Sheltons Organic Turkey

if I empty out all the unimportant stuff here, maybe there'll be more room in my head for important things

name: shelton brett
location: western u.s.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

the short story I wish I had written

Sticks by George Saunders. Brilliant.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

lucky quote

"It's hard to detect good luck -- it looks so much like something you've earned."
-- Fred A. Clark

Is good luck when preparation meets opportunity? Or is there something less scientific to it? One of my favorite superheroes when I was young was this Irish lassie in a head-to-toe green outfit that had the superpower of good fortune. Her name was "Shamrock" (first encountered her in Contest of Champions mini-series). Later another guy came along called "Longshot" that supposedly had a similar super power but he was from the future and was much less likable, in my opinion.

Any other favorite quotes about "luck" that anyone wants to share, I'd love to see them.

oh the lovely backfat

I had the unfortunate timing to go through undergraduate during the flannel years that matched that certain Seattle sound. Oversized shirts and loose-fitting clothing, all of which was okay, especially since it was really cold where I went to school. But hey, I'm no fashion guru, and it suited me fine, but it's quite a bit different than current trends in clothing.

Not to sound like the grumpy old man that I am, but now-a-days, the ladies and guys aren't so modest with their clothing. That's not always a bad thing, too. But honestly, I figure that low-rise jeans should be worn rarely, if at all. And only by the 2% of the population that's beautiful enough to do it. The problem with fashion is that people wear things that their body just wasn't meant to wear. And you ladies and fellas that are sporting the backfat should take heed, leave the low-rise jeans on the rack, and wear something more flattering. I saw at least 2 people walking around today with rolls of lard hanging over the back of their jeans, and it's just disgusting.

Now let me set the record straight. I am not in that 2% of beautiful people that can wear those kinds of jeans, and I have plenty of backfat to go around. So I choose to compensate by NOT tucking-in and carefully sparing those that see me from having to look right at it. I'm definately FOR the freedom to wear whatever you want. I'm also definately FOR having the good taste not to have a cheese log over the back of my pants for everyone to see.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Katy's recommendations

A longtime friend recently gave me some reading recommendations that I thought I'd share. She knows a good book, believe me:

Derrick Jensen -- "Walking on Water" "Language Older Than Words" "Culture of Make-Believe" Katy says: Not for the faint of heart, and definitely not light reading.

Zac Unger -- "Working Fire" Katy says: ...very true and funny.

Mary Roach
-- "Stiff: The hidden life of the human cadaver" Katy says: I found [it] compelling and strangely addictive.

Katy says: My fiction tastes have run toward women writers
lately-- Sue Monk Kidd and Alice Sebold. If you're interested in poetry, try Dorianne Laux or her husband, Joe Millar. Both excellent Eugene poets, widely published. I bet you'd like Millar's "Overtime."

Annie Dillard -- "Holy the Firm" Katy says: ...a great book of essays- I
love her attention to detail and her ability to make the mundane sacred.

EDIT: She offers a few more...
"Sparrow" and "Children of God" by Mary Doria Russell
"Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger, Katy says: One I'd put up there with my all time faves like Duncan's "Brothers K" and "River Why," as well as "To Kill a Mockingbird."

There you have it!

Romance and Reality, finally the two shall meet least, in the movies anyway. Just watched Closer last night and was really blown away by it. Probably one of the best movies I've seen in quite a while. The performances were really good, Clive Owen is just amazing, Natalie Portman did her usual great thing and I like Jude Law in almost everything he is in. Even Julia Roberts did an okay job, much better than her usual roles, but maybe that's because in this movie she actually had some smart things to say.
Which brings me to the "realistic" part. Okay, true, there's no way that a obituary columnist, a stripper, a photographer, and (especially) a dermatologist has that many great things to say. Almost every conversation had layers. Every phrase had biting wit. The writing was excellent in this way, and was the only thing that distracted from the realism. But it didn't bother me, I'll trade smart writing for realism any day.

Mostly, the reason this movie is so good is that it's one of the few big movies to treat love in a real way. It had believable situations with the way real men and women act, and treat physical love as the same (and different) than emotional love. It didn't have the bubblegum start, middle, or ending. The pace of the movie kept me involved. I found myself cringing and smiling at the same time, especially in the 2 scenes with Portman and Owen.

Someone told me that she didn't think I'd like it because I normally don't like the movies with cheating in them. That's true. But that's because in most movies, the cheating is somehow rewarded, or at least the cheater goes unpunished (Reality Bites comes to mind). Or even when they do, they still get taken back in the end, like in Unfaithful. That crap drives me nuts. In Closer, the characters don't pretend that love has its seediness, it's ugly side, and that people stop being people once they are in love. For that honestly alone, this was a great movie.

Love at first sight? Thought,
choice, action, and consequence
Closer to real life

Thursday, June 16, 2005

game on!

Purchased these "Super Heroes Dominoes" in a town that consisted completely of a gas station and trailer in the middle of Wyoming. They had "antiques" inside where you pay for the gas, and you had to pay $1 to get the key to the honey bucket outside. I mean, I know there's some pay toilets in Europe, but that's the first I'd ever seen it in the US. (What keeps you from taking a leak 20 ft. from the front door? I mean, there's nobody there. I digress...)

Anyway, they had loads of *junk* stacked on shelves in this place that had lots of dust everywhere. A nice old man was working the counter. I saw this box of dominoes up in the corner wedged between 15 year old dolls with no hair and asked him to get it down. Sometime later, working with gears of slow and stop, he retrieved it and helped me count the pieces to make sure there was a complete set. He wanted $20 dollars for it and I offered $14. A quick trip to the back to check with "ma" and I had my quirky toy. Bingo was his name-o. (The first thing I did when I got home was check them out on ebay to see what they were going for. I think I got ripped off. But what the hey, I'm pleased with them.)

I have them on the shelf in my office, so anytime anyone is ready for a rousing game, drop on by. Some strange combinations on these puppies. I wouldn't normally put Flash and Batgirl together, but somehow on a domino it just looks right.

Thanks to Doug for taking the pic.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

World View quiz

You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.

You equally scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.



Cultural Creative














What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

When you need to feel normal

Sometimes you just need to feel like there's someone out there that spends their time doing stranger things than you are doing. Or perhaps you just take comfort in the notion that other people create things just as bizarre as what goes on in your own head. Or when hell, you just need to smile a little bit. A friend* turned me on to some crazy little animations a while back that I just revisited, and laughed all over again. Check 'em out:
Magical Trevor, MT2 and Aaaaaaahaha.
And I highly recommend her blog for interesting reading, for anyone out there that's interested in life in higher ed and otherwise.

*Well, I don't want to be presumptuous, in case she reads this. I guess she is more of an acquaintance, since we only got to hang out for a short while. But we were friend-ly, at least, and since I recognize that I'm not the warmest person in the world and she managed to make me laugh, I'm thinking that she must be pretty cool.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

This trackback thing... more trouble than its worth....
I just did my own little trackback to the Nerfman post to this one, and I can see why most people don't use the feature. It's just too cumbersome. Unless it's a very serious conversation, or work-related, I wouldn't expect it to be used so much. But at least I know how now.
The biggest bottleneck seems to be with having to login to Haloscan to do it. Does everyone have to use Haloscan to make a trackback? I think so, at least at this point. Maybe in the future they'll make it easier.

Friday, June 10, 2005

the subservient chicken... found here, thanks to Mr. Buckley. Oh, the Colonel with his wee beady eyes. "You're going to eat my chicken..." I tried to make him do some pretty irreverent stuff and all I got back was an approach to the camera and a stare. The biggest question is: why would Burger King sponsor such a website?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Nerfman, my hero

Nerfman rocks!
Anyone remember Nerfman? I have him safely in a box (my cats would loooove to destroy him) but what I really want to do is play with him. My Nerfman is in remarkably good shape even after throwing him into walls numerous, numerous times. Seemed like the perfect toy: safe for indoor throwing, and an action figure to boot. I found this picture here.

But if you're into strange toys (people often ask me where I procured my Sigmund Freud, Ben Franklin, and Albert Einstein action figures) there's no better shop than in my old stomping grounds. In fact, Archie McPhee might be the greatest store ever.

Monday, June 06, 2005

the land of Boz

Just saw the remake of The Longest Yard. Normally I would object to going to one of these fashionable remakes that never lives up to the original. But I was in the mood for a no-thinker (see previous post) and if it was even close to as good as the classic original, then I would enjoy myself.
...And for the most part I did enjoy myself. Some good lines, stupid sexist humor, but definitely poked fun at itself which was nice. The worst part was the role of Brian Bosworth, not because he's a horrible actor, but just because he was in it.

For those that remember (and I know all you Seahawks fans do), Bosworth was a draft lottery pick by Chuck Knox and the 'Hawks back sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. He came out of Oklahoma with an unprecedented hype, cool haircut, and bad attitude. He claimed he would not play for any team that wasn't on his "list" but somehow agreed to play for Seattle anyway after they guaranteed him something like 11M over 8 years. Well, I think he only played for a year and a half, or something, before hurting his shoulder and leaving the 'Hawks high and dry. He, of course, got paid the full amount.

Now I'm not claiming that he wasn't hurt or that he just wanted the money without playing. I think he probably did want to be a great NFL player. But the hype he created around himself was much larger than anything he could hope to deliver, which just left everyone disappointed. I still have my "Land of Boz" poster rolled up in my basement. He was going to deliver the Seahawks to playoff winning circles. And all I can think about is how Bo Jackson ran over and around him in the Kingdome. The very last thing I want to do is see him in a movie. He played a "bad" guy, one of the guards who played against our hero Crewe, which did seem appropriate. What would have been sweet justice is if the final touchdown had been directly over the top of Boz instead of Bill "roid" Romanowski.

not thinking too hard

Sometimes I'm quite humbled about the level of thinking my friends do when posting to their blog. I'm most definitely into not thinking too much right now. I apologize to anyone looking for The English Patient while I'm giving Sack Lunch. "You know, sex in a tub?...that doesn't work."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A Piece of Cake

A Piece of Cake, a piece of fiction

I wouldn’t eat that, she said. It made her a little sick when she had a piece, something like upset stomach is what she mentioned. The top of the cake was a year old. I unwrapped it gingerly so as to not disturb the frosting. Layer after layer of aluminum foil, then plastic wrap. The freezing process had left the basket-weave decoration of the white buttercream icing intact, the four layers of amaretto chocolate were still moist to the extent that the cake hardly had any little crumbles avalanche down the radius as I cut a generous piece. I slid my slice onto a paper plate and picked up a fork. It was tradition.

When the previous August had come to a close, it marked the first full summer in our new home together and everything was still fresh. A honeymoon in Jamaica, and a move to the suburbs where we could both commute to our new jobs in opposite directions. In moving here, she sacrificed her position on the corporate ladder to accept one with slightly less potential and less prestige, but closer to where I found work. The choice in location only seemed fair. After all, it was me who had put up with the outrageous commute for the two years previous, spending half of my weekend driving up to the city where she had taken a job. Just to spend a day or two a month with her. It was worth it. After we were married, it seemed right that a compromise in location was the decision to make. I know she didn’t like our location, but I thought it was working out pretty well. Now the commute was only slightly inconvenient for both of us. I took a bite of cake.

In November we took a trip to the coast. It was breezy with autumn but the pier amusement park was still in full swing. Tourists lined up to win cheap prizes that had corporate logos stitched into their furry chests. A long walk along the beach turned chilly as the dusk came and went. She had changed her mind, she said. She wanted to put off a family for three, maybe four years. After all, we had time, and this way we could enjoy the married life even longer. She reminded me how we needed to get established first, after all, what was all that school for if we weren’t going to take advantage of it? It was a good point. She’s always been practical that way. I could handle it. I took another bite of cake.

It was sometime in February that she didn’t call. Her business trips often take her out of town, but she was usually pretty good about saying goodnight and talking about her conference activities. It was no big deal. She had met an old friend from her undergraduate days and went out for drinks. When she got back, she was tired and just forgot. He was just an old friend. It was only a few drinks. She just forgot. I took another bite of cake.

In April we went to another wedding, the first we’d been to since our own. She looked absolutely stunning in a dress that was modest—to the extent that I worried that she would attract more attention than the bride herself. She looked simple, and regal, and this was the way she has always looked to me. I knew that in fifty years, I would still be attracted to her dark blonde curls, her kelly green eyes. Somehow we ended up in an argument at the reception. Something about how she was spending too much on frivolous items, while I didn’t care about what she thought was important. Later, I was around the corner when I heard her tell one of my friends that I was cheap.

Even after a year the cake tasted very good. The chocolate still had the bitterness of the dark bean and the icing was smooth and light. The cake was every bit as palatable as the first night we ate it. The first night, at our reception, when we chose not to smear it in each others’ faces. That night we used forks and offered the first bite to each other with the love and tenderness that our relationship had, that it would continue to have. Now, tasting the cake again, it still had that wonderful texture and flavor of the very first bite. I devoured each forkful with unexpected hunger until the paper plate had nothing left but a few chocolaty smears. I barely made it to the bathroom before I threw up.

Nada Fiction

From time to time I like to write little fictional storylets. They’re not full stories, they’re too short for that. But sometimes I wake up from a night full of ‘mares and the only thing to do is to write a bunch of stuff, usually from someone else’s perspective. But for people who might read this and who know my real identity, you should disassociate me and truth from the storylets.

The brilliant Roger Clyne wrote in his lyrics to “Nada”:

There ain’t no moral to this story at all
and everything I tell you very well could be a lie.
There ain’t no morals to these stories at all
And everything I tell you, you can bet will be a lie.

Well, that’s how I write stories too. It’s fiction. Of course, if you believe that everything I write is a lie, then you can't believe that everything I write is a lie.

Friday, June 03, 2005


One of those things that might only be funny to 49% of the population: the Bud Light real men of genius commercials. A few of my favorites include Mr. Giant Taco Salad Inventor, Mr. Male Football Cheerleader, Mr. Silent Killer Gas Passer and Mr. All You Can Eat Buffet Inventor. I know, I know. I'm so easily amused.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

time she's a-movin

S: Hey, what up? How's your summer going?
B: Pretty sweet so far. Went out to visit friends in the east, then went out to visit friends in the west.
S: That's a bit of travel. You're not known for your comfortable flying.
B: Tell me about it. One day I took off and landed 3 different times. That's a lot of praying for me. And I had left my Greek worry beads at home. Not good.
S: Well now that you're back, I suppose you're getting a lot done. Getting all those preps finished for the fall. You have all those books you can finish now. You have a buttload of articles to finish and grants to investigate. The landscaping needs... well, you need landscaping. How's it all coming?
B: Do you know what the word "nada" means?
S: Isn't that a light chicken gravy? C'mon, man, if you're worried about it, maybe you should spend less time thinking of terrible haikus and more time planting high-elevation shrubbery.
all the work looming
with my head wrapped in writing
double entendre