Friday, June 30, 2006

The Seven Sins of Master Fob

1. His plots consist mostly of people wandering aimlessly, staring at each other's waistlines.

Jacob and Spencer had been hiking through the forest for days now, as you know because you've read the last fourteen chapters, but still Jacob could not take his eyes off the sliver of pale flesh between Spencer's shirt and his pants. Spencer lifted his arm, causing the shirt to shift, revealing an inch more of his back. Jacob stared. They continued to hike.

2. His prose tends to be dialogue-heavy and everything else-light.

"So now we're here."

"Yes, we are. What should we do?"

"Let's talk."

"Okay, talking would be good, especially because we're here now."

"Yes, we are. Look around you--isn't this place amazing?"

"Yes it is. But I wanted to talk about my stepfather, who has been ritually abusing me and cheating on my mother with her sister."

"Oh. Yes, let's talk."

3. His characters feel no emotion.

"You see, he dresses me in black every night and takes me to the bell tower, where he cuts off random body parts." Gina raised her left hand, which was missing two fingers. "See?"

"Yes," said her boyfriend, who loved her very much. "I see. That is bad."

"Yes," she said. "It is."

He stared at her silently.

She stared back.

"Yes," he said. "That is bad."

"You should also know," Gina said, "that I killed your mother."

"I see. That is also bad.

"Yes." She stared at him.

He stared back.

4. He is inconsistent in his willingness to allow characters to swear.

"You darn little piece of shit," said Henry. "Go to heck, bitch."

5. He has a tendency to make unintentional sexual references (in addition to the intentional ones).

Rocko's pregnant wife laughed, rubbing the bulge.

6. He finds parts of his writing laugh-out-loud hilarious when no one else does.

The poop-streaked condom stands in my way, shaking its rubbery little head and saying, "This path is not for you, my friend."

7. His characters share his own obscure obsessions, making them a little hard for normal people to relate to or understand.

Jimmy lay in bed, reading the latest issue of Fallen Angel while listening to Michael Franti and the Gift of Gab rap about the evils of war. He is disappointed to learn that Lee is not, in fact, Linda Danvers, but happy to know that Gab can still spit a verse like no other. He wonders whether he's more concerned by the worldwide economic effect of Wal-Mart's continued expansion or the hopeless situation of gay rights, particularly the rights of gay men married to straight women. Then he thinks about Lauryn Hill, for no particular reason.

8. Master Fob is horrible at showing versus telling.

I am horrible at showing versus telling. This doesn't count.

9. His lists are usually not the length he says they'll be.

FOB June 29

An anonymous note written with disappearing ink left between the back of my refrigerator and the wall informs me that this site is continually monitored by the government for purposes so insidious the entire monitoring process has it's own acronym in White House parlance. Therefore, to give "the boys" something to do, I will make an accurate and faithful account of all my days in Fobdom. Well, yesterday, at any rate.

FOB was once again held at the demesne of Tolkien Boy, who quite self-consciously cleaned the whole place as well as sprayed industrial-strength air freshener to mask the fact that he lives in BYU-approved housing. Despite his best efforts, however, the holy feeling of the apartment permeated the evening throughout, and many a comment was made on how sexually subdued the proceedings were. This gravitas helped the FOBsters focus on the point of the evening, however, which was, of course, Tolkien Boy's burgeoning, piebald muscles.

Edgy Killer Bunny arrived early, which in this case meant a minute after on time, full of tales of moving misadventures. Minutes later, the Marchioness made her usual sweeping entrance, followed - after a short, confirmatory phone call - editorgirl (sic), who regaled us all with tales of her 30-year-old student stalker. Master Fob was nearly a half hour later than his promised hour late, but brought everyone granola bars to make up for it, the flavor of which was eaten so quickly it was somewhat forgettable. Which was precisely what Melyngoch proceeded to do; namely, forget it. For you see, she never arrived.

There was much that made this a historic FOB session. For example, there was no rock-paper-scissors nonsense. The Marchioness mentioned that she would have her story read first, and after that people volunteered to be criticized in a manner not unlike patriotic testimony meetings. For her part, Marchioness chanelled the soul of a naked five-year-old with a pink-haired mother with a penchant for expensive chocolates (the five-year-old, not her mother). Fortunately, there was no reenactment of the actual horse-riding event, as Tolkien Boy's large picture window was much trafficked during the evening, but Master Fob did mention that he was both torn and lying naked on the floor.

Unlike Melyngoch, Th. was there in spirit - but because of his lack of corporeality he felt none of the restrictive religosity inspired by BYU-approved housing and so shared with us a sordid tale of whorish wives and prim proprietors. The combined FOB agree that they will never view the verb
pierce the same way again, and Tolkien Boy has threatened a filibuster on approaching the dip issue. Despite the delightful lilt to the prose, the FOB were fuddled, wondering how the filthy female ever found anyone to love. The story had, however, the unexpected benefit of giving Tolkien Boy hope for his future.

Finally, Master Fob shared with us a story in which an intellectual, a hick, a fat man enamored of Karen Carpenter, an aspiring actress, and a girl who is probably a dog (literally) argue over the specifics of ficitve rap music. Hilarity, lubricated no doubt by the copious amounts of Diet Coke being consumed, knew no bounds when the group suddenly realized that the characters in Master Fob's novel were none other than correspondences for - you guessed it, the FOB united, though Tolkien Boy took some umbrage at being so type-cast, and editorgirl (sic) was so offended she absented herself
before the proceedings, a feat which, until that point, was believed to be quantamly impossible (more so because Melyngoch was not there to argue for its possibility with her wealth of quantam phyiscs knowledge).

After FOB there was the usual cheery conviviality, with much mockage of Tolkien Boy's soap-operatic relationship life, great good wishes for Edgy's deluxe domicile decision, and an invitation from Master Fob for us to join him in a night of self-inflicted torture, also known as rap music. All in all, it was a rather successful FOB, though there has been some despair that the FOBs will not, despite being positionally proximate, ever all meet under the same roof. However, hope is high for the next time, and the government remains ever-vigilant that the actions of the group will be left to go their own way. At least, for the time being.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Theric's Sins

Following the inestimable Tolkien Boy's lead, here, for public disclosure, are my sins (I couldn't legitimately stop at seven):

1. Inscutability
    "Saying I'm inscrutable is about at fair as when we will lose our minds in spring. It's lousy. That's what." The young boy followed this outburst with pouty lips and a glance at the star carved into the walk by BC and EJ, 2002. The stars had fallen. The time was now. I'm totally faking this inscrutability. I think it's just something people say.

2. Strange Names
    Martinlone MacRadams knew perfectly well that the Goose Master (real name: Tookaloo Ribswell) was the murderer--who else had both motive and opportunity to slay that rascal Milly Whoot? No one. That's who. Unless.... Unless Elbon Zinner was back in town!!!!!

3. Beginnings that reveal the author put pen to paper before he hadany idea what he was writing about
    Broom the Third nodded at the young woman leaning out the window. He had seen her before--daily since that egg sandwich thing went on sale--but still he knew no more about her than the name on her tag and the simple fact that she alone would be responsible for the death of millions. He hoped it wouldn't be on purpose. He was falling in love.

4. Strangulating characters to keep them from swearing
    "I'ld like to . . . meet your mother," said Ted, hiding an auspicious smirk. "Oh yeah?" retorted Frank. "Well I'ld" and then he said something naughty.

5. Jokes that not only are not funny, but which no one outside my head will ever be able to figure out why they can even pretend to be funny
    Boltman! narrowed his eyes to 1.78:1--an appropriate ratio for someone is his line of work.

6. Ending stories too early
    Jake jumped up and looked around. He frowned. He heard a sound. He ran outside. The door closing behind him. Footsteps falling behind him.

7. Creating his own rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling
    "It's not like I do this everyday--I pritty much stick to established rules. But all is not black&white--I see shades of grey everywhere. Nevermind what some other people say; I'ld think twice before assuming they know everything." Nerl smirked and gestured to his opponent. "Wouldn't you . . . ?"

8. Writing characters who know about all sorts of stuff I don't
    Ronald Fitzfadden disliked this particular style of surgery--sure [name of pioneering surgeon] was impressed by the innovation, but sometimes Fitzfadden just did not want to remove [name of important-sounding but obscure organ]s. He would rather be driving his [name of ritziest sports car of 1989] down [name of important drag in KC, MO] and right out of town as [big single of late summer / early fall 1989] blared through the speakers. At least he had time to go to his [spot like locker for doctor's personal effects] and grab his [metal teabag thingey] and prepare a cup of [expensive import tea] before the surgery.


Friday, June 23, 2006

To Those Continuing to Contribute (I mean YOU, Mr. Thmazing), a Challenge

The Seven Deadly Sins of Tolkien Boy's Writing

1. Excessive adverb use.
She was interested in the way he carefully held his fork - was interested madly, avidly, bemusedly, brokenheartedly. He was fondling it expressively, his fingers crooked archaically around the thin silver handle.
2. Vague, amorphous plots.
Carruthers was a man of infinite patience, a construction worker from Merrie Olde England who drank his tea atop a steel girder and swore in clipped, ringing tones at the swallows which built their nests in the eaves of the I-beams. Despite being a character so round that it would make Dickens drool with envy, he never actually does anything but drink tea and castigate birds.
3. Overuse of dialogue tags.
"I sincerely doubt I'd be happy dating a buzzard," said Sally seriously. "I mean, one can imagine a dinner date," Sally said.

"Will it be carry-out or carrion?" quipped Roger. "And may I suggest duck under tire tread?" queried Roger.

"Cute," affirmed Valerie. "And, speaking of bestiality..." continued Valerie.
4. A tendency toward combining words for clever effect.

And you and I, togetherturning,
under milkmoon and fingerclasped
will silversigh a lonesomelonging,
allalone and loveaghast.

5. Brilliant beginnings and flat endings.
Once upon a time there was a rich, redheaded queen who spent her mornings embroidering heavy brocade and her evenings divining the secrets of the universe in a deep, blue pool until one day she was overheard by her husband's meddling minister, a thin, envy-eaten man who used his newfound knowledge to turn her seven sons against her and soon the country fell into civil war and anarchy, all while the the queen attempted to learn the one secret that would stop all suffering and bring peace and love to her kingdom again.

And then, everyone caught the plauge, and died.
6. The propensity to fill my writing with inside jokes.
Algathor, minor demigod of a world with barbaric Nordic tendencies, was arguing with his wife Algathora over their breakfast grapefruit.

"What I am saying, dearest, is that it should have gone to committee." Algathor was a great believer in committees. "You can't just up and decide to give humans free will without consulting someone, you know."

Algathora was a major goddess in the pantheon, and she often had occasion to regret marrying a beaurocrat so obviously beneath her. "I can do what I like, Algathor," she said, tossing a flaming curl of auburn hair out of her eyes. "The council would have batted the question around for centuries. Besides, the humans are so - pathetic. You've seen them, mucking about in the primordial soup. They touched my heart."

"I touched your divine mother's heart last night," muttered Algathor viciously, stabbing his spoon into the pink fleshy heart of his grapefruit.
7. The prediliction to halt the writing of a story's middle in favor of another story's start.
Devon could not have been happier with his television set - the fact that it was haunted only added to its appeal and gave it a sort of old-world charm so sadly lacking in the sleekly chromed appliances he normally filled his house with. "Besides, it's not as if it were a malicious spirit," he said to his mother consolingly when she called at great expense from Florida to see if he were quite sure about inviting a soul of uncertain religious affiliations into his household. "I know it's beneficient because it likes Karen Carpenter," he continued when his mother registered faint disbelief that any piece of inhabited technology could be anything but malicious. But -

When Benny left to the post office, she surprised herself by building a fort out of couch cushions and blankets in the living room. She hadn't done that since she was almost eleven, and the intervening twenty-seven years had wreaked havoc on her creative ability.
She kept getting the blankets confused with the cushions, because she couldn't quite remember if the cushions provided the walls or if they made the roofs and the draped blankets sealed it shut. In the end she had to enlist the help of the mailman, an unnaturally thin man with four girls at home with minds still clear of the clutter of twenty years of domestic bliss. He looked at her strangely when she made her request, and when she brought him into the living room to help correct her creation he looked downright alarmed, but in five minutes he had rectified the situation and the fort was ready. Then -

The rain started at just after the darkest part of night. The bells of old Kethedras had rung the midnight prayers when the clouds that had been building in dirty round billows all day rumbled back, the gutteral growl of an angry god. For a moment the earth stopped its breathing, the chicking night birds stopped their incessant clacking, even the throttled thrum of the insects in the trees quieted under the irritated grumbling of the clouds that sat like sluggish living entities on the horizon. In the quiet, brooding air, somewhere a dragon squirmed in its cave, woke with a sudden unshuttering of near-metallic eyelids. However -
All right, there's my seven. What are yours?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

FOB (?) June 15

Local Writing Group Discusses Changing Its Name

Provo, Utah. In a move that shocked two housewives in Ottoro, Maine, the writing group known as FOB convened today to discuss changing its beloved acronym from FOB to FOD.

"It's a aesthetic decision, really," said Tolkien Boy, speaking in behalf of the group's leader, Master Fob, who was suspiciously absent from the proceedings. "We've discussed it as a group, and the - ahem - private poll we took definitely shows a strong percentage of the group favor the change." When asked what the newly-proposed acronym stood for, Tolkien Boy shrugged and quipped, "I figure it's short for the Foderation. You know, like a collection - in this case, a collection of good writers."

The reason for the change seems to have been inspired by the recent convening of the for-now FOBs to the home of Tolkien Boy, which has never before hosted a FOB-related event. The group, which meets every Thursday night to discuss writing that has been done by the members of the group during the week, gathered this week to review one story, one screenplay, and one poem.

Despite the absence of Master Fob, the collected FOB still began the festivities with their ritualistic hand gestures which are meant to represent the holy triad of rock, paper, and scissors. Edgy Killer Bunny won the contest, which meant that he immediately channeled the spirit of Th., who read to us half of a story in which a mallshop curator gets rather excited about a room strewn with newspaper clippings, if you know what we mean (wink, wink). Th., a one-time physical presence at FOB, was then alternately praised and mocked - his most egregious mistake, of course, being that he used the adjective everday to modify the verb come when EVERYONE who has EVER had an ENGLISH CLASS knows that ADVERBS, in this case the TWO WORD ADVERB "EVERY DAY," are the things used for modifying verbs. Despite this crippling fault, and despite the fact that the universe combined to keep Th.'s story from being read (in the form of ringing phones, distracting conversations, and dying air conditioners), the storyline was praised, the artistry was envied, and the purple glasses worn by the main character were coveted. Melyngoch added a touch of intellectualism when she informed all of us that Mobile, Alabama, was not, in fact, a city in South America, but rather a semantic prototype. True to his everbudding form, Edgy made a your mom joke on this, sadly unpublishable.

After Tolkien Boy's prescriptivist body was revivified, the FOBsters slogged through the synopsis of his screenplay, in which Carpenterites work through their various issues to find love, harmony, and the secret of art (hint: it ain't the sacred feminine), all while trying not to get too emotionally involved with each other. Because he had preambled his rushed reading with an announcement that he was feeling especially vulnerable, the FOBsters were kind to Tolkien Boy and gave him a popsicle. Actually, that was the Marchioness.

Speaking of the Marchioness, and we will, she finished the evening with a poem parallelling Maya Angelou's poem "Phenomenal Woman,"taking the poet to task for creating an unfair and sexist standard of gender-specific behaviors and attributes that the modern woman simply cannot keep up with. The poem was a howling success, not the least because it actually mentions bra sizes, a feat which not even masters like Whitman or Dickinson ever mastered properly.

When asked about their feelings about the acronym change, the other members of FOB were violently various. "Mems how I was in Yuba recently?" said Melyngoch, speaking in a language we must assume is Slavic in origin. "People shrug too much," said editorgirl, obviously making a statement on the recent rise of apathy in the voting public. "I can't parallel park for the life of me," replied the Marchioness, indicating that she, for one, had no such apathy. Edgy brought the whole thing to a head, however, when he swore to write the next chapter of the awe-inspiring story of the FOBbers (or perhaps the FODders) within the next three days.

Meanwhile, the acronym battle rages. Will it be the conservative FOB that carries the day, or the fresher, younger FOD? In either case, the future of FOB is destined to be one that we, as reporters, and you, as our readers, are going to watch closely in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006



You guys suck!


As I've been reading the reports of the weekly Fob meeting, I have longed for those days of mutual foberation and said to myself, you know, I should get "Perry" or something rewritten and send it into Fobfiles so I can get some feedback. Surely Perry only needs one more rewrite.

Then, this evening, as I was doing the dishes, I remembered: "Perry Was an Artist" is already on Fobfiles! It's been there since November!

So next time only one person brings something to Fob, pleasepleaseplease read that, will you? I need something new to send out into the publishing ether.

With much love and zero suckiness,


A palindrome, which decries the fact that our fans in Maine have taken to a local watering hole and left Foblog behind. Don't they know we need them?


Yo! Fob up, Ottoro! Rot to Pub of Oy!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

FOB June 8

I hereby post, with a sense of dogged determined duty, the proceedings of the Fobsters on the eighth day of June, on the two thousandth and sixth year of the "Roman" calendar. I do this solely for the purpose of hearing myself type, as this site shows definite signs of entropy.

The reknowned editorgirl absented herself from the proceedings, making this the fifth Fob in a row that we have failed to reach full capacity. There was much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth on both sides, though beyond that the two groups differed somewhat: editorgirl went to the ashes extreme whilst the Fobsters dabbled somewhat in sackcloth. Her clear voice of reason was missed greatly, and each of the Fobs took a moment to euologize her in a variety of creative ways (not soon will be forgotten Edgy's interpretive dance entitled "em-dashes for editorgirl").

Conversation around the Fob floor centered upon that ubiquitous subject - sex. Indeed, so free and loose was the conversation that even Tolkien Boy, who by all accounts has a rather miniscule conscience, felt badly afterwards and wished that he had not said half the things that he had said. Or, perhaps, thought. Though there was a lot of talk, however, there was very little action, and so there was no occasion for awkwardness afterwards.

The Fobsters were graced by the presence of non other than Foxy J herself, and her insightful comments elevated many a tangential discussion concerning the pooping habits of newborns and toddlers.

Surprisingly, none of the Fobs but Master Fob himself brought materials to be abused, so the majority of the time in Fob was spent criticizing Master Fob's excellent prose without giving him the opportunity to retaliate. Though an excellent strategy for warfare, this unfair situation where Master Fob gives and the rest of us castigates cannot go on for long. It is hoped that next Fob will see a reflowering of of the literate arts.

Following Master Fob's chapter, there was great debate on whether people who like Karen Carpenter
and are fat and hairy are allowed to wear Hello Kitty T-shirts. Edgy was most decidedly against, while Melyngoch and Tolkien Boy argued for. Master Fob provided his reasoning in his lucid way, and the Marchioness and Foxy J collaborated on a sacred feminine scheme to take over the world with nothing more than Jane Austen novels and knitting needles. By the end of the night, the score stood exactly the same, but each Fob inwardly committed to search their soul and the Internet for people who like Karen Carpenter and Hello Kitty T-shirts. The results are expected to be revealing.

Fob culminated (one might even say climaxed) when Melyngoch ran to Smiths and brought back no fewer than three different kinds of cookies in varying species. Inevitably a fight broke out over the soft chocolate chip genus, and Dec came from Salt Lake to officiate. With Dec's help, the Fobs ended the night still as friends, but Edgy is not likely to reach for a soft cookie at the same time as the Marchioness ever again.

And so, again we leave you from within the shadows of the everlasting hills (pun intended). May Fob be with you this day, and always.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Little Boy Blow


He's a rapper I just made up. I think it's a pretty great name. The kid's got street cred out the wazoo. His trademark is the clouds of dust raised as he freestyles across the stage.

What upsets me, however, is that the jerk won't give me a backstage pass. Now that he's made it big he's forgotten the people who made him.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

FOB June 1

For those who continue to read, despite this site’s increasing indulgence in Tolkien-Boy-centered philoscriptus, I provide for you (as yet, free of charge, but times may change) the minutes of our last FOB meeting.

Tolkien Boy redeemed somewhat his extreme lateness and equally extreme absence from FOB the past two weeks by arriving first at editorgirl’s house for FOB. As no one else was present, he spent his time reading the most affecting parts of his newly-checked-out book on editorgirl’s swing and nursing his raging headache. Edgy Killer Bunny arrived next, joining Tolkien Boy on the swing, and they discussed finances, which made Tolkien Boy’s headache worse. Master Fob arrived next, making it a porch swing trio, and the three harmonized on the greater hits of Gershwin until the arrival of the Marchioness, who brought both cucumbers and an actual conversation. Finally, editorgirl arrived, fashionably late and very much in fashion, and let the FOBs into her house.

There was discussion on the regrettable absence of Melyngoch and whether her warning email had mentioned she was roasting both humans and flesh or simply roasting human flesh. Much joking on Melyngoch’s cannibalistic tendencies ensued, but in deference to Mishkin no one called her a maneater. Many oreos were consumed, the cucumbers having been devoured earlier.

Tolkien Boy began the festivities by reading from his sequel novel, in which a lecherous Lenny touches various inoffensive portions of the female anatomy and ruminates upon the experience. Comments mercifully stopped just short of mentioning Tolkien Boy’s lack of experience in said subject matter. The Marchioness then finished up her short story in which people who like Karen Carpenter express concern for people who poop blood (demographics which, we can reasonably assume, do not often interact). editorgirl (sic) then presented us a snippet of poetry in which a Month (sic) was used as a verb. Much thought was given about the benefits of verbing months, and in reaction Edgy novembered, Master Fob juned, and the Marchioness exploded in a flurry of februaring. Finally, Master Fob served up his concoction of ingenuity and parody, which brought a tear to Tolkien Boy’s eye (surreptitiously wiped away).

Throughout the action, Master Fob dominated the stuffed chair and looked patriarchal, editorgirl puttered away on her cell phone, the Marchioness lolled on the beanbag, Edgy leaned wittily against the couch, and Tolkien Boy lay on the couch, making dire predictions about the possibility of his own survival.

And Melyngoch ate people. Which is why no man will ever love us.

Friday, June 02, 2006

If no one else is going to post


then I will.