'The only attraction in history to entice riders with the prospect of donning the persona of a crazed amphibian, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a true anormality. Of Disneyland's original 1955 “Fantasyland Three” dark rides, Mr. Toad has only been constructed twice – half the number of incarnations Peter Pan’s Flight and Snow White’s Adventures have received. And overall, it is not too surprising – while Snow and Pan told something like their original stories, Mr. Toad spun off on a weird alternate reality that relied on your familiarity with a not-heavily-publicized postwar short feature to even understand the basic elements of what was going on.
'Toad was always the most basic of the Fantasyland dark rides, even in 1955. While a number of characters appeared “in the round” at Snow White and Peter Pan, Toad featured entirely two dimensional characters. Depth in the sets was achieved through basic forced perspective and the spacing out of cut-out painted flats. Characters were often animated using the most basic methods, and there were not too many. What Toad depended on to be effective was the speed of the car, the twistiness of the track, and some basic simple effects like placing rubber lifters in the path of the car to simulate an uneven surface. This is still what makes Toad work today.
'Of course, the attraction’s piece de resistance was its’ sinister and utterly absurd climax. Anybody of an impressionable age who has raced down that dark tunnel towards the oncoming “train” will never forget the terror of that scene, nor the surprise following when the cars deposited you in Hell to be accosted by rubber demons. This concept seems to account for much of the reason a dark ride was even attempted of Mr. Toad to begin with.
'Is it possible that humans are simply hardwired in a way which, inevitably, certain tactile experiences are lasting because they’re essentially, innately appealing? Although much of the brilliance of Country Bears and America Sings, for example, is in their structure, they work because they are innovative variations on the time honored tradition of the proscenium arch. So, apparently, sitting still and moving your head from side to side to an effort to keep up with a show is innately appealing to the primordial ooze which we crawled out of. So, apparently, is sitting in a tiny car rattling down a dark rail waiting in mortal terror for the next bend in the track.
'Dark Rides have been popular for well over 100 years now, and possibly because they, moreso than the roller coaster or omnimover or anything else, most recall the dream state and the irrationality of our own collective unconscious. Great dark rides feel like the whole thing is totally out of control. Is this why Mr. Toad works so well? Toad emphasizes the method of conveyance as the justification for the content, and the irrationality of the twists in the track are not because that’s what dark rides do, but because you’re a totally out of control amphibian riding a hot ticket to Hell. Form dictates content dictates form. And it increasingly seems like any way you cut it, Toad is a masterwork of a dark ride.' -- Passport to Dreams Old & New
'Passengers begin their journey by crashing into a library, where MacBadger is seen teetering atop a ladder with a stack of books. They then crash through the fireplace, where fiberoptic effects simulate the scattering of embers on the floor. Narrowly avoiding a falling suit of armor, the passengers break through a set of doors to find the interior hallway of Toad Hall in disarray, as weasels swing from chandeliers. Guests then enter the dining room, where Mr. Mole is eating at a dinner table and gets knocked aside.
'Upon leaving Toad Hall, guests travel through the countryside, passing Mr. Rat's house, aggravating policemen and terrifying a farmer and his sheep. Making a right turn, guests head for the docks and get the impression that their car will plunge into the river, but quickly make a sharp turn in a different direction and enter a warehouse full of barrels and crates containing explosives. Guests crash through a brick wall as the warehouse's contents explode. They then head out into the streets of London, narrowly avoid a collision with a delivery truck, and enter Winkie's Pub, where Mr.Winkie the bartender holds two beer mugs. He ducks down, leaving the mugs spinning in the air.
'Passengers then enter the town square, where the cars wreak further havoc on the citizens. A working fountain featuring Toad and Cyril Proudbottom stands in the center of the town. Behind this statue is one of Lady Justice peeking out from under her blindfold. Next, guests enter a jury-less courtroom, where the riders are proclaimed guilty by a judge (based on the film's prosecutor for the Crown). The cars then enter what is presumed to be a dark prison cell before abruptly turning right and landing on railroad tracks. The vehicles bounce along the tracks in the dark before colliding head-on with an oncoming train.
'Passengers then arrive at the ride's final scene: a tongue-in-cheek depiction of Hell not inspired by any scene in the movie or book. The entire room is heated, and the scenery features small devils who bounce up and down. Passengers also see a demon who resembles the Judge from the courtroom scene. Near the end of the scene, a towering green dragon emerges and attempts to burn the riders to a crisp. A glowing light is seen in the back of its throat and choking, coughing noises are heard while the motorcar speeds away. Granted a reprieve, the passengers eventually "escape" to the ride's loading and unloading area, where they disembark.' -- Walt Dated World
Disneyland version #1
Disneyland version #2
Disneyworld version (1971 - 1998, Track 1)
Disneyworld version (1971 - 1998, Track 2)
Welcome to Virtual Toad
'When Walt Disney World announced plans to close Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in 1998, Spencer Cook of Clearwater, Fla., was among the protesters. But the ride, based on a Disney film version of The Wind in the Willows, was scuttled in favor of one featuring Winnie the Pooh.
'There's a large online fandom for "extinct" Disney rides, as reflected by such sites as yesterland.com. Mr. Cook, 37, was not content with simply penning tributes or posting photographs, however. Instead, he is recreating the ride itself through 3-D animation at the site Virtual Toad. The site includes a fully interactive Virtual Toad QTVR Walking Tour, which, as of early 2012, covers roughly 1/5 of the ride, and is scheduled for completion in 2016.
'Mr. Cook has spent five years on the project so far. He is a freelance TV producer, not an artist or computer expert, and he has nearly completed the first two of what will eventually be more than 20 rooms. He is working from memory as well as personal photos and video clips of the ride, a manic trip in a turn-of-the-century car. ''It's about nostalgia and historical preservation,'' he said.' -- NYT
The Hidden Mickeys in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
'A Hidden Mickey is a representation of Mickey Mouse that has been inserted subtly into the design of a ride, attraction, or other location in a Disney theme park, Disney properties, movie or other Disney product. The most common Hidden Mickey is a formation of three circles that may be perceived as the silhouette of the head and ears of Mickey Mouse, often referred to by Disney aficionados as a "Classic Mickey". Over time, the term Hidden Mickey has come to refer to a range of possibilities from a more complete representation of Mickey Mouse (such as Mickey mixed in with a crowd or in the background), or a representation of another character. Mickeys may be painted, made up of objects (such as rocks, or three plates on a table), or be references such as someone wearing Mickey Mouse Club ears in a painting. Hidden Mickeys can take on many sizes and forms.' -- Wiki
In line outside after you pass under an archway, you are facing the carrousel, just after you pass the window/doorway that shows you the inside line, look up, hanging from the corner of the roof is a pinecone looking thing. It's texture is made up of overlapping circles, and the top row along with one from the 2nd row form a hidden Mickey. It's pretty easy to see. There is also one hanging near the main door.
REPORTED: mathew 27 MAR 99
The Mickey outside the arch on Mr. Toad's Wild is just a pinecone and is too common to be a Mickey. They can be found all over the park!
WISHFUL THINKING: Gregory Holcomb 21 APR 99
Mickey Mouse's shadow in Toad Hall's leaded window. In the lobby on the ceiling.
REPORTED: Robbie 31 AUG 96
Yup It could be......
CONFIRMED: Ambular & Lauren 04 MAR 97
In the line, if you look up in the rafters right before you go through the turn style, you will notice three red berries in the shape of a Hidden Mickey.
REPORTED: Andy & Farrah 30 JAN 97
There are some rafters with berries drawn on them. The rafters are located just after the boarding area of the ride. Look carefully at some of the berries, and some are in groups of 3 and form a Mickey face
CONFIRMED: Jack B 13 JUL 98
Outside in line, half way, in the bushes on the left side a Hidden Mickey is cut out of the end of the hedge.
REPORTED: KT Baker SHANGO-GRADNIT'97 15 JUN 97
I saw a cut out in a bush by the line in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
CONFIRMED: Erica 27 OCT 98
In the bush on the left there is really a Hidden Mickey cut out.
CONFIRMED: Marla 28 OCT 98
While waiting in line, inside the building, is a picture of Mr. Toad. He is large... and to the right of the cast member sitting down loading the ride. This large painting on the wall shows a Hidden Mickey in Mr. Toad's face. His eyes look like Mickey's ears and nose bridge looks like the top of a Mickey "hat". So I guess this would really be a Hidden Mickey Hat!
REPORTED: DP 28 MAR 98
While waiting in line outside, you walk by the large leaded-glass window in front of the ride. The Mr. Toad statue is there, waving. Look above the statue towards the ceiling. There are two curtains arranged in such a manner as to form a Mickey head. The large circular curtain in the middle is the head, and the bunched up curtain to the sides of the head is the ears. When you go inside, look at the curtains from the back. There is no logical reason for that large circular curtain to be hanging there in the middle; in fact, it appears as if the center curtain was added AFTER the side curtains. This is deliberate, and is, in my opinion, a Hidden Mickey.
REPORTED: Pianoman 28 OCT 98
While standing in line in the cue, once inside, you pass by a statue of Mr. Toad. Look deep into his eyes... you'll see two Hidden Mickey's. They are Mr. Toad's pupils!
REPORTED: Shawnee 07 FEB 06
I was in line for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and while I waited I was inside right by the Mr. Toad statue the one by the window and you could touch if you want to, but I was looking at it then I realized I was looking at a Hidden Mickey. If you look in the eyes of the statue, the white highlight in the pupil is painted clear as day as a Hidden Mickey.
CONFIRMED: Nick Nygard 21 FEB 06
When you enter Toad hall there is a shield above the door. On the shield there is a car. The has the shape of Mickey's head.
REPORTED: David and Brian MaWhinney 26 APR 98
In the ride, there is a halogram of a Mickey head on the door. You will see the Mickey only in the dusk hours of the day. When you enter the ride you go through a set of doors and then you turn and come back out again. When you turn to go throught the second set of doors as you pass through them look in the lower right hand side of the right door. There in the corner is a small Mickey head put there by the imagineers during construction. This was one of the two that the imagineers placed in the park. I was shown this one from Mickey one of the cast members at the park. Have fun finding this one it is great!
REPORTED: Julimo 13 NOV 00
After you pass the toad statue on your left, you will make a u-turn to the right. Just as you get to the turnstile, look at the crew member running the ride. There is a flower bouquet to the right of the crew member. There are three white flowers in the middle of the bouquet in the shape of a Mickey head.
REPORTED: TWINS 17 AUG 96
CONFIRMED: FRIENDS 07 SEP 96
LOST: Ambular & Lauren 04 MAR 97
In Mr. Toad's Wild Ride after you pass through the first room, you enter a small area where there's a statue of armor that will fall towards you. On each elbow, the armor is shaped like a sideways Mickey head!
REPORTED: Sara 24 JUN 02
As the ride starts you can see a shadow of Mickey on either the left or right hand corner of the window. I want to double check this in "Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland" because I know it's a real one. I just wanted to let you know in case you see it before I find it
REPORTED: Michael Campisi 10 MAR 96
The Mickey is on the left stained glass window as you go out through the fireplace its in the lower right hand side and painted in a purplish color
CONFIRMED: Tod Rees 26 MAY 96
CONFIRMED: Meg 17 JUN 96
CONFIRMED: FRIENDS 07 SEP 96
There is a tiny shadow of Mickey in Toad Hall. You can see him as you burst through the leaded-glass window. He is near the center, close to the sill.
CONFIRMED: Maeve C. 01 FEB 97
CONFIRMED: Candace and Eric 07 AUG 98
CONFIRMED: raul bustamante 11 AUG 00
After you pass that falling knight in armor at the beginning you go through a door into a hall of weasels. Its on that door (the left of the 2 swinging doors), in the "glass" part, very bottom left: a perfect shadow profile of that mouse. He's very faded and small. I was shown it by a cast member after the ride broke and the lights were on.
CONFIRMED: bill 14 DEC 00
CONFIRMED: anon 08 OCT 01
CONFIRMED: Jason 27 JAN 02
This is my new favorite Hidden Mickey. I'd been looking and looking for the Mickey on the window at the beginning, and I finally found him. The ride then broke down, and my brother and I had to walk back out the way we came. I was able to take a closer look, and it is awesome!
CONFIRMED: Jaycub 11 JUN 02
There is a sillouette of Walt Disney holding or shaking Mickey's hand. It can only be seen with the aid of a flashlight.
REPORTED: CHAR BERTEAUX IV 05 MAY 97
On the second door is a hidden Mickey
REPORTED: Cheryl 21 MAR 99
After you go throught the fireplace and then U-turn, there are pictures along both walls.... the second picture on the left side has a hidden Mickey at the top of the picture frame..... it's upside down.
REPORTED: Paul 20 FEB 97
I thought I saw a Mickey in the train headlights just before it runs you down and you go to hell. There is one large light(the head)and two smaller ones above it (the ears).
REPORTED: Andrew Johnson 30 NOV 01
On the Fantasyland Mr. Toad Ride there may be a hidden Mickey on the train that is about to hit you. I can't be sure though.
CONFIRMED: Collin Craghead 28 APR 02
If you are standing by Mr.Toads Wild ride, facing Its a Small World, walk slowly towards it and concentrate on the clock. As it opens, peek on the inside of the left door to see a pale outline of Mickey.
REPORTED: anon 27 FEB 99
Disney computers select Mr. Toad's Wild Ride as next theme park attraction suited for film profit expansion
'With the benefit of a freshly installed CPU that allows it to ignore narrative up to 10 times faster, the Disney supercomputer tasked with analyzing existing studio properties for further franchising opportunities and additional quotients of family fun has selected Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride as the next theme park attraction to be compressed into a feature film profit generator. The long-running driving simulacrum—which involves placing humans in a conveyance that turns at sharp angles among sets decorated with representations of woodland animals—is itself an adaptation of Disney’s 1949 film The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad, meaning another film already represents up to three established areas of potential sales. Much less profitably and therefore importantly, both ride and film are in turn adaptations of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In The Willows—a bound lump of paper which was used to pacify children, before creating entertainment became the work of spreadsheets and software—that is nevertheless still of interest to certain niche quadrants of nostalgic collectors and "readers."
'Mirroring the film's risk-averse blend of live action and CGI, this latest output will take shape with the help of various flesh-pods—chief among them director Pete Candeland, who has previously used his appendages to create music videos for the similarly animated facsimiles in Gorillaz. And while the script has yet to be processed, according to the available data, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride will be an adaptation of the theme park attraction and not the obsolete book, thanks to an automatic override designed to prevent potential hangs like “story.”' -- Sean O'Neal, A.V. Club
Second to lastly
1957 TV commercial for MTWR
Mr Toad's Wild Ride Disneyland 1955-1981 Blueprints
Select music from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Little Big Planet 2: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride by AaronDBaron
'Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Magic Kingdom Archives'
Daveland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Photo Page
Philip's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Photos
'Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Before & After the 1983 Remodel
'An up-close look at some of the figures from "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride"'
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride @ Walt Dated World
'We Tried to Save Mr. Toad's Wild Ride'
'Bring back Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!!!' page @ Facebook
'The Original Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride' @ Yesterland
'Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride props resurface as Walt Disney World collectibles'
Props from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride'
Mr Toad's Wild Ride mix-'tape' feat. Sun Ra, Popol Vuh, a.o.
p.s. Hey. Even though I made this post while in the throes of sickness, I stand by its need for existence proudly now that I'm mostly healthy. In fact, some years ago, the curator Matthew Higgs asked a bunch of writers and artists to list their '7 wonders of the world' for a book of the same name that he was editing, and Mr. Toad was on mine, and it might even have been #1. So, talk ill of MTWR or dismiss its spot in the ongoing parade that is my blog as a mere offshooting effect of my illness at your peril. ** Scunnard, Thank you. We are alike. Well, dogs are either bundles of needy codependence or brilliant sociopaths, aren't they? I say that with all due respect for them. ** Will, Hey! Got both it and the corrected it. So great, thank you a million! Very happy, very proud. I've got it down for a Wednesday the 16th launch, and I'll let you know if that changes for any reason, but I think that's locked in. Yeah, man, beautiful. Thank you so much! Ha ha, I did see 'Doggiewoggiez! Poochiewoochiez!' in the course of searching out stuff for that post, and, yes, exactly. I even tried to find a way to include it without disturbing the purity of the weirdness of the post that I intended, but I couldn't figure out a way. ** Jax, Hi, pal! I did 'Rio' yesterday, and I really liked it. It's true: it did take me some doing to decode the accents, and I wasn't entirely successful, or not vis-a-vis every sentence, so I probably missed some subtleties, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I thought it was very excitingly shaped and paced and stuff. I don't know the rules or traditions of that form at all, so I can't speak to that kind of stuff, and I liked the short scenes, but, you know, I'm always mostly paying attention to form when I watch/read/listen to stuff, so ... Anyway, congrats! Did it get good feedback? What did you hear? ** David Ehrenstein, I did check my email, and goodness gracious. That guy is unbelievable. Well, Tarantino probably knows you hate this stuff already, so it probably won't dis- or encourage him. I know that, after I wrote my anti-von Trier piece, he only went on to make movies I hated even more, ha ha. That is a very nice piece on Ashbery. Thank you very much for the alert to it. Actually, learning that Jay Z is involved in the soundtrack is the first thing about that new Luhrman film that's made me even semi-want to see it, but I'm okay with Luhrman. I actually quite liked his 'Romeo + Juliet'. ** xTx, I think you can still watch the Spreecast. It's 4+ hours, though. It's fun, though. East Coast Alt Lit superstar central. See, I have total confidence that it's totally possible for yours, not so much at all for mine, so our insecurities cancel each other out then, right? And we'll do it, right? Yes, yes! Must! ** Bill P. in Chicago, Hi, Bill! I did wonder where and what you had gotten up to. Nice to see you. Unplugged sounds theoretically heavenly. Actually, ha ha, there were a bunch of Youtube videos of people trying to make their cats say 'I love you', but not anywhere near as many as with the dog owners, and you would have to be on hallucinogens to think the cats were doing anything but meowing as usual. I'm a non-pet person. No pets for me, no interest. I grew up with dogs, so I was a dog person, but they all died young, tragically and traumatically, so I was cured. But I think I do like dogs more than I like cats, but I have a famous weakness for emotional fucked-upness. Late Merry Xmas and New Years to you too! Mine was almost non-existent, which was perfectly fine. ** 5STRINGS, I only spent five days in Berlin, and I hardly saw anything while there, but it definitely didn't seem boring at all. It seemed pretty cool. I just didn't get that immediate infatuation thing with Berlin that so many people seem to get. I forgot what the question was now too. Sweet! What kind of fish? How was sloppy seconds with the snowman? That was pretty impressive. Everyone, 5STRINGS suggests that this is pretty impressive, and I believe he's right. ** Rewritedept, Well, there are those who think the two things do not mix, let me tell you, but, me, and I am clearly not one of them. Porn landscapes of a pseudo-sophisticated nature sound like a magnet for the Nobel Prize to me. Want to see it. I spoke re: Lunch and Finley because I know them, so there goes that theory maybe? I know people who worked with Albini, and they all liked him a lot. Indie is a big thing, so he, Grizzly Bear, et. al., all get to be indie, I guess. Labels are whatever anyway. I feel better but not exactly great. I feel better enough that I don't feel compelled to whine about how I feel now, I guess. Trippy about the time-reversed doppelganger, yeah. I've never seen anybody who I thought looked like me. I don't what that means, though. But I try to never look in mirrors or at photos of myself, so I don't really know what I look like, I don't think. Cool re: possible Anderson post, and I hope the band practice killed. ** Flit, You're totally back on. What's the problem that'll take until Friday? Anyway, digging the hyper-being here from you big time. I envied all the people you talked to yesterday including myself. ** Creative Massacre, Hi! Oh, March, cool, it'll be warming up there by then and everything. You and your mom: that's really sweet. Really glad that your New Year is starting so promisingly, pal! You so deserve that! ** Cobaltfram, Hi, John. Tripped out is what I think I was looking for, so good to hear that. Thank you for your promised dedication to the new tumblr. I appreciated the new add as of this morning. Central Texas is hopping. It almost makes me want to check the Paris Grindr. Can you believe that I've never even opened Grindr once? Weird. Gosh, I thought Capt, Backfire looked really promising, but, as I said, I don't know how Grindr's signaling and coding and stuff goes, so better safe than sorry, right? ** Steevee, Morning, Steve. Interesting. I didn't know that Assayas had a memoir. Hm, I think I might go find that Kent Jones book at least. Of course his love of 'TD, P' draws me in. I really need to see more of his recent films. I loved 'Irma Vep' so much, and the films that he made right after it disappointed me, probably because they were nothing like 'IV', and I do need to investigate his work more closely. Thank you, Steve. ** Chilly Jay Chill, Hi, Jeff. Thanks. Crazy/creepy was what I thought I was making when I was sick, so, yeah, cool. Nope, I have never done a Kevin Ayers Day. No good reason for that, just spaced out-ness, 'cos it's a great idea. I think I'll do that and soon. I think he's super interesting, of course. I do think his body of work is pretty uneven. Really inspired at times, and then kind of, mm, ... kind of lacking energy or something sometimes. Such a peculiar, great singing voice he has. My favorite is still his first album 'Joy of a Toy'. His song from that LP, 'Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong', is a favorite song of mine. His early 70s albums are pretty good in general, I think, although I remember them all being kind of spotty. I remember quite liking 'Whatevershebringswesing', but I haven't listened to it in ages. Anyway, good mention. I'll get on an Ayers post. Good day to you, J. ** Sypha, Hi. Well, that is very grim and strange about your childhood friend, yeah. Yikes. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Yeah, it was really cool, right? ** Kyler, Hi, K. Oh, I'm not that bad. I like some musicals that don't have blood in them. I love 'The Music Man', for goodness sake. Can't get any more bloodless than that, ha ha. Anyway, you're probably right that your link isn't for me, but, hey, you really never know, and I'll pass it on. Everyone, here's d.l. Kyler, listen up: 'Hey Sypha, David E, and anyone who likes Broadway musicals - I posted this on FB, but it's really good and worth putting here for any of you musical queens (not that I'm one any longer - but I used to be.)' ** Brendan, Oh, yeah? Prove it, motherfucker! Ha ha, I love you too too! What's up, buddy? ** Billy Lloyd, Hi, Billy! You're back, hooray! Oh, man, I love 'The Stranger'! I've been playing it a lot, and even persnickety Yury loves it. I was playing it on my computer yesterday, and suddenly he was on his feet shoving his iPhone at the screen trying to get Soundhound to identify the song, which is how one knows Yury really likes something. Anyway, yeah, I guess I always say this, but I think it's your most beautiful track yet. I think you really should get on the manager or whatever route it takes to get your work out there and as known as possible. Everyone, if you by chance didn't listen to Billy Lloyd's amazing new song 'The Stranger' when I linked you up the other day, here's another chance, and I urge you to take it. Oh, and you can also see him and his pals having fun holidaying on the beach too, if you like. The photos are cool. Nice pony too. Thank you! Welcome back! A late but great HNY to you! ** Ken Baumann, Ken! Interesting. Maybe your food is located elsewhere right now. Maybe pictures in motion aren't what you need. Or maybe, yeah, current stuff just isn't up to snuff. I've hardly seen anything current. The rearranging and discarding in the home sounds really good. I need to do that so badly. Our place has become a total cave. Our place is a mere few rhumba steps away from looking like Un Regard Moderne. Excellent about your writing going so forward! I think no big deal on the maybe reader non-registering of the complexity of the structure and form. They'll register it, they just won't scrap with it consciously, which actually can be the best of both worlds maybe. Or that's my motto. Anyway, you'll always have readers like me who'll find the Sleeping Beauty stuff if it's the last thing we do. It has to do with the SATOR square? Ooh, that's intriguing. ** Misanthrope, Dude, the knee-dropping and neck twisting involved in kissing my ring is very good exercise. If we were next door neighbors, you'd be a twink. I'm weirded out by it too. Hence, the post. Hence, the blog, for that matter. Weirding myself out and taking as many hostages as possible is all I want to do with my life. ** MANCY, Man, I love it! What are you working on now? ** Chris Dankland, Hi, Chris! Awesome, thank you playing them all at once. Creepy city, right? Sweet. I spent my NY morning with a rerun of the awards 'cos of the time difference. Yeah, it was pretty cool. I felt like one of those people who stand behind the velvet ropes along the red carpet at the Oscars. I had been regretting not being in Brooklyn to go to it live, but I would have felt way too intimidated and out of place there, and I would scampered out the door pretty quick, I think. You should have won one of those things, man, but I say 2013 is going to be your year, man, I mean even more than 2012 was. You just watch. Thanks about my novel. Yeah, I don't know what to do. It's very, very frustrating. It just really has me locked out, and I can't figure out how to get back in. It's starting to drive me a little crazy. I guess it'll just give way again one of these days, or I hope so. It would be kind of horrible if I just wasted all that emotion and work for nothing. But, yeah, anyway, ... I'll keep working at it. You keep working too. You're a big inspiration to me as well, man, for sure. ** E., Hi, e.! Happy 2013 to you! I'm not completely healed, but I'm all right, I guess. I remember feeling that about my dogs when I had dogs when I was growing up. The dog/human relationship is really intense and interesting and secret and mysterious. Yeah, understood about how the 'writing for school' context can make you feel that way, but, you know, it's just not true at all. School is just a structure in which you're writing that can be helpful or not, but the fact that you're writing on assignment or whatever is a minor thing, really. Schools are often set up to make the students feel like they're not ready or good enough yet or whatever, but that's for the benefit of the teachers. It's just there to set up a power dynamic in which the teachers can be the boss. But don't believe that stuff. You're a writer, and you happen to be in school writing at the moment, and that's it, that's all. Don't let the school thing intimidate you or mean more than it really means, okay? Oh, sure, share something with me, that would be great. I guess send it to me at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. That would terrific if you don't mind sharing. Oh, listen, the novel I'm working on and yet not being able to work on right now is driving me completely nuts, for sure. I'm totally nuts. Pitzer ... as in Pitzer College? How trippy! Your brother is freshman there? Does he like it? I wonder if it's the same as it used to be. It was such a lazy, druggie, but kind of fun school when I went there. Weird. So glad you like the Brainard book! I know, right? What he does is really magic. Like deep and serious but so light and almost throw away at the same time. Yeah, amazing. Very cool. Lovely to see you, e. ** Jebus, Hey, J! Really nice to see you! Creepy, right? You are absolutely right about that dog thing in my novel. I had a friend who had a friend who had a dog that could say 'I love you', and, back then, before the internet and everything, it seemed totally insane and inexplicable and weird, or I mean much more than it does now. It was rare enough that the dog was pretty famous at the time for its ability to do that and it was in the newspapers and on television and stuff. When that dog told me'I love you', I had nightmares for weeks afterwards. Seriously. I'm sorry to hear you were sick like I was. Oh, man, and I'm really sorry about the text-dumping. That's really harsh. That's painful even to hear about. Yeah, hugs to you, and may love treat you incredibly better next time. ** Paul Curran, Hi, Paul. Thank you, man! A happy Happy New Year to you! ** Okay. May my blog post and everything else in your lives fill you with joy today. That's an order. See you tomorrow.