Sunday, December 31, 2006

I wasn't going to announce the changes to the Hulles blog rules until 2007 had already begun, but Stephen Blackmoore convinced me otherwise. Actually, there's only one change: every Wednesday around here is going to be Naked Wednesday beginning in 2007. You need to be naked when you read this on Wednesdays. As Stephen points out, we'll only see you from the waist up, but I expect rigid adherence to the rule as described anyway. You'll have to live with own guilt if you wear underpants and socks.

By the way, this is in lieu of Wordless Wednesday, where everyone else posts cute pictures on their blog so they don't have to write anything. Please feel free to email me pictures of yourself naked if you want to combine the two days, but don't expect me to post them. I'll either burn them or retain them for further analysis.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's New Year's Eve and that scotch isn't going to drink itself.

-- Hulles

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Okay, people, listen up. We need to have a Come to Jesus Meeting, so move in a little closer if you can't hear me well enough in the back there.

First, if you guys could hold it down while you're here, I'd appreciate it. The people in the blog next door have been complaining about the noise. And those of you who persist in showing up drunk, and you know who you are, this is the 2000's and we're fully prepared to intervention your ass right into treatment if you can't drink O'Doul's at least once in a while.

Next item: I know this has been a slow week at work for many of you what with the holidays and all. Many of you have in fact done nothing this week but sit around the office at your computers listening to German beer-drinking songs on repeat. Well, that's all well and good for the office, it's only work for crying out loud, but we run a tight blog here. You are expected to show up with your faculties honed, your sense of humor in the On position and your mice ready to follow hyperlinks, holidays or no. Please don't make me remind you of this again come Presidents' Day or heads will roll.

And once again I must point out that we have a dress code here. Women are expected to display cleavage where feasible and draw it on with a magic marker where not. And if you sit on your knees on the floor and your skirt touches the ground, it is too long for this blog and you will be reprimanded and sent home with a note. Also, men should be wearing t-shirts under their dress shirts because many people find the sight of male chest hair offensive1. And change your underwear, for the love of God.

In conclusion I would remind you that these rules are in place to ensure your comfort and safety while at the Hulles blog. Also, let me once again point out that when the day comes when I open the gates of New Lugburz and release the ravening hordes of Hulles Death Commandos in slightly-modified Hooters uniforms upon an unsuspecting world, you will want to be one of those with the correctly-drawn Smiling Mamegoma on your door so they will pass you by. And you will only find that Smiling Mamegoma on this blog. So please check back here early and often for your own continued well-being and that of your family.

Thank you. And Happy New Year from all of us here at the Hulles blog.

The Management

1The part about the t-shirts is taken from a memo sent around at the Federal Reserve Bank when I worked there, sad to say.

Friday, December 29, 2006

item: The mysterious and lovely Madame Sosotris, who strongly resembles Anne Frasier but is much mysteriouser, was kind enough to do a tarot card reading for yours truly. If you're curious you can find the reading here. I can't imagine that many people besides me would want to check it out, but I personally find it fascinating. I have been thinking about it lots. Thank you so much, Madame.

item: In a way I feel sort of bad about posting such a long entry about my kidney stone. I hope I made it interesting enough to read. I guess I feel a bit shy about exposing my plumbing adventures to the world, at least after the fact. I really liked the giant mouse thing though.

item: In yet another case of art imitating life, today I made my acting debut as a stalker in Chasing Windmills, the wonderful web video series that I always talk about. If you want to catch the episode, possibly more than one, I'll let you know when it/they air. My stage direction from Juan Antonio was “act creepy.” Gee, that was a stretch. I would have really had to struggle if he had said “don't act creepy.” Anyway, it was exciting and fun and interesting to watch those guys shoot video footage at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe and at Common Good Books, that bookstore where the store manager gets ravished all the time. Lo, you'll like that one of the books I was holding in the bookstore sequence where I was “acting creepy” was Lolita by Nabokov. Just for you, baby. Hopefully it doesn't end up on the cutting room floor. For that matter, hopefully I won't end up on the cutting room floor. Really really really fun, thanks lots, guys.

item: Ran into an old friend last night, name of Mary, gave her my blog address. Really good to see you, Mary, it's been a while. Thanks for asking after my brother. For everyone else who isn't Mary: I so want her.

item: Recently I was in Costello's Bar (“If we wanted people to come for the service, we would have opened a church.”) and had the guy next to me say, no shit: “You look much too intelligent to be in a bar like Costello's.” I actually choked on my beer at this. I immediately wanted to respond with about eight different comments, the first being “Everybody looks much too intelligent to be in a bar like Costello's!” But guess what I did. Yep. I smiled warmly and said “Thank you.” This must have encouraged him, however, because later he said that I “looked like a Lutheran pastor.” Get out! I'm not sure what the Lutheran church has been doing the last twenty years or so, but if I look like a pastor it must have really fallen on hard times, poor thing. At this comment I actually laughed out loud and said “Thanks, I think.” Yes, the guy next to me was an old gay man, but he was hitting on me so gently and sweetly that I couldn't help but like him. Besides, he has excellent taste. I am a sex dog.

item: Thanks to Missy for correcting my German, see comments. The entry now has a new title! My credibility is thus reestablished at the stroke of a laptop. I also changed "life imitating art" to "art imitating life," which is more accurate, if less sly.

Das ist alles.

-- Hulles

Warning: This post contains graphic descriptions of horrible things happening to male plumbing and is not for the squeamish. Although most of them probably bolted from this blog long ago. - The Management

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004 dawned like any other day. Like I'd know. I slept until about 11AM that day, one of the benefits of being a contract employee and working from home at the time. I gave myself a shove out of bed, picked myself up off the floor, and Mimi my cat and I stumbled into the bathroom for our morning ritual. This ritual consists of me doing the expected manly things and Mimi brushing her teeth.

She really does this, God bless her. During our time together she has taught herself to brush her teeth on two toothbrushes I keep for this very purpose on a holder attached to the bathroom wall above the sink. She'll stand by the bathroom door as I'm getting out of bed, then when I reach the door she hops up on the toilet then up to the sink and brushes her teeth. Hygienic cat that she is, she brushes on both sides, which is why there are two toothbrushes there. I recorded a short movie of her doing this which I'll post here sometime if you don't believe me. Really.

And by the way, if you have ever been my lover and stayed overnight at my place, neither one of those toothbrushes is the one I let you use. Promise.

But I digress. On that day as I staggered toward the kitchen to make coffee, I seemed to notice a weird feeling in my back. This feeling can best be described as intense crippling hellish pain. I made it as far as the couch then sat down. My back hurt so bad that tears were literally leaking out of my eyes as I sat there shaking. It isn't very often that I regret living alone but this was definitely one of them. My brain would absolutely not work because of the pain and I had no idea whatsoever about what I should do in this situation. Finally, after the shock wore off enough for me to think a little, I called the clinic where my physician practices and had her paged. I told them it was “urgent,” a word I don't use lightly when calling clinics. She answered after a minute or so, thank God, and I explained that my back hurt so much I couldn't straighten up and in fact I could barely move. She could hear my voice break as I talked to her over the phone and asked if I could make it to the clinic. I said that I could, somehow.

So I called a cab and made the driver take me to the clinic. After a short wait my doctor saw me, looked me over and gave me an injection of some painkiller that thankfully worked pretty quickly, although subjectively it seemed like it took hours. Eventually we got an x-ray back and she showed me that I had a kidney stone.

My doctor, who I like, respect and trust absolutely, told me that the pain of a kidney stone in transit is probably the worst pain I'll ever experience in my life. She said that, while she herself had never had one, female patients of hers that had said that childbirth was nothing compared to a kidney stone. “Cool, no more 'you think that hurts, try delivering a baby' shit from women,” I thought to myself. Actually, I didn't really think that then, it was only weeks after the pain was over that I realized I could gloat about how badly it hurt.

My doctor explained to me that what would happen would be that, without intervention, the stone would make its way down my ureter to my bladder, then travel down my urethra, through my penis and eventually end up in the toilet bowl. This news was not greeted by me with anything even remotely resembling joy. “Jesus Christ! How long will that take? Is it going to hurt like this the whole time?” My doctor patiently1 told me that it was difficult to say how long it would take, but probably a week or two, and no, it wouldn't hurt like this, it would get worse. Great. She said she could refer me to a specialist who could do something about it or we could just let the fucker rip its own merry little way right through my viscera until its dramatic debut into society. She already knew what I would say because she knew I had no health insurance, and she was right – I had to pass it (this is the approved phrase for letting it eventually shoot out the end of my cock like a 9mm copper-jacketed hollowpoint). She gave me a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket full of decent painkillers, patted me fondly on the hinder and sent me home to whimper like a three-year-old.

The next ten days were hell. I could eat a handful of painkillers (actually they weren't so much painkillers as paindaintilyslapitinthefacers) every four hours, and after three and a half hours I'd start staring at the clock. Every four hours for ten days, waking or “sleeping.” My doctor, bless her heart, would call me on my cell phone every couple of days on her way home from work to check on me. I didn't know doctors did that. I certainly appreciated it as you might imagine, because I didn't leave the house or even talk to anyone else the whole time.

On the tenth day or so, the pain went away. I hadn't passed the stone. I knew this because, on my doctor's advice, I put the strainer I use used for spaghetti into the toilet bowl and pissed into that for the whole time. No stone. A pretty gross and rusted spaghetti strainer when all was said and done, but no stone. My doctor eventually told me that the stone had reached my bladder, taken a look around at the lovely scenery and decided to set up camp there for a while. “For how long?” was the obvious question on my part, said with some trepidation after having survived such a ghastly ordeal. “Can't say -- a day, a week, a month, a year, forever – who knows?” was the answer.

So that's the story of my kidney stone. Part one, that is. We now move ahead in time to yesterday, which makes for an awkward sentence but you get the idea.

For about a week or two prior to yesterday, I had been experiencing odd twinges of pain when I urinated. Now as a gentleman in his middle years that has had numerous prostate problems as well as a bewildering assortment of STDs lovingly donated by various sexual partners, I didn't think too much of this nasty sensation. I didn't like it, mind you, but I didn't panic. Being the sensitive hothouse flower that I am, by now I am inured to most of the pain life dishes out. I figured if the “discomfort” continued or (God forbid) got worse I'd just go to my clinic and say “Doc, sorry, you have to stare into Big Jim's2 one unblinking eye yet again, he's got himself a boo boo.” Although to be honest I must confess that occasionally the “why does it hurt when I pee?” movie that they showed us in sixth grade would decide to screen itself in my overactive imagination for the thousandth time, and for the thousandth time I would once again blanch with terror in exactly the same way I did in sixth grade.

But it only crossed my mind once or twice that maybe, just maybe, it could be the dreaded KIDNEY STONE from a couple years ago opening the door of his double-wide trailer in my bladder, yawning, stretching, and saying, “Jeepers! I'm starting to go stale. I need some excitement in my life. Maybe I'll just see what this Urethra Trip is like that I've heard so much about.” Every time this scene played out in my mind, however, I would quickly kick the stone's ass back into his trailer, slam the door, then wrap about a hundred thick steel chains around the double-wide and quit thinking about it.

Silly me.

Yesterday morning as I was taking a piss I seemed to notice a weird feeling in my dick. “YEOW! ¡COÑASO! MOTHERFUCKER!” I screamed bilingually, in case there was a Latino five blocks away that didn't quite get that I was suddenly in horribly intense pain. Mimi came rushing into the bathroom, thinking that at last a giant mouse had emerged from behind the shower curtain and she could quickly bat it to death and save my life by risking her own and in gratitude I would spend the rest of my waking hours popping Tender Vittles into her mouth as she lay sprawled on her back on the bed. This has been her dream since she was a kitten. Even through the intense pain I could read the disappointment in her face as she saw it was simply Dad holding his crotch and screaming obscenities. Again.

My kidney stone was indeed back, and it really hurt. To illustrate, let us perform a simple experiment:

  1. Go find a softball.

  2. Somehow stick about a dozen finishing nails in it so it looks like a porcupine.

  3. Wrap the softball assembly from step (2) in barbed wire.

  4. Attach four or five rusty razor blades to the softball assembly, sharp edges facing outward. (This step is not strictly necessary, but it adds some verisimilitude to the experiment so I include it here.)

  5. Tie a string around the softball assembly, leaving a two foot length of string dangling.

  6. Run the dangling length of string through a soda straw.

  7. Pull the softball assembly through the soda straw.

Both the above process and the end result – the shredded soda straw – strongly resemble the process and the end result of the kidney stone making its transit through my penis. At least that's what it felt like. To tell the truth, this happened recently enough that I can't even write about it anymore, it's still too vivid in my mind.

So this unimaginably intense pain goes on for about twenty minutes and then stops. “Twenty minutes?” you ask yourself. “That hardly seems enough time for a kidney stone to make its way through the immense Hulles cock I've heard so much about and even seen purported videos of on YouTube. What's happening here?” Well, I'll tell you, and thanks for asking by the way. In my many years on this earth I have found two things that make a man's dick try to invert itself and become a sort of poor man's vagina, to mangle a metaphor beyond all recognition: 1) being immersed in icy cold water, and 2) having the above-described softball assembly passing through it. It seems that my penis, being the straightforward and sensible guy that he (usually) is, decided all on his own that if he shrunk as small as possible this incredible pain would go away that much quicker. Smart cock, I have to say. [Note to self: big reward for penis after I'm done writing this.]

Unfortunately for me, however, the pain had ceased merely because the kidney stone had traveled as far as it cared to. It stopped right in the tip of my cock and would venture no further, the coward. “No way,” it said to itself. “It's nice and warm in here, if a little cramped, and it looks to be a very cold and very wet destination if I continue on as I have been going.” So it took a breather, right at the extreme end of my penis.

I know this because after the pain went away I went “Whew! Thank God that's over!” and grabbed my dick for a reality check. “YEOW! etc. “ (see above). It only hurt when I squeezed the tip of my penis, though. So of course every twenty minutes I said to myself “This didn't really happen, I imagined the whole thing,” and squeezed the tip of my penis. “YEOW! etc.” once again. Twenty minutes go by. “Hah, it was all a bad dream, my beleaguered brain is still pissed about finding the Downy coupon in my mouth is all.” “YEOW! etc.”

Eventually I got a little bit smarter, hard as it might be to believe. I went into the kitchen, dumped the remainder of my bottle of generic Ibuprofens into my mouth, washed it down with the special bottle of Ripple that I'd been saving in case some woman ever came over again, and proceeded to drink six 16-oz. glasses of tap water. Back pressure is the key here, I thought.

Funny thing -- for once I was right. After about an hour and a half of periodically subjecting myself to the aforementioned reality checks, I had to take a piss really badly. I put this off for as long as I was able (“Pain bad. Pleasure good. Absence of pain to be sought if pleasure not available.”) but finally could wait no longer.

It turns out that the saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” is true. I actually prayed that somehow magically one of my stupid ideas would finally pan out and this hell on earth would end. Against all odds, someone must have been listening and felt sorry for me. At any rate, I urinated and Plip! I heard a little noise as some tiny object hit the toilet water.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear this Plip! Words fail me. This tiny little noise sounded even better to me at the time than “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC does when I'm drunk. Which is saying a lot. I ever so carefully squeezed the end of my long-suffering penis and IT DIDN'T HURT! Yippee! I ran out of the house yelling “It doesn't hurt when I pee! It doesn't hurt when I pee!”

It must have been a woman who called the cops; any man would understand my elation at the fact that the stabbing pain in my cock was gone forever. But who cares. I can do jail time standing on my head if no one is sticking really sharp needles into my dick. Piece of cake.

The one thing that bums me out about all this is that I did not have enough foresight to grab the spaghetti strainer for The Revenge of the Kidney Stone. After the event I searched the toilet bowl in vain for the little fucker. I wanted to at least photograph it and post a picture on this blog for all of you to see and admire, but to no avail. Actually, if you promise not to tell anyone, what I really wanted to do was take the stone, wash it (duh), and make an earring out of it. The stone and I had been through a lot together, and while it would be exaggerating to say that I missed it, I did feel that something that was so intensely part of my life for a short while deserved more than an unmarked watery grave. I was even mentally prepared to field the inevitable question that people would ask me for the remainder of my life (“Why do you have a softball with nails, barbed wire and razor blades in your ear?”) but alas, the stone deserted me and fled down the sewer all on its own. I guess it didn't feel comfortable with the publicity or something, who knows. At least I was able to immortalize it today in this blog with words, if not with pictures. And lucky you, you get to read about it.

Okay. Done talking about my cock now. What did you do yesterday? Oops, sorry, gotta go.

-- Hulles

1Dang, I'm starting to get good at this writing stuff.

2Do gay men ever give their penis a girl's name? “The other day Gloria got caught in my pants zipper, boy did that hurt!” I'll have to ask Tarantino the next time I see him.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Well, it's still the holiday season, so I thought I'd create a blog entry that is pretty harmless, if not actually cheery. Although it will probably turn out to be “disturbing” before I'm done with it. But I hope not.

I've been listening to some good new music lately. This past autumn I asked my friend Jen to recommend some new tunes for me. She's about 22, I'd guess, and she and I have had some interesting conversations about music before. We both listen to the Current, a local listener-supported radio station that often plays alternative music.

Jen told me about “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,” and made me promise to listen to them. So I did, and reported back. I told her I wasn't really in the mood for the music at the time, and that the singer sounded like a young David Byrne. The look on her face was incredibly expressive when I told her this. It said quite clearly, “Damn it! I knew I shouldn't have told him about the coolest music ever. It wasted both his time and mine. David Byrne! As if! The Talking Heads are antiques! He's probably into Myron Florin right now.” (I wasn't into Myron Florin, then, now or ever, by the way; her face lied.) Bless her though, Jen politely restricted her words to “Yeah, I suppose he does sound a little like David Byrne.” Hah. He sounds totally like David Byrne.

Well, she'll be happy to hear when I see her next that I am totally into “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” right now. It just took a while is all. Their song, “Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)” is excellent, but the song I've been singing over and over to myself is “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood,” which is even better. Both songs are from their first album. Incidentally the links are to MP3s on the band's web site, so they should be legal and all that shit. Anyway, thanks lots Jen for turning me on to them.

The other tunage I've been listening to lately is Silversun Pickups. You can find their song Lazy Eye here. This is the song I've been rotating in my singing playlist with “Tidal Wave.” Many thanks go to J for introducing me to sspu. If you recall, he's the guy whose identity I briefly stole. It's nice to know I would have had excellent taste in music if I would have kept his identity. As well as excellent taste in photography and girlfriends, by the way. Muchas gracias, J.

So that's it for the music update. See, that wasn't so bad. No gratuitous gore and unrelenting violence in this entry. Unless of course I was to tell you the story of “Jimmy Finally Catches Something,” wherein little Jimmy the Werehamster happens upon a wounded baby robin that has fallen from its nest.... It's great. Feathers and blood everywhere. You'd love it.

-- Hulles

I woke up this morning – a habit that used to infuriate nearly all of my ex-wives – and spat out a mouthful of cat hair, cigarette butts and a coupon for 20¢ off Downy Fabric Softener (not sure where that last item came from, I don't use Downy). I reached over to the nightstand and groped for the half-empty tumbler of Bacardi and Wiener Broth from the night before and slammed it down, then I lit up a Camel Straight and scratched my ass really well. The life of a bachelor can have its moments, I sleepily reflected.

My first full-fledged thought of the day, however, was about the contents of this blog. These days nearly every morning I awake from a sound sleep with some blog entry or another waving its arms in the air and screaming “Write me! Write me!” It's pretty cool, really. It saves me from having to do any real thinking during daylight hours – I somehow all did the hard work the night before while trying to ignore an erection that rather touchingly believed Salma Hayek was going to leap into bed with me at any second. BTW, ladies, this is like trying to sleep straddling a softball bat -- not very comfortable unless, I suppose, you like the game of softball a lot more than I do. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

So today the blog post that was presented to my faintly-sputtering morning brain was about a two-movie deal I recently signed with Time Warner that depicted my life with my two lovely and talented stepdaughters. The first movie was called, I believe, The Evil Dad, and the sequel was Evil Dad 2: Dad by Dawn. Anjelica Huston played my (now ex-)wife Carmen; a dark-haired Uma Thurman was cast as Isabel, my oldest daughter; and a dark-haired Gwyneth Paltrow got the part of Cristina, my youngest. In a surprising twist, a dark-haired Paris Hilton landed the plum role of Heather Harper, the child that unexpectedly shows up in the wee hours of the morning in the second movie. Even Bruce Campbell had a cameo role as a bartender.

Oh, and I was played by Mickey Rourke. Of course.

Apparently I have Unresolved Issues lurking in the steamy insect-infested Cretaceous swamp that is my subconscious mind.

I won't bore you with the rest of the story, where the movies are tepid at the box office but become cult classics, I take to hanging around Quentin Tarantino until I discover to my utter horror that he's gay, and I have a torrid affair with Salma Hayek sans unibrow until she drops me like an ARVN rifle for Billy Bob Thornton.

Now, I don't want to sound ungrateful to my sleeping self, it is me after all, but what the hell am I supposed to do with a lame blog entry like that about a couple of movies? If I was an illustrator I could do a cartoon or something, or if I was a stand-up comic I could do wacky impersonations of the actors involved, but I'm writer for crying out loud, at least on a good day. The only explanation for such substandard fare that I can come up with is that I must have been pissed about the Downy coupon.


-- Hulles

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A few weeks ago Rolling Stone magazine sent a reporter, Jill Villeneuve, and a photographer whose name we never learned out to interview me at New Lugburz. This is a transcription of that interview. The first post took place on the grounds of New Lugburz. The second post occurred during a tour of the Big House. This, the final post, takes place in a replica of the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe in the Big House. -- The Management

Hulles: Well, I'm back, even remembered to wash my hands. What did you end up getting to drink?

RS: This is chai with spicy pumpkin flavoring. Pretty good, really.

Hulles: Jesus woman, how can you drink that shit? I use the same stuff to wash my cat Mimi when she's been around the goats too long. This here's a latte that I've got -- compared to your chai this is a man's drink. [settles back] So what do you think of New Lugburz, now that you've had the tour?

RS: It's really something, Hulles. I found the tour very interesting and informative. I'm glad to finally get a chance to sit down after all that walking, though, but thanks to you pinching my ass every ten minutes sitting isn't all that comfortable either.

Hulles: You'll find there will be some discomfort and lividity for a couple of days, but that cute little hinder of yours should be good as new by the end of the week. Unless you decide to hang out here with us for a while, then you'll have yourself a decent callus in about ten days or so, haw haw!

RS: [muttering] Asshole. [aloud] So first let me ask you something that's had me curious for a while: are you the only man in this entire compound? I've seen nothing but gorgeous women running around this place since I arrived.

Hulles: No, Jill, I'm not the only man here. Sean, a kid of mine by some wife or another, can't recall which, works here as a goatherd. Somehow his mom managed to stick me with him early on, but we've grown quite fond of each other since and often say hi to each other when we happen to cross paths. Sean must be oh, I'd guess 20 years old or thereabouts by now.

RS: I can only imagine that a 20-year-old male must go crazy with all the hot women here at New Lugburz.

Hulles: Normally you'd be spot on, but I had Sean castrated when he was 12. Docile as a lamb these days. The goats like him lots, he's got a real gift when it comes to dealing with animals.

RS: Speaking of animals, I still haven't gotten over your Skeet Tzu range. How can you possibly do such a thing?

Hulles: Oh, it's not so hard really, but I did have to buy out the neighbor's farm, he kept complaining about bloody entrails landing on his young children while they were playing in the yard. That was before we came up with our dog loads; now we don't get many pieces much bigger than a Grape Nut.

Say, I have a cute little story for you. When we were first developing our Skeet Tzu flinger we had some calibration problems -- the hydraulic arm was a little too powerful for what we really needed. In fact we had a couple of the little rascals land on cars driving on the interstate west of here, not sure if you saw it from the chopper coming in. Anyway, people complained, you know how they are. But the funniest thing was when we first tested it last autumn.

On our very first trial of the flinger we slapped a Shih Tzu in the bowl and let 'er rip. The test Shih Tzu, Sparky as I recall, ended up grabbing some serious air. There was a flock of migrating Canada geese flying overhead at the time, and our little plucky little dog ended up right in the middle of their vee formation! I'm still not sure who was more surprised, Sparky or the geese. Guess they don't get that many flying Shih Tzus joining their fall migration! Just think of the story those geese had to tell when they finally got to Mexico or wherever the hell they go, haw haw! By the way, I just winged Sparky with my shot that time, not proud of it but there you go. He ended up landing in the testing yard of the Bed of Nails factory a few miles from here. Jeez, that must have hurt, poor little guy. I keep intending to put up a commemorative plaque for him on the skeet range but it always seems to slip my mind.

RS: [shuddering] Let's not talk about Skeet Tzu anymore if you don't mind. [looks at notes] What plans do you have for the New Lugburz campus in the future? Got any interesting projects coming up?

Hulles: Why, glad you asked, Jill. We're dabbling in genetic research in one of the pole barns I didn't show you, security and all that. We're developing a breed of hyperintelligent donkeys to write my blog for me on those days when I have other duties to attend to. So far they can only write blogs about their cats' screamingly funny antics of the day before but we expect them to be up to Hulles standards in another year or so.

RS: Hyperintelligent donkeys...? [groan] Oh no, you mean you're breeding sm-? No way.

Hulles: Way. Hey, you'll like this one! See, we're trying to boost our tourist throughput here at New Lugburz, get some of the herds of Japanese to come up here for a side trip while they're in the Twin Cities to go to the Mall of America. So young Sean came up with this great idea: every spring we're going to stage a Running Of The Goats, right here in New Lugburz. We're in the process of laying out a picturesque 1/3-sized village where the neighbor's farm used to be so we can pretend to block the streets off for the event. We decided to scale the village down so the goats look fiercer. In fact, next week we're going to start interviewing midgets to play the villagers. “We spared no expense,” as that one guy says in the dinosaur movie, the first one.

RS: Hulles, I hate to cut you short but I've got to catch a flight back to New York as soon as I round up the photographer. One final question, though: how can you afford all this? This place, New Lugburz, has got to cost millions. Where do you get the money?

Hulles: Well, Jill, I would have thought you'd know that from doing a little research prior to our interview. I blog. The Hulles blog – “sardonic postmodern humor and dessert recipes” -- has actually become quite popular recently. Tens of people have been reading it lately, and I'm expecting another one or two by the end of the year.

RS: Sure, I knew that, but blogging doesn't pay anything. Where do you get your income?

Hulles: Haw haw! Blogging doesn't pay anything! I like that, good one.

RS: But it doesn't.

Hulles: Sure it does! Doesn't it?

RS: Nope.

Hulles: Are you serious?

RS: Yep.

Hulles: Sweet Jesus! You mean I've been doing all this writing for nothing? Eleanor, have them fire up the Abrams, we can expect a large crowd of vicious and well-armed creditors at the gates any second! And load the emergency scotch and a couple of the hotter Commandos aboard the Apache, I just got called away suddenly on urgent business.

Jill, nice meeting you, gotta run.

-- Hulles

Saturday, December 23, 2006

--> A few weeks ago Rolling Stone magazine sent a reporter, Jill Villeneuve, and a photographer whose name we never learned out to interview me at New Lugburz. This is a transcription of that interview. The first post took place on the grounds of New Lugburz. This post, the second of three, occurs during a tour of the Big House. -- The Management
Hulles: Here, this here's the Big House. I call it my Blog Cabin, haw haw! What do you think?
RS: Well, it's certainly, er, big....
Hulles: Yep, I've found that size does matter in pretty much everything except cell phones. I wanted to be sure that I wouldn't run out of room anytime soon for my blogging awards, haw haw! Come on up the stairs here, honey, and we'll go on inside.
RS: What are those women doing standing to the side of the door with the long sticks? And don't call me honey.
Hulles: They're the Door Guards, honey, elite members of the Death Commandos that have been selected for the coveted job of standing there all day holding staves without moving.
RS: Staves?
Hulles: It's the plural of 'staff.' If you're going to be hanging around New Lugburz much you might want to buy a dictionary. We have several in the bookstore inside.
RS: [muttering] I've got your dictionary right here you pompous bastard....
RS: What's that on the heads of the Door Guards? Is that a shako like they wear at Buckingham Palace? Assuming of course you know what a shako is.
Hulles: Touchy, aren't we? No, I got the idea from the Brits but I modified it for postmodern America. Those are actually beehive hairdo wigs. We have them custom made in Missouri. The girls call 'em “Mary Tyler Moores,” but I call the wig style “Space Hair” because it looks like the bouffant that all the blondes had on the original Star Trek TV series.
Come on over here closer, look here, isn't it cool how the Door Guards stand there and don't move a muscle? [playfully grabs the cheek of one of the Door Guards] It's really quite photogenic, the tourists love it. Why, you can actually have anal sex with them right there and they won't even so much as blink! The Door Guards I mean, not the tourists. Here, let me show you, no bother at all, won't take but a minute.
RS: No, no, that's okay! I'm very anxious to see the inside of your “Blog Cabin,” I've heard so much about it. Please?
Hulles: Okay, okay, but you're missing out on something to tell your grandkids once they turn 18. Well, come on inside then, and welcome to my humble palace.
RS: Wow. Don't you think the lime green and hot pink color scheme is a little, well, garish?
Hulles: We call it “vibrant,” but I can see where you might be a little startled if you're not used to it. We've found it helps keep the staff alert.
Over there on the left is the coffee shop. I had it created as an exact duplicate of the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe in Saint Paul. I even hired local crazy people to sit in there and laugh uproariously to themselves and try to bum cigarettes from me just to add authenticity. I find I miss Nina's when I'm up here at New Lugburz.
Well, we'll come back to the coffee shop at the end of the tour when we can sit down and chat. Now if you look to your right under the big neon Smiling Mamegoma sign, you'll notice our Hulles Gift Shop and Souvenir Store. You can get cheap versions of Death Commando gear in there, edible microshorts and toy plastic staves and the like. Our netsuke strap and omijuki selection is probably the largest outside of Japan and the Mall of America. We also sell genuine T. M. Lauth underwear with pockets -- we have a special arrangement with the designer. Oh, and I almost forgot: of course we have the entire line of the cute little stuffed werehamsters that you've probably heard about, even out there in New York or L.A. or wherever the hell your magazine is based. They're collectible! You might want to pick up a couple yourself, can't do anything but go up in value.
RS: It's New York City, and I promised I'd bring some back for my -- if you reach for my ass one more time, you sick fuck, you're going to lose that arm.
Hulles: Feisty, eh? I like a woman with spirit, reminds me of several of my ex-wives. Anyway, down that hall to the right past the Gift Shop is the tobacconist and the liquor store. The hall to the left has the waxing salon. the bookstore, and one of the eight bars we have here in the Big House. That particular one is a replica of Costello's Bar in Saint Paul -- “If we wanted people to come for the service, we would have opened a church!” You can smoke in my Costello's, however, and past 9 PM I try to limit the number of drunk and horny middle-aged women to three or four at a time. Let's keep going straight though, on down the hall towards the back.
RS: What's the little church-thing all the way down at the end of the hall?
Hulles: That's my Margo Timmins Shrine. The church is a scale-model of Trinity Church in Toronto where the Cowboy Junkies recorded their first album.
RS: Duh, I work for Rolling Stone, remember? What about these empty brackets on the hall walls? What are they for?
Hulles: That's my air guitar collection. The bracket we're walking by now holds my vintage Fender Stratocaster. I recently auctioned off one of my autographed air guitars at the annual Bloggers' Binge For An NDPS Cure In Our Lifetime gala for 25 big ones. I autographed it in invisible ink of course, haw haw!
RS: What's that door?
Hulles: That's my private movie theater. Tonight we're showing “Zombie Joe: The Director's Cut,” if you'd care to stay and watch it with us.
Up here to the left you'll see my library. I have an extensive collection of erotica I'd be more than happy to show you if you've got the time. Some of the Tantric Sex Secrets of the Orient scrolls are worth quite a bit of money. I'm currently reading “Fragments From the Delta of Venus,” Anaïs Nin, Judy Chicago illustrations, lots of minimalist drawings of vaginae if you go for that sort of thing.
RS: I'll pass.
Hulles: Your loss. Take a left again up here. Over there is the New Lugburz gym, and just past that is the fashion show runway.
RS: ???
Hulles: Yeah, we like to baste ourselves with trendiness every once in a while just like you do in the big city. In fact I've been known to strut down the runway myself occasionally, usually modeling the Swiss Hanro line of male underwear. [singing loudly] “...catwalk, on the catwalk, then I do a little turn on the catwalk...”
RS: [muttering] Now that's a nasty visual... [aloud] Wow, where's that wonderful aroma coming from?
Hulles: Over here, this is our test kitchen for the world-renowned Hulles dessert recipes! Let's just stick our nose in here for a minute. Hi, Pris! What's cookin'? This is Pris, our chief dessert engineer. Her real name is either Valerie or Mabel, I can never remember, but we all call her Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert. Heh. Pris here develops and personally tests all the dessert recipes that appear in the Hulles blog. She never wears anything more than an apron while she's working, she claims that clothing interferes with her cooking chakras or something like that.
RS: She looks pretty svelte for being a dessert chef.
Hulles: Pilates. C'mon, let's head back down the hall, we're almost done with the tour.
RS: Well, looks like we're back at the fake Nina's. Didn't you say we were going to sit down and talk in there?
Hulles: Yep. Go on in, head up to the counter, be my guest, order anything you want. I run a tab here just like at the real one. I'll be back in a minute, I have to go do manly things in the Unisex Restroom. Oh, and ignore the AA meeting going on over there. In my Nina's we gun the fuckers down right after the opening prayer. “Say hello to my little friend!” Haw haw! Tourists love it, sometimes we have to prop 'em back up and shoot 'em again for the folks with video cameras. Be right back.
-- Hulles

Todd Invenig of Vienna, Austria writes:

I am an avid fan of your blog. A while back you told the story of blowing up your house in “Things That Go Whump In The Night.” Did this really happen? If so, that must have been a traumatic experience for you. Aren't you emotionally scarred from the experience?

Todd, believe me, that event really did happen. I know that the veracity of the story seems questionable in the context of this web log – a nice way of saying that I make shit up all the time, how are you supposed to know that I didn't make that up as well – but I guess you just have to trust me on this one. Please do not do as some have done and sneak up behind me and pop a paper bag to see if I really scream like a girl – I do, okay, and it's an embarrassing affront to my manhood, plus I'm tired of being peeled off the ceiling. However, as far as emotional scarring, I think I've finally developed a pretty good attitude about the whole thing. My theory about having a near-death experience is, let it go. If it really wants to kill you it will come back.

Justin Mundhenke of (Unintelligible), Arizona writes:

I am an avid fan of your blog. Recently I had an unfortunate accident where all my fingers were broken due to slow payment of some high-interest loans. Now, I find that typing on my laptop with my nose is time-consuming and hurts my eyes. Any tips?

Justin, you're asking the right guy. I had a similar accident a few years ago, back when people would still lend me money. I found that you can save yourself considerable eye strain by closing your eyes right before your head smacks the keyboard. That way they don't cross before impact. Another useful thing I discovered is that these days no one cares if you don't capitalize words, so you no longer have to bother holding the shift key down with your tongue. Although you might also want to consider that, as a result of doggedly continuing to capitalize words in spite of my handicap, I received several blatant and intriguing propositions from reasonably attractive women in the coffee shop where I wrote at the time.

Golden Lovejoy of Savannah, Georgia writes:

I am an avid fan of your blog. My cute twenty-something girlfriends and I are going to be in the Twin Cities soon for no reason we can think of. Since we know that you're a total sex dog, while we're in town we're thinking about dropping by your coffee shop to see you. What do you look like, so we can recognize you?

Ms. Lovejoy, it would be a pleasure to meet you and your succulent flock. Besides carefully studying the picture in my blog profile sans hot chick, here's a description of me that may help:

Imagine Ed Bradley from 60 Minutes.

Now imagine a white Ed Bradley.

Now imagine a white Ed Bradley crazed on Viagra, cheap scotch and crack cocaine, laughing hysterically and waving a still-smoking Uzi in one hand and feverishly blogging on an ancient laptop with the other.

I look nothing at all like that. I look like Johnny Depp; everyone says so.

-- Hulles

Friday, December 22, 2006

A few weeks ago Rolling Stone magazine sent a reporter and photographer out to interview me at New Lugburz. This is a transcription of that interview. This post, the first of three, takes place on the grounds of New Lugburz. -- The Management

RS: Hi there, you must be Hulles! I'm Jill Villeneuve and this is some photographer whose name I never bothered to learn. Thanks for having us out to your place up here in northern Minnesota. And thanks also for sending the helicopter to pick me up at MSP, that was nice of you.

Hulles: Well, nice to meet you Jill. I hope you don't mind I sent one of the Blackhawks, I wanted to keep the Apache around here just in case. I'm still not 100% comfortable with those tank barricades. So welcome to New Lugburz!

RS: Well it certainly looks like quite a place. I understand you haven't really moved in here yet?

Hulles: That's right Jill. Until we put the finishing touches on the compound I'm still living in Saint Paul in a duplex that I occasionally blow up. But shortly after the first of the year I plan on moving up here for good. Hey, since we're out here at the helipad anyway let me show you around some of the outbuildings on our way to the Big House.

This pole barn here is where we keep the M1A2 tank and a couple of Bradleys. This is Alex, our chief mechanic who looks to be working on one of the Bradleys. Hey, Alex, what's up? Nice cutoffs! Alex there was voted Miss Cocktail Onion during Fancy Mixed Drink Days in Aitkin last year. She had to give up her crown in midyear due to some unfortunate videos that appeared on YouTube, but we're pretty happy to have her working here at New Lugburz. She's just about done with her correspondence course on armored vehicle maintenance. Of course we paid for it, we take care of our own around here, haw haw!

RS: What on earth do you use a tank and Bradley fighting vehicles for up here?

Hulles: We use 'em in the cabbage flower fields. We find that they outperform normal tractors, plus they're lots more fun to drive. As a side benefit we've found that they tend to discourage Jehovah's Witnesses and the like.

RS: Cabbage flowers?

Hulles: Yeah, this is cabbage flower country up here. You don't see them used so much here in the States, but in many other places in the world people like to hold cabbage flowers in their ears. Foreigners, go figure. But the demand is rising and prices have held up pretty well the last couple of years, so we're thinking about planting another 80 acres next season.

See that swarm of flies over there past the pole barn? That's where we keep the dead horses. I like to come out and flog them occasionally; I find it tones up my deltoids and triceps and keeps me in shape for wielding the old Hulles cat-o'-nine-tails. When I'm dishing out a ten-lash punishment in front of the whole camp, I don't want to wimp out after eight lashes, haw haw!

RS: Jesus, that's a nasty smell from those horses! What's that pile of junk over there? Ouch! Did you just pinch my ass?

Hulles: Yeah, sorry, won't happen again. That over there is where we park the bandwagons. You can still read the sides of some of the older ones: see, that one says “Women's Lib” and that one over there says “Duran Duran”. The newer-looking one, you can't really read it from this angle but it says “Metrosexuality” on the side.

RS: It looks like the “Duran Duran” sign was spray painted on to hide “Milli Vanilli,” What's up with that?

Hulles: Over there underneath that other swarm of flies is our New Lugburz wood chipper. Looks like somebody forgot to hose it down after using it last, dang, that's something we're pretty strict about. If you stick around tonight you just might get to see if my dead horse flogging workouts have paid off once we find out who did this, haw haw! Janey, polish up the pillory for tonight, will ya? We've got company and we want it to look nice.

That building to your right there is the Hoe House. That's, um, that's where we keep the gardening tools. We grow our own produce here, and we're pretty proud that our New Lugburz kitchens are 100% organic.

RS: That's an awfully big building for gardening tools. Can we just take a peek ins--

Hulles: That place there with the wire fence is the Shih Tzu kennel. We raise 'em for skeet. See, we placed the kennel right next to the shooting range, that's good planning, I'm proud of that. I call it Skeet Tzu. Want to try your hand at it? Here, this is a Remington 12-gauge automatic with dog loads, tuck it tight into your shoulder when you pull the trigger. I'll just use the old Winchester pump here. Nancy, toss little Fluffy into the flinger for us, okay? Nancy there runs both the kennel and the skeet range. Occasionally she gets a little too attached to her charges -- in fact you can see her eyes misting up right now if you look carefully.

RS: I don't think tha--

Hulles: Pull! [yip yip yip yip BANG!] Got 'er! I love that red mist, that's what's nice about your Shih Tzus as opposed to your clay pigeons. What's wrong? Fluffy there had a nice litter just last week, the pups should be ready in about 6 months, it's not like we're running low or anything.

That big building we're coming up on is the barracks for the Hulles Death Commandos, right there next to the parade ground.

RS: Great! Part of the reason I'm up here today is to find out more about these so-called Death Commandos. Is it true that they're all women?

Hulles: Yep. Not only that, they're all attractive women with great bodies. Funny how that's worked out. Say, how'd you like to become a Death Commando?

RS: Ow, you just pinched me again, you old ba-

Hulles: Sorry, sorry, old habits die hard, haw haw! Most of the girls around here have taken to wearing Kevlar underwear, say it helps cut down on the bruising. This here's Nadia, the drill instructor. She looks like a supermodel but she used to train Spetznaz in the former Soviet Union, who would have guessed? Hi, Nadia! Carry on. Nastrovya or whatever. Her English isn't that good yet, but we've found that being able to speak is more of a hindrance than a help for a DI anyway. Regardless, Nadia's turned out to be superb at instilling the new Commando recruits with unthinking obedience and fawning dog-like devotion to yours truly. We're lucky to have her.

That naked woman over there with the AK47 is Black Diamond. We flew her in from Liberia just to shore up the Commandos with some experience. She's also turned out to be a wonder at intimidating blog critics and the like. I'd introduce you, but she's a little quick on the trigger if you know what I mean. Even I step lightly around her for a few days every month, haw haw! To celebrate her birthday last April she mortared the Book Depository where I store my unsold children's books and that we also use for sniper practice. High-spirited girl, that one.

Once we round this corner, there, there you can see some of the Hulles Death Commandos out on the parade ground practicing Outdoor Martini Mixing. We stress versatility in our training regimen, as you can see.

RS: Gross! Those look like Hooters uniforms!

Hulles: Word. We contracted with the same supplier as Hooters and actually got a pretty good deal on the uniforms. 'Course there's not much fabric to 'em, haw haw! Sometimes I like to have my morning Kahlua and Grape Nuts outdoors in a lawn chair and watch the Commandos do calisthenics. That, my dear, is a truly inspiring sight.

RS: I can't believe they let you get away with this. Jesus, you're a creepy and disgusting old pervert!

Hulles: Cha! What the hell good is making millions blogging if you don't get to indulge a fantasy or two now and then? Look at Michael Jackson, for chrissake. At least I don't mess with children. There's not a woman out there under 19.

RS: Point taken. How do you recruit for the Hulles Death Commandos, anyway?

Hulles: Usually I promise some cocktail waitress with a cute ass [missed you guys!] that I'll mention her in my blog, then I have her up to New Lugburz for a weekend, we go through a pro forma job interview in the Grotto out back of the Big House, and Bob's your uncle, we have us a new Death Commando.

Let's walk on up to the Big House. Watch where you step, we've had the goats through here recently.

RS: What's that little building to the left?

Hulles: We call that the Love Shack. I had built because it's over fifty yards from the Big House to the barracks and sometimes I can't make it the whole way without stopping to have sex. It's one of those things you don't think about in the planning stages and have to add later.

[End of part one of the interview.]

-- Hulles

Comments are disabled for this post. -- The Management

Hi Mom, I just thought I'd take a minute to tell you that everything is going great here in Saint Paul. I've started my new job (“Spare change? Spare a quarter for an old white rapper? Hey buddy, gotta smoke?1) and I really like my working environment (“The wind chill factor is minus twenty today? Jesus, wish these gloves didn't have holes in them.). My coworkers are friendly and supportive (“Move it asshole, this is my sidewalk, has been since the Honeywell layoffs.) and the pay, while not quite what I was making as an iconoclast, should be fine until I get better established in my new career (“A nickel? Up yours, jerkoff, what am I supposed to do with this, buy a yacht?).

I still have a lot to learn in my new job (“Hey mister, spare a buck for a downtrodden and embittered failure much like yourself?) but I've always prided myself on being a quick learner (“Hey mister, spare a buck for a downtrodden and embittered failure much like that guy over there?). In fact, if things go the way I plan, before long I'll be able to start up my own company in this exciting new field (“Yo, frat boy, no need to be horny and alone tonight, I've got some ladies that would love to keep you company.).

While I can't say much for my night life lately (“Take it somewhere else, buddy, you can't sleep in this stairway.), at least I've cut down on my drinking like you wanted, ha ha (“You want how much for a pint of MD 20/20? Christ, I'll have to rob a liquor store. Whoa, just kidding, it was just an expression, you can put the shotgun away now.). However, the good news is that I'm finally meeting some nice girls in my new workplace (“Hey stud! Nice boy like you, five bucks for a hand job! Two, three minutes and we're both happy.).

So hugs, Mom, say hi to everybody, and of course I'll be home for the holidays (“Hey lady, spare eighty-five bucks for a bus ticket to Iowa?). Merry Christmas!

-- Hulles

1As you may recall, my mother can't read italics because she is no longer able to tilt her computer monitor to the side.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Here's what others are saying about Hulles:

“...a shining example of irreverent, innuendo-filled, satirical say nothing of his comely female readership” – JC, The Hague, Netherlands

No, I didn't make that up – he really said it. And he doesn't even owe me money. I very much don't want to know if there was sarcasm involved, nor should you if you happen to be a female reader. But I think he was sincere, and JC, thank you very much for the huge compliment. Since this blog doesn't have a dust jacket, I want to display the blue part above prominently in the sidebar. So far I have been prevented from doing this by two things:

  1. a certain reluctance to indulge in what is sure to be viewed as shameless self-promotion, and

  2. I really need at least two “Here's what others are saying about Hulles”, preferably three, and so far I only have one.

Now, if you people will quit snickering and listen, point (1) above is really true. However I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear that I am striving to overcome this character flaw. In this blog eat blog world, self-promotion seems to be the name of the game. And since I want to be a player, I'll eradicate the last vestiges of shame in my personality and get on with it. Give me until next Wednesday.

As for (2), those who have read me for more than one post know that I seldom let a dearth of facts stand in the way of my writing. I could pull a couple fake reviewlets out of my ass quite easily:

  • “razor-sharp wit...breathtaking prose...a sure bet to win the Sardonic Postmodern Humor Blog of the Year Award!”

  • “If you have Internet access at your workplace, a ten-minute dose of Hulles will make you forget that you have a dead-end mind-numbing job for at least three or four of those minutes.”

See? It's a gift. Well, maybe not that last one so much.

The thing is, sticking a made-up blurb or two in “Here's what others are saying...” would detract from the loveliness of JC's real comment. I like the nice things that he said -- who wouldn't? It makes me feel all warm and fizzy inside. (I know I derailed you with “fizzy”, but feeling fuzzy inside is a sensation I can't begin to imagine.) I don't (mostly) get paid for this shit, so when I do hear something flattering I want to put it up on the mantle and not have it sit next to an Oscar I made out of aluminum foil. I want someone else to make one out of aluminum foil for me.

There, I think I successfully talked myself out of it. That first made-up blurb was starting to sound pretty good.

But this isn't all about me and my ego; in fact, this isn't even a good start (rim shot).

In my role as Curmudgeon-in-Chief around the Hulles blog, one of my more pleasant duties is explaining things to you at great length that you already know. This is one of the benefits of being related to the owner. I get to pretend that I have somehow gained priceless wisdom over the years that you young turks are desperately eager to partake of. It's called being delusional, and I like it lots and I'm good at it.

Today's lecture – look at me when I talk to you -- is going to be about taking compliments graciously. It seems an appropriate topic since I just got one, and it's always bugged me that people don't know how to receive a compliment.

It's really easy to accept a compliment graciously. Here's all you do:

  • Smile warmly.

  • Say “Thank you.”

See how easy that was? Then how come no one is able to do it?

I think there are a few things that may be going on with a person who can't take a compliment, and they all exist because that person hasn't taken the time to think about what's really happening. I'm going to talk from now on as if that person is you, because chances are it is.

Thing 1: You don't want to sound arrogant by accepting the compliment.

As this blog's foremost authority on arrogance, I have to say that you are wrong. The fallacy here is that you think if you respond with anything but a scowl you are tacitly agreeing with the person: “Jeez, I really am beautiful!” Nope. You're merely acknowledging that the other person thinks that. That's why you thank them. Who cares if they need medication? Who cares if you think you're a warthog? It's still a nice thing to say, and the person who said it probably believes what he or she said. Respect their opinion even if you don't happen to agree with it.

Thing 2: You don't want to be beholden to the person; i.e. you don't want to have to (for example) tell them something nice back that you'd be uncomfortable saying.

Well, that makes you the kind of person who also resents being given a gift because now you'll have to reciprocate. That in turn makes you a very shallow person. Just accept the gift in the spirit in which it was probably intended: a gift. Free. Nothing expected in return. If you think about it, you'll realize that if you do accept it as something you were given without any strings attached, and if the person giving the gift (or the compliment) offered it just because they wanted something in return, it makes them shallow, not you. So there, dammit.

Thing 3: The person is being flattering because he/she wants to get in my pants.

If you're a woman and it's a guy complimenting you, yes, he does want to get in your pants, flattery or no flattery. If you're a guy and the complimenter is a woman, dream on. But almost no one lies when they compliment someone – it's too hard to do. It's hard to truthfully flatter someone, let alone make shit up. Try it. Go up to a complete stranger with lovely eyes and say “You have lovely eyes.” (Do not do this in the workplace. You will face a lawsuit before the sentence is out of your mouth. Do it somewhere else.) Did you do it? No? Why not? No one in view with lovely eyes? Liar. You just chickened out. So if you chickened out, do you think it was really that much easier for the other person to do it? Nope. So the “flattery” is most likely sincere. Deal with it.

So enough Things. Those things should be enough to convince you. Now let's review what you do when a person says something nice to you:

  • Smile warmly.

  • Say “Thank you.”

Being able to do these two simple things makes you a gracious person. This is not a bad thing to be.

-- Hulles

Here's the buzz around Hulles World Headquarters these days:

Item: The issue of Avenues with my weird little article in it hit the stands last week and I got to see it in print. I'm happy to report that I wasn't emasculated too badly by the editors. Although come to think of it, emasculation, like pregnancy is binary – you are or you aren't. So I guess I wasn't. In fact, I think the editors did a nice job of adapting the thing. But my article seemed creepy in that medium: it sounded overly esoteric and intellectual amid the other more plebeian stuff in the newspaper (he said snottily). The check didn't bounce though. Thanks, Avenues.

Item: Because the aforesaid article referred to an event at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe, June the owner said she was making me Customer of the Month. This is too funny for words. I feel like a really really tiny fish in an even tinier pond. I promise I won't let the notoriety go to my head. And thanks, June.

Item: My friend and part-time daughter Heather Harper posted a nice entry about the werehamster entries that have appeared here in recent days. As a result I'm even more madly in love with her now than I was before. This is true only during the times that she isn't my daughter, by the way. I'm not a sicko, for crying out loud. (It's also true only during the times her husband isn't around.) Heather wrote a lovely post, and I urge you to check it out here if for no other reason that to see the wonderful images she included. I'm still laughing (and a little frightened) by the werehamster with the glowing red eyes.... It's really funny that stuff I wrote looks much better on her blog than it does on mine. Thanks tons and tons, Heather.

Item: Another blog pal, Justin (JC), recently said a nice thing or two about my efforts here. Because I'm insufferably arrogant and because I found some things about it very funny, I'm going to talk about it in a soon-to-be-written post and not here. But thanks, JC.

Item: This gratitude thing is starting to get a little syrupy, sorry. Somebody tell me I suck so I can skewer them with a softball bat. I have found that due to the bluntness of most softball bats this method of skewering is very painful and takes a long time – the very best kind of skewering, to my mind. Thanks for nothing, whoever it is that's going to tell me that.

Item: I added an entry to the blogs in the sidebar -- “You look really great. You look really sexy.” I went there from Balderdash's blog and ended up liking the blog and the blogger lots. Some people you just want to do jello shots with. dmbmeg is one of those people, in my book. So welcome to Hulles, dmbmeg. I have nothing to thank you for so far except brightening my day, which now that I think about it is no small thing.

Item: I also added MNSpeak to the sidebar. I was remiss in not doing this earlier. This is the buzz of the Twin Cities, and while it may be of only local interest it is compelling reading if you live here. Thanks for making me write this sentence to keep the structure intact, you ungrateful bastards, I'm taking you off the sidebar.

Item: There is no other item. Let us frolic.

-- Hulles

Monday, December 18, 2006

As you might guess from the title, I had originally intended this to be a heartwarming and inspirational seasonal tale but faeries switched it with another story at birth and ate the original. -- The Management

[for Heather]

Jimmy looked like a normal squirrel. He scampered through people's yards in the neighborhood with the other squirrels, he ate lots of seeds out of bird feeders, and he tormented cats sitting in windows by frolicking in their yards right under their uppity cat noses. But Jimmy had a secret: every month, on nights of the full moon, he turned from a squirrel into a werehamster.

Werehamsters, if you have not encountered them before, closely resemble normal hamsters except they have inch-long fangs, often speak in Eastern European accents, and have an insatiable craving for the flesh of small mammals, usually pets. However, due to an unfortunate incident involving hamsterbane and a clever gypsy, Jimmy ended up stunted, twisted and frankly pretty small whenever he underwent the dramatic and painful metamorphosis into his werehamster form (as depicted in many movies). This made Jimmy depressed and adversely affected his social life.

Every evening during the full moon, all the other neighborhood werehamsters would gather together and plan gruesome and gory deeds. They often chose to work together as a pack because it was very difficult for a lone werehamster to bring down a German Shepherd all by himself. As a result, the little monsters would often meet underneath a piece of plywood behind the garage of the house on the corner to brag about their prowess at throat ripping and plan their evening's carnage as a group. Jimmy always tried to show up for these meetings because he desperately wanted to be a really bad werehamster just like the others, but to no avail – Jimmy was the littlest werehamster, and had lots of trouble with the whole werehamster gig of eating pets and other small animals. The other werehamsters wanted nothing to do with him, and often told him to show up at the wrong garage, or said that the meeting was at 10PM when it was really at 8PM. This made Jimmy sad, so many nights Jimmy had to try to savage the local wildlife all by himself.

Jimmy would creep along by the light of the gibbous moon and attempt to hamstring a tomcat, but he always seemed to miss and grab a mouthful of fur instead. He would lurk in the shadows as a rabbit ran by on its way to the garden and then jump out to lock his teeth on the bunny's throat, but Jimmy would always snap his pointly little fangs on air instead of on rabbit. No matter who he seemed to hunt, invariably his prey would outwit, outrun or just plain ignore Jimmy as he gave his fierce growl and sprang. Poor little Jimmy would always end up on his little werehamster butt and the prey would always run off giggling. (Jimmy's fierce growl sounded much like an indignant cricket to many of his would-be meals, which briefly confused them but certainly did not paralyze them with fear as Jimmy intended.)

Because of this lack of hunting ability the other werehamsters teased Jimmy unmercifully. “You should be a normal hamster and a weresquirrel,” they would say mockingly. “That way you could viciously attack acorns and walnuts. Maybe then you'd get yourself a victim or two. Nuts don't run very fast.” Then they would all fall down laughing at how clever they were and at how much Jimmy sucked.

Eventually, Jimmy tired of this teasing and quit even trying to attend the Werehamster Carnage Society meetings. Instead of attacking chihuahuas and the occasional scrawny alley cat, Jimmy would hunker down underneath an azalea bush with a Slim Jim and mutter to himself. “I'll show those guys,” he'd say. “Someday they'll regret fucking with little Jimmy.”

Sadly, in this he was mistaken. Eventually Jimmy was killed with a silver BB, fired from a Daisy air rifle by a neighborhood kid who was actually aiming at the basement window of the house next door. So the other werehamsters never once regretted fucking with little Jimmy, and in fact told Jimmy stories for many months after his demise.

Even today, if you hide near the plywood behind the garage on the corner during the full moon, you can still hear the other werehamsters laughing uproariously at how much Jimmy sucked. But be careful not to snicker out loud at the stories because, unlike little Jimmy, an enraged herd of bull werehamsters is not something to fuck with. If they hear you, they'll be on you like land piranhas and all anyone will ever find of you is your belt buckle. Some of the “little Jimmy” stories are worth the risk though, especially the way the other werehamsters tell them, so maybe you'll decide to take your chances on a remarkably grisly death and try to hear them anyway. Just remember to bring along a clean gym sock to stuff in your mouth during the punch lines and you'll probably be fine.

-- Hulles

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Place: The redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe, Saint Paul, Minnesota
The Time: 10:12AM CST, Friday December 15, 2006
The Place: The redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe, Saint Paul, Minnesota

We, the imaginary audience, step into Nina's Living Room Type Thing and immediately notice two things: one, it's packed with geeks, and two, there's an extremely attractive-looking older man sitting over there at the table with a laptop computer. He looks to be in his mid-thirties. He's wearing a black “Harley Davidson of Kuwait” baseball cap, sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers, and has wire-frame glasses and a short mostly-white beard. The man is a total sex dog. We noticed his cute ass earlier when he got up to go to the can. Hmm, we wonder if he'd consider sexing us down in the Unisex Bathroom....

We give our imaginary head a shake to snap out of it and head further into the Living Room Type Thing. We see that the handsome older man we noticed earlier is pounding away at his ancient laptop, alternately grimacing as if in pain and smiling evilly. Apparently he's writing something, Lord knows what, probably some dorky blog about dessert recipes. But wait – now we see him sit back, put a pair of headphones on over his Harley hat, close his eyes and smile beatifically....

Hi, everybody, it's me, Hulles. Thanks for the “mid-thirties” thing by the way, I get that a lot but it's still nice to hear. And it's sex god, not sex dog, get it right. I'm here at Nina's, and I'm about to give the performance of a lifetime. I've spent countless hours practicing and countless more hours working out to get in shape for this, and today is the big day, the culmination of all this work.

I'm about to chair-dance to “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. Wait, it's starting:

[concert volume in the headphones]

bing, bing, bong, bong,
bing, bing,

While the instrumental intro is getting my juices flowing and I start nodding my head to the drum beat, I should mention that I've watched the “Beat It” video about a gazillion times, more even than that one guy watched all the Smurfs TV episodes. I've memorized every move, every gesture, every facial tic that Michael Jackson does in the video. In fact, for the next four minutes and seventeen seconds I'm going to become Michael Jackson, even though I intend to remain sitting in my chair. (The 1982 Michael Jackson that is, not the creepy current version, duh.)

Okay, start silently lip-synching and making intense faces, there:

They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't wanna see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So beat it, just beat it

All right, it's all coming together, I'm in the pipe, five by five. Little head shake, move the right arm, do that little sashay-thing that was so difficult to master, there:

You better run, you better do what you can
Don't wanna see no blood, don't be a macho man
You wanna be tough, better do what you can
So beat it, but you wanna be bad

I am so ready for the chorus. My eyes are still closed, but I know that by now people in the cafe are probably starting to watch me. God, I hope they realize that this is a chair-dancing performance and don't call the paramedics because they think I'm having a seizure. Well, too late now, I'm committed. And I hope I didn't accidentally do that “hoo!” thing out loud, I might have, I get so into it. Who cares, it's the chorus, really intense facial expression, there:

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it,
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it oooh!

Dang, this is great! Although I might have hit something while I was flailing my arms, I hope it wasn't breakable. Probably one of those cheesy little lamps, oh well, who gives a shit, no loss. Quick turn of the head, gyrate the hips, ow, should have taken the wallet out of my pocket, shimmy the shoulders, there:

They're out to get you, better leave while you can
Don't wanna be a boy, you wanna be a man
You wanna stay alive, better do what you can
So beat it, just beat it brrrrrrd!

I am so on. That “brrrrrrd!” thing was hard to get right, sort of like a Spanish rolled-'r' sound. And I know I did that one out loud, I could feel myself spit. Too late to stop now, but I hope this doesn't get me eighty-sixed from the coffee shop. That would be a first. Lots of bars, sure, but never a coffee shop. Another shoulder shimmy, weird arm gesture, even weirder facial expression, hip gyration, ouch again, there:

You have to show them that you're really not scared
You're playin' with your life, this ain't no truth or dare ungh!
They'll kick you, then they beat you, then they tell you it's fair
So beat it, but you wanna be bad

Hot damn, the chorus again. This is great! Too bad I don't have a web cam, I could make a music video and stick it on YouTube. Chicks dig that shit. Head shake, hip thrust, grab my omijukis, swing my left arm, shoulder shimmy, there:

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it,
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it (heavy breathing) ah, ah, ah!

And now we're at the part I'm the proudest of – the Eddie Van Halen air guitar solo. I thought about doing all the weird gang dance shit but give me a break: I'm a guy, I have a vintage Fender Stratocaster air guitar, and it's Eddie Van Halen, for chrissake. Air guitar it is. I had to choreograph it myself since the video has the weird gang dance shit but I think it turned out pretty well. Slide into a G-chord, wiggle my fingers on the air frets, wave the neck of the guitar around so the wire thingies sticking out of the tuning keys shake, a sexy Eddie Van Halen smile, more finger-wiggling. Oops, hit somebody's shoulder with that note, probably the Lisa Loeb wannabe sitting to my left, although come to think of it unlike Lisa Loeb she has a decent body. Fuck her, this is art, you have to expect some casualties. Slide my fingers down the guitar neck, pick the strings like crazy, set guitar down, more dancing and lip-synching coming up, there:

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it,
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

Shakey thing with the right leg, shoulder shimmy, grind hips, grab my omijukis again, not sure that was in the video but I'm starting to like it, there:

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it,
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

Make intense face, move arms back and forth in a very cool fashion, shake head curtly, also very cool, wiggle hips suggestively, there:

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it,
No one wants to be defeated oh no!
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

[fade out]

Yikes, that “oh no!” was definitely not lip-synched. Pretty loud, in fact. Didn't know I could hit that note. Well, time to open my eyes, although I don't hear any thunderous applause. It might just be the headphones.

Hunh. Well, I certainly got their attention. Looks like the Lisa Loeb girl got the hell out during the finale. And everybody else has pretty much edged away from me -- in fact they look ready to bolt for the door if I make any more sudden moves. Oh well, once again I cast my pearls before swine. At least there aren't any flashing lights outside on the street yet.

Should I get up and bow? Sure. Oops, there they go, didn't know that fat guy could scamper quite that fast. Cool, somebody left an uneaten bagel on their plate. To the victor go the spoils, I always say.

Serves them right for hosting that damn AA meeting the other night, heh heh.

Uh-oh, gotta go, the next track is “Billie Jean” and I've just about got chair moon-walking down. But here, you showed interest, take this air guitar pick.

She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene....uh! (grabs omijukis)

-- Hulles

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.” -- Groucho Marx, as quoted on Lucille's mouse pad

I woke up late this morning after a grueling night of satiating myself on female flesh so I had to dump most of my morning cup of Kahlua into a travel mug and race like mad to get to the coffee shop on time -- these days I need to get there early so I can score an outlet for my laptop Lucille. The poor thing needs to be on external life-support or she remains comatose. Luckily I made it just in time, so now Lucille's awake and reasonably alert and I am happily ensconced at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe. And I want to write a book.

I know, everybody and their Aunt Marge in Cincinnati wants to write a book. What, you think I'm too old and decrepit to still be able to jump on a bandwagon? Hardly. These days bandwagons are required by law to be curmudgeon-accessible. Granted, it has to stop and lower a special platform that I can hobble onto that then raises me up to the same level as everyone else, but making all the rest of you chafe for ten minutes on your way to bestsellerdom as I creep aboard bitching about the shitty bandwagon service these days pleases me to no end.

One thing that makes me different from you (unless you're Anne or Amanda or...) is that I've already published a book. Two books, in fact. A few years back I took a stab at being a children's book author. As I found out however, and much to the chagrin of both me and my creditors, this is a much harder market to crack than appears at first glance.

My first children's book, A Lutheran Boy's First Book of Tits, didn't do particularly well as far sales were concerned, although it did receive some critical acclaim in Canada. I'm still a bit puzzled by this lack of success. I did a lot of research prior to writing it, and carefully selected the models so that none of the women depicted in the book had a cup size bigger than a C. I already knew, never mind how, that lusty little Lutheran lads tend to be intimidated to the point of dysfunction by tits bigger than C's. Fine, no problem, lots of lovely breasts out there that don't require structural steel in the manufacture of their brassieres.

I also somehow managed to convince my publisher to print the book with washable pages and little flap thingies that you could lift up to get beaver shots. They drew the line at scratch-and-sniff, however, the cheap bastards. Unfortunately, all this effort was to no avail. Lutheran parents stayed away from the bookstores in droves. I still have a garage filled with unsold copies of ALBFBTs, which, by the way, make great Christmas gifts, send me an email.

I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear that I emerged bloodied but unbowed from this initial foray into writing for the younger set. My next book, A Child's Treasury of Single Malt Scotches, was even more thoroughly researched than the first, but it too landed with a thud that rattled the chandeliers. To this day I privately believe that the reason most people don't start drinking single malts until they reach middle age can be directly traced to the failure of this book on the shelves.

But at last I think I'm ready to jump back into the ring like Stallone and crank out another book or two. Initially I thought I'd combine the current craze for zombie stories with my hard-won children's book expertise so I started working on a young-adult title called Zombies Ate My Homework. Sadly, I had to abandon this project when my publisher informed than young adults today are neither willing nor able to read books.

My next thought was that I could forget young adults as easily as I seem to forget everything else and go back to children's books, and yet somehow still keep the zombies. However, after much agonizing thought I decided that young children weren't really ready for large-format illustrated books of zombies staggering around with partially-chewed human flesh hanging from their decaying lips so I had to abandon my first few story ideas. Great, no problem, I'm a creative guy, I'll figure out something.

At long last I came up with a new concept that I'm pretty pleased with: werehamsters. It still has all of the disturbing and bloodthirsty elements of occult/horror that seem to be so popular today, yet it wraps the unrelenting gore in cute little hamster packages that are easy to market. Perfect.

Imagine: Jimmy the Ex-Hamster lies dead and buried in the back yard because little Billy used him for a badminton shuttlecock once too often. Night. The moon is full. The hamsterbane is in full bloom. All of a sudden, the earth over Jimmy's shallow grave stirs, a shoe box appears [note to self: call kid's shoe companies, get tie-in, so to speak], the cardboard lid is pushed ajar, and out staggers Jimmy. This Jimmy, however, has inch-long fangs, can suddenly speak in an Eastern European accent, and has a craving for blood. Pet blood. Blood like that flowing through the unsuspecting veins of Doris, Billy's beloved Shih Tzu lying peacefully asleep in the dog house near the driveway....

The franchise is worth billions. The netsuke straps and omijukis alone will buy me that candy apple red AH64D Apache attack helicopter I've had my eye on.

Remember you saw it here first when the cheesy copycat were-guinea-pigs start appearing.

-- Hulles