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Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

Post-Turkeypocalypse

Ambling sloth-like through the wasteland, breathing in a noxious haze of tryptophan and sickly sweet liquor, I plod past the pestilent pond of porcelain piled high in endless pillars, towards the puddles of putrid fat liquidized and pooling on the plates, once poured steaming over broken bones now dripping down the drain while the last vestiges of flesh hang threadbare off that osseous matter. Small hands have left their mark behind them, stained and sliding down the wall as if grasping for some invisible rungs to rescue them from wrath. Meanwhile, that gelatinous glob of congealed red mass continues to vellicate on the floor, a ceaseless tremor that suggests its sentience. Yet somehow, the empty glass and glasses have survived the slaughter mostly intact, only weathered and worn by overuse though now dirty, discarded and disheveled down among the grateful undead whose virile corpses litter the living room furniture until such time tomorrow that consumption might continue.

Happy Autumn Equinox — now here's an Ode to Candy Corn!

rounded wax wedges, waning; a tawny
base that tapers towards a soft point
white like tundra, in taste and texture,
bleeding out from burning copper ribs
hardly mellow hardened creme
of candle crops to harvest fat
free treats, a sign of times once pagan-
pluralistic-primal-precocious-pre-
human, uncivilized, re-captured,
re-claimed, costume the dead alive
and turn the season, turn to shovel
handfuls into mouths full of rotting
teeth a special offer, a limited time only
exciting when available but hardly
missed in memories of stomaches
turned to sick, in children as in men
but indulging in each dish we find it
harder to resist the solstice sweets
and let ourselves get lost inside
that sadistic sugar maize

 

(see also: "It's 'It's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers!' season, motherfuckers" by the inimitable Will Kaufman)

The 5 Stages of Inebriation (circa 1868)

More proof that Australians are crazy. From the State Library of New South Wales:

The photographs illustrate drunkenness in five stages, played by a male subject in a studio. Possibly commissioned by a local temperance group for educative purposes, the photographs may also have been used by an engraver for illustrations. The penultimate frame of the drunk in a wheelbarrow resembles S.T. Gill's watercolour 'Ease without Opulence', 1863 (PXC 284/30). The printed studio mark on reverse reads "Photographic Artist. C. Pickering, 612 George Street, near Wilshire's Buildings, Sydney"

It's also possible that these images were commissioned in response or relation to the Drunkard's Punishment Bill, introduced by New South Wales Premier James Martin in 1866.

Now that all that history's out of the way...I don't know, I think it's pretty accurate.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas Break

Twas the night before Christmas break, when all through the web.
Not a tweeter was tweeting, not even your Aunt Deb.
The blog posts were scheduled to autopost with care
In hopes that the readership soon would be there.

The college kids were passed out all drunk in their beds,
while visions of potential high school hook ups danced in their heads.
And mama implores them to help her with chores,
but they’d rather sit around the whole month and be bored.

The news cycle trickles out with hardly a clatter
And we habitually check Facebook to see what really matters.
But everyone posts the same holiday status
of seasonal greetings and some New Years gladness.

The impending threat of the first-fallen snow
gives a nostalgic glimmer to objects below.
And then once it snows, what instead should be appear
But wet muddy roads that make it hard to steer

For every drunk driver, so lively and thick –
that you know you deserved a DUI, you dick.
How rapid you spun when to black ice you came
but you’ll come out unscathed and find someone to blame.

“Well yeah but so maybe I had a few beers.
I was just fine to drive, there was nothing to fear.
I was typing a text to see who else was home
when I don’t know, man, I just swerved on the road.”

And the mornings you spend with your family feel quaint
but by mid-afternoon, it’s clear that they ain’t.
Your parents have so many answers to seek
when they don’t realize that you were just hoping to sleep.

But you’re still looking forward to seeing old friends —
forgetting, of course, their own holiday plans.
So you look back to Facebook, where nothing is new,
and then you check twitter to find something to do.

But your parents have cable, so hey, that’s still cool!
With eight thousand channels, and you feel like a fool
for watching some network crap you don’t like
but that’s better than just surfing channels all night.

Then you see an old ex on the way to the store,
And she’s fat, or he’s married to that old high school whore.
And the comfort is fleeting, but at least now you’ve seen
that your life didn’t peak when you’d just turned eighteen.

So you get drunk with your dad and discuss politics
and you finally see that he’s not such a prick,
and that wine works much faster than cheap, shitty beer
so you start to rethink your plans for New Years.

Then you remember your goals for that productive week,
and the things that you wanted to watch, write, and read.
But instead you fall down another Wiki-hole
and learn about the agricultural benefit of voles.

And you watch with your parents an old childhood great
which washes over you with a sentimental wave
and those annual plans that you made with your friends
are now just spent at home with more emails to send,

checking twitter, and updates on Facebook for news;
you find nothing, so open a new bottle of booze.
And when the time comes to leave, you drive off with a grin
because you can’t wait ’til next year to do it again.

Glenn Beck's Grim n' Gritty Ninja Santa Claus Reboot

Obviously I talk a lot about mental health and the fair treatment of human beings on my website; as such, it would be unfair for me to make light of the "rare neurological condition" with which pundit Glenn Beck has been recently diagnosed.

...

Everyone got the giggles out now? Okay. Because he's also working on a new gritty action-adventure book/movie about an immortal warrior called Santa Claus who roams the — desert? tundra? — protecting the wee Baby Jesus, presumably from the legions of Hellish MainstreamLiberalMedia Spawn.

(but like no really why are there camels and also snow?)

Here's what Beck himself had to say about it:

My Santa, the Immortal is a very different guy.  He starts out right before the birth of Christ, and he is up in the mountains. And he is a warrior. He has lost his wife, and he’s a sad individual. And he’s got a son who loves dearly, and he lives up in the mountains, and he hunts for food.
He eventually is hired by three wise men because he can negotiate, because nobody is going to rip them off, and he knows how to get the very best gifts. And so he negotiates with gold, frankincense, and myrrh and then has to go protect that gold, frankincense, and myrrh and then through a series of events is left there to protect the Christ child, never interacting, just watching.
He doesn’t know who he is, and he goes darker and darker in his whole life as he watches this boy grow, but he’s always touched by him, but he doesn’t realize it until the Sermon on the Mount. [. . .]
He makes a pact. Little does he know in that pact he has now become immortal, because as he watches the crucifixion from afar and cannot get close to it, cannot stop it, he feels he fails again. He runs off before the resurrection. A thousand years pass until he meets another little boy, a little boy that happens to grow up to be what we know as Saint Nicholas...

Beck does ultimately go on to make some salient points about mythology — how Santa Claus as we currently know him has in fact evolved over the years, an amalgamation of multiple cultural incarnations filtered through the veil of Clement Clarke Moore and years of Coca-Cola ads. As such, this badass eternal ninja warrior version of the man in red is just Beck's contribution to the ongoing memetic traditions of the Santa Claus, in the same way that Greek and Norse mythology (and, of course, comic book superheroes) has changed and been re-appropriated over time. It's a high aspiration, sure, to deem yourself The One To Revolutionize The Santa Claus Myth For Future Generations, but then, I guess he can't be blamed for trying. After all, my friend Aisha did put out that fantastic controversial piece last year about Penguin Santa Claus, which I thought was a great idea (and which Glenn Beck surprisingly didn't say anything stupid about?) — so I guess that change has got to start somewhere, right?

Then again, Glenn Beck's last attempt at a Christmas revolution featured him  and — ah, you're right, I'm sorry. Rare neurological condition and all that. It's not polite to laugh.

Tauntaun + Baked Potato = BAKED POTAUNTAUNS

I thought they smelled good on the outside!

It’s an age-old story: A loyal Tauntaun sacrifices itself to provide life-saving warmth for a future Jedi in its steamy entrails.
Now recreate the legend at your own dinner table. The Tauntaun—faithfully played by the baked potato on your plate—serves himself up to a young Jedi master, aka a lump of butter frozen into a Luke-like shape using the included freezer mold. Reenact the fateful moment when Han eviscerates the beast: slice open your erstwhile companion and insert Luke inside.
Add some salt, a sprinkle of The Force (or sour cream), and enjoy your mouthwatering dinner.

This is incredible. It's like all the misogyny and police shootings and CIA torture and climate change and other things making me horribly, horribly depressed have all been wiped away like clean white snow on Hoth's frozen tundra!

The Baked Potauntaun Team is currently trying to raise $75,000 on IndieGoGo. As of this posting, they have....$700. But I have faith! Because who doesn't want a Baked Potauntaun?! Plus, that Luke Butter Mold and Lightsaber Butter Knife would go great with my Han Solo in Carbonite ice cube trays. So, ya know, if you're looking for a Christmas gift for that special me...

Lucasfilm's STAR WARS-themed Holiday Cards From Over the Years

It's common nerd knowledge that the Star Wars Holiday Special premiered in 1978 and was swiftly ignored / forgotten (perhaps an ominous omen of George Lucas's reckless retconning to come — the "Ghost of Star Wars Past," as it were).

But there was another holiday tradition that pre-dated even that made-for-TV mess, one which was not-so-swiftly written out of continuity: Star Wars Holiday Cards. Initially designed and created by Ralph McQuarrie, Lucasfilm's then-resident concept artist, the first batch of cards featured R2-D2 and C-3PO in various holiday grabs and were distributed to employees and investors as a fun little celebration of their success with that little space opera that could. As the Star Wars universe continued and evolved, so did the holiday card tradition, folding new characters into that same old yuletide cheer and eventually opening up to new artists and designers as well. 

(side note, I appreciate Lucasfilm's forward-thinking commitment to non-denominational holiday cheer, and I think we should all follow in their example and replace all holiday greetings with "May the Force be with you." "And also with you.")

(Perhaps most importantly, there were only 2 years where the cards exclusively focused on the prequels — 1999 and 2000, which makes sense, since The Phantom Menace had just come out. So at least Lucasfilm's holiday corniness didn't give much preference to those cinematic abominations? Because frankly, I don't know if I could handle it if they were given preference over the Holiday Special, since neither a coked-up singing Carrie Fisher nor a script written almost entirely in Wookieese is anywhere near as insufferable as Jar Jar Binks.)

(and for the record: no, I don't know what happened to 1987-1993, whether they didn't send out cards at all, or whether I just couldn't find them online)

Brighten Your Day With Reverse-Nude Photography

Trevor Christensen is a Utah-based photographer who had the brilliant idea to take nude photographs. As in, he himself would be nude, and he would photograph people (with their permission, obvi). Hilarity ensues.

From the artist's statement:

As a photographer I’m deeply interested in the experience subjects have during portrait shoots. When I guide subjects through the process of making their photo, I seek to create a calm, comfortable environment where they can be at ease in front of the camera. Despite my best efforts, subjects often feel a sense of vulnerability during the process. No matter the scenario, this power imbalance seems like an almost inescapable part of the experience.
The photographer/subject paradigm is one of inequality. Nude Portraits is about leveling the playing field in an unorthodox way. Instead of focusing on bringing the subject to a place of ease, where I am, this project brings me to a place of vulnerability.
This vulnerability is achieved by making portraits without clothing. These are nude portraits in the sense that I, the photographer, am nude, while the subject is not.

Take a look below. And oh, fair warning — totally safe for work.

10 Hours of Walking In Too Many Cooks as a Woman

I spoiled the broth; it's true.

If there's anything the Internet loves right now, it's Too Many Cooks and that street harassment video of the woman walking through NYC and getting cat-called. So I figured, why not kill two meme birds with one meme stone, as it were, and spend a half an hour on my coach slicing the two together in what is probably the most embarrassingly sloppy video editing I've ever done?

"Why not" indeed.

(I had originally wanted to replace every single catcall instance with just the hook from "Too Many Cooks," but that required, ya know, time and effort and careful editing, so I just said "screw it." I got enough else going on.)

All The People That You'll See At Every Nerd Convention

Whoa. I don't know how I missed this until now, although it feels particularly timely with New York Comic-Con this weekend (I'll be there doing coverage for Bleeding Cool and Tor — let's hang out!). Dorkly artists Julia Lepetit and Andrew Bridgman created these infographics breaking down every single stereotype you're likely to find at a comic book / video game / general geek culture-based convention, and, well, they're all pretty accurate (not to mention utterly hilarious). 

Whether you've been to a con or not, you'll be amazed at how long this list keeps going. And every single caricature is remarkably accurate. So I guess it's good that there are so many, because at least we're stereotyping people into too broad of categories? Sure, that sounds like a rational justification for laughing at other people (most of whom are just like me).

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An Ode to Candy Corn

I wrote this poem a few years back, but I thought it'd be fun to share again. Really it's just a long and convoluted way of saying, "That shit's gross, man; so why do I keep eating it?"

rounded wax wedges, waning; a tawny
base that tapers towards a soft point
white like tundra, in taste and texture,
bleeding out from burning copper ribs
hardly mellow hardened creme
of candle crops to harvest fat
free treats, a sign of times once pagan-
pluralistic-primal-precocious-pre-
human, uncivilized, re-captured,
re-claimed, costume the dead alive
and turn the season, turn to shovel
handfuls into mouths full of rotting
teeth a special offer, a limited time only
exciting when available but hardly
missed in memories of stomaches
turned to sick, in children as in men
but indulging in each dish we find it
harder to resist the solstice sweets
and let ourselves get lost inside
that sadistic sugar maize