Merry Fuckin' Christmas

It snowed last night here in Vancouver. The snow was light and fluffy, and it reminded me of time spent well with friends and family. I stayed up quite late playing in the snow, slept for a couple of hours, and showed up two hours late for work. My shoulder hurts, my head hurts, my feet hurt, my legs hurt. This is why I don't play in the snow any more. It's fun while the snow flies, but the aftermath is just too much for me.

Stolen hats

I hesitate to have two photo posts in a row, but this was just too good an idea to pass up. To those of you whose hats I have stolen over the years, may I say; word.

Good job

I have to say it. Even after all the lead-up, all the signs, and all the hoopla, I'm still surprised to be an uncle. There's a vague sense of accomplishment associated with that, despite a total contribution of zero effort on my part. The baby is beautiful. Her name is Peyton Briar Rybuck-Marshall. Here is a picture of her, and one with her parents, who look pretty impressed with themselves.


I found out that the word fulsome can have negative connotations today. I had previously thought that fulsome either meant excessive, or abundant. I was unaware of the possibility of negative connotations, and as the information was taken from the internet it was immediately suspect.

"To the Canadian Edition of the Oxford Dictionary!", I cried, and rushed to my bookshelf. Upon inspection of the hallowed contents of my reference tome, I found that it is indeed possible for fulsome to be interpreted as sarcastic in tone.

"Super", you say, "But what does this have to do with anything I care about?" Well, probably nothing. But that hasn't stopped me before, and it won't stop me now. As I was browsing, I noticed a word that I hadn't used or even heard before. Awesome! And so, ladies, gentlemen, hermaphrodites, I bring you a completely new feature on The Bringdown:

Word of the Day

fungible adjective precisely or acceptably replacing or replaceable by another item, mutually interchangeable, esp. of goods etc. contracted for, when a particular item is not specified.

Oh, you were looking for a fulsome woman? Well, not to worry sir, we're out of fulsome, but we do have some zaftig women. Oh yes sir, they're completely fungible.


I know who I am now. I'm the stranger that walks in your life, and walks away. We talk, but you never really feel like you're listening. It's easy to be with me, and it's because I have a gift. I know how to be a stranger. Not just any stranger, but one that you enjoy meeting, one that makes you smile a bit, and maybe laugh if you're easy with people who make bad jokes. Like me.

You won't have to think a lot, I'm not that kind of unknown. I'll ask the questions you know answers to; Where are you going this evening?, What do you do?, and so on. A popularly used drug may come up, such as; alcohol, coffee, marijuana, or tobacco. It may be that I am partaking of said drug, and in such an instance will offer it to you.

If you're a woman, I will compliment you. If you're a man, I will ask if you've watched the latest sporting event.

I will bare my teeth, and you will think I'm smiling.

English grammar fun!

That's right. Fun.

The owner of a pub called The Tween and Twixt decided to commission a new sign. Upon viewing the new sign, he felt that something was a little off. While talking it over with the artist, the pub owner made the following request. "Can you make the spacing equal between Tween and and and and and Twixt?"

Did you know that that that that that boy used is incorrect?

James, while John had had "had", had had "had had". "Had had" had had the approval of the grammar teacher.

This post brought to you by the good people at zfilter and painintheenglish.

Phenylethylamine: is it in you?

I've noticed that things have seemed a trifle grim on this here weblog. In the interest of provoking some smiles, I've decided to post a humorous telephone conversation I had a little while ago. I was talking to Craig, the de facto leader of the British wing of the Marshall family, known for his fanatical devotion to scotch and his equally fanatical dedication to the cause. The cause, of course, being complete global domination. This fanaticism has allowed Marshall HQ to ignore Craig's, shall we say, less salacious activities?

We were discussing the nascent Marshall, currently in a fetal stage of development. We had been hashing out indoctrination responsibilities, who would be in charge of arms training, who the delicate arts of psychological warfare, and so forth. If I recall correctly, Craig had just mentioned the benefits of being an out of town pedagogue, a position which will allow us to administer from afar without, as it were, getting our hands dirty. Here I will attempt to reconstruct our descent into inanity.

Craig (and I can only assume that at this point he was holding an imaginary baby at arm's length and wrinkling his nose) said, "This baby seems to have gone bad. Could you get me a fresh one?"
I laughed and responded, "No, no, it's still good. I think we can cut away the bad parts and eat the rest."
Craig achieved a new sound, born of attempting to laugh and groan with disgust at the same time.
Thusly challenged, I thought fast and came up with, "It's like cheese!", at which point rational thought ceased and we shouted out manic bursts of high-volume laughter, causing one of my roommates to inquire as to what was funny, and another to request that I tone it down a bit.

And that's that. A decent check to see if my sense of humor is still functional, if a trifle on the warped side of things, which I hear happens if you don't leave it out to dry in the sun.

I think I'll call it ground

Every once in a while my confidence in people is crushed under a giant steamroller. Right now appears to be one of those times. And that's kind of weird, as nobody has really done anything awful to me in a while. Everything's been going along pretty much as usual. There's all that normal functional behaviour of smiles and sunshine, but I'm finding myself unaccountably blinking into distrust. It's a lot like coming down from a powerful hallucinogen. I'll think everything's great and I'm capable of conducting myself in a semi-appropriate manner in public, when all of a sudden reality will have a fit of self-doubt and collapse in on itself, leaving me wondering just what the hell is real, and what do I mean when I say me anyway?

It's really awkward if this happens when I'm socializing. I just zone out and people have to repeat themselves because I'm not listening. This happens all the time to everyone, but I'm starting to think it's becoming a pattern of thought for me, which is slightly worrying. In these moments I wonder if I'll ever meet anyone who will be completely honest. None of those lies for the sake of convenience, none of that shit we all get away with every day.

Perhaps I should get back on the happies.

You like it so far?

Stories are told, retold, and told again. How many stories do we really have anyway? I'd list them all off, but I guess I don't want to. I know we're only supposed to have three basic themes, but I don't know if I really buy into that. I don't think every story is easily bound up in that supposed triumvirate of man vs. whatever.

Still though we are limited by what was come before us. I mean what can I really say that hasn't been already written and written better than I could ever hope to articulate? Do we have personal experiences that add up to interesting stories, all different and wondrous, or have they all happened already, occurring ad nauseum (and I do mean nauseum)? This is all amounting to a big why bother, but I'm bothering right now to write about something that better men than I have considered. Which means what? Are my writings pointless? Am I just adding to the entropy of the universe, wasting my time on useless conjecture? Who cares anyway? You? Please.

As a matter of fact, fuck you. And whatever it was that brought you here. What makes you think you can read this and dismiss it sardonically or nod sagely, or however you respond to it? This isn't your fucking high school English class here, jackass. For one thing, you were probably a lot smarter back then. You'd probably have your little hand in the air, just begging for someone to come by with a machete and chop your curiosity off at the elbow. That was before you realized being anti-authority could give you some easy credibility. After your conversion to the faith of angst, and all the black-wearing, university-going trimmings, you ended up a vegetarian just so you could get a little special attention at the dinner table. Fuck you, you spoiled asshole. I bet you have a pretty serious inferiority/superiority thing going on. So now you're here, being told off by someone who thinks he's better than you. How does it feel? You enjoy the abuse, don't you? Go away now.

The Aristocrats

I like dirty jokes. The competition, one-up-man-ship if you will (and if you won't, you obviously don't know any dirty jokes), is one of the prime motivators of joke telling time. One person tells a dirty joke, then someone else follows with something better. Or worse, depending on your point of view.

Some of you may have heard of The Aristocrats before. Due to some bizarre oversight on the part of whoever runs this bag of confusion we call reality, I just found out about it today. It's the ultimate dirty joke contest. One tells the standard opening, fills in the middle with a special twist, and finishes it off with the standard punchline. This may not sound all that funny to you. You are wrong.

I advise caution when following these links, specifically if you are at work.

Collection of Aristocrats jokes.

Video of Cartman telling an Aristocrats joke.

The Humanity

It's becoming difficult to talk about what happened. When people ask, and they do, my replies are terse and I often attempt to change the subject immediately. This is a little out of character for me. I live for storytime, especially when I can tell a story that involves pain, humour, or best of all, both at once. I relish my tragicomedies the most, and I tend to serve up a nice side of hyperbole for effect. Which makes this account very different from my usual fare. It really was that painful, it's not funny, and I have photo evidence.

I ran out of gas right after I crossed the Oak Street bridge. Normally not such a big deal, my bike isn't all that heavy, and I can push it pretty far if I have to. I guess I should have taken the cosmic tip-off that there was some bad ju-ju headed my way when the engine sputtered and died at the bottom of a very steep hill. There I was, blocking traffic coming off of one of the major traffic routes into Vancouver, cursing my existence, and trying to start the bike again. It didn't start, despite repeated attempts, accompanied by the requisite "Come on! Come ooOOOnn!". Undaunted, and a titch upset, I leaned into it and got the bike up the hill. There's a major intersection at the top of the hill, so I pushed the bike up onto the sidewalk and had a bit of a breather. I must have looked a little the worse for wear resting my head on the tank, as I recall a concerned citizen asking me if I was ok. I waved, as yet unable to convince my brain that at some point there would be enough oxygen in the system to speak again.

I moved on down the sidewalk after getting my breath back a bit, and stopped at the next intersection. Here I paused, searching my rather sketchily formatted data files for a nearby petrol station, preferably downhill from where I was. Unable to conjure up the necessary information, I called information. After getting "the four-one-one", I tried calling a friend for a second opinion. Cosmic tip-off number two: there were no petrol stations downhill from me, and the closest option was five blocks up yet another steep hill.

I sat on the bike for a bit, pondering my next move. I didn't want to push my bike any more than I already had, but then again I didn't want to spend the next hour of my evening walking around with a jerry-can. I decided to try starting the bike one more time, on the off-chance that it wasn't as dry as all the previous attempts had led me to believe. Wonder of wonders, the engine turned over, rumbled a bit, and established a nice little rhythm! Overjoyed at my sudden good fortune, I pulled up to the stop sign headed north. No traffic from the west, and bumper-to-bumper from the east. I pulled into the west-bound median lane and had a good look down the curb lane to make sure it was clear. I saw a lane empty of vehicles, and pulled ahead.

In rapid succession, my leg told me it was most likely broken and could I please explain myself, I found that I had achieved enough hang-time to conclude that I would be dead soon, and I had myself a nice little bounce on the street. At this point I realized that unless the afterlife really sucked ass, I was still alive! I also realized that I was keeping up a fairly impressive stream of f-words and f-word compounds. I popped my helmet off, and started trying to drag my sorry carcass off of the street, while looking about for my bike. Some strangers stopped me from trying to move around, but not before I saw my baby, twenty feet away from where I last remembered being. These words are engraved in my mind: "M-m-my bike...ffffuck."

The paramedics showed up after a few minutes, and took me to the hospital, where I found out just how ineffective morphine is when you have multiple broken bones. I didn't even really feel stoned, despite getting somewhere between twenty and thirty injections of 10 mg each. I lost count. They decided that they didn't need to do any surgery, and put me in a cast, which hurt more than I can describe. Which reminds me, I forgot to mention that the bumper hitting my leg was the most painful experience of my life. And I've had a few painful experiences. Just ask me, I'll tell you.

It's been a little while, and that was about as funny as I could make that little story. I'm thankful that the injuries I received are as minimal as they are, and I'm staying as upbeat as I usually am. Which is to say, not at all. On the plus side, I have a removable cast so the nurse who comes to my house can change the dressing. It's pretty sweet. Here are some photos of my leg after a couple of weeks of healing, and a couple of photos of my bike. If you find them boring, make a game out of it! Guess which photo is the most painful. Here's a hint. It's not the leg.


Another fabulous day of rain in Vancouver. Fortunately I avoided a good portion of the day by viewing Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. Good times. I heartily recommend the movie to Star Wars aficionados. In other news, there's a new post by the same guy who wrote I fucked Ann Coulter in the ass, hard. Still funny, I guess. He's back in Ann Coulter's ass-saddle again. The good news here is that if enough of you email me and bitch about how lame this post is, I'll remove it. The bad news is that I won't do anything of the kind.


Good news, everyone! The Marshall family is expanding, and I have no doubt that this heralds a new world order where our superior genetic material will rule with an iron fist. Seriously. Anyone reading this who isn't directly related to the Marshall clan, prepare for subjugation.

As you can probably tell, I'm pretty excited about this. My surprise and (surprisingly) happiness gave me some good vibes. After some reflection, I think that a lot of those good vibes were based on knowing that the family genes will continue past Craig, David, and me. There has been some doubt about that ever happening, for various reasons. An intense dislike of babies and a dearth of fertile women lining up for making said babies seem to be the main ones.

So there you have it, folks. Fear the new world order.

Oh, and congratulations Dave and Michelle!


Many people seem to think that they are more interesting than they are. I have heard remarked many times in my life, mostly by drunken confederates, that whatever is going on (usually some alcohol/drug-induced hilarity) should be recorded in some way. Anyone who has ever done this knows that they are not as funny as they think.

This fairly obvious insight can be applied in virtually all situations in life. I think the core of it is that X is not as great as you think. For instance, The Dave Matthews Band does not, indeed, rock as much as you think they do when you're drunk. In fact, they are derivative pap and Mr. Matthews is a one-trick vocalist.

For another example turn your gaze, if you dare, on the works of Tom Robbins. I assure you that his writing doesn't even come close to being as good as so many stoners seem to think. Reading his style feels like spooning treacle straight into the cognitive functions. Those two examples, I am sure, have completely swayed you into my cynical worldview. Ha.

A few words about a few words

Here at last, for absolutely no reason, unasked for, unneeded, I bring you some rather basic definitions of a few of my favourite words. I've put them in order of emphasis, with the first being the least emphatic.

Meh: It doesn't matter, I don't care, maybe, sort of.

    Homer: Kids, how would you like to Blockoland!
    Bart & Lisa: Meh.
    Homer: But the TV gave me the impression that—
    Bart: We said "meh".
    Lisa: M-E-H. Meh.

Beh: I dismiss [insert whatever you feel like dismissing here].

    Person 1: Is shaving the cat really a good idea?
    Person 2: Beh.

Feh: [Insert whatever disgusts you here] disgust(s) me.
    Person 1: What do you think of dirty hippies?
    Person 2: Feh.

The Pronoun Problem

The lack of a neutral pronoun in English is one of the biggest problems in our language. Oddly enough, we used to have two of them, ou and a, way back when English was Middle English. If that interests you and you'd like to know more, go search for it yourself.

I've always used the masculine when referring to an entity of unknown gender. A word to the wise: what with all the women's liberation, this practice can get you into hot water in these troubled times. "The male shall be held to embrace the female" sounds cool, but I'm not going to use that as an argument in my writing class, which is attended predominantly by women. So that's out.

Moving on, we arrive at plural pronouns being used to refer to a singular subject:

    Maya Angelou often faces difficulties with their choice of subject matter.

This is wrong. Seeing this error makes me want to put out my eyes with a rusty set of tweezers. If you do this, shame on you. If you know who Maya Angelou is, double shame. If you've read her work and like it, stop reading this, cut away a portion of your skull using whatever dull knife is handy, and spray glass cleaner on your exposed brain.

The one thing more horrible than watching an overweight gentleman do the splits is watching a pronoun perform the same operation. Michael Moore mid-routine is more graceful than these abominations:

    Mr. Moore's routine was poorly received by the Russian judge. He/she had left his or her rotten fruit at home, and thus s/he was unable to discharge his/her ire.

People who use these unholy creations will be hunted down and killed like the sick beasts that they are. I will visit upon them a terrible wrath, extinguishing them and their brood. Slowly.

There are some suggestions for neutral pronouns floating about in linguistic limbo as I write. We've got xe, zie, hir, and some others I'm too lazy to look up. The only one I could see myself using is co, possessive form cos. The rest aren't worth stealing, and you're sure as hell not going to catch me saying zie all the time.

Hunter S. Thompson is Dead

Another counter-culture hero has killed himself.

SARS In The City

I just had an amusing idea for a short story, or possibly an epic poem. The basic premise is that the dvd of Sex In The City, season whatever, has shipped with some kind of killer virus. Sort of like Ringu, only messier. The lead character would be a standard hard boiled private investigator, in the mold of Mike Hammer, only with an improbably lengthy and upper class sounding name, which would of course be shortened to something like Joe, or Dick maybe. I'll work on that a bit and post when I have something worthwhile. Until then, you'll have to be content with these advance reviews:

"A rollicking good read!"
The New York Review of Books

"Rich fare...heady stuff."
Los Angeles Times

"Perhaps his most beautiful
work...the artist seems to
have made peace with the
tension between man's ideas
of the many and of the one."

An Unabashed Look at Hangmen, Headsmen, and Their Kind

All ye that in the condemned hold doth lie,
Prepare ye, for tomorrow you shall die.
Watch and pray, the hour is drawing near.
That you before the Almighty must appear;
Examine well yourselves, in time repent,
That you may not to eternal flames be sent;
And when St. Sepulchre's Bell in the morning tolls,
The Lord above have mercy on your souls.

this is an audio post - click to play

Project Gutenberg

I just started an enjoyable new hobby. It is redonculous how much I enjoy doing it, even though I am volunteering, something I have always considered to be a waste of time and effort. Those of you who are so inclined should join in the fun. Proofreading fun, so not all that fun unless you like that kind of thing. I do. So there. Just in case you feel like contributing towards an online database of books, hitch up your nerd pants and go here.