Tue 21

That’s 2004, then

Max Christmas is a deeply sacred holiday in Australia, because its arrival signals that it’s time to put aside daily trivialities and focus on what Aussies really care about: sun, sport, and lying around not doing much. I am partaking in this by making a pilgrimage to Perth, and since Western Australia doesn’t have electricity, this will be my last blog of the year.

Thanks to everyone who’s visited my site in 2004—this blogging thing has been very cool. I wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing in the beginning, or whether posting regular updates to my site would quickly get boring. I don’t know about you, but I’m still having fun, so I’ll be back in 2005.

P.S. Okay, okay, Western Australia has electricity.

Thu 16

My Favorite Hooker

Max I was reading my local community magazine and came to the classified column “Adult Services.” There weren’t many to choose from, so apparently (a) I live in a morally upright suburb, and (b) it’s a sellers’ market. Still, I decided to critique their marketing efforts: If I was buying, which hooker would I hire?

Sexy, friendly, mid-30s, blonde

I like that she’s “friendly.” The last thing I’d want when I’ve hired a prostitute is for her to be rude or standoffish. Although maybe I’m reading that wrong; maybe you get her around to your house but when you try to get frisky, she says, “I’m sorry… I just don’t want to ruin the friendship.” I’m also a little wary about that “mid-30s”: is that her age or birthdate?

Try a sensual male body rub by attractive young guy.

Hmm, I need to be a lot more than “curious” about bisexuality before the idea of a sensual body rub from an attractive young guy sounds appealing. I think I’d have to have some pretty firm opinions.

Affectionate mid 30’s Blonde. Prefers men 50’s+

So if I open the door, Vanessa’s face will fall with disappointment. That’s no good. I have to say, though, I’m surprised that someone so picky about who she sleeps with has chosen this career path. I feel bad for Vanessa; I imagine life is quite the challenge.


All good words. But to me the ad suggests a lack of imagination; like whoever wrote it doesn’t really know what she should be doing. She comes over, you get naked, then she just starts awkwardly poking your chest.

Uni Student. Visit You. $250/hour.

That sounds like a lot of money just for a visit. I hope that includes some sex. But why is Angel telling me she’s a student? Will she need to get some studying done while she’s over? Is she prone to holding forth on socialism? It’s almost as if she’s suggesting that Uni Students who have sex are rare and exotic. She’s obviously not staying at my old dorm.

Faith Paradise
Cheeky Private Blonde 23 Credit Cards.

We have a winner! First, I am a sucker for wacky names, and “Faith Paradise” is even better than “Juliette Private”. She’s cheeky (that’s a plus), private (won’t tell everyone the next day), and, apparently, has 23 credit cards! So if the sex didn’t go well, we could chat about consumerism. Perfect!

Fri 10

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?

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.

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.

Sometimes they were questions:

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

Sometimes they were bizarre:

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

And frequently they were about animals:

Mr. Max, do you have any pets?

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

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 ( 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.

Mon 06

Fast Forward 2005

Company Hey, now this is damn cool. Fast Company’s November issue contained their top 100 “people, ideas, and trends that will change how we work and live in 2005.” Coming in at number 8 is “Max Barry’s Company”!

What it is: A satiric novel due out next fall featuring a company “so huge that nobody who works for it knows what it actually does.” Stir into motion the angle-players, bureaucrats, and suck-ups after merciless layoffs. Let the follies begin.

Our Take: Barry’s cult novels Syrup and Jennifer Government established him as a gifted business satirist. Expect more informed viciousness about the hierarchies we endure.

I guess now I should stop editing the thing so it can actually be published, hey? (Just a little longer. Just a liiiiiitle longer.)

Thu 02

My Syrup Script


Update 6-Dec-04: At Fortress’s request, I’ve removed the script while they make their decision. Thanks to everyone who reviewed it and made suggestions!

Okay, for anyone who’s interested: here’s my attempt at the first twenty-something pages of a Syrup screenplay.

This is what the Fortress guys will use to decide whether I’m the right guy to write the full thing. I would really, really love to do that, but I’m going to try to spend the next few weeks not fretting about it. This is what I’ve decided: if they like the way I’ve done it, then terrific, but if not, well, it’ll just mean that one of my most fervent wishes is dashed in a highly public and embarrassing way. That’s all.

If you’re reading this via your web browser, you might notice I’ve also added the ability for people to leave comments in response to my blogs, something I’ve been threatening to do for ages. This is more hand-written code on my part, so I apologize in advance if something goes wrong, or the comments all disappear, or my web host freaks out again at the load I’m generating on their server (“Aahhhh! Scripts!”) and takes down the whole site.

Assuming this works, though, I’m very interested in what you guys think of my draft. If I actually get this gig, I want to use any feedback I get here to help me write the rest of it.