Dr. J’s Guide to Surviving the Crud

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I’ve had a sinus infection for something like six weeks now. Finally starting to get over it (fourth round of antibiotics for the win!), so I thought I’d do y’all a solid and give you some good tips on surviving the crud:

1. Drink lots of water. Like, a lot a lot. If you can somehow redirect a river into your mouth, do it.

2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol since they both dry you out (although hot toddies are allowed unless….)

3. No alcohol if you’re taking antibiotics. Consider other alternatives such as pot or cocaine. The latter ought to clear up your sinuses if you’ve got a bacterial infection up in there.

4. Get lots of rest. Stake yourself a place in your favorite chair and only move when it’s absolutely necessary. Netflix binging is acceptable in this sort of situation.

5. Make sure to eat. Avoid sugar, as it’s an inflammatory. Soup is good food, especially chicken soup. If you’re like me and have food allergies, you might have some trouble finding canned and easy-to-fix food. If that’s the case, find what you can and, if possible, guilt trip your friends into making you stuff. Or your spouse, if you have one.

6. Consider marrying the friend who makes you food then you don’t have to guilt trip them when it happens again.

7. Take hot showers. The steam and heat will feel great. If you’ve got a membership to the Y or some other health club type place, use a steam room. If you’ve got a rich friend with a steam room, consider guilt tripping them into letting you use it. Also consider marrying them.

8. Stay away from social media. Nobody likes to hear your whining, and your fever/antibiotic-induced loopiness will likely come back to haunt you.

9. Play video games if you can, especially ultra-violent ones. Pretend you’re killing viruses. Viruses are telepathic and they’ll get the hint.

10. Don’t disappear for weeks at a time. That will prompt your friends to say, “You’re alive!” when you return, and nobody wants that.

11. Once you’ve recovered, get plenty of sunshine and eat at least two tablespoons of dirt per day for a good week. Build up that immune system!

And that’s it. Print this out and stick it on the fridge so you’re prepared the next time you get the crud. Trust me, I’m a doctor.

Dr. J’s Night School

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INT. DR J’s NIGHT SCHOOL CLASSROOM – NIGHT 

[Bosley’s note: The following is a partial script from the pilot episode of Dr. J’s Night School, a late-night B-movie show developed for Animal Planet.  The action lines are italicized. I take no responsibility for this.] 

This is obviously a basement rec room converted into a makeshift classroom. A desk with one leg substantially shorter than the others totters near the back, propped up by various books. A whiteboard stands next to it stage left. Several bookshelves full of DVDs, books, and comics line one wall. 

DR. J (mid-to-late 30s), devilishly handsome and professorial (at least in his mind), sits on the edge of the desk. Leather patches adorn his cheap tweed jacket, obviously sewn on by his mother. 

DR. J 

All right, class, welcome to the first session of Dr. J’s Night School.  

Dr. J hoists his carcass off the desk.

DR. J 

You might be wondering where we are. We’re actually in a basement in an old University of Phoenix campus building provided by Animal Planet. Now you may be asking yourself “Why are you in a basement?” Well, I’m happy to answer that question. 

Dr. J writes “THE MAN” on the whiteboard.

DR. J 

See, The Man doesn’t think that these movies are worth my or your time. They think that “exploitation” is a bad word and would rather you study Eighteenth-Century Serbian lesbian poetry. Actually, that reminds me, if you are looking for the Eighteenth-Century Serbian lesbian poetry class, it’s down the hall and to your right, just past the leaky boiler. I think that class is being sponsored by the History Channel. 

Where was I? Oh yeah—The Man! See, Academia is mostly run by old, white men who haven’t left campus since approximately 1862. They don’t understand all this fuss about the “talkies” you young ‘uns are so crazy about. 

Dr. J writes “Snobs” under “The Man” and underlines it.

DR. J 

See, “entertainment” is a bad word to them. They figure if something’s anything other than soul-crushingly boring and socially realistic, then it can’t be any good. And if lots of people like it—well, run for the hills, Aunt Martha, cause the barbarians have broke through the gate! 

Dr. J steps away from the whiteboard and pulls out a flask.

DR. J 

Well I, and the good folks here at Animal Planet, don’t buy that argument. And I’ve told those old farts that, which is why I’m down here in a leaky basement talking to a bunch of high school dropouts instead of maxing and relaxing in some cushy tenure track job! 

Dr. J drinks from the flask.

DR. J 

This is iced tea, by the way. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, sticking it to the man! Once I turned in my dissertation on women’s prison movies filmed only in the Philippines, I told those high mucky-mucks what for. 

Well, not right then. I waited until I got my degree and THEN I told them where they could stick it. You see, academia has a strict “no backsies” rule, and my momma didn’t raise no fool. 

DR. J drinks more. He rests his hand on the desk, but slips on a pile of papers and almost falls.

DR. J 

And let’s be clear: that’s why I can’t get work anymore. It had nothing to do with the 247 days straight I missed teaching a class. I was undergoing a strenuous research regimen at the time. Plus, I forgot.  

But that’s okay, because I’m here now in a place that appreciates the finer things, like Pam Grier, teenagers turning into cicada monsters, Pam Grier, lesbo vampires, Pam Grier, zombies, werewolves, and Pam Grier. The class’s mission statement is simple: “Everything’s worth studying.” Especially if it’s Pam Grier.  

Dr. J goes behind his desk and retrieves a black cat. He pets it while he talks.

DR. J 

Now you may be wondering why we’re on Animal Planet. Well, if you had read your syllabus, you’d have seen that we’re going to only cover movies involving animals. We’ll have killer rattlesnakes, killer bunnies, killer orcas, killer whatever that ain’t us, and sometimes killers that are us, but are tenuously connected to animals.  

And tonight’s movie definitely falls into that last category. Tonight, we’ve got the 1942 flick Cat People. Not to be confused with the one in the Eighties where William Hurt gets freaky-deaky with some cat chicks. Nope, this is the one that started it all. It’s the movie that asks the burning question “Can love survive without nookie?” Not according to my ex-wife, but that’s a whole ‘nother lecture. What we’ve got here is the age-old story of a young woman from Serbia named Irena who’s a little too into cats, and the hunky but blockheaded lunk named Oliver that falls for her. The two get married even though she won’t even kiss him for fear that she’ll turn into a man-eating panther, and I don’t mean that euphemistically. If it were a euphemism, everything’d be fine. 

You know, I knew a girl like that once, as a matter of fact. Whatever happened to her? Last time I saw her, she was running nekkid in the Florida Everglades. 

Dr. J shakes himself out of his reverie.

DR. J

Anyway, as if turning into a cat and eating her husband wasn’t stressful enough, Irena has to deal with a greasy, rapey therapist from the Freudian school of psychiatry if you know what I mean and I think you do, and her husband’s best friend, who happens to be a hot blonde. Or maybe redhead. It’s hard to tell with these black and white flicks. 

Can true love survive in the face of no nookie? Watch and find out. As the movie goes along, we’ll pause for mini-lectures on lycanthropy, the Jungian archetypes in the movie, some nerd facts about the writing and making of the flick, and, what the hell, maybe we’ll even talk about Eighteenth-Century Serbian lesbian poetry. I’m feeling froggy tonight! We’ll also have a visit from the Night School TA—that’s “Teaching Associate” so no snickering in the back row—with questions for the Professor, and a whole lot more unless Animal Planet pulls the plug. 

[Bosley’s note: Animal Planet pulled the plug.] 

Happy Turkey Day!

Bosley

Hey, Y’all,

Bosley, here. Dr. J’s down again with a sinus infection (or he’s still got the same one–I don’t know. If you ask me, he’s milking this), so he won’t be posting anything new this week. He wanted me to wish y’all a happy Turkey Day, if you celebrate. If you don’t, he and I both wish you a great day with friends, family, and good food.

Peace out, fam,

Bosley

Meet the Crew

Hey, Y’all,

Sorry I haven’t been around lately. I had a sinus infection that wouldn’t quit, and that made things like writing and living kinda difficult. But I’m back, baby, so let’s keep this trainwreck a-rollin’.

If you know me, then you know that it’s just a matter of time before this becomes a puppet show. I figure I should get ahead of that and introduce you to the crew that makes this blog possible.

Bosley

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This handsome fellow and I have been friends since I was one years old. Bosley’s the chief whip-cracker around here and is in charge of making sure I actually do my work (You wouldn’t believe how much yelling he’s done at me the last couple weeks!). Bosley’s also my agent and press manager, so sometimes he answers the emails I don’t wanna deal with.

Bandit

20180418_123932192_iOSBosley takes care of the creative writing side of things, but Bandit handles the academic stuff. He’s the one who proofreads my syllabi and lesson plans, and he keeps me from rambling too much when I’m lecturing–not an easy job! You probably won’t see too much of Bandit here, since I got him from a Happy Meal, and I don’t want to get sued by McDonald’s. Bosley’s 38-years-old, so I think he’s okay.

Dr. J

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And, of course, there’s me, your friendly neighborhood Dr. J. Not the best picture, I know, but I’m not the most photogenic.

I don’t work as hard as the other two, so I thought it was only fitting I came last in the list.

So, that’ll do it for this week. Next week: something more serious. Or not. You never can tell, can you?

Photo Credits

Bosley. Picture taken by Joshua Begley.

Bandit. Picture taken by Joshua Begley.

Dean Winchester. How to Dress Like Sam and Dean Winchester

Amateur Night in Dixie

You know what the world needs more of? Blog posts and websites, said nobody ever. And yet, here we are.

But I’m being rude, I should introduce myself. My name is Joshua Begley, known as Josh to my friends and Dr. J to my students. I have a Masters degree in Creative Writing and a Doctorate in Literature and Criticism. I teach creative writing at Full Sail University, and I love to write.

A lot.

I cut my teeth on Anne McCaffery, Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, and Ray Bradbury. I’m startlingly lowbrow in my tastes and I don’t know how temperamentally suited I am for academia, even though I love it almost as much as I do writing.

The first time I sat down to write, I was eight years old. I had no real idea of what I wanted to write, just that I wanted to. I devoured books and spent most of my time daydreaming, so I suppose writing was a natural progression. Because I was eight, I didn’t really have anything to say, so I just wrote, from recollection, the first Star Wars movie (Episode IV to you young ‘uns). The second story I ever wrote began with “It was a dark and stormy night.” Hardly the start of a budding young writer, was it?

One thing you’ll get to know about me if you stick around is that I’m stubborn. I’ve had to be. I was sick very often as a child, and was constantly playing catch up. I was homebound for three semesters, and when I finally got back to attending school properly, I was so behind that I was taking night and summer classes to catch up. Eventually, I earned my G.E.D., and you know where it went from there, academically-speaking.

I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far if I wasn’t a stubborn little so-and-so, and that’s why I’m here today.

If you browse through the pages of this site, you’ll see that I’ve written short fiction and reviews. If you check my CV, you’ll see that I’ve also written poetry and academic articles. I’ve had a presence (which is putting it generously) on social media, but I figure now it’s time to find a home for my work.

That’s why we’re here.

Instead of doing this the smart way and hiring somebody to do the heavy lifting for me, I’m building this sucker on my own. As the title says, this is amateur night in Dixie, folks. I decided to pull the trigger on this because I’d been sitting on this idea for too long, and now that I have this out here and I actually paid money to register the domain name, it’s time to commit.

I hope you’ll bear with me. I’ll post updates on new writing projects whenever they go live, and I’ll write blog posts whenever I get the chance. After all, the world needs another blogger, right?