you to your epiphany by misdirection, you know, like one of those monks who cracks skulls with a stick and BANG! You're enlightened. Only Kent would never do that. He's more like... uh... Chuang Tzu. I don't know, Chuang Tzu didn't hit people with sticks, did he? I don't have time to look it up because I need to go get a drink. If he did, I'm sure it was for their own good! Anyway, Kent would never hit anyone with a stick. If you click back over all my ADVENTURE TIME posts (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!) you'll see the debt I owe to each and every one of these creative people, as well as all the amazing board creators I'm not even mentioning here, many of whom were often in the writers' room themselves, even the ones who left their mark before I came onboard, and all the other artists, and everyone involved in the production of the show, and the nonpareil cast. Well, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. I love you all. To repeat myself one more time, I'll never have a better job with kinder people or be part of something of which I'm prouder. I don't suppose I should tell you who worked on our story for the series finale but I will 1) say that it's a murderers' row and 2) guarantee that you'll faint. For four years I got paid to sit around and make up stories with some of my favorite people. I really can't complain. Okay, I'll be at City Grocery Bar crying into an old-fashioned if you need me.

We'll Meet Again

Well I just went to Los Angeles on my final ADVENTURE TIME trip. And though my jottings in my precious book of jottings in which I jot whenever I go on a trip have decreased as my "blog" dwindles into the oblivion it so richly deserves, I feel one last round of thorough jotting transcription is in order on such a melancholy occasion. So let's see what I jotted. The plane landed! I made it to Cartoon Network in Burbank just in time for a meeting. I leapt out of the cab, tripped over my own suitcase and landed brutally upon my knees. "This trip is starting out well!" I probably mused sardonically with my famed sardonicism. I had to use the Cartoon Network first aid kit, which was top notch. Now! I always like to buy a big bottle of seltzer at the grocery store across the street to have in my hotel room, as future biographers will be interested to note. So, once safely in my room, or so I thought, I opened my seltzer bottle to have my ceremonial first sip and seltzer went everywhere! It went on important stuff that shouldn't get seltzer on it. I was beginning to think the trip was cursed, and I was already bummed out because of its elegiac nature. Also, Adam Muto had STIRRED HIS COFFEE WITH A KNIFE during lunch that day! I had a roommate from Wisconsin a long time ago, and once when I stirred with a knife he said, "Stir with a knife, stir up strife!" I had never heard such a thing. But I immediately added it to my catalog of superstitions. So I was inclined to blame Adam for the ill-augured nature of the trip, though Kent reminded me that I fell down and scraped my knees BEFORE Adam stirred his coffee with a knife. I'm not sure that matters! The next morning I woke up with a piece of grit or something in my eye. My eye was swollen and red and the lid was drooping down and the corner of that eye emitted a constant stream of ugly tears. "Well, I can't go anywhere. I guess I will sit in the hotel room and clean out my wallet." Such was the content of my thoughts. "I guess this is how I am spending my last ADVENTURE TIME trip." I threw away a big pile of scrap paper from my wallet, keeping just three things: 1. My ticket stub from when Kent and I went to see 50 SHADES OF GREY. 2. Something funny I wrote down that Bill Boyle said when he was drunk. 3. My visitor's pass from when Julia and I secretly skulked around the GILMORE GIRLS set while they were shooting. Then came a knock at the door. It was Steve Wolfhard bringing me eyedrops! What a pal. Steve's thoughtful gesture allowed me to leave for a meeting I had in Beverly Hills with some degree of confidence. My eye was still bothering me a little when I sat down to a fancy lunch in fancy Beverly Hills. (This was not a lunch meeting; the meeting came later. I was alone.) I ordered a bitters and soda and when I squeezed a lime wedge into it, the lime juice squirted into my "good" eye, for I was wearing my glasses atop my head as I am prone to do. The curse had not yet lifted, I felt, despite Steve's kind gesture. (Oh yes, that reminds me, Steve and I were staying at the same hotel, the one where the guy who plays Squidward always hangs out in the lobby. One evening I came down to the lobby to find Steve sitting right next to Squidward on a banquette, entirely unawares! So I wrote Steve this important note in my ever-present jotting book.)
For my Beverly Hills lunch I had a salad of poached shrimp. There were some hearts of palm in there and some special, hairy radishes. The couple at the end of the bar ordered the same. What a piece of work these two were! First the salad didn't have the kind of hearts of palm they like. Then there weren't enough. They decided they wanted a whole bowl of hearts of palm so they could distribute them throughout the salad in their own inimitable way. But not that kind. They wanted them chopped into a different shape. Then the dressing was too sweet and there wasn't enough of it. And so on. They sent their plates back like six times. Beverly Hills! Well, I liked my salad so much I decided I was going to come back to this place for dinner after my meeting. There would be a whole different dinner menu upstairs! And so I did. That night, the guy seated at the table next to me, very close, asked if he were disturbing me by using a little light to look at the menu. I said not at all! I told him that I had used my candle for the same purpose and had burned my hand, in keeping with my cursed journey. Then I said, "Pardon me, are you an actor?" And he said yes. And I said - and I said it in exactly this peculiar and formal way - "Are you, in fact, Timothy Dalton?" And he said yes. So in a minute I got up and went to the spacious and lavishly appointed Beverly Hills men's room and called Ace Atkins (rudely forgetting the time difference) and told him I was sitting next to a James Bond, because I knew he'd want to know at once. Ace is a James Bond expert! Oh! I forgot to tell you. Flashback to an hour earlier! While I was waiting downstairs for the restaurant upstairs to open for dinner, I sat at the bar where I had enjoyed my luncheon of poached shrimp and watched a 70-year-old French woman (she herself mentioned her age) being - I am almost certain - flattered and cozened by a down-at-the-heels gigolo! Beverly Hills USA! Well, I felt heartened after my encounter with Timothy Dalton. I felt that he had lifted the curse! And so he had.
Why, the very next night I met Em Partridge and Steve and Pen and Sam Alden and Ryan Pequin (of THE REGULAR SHOW) at the Club Tee Gee, a dive with glitter on the ceiling, where I played a bunch of Kelly Hogan songs on the jukebox and Ryan took this picture of Em and me!
Em drew a lot of great pictures on Post-It notes so now I have those in my wallet with that other stuff I mentioned earlier. At one point I told the story of the time I got lost in the North Georgia woods and
Em drew this depiction, the accuracy of which you will appreciate if you go back and read the story. Sam was describing what he called the "hubristic death" of one of his eccentric ancestors and I ask idly if he also happened to be related to John Alden. And he is! He is the direct descendent of John and Priscilla Alden, one of the greatest love stories in American history! Boy was my mom excited when I called her from the airport the next day and told her. "Speak for yourself, John," Mom said, quoting Priscilla, and then demanded a picture of Sam so she could look at him. Okay! "It's no big deal, they had thirteen children," Sam said, implying that half the people in the room were probably the descendants of John and Priscilla Alden, I guess. We all loaded up and went to a party that Kent was throwing for all your favorite ADVENTURE TIME writers and artists, past and present. I sat on the floor next to Ako Castuera and we sang a bunch of songs associated with David Lynch movies.
We sang "Blue Velvet" and "I Told Every Little Star" and "In Dreams." We sang these songs at the top of our lungs half-recumbent on the floor on some sort of shaggy pillow in the middle of the room while people were trying to do other stuff and get on with their lives. On Kent's balcony, we sang "We'll Meet Again" not once but twice at widely separated key moments. Not a David Lynch song but a sentimental choice for the occasion. You know what? I'm leaving a lot of stuff out. A LOT! I feel rushed and weird in my gut because I have my last ADVENTURE TIME meeting in a couple of hours. And I'm not "blogging" anymore, anyway, as you can see. No, but really, I have twice as many pages of jottings that I didn't even get to. But everything has to end, even ADVENTURE TIME, even jottings, even parties. The day after the party Pen brought Kent a bag of fried chicken to cure his headache and I rode along. You know how Kent loves his chicken, ha ha ha! What a life. It had been raining and the sign on Kent's gate was smeared and wistful.
Pen and I had been eating at a shawarma place and noticed a tray of unexpected fried chicken glowing in a golden, almost holy light in the kitchen. It seemed like a sign! A sign for Kent. You don't believe me about this glowing chicken but I'll show you if Pen will send the photo he was compelled to take by the majesty of this glowing chicken of which I speak. [And he just did! - ed.]

Monday, November 14, 2016

Heard You Were Saucy

You know I don't "blog" anymore unless I read a book with an owl in it and compulsively put it on my list, which I do all the time, because every book has an owl in it, including TWELFTH NIGHT, which I am reading right now, and in which Sir Toby threatens to "rouse the night owl" with his singing, although my favorite line so far is "I heard you were saucy at my gates."

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Moon Is Down

You remember back when I used to "blog," how I would take my little jotting book and jot down all my precious jottings whenever I went on a trip and I'd come back and transcribe the jottings for you and I'd usually tell you what I read on the airplane? That's the level of jottings we are talking about! Well, this time I read THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN (mostly just the long, dry, scholarly introduction), which I wouldn't even mention, except there is an owl in it. The Jailer's Daughter says: "The moon is down, the crickets chirp, the screech owl calls in the dawn." [Postscript! There is a more significant - or at least a more striking - owl of which the Jailer's Daughter speaks. "There was three fools fell out about an owlet," she says, and then she recites a little rhyme: "The one he said it was an owl,/ The other he said nay,/ The third he said it was a hawk,/ And her bells were cut away."]

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I Forgot to Add

I forgot to add that as we sat on a banquette in my hotel lobby (this one) at maybe 2 AM, Julia and Jimmy and I gazed at a person with a giant pink rabbit head and a woman whose twisted black devil horns reached perhaps five or six feet into the air, and two or three others whose elaborate costumes I cannot recall, plus a man of whom we said, "Is he supposed to be Jay Leno?" but it turned out he was not in a costume, he was just some guy with a minor resemblance to Jay Leno. And, because I had been traveling and had not seen the GILMORE GIRLS trailer, Julia described it to me in much detail, like a bard of yore, steeped in the oral tradition, relating the ancient and immortal glories, and now I don't even WANT to see the trailer, how could it compare?

Heaven Ghostly

I just got back from a trip to New York. Did I jot down some observations in a jotting book of precious jottings? You bet I did! But I'm not "blogging" anymore, so these jottings - never to be seen in their raw form by the likes of you! - will be fashioned into "short story material" through the miracle of "fiction writing." BUT! I have sparse and spare jottings left over and I guess this is the only place to put them. Did you know that I almost FILLED UP an entire jotting book in one trip? I don't believe I've ever done that before. The particular jotting book in which my jottings for this trip were jotted was a gift from Adam Muto, and an especially nice one considering the time he gently and rightly upbraided me for jotting too much and letting life pass me by. What meager jottings am I allowed to share as a committed non-"blogger"? My trip began in Upstate New York. Jim Whorton drove me past Shirley Jackson's childhood home! Couple of days later in New York City, Julia - prompted by Megan Abbott - came up with the title I.Q. 2: HIGHER I.Q. for a sequel to the film I.Q. So please contact us immediately if you want us to go forward with it. Soon Jimmy and I were in a bar talking about when God showed Julian of Norwich a hazelnut and then we moved on to the part of THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING about "heaven ghostly" being all around us. Jimmy has kindly emailed me the actual texts to which we had been alluding. "Also in this He shewed a littil thing the quantitye of an hesil nutt in the palme of my hand, and it was as round as a balle. I lokid there upon with eye of my understondyng and thowte, What may this be? And it was generally answered thus: It is all that is made. I mervellid how it might lesten, for methowte it might suddenly have fallen to nowte for littil. And I was answered in my understondyng, It lesteth and ever shall, for God loveth it; and so all thing hath the being be the love of God." And "For heaven ghostly is as nigh down as up, and up as down: behind as before, before as behind, on one side as other. Insomuch, that whoso had a true desire for to be at heaven, then that same time he were in heaven ghostly. For the high and the next way thither is run by desires, and not by paces of feet." On the way home, I was soundly, deeply asleep on the airplane when a voice startled me awake. It was some guy saying loudly in my ear "I see the sky and wonder why it's blue instead of red." I have to say it scared the hell out of me! But my earbuds were in, and it was Porter Wagoner doing like a spoken word thing. A pretty mellow song for Porter Wagoner, I don't know why it scared me so much, though he does get into the impenetrable silence of God later on in his recitation.