MacBook Kombat!

MacBook Kombat!

Sup? It’s been awhile. I wish I could say that’s because I’ve been busy doing awesome things, but the truth is, I’ve mostly been wrapped up in my day job and surgery (eep). I’m on the mend, though, and figured I’d show you guys some of the stuff that’s been getting me through.

This guy spent nine months corresponding with Nigerian scammers. The results are pee-your-pants hilarious.

Rachida Dati, former French minister, talks about femininity and credibility.

Ever wish America had a high speed rail system?

Ever wanted to know how to moonwalk?

My good friend, Lauren Gordon, wrote about body issues and teaching our daughters to love themselves. If every mother was even half as awesome as Lauren is, the world would be a much better place for everyone.

Speaking of women’s bodies, it’s now legal for men and women to go topless in New York! Well done, you guys!

“This is Water” by David Foster Wallace. The amazing speech that will change the way you think about the world and the other people in it.

Jack Kerouac
From a Kerouac fan page on Facebook

Back in 1909, a guy named Charles Eliot (who happened to be the president of Harvard University at the time) suggested that by reading a collection of books that would fit on a 5 foot shelf, you could get yourself a proper liberal education. The collection comes in 51 volumes, and you might have heard of it: the Harvard Classics. They are, admittedly, some of the most important works ever written, and I can’t in good conscience suggest you don’t read them.

But in between your 15-minute stints of reading the Classics, have a look at these books from the last century. They’re not necessarily my favorites (my “favorites” list actually contains a lot of fluff), but they’re the ones I think are most important for a writer to read:

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
Why it’s important: This book marched into four different genres, took a look around, and then proceeded to fuck their shit up.
What you’ll learn from it: The importance of style as it impacts moods and themes, and how to weave mind-breaking subtext through a narrative.

Harry Potter, by JK Rowling
Why it’s important: Harry Potter wasn’t just a series of books, it was a full-blown cultural movement that got kids reading for fun again.
What you’ll learn from it: This series is a master class in world building.

Henry & June, by Anais Nin
Why it’s important: Anais Nin paved the way for female erotica writers.
What you’ll learn from it: The nuances of sensuality, and how sexual attraction can be emotional instead of physical

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
Why it’s important: We should all know exactly where our food comes from.
What you’ll learn from it: I promise it will make you rethink what you have for dinner.

On Writing, by Stephen King
Why it’s important: This is, to date, the closest thing we have to an autobiography from Stephen King, and if you don’t get why that’s important then I’m sorry, but I cannot help you.
What you’ll learn: That it’s okay to not follow contemporary advice about writing.

Found here

Image found here.

Happy (Early) Valentine’s Day!

Or something. Do you guys celebrate? I didn’t used to, but I guess I’m getting sappy in my old age. This year, I’m having dinner with a friend, and then hanging out at his place for drinks. Believe it or not, this is a step forward for me. I’m usually pretty “Bah Humbug” about the whole thing.

Have you ever thought about The Addams Family as a feminist film? The Soapboxing Geek did, and the results are not only fascinating, they’re hilarious.

OKCupid people are weird, and “Nice Guys of OKCupid” showcases the weirdest of them. A lot of the entries made me laugh, but even more of them pissed me off because they reminded me how many jerks there are who think that just because a woman exists, she’s obligated to let him stick his dick in her.

Prom pictures are usually hilarious, but some of these are just downright uncomfortable. In a good way.

I think everyone on the planet has read this by now, but just in case, here are 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person. It’s the stuff you don’t want to hear, but that you probably need to.

I went to the beach last week. I got in my car with the intention of going to the market, but I just couldn’t stand the idea of running errands and going back home. Before I knew it, I was parked outside of my friend’s apartment, ringing him and saying, “Come downstairs. We’re going on an adventure.” We drove out to Malibu where it was 70F and sunny, and we had clam chowder and strawberry lemonade at Gladstone’s. We watched the fog line on the horizon and decided the sky had been split apart where it met the water, then wandered the beach at sunset.

Did you guys know Dominic Monaghan has a new show? It’s called Wild Things, and so far, it’s all about Dominic traveling the world, being adorable, and playing with awesome animals.

Jim Moriarty didn’t invent Rich Brook. Rich Brook invented Jim Moriarty.

I’ve been kicking around a few theories, re: BBC Sherlock, and I’ve been posting them over on Tumblr. I did some research and discovered that other people have also come to some of the same conclusions, so we can’t possibly all be wrong, right? Anyway, I’ve posted about IOU, the body we see hit the sidewalk, and Moriarty’s true identity.

I’m seriously convinced that Battlefield 3 is built on a Nightmare Engine. I’ve never seen another game produce so many terrifying bugs. Check out these glitches, then watch the equally horrifying “real life” version at the end.

And finally, this:

I’ve changed the name of my main LiveJournal from nishi_shinji to riandarcy. This is a trend that will continue through most of my online profiles in the upcoming weeks.

Here’s my explanation for it:

I’ve renamed this journal from nishi_shinji to riandarcy.

I know. I’m not sure I like it either, but I feel like it needed to happen.

Y’see, when I took the name nishizono what feels like a million years ago, I was younger and sillier, and it seemed like a funny thing to do. Nishizono Shinji is the serial killer alter-ego of a police detective in a manga, and while writing fan fiction is hardly murder, it still fit under the category of things I didn’t want people to know about me. I never thought I’d make so many friends here, and I certainly never dreamed that writing fan fiction would lead to me being published. I never thought the name “Nishizono” would stick.

And honestly, I’ll always be Nishi. You guys will still call me that, and I’ll always answer to it.

But over the last few years, I’ve gotten more serious about my writing. Getting published is a weird, wonderful experience, and it adds a whole new set of responsibilities to your life. You’re not just a writer anymore; you’re also an agent, and PR person, and marketer. I think I was unprepared for all the changes, because I went into a kind of panic-induced hibernation after Simulacrum was published. When I came out on the other side eight months later, I decided to throw myself 100% into being a published author, and I felt that in order to do that, I had to devote myself 100% to being Rian Darcy.

It probably seems ridiculous that I’m writing such a long post about changing an online name. After all, it’s not like I’m leaving fandom or calling it quits on fanfic. But the name “Nishizono Shinji” is one I’ve carried with me since 2005; it’s not just a nickname, it’s a part of my identity. It represents a part of me that was young, and excited, and scared of rejection, and brand new to having people read what I’d written.

Who I am now isn’t who I was 8 years ago. I’m still young, and excited, and scared of rejection, but I’m also older if not wiser, and I pay more attention to the words I write down. I feel more responsibility toward the characters in my head, to tell their stories in the best way I can. And that’s exactly why I need to let Nishizono Shinji become Rian Darcy.

Some of you are new friends, and some of you have been here since the beginning, but no matter how long I’ve known you, I want to thank you– really, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart– for all your encouragement, and praise, and constructive criticism. This weird, nebulous, virtual space we call “fandom” is my favorite place on Earth, filled with my favorite people on Earth, and no matter what name I’m using, that’s one thing that will never change. I love you all.

“Don’t you think it’s a little weird?” Claire asked. “I mean, he keeps a picture of the guy on his desk.”

I shrugged and picked a carrot out of my salad.

“I can’t even look at it.” Claire shuddered. “It’s just too creepy. I mean the guy is bleeding from his eyeballs. How can you worship a guy who’s bleeding from his eyeballs?”

“He’s also standing in a field of flowers. Maybe it’s supposed to make some kind of statement.”

Claire pursed her lips and toyed with her necklace. She’d barely touched her chicken.

“Look,” I said, “I’m not saying it’s not weird, but he’s still a good boss, right? I mean, we’re better off than Accounting. They have to ask permission to go to the bathroom.”

Claire didn’t look convinced. “Yeah, but at least they don’t have to listen to their boss chant every morning. It’s always the same thing every day. Doesn’t it creep you out?”

I shrugged again. “None of my business. He could be dancing around naked in there for all I care.”

“Ew.” Claire wrinkled her nose, then huffed and picked up her fork. “Well, someone needs to put a stop to it. It’s just plain unprofessional. I can’t believe they let him drag that nonsense into the office.”

“He doesn’t really bother anyone.”

“I just wish he wouldn’t do it.” Claire looked thoughtful for a second, then beamed at me and picked up her fork. “I’ll pray for him at church tonight. That’s the Christian thing to do.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess it is.”

“Delicious Doomsday” from Romantically Apocalyptic

Think you’re safe? You’re right. But just for the sake of argument, here’s a tiny list of ways the world could have ended today:
The Super FluGiant AsteroidsNuclear WarSupervolcano

Result of a weapon of mass destruction? Nope.

Are you reading Romantically Apocalyptic yet? It’s easily one of my favorite web comics of all time. (And it’s also where the first image in this post came from.)

Cool Material put together a list of the 10 best vehicles to survive the apocalypse. I want every single one of them, but especially the Conquest Knight XV. Hnnnngh.

Don’t worry if you’re not stocked up on tactical gear for the apocalypse. Take your cue from Bread Helmet Man and get creative.

One of my favorite atomic bomb compilations ever! It’s even better if you turn the sound down and listen to “Nitrogen” by Juno Reactor while you watch it.

Unfortunately, if the apocalypse involves snow, I’m fucked…

Nishizono: Alas, I cannot snowboard
Nishizono: You know the expression, “I have two left feet”?
Nishizono: I’ve got like seven of them
Nishizono: And they’re all broken at the ankle

In the mood for some apocalyptic films? These are my favorites:

Damnation Alley
The world is devastated by a nuclear holocaust, causing the Earth to tilt on its axis and bringing vast meteorological chaos. As the weather stabilizes, mutated insects start to emerge, preying on the survivors. The surviving crew at a U.S. Air Force bomb shelter in the Mojave Desert picks up radio signals coming from Albany. The commander, Major Eugene Denton (George Peppard, The A-Team), unveils two armored vehicles he has constructed and announces a plan to cross Damnation Alley, the hundred-mile-wide strip between areas of radiation hazard, to join the survivors.

Doctor Strangelove
Stanley Kubrick’s cold war classic is the ultimate satire of the nuclear age. Dr. Strangelove is a perfect spoof of political and military insanity, beginning when General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), a maniacal warrior obsessed with “the purity of precious bodily fluids,” mounts his singular campaign against Communism by ordering a squadron of B-52 bombers to attack the Soviet Union. The Soviets counter the threat with a so-called “Doomsday Device,” and the world hangs in the balance while the U.S. president (Peter Sellers) engages in hilarious hot-line negotiations with his Soviet counterpart.

12 Monkeys
Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to save the human race from a deadly virus that has forced mankind into dank underground communities in the future. Along his travels, he encounters a psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe) and a mental patient, brilliantly portrayed by Brad Pitt, who may hold the key to the mysterious rogue group, the Army of the 12 Monkeys, thought to be responsible for unleashing the killer disease. Believing he can obtain a pure virus sample in order to find a cure in the future, he is met with one riddle after another that puts him in a race with time.

❤ Persephone says, “Happy Apocalypse!” ❤

I’ve never had stage fright before, not when it comes to public speaking. Put me in a one-on-one conversation or in a small group, and I feel shy, but put me on stage in front of an auditorium, and I’ll enthrall you for hours.

You’d think I’d be the same way as a writer, but instead, I’m the cowering weirdo in the corner, stumbling over my words, agonizing over each syllable, terrified of making a fool of myself. I’m scared of being a bad writer. I’m afraid that my stories won’t be as beautiful on the page as they are on my head. I’m afraid I can’t do them justice. I’m terrified of failing these marvelous, lovely creations that mean more to me than real life.

“This is just ridiculous,” says Mom, shifting her considerable weight from one foot to the other. “I don’t understand why we’re still waiting. We never have to wait like this in New York.”

Christopher isn’t listening. He’s got his head bent over his iPhone, and he’s scrolling through his Facebook notifications. “Neil posted on my wall,” he says. “Do you think I should say something back?”

Mom doesn’t answer. Her bright pink shrug is slipping off her shoulder, and she tugs it up with a grunt. It never gets cold in California, not like it does in New York, but she had to wear the shrug. It matches her floor-length gown.

“I posted on his wall,” says Christopher. “I asked if he was coming.”

“Tell him to bring some coffee. You could have gotten us some coffee. I could have used the bathroom. I can’t believe how long we’ve been standing here.”

Christopher puts his phone away. A group of women pass, and Christopher says, “Hey there’s the actress from that show.”

“What show?” asks Mom. She cranes her head and looks behind her, but all she can see is the line, people in jeans and t-shirts. It’s disgraceful. No one in New York would show up looking sloppy.

That show, Ma. You know, the one I pitched to?”

Mom huffs and shakes her head. “I’ll bet you she won’t have to wait.”

Christopher takes his phone out.

“We wouldn’t have to wait if someone liked your script. You must not be pitching it enough.”

Christopher scratches his ear.

“You know, in New York, if you have a ticket, they just let you inside. I don’t understand what the problem is, Christopher. We’ve been waiting out here for ages.”

Christopher tucks his phone back into his pocket. “Neil wrote back,” he says. “He might not come after all.”

Happy Friday, ya’ll. It’s been a hell of a week. If anyone wants to come kidnap me and take me on a (non-creepy) vacation to somewhere quiet and completely unplugged, please be my guest. (Also, I’m full of shit; it can totally be creepy if you want.)

Jude Law on his relationship with Robert Downey Jr:

Interviewer: Tell us about your relationship with Robert Downey Jr.
Jude Law: Oh, I love him.
Interviewer: You have a bit of a bromance going on there.
Jude Law: What is this new term everybody’s using? That’s a horrible term. What about just a ‘romance’?
Interviewer: No, that’s not the same, ‘cos then you’d have to star in a romantic comedy together or something.
Jude Law: We just have! Have you not seen it?

I start craving rain around this time of year. The picture above was actually taken during a freak summer storm here in L.A., but we usually don’t get proper rain until the end of December.

♠ Are you participating in the Day Zero Project? I set some pretty ridiculous goals for myself last time around (learning how to fly a helicopter), but I still managed to get a 10% completion rate.

♠ Speaking of bizarre lists, are you guys signed up for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen? It’s hosted by Misha Collins of Supernatural infamy, and last year was ridiculous. Go watch the video to see some of the shit we got up to.

This guy took 48 different kinds of drugs, then drew a self-portrait after each one. He’s like some kind of suicidal, visual arts version of Hunter S. Thompson.

Honey Pie from California is a place. on Vimeo.

Honey Pie is a super short documentary on the making of Real Dolls, specifically the main sculptor and how he got into doing it. NSFW. Not even a little.

APRICOT — A Short Film by Ben Briand from Moonwalk Films on Vimeo.

Apricot is one of my favorite short films of all time, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you why.

Behold the power of science, bitches! 1500 ping-pong balls vs liquid nitrogen. FIGHT!

I’m totally obsessed with Downton Abbey. It took me awhile to actually start watching it, but I was hooked from the first episode. It helps that Thomas (Rob James-Collier) is so devilishly hot.

I’m also obsessed with Carlos Nunez‘s photography. He really works the whole angel/whore vibe, and his photos manage to be sexy without being cookie-cutter pornographic.

I went to Comikaze last weekend. It was my first time there, and although there’s definitely room for improvement (I don’t think they anticipated the number of people who showed up), I had a good time. L.A. cosplayers set the bar pretty damn high.

Here are some articles to waste your time with:

UnWinona shared a story on Tumblr about being harassed by men on public transport.

♠ What do you think of this dad who wears a dress in support of his skirt-loving son?

A river ran red in China, and no one is sure why.

♠ If you’re not already reading Frodo Booth every Friday, then you should jump on that. They basically round up all the funniest pictures from Reddit each week and curate them in one long, hilarious post. Seriously the highlight of my Friday lunch break.

♠ A multimillionaire named Bruce McMahon allegedly married his own daughter. The Village Voice reported on it. Now, he’s trying to haul them into court over it. Super classy!

This made me laugh so hard I felt sick. “Dude, you slapped a fish.” If all of Twilight had been like this, I would have watched it over and over.

This band is pretty neat. I really dig the video.