Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Fallen Dead and their Exoskeletal Vengeance

I mentioned how hot it was in my last post. What I neglected to mention is that I was keeping my window wide open to cool things down. So at one point I looked up from my work, distracted by a buzzing sound coming from my desk lamp. My light had attracted a wasp, which was walking around less than two feet from where I was sitting. I’ve neer actually been stung by a wasp, and I doubt I’m allergic to their venom, but since I’ve been developing late allergies the way the Sci-Fi channel develops shitty movies (see below), I’m taking no chances. I had to kill it. Keeping a wary eye on it, I backed out of the room and started rummaging through the bathroom and kitchen.

But no one in the house had any insect spray. That’s ridiculous. In Tallahassee, everyone carries spray insecticide because the environment is so junglelike that engaging in random preemptive sprayings is the only way to prevent the mosquitos from flying away with your children. (Actually, the spiders are even worse, since they’re not only enormous but they emerge like grass from every nook you have, and that requires a second type of spray.) But here in New York I guess we keep forgetting there’s more wildlife here than just subway rats. So no spray.

I did find some spray Clorox Bathroom Cleaner, however, and I thought, “What the hell.” I figured Clorox = poison in any language. I came back to the room, saw that the wasp was sitll walking slowly along the back of the lamp, and I struck: squirtety squirty-squirt! The Clorox coated the wasp thickly, and I think it drowned almost instantly (tiny bodies, tiny lungs). And that was the end of that.

Or so I thought. I woke up this morning and realized that a.) I’d left the TV on, turned to the Sci-Fi Channel with the sound off, and b.) the Sci-Fi Channel was now showing Deadly Invasion: Killer Bee Nightmare, where a bunch of bees wreak terrible terrible vengeance on the family of Robert “Airplane!” Hays. How ironic! I thought. It’s like the spirit of the wasp is out to get me. Oh, well. I wonder what’s after that. I checked, and that’s when my jaw dropped. Here’s the list of today’s films:

Deadly Invasion: Killer Bee Nightmare (‘95). Killer bees invade home of California family.

Spiders (‘00). A reporter and her friends discover giant mutated spiders.

Skeeter (‘94). Toxic mosquitoes infest California town.

Deadly Swarm (‘03). In the jungle, a man must recover a shipment of deadly wasps lost in a plane crash.

Flying Virus (‘01). Passengers aboard a plane fight deadly bees. (With Gabrielle Anwar and Rutger Hauer. Nice to see them both still plugging away.)

Locusts: The Eighth Plague (‘05). Flesh-eating locusts escape from a research lab. (Starring Julie Benz, a woefully underrated actress mostly famous for her role as vampire queen Darla on Buffy and Angel. A voice so husky it could pull a sled.)

Mansquito (‘05). A scientist and her subject turn into mutant insects.

Mosquito (‘94). Big insects thirst for human blood.

Threshold (‘03). Alien DNA causes people to mutate into insects.

and, finally,

Bugs (‘03). SWAT commandos and an entomologist join forces to defeat a deadly swarm of prehistoric insects. (Starring Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Angie Everhart. I’m gonna take a gamble right now and predict that Angie plays the entomologist, who is probably the best in the world. Any takers?)

This is ridiculous. I mean, there’s vengeance and then there’s flying completely off the chain. (This is what I don’t like about wasps: no sense of ethical balance.) And if there were any proof that this is all designed to punish me, the one obvious choice they’re missing from this lineup is 1993's Ticks, starring Ami Dolenz. (You can also find it called Infested.) For a few years in there, Ami Dolenz was one of my favorite guilty pleasures: the daughter of Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees, and almost exactly my age, in the early nineties she was in a string of very bad films (Witchboard 2, Pumpkinhead II, White Wolves: A Cry in the Wild see the pattern) and she was always the cutest thing in any of them. She couldn’t really act, but she was obviously having so much fun I just couldn’t resist her, and if I were in a litigious mood, Blockbuster would now owe me at least twenty dollars.

She’s still acting here and there (as late as 1999 she played “Sacrificed Virgin” in something called Shogun Cop), but Ticks is still her magnum opus, and it would have given me at least one happy moment in the middle of all this insect vengeance. But no! Dave must be punished! I can’t help but suspect that, among the programmers at the Sci Fi Channel, there may be at least one mansquito. If this turns out to be my last post, you know what happened.


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