December 06, 2010

Ways to Read My Novel for Free

The following are some ways you can read my novel, Super, for free:
1. Read Super online. We're posting the entire novel online at a rate of a page per day, so if you don't mind reading at a slow pace, you will be able to read Super over the next 200 or so days at The first page of Super starts here. BONUS: You'll get to take each Superhero exam online and see other people's answers.
2. Put in a purchase request for Super at your local public library. Public libraries are awesome and really do want to order what people want. You can already find Super at the Denver Public Library, among others.
3. Ask for Super as a gift. If you celebrate gift-giving in some form or other (for some reason, this is a big time of year for this), put it on your Amazon wishlist, or whatever other cheesy method you may have to convey wishlist information. People may not know what to get you, after all. Somewhere in the world, there is code that lets me put a link that automatically adds Super to a wishlist, but I couldn't find it. If you want to do this, though, Super is here on Amazon.

November 21, 2010

A Superhero Meeting

In Super, there's a chapter that consists of the minutes from a regular ol' Superhero meeting. During the TNBLE Seattle reading, I wanted to present this chapter, and instead of just reading the minutes, I ran a live meeting similar to the one that transpired in the book, including the audience as Superhero attendees of the meeting.

Thanks to Arianne Garden Vazquez for videotaping the reading, and thanks to Priya Keefe and Chris Hammersley for playing the parts of Moonclaw and Auslander!

November 17, 2010

Harry Potter Book 7 Summary - SPOILERS!!!

In honor of the Harry Potter release of part 1 of the movie of book 7,
I'm reposting my entire book 7 summary, from way back when. There are
spoilers, but if you haven't read it by now, when are you ever going to?

Chapter 1

Voldemort invites a bunch of boring aristocrats over for dinner. Nobody eats.

Chapter 2

Harry Potter reads the news.

Chapter 3

Harry Potter's uncle exhibits his wizard-phobic tendencies for the
hundredth time in the series. Dudley, Harry Potter's cousin, confesses
his love for Harry.

Chapter 4

The wizards spend six pages discussing a simple plan to move Harry
Potter to a safer place. Then, Harry spends nine pages crashing a

Chapter 5

Apparently, some wizard I can't remember from previous Harry Potter books dies. The remaining wizards drink.

Chapter 6

Harry, Ron, and Hermione do chores.

Chapter 7

Harry Potter opens birthday presents, makes out with Ginny, and then
makes out with a snitch left to him through Dumbledore's will.

Chapter 8

A decidedly ordinary wedding and celebration drones on for 20 pages
before an exciting message is delivered: "The ministry [of Magic] has
fallen." The chapter finally ends.

Chapter 9

The wedding celebration is crashed by Death Eaters, but Harry, Ron, and
Hermione escape lickety-split. Harry gets a headache, for the second or
third time already in this book.

Chapter 10

Harry Potter rummages around in Grimmauld Place, an old hideout of the Order of the Phoenix. He finds nothing.

Chapter 11

Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue hanging out in Grimmauld Place, doing
nothing. Harry is mean to their only two visitors: Lupin and Mundungus.

Chapter 12

Harry, Ron, and Hermione actually do something, and by "something", I
mean they sneak into the Ministry of Magic's headquarters. However,
their sneaky plan takes so long that the chapter ends before anything
cool happens.

Chapter 13

After 340 pages, something finally happens! Harry, Ron, and Hermione
steal the horcrux from inside the Ministry! Of course, I am still trying
to remember what a horcrux is and why they need it because despite this
book's excessive length, it hasn't managed to fill me in on that
(perhaps it's my fault I can't remember anything that happened in the
last book except Dumbledore dying like a wimp).

Chapter 14

Harry has a dream that doesn't make sense (for about the fifth time in the book).

Chapter 15

Ron and Harry have a fight over -- surprise -- they have a fight over how they never do anything. Ron goes home.

Chapter 16

Harry's been wanting to go to Godric's Hollow for 400 pages. He finally goes there.

Chapter 17

Harry and Hermione are attacked by a snake but escape, at the expense of
Harry's wand, which is broken in the confusing battle. The battle would
have been less confusing (and much more exciting) had Harry not been in
a magical stupor or dreaming the whole time. As it is, this fight
sequence comes across as a bad description of a drug trip.

Chapter 18

Harry reads an entire chapter of a book.

Chapter 19

Ron is lead by a mysterious light to rejoin Harry, whom Ron saves from
drowning. Ron also finds the sword of Gryffindor and destroys the
Horcrux. Then, they talk about all this with Hermione for 10 pages.

Chapter 20

Ron catches Harry and Hermione up on the latest wizard news, then they
all visit the Lovegoods to find out more about the symbol of the Deathly

Chapter 21

Harry, Ron, and Hermione spring a trap at the Lovegoods, but not before
they listen to tales about the Deathly Hallows. Somewhere mid-chapter,
they discuss wand lengths in a thinly-veiled penis-size joke.

Chapter 22

Harry, Ron, and Hermione listen to the radio. Then, Harry says the word,
"Voldemort" and suddenly they are surrounded by nasty folks, as the
Ministry has instituted a way of tracking the name.

Chapter 23

The trio is captured by the nasty folks (which begs the question: if
Hermione has time to cast a spell on Harry in order to disguise him, why
didn't she just grab Harry and Ron and Disapparate out of there like
she's been doing time and time again throughout the book so far?).
However, the disguise spell doesn't even matter, because Harry is
eventually found out and they are brought to the Malfoys. Voldemort is
summoned but before he can get there, Dobby the house elf saves Harry by
Disapparating him away, with the sword of Gryffindor and the goblin,
Griphook. There is a confusing moment in which I think Dobby dies
because the sword accidentally punctured him, but in the next chapter I
learn that Dobby died from a dagger thrown right at Harry Potter as they
Disapparated. Don't ask me how a dagger thrown right at Harry ends up
killing Dobby because I don't know. Dobby's last words are,

Chapter 24

Harry Potter digs a grave for Dobby and figures out where the Elder Wand
is (at Hogwarts). He figures that Voldemort is going after the Elder
Wand, but since Dumbledore wanted Harry to go for Horcruxes, he decides
not to go after the wand himself. This is probably a good decision,
because if someone told me about a wand that made you unbeatable, and
then explained how the wand had been passed down from wizard to wizard
after each new owner defeated the previous owner, I'd be a little
suspicious of the "unbeatable" claim.

Chapter 25

Harry is a little surprised at himself for deciding not to try to beat
Voldemort to the Elder Wand, especially as he can "not remember ever
before, choosing not to act". Apparently, Harry has forgotten most of
the first half of this book. Harry makes an ill-advised, sneaky deal
with Griphook, the goblin, that contains a lot of ultimately irrelevant
foreboding overtones, for while Harry, Ron, and Hermione think that they
need the sword of Gryffindor to destroy Horcruxes, they are
conveniently proven wrong later on in the book.

Chapter 26

Surprise! What with all the foreboding undertones and all, no one would
actually be surprised that Griphook takes off with the sword the minute
he gets his hands on it. However, he does help Harry, Ron, and Hermione
break into a Gringott's vault. Then, the three of them escape by riding a
dragon out. In the meantime, they manage to steal the cup of
Hufflepuff, which is apparently a Horcrux. I know I'm not reading this
as closely as some Harry Potter fans, but this is the first I've heard
of this Hufflepuff cup being a Horcrux. Was this actually mentioned
somewhere earlier?

Chapter 27

For some reason (perhaps a lack of fact-checking), Voldemort thinks he's
the one that killed Dumbledore (on p. 704). He also finally figures out
that Harry is hunting Horcruxes and goes to check on them to see that
they're safe. Harry, meanwhile, reads Voldemort's mind through his
dream/bond connection and thusly finds out the "last Horcrux" is at

Chapter 28

Harry, Ron, and Hermione Disapperate into Hogsmeade, but the whole place
is swarming with Death Eaters looking for them. They are saved by
someone they recognize as the bartender from the Hog's Head, then no one
expresses any amount of surprise when they discover he is actually
Albus Dumbledore's brother. He agrees to help them sneak into Hogwarts,
then Neville Longbottom hops out of a portrait.

Chapter 29

After walking through a portrait into Hogwarts, Dumbledore's Army
gathers (this includes people I actually remember, like Luna, Fred,
George, Ginny, and Cho). Somehow, they reason that the "last Horcrux"
looks like the lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, so Luna takes Harry to
see a sculpture of it so they know what it looks like. Then, they are
caught by Alecto Carrow (apparently one of the evil people I don't
remember from previous books), who immediately summons Voldemort.

Chapter 30

Luna takes care of one Carrow (both the Carrow twins I don't remember
are there now), then Professor McGonagall shows up and takes care of the
other. Then, McGonagall decides to risk it all, sends Snape into
cowardly running, and alerts the entire castle while beginning an
evacuation plan for the kids. Meanwhile, the rest of the Weasley family
shows up, as well as Lupin, Harry's whole Quidditch team, and more--they
are all ready to fight Voldemort who is at the gates.

Chapter 31

Ron and Hermione figure out a way to destroy the Hufflepuff Horcrux,
then they catch up to Harry who has figured out where the "last Horcrux"
is. They find it, destroy it, then mention that they still have to
destroy the snake, Nagini, who is apparently now the last Horcrux.
Meanwhile, they have a run-in with Crabbe, Goyle, and Draco. Crabbe dies
of his own ineptitude and Goyle and Draco need to be rescued from
Crabbe's fire creatures. At the end of the chapter, there is some kind
of confusing event (explosion?) during the battle of Hogwarts and Fred
Weasley dies.

Chapter 32

Harry, Ron, and Hermione fight their way through mayhem including
spiders, giants, and dementors. They use the tunnel that starts at the
Whomping Willow to crawl to where Voldemort is talking to Snape. Harry
spies on Voldemort as he tells Snape (essentially) that he experiences
erectile dysfunction whenever he faces Harry Potter (this is couched in
terms like "my wand failed" and such). Then, Voldemort explains that
since Snape killed Dumbledore and that Voldemort took Dumbledore's wand,
Voldemort must kill Snape to be the full "owner" of the Elder Wand. So
he has Nagini bite Snape and runs off to join the battle. Harry comes
out of hiding to watch Snape die, but when Snape sees him Snape says,
"Take it...take it..." and then dies, but not before he emits a shifty,
silvery blue non-gas that Harry and Hermione collect in a flask. We know
that Harry knows what it is because Rowling tells us, but I don't know
what it is until next chapter, because I don't remember every solid
thing about the Harry Potter universe.

Chapter 33

Voldemort gives everybody one hour to send Harry Potter to meet him in
the Forbidden Forest. Then, Harry ditches Ron and Hermione and uses the
vial of Snape's memories to do some sightseeing in Snape's past. We find
out that Snape was on Dumbledore's side all along, and had even been
asked to kill Dumbledore, and this partnership came about because of
Snape's childhood crush on Lily, Harry's mother.

Chapter 34

Harry Potter decides to go through with the plan: give himself up to
Voldemort. Apparently, Ron and Hermione could give a crap because they
don't even bother trying to find him and help. Harry grabs the
Resurrection Stone, chats with a bunch of ghosts (his parents, Sirius,
and more), sees Neville Longbottom (and tells him to kill Nagini), then
meets up with Voldemort. Harry lets Voldemort draw his wand and flash a
green light at him.

Chapter 35

Harry is suddenly in some sort of other-world. He has a conversation
with Dumbledore, where Dumbledore sort of explains that Harry is dead,
or not, depending on Harry's choice. Dumbledore seems to be saying that
since Voldemort and Harry are bound as one, Harry can go back to life,
now, without the part of Voldemort's soul that he used to be carrying.
This doesn't make a ton of sense, but whatever.

Chapter 36

Harry comes back to life, then plays dead as Voldemort has Harry's body
carried back to Hogwarts. When they get to the school, there is a brief
demonstration of Voldemort's power just before all heck breaks loose.
The centaurs and house elves get involved and Neville destroys the
"last" Horcrux by slicing up Voldemort's serpent friend (even though
Dumbledore described Harry as the last Horcrux in Chapter 35). Hasn't
there been at least three different things in this book described as the
"last Horcrux"? Never mind. Then, a battle takes place in which the
Death Eaters are routed and somehow Harry and Voldemort end up facing
off with everyone watching (and doing nothing). Then Harry explains that
Draco is the "real" master of the Elder Wand and since Harry defeated
Draco during the last few chapters, Harry is the real master now. I'm
completely unclear on a bunch of things, here. How did Draco become
master of the Elder Wand? How did Neville get a hold of the sword of
Gryffindor? (Last I knew, it was in a goblin's hands.) And I'm still
thinking it doesn't really make any sense that Harry came back to life
and all. But, whatever. Harry wins.


We are presented with proof that Harry and Ginny finally got it on,
because now it is 19 years later and they have three kids. Ron and
Hermione managed it, too, as they are there, sending their kid off to
Hogwarts, also. Neville is apparently a teacher at Hogwarts, but we are
given no information on what Harry, Ron, and Hermione are doing (besides
raising kids). Maybe they're just doing a lot of camping.

Super Dumb Survey/Quiz MySpace Laserz ♥ Vincent Truman Gus Sanchez Sequel 2 Conspiracy No Joke!!11!!!1!

It's the Super Dumb Survey/Quiz MySpace Laserz ♥ Vincent Truman Gus Sanchez Sequel 2 Conspiracy No Joke!!11!!!1! quiz!

Neither Gus, nor Vincent, nor anyone else (all the paloozans, etc.) can be blamed for what follows, which is my attempt at writing a MySpace quiz based on my novel, Super.

1-If you were a Superhero, what would your Superhero name be?
Superman. What? Is that taken or something?

2-What would your super power be?
The power to have more than one super power. Otherwise: useless.

3-Name the first thing you would use your super powers for.
Curing starvancer (Hey, I'd do two things at once)

4-Describe your archenemy.
My archenemy would look like, sound like, and be Tila Tequila.

5-What would your weakness be?
My lack of weaknesses--gets me every time!

6-Would you have a secret identity or would you go public?
Probably secret identity. I'm not ready to go corporate.

7-Name something you would keep in your utility belt.
Another utility belt. Just in case.

8-Alleyway or rooftop?
Am I choosing where I want my groceries delivered?

9-Work solo or with a team?
With a team, until I was popular enough for my own comic.

10-Complete this phrase: "Stand aside, civilian, I'll ______" wanting to use this sidewalk from 4 to 4:30 every day.

11-Would you rescue the puppy, the cow, or the snake?
I'm a vegetarian, so whichever's handiest at gardening.

12-How much do you think Superheroes should be paid?
I've heard about something called "Spades". Is that a lot?

13-Sidekick or no sidekick?
Sidekicks are basically slave labor. Accept only Fair Trade Sidekicks!

14-What will your battle cry be?
I like Monty Python's: "Run away! Run away! Run away!"

November 12, 2010

Become a Superhero: The Video

My novel, Super, is a very interactive novel, and even a year or so ago, I was experimenting with ways to demonstrate what the book was like in a live setting.

The following is one such experiment, attempted in December of 2009, well before I even had a complete Superhero costume.

Thanks to Arianne Garden Vazquez and Kymberlee della Luce for volunteering, and thanks to Arianne for filming!

November 07, 2010

Become a Superhero!

At the Book Release Party for Super on Tuesday night, guests will walk in and be transformed into a Superhero with complimentary capes, Superhero logos, masks, and more!

If you're not able to make it to the book release party, there are still many ways in which you, too, can experience a transition into a Superhero lifestyle!

1. Turn your phone into a Super phone by downloading a Super mobile phone background image, designed by Super book designer Charlie Potter.

2. Turn your computer into a Super computer by downloading a Super desktop background, also designed by Charlie Potter.

3. Photoshop images of your own by adding the Super logo and other official designs to your images. Download a set of Super assets here (for personal use only--you may not sell or distribute works made with these assets). Here's a low-resolution preview of the assets:

Just putting the logo on a sign is hilarious enough (see example 1 and example 2), but the following is an example of someone going way overboard (in a delightfully positive way):

November 04, 2010

Free Chapter from My Novel, Super

First, download a free chapter from my novel, Super. Then, print it out (it’s one sheet of paper). Next, follow the instructions below to fold it up into a booklet.

If you’re in Seattle on Tuesday, November 9, stop by the book release party. If you don’t show up in costume, we’ll turn you into a Superhero on the spot! It’s at The Hideout, at 8pm.

October 04, 2010

How Super Came to Be

The cover of Super, by Aaron Dietz, from Emergency Press; cover design by Charlie Potter
Charlie Potter is the extraordinarily talented book designer behind the novel Super, from Emergency Press. The novel's storyline is presented as a series of varied county-level government documents, and so the book contains over 40 different layout styles. Potter also produced numerous illustrations that appear in the book, as well as supporting logos and documents that will be used in trailers, costumes for events, and other promotional materials.

In the following interview with Charlie Potter, the designer of Super elaborates on how the book's design came to be.

First of all, how did you come up with the cover concept? It's very catchy!

I love signs. I love danger signs the most, like the one with the truck almost tipping over on a tight corner or that guy being horribly struck by lightning. So the icon is basically taken from the sign that would indicate that there are Superheroes working nearby.

What parts of the inside of the book are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about the bits I had more creative input on. For example, the detective notes (I chose to present them in a visually-connected way, rather than as a straight-forward list of notes), the stick-figure diagram (I can’t look at it without laughing--I really can draw better than that), and the Superhero signage document.

A small part of the stick figure diagram from Super, created by Charlie Potter

The signage document was originally supposed to be a patrol map that tells Superheroes things like how far of a jump it is between buildings, how high up the roof is, and so on. I told Aaron, the author, that it would be odd for a hero to have a map in their pocket. When a driver first hits the street, the DMV doesn’t give you a map, but they will give you a rule book and a guide to signs. So that’s what we made: a driver’s guide for the Superhero.

But honestly, Aaron had some very visual ideas with clear direction, which is rare when working with a writer. I just had to dress them up mostly. At the same time, I had a lot of freedom with the project so I’m excited about the whole book.

This was obviously a much more complicated book to put together compared to the average novel. How did you manage that complexity, and how did you communicate with the author, Aaron Dietz, to complete the project?

Communication was pretty smooth between us--smoother than any project I’ve worked on. At the beginning, I set up a Google site with file deposit pages for inspirations, design previews, resources, and so on. We’re still using it for promotional stuff. I submitted design ideas through it and he and I commented on them or he would create Word docs with lists of edits.

The site was also good because it versions uploads, so we could revert to an old design easily if need be. At times there were a few print-outs when it was necessary to draw out an idea, but overall the process was very green. We rarely met in person about the project even though we see each other almost every day.

But the thing that helped the most was that we had a clear idea of how the book was going to be, and what it could do. This is something that was established very early and continues even now. It was a very cooperative and supportive process.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in doing this design?

The biggest challenge of this book was that I wanted it to look like an accumulation of government-made documents and logos but still make it look good, trying to ride that line of terrible and awesome.

Did you do any research to help you prepare for creating these "government-made documents"?

People can tell if you are drawing from memory or if you’re drawing from real life. So, I did a ton of research for this to make this look believable. But this wasn't too difficult and I had a lot of help and suggestions on where to look. There is just so much! In fact, I have enough material now that if there were a second book I wouldn't be drawing from any of the same sources.

What other things are you creating to help with the book's release?

Currently, I’m designing a series of posters that would encourage Superheroes from other counties to move to and work in Pike County, the setting of the novel. Most Superheroes think it’s more dangerous in Pike County and would rather live and work where their average life expectancy is higher.

Also, I created some stickers that we'll use to turn people's outfits into Superhero costumes during the book release party (this November).

What other kinds of work do you do, and is there a specific focus in your art?

I have no focus, but there are some things I’m better at than others.

I enjoy illustrating and have done a few books for a friend of the family. I would love to do more of that.

At my day job, though, I work as an instructional graphic designer; which is not too far off from what I was for this book.

September 21, 2010

Quotes From Super

Quotes from my novel are up on the Super page of my Web site. I'm also printing a few here. Exclusive content, some of it!

"That's the bad thing about cable--it takes longer to decide nothing's on because you have to flip through more channels." -Alabaster Wight

"You'd think time travel would be a pretty cool power to have but it's not. Most of the time, you're told what to do by various versions of yourself who are from some future time in which you've really messed things up." -Apostolos

"Anti-Terrorist Bomb Squad is highly entertaining to play, but it fails miserable as a socially responsible video game." -Jerboa

"I know Superheroes aren't supposed to drink so much, but lately that's the only way I can get out of the costume." -Alabaster Wight

"That's funny. I usually keep the rock slab in the closet." -Auslander

Oh, and if you're interested, ask me about the Super Action Team--it's an opportunity for you to receive my undying gratitude for doing very little work to help me promote my book.

September 13, 2010

I'm just like that Scott Pilgrim character!

Recently, I saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a movie in which the main character dreams about someone he loves, then meets that person in real life.

This happened to me. Twice, actually. The first time, I woke up from the dream and couldn't remember what she looked like but I remembered her name. My friends looked her up in the school directory, and there she was. She existed. I was too shy to ever pursue it, and so that's that.

The second time it happened to me was even more strange.

During my senior year of high school, I had a dream with A__ in it (this time it was a girl I did know existed--she was in my Creative Writing class). I think we were at a baseball game or something, hanging out in a totally ordinary way. But in the dream I absolutely loved her. It was wonderful.

The next morning, I picked up my ex-girlfriend on the way to school, and I told her about the dream. She told me that she, too, had had a dream the previous night. In her dream, she absolutely loved M___, who happened to be A__'s ex-boyfriend.

Strange enough.

I went to class. In Creative Writing, we had an assignment due and that meant that during the class, we passed around our assignment for comments from our peers before turning it in. When it was my turn to read and comment on A__'s piece, I wrote, without signing my name, "You were in my dream last night."

I watched the comment sheet go around the room, and when it got to A__, she read about halfway down (where my comment was), and then immediately turned to her friend, pointing at the paper.

Her friend looked, and then turned straight toward me and stared.

September 08, 2010

Literature Is Science

In an age where we are generating more content than we can possibly consume, it's desirable to pursue artistic endeavors that can produce measurable results, and to use these results to guide future artistic inquiries.

Every artistic creation that has no measurable impact contributes to a glut of immeasurable content and distracts people from a scientific development of artistic knowledge.

In 1893, Émile Zola pointed out that so little was understood about medicine that some still considered it an art.

Today, this is the state in which literature resides.

September 02, 2010

Top Time-Travel Movies of All Time

This list is, of course, final. If you were thinking of making one of the best movies about time travel in the near future, you're too late, unless it's autobiographical. Because then you’d be a time traveler. So you could change time and stuff. Get it? Never mind.

1. Timecrimes. When you watch this, at first you're all, that's some freaky stuff! Then, you're all, Soylent Green is people (except people is me)! And finally you start to figure everything out, and it’s still interesting. Even without time travel ability, I can already tell it's better than the Tom Cruise knock-off version that's scheduled to come out in 2012.

2. Twelve Monkeys. Possibly the best use for Brad Pitt yet.

3. Primer. Brilliant film, though I still can't figure this one out. That bit about the party confuses me. What exactly happened there?

4. The Sticky Fingers of Time. Like any movie that combines time-travel with bisexual adventures and bionic parts, this movie is a classic.

5. Back to the Future. It's just a very fun movie. It's like the first Matrix, only from a different decade, with different technology, and a totally different plot.

6. Time Bandits. Honestly, I don't remember this movie. I remember enjoying it, but I couldn't tell you what happened. I just included it in this list because I know someone will be all, "Hey, what about Time Bandits?"

7. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. Technically, not a time travel movie at all, but it's way better than Star Trek IV.

August 24, 2010

Super: Editor's Comments on the Manuscript

During the writing of Super, I kept track of a few funny, interesting, or odd comments left by my editor from the many edits of my manuscript. And here they are:

This seems like a lot for such a short paragraph.

Costume repair.


Does it have to be Bob? Could it be Gary? Or Frank?

Run like hell

Is this like she's making soup?

Guns shoot bullets, and people load bullets into guns.

Yes, more wild. Wild it.

What other sites would terrorists be smart to attack in the U.S.?

Now the book gets interesting! (p. 153)

Opened 5-gallon pickle buckets.

Yep. NOW, and only NOW are you funny. (p. 161)

August 18, 2010

Super: How to Create a Glow in the Dark Sign Thing

Step 1: Come up with a nifty logo (this part was done by Charlie Potter,
who is the graphic designer and book designer for the book).

Step 2: Order pizza.

Step 3: While waiting for the pizza, cut the logo out of your stencil.

Step 4: Eat the pizza.

Step 5: Test your stencil using the pizza box. Does it look cool? Oh yes, it looks cool. Good job, you. CAUTION:
Do not vandalize other people's property. It's okay to spray paint your
own pizza box, but don't spray paint anyone else's. Or anyone else's
other stuff. The principle (and law) applies to more than just pizza

Step 6: Buy one of those glow-stick things for kids.

Step 7: Crack it and shake.

Step 8: Cut it open using a knife you don't care about, and then drain it
into a plastic cup that you don't care about. Cut slowly and carefully!
CAUTION: Do not actually do this stuff! It could be dangerous! At the
very least, get your publisher to do it while you shield and avert your
eyes! Special note to publishers: Don't do it!

Step 9: Apply glow-in-the-dark mixture to stenciled paper.

Step 10: Stand back, and then say, "What the heck does RBZ mean?"

RBZ Logo by Charlie Potter.

For more info on the book, check here:

August 10, 2010

Ode to Chong Yit Seng

Chong Yit Seng
of Singapore,

You wrote some code once.
And I used it.

I used the code to loop through Word docs
and convert them to XML files tagged according to an EAD specification.

I never thanked you
because I didn't know how.

Now you have a LinkedIn profile
(if that's you).

So anyway,

August 04, 2010

Super: The Failed Book Titles

Sometimes putting a title on a book is more challenging than writing the book itself. Here's a list of titles that weren't quite as good as Super. The book is about Superheroes that work for a county agency, so that's what most of these titles were attempting to express.

Superhero Suckdown

The Right Thing or Whatever
Apocalypse Management
Hostile Work Environment
To Err is Superhuman
Municipal Light and Powers
Superize Me
Rescue This Book
FOIA L-351-ORB-12
Security Blanket
Not a Zombie Book
Super Qualified
I Just Work Here
A Poorly Titled Novel That’s Actually Rather Good
Opportunity Screams
Materials that Stretch
Extra Sensitive

You Are the Hero

July 27, 2010

Super: The Synopsis

I always have a bit of trouble explaining what my novel is about, so I'm lucky to have a synopsis written by the talented Alex Reed, with a few choice additions from my editor, Bryan Tomasovich.

The Synopsis

Do you need a new job?

Does the world need another superhero?

You see the connection, don’t you? If you had the chance to save lives…could you handle the adventure? The pressure, the risk, the grotesque, the insane? Most of all, could you handle your humanity? Update your resume, ‘cause here we go. Either stick with being sucked down further into your life, or earn the lift-off of the elite.

Aaron Dietz’s debut novel moves with an experimental edge into America’s heroic mythology. Structured as a novel-length job application for a superhero agency, Dietz uses his iron touch to explore themes that go far deeper than the swashbuckling world of comics and costumes. It’s a story about commitment, ability, bureaucracy, possibility, crisis, and heartbreak. Super.

July 13, 2010

The Day Wyatt Earp Invented the Compooter

Now listen here, 'cause when you're as old as me, you gets knowledge about stuff and then on occasion you force-share it on people and you can't force-share it on people who don’t listen.

I remember when Wyatt Earp invented the compooter quite well, because it was the day after the gunfight near the O.K. Corral, and me and Wyatt were all cooped up in the hotel, bored as a spent firecracker, what when Wyatt done said, "Jeeminee, homma' homma' g'boy!"

Which, if'n you knew Wyatt like I did, you knew that was Wyatt's way of proposin' an entirely new form of technology capable of doin' stuff when people did stuff to tell it what to do, which, if'n you knew Wyatt, you knew he intended to call the "compooter" because, hot dog, that's just obvious if'n you knew how he talked.

And that was the day we what wished the microchip to already have been invented because we couldn't-a figure that part out.

The next day we sent McMasters out for ice cream and then made him eat it first so we know'd it weren't poisoned.

July 07, 2010

The Good Thing About People Behaving Like Sheep

Perhaps a comforting thought related to people being relatively easy to manipulate is that people can be heavily influenced by an idea, and so if the world seems too commercialized, too homogenized, or just too stupid due to a general lack of independent thought, then take heart in knowing that the right idea could easily catch on at any moment, and transform the world.

June 28, 2010

People Are Impressionable Jerks

I've always been kind of nice, so when I'm approaching the same street corner as someone else I tend to stop and let them go ahead, which seems to suit them fine, as they usually make no acknowledgement of my existence whatsoever.

This never surprises me, it being that people are selfish jerks and all.

But no! I've made a frightening discovery! Recently, I've changed jackets from a simple black pea coat to an attention-getting, weird (sort of Sgt. Pepper-y) jacket. Suddenly people wait for ME at street corners!

What a bunch of jerks! Being selfish and ignoring the existence of others is actually fairly reasonable behavior, seeing as how other people are also selfish jerks, but going out of your way just to treat others differently purely based on what they wear is another, far worse kind of idiocy!

June 21, 2010

Emergency Press (My Publisher) Is Amazing

My novel, Super, is being published by Emergency Press.

Not only are they incredible to work with, they're also a participant of the Green Press Initiative, and they're publishing some of the most exciting authors out there right now.

For example, Tom Hansen, Gina Frangello, and Erika Rae. I'd tell you more about them, but the trailers and excerpts are awesome, so don't let me keep you.

Tom Hansen's American Junkie

Trailer: here
Excerpts: here

Gina Frangello's Slut Lullabies

Trailer: here
Excerpts: here

Erika Rae's In a Handbasket: Notes from a Recovering Evangelical
Erika Rae's book isn't out yet, but you can sample her writing on

June 15, 2010

The Good Thing About Getting Older

The good thing about getting older is that there is less weirdness and fewer surprises.

Less Weirdness

You hug a friend in a train station in a city where you've never seen each other before. It's not weird, because heck, by this time, you can't even remember where you knew each other from anyway.

Fewer Surprises

There are fewer surprises because your memory is absent.

Oil spill? No surprise there--you're not really sure if it's a new one or the same one from before.

Ear buds not working in one ear? You've probably just gone deaf in one ear and forgot that you went deaf. Clearly nothing to worry about.

Aliens abducting you? For all you know, it happens every night. Why worry?

One Last Unrelated Thing

Go equality.

May 25, 2010

A lost cause

See that? I said "lost" without capitalizing it because I wasn't talking about the TV show.

It happens.

May 17, 2010

I can do nothing!

So I saw this guy sitting on some steps the other day, and I was like, "Huh. Wonder what he's doing?"

And then I realized what it was--he was doing nothing!

I totally want to try that someday. It looks awesome!

May 11, 2010

Super: The Novel

I have a novel coming out this fall called Super. It'll be published by Emergency Press.

Do you want to see the cover? Oh, goodie! It's a rough cover, and could change, but here it is at the moment.

The cover art and book design is by Charlie Potter. More on him later this month or so.

Oh hey, and you know what? It takes an army for a small press to get a book out. If you want to help or have suggestions, let me know. I have an entire insane plan in the works and there is a lot to do. I mean, I've spent over $30 on stickers already.

March 09, 2010

A Jerk Almost Ran Me Over

I'm walking across the street when a car screeches to a stop, nearly running me over.

"Hey moron," says the driver out the window. "You need some kind of magical way to tell cars when you're crossing or you're going to get flattened!"

I stop in the middle of the road.

"You mean, like a stop sign?" I ask.

I put my hand on my forehead and close my eyes. Concentration! Then, I quickly shoot my other arm in the direction of the corner, where there is a stop sign.

"Better?" I ask.

The driver is not amused.

March 05, 2010

Words and Phrases that Get Me Hot


Federal Trade Commission

Pilot Books


"In fact, as the result plainly proves, he needed the assistance and
support of staunch and true friends, upon whose courage, coolness and
fidelity he could depend in case of an emergency."

American Junkie



Tom Hansen

P.S. Tom Hansen's making a rare public appearance tonight at Pilot Books for the release of American Junkie, an excellent, honest, and captivating book. 7pm, for those in Seattle that can make it. I'll be there!

Here's what American Junkie is about in Star Wars language: There is no mysterious “Force” in the galaxy (yet Darth Vader is still around, and just as deadly). This book is Luke's journey toward facing Vader, anyway, without the Force. Or a lightsaber. Also, Luke doesn’t whine all the time.

February 26, 2010

What Do Recent Windows OS's Need All that Memory/Processing For?

Recommended requirements for running Audacity:

Windows 98, ME: 128 MB RAM / 500 MHz

Windows 2000, XP: 512 MB/1 GHz

Windows Vista Home Basic: 2 GB / 1 GHz

Windows Vista Home Premium: 4 GB / 2 GHz

Mac: "Audacity runs best with at least 64 MB RAM and a 300 MHz processor."

Sources: and

Alternate title for this blog: "Planned obsolescence" applies to operating systems designed to require a completely new computer purchase.

January 19, 2010

Avatar: A Summary of the Movie

An ex-Marine is all trying to figure out what to do with his life when he starts hanging out with a bunch of his deceased brother's friends.

Unfortunately for the ex-Marine, all of his brother's friends are into Second Life, so he gets sucked into playing it, too.

He lives on some kind of military base or something where important dramatic things are happening but instead of getting involved, he plays Second Life all day. Then, he moves in to a trailer with his brother's friends so they can play Second Life without any distractions.

He completes a bunch of awesome quests and stuff and even gets a Second Life girlfriend, though the movie never shows her IRL.

In fact, he gets so good at Second Life that his brother's friends pretty much sit around and watch him play and feed him when he's hungry, 'cause he's a superstar.

Meanwhile, there's some kind of war on.

The End.

In this breathtaking scene from Avatar, the ex-Marine and his friends watch what's going on in Second Life.

January 08, 2010

Poops Embody Life

Some poops are fast, and almost effortless.

Example: A blink.

Some poops are more moderately paced and need an occasional push to keep them going.

Example: A bus ride.

Some poops need a lot of grunting and sweat to make happen.

Example: Passing true health care reform.

Other poops take their time, and no amount of huffing and puffing or sqealing about it will change their pace.

Example: The changing of the season from winter to spring.