Are you there Alan Thicke? It’s me, Dirtbag.

May 31, 2009

It appears my plan is to write a bunch, get a decent number of people reading the stuff, and then disappear for a while. So, not that I’m back to no readers at all, I will commence. I’ve got some ideas people. Namely – 

– back to a weekly comic
– monthly McSweeney’s updates and submissions
– finishing the REM list
– thoughts on running and/or home fix-it stuff

That’s right people, ole Dirt’s becoming a gentrie. Half gentrifier, have yuppie, all upper crust.

I invented that word, so BOOM it’s copywrited. Snap.

Gonna get up and go for a run, then head down to KBC. More later on the celebration that was ‘kil GOREFEST 09’.


Response #2

October 13, 2008

Hi, Dan –

A fun read, but feels too much like a personal essay for us to use. Thanks for trying us again, nonetheless.



October 13, 2008

McSweeney’s Submission #2:

Collecting is a great habit. It starts out simply enough. When you’re a kid, it might be comic books or baseball cars. It could be stuffed animals or dolls. It’s a wonderful thing, on a Saturday morning, to lug your shoeboxes full of cards, plop down in front of the TV to watch cartoons, eat cereal, and organize your collection.

You spread out the cards. Do you divide them up by teams or according to card number? And how on earth do they number those cards anyway? It doesn’t make sense to you that Steve Garvey (#380) was between a checklist (#379) and Ralph Houk (#381). Not being able to decide, you guzzle down the last of the warm sweet milk at the bottom of the bowl and go outside to play.

As you move into high school and then college you start listening to ‘good’ music – and so begins a lifelong obsession with collecting vinyl records. It starts out hunting used record shops, flipping through stack after stack of cutouts searching for an old New Order 12”, or an out of print copy of On Fire by Galaxie 500.

You haunt garage sales on the weekends, hunting in vain for a mint copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico, with an unpeeled banana and the torso on the back cover. Or a mono Blonde on Blonde, WITH the picture of Claudia Cardinale that was removed in later pressings.

At an estate sale in Connecticut, you find a paperback copy of Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. You buy it for 75 cents and take it home, only there discovering it’s signed. And, as you move from undergrad into a master’s program, you find yourself obsessively searching on eBay for a signed Player Piano. You know the one. It’s got the Scribner’s ‘A’ AND the seal. None of this book club crap for you.

It will go well with the Houghton Mifflin hardback of Sirens of Titan. Only 3,000 printed back in 1961, and you have two of them. One’s an ex-library, but you’re ok with it. Of course, you have to use your student loan money to pay for it, which means putting of getting your degree in urban planning and development.

‘Screw it,’ you think. NYU will always be there, but that second Sirens was ending in three days. It was a no-brainer. It was time for a semester off anyway, you think as you move into collecting magazines that contain stories by your favorite authors not published in any later collection. You amass a wonderful collection of Faulker and Salinger, before moving on to collecting vintage magazine subscription cards, and eventually just the Target cigarette inserts from 1970’s pulp novels.

After getting a job as a dishwasher, you begin to see famous people’s faces in stains on your apron. You begin taking them home, amassing a wonderful collection that contains Don Amechee, Rita Hayworth, and Gerald Ford, among others. You connect with a group of apronairres online, even traveling to the national convention in Boca to show off your mint Buster Keaton. A collector from Kansas offers you $7,500 for it and you laugh in his face.

You go on unemployment after the diner fires you, which frees up your day to keep track of your online auctions and dumpster diving. You’re shocked that people actually throw out broken wicker chairs, you newest collectible.
When your chairs, aprons, signed books, comic books, baseball cards, records, magazines, Target ads, and balls of Laundromat lint take up all the space in your apartment, you move on to collecting homeless signs, as they’ll fit neatly behind your shelves and under your bed.

You’ve already scored a ‘Homeless Vet’, an ‘Anything helps, god bless’, and the coveted ‘Will work 4 beer’ sign when your landlord evicts you for failure to pay rent and something about cluttering up the basement with your mint collection of plastic Safeway bags dating back to 1961.

You phone your dad, a tractor collector who lives upstate. When you ask him if it’s ok to crash for a while, he explains he only has room for you outside, in one of the vintage Coleman pup tents he hordes as his collection of original political yard signs endorsing ballot initiatives takes up all the space in the spare bedroom, and the living room is full of the vintage hay bales he’s been collecting for years.

As you move upstate with your collections packed neatly into a 24’ U-Haul, you thank god you don’t collect Star Wars crap like your brother. What’s fun about collecting pieces of plastic made to look like Harrison Ford?

Part II

September 17, 2008

This was their response,

“A fun take on a common conceit, but for me it elicits more smiles than laughs. So I’m afraid I’m going to pass. Thanks for the look, though. Hope you’ll keep trying.”

Which feels pretty good, actually. Fun! Smiles! That IS what I was shooting for, so, hey, success! Tonight I’ll work on something new for them. Keep your fingers crossed for old Dirt.

Missing Your Connection. 773 words of joy

September 17, 2008

I sent this to McSweeney’s for the website last week.

Each evening I get home and log onto I skip over ‘CASUAL ENCOUNTERS’, and head straight to ‘MISSED CONNECTIONS’ and start looking for people who missed me.

First I search for, ‘mid-30’s’ and ‘pudgy’, though they rarely yield anything. Feeling more adventurous, I search for ‘ample’ and ‘scruffy’. Usually that also turns up nothing, so I begin clicking on random postings.

Though my name is not ‘Anthony’, I click thinking perhaps the young miss didn’t hear me say my name properly at the coffee shop I go to every morning. Turns out she actually knows ‘Anthony’, and last she heard he was working for T-Rex in Denver. But she would love to catch up, and I give it a thought before hitting ‘back’ on my web browser.

Then I search on my actual name, and find a young lady (I presume) asking, ‘Does Anybody Know Dan?’. She’s in Broomfield, a town to which I’ve never been and is looking for a Dan with whom she went to Frederick High School, where he graduated from in 1991.

It’s close enough so I send a response. ‘Hi…!’ I say because she didn’t post her name, ‘I’m Dan! I graduated from Sherburne-Earlville in 1993! Coffee?’ We write emails back and forth for a week or so. She was confused why I was writing her, but I stood my ground and explained that not just knowing a Dan, but BEING one gave me the right to email someone looking for a Dan. She declines my offer to attend a film at the Mayan, and a month later her post is still up.

I type ‘Kilgore’, hoping someone spied me at the bookshop I co-own, but this yields nothing, even in the M4M section where people seem to have far more MISSED CONNECTIONS than they do in W4M area.

I try multiple variations on the bookstore. ‘Kill Gore’, kilmore’, Gilmore Girls’, ‘Val Kilmer’, ‘near the cool record store’, and all the variations of ‘comics’ : ‘comix’, ‘comic book’, ‘graphic novels’, and ‘pictures with words that make me laugh or be sad, depending on who wrote/drew it’.

I try, ‘bookish’, ‘bearded’, ‘articulate’, ‘shy’, ‘funny’, ‘left-handed’, ‘pisces’, and ‘volvo’, which once netted me a, “Dark hair and goatee/beard coming out of Charleys you drive a Volvo – 42 (Denver)”. Thinking it had to be a hit (how many bearded Volvo drivers could there be in Denver?) I responded asking ‘leaving Charley who’s now?’, not realizing Charley’s was a gay bar, not ironically a few blocks from my house.

After an hour of failure searching for a connection that missed me, I get more specific.

I search for ‘vomiting on 13th’ because I did that the other morning around dawn, but no luck. I try, ‘yelling at kids on lawn’, ‘crying alone in your room’, ‘urinating on stop sign in alley’, ‘taking out the recycling’, ‘giving homeless guy money’, ‘apologizing to homeless guy for not having a cigarette’, ‘explaining to homeless guy that your cell phone battery is dead, so, no, he can’t use it’, ‘trying to get homeless guy to understand why he can’t come back to your house to use the phone’, ‘apologizing to homeless guy for not giving more money’, ‘getting slapped repeatedly by homeless guy’, ‘meekly asking homeless guy for money back’, ‘crying and red-faced, walking away from homeless guy’. Then I search all of them again with ‘homeless girl’, ‘homeless woman’, ‘homeless fellow’, and ‘homeless dude,’ but none of it brings any results.

Sometimes I think of posting an ad in MISSED CONNECTIONS just to see if anybody is looking for me looking for them:

‘I was the nerdy guy. I spilled hot coffee on you. As the ambulance left, our eyes met. Let’s get iced next time?’

‘I caught you shoplifting Anais Nin…….let’s write some letters?’

‘I was hitchhiking… splashed me with water…….we can tell our kids we met on Christmas….’

‘I jumped out of the way and the car struck you…..redhead with glasses…… me?’

‘Janice? I paid you for sex on my birthday and you stole my wallet and DVD player while I was getting undressed upstairs. I felt a connection……Can I come over to watch a movie?’

Most nights I quit searching around midnight, a little depressed that nobody has missed my greatness enough to post it anonymously on a community bulletin board. I curl up with a good book since I can’t watch movies anymore, and drift off to sleep on the couch thinking tomorrow might be the day to bust out the bow tie. That would be super easy to search for, and surely someone would notice me in a bow tie.

Ms. Palin, I’m a community organizer and proud of it.

September 4, 2008

Live Blogging From Invesco….oh wait, nope.

August 28, 2008

No, seriously, fuck peace.

August 28, 2008

Everyone’s off to Invesco to watch the coronation, and I’m in the office listing to Xiu Xiu’s cover of Ceremony because it’s the only song I can find that’s fucking loud enough and fucking fast enough, and has the right kick drum and the correct fucking tom fill. The keyboard and vocals are piercing into my brain, which is welcome jolt because lately all it’s felt is mushy. Heaven knows it’s got to be this time.

I’m on my third cup of coffee today, which exactly matches the number of hours of sleep I got last night. But, on the upside of that I dreamed of three dimensional object that needed to fit together in certain ways, but wouldn’t so the dream played on a loop the entire time I was asleep. I must’ve seen it twenty times.

As I drifted off to sleep, I thought of a character for a book. His name is Ethan Mustard, and he’s in the military, but keeps refusing promotion because he doesn’t want to be saddles as Colonel Mustard. He retires and buys a dairy farm.

Fuck it. Enjoy.

Holy crow am I embarrassed

August 7, 2008

Man I am sorry. It’s been AGES since I actually posted anything. But, I’m done with work early today, and have no plans tonight, so I thought it was high time to get back to it. Yes, I’ll eventually get back to the R.E.M. reviews, but in the meantime I thought I’d share some scanned images from the upcoming ‘Dirt’s Funnies #0’, which will technically be a second print of a mini-comic I did back in 2005. Here’s the intro page:

This is a picture I did of myself while watching the election returns during the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election. Drawn in San Francisco:

And finally, this is self-portrait I did at Logan International Airport in Boston the day after Elliott Smith killed himself. The night before my friend and I had gone to see Superchunk with the Appleseed Cast at the Middle East in Cambridge. It was a great show, and a great time. When I got home, I checked Pitchforkmedia and learned that Elliott had stabbed himself in the chest. The next day I went to the airport to fly back to SF, but the flight got screwed up, so I spent eight hours or so bumming around, really sad.

On the flight home, I ordered – for the first time in my life – a cocktail on the flight. I’m not sure if the flight attendant knew something was wrong, but every time I ordered one, I ended up getting another four free, getting me sufficiently tight for the trip home.

I really miss the coat I drew in this picture. I had it for years. More to come, I promise.


June 14, 2008

Courtesy of Mr. John Porcellino, author of King-Cat Comics and Stories.