MaxBarry.com
a/s/l?

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Fri 10
Dec
2004

Max interviews Ellis

Max A while ago, someone called Ellis started writing to me. The first e-mail was in August, in response to this blog about people who start posts with “Um…” It read, in full:

Do you have any pets?
-Ellis

Soon Ellis was sending me e-mails after almost every blog. Sometimes they were comments on what I’d written, like this response to my hope to be hired as Syrup screenwriter:

You would probably be good at a screen play, I have heard that blogger typically are better at that genre.
-Ellis

Sometimes I had to think really hard before I got the connection, like this response to my blog about the Internet Writers Workshop:

The meaning of life is in essence, sex. The whole point of our species is to reporduce and evolve, these are done through sex.
-Ellis

Sometimes they were questions:

What about you, what do you search for (outside of your web site?)
-Ellis

Sometimes they were bizarre:

I am making my graduation suit compleatly out of duct tape, I will send pictures when I make it.
-Ellis

And frequently they were about animals:

Mr. Max, do you have any pets?
-Ellis

I have two cats and a kitten, they are all cute, the cats are fat but the kitten is fluffy and thin.
-Ellis

The other day I thought: I have to find out who this guy is. So I e-mailed Ellis and asked if I could interview him. He agreed, and I sent him three initial questions:

From: Max
To: Ellis

  1. So who ARE you?
  2. How did you find my site?
  3. I get quite a few people who write to me about one blog in particular, but you write to me about practically all of them. How come? Do you write to other bloggers or am I special?

Ellis replied:

From: Ellis
To: Max

  1. I am an American eighth grader currently living in San Francisco, California. Most of my time is spent singing, I have been in three San Francisco Operas four local operas. I take private voice lessons and sing in a choir listed as being better than SF boys chorus. My spare time is spent either reading (but mostly) playing on the computer and learning how to program. That pretty much who I am, not anything REALLY interesting.
  2. I found nationstates through my brother (secllia) and followed the links from nationstates to your site (maxbarry.com) and then explored the site until I found the news letter and subscribed.
  3. Why do I write so many of them? Well, when ever something catches my eye I write back, usually about a random statement taken out of context that relates to what I am currently thinking and I write back about it (I don’t know how I connected to the time I told you I was making my graduation suit out of duct tape, but I wrote that because I just made a duct tape wallet). And yes you are special (in more ways than one :-) I don’t do this to other bloggers I read.

I wrote back:

From: Max
To: Ellis

Wow, I’ve never even seen an opera, and here you are singing in them. Not only that, but you make duct tape wallets. That’s plenty interesting. I have three more questions:

  1. Do you have a web site? I think you should. Your kind of random comment is perfect for a blog. And then *I* could leave comments for *you*.
  2. If you sing in a boys’ choir, does that mean that when your voice breaks they kick you out and your career is over? Or will you one day be playing the leading role and releasing a range of CDs?
  3. What are the advantages of the duct tape wallet? Why not, say, leather?

Ellis snapped back:

From: Ellis
To: Max

  1. I unfortunately don’t have a web site because my parent won’t let me, but I have found some places to set up on the sly. I would definitely like to get messages from you, you might be a little more interesting in private.
  2. When my voice changes I get to go to the older group till I am 18, then its life on the streets. I plan to go to school of the arts in my area so that by the time I am 18 I will be able to go to a good music collage. And yes, someday soon I will be recording.
  3. Duct tape over leather, one, duct tape is cheaper, I needed to carry around ID and money and starbucks cards. Two, upgradeable, just recently I needed a sperate clear slip for my ID, so I just duct taped on a piece of clear plastic, you try doing that with a leather wallet and still have it look cool and leathery! Third, no animals were hurt to produce it.

Damn, how awesome is Ellis? If he gets that web site up, I am definitely linking to it. And remember: you heard about him here first.

Comments

This is where site members post comments. If you're not a member, you can join here. There are all kinds of benefits, including moral superiority!

Shivaun (#50)

Location: melbourne
Quote: "we must go to the party in order to drink a lot and dance with girls"
Posted: 5331 days ago

cool or insane - one or the other as they tend to go hand in hand. I'm leaning toward cool myself although I get the feeling he's actually an elderly pervert trying to seduce max whose really a teenage girl via online. I mean, c'mon. 'and yes you are special, in more ways than one... ' ahem.
I do love the duct tape wallet, though. Am rushing out now to set up a stall on smith street and sell knock offs.

Narain (#824)

Location: Los Angeles, right between civilization and a desert
Quote: "NI!"
Posted: 5331 days ago

Haven't heard about duct tape wallets before? Aussies must be behind the times. I've got at least two friends who have wallets made entirely out of duct tape. They say it is for convience, but I think it is because it provides a simple ice breaker. In any awkward pause, you just pull out the wallet and BAM, everyone's suddenly interested.

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 5331 days ago

heh when I first read those quotes I was thinking a lowly boy in Singapore...(where it was illegal to chew gum in public until recently) ....with an extreme case of ENGRISH vernacular...
no not SPANGLISH or CHINESE, engrish

yeah, he's either some adopted San Fan kid or
some net-weirdo stuck in a shtick-coma...
either or --but one thing is for sure, be scared ...very scared

fearfully,
shahab
http://bahahs.blogspot.com

Reggi (#774)

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "it's not the men in my life that counts -- it's the life in my men. - mae west"
Posted: 5331 days ago

I want to see how he turns out in ten years.

Dryden (#840)

Location: Alabama
Quote: "Exciting Opportunity: This Space For Rent!"
Posted: 5330 days ago

Interesting guy. I bet he buys anime like it's crack.

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: "www.justinholt.net"
Posted: 5330 days ago

When I was in eighth grade, my friends and I were throwing apples at each other.

Opera singer? Damn.

As for the duct tape. My ex girlfriend has a purse, a wallet, and I think a dress all made of duct tape. She was an art student. Enough said.

Cantrall (#26)

Location: New Orleans
Quote: "Anagrams with my name: Chancellor thirst rap, Anarchist perch troll, Ranch pro at hillcrest, Ill rorschach pattern, Cornstarch hitler pal"
Posted: 5330 days ago

Have faith! I'm 19 and I still sing a female soprano (plus tenor too). Some could suggest that I'm a countertenor, but I think a great deal of it is simply not giving in to changing voices. Sure, my voice changed, but I kept singing soprano right on through that. Never know...at the very least, it's worth a shot.

bethi (#525)

Location: NY
Quote: "Fuck B*sh"
Posted: 5330 days ago

duct tape wallets /are/ fun, but they have their disadvantages as well. my friend made me one, and it was pretty super, butthe problem was that whenever i put it in my pocket, the glue part of the tape would melt and my cards/money/coins/other random objects would get stuck. but, i do have anoter animal-friendly option for you; one made out of cloth. true it is not super-expandable, but they often come in pretty colors and mine was made by a little old lady my mom bought it from. artist direct and stickin' it to the man and all that.

Shivaun (#50)

Location: melbourne
Quote: "we must go to the party in order to drink a lot and dance with girls"
Posted: 5330 days ago

Why not knit a wallet?
This is one craze I'm glad I've missed out on - for once I'm proud to be australian.

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: "www.justinholt.net"
Posted: 5330 days ago

I think the duct tape craze might have come from the generations before us. Instead of fixing something "right" they'd be more inclined to use duct tape.

I know whenever something would break around my house growing up, even with my dad being a carpenter, it was a duct tape fix. Hole in the car? Duct tape and bondo.

The next generation comes along and says, "Hey, I can make something out of this."

That, or a bunch of people were smoked out and one of them saw a roll of duct tape and got a bright idea. "Screw wasting that on fixing stuff. We can make clothes out of that stuff."

Robert (#413)

Location: Los Angeles
Quote: "A positive attitude will not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Posted: 5330 days ago

I think we're paying to much attention to the fact that he has a duct tape wallet, and not enough attention to the fact that this kid is some type of boy-genius living in San Francisco.

Scott (#354)

Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Quote: "Max Barry tastes like awesome"
Posted: 5330 days ago

Sounds like a lonely kid though. Max, you should fly him to Australia and become his mentor. I mean, think of the benefits. A little genius to mold into your image. Maybe he'll even snap some day and create an army of Max Barry robot clones... he'd be set to take over the world. He seems capable enough. Today, duct tape wallets! Tomorrow, the world!

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: "www.justinholt.net"
Posted: 5330 days ago

Have you ever stopped and really looked at the younger generation though, like this Ellis character? It's amazing.

I have a thirteen-year old nephew who is also in eighth grade and who writes songs. Not just songs, but good songs. And when I was talking to him a while back he was asking me if I've ever heard of Steinbeck, and Fitzgerald, and Kerouac. It blew me away.

Maybe the world isn't so bad off after all.

Shivaun (#50)

Location: melbourne
Quote: "we must go to the party in order to drink a lot and dance with girls"
Posted: 5330 days ago

Or maybe we're going to breed an entire generation of prematurally aged insufferable knowitalls. It seems to be the way though, doesn't it? Kids are getting older at a young age - Or maybe were're just getting older and stupider (see what I mean, is stupider a word????)
The kid sounds pretty cool though, I think we should have an online chat with him, we can all ask questions. Max ought to add another section, 'what ellis reckons'

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: "www.justinholt.net"
Posted: 5330 days ago

Honestly, when I saw the Heading Max interviews Ellis, I thought he meant Bret Easton Ellis. Actually though, I enjoyed this interview more.

FergHova (#834)

Location: Woodstown, NJ
Quote: ""I once shat on a VHS copy of Down periscope to prove a point.""
Posted: 5330 days ago

Seriously, we need to do something with him. I'd pony up some cash and build him a blog, and host it under my sites webspace. Thoughts on a URL?

Shivaun (#50)

Location: melbourne
Quote: "we must go to the party in order to drink a lot and dance with girls"
Posted: 5330 days ago

I thought it was bret easton ellis too! 'How odd' thought I. But I'm glad it was this ellis.
Let's make some 'save ellis' t-shirts and give the proceds to starting up his blog.

Becky (#835)

Quote: "Oh! I get it now!"
Posted: 5330 days ago

I know this one kid who can make anything out of duct tape. He has a wallet, a vest, pants, binder, ect. It's crazyness.

Cogitation (#836)

Location: New York City
Quote: "Think about it for a moment."
Posted: 5330 days ago

"When I was in eighth grade, my friends and I were throwing apples at each other.

Opera singer? Damn." --Justin Holt (#147)

I think you'd be surprised. There are quite a number of musicians out there who started practicing at a very early age.

The choirmaster/organist at my local church started learning how to play the organ when he was 10 years old; at the point, he was already playing Shopan on the piano.

The assistant organist at my church is a private music instructor; a few months ago, I was invited to listen to two of her students perform pieces of classical music in one of the 200-seater listening hals at Carnegie Hall; they are 7 and 11 years old, if I remember correctly, and were among 15-20 other performers, all in the range of 8-18 years old.

Nevertheless, I still find these accomplishments impressive. To be singing in professional operas at such a young age is a VERY respectable accomplishment.

Felix (#854)

Location: Maryland
Quote: "I am reaching for my shoe!"
Posted: 5329 days ago

Opera? Wow! I'm also in 8th grade, but can't sing to save my life. Oh, well. Back to the bassoon.

Lokklyn (#855)

Location: Maryland
Quote: "Self promotion is fabulous: http://lokklyn.deviantart.com/"
Posted: 5329 days ago

Gosh, Ellis is super awesome!

I have a friend who wants to be an opera singer, except she's a girl, and has no desire to make anything out of duct tape.

And I've never heard her sing. Oh, and she's not really my friend.

But back to my point: Ellis is really cool, and all really cool people need really cool websites. Especially when they sing opera, and are in eighth grade.

I noticed the comment system today, when I remembered to check your site. I find it super awesome, much like how I find Ellis. What an awesome interview, really! Please give us more, Mr. Max Barry!

tania turtle (#860)

Location: San Francisco
Quote: "Ignorance is NOT Bliss. Kill the idiots."
Posted: 5329 days ago

Ellis sounds sweet. San francisco is one of the few place in the US where the kids don't get too messed up. I wonder if he sings with Grace Cathedral Choir?

Making stuff with Duct Tape has been polular here and in Canada since the grunge days. You can also make great corsets with duct tape.

Yoru (#732)

Location: Virginia, USA
Posted: 5328 days ago

You meet some crazy people on the internet.

Tyler (#695)

Location: Paper Street
Quote: "For a moment, nothing happened, then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen"
Posted: 5328 days ago

duct tape wallets?
PUH-LEEZE
If you were really cool you would get Jules' wallet from pulp fiction.
"It's the one that says bad mother fucker on it"
awesome.

Justin Holt (#147)

Location: Rochester, NY
Quote: "www.justinholt.net"
Posted: 5328 days ago

I actually have that wallet. $2 at a flea market. Couldn't beat it.

Mystra (#728)

Location: Las Vegas
Quote: "Kill them all!"
Posted: 5327 days ago

I wonder why his parents won't let him have a website?

Zac Mahlum (#869)

Location: Washington
Quote: ""He who fears death is in denial, for death is promised.""
Posted: 5327 days ago

I wonder if he has any real friends?

Cogitation (#836)

Location: New York City
Quote: "Think about it for a moment."
Posted: 5326 days ago

"I wonder why his parents won't let him have a website?" --Mystra (#728)

Well, like Yoru (#732) said, there are crazy people on the Internet. Me, for starters. :D

Mystra (#728)

Location: Las Vegas
Quote: "Kill them all!"
Posted: 5325 days ago

"I wonder why his parents won't let him have a website?" --Mystra (#728)

Well, like Yoru (#732) said, there are crazy people on the Internet. Me, for starters. :D
--Congitatin (#836)

While it is true you are crazy ;p ^_^ Apparently he's htmling without his parents knowledge any way.

"I unfortunately don’t have a web site because my parent won’t let me, but I have found some places to set up on the sly. I would definitely like to get messages from you, you might be a little more interesting in private."
--Ellis

So wouldn't it be easier to let your child get a website that you knew about, 'cause then at least you could monitor what they place on the site?

As you can tell I don't have any kids of my own.

Ellis (#884)

Location: San Francisco
Quote: "You can't just strap a snorkel on your cat."
Posted: 5322 days ago

This would be Ellis speaking, I do have a website up kinda, www.freewebs.com/pyrokittens though I would like to take . I do not sing in the Grace Cathedral Choir, I sing in Ragazzi. I would like to take up FergHova's offer even though I have my own website-ish. And I would be glad to answer any questions, to either prove my identity, or to find out other interesting things about me. BTW, my nation on NS is pyro kittens, you can telegram it and ask if it is me to verify.

Ellis (#884)

Location: San Francisco
Quote: "You can't just strap a snorkel on your cat."
Posted: 5322 days ago

Also, I can set up a chat room on my site if you all really want to talk to me. And yes, my parents do not know about it.

Cogitation (#836)

Location: New York City
Quote: "Think about it for a moment."
Posted: 5321 days ago

A piece of serious advice, Ellis: When chatting with someone, do NOT give out specific information about yourself. All joking aside, there really are crazy people on the Internet, some of them very dangerous. You don't want one of them being able to figure out where you live and stalking you.

There are dangerous people everywhere, not just on the Internet; it's just that the Internet brings people together very easily, but it also hides people. You could find yourself chatting with someone very easily, but you don't *really* know who they are or if they're dangerous.

DO NOT AGREE TO MEET ANYONE IN REAL LIFE THAT YOU ONLY KNOW FROM THE INTERNET... UNLESS one of your parents comes with you. (In this case, you'd have to 'fess up about what you've been doing.) It's much harder for your parents to protect you if they don't know you're being exposed to these kinds of risks.

Ellis (#884)

Location: San Francisco
Quote: "You can't just strap a snorkel on your cat."
Posted: 5321 days ago

I know, thats why I make sure that the information I give is already readily avalible, or able to describe about 40 other people.

Ellis Livingston (#121)

Location: San francisco, CA, USA
Quote: "I am the Lord in Heaven.... Bitches....."
Posted: 5321 days ago

This is Ellis, found my old account, TM pyro kittens to confirm if you want.

BGage (#996)

Location: NZ
Quote: "Walk quietly and carry a big stick."
Posted: 5286 days ago

Now,about the duct tape purse,Im quite horrified at the thought of all those poor little ducts being killed just so someone can make a purse.As one of Gods creations these creatures dont deserve to be hunted and denigrated.Set the ducts free!

Dinko Hristov (#1065)

Location: Darwin, Australia
Quote: """No one is fool enough to choose War over Peace. In Peace sons bury fathers, but in War fathers bury sons."- Herodotus"
Posted: 5262 days ago

Max!!

This kid sounds awesome!!! He can sing operatically, is an IT whiz, can create stuff out of duct tape...and is only in Year 8!!!

And all I can do is research Ancient China & Rome on the Internet, play some crappy air guitar and read as many books as I possibly can! And I've been out of high school for 2 years!!

I say let's do something to help him out...Gotta support today's youth...

howard (#810)

Location: uk
Quote: "err"
Posted: 5089 days ago

max, ellis check this link out!

http://www.chanray.com/Shop/Ducti.htm

Comments are now closed for this post.

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