Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Apartment Apart

It's been noted before that I tend to get around...of course, meaning that I've lived in a lot of different places, and therefore many different apartments. Which is why today I've decided to compile a short list of useless things I've learned about apartment living.

1. Don't freak out when you see random homeless people sleeping in the hallway/entryway foyer. Depending on your neighborhood, these things happen. A lot.

And don't blame One Leg Greg. If you want to point fingers, blame that skanky hairdresser in 2A who just can't ever seem to remember to shut the goddamned door after she takes her chihuahua out to crap on the sidewalk.

2. It's important to establish a good rapport with the landlord. - For example, my Romanian former landlord in Chicago would often ask me, a writer, for serious medical advice. I quickly learned that the best policy when dealing with your property manager is a no-bullshit policy, in matters either personal or professional. Especially if they speak broken English.

Yes, this really happened. Except his hand was still a swollen, twisted, flesh-covered tree trunk that almost still resembled an arm.

3. Dealing with Dealers - Let's face it, apartment buildings in urban areas tend to attract the occasional drug-peddling riff-raff, especially if you live within proximity to a good-sized target market school. While I'm usually a supporter of entrepreneurial spirit, it's often hard work convincing the 15-year-old who hangs out on the corner that, no, you really aren't interested in investing in an ounce of his ditchweed that's been cut with kitchen spices.

4. Rescuing Your Security Deposit - Everyone should have a rudimentary toolbox, because sometimes you have to be your own handyman in order to keep your landlord from learning about the heinous debauchery that goes down when you have insane friends over for a party. Like when your neighbor Mongo decides to eat three Chipotle burritos, guzzle a barrel of ale, and then plug your poor, defenseless toilet with the resulting nuclear shitbomb.

There are plenty more things to add to the list, as you, my fellow apartment dwellers well know. So, what would you add?

****  Before I go, I have an announcement to make. As we mentioned last week, we've got a lot of exciting new developments going on here at ABftS. With the video game and the upcoming animated web-series (on top of writing new fiction and webcomic/blog content) Bryan and I are running low on time and must make some sacrifices. With all of the above projects underway, we want to make sure that each of them is of the highest possible quality for your enjoyment. Therefore, we regretfully announce that we will have to severely limit our reading and commenting on our regular blogroll. It accounts for a cumulative 8 hours per week and we just can't keep up with it. I wish we could. We'll stop by when we can, and we'll always be around. We won't forget any of our blog friends. But with so much time needed for development of these things, we hope you'll be understanding if we don't come around as often as we do now. We appreciate every one who not only reads and supports our blog, but takes the time to leave a comment. You folks rock. You've made this blog into what it is today. And we look forward to taking you all along on the odd and zany journey as the blog/webcomic/cartoon/novel grows into whatever the hell kind of amorphous monster it will. For the time being, our posting schedule will remain the same, though you will likely see more behind-the-scenes videos and production snippets as we prepare to launch A Beer for the Shower (the web-series). As always, feel free to drop us a line either on our Twitter feed or at We always answer e-mail. Unless you're sending us Dutch porn. No more of that please. Please. ****

As always, cheers and stay classy, friends,


Beer: Beer Chang
Music: Warren Zevon

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Absence of Absinthe

We had an eventful weekend at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, to say the least. We pitched stories to agents and editors, met some great new collaborators, and drank a myriad of alcoholic beverages to keep our spirits high. We even got to hang out and party with some drunk guy named Nar who was so wasted he thought he was Doctor Who. But, amid this awesome new friendship, something awful happened. And it all started at an absinthe party hosted by a vampiress.*

*True story, and we attended not one, but two

Sure enough, Brandon had disappeared. And both Nar and Bryan had been drinking too much to remember where they had last seen him.

They checked everywhere. They checked the bar, they checked Brandon's room, and they checked the lobby. They even checked the ice machine, because sadly, it wasn't all that improbable that Brandon got drunk and fell in.

But they couldn't find him anywhere. Worse yet, Nar wouldn't stop drinking that damned absinthe. It was starting to melt his brain, because his level of helpfulness quickly gravitated from 'supportive' to 'psychotic.'

Our legal team, and coincidentally, our first literary agent--when not living in his car
Since the hotel staff wouldn't aid them in their search because they "committed manslaughter," they went back to the vampire absinthe party to see if anyone had seen Brandon, and also to see if anyone had directions to the local Taco Star, because Nar was craving some really shitty Mexican food as prepared by an 8 year old Hispanic boy.*

*True fucking story

I guess we should have noticed the emaciated, fly-ridden corpse the first time around, but in all fairness, almost everyone at a vampire party is pale, scrawny, and dead behind the eyes.

Alright, so Brandon didn't die. But we did crash a vampire absinthe party (or two), which was a lot of fun, and the rest of the conference, well, that turned out great too. Not only did we find a very promising prospect for a new literary agent, but we're going to be launching our webcomic into two new media platforms: an NES-style video game and an animated cartoon series. We'll keep you updated on the launches and production processes of both.

Cheers and stay classy, folks,

Music: The Gaslight Anthem
Beer: Modelo (shotgunned in celebration, of course)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shameless: The Life of Bryan

I've been watching the television show Shameless a lot (the US version), and if you haven't seen it, it's a fantastic show. But it's also reminded me just how shameless of a human being I really am.

See, it's no secret that I'm an unemployed writer. It's also no secret that I want to be a full time writer, and in order to achieve that, I'm willing to stave off gainful employment for as long as I can until writing can pay the bills and be more than just something my mother pretends not to be embarrassed about.

And so, even though I'm unemployed, I'm still pulling in money, through methods that I will not pretend to be anything but shameless. The following are those methods.

1. I will absolutely write college essays for money.

Let's not pretend that writing your average college essay is anything other than a complete waste of time. And this is coming from a writer.

Like, for example, a girl majoring in business who has a history class where she's required to write a 10 page paper... about the Oregon Constitution. Yeah, that's sure gonna help her do well in business. Thankfully, for whatever they're willing to spend (this girl in particular gave me $100), I can chew out a paper like that in an afternoon, thanks to my writing skills and my good friend the Internet.

Later, in the professor's office...

2. I pretend to have diabetes.

What can I say?--We fat Americans are getting diabetes more now than ever, and because of it, companies that make things like glucose monitors want to stay at the head of the pack. So they find people to test their products. And while I don't actually have "the diabeetus", I do fully test their products... I just don't tell them that my readings are always normal. They just want to know how well it functions and if it's user friendly, anyway. And hey, if I ever do get "the diabeetus", I'll know literally the moment it happens! Win/win!

3. I pretend to smoke and chew tobacky.

Those wonderful cancer stick companies are always coming up with new products ways to kill you, and are always looking for people to test them out to make sure they're as addictive and poisonous as possible. So I test all of their new products for them and give them my honest opinion. Did I say test honestly? I meant I just throw it in the garbage, blow smoke up their asses (pun completely intended), and then gladly take the big tobacco companies' money. Yeah, I'm not losing any sleep over this one.

Thank God I don't really smoke or chew, though. Could you imagine that?

4. I pretend I'm still an IT Admin.

In my former employed life, I was a Systems Administrator. After all, I do have a Bachelors Degree in Information System Security. I hated every minute of it. However, big IT companies are always looking for opinions from IT Admins and are willing to pay big bucks for it. A few times a week I do video conferences or conference calls with these IT companies, and while there's the little white lie about my actually being an "IT Admin" or "employed," I do give them a real opinion on their product from someone who's familiar with the technology and the industry.

5. I take online surveys for money.

Online surveys are difficult and annoying because they only want certain demographics who use certain products. If you don't meet those requirements, then you get kicked out and don't get paid, which is about 90% of the time. I wouldn't recommend these things to anyone. However, what I've done over the years is learned, like a puzzle, how to read into each survey and figure out exactly which demographic they're looking for and which product they're testing... so that I succeed and get paid every time.

So if you'll excuse me, I have to nurse my black baby and test my blood sugar while smoking a cigarette on a conference call with IBM. It's all in a day's work around here.

Stay classy, friends,

Music: Hoodie Allen
Beer: Amberbock

P.S. A good friend of ours is using a Kickstarter to fund the marketing of his book. Marketing in the book world is really, really hard, and at the very least, you should check out the sample of his book, which is on the page. It's really good.

Scott Lininger - Guesswork