Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Lunatic Who Runs The Asylum: 20 Questions with Jimmy 'The Deez' Calhoun

One of the things I do every morning is check my RSS feeds for any news or interesting articles. My favorite blog to read is Jabberwocky Asylum ( which is written by my longtime friend and former co-worker/manager Jimmy Calhoun, who, those of us who worked with at Books-A-Million affectionately know as, “The Deez.” I had hoped to sit down with Jim for an interview over coffee or lunch, but alas, we live a couple of hours away from each other. So, I did the next best thing; I emailed him 20 Questions. Here are those questions and his responses. Except for spelling, grammar and formatting for layout, I've not edited his responses at all – they're all 100% Jimmy. ~ JC

1. Jimmy, you and I have known each other for many years now, since our stint as co-workers for Books-A-Million. You've always been entertaining and an inspiration to me to remember to always have fun no matter what life throws at you. So, my first question would be what inspires you to always have such a great outlook on life?

**I have always pulled from a variety of sources to always have a positive outlook on life. Those being my faith, family and friends there is so much going on in the world around us that we shouldn't dwell on the bad so much as make the best with what we have. Books A Million was a great example; the place sucked to to work at, but getting to hang out with you , Danny (Iron Clown Studios), Tonya, Lily, and Shirley was awesome.

2. You've had several blogs over the past few years. What made you decide to start a blog, and how did you finally decide that Jabberwocky Asylum would be the penultimate version? Or, is it the penultimate version? Do you think you'll change the way in which you blog again or are you pretty settled on the current concept? And just what, exactly, is a Jabberwocky?

**I first decided to blog after I met a fella named Justin Doub. He has a witty little site that is unfortunately no more. After reading it I thought to myself " I can do that". So I started to go with it. However laziness and no time killed my early ventures. Then a few years later I came across Kevin Smith's Blog and again thought to myself I can do that and went with it with Jim's Loo. I had a good time writing it, but then life in a good way (meeting my wife, getting married, having a son) refocused my priorities. So I shut the loo down. Then a few years later I was settled and wanted to write again so bam here it is!! As for my concept I am pretty good on that right now. I am always looking for new ways to challenge me as a writer and hopefully entertain all of you and anyone new who may stumble along.

The Jabberwocky is a poem by Louis Carroll from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872. I always liked the poem so when i was thinking of a blog title, Jabberwocky Asylum just kinda happened.

3. You've recently mentioned on Jabberwocky Asylum that you have plans in the works for a Podcast style blog as well as an interactive message board. How are those projects coming along and do you have a time frame for when your readers can begin enjoying those?

** Soon, very soon. I am waiting on some new graphics from our friend Danny (Iron Clown Studios) and then the message board (which will be called Jim's Loo as a tribute for my old site) will be opened, as for the Podcast "Fat kids in a Basement" we are getting the kinks smoothed out and then we will start to record them. Probably on a monthly basis. They will be both funny and controversial at times.. and of course you have an open invite to be on them. SO if i have to give a time frame I'd say end of may early June! I also hope to open a Café Press store by the fall with stuff to buy like buttons, stickers, and stuff like that

4. I know that, like me, you rarely make religious or political statements on your blog. Do you think that will ever change or will you keep it pretty much in the realm of entertainment?

** As of right now I'm gonna stick to entertainment. If i feel lead to write something on that level I will, but I don't want the comment section to be a holy war or something. I may add a section on the message board for that kind of stuff. I have often thought of starting a side blog for devotions and spiritual matters and I still may if I get the time. As for the Asylum I'm sticking with the current format.

5. We've both talked about the fact that we don't get to read often enough, but when you do get the occasion to read, what kind of literature do you enjoy? Do you have a particular author you consider your favorite or a particular genre you read more than others?

**hmmm... I love humor and of course books on pro wrestling. I also love poetry. Here are some of my favorite authors Charles Bukowski , Nicholson Baker, Penn Jillette (yes of Penn and Teller) Kevin Smith and the occasional Mick Foley book.

It's just hard to pick one I'm sure you're with me on that.

6. Now that we know a bit about your literary preferences, what kind of music to you like?

**Anyone who knows me knows that i am the most loyal Def Leppard Fan in the world. Other than them I enjoy all kinds of music from Dave Matthews Band , Barenaked Ladies, Elvis, to Travis Tritt and Carrie Underwood. I just like good music and I'm probably one of the few bloggers who doesn't own an Ipod, but nothing replaces the awesome CD!!

7. Any favorite foods?

**food is aways a good topic..I know that you and I have enjoyed a few chili cheese burritos in our day. As for my favorite I have to go with pizza and pastas of any kind. I also am a Macdonald's french fries junkie. I love them!

8. As you know, your decision to make Jabberywocky Asylum a daily blog inspired me to attempt to make Carlisle's Chaotic Commentary a weekly blog. I have to admit that I struggle sometimes to come up with topics or ideas. How do you come up with blog topics? What inspires your writing?

**I am inspired by the things i enjoy and observe on a daily basis. I do admit that sometimes I have writers block and struggle to post something, but all in all with a one year old running around and managing a movie theater (my real job)with lots of teenage kids material is not hard to find..Also some of my posts have been written a while ago. I write a lot in a day and In fact when I finish this interview I will work on a few stories that will be future blog posts..

9. You've also mentioned that you aspire to make movies and that you teamed up with you friend Fitz to make an indie flick called “The Bag.” Whatever became of that project and are there any others in the works?

**The Bag will be finished.. Time and recasting has become an issue but it will see the light of day soon.. As for other projects I am working on a small novella called The Break Room that I'd like to make into a film or a play one day. Fitz and I also shot a small bit film a few months ago that once we do some touch up will be really good and really funny.

10. It's a known fact, again via your own blog, that you're a movie buff and that you work at a movie theater. Is there a particular genre of movies you prefer? What would you say is your all-time favorite flick?

**I love all genre of movies.. I know that sounds lame but I do. As for my favorite flick...Thats a hard one I will just give you my top 3
1. Chasing Amy
2. High Fidelity
3. the Big Lebowski

11. Along that same vein, are there any favorite TV programs you enjoy?

**I have recently become a big TV guy my current favorites are House MD, The Big Bang Theory, How I met your Mother, and Til Death.

12. I know that, at one time, you did speaking engagements and full-time ministry and were an ordained Southern Baptist minister. Do you still speak at youth rallies or other evangelistic meetings? If not, then do you see yourself doing that again in the future?

**I haven't spoken in the past year. However I'd love to do it again, but mainly dealing with young people. That is where my heart is in the ministry. If anyone ever asked me to come to there church or event I would. If anyone is reading this and wants to contact me about that they can email me at

13. Anyone who reads your blog knows that you're a Husband and a Dad. How did you and your wife meet? How old is your son now and what's it been like learning to become a Dad? Also, if you would, share with the readers a little about how you named your son and what that means to you.

**I met my sweet wife Kyle (yes she is a woman) when I was working at a movie theater in southern Pines NC. When she walked in the door i was smitten by her smile and laughter. We spoke that day and exchanged emails and have spoken everyday since. My son Joe just turned one in march and becoming a dad has been the coolest thing i have ever done.

I named Joe (whose Real name is Joseph Aaron) after my two favorite rock n rollers!! Joe Elliott form Def Leppard and Elvis Aaron Presley. I felt Joe's name should be grounded in solid rock music.

14. Are you and Kyle planning anymore children, or is one enough? LOL

**As of right now enough is enough lol, but who knows. I'd like to have more one day.

15. Since we've moved from discussing the blog and your writing to life experiences, I'm curious about where you see yourself in 10-20 years?

**Hopefully alive. I'd like to be more established as a writer and possibly working for myself in some fashion. On a personal note I'd just be happy to be with my wife and son watching life happen.

16. You recently posted on your blog that you've registered for college classes at the age of 30. I myself didn't go to college until I was almost in my mid-20's, so I can sympathize with the concept of trying to go back to school after having been away from it for so long. What made you decide to go back to school as an adult?

**I wanted to enhance my writing skills. I figure what better way than to be forced to write stuff I like and don't like and be critiqued aka graded as such. Honestly, I just want to do it for the betterment of myself and hopefully find a cool job where i an sit and write my silly stories and get paid for it.

Wow! Only four more questions left. To be honest, I can't really think of anything as deep as the first sixteen, so let's just have fun with these last few.

17. Beef, Chicken, or Fish?

**Chicken all the way!!!

18. Fries or Baked Potato?

**hmm Fries but a baked potato loaded would be nice

19. Ginger or Mary Ann?

**Mary Ann she made pies..didn't she get busted for pot??? that explains a lot...

20. And finally, here's your chance to go freestyle. Any parting words of wisdom or silliness?

My parting words is my philosophy on writing.

I think as a writer, you tend to take a kernel of truth and then dress it up so that it's entertaining, because otherwise, it's … not entertaining

Thank you James for the honor to be interviewed by you. I am glad that we have been buddies for a long time and we could do this meeting of the minds. I hope I wasn't boring.

And thank you, Jimmy, for taking the time to answer my 20 questions. I'd also like to thank Jimmy for featuring my blog as his “site of the week” on Jabberwocky Asylum a couple of weeks ago. I think it's safe to say that all your regular readers are really looking forward to the rebirth of “Jim's Loo” and the new “Fat Kids in a Basement” Podcast. I'm looking forward to being involved in that, and thanks for the invite.

Jimmy posts blogs to Jabberwock Asylum everyday except Sunday (his one day of rest). So make sure you check it out everyday... hell, do like I do and subscribe to it in your favorite RSS News Feed Reader (e.g., Google Reader). For that matter, you can subscribe to Carlisle's Chaotic Corner too *wink*.

~ JC

Next week on Carlisle's Chaotic Corner: my own personal Bucket List

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