Posts Tagged ‘Twitter



I’m going out with some friends tonight, so I wanted to knock out today’s work on 14 Days of Asphalt early. As I did so, I did what’s become a tradition for me: the 14 Days of Asphalt Tweet. I also put it up on Facebook. Every day, I’ve been throwing up a line from the section I worked on that day.

If you’re not following me on Facebook and you want to see those tweets (plus links to a buttload of reviews and my occasional snarky comments on the universe), follow me @BlakeMP.


Why doesn’t MY dad say these things?

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard of the world-famous Twitter account Sh*t My Dad Says. You may have heard of the book as well. You may even be aware of the fact that there’s a television series based on this Twitter account premiering on CBS this fall, starring William Shatner as the titular “Dad.” And I am utterly astonished.

People have been posting wacky stuff on the internet for some time now. Lots of them have even turned those wacky things into books. Many of these books are even entertaining. But I am in utter astonishment that this man’s Twitter account has been optioned and turned into a television show.

Now I don’t begrudge him this fact. Someone offered him good money for this, and he took it, and more power to him. I’m just stunned that American television is now turning to Twitter for its ideas, although I suppose that’s better than another dismal attempt at turning a British sitcom into an American one. Or even worse, 100 Questions.

I’m also a bit stunned at the property itself. The dad in question appears to be the sort of guy who has reached a certain age and has decided, “I’m old, I don’t give a damn what people think of me, I’m going to say whatever I want.” I have nothing against such a gentleman. I sincerely hope to be one of those men some day. But it also makes me wonder just what my dad says that could potentially net me a book and movie deal. Here are some examples:

“I don’t know how we didn’t kill ourselves.”

“Where’s that… that thing that changes the channel?”

“A guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office with a pelican on his head. The psychiatrist says, ‘Can I help you?’ The pelican says, ‘Yeah, get this guy out from under me’.”

Let’s try harder, Dad. We can do this together.


TwitFic 2: Fifty to Go

So last week, I tried my hand at a bit of Twitter-based Flash Fiction. I enjoyed it, and it seemed that a few of you guys did as well, so I’m gonna try another one tonight. If you happen to see this post while I’m writing, you can follow the story right here, or at my Twitter account, @BlakeMP.

Last week’s story, as it turned out, was a bit too long to actually count as Flash Fiction, clocking in at around 1200 words. The accepted limit for FF is around 1,000. While certain ninth graders of my acquaintance would consider writing that much a task worthy of Shakespeare if he had consumed the meaty flesh of Hercules, for me trying to stay that short is a challenge in and of itself. Let’s see if i can do it this time, shall we?

Fifty to Go

Derek had fifty seconds to go, and one way or another, this one would all be over for him. Since the skiers went alphabetically, he was always near the front of the rather large pack, but that didn’t matter. He was racing the clock, and he never believed going first was an advantage like some skiers did. Maybe it was true that many of the pitfalls were more visible, but sometimes, that just made them harder to avoid.

There was no wind today, so the cold didn’t bite that harshly. That would change faster than he could think it over. The buzzer sounded and he pushed himself off into the snow. Air began to whip past his face, slicing into his unprotected mouth. The speed he picked up was incredible, and it would only increase as long as he avoided all the pitfalls.

The first one he saw was a rather sad effort — white sand on the trail. Even “white” sand had enough yellow in it to be starkly visible against the pristine snow. He cut to the right to avoid the sand and almost paid the price by tumbling into a four-foot pit, dug into the snow and very hard to see. The sand-sprinkler had been more crafty than Derek thought. He skirted the edge of the pit and was almost caught in a net dropped from a huge tree on the very edge of the course. He’d picked up enough speed on the curve to avoid it, barely. The next pitfall was easy to avoid, though — spikes buried beneath the snow were too visible to be effective. He went past them, then immediately cut right to avoid the trap he himself had set — a huge belch of flame erupted from a bank, melting gobs of snow, but failing to harm the skier.

He was close to the end now, and he knew he hadn’t even seen most of the traps the other skiers laid out. With four identical sides of the mountain to choose from to set the traps, and to choose again when the buzzer went off, no Demolition Skier ever saw more than a quarter of the nasty things that COULD happen to him. But this last bit, this straightaway, always made him nervous. He avoided a hidden air cannon, and got just a minor splash from the water tower that overturned.

Twenty yards left. Fifteen. Ten.

Suddenly he felt a sharp slap across his ankles and he flipped over, crashing head-first into the snow. The impact knocked him cold, literally, and he rolled to a halt, with just an arm and shoulder crossing the finish line, stopping the clock.

At the edge of the course, Zeringue dropped the tripwire, smiling with pride at how easily the simple pitfalls worked sometimes.

Forty-nine to go.




Every so often, Erin surprises me by asking me to, and I quote, “tell me a story.” Sometimes she does this in person, sometimes on the phone, sometimes — as she did earlier this week — on Twitter. This always takes me by surprise, and it isn’t always easy. It’s simply not always possible to simply turn out a story off the top of my head, and I usually feel bad when I’m unable to do it.

But this time, I started out a short story — a silly little thing, nothing of any real consequence — and I went a bit into it before she went home from work (where she was getting my Tweets) and went home. I thought nothing more of it until someone else asked me later that night — jokingly, of course — what happened at the end. Somehow, this emboldened me, and I thought it may be fun to try to tell a story in 140 character increments, reading the Tweetback as I went along. This is by no means a NEW idea, of course, this is just the first time I’M going to try doing it.

So I’m going to start over Erin’s story from earlier this week and see where it takes me. If you want to follow along over the next few hours on Twitter, I’m @BlakeMP. If you’re not a Twitterer but you’d still like to read it, I’ll be updating the story right here on this blog post every paragraph or so, so simply keep refreshing.

Okay, ready? Let’s give this a try…


There was once a dog and a polar bear, who set out together to tour all the great amusement parks of the world. While riding on one of the largest indoor roller coasters in Albuquerque, they suddenly found themselves whisked from the main ride and, through a side tunnel, began a plunge that would take them deeper and deeper underground.

Finally, after falling for what seemed like forever, they emerged in an enormous cavern full of gently glowing purple crystals. Their roller coaster car stopped in front of a huge crystal the shape of a giant egg. Before their eyes, the crystal split down the sides and cracked open, revealing an ancient, wizened Crystal King.

The dog and bear told the King how they came to be lost in his world, and the King nodded slowly. “I can return you to your surface world,” he creaked, “but first, you must give me aid of your own.” The king pointed to a tunnel far across the cavern, where a dozen of his Crystal Men were creeping in the distance. Crystals, you see, can change form, but only very slowly and over time. So the Crystal King and his Crystal People could not move any faster than a land-bound turtle of our surface world.

“Ages ago,” he explained, “I lost my crown in that tunnel. My crystal people have sought it for a long time, but we move so slowly I fear it shall never be found again. If you, who move even faster than the Meat People above, agree to help us find the crown, I will return you to your surface world.”

The dog and the polar bear quickly agreed, for they found the below-world of the Crystal king terribly warm and uncomfortable. Together, they marked past the slow-moving Crystal Men and into the caves. The Crystal Men glowed with a soft violet light, and once inside it was easy for the dog and bear to see that the cave took a precipitous plunge downward on their right. On the ground below were shards of purple crystal and powder, the remains of foolish Crystal Men who ventured too close to the edge.

The polar bear gripped the edge of the cliff and lowered himself into the void. Before he let go, the dog climbed down his friend’s back and the two of them dropped safely to the stone floor. Together, they began to explore the massive web of caves. After many hours of wandering through the maze-like cavern, the dog and the bear saw a bright red glow, far more intense than the glimmering violet that surrounded them amongst the Crystal Men. Sitting on a ledge far above them was a crown of purest gold with a ruby the size of an apple set neatly in the helm.

“This must be what the king has lost,” said the bear, “but how shall we retrieve it? It is too far to reach.”

The clever dog had an idea. He told his friend to crouch down, with his head low to the floor and his large back end pointed towards the ledge. The dog backed up and got a running start, charging towards his friend. Using the bear as a ramp, the dog raced down his back and up into the air. He caught the ledge with his front paws and nearly fell away. The nimble dog managed to pull himself onto the ledge, and he picked up the crown in his mouth.

“We have the crown,” the bear said, “but how can you come down from the ledge without hurting yourself? The rocks are too jagged and steep for me to wait at the bottom and catch you.” The dog did not know how he would descend from the ledge, but before he could say so, an array of sparks began to sputter from the crown. A ball of ruby light the same shape as the jewel in the crown appeared around his body. The ball of light began to float in the air and the startled dog almost barked in fright. It is fortunate he did not, however, for if he had released the crown the light would have disappeared and the dog would have been dashed upon the rocks below.

The ball of light drifted up through the stone ceiling, passing through it as if it were insubstantial as a cloud. For long moments, the dog was in the darkness of solid rock, then the ball broke through the throne room of the Crystal King. The dog released the crown and the globe of light vanished. He had no hands with which to place the crown upon the king’s head, but the crystal man was so overjoyed at seeing his crown again that he moved with great swiftness, at least for a man of crystal. After several minutes, he placed the crown on his head. In a flash of light, his crystal form began to melt, turning into a sort of thick, rubbery flesh. He was not quite the same as a man of the surface, but he could again move like an ordinary man.

In the cavern beyond the throne room, each of the Crystal King’s subjects underwent the same transformation, becoming men and women of flesh once again. The king clapped his hands in delight. “Friend dog,” he said, “you have restored my people. How may I repay you?”

“Please, your majesty,” the dog said, “My friend the bear remains in the caverns below.”

“Then we shall find him,” the former Crystal King said. He sent his people out into the caverns, and with their renewed swiftness, they soon found the bear and returned him to the throne room.

The King offered to throw a grand celebration for the two heroes, but they politely declined. “You are used to this below-world heat, your majesty,” said the bear, but we are not. And our fur is making it almost unbearable. Please, send us home.”

The king returned them to their roller coaster car, which he had his people turn so it faced the opposite way on the tracks. Bidding his new friends farewell, the King used his magic to push the car with such force that it rolled back up on the tracks, through the many layers of the Earth, and finally coming to a rest at the amusement park above the surface.

“How did you like your ride?” asked the attendant.

“I have visited amusement parks across the country,” said the bear, “but this is the longest roller coaster I have ever ridden.”


(Feedback, as always, is appreciated. Post your comments here, or e-mail


Everything But Imaginary #304: Comics ARE the Social Media

Over on my Twitter account, I follow a lot of comic book creators. A LOT of them. And I love reading what they’re up to and what they have to say. But it’s not that surprising to find so many of them using the service. After all, comics were a social media long before the term had been coined.

Everything But Imaginary #304: Comics ARE the Social Media
Inside This Column:


I Tweet, therefore I am

For once I feel a teeny bit ahead of the curve on something. By the time I discovered MySpace, it was already a cliche. Facebook was pretty crowded when I got there too. But Twitter… ah, Twitter is only starting to get attention, and I’ve been there for over a year now. I’m not at all sure why so many people in the media have taken such a vitriolic view of the site, but I’d like to offer a rebuttal.

If you’ve never used Twitter, it’s really remarkably simple. It’s a social networking site that allows you to make a statement of no more than 140 characters. It can be used for anything from self-promotion through links, simple “what I’m doing” posts, or (if you check your friends list frequently enough) the next-best thing to an instant message with dozens of people at the same time. Facebook seems to be trying to copy that functionality with the status bar in the new layout they premiered today, but frankly, I think that’s a waste. Facebook does a lot of things well, but Twitter only does one thing, and it does it better.

And here’s something Twitter does that Facebook can’t: keep everyone in contact in an emergency. In areas of the world where disasters (natural or otherwise) hit, Twitter usage skyrockets, even when the internet goes down. The reason for this is that, through Twitter, you can update your status via text message. You can also recieve Tweets from selected friends — or all of your friends — as texts, but even if you’ve got unlimited text messaging, the volume of messages gets annoying, so I turn it off unless I’m expecting something specific.

When Hurricane Gustav hit and my family and I evacuated, we spent a week at my uncle’s house, most of that with no internet connection. My local friends were scattered to the four winds, and my online friends could do nothing but watch their screens and wait for word. When Hurricane Katrina hit almost four years ago, there was little that could be done. With the advent of Twitter, though, I directed my friends to my Twitter feed before I left to evacuate, then spent that week sending updates on myself, my family, and my friends to anyone who was concerned.

Stuff like this helps keep people sane when disaster hits.

Sure, it’s rare that Twitter will be used for a potential life-and-death situation, but the very fact that it can be used at times like these, to me, more than proves its worth.

I run my Twitter feed here at Evertime Realms, in the upper right-hand corner. You can also follow it on my profile page, if you don’t have your own yet. Sure, most days I’ll just post about frustrations in my third-period class, or what comic book I just read, or something equally nonsensical, but hopefully, still fun. But you never know when you’ll run across something important.


Where I Go Online: Christmas Party Edition

Man cannot live by DVD alone. He also has to surf around the internet and get sucked in to various entertaining websites. And believe it or not, there are even a few websites I specifically go to just to help get myself into the Christmas spirit. So today, I’m going to point you guys to a few of the sites that help lift my spirits this time of year. You’ve still got nearly a week to check ’em out and get in the mood yourself.’s Advent Calendar

I mentioned X-Entertainment back in my first (and, until now, only) Where I Go Online article as a fun site full of content about the kind of stuff I grew up loving. At Christmas, the site goes all-out with the annual X-Entertainment Advent Calendar. Starting back in 2003, Webmaster Matt began to review the goodies you could get out of the annual Playmobil Advent Calendar toy. Somehow, in 2004, the review began to take on a life of its own, with some of the toys evolving personalities and turning into full-blown characters. A pair of LEGO stormtroopers named Knacks and Kuse became co-stars with a Playmobil doll named Mare Winningham (really), the LEGO version of the Advent calendar joined the Playmobil version, and soon the Advent calendar had developed a fanbase that sits around for 11 months just waiting for the next edition of the calendar. This year’s adventure, involving a circus, a homicidal clown, and the LEGO version of James Lipton begging an alien who has possessed the body of a previous Santa Claus to give him back the red cup he uses for a hat, has been entertaining me since the first of the month. If you like the regular XE articles, you’ve got to spend some time reading through the Advent calendar.

Grant’s Advent Calendar

Speaking of Advent, the next site on my list is Grant’s Advent Calendar. Grant Baciocco hosts this annual video podcast, usually from his laundry room, which features him opening up a door on his Advent Calendar every day and making some sort of commentary on the contents. The trick is, according to Grant’s rules, each video must be done in one take, so he has to wing it as much as possible. There are sometimes other skits involved — for example, this year so far he’s done a film noir mystery, a Roman amphitheater, a backwards episode, and a rap video — but the actual door opening is always on the fly. Grant is also the writer, co-creator and co-star of one of my other favorite podcasts, The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, which is scheduled to have its own Christmas episode any day now. This is a cute little show, usually less than two minutes an episode, and a lot of fun. As a bonus, soundtrack for this podcast inspired me to pick up Jody Whitesides‘s Christmas album, Christmas Future. Lots of great music there — you can get it from iTunes or the music store.

Welcome to the North

Last, but not least, there’s Welcome to the North Pole. I found this site on my Twitter feed when Erin informed me that I could follow no less august a personage than Santa Claus himself. After Santa and I became bestest Twitter buds, he invited me over to his message board. To be honest, I haven’t been frequenting this site like some of the others. The thing is, it’s really geared towards small children and their parents, and I am currently neither. But if you’ve got a kid still young enough to be getting gifts from Santa, the site has a lot of cool features. You can post your Christmas lists, write letters to the big guy, and talk to other parents and kids doing the same thing. And Santa and his elves frequent the board as well, answering letters and questions and keeping you up-to-date on this year’s Christmas preparations. This is the sort of thing I’m not personally all that into, but I’m really glad its there for the sake of those who can use it.

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March 2023

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