Pizza at Big Rico’s for my birthday

No one does a slice like Big Rico. No one.

If you recognize that slogan, then you’ll understand why I was so happy to receive a “Big Rico’s” T-shirt from my family for my birthday last week.

My new shirt. I like it a lot.

It’s an ad from the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” for Big Rico’s Pizza. “No one does a slice like Big Rico” – then a pause, and a slightly sinister – “No one.” Big Rico’s is the only pizza parlor in the desert community of Night Vale. The others all mysteriously burned down.

“Welcome to Night Vale” is a strange and twisted tale. The best way I can describe it is if you combined Lake Woebegone or Mayberry with “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits,” then had it written by Dean Koontz. The twice-monthly podcast is in the style of a broadcast from the town’s community radio station, featuring updates of activities and city council meetings, local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and the glow cloud that hovers over the town at night while citizens pretend to sleep. It presents the bizarre in a perfectly matter-of-fact way.

And my family knows me, and knew exactly how much I would like that shirt.

If you haven’t been listening to “Welcome to Night Vale,” and that might be a small number considering that it has been the most downloaded podcast on iTunes, and if you like the weird, then give it a try. It’s odd enough that it probably doesn’t matter if you know what’s gone before. Just dive in anywhere. But I strongly urge you to start at the beginning. That’s the episode that starts with this warning from the announcer:

“The City Council announces the opening of a new dog park at the corner of Earl and Sommerset, near the Ralph’s. They would like to remind everyone that dogs are not allowed in the dog park. People are not allowed in the dog park. It is possible that you will see hooded figures in the dog park. DO NOT APPROACH THEM. DO NOT APPROACH THE DOG PARK. The fence is electrified and highly dangerous. Try not to look at the dog park, and, especially, do not look for any period of time at the hooded figures. The dog park will not harm you.”

WRITING NOTES: I’ve gotten a LOT done in the last two days, but very little of it was work on the WIP. I worked on setting up a podcast (lots to learn,) have done a ton of laundry, washed many dishes, mailed off books, ran around to the bank and some shopping. Lot of stuff. Still had a little time Tuesday, and got 300 words in. I should I have a couple of hours later today and with luck will get another couple of hundred or so in today. Hard to say.

CORRECTION: My friend and partner in piracy Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers pointed out that I was mistaken when I wrote last week that I had never seen a movie with Minnie Driver. I had forgotten she was the woman in “Grosse Pointe Blank,” an entertaining movie starring John Cusack about the difficulties of establishing a romantic connection when you’re a professional hit man by trade. And it gets a lot more complicated than that. Great supporting performance by Dan Ackroyd as a rival hit man who’s trying to set up a union.

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