That Was the Day We Found Joey “Chew Toy” Pirelli Lying Face Down in the Snow

Dear Nature:

Thank you for your submission, “A Light Dusting of Snow on John Scalzi’s Patio, November 10, 2008.” Unfortunately, we feel that it does not suit our needs at this time. We encourage you to submit something similar perhaps six weeks in the future. At the moment, however, we feel it is inappropriate for our audience’s needs.


John Scalzi

58 Comments on “That Was the Day We Found Joey “Chew Toy” Pirelli Lying Face Down in the Snow”

  1. Also, the first person from the Upper Midwest who says “You call that snow?” will be cursed with spontaneous combustion. Which at least will keep them warm.

  2. We had flurries off and on most of the weekend, but nothing stuck around here. I hope that stays true through this coming weekend because running a con in the snow is a pain the the patootie (WindyCon coming up fast!)

  3. Dear Scalzi,

    I urge you to reconsider. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I feel this offering of light frosted precipitation in early November is one of my most challenging and powerful works to date. I realise some people may see it as derivative of the “Deranged Weather” movement so popular in Bangladesh and Kensal Rise over the last few years, but it really stands entirely as an independent work.
    It’s a truism in art that the audience doesn’t always recognise its own desires. Please let the piece sit for a few days and consider it on its own merit. If you still feel it has no immediate power for you, I will of course look to create something more powerful in December/January.


    PS really liked “Old Man’s War”. Where do you get your ideas?

  4. Whoops, I better not say that then. All in all, I think I’d rather have your submission than ours from this past weekend, though: “A couple of inches of wet snow in high winds, with intermittent power failures[1]”.

    -From the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

    [1] We didn’t have the power failure, but when we went into the hardware store, the power was out *there*. Which lead me to observe, as the staff headed to the battery and flashlight shelves, that there are certainly worse places to ride out a power failure than a hardware store.

  5. As a Floridian, can I goggle like the slack-jawed hick I am at that white stuff that is apparently a solid form of water without being cursed? Because around here, even that much snow would cause people’s brains to stop functioning the instant they got behind the wheel of a car, schools would be cancelled, and we’d have to stop wearing flip-flops.

  6. I’m in Winnipeg. We just had a snowstorm earlier this weekend, and lots of the roads are still like skating rinks. Since I’m not from the upper midwest, do I reserve the right to say “You call that snow?”

  7. I think you’re being a little harsh with your rejection. Think about Nature’s feelings. Here in Minneapolis we embraced the submission and think it’ll probably win an award or two – at least notice in a year’s best. We’re looking forward to more powerful works from the submitter, possibly some that will simply take our breaths away.

    Glad you took a pass on it, but it does explain why we’re getting more media notice for our collection year after year.

  8. At first I thought you were addressing the publication ‘Nature’, and could not figure out what they had to do with a picture of your patio.

  9. We had our first snow here in Western MA on 10/29, about an inch. It has since melted but it was a bummer. It is going to be a long winter.

  10. I asked my husband if he ordered today’s snow. He said it was a welcome home present since I’d been in Cleveland all weekend. I’m just glad it didn’t snow yesterday evening when I was driving home.

  11. I am in the upper midwest and I envy your snow, such as it is. I like snow. Once the fall foliage is done, Nature needs to quit screwing around and gimme what I want.

    And how disturbing is it that the rejection-letter format caused an immediate and unpleasant reaction in my midsection, even though I am not Nature, nor did I submit anything to John Scalzi’s Patio?

    On the other hand, John Scalzi’s Patio would be a neat magazine name.

    Or a band name. Definitely a band name.

    Off to find coffee and see if there’s literary brilliance on MY patio.

  12. Dear Mr. Scalzi:

    Thank u for your “response.” I’m surprised, frankly, that u even took the time. Obviously u did not have enough to spare to give my submission the consideration it truely deserves. Did u even look passed the first flake? Did u even notice there all different? There are some spectacular one’s about three feet foreward of u and about six incehs to the rite, but u wouldn’t know because u didn’t look, aren’t they?

    Many of my friends and acquaintenses believe my work is of the first order. Even Mathematics has expressed impression with my ouver.

    It is obvious u lack the critical faculty’s necessary for discriminating me. Perhaps I won’t bother sending anything more your way. Unless u want to see a TORNADO!!!???!!!

    Respectuflly. Not.


  13. This sent me running for the window but, alas, the winter division of Nature seems only to be awake a little north of here. Thank goodness because I’m really not ready for this yet. But I *did* stock up on ice melter recently because when you really need it there is none to be found.

  14. Bah. We had snow almost 2 weeks ago here in PA, although admittedly it didn’t last very long after turning to rain in the afternoon.

    It was pretty heavy for a while, though.

  15. I just want to note that, as mob names go, ‘Chew Toy’ is decidedly bottom-rung.

    If he could still speak, Vincent ‘Cement Overshoes’ Pastrano would agree.

  16. Brett L #5–

    …that much snow would cause people’s brains to stop functioning the instant they got behind the wheel of a car…

    “Stop functioning”? When did they start?

  17. Gee, that sure brings back memories…grew up near Buffalo and the early effects of dual lake effect snow often asserted itself before Halloween. Had to buy costumes a couple sizes too big to accomodate snowsuit bulk underneath for trick or treating!!

    Traditionally my home town has snow of some variety on or before my mid-November birthday every year.

    Enjoy! here in Atlanta, although largely populated by people from higher latitudes, that much snow at any time of year would produce regional panic and paralysis!! As well as a run on bread, milk and eggs at the stores.

  18. Snow???

    That is just someone’s dandruff.

    Ok. John was from DC area so I guess they call that snow and freak out and hide in closets. Or drive and die.

    But sheesh.


    We had more but it was gone by the afternoon too. But got the last of the walnut tree leaves down thankfully. Now need to rake them up.

    Now Walnut Tree leaves. That is nature’s evil work. EVIL!

  19. (insert comment about Northern Utah sometimes seeing several inches of snowfall in late September…)

    Having said that, I must admit that snow is one of the things I missed most, when I lived in the Puget Sound region. Because the Puget Sound only has three seasons: Cold Rainy Spring, Delightfully Mild Summer, Cold Rainy Autumn. No true winter. At least not the way God intended.


  20. Jim, of course, is in the upper, upper, Upper, Upper, UPPER Mid-West.

    Only not so ‘mid.’

    [Well, technically, close to the pole… oh, never mind.]

  21. Also, the first person from the Upper Midwest who says “You call that snow?” will be cursed with spontaneous combustion

    Oh…uh…I was just about to say that….um.

    How about that upcoming Michigan-Ohio State game, huh?

  22. I’m in southern Ontario and I’m wish you John. Nature, keep that stuff to yourself until Christmas. I almost freaked out when we had some flurries in October. But I prefer that to the full snowstorm other places got.

  23. So far, Seattle’s winter is looking a lot like spring, or even summer. Temps in the 50s, lots of rain and (warm) wind…

    SO’s right; the only way we Seattlelites know the season has changed is that department stores change their holiday-theme displays. But even that gets a special spin here in the proudly polycultural northwest. Halloween was equal parts Dia Del Muerte, Samhain, and Costume-n-Candy Extravaganza. Now those have been put away in favor of weirdly generic “could-be-Thanksgiving;could-be-Christmas;how-about-Solstice?” stuff.

    God, I love my ever-so-sensitive city.

  24. What I love about the Maritimes is that since we had an extremely mild weekend temp wise (although we had some warm rains and no wind) I see out my picture window everybody wearing sleeveless this and athletic shorts that, but the quick turn around in temperature kills my sinuses and you should feel sorry for me, Mrs. Nature. Mother Nature is such an evil vixen.

  25. Porphyrogene @21:

    Well I live in North Fla, and am thus exempt from any stereotypes that might be applied to Floridians from Orlando or further south. Any stereotypes about Alabama or Georgia may be applicable.

  26. Snow, beautiful snow! Break out the skis and the hot chocolate with schnapps!

    Besides, it will keep you inside working on your next book. That was just nature’s way of encouraging you to write.

  27. Joey Chew Toy had it coming to him. He was getting sloppy, and that reflected poorly on the rest of the family.

  28. Nature of such a magnitude is front page news in San Diego. I went to the beach for surfing and tanning this weekend.

    We have noticeable 3 seasons in SanDawg. They are barely noticeable, however one can recognize ant season, fly season and spiders season.

  29. CaseyL @ #30: Is Sea-Tac Airport allowing or banning Winter Solstice Tree displays this year?


  30. I was so happy to see the “light dusting of snow” this morning, although I was a bit disappointed in the amount. I mean, is that really all the snow we get? After waiting so long? But I guess I have to wait until spring break for a legitimate blizzard.

  31. Nature dropped by Seattle and left a submission that’s also rather weak. I believe it was titled “Five inches of rain, a windstorm and leaves that now need raking #1.”

    I’ll trade you.

  32. I don’t don’t about you but I love winter! Yay! Snow!
    You just have to have something fun to do in it. I choose to climb frozen waterfalls with pointy metal spikes, and snowboard down mountains, hurling myself off jump and rails with reckless abandon. I can’t wait. Woo hoo!

  33. Forty-one comments and only one about poor Joey?

    Did the SCI (Scalzi Crime Investigation) team find any evidence that could identify the perpetrator?

    Personally, I’m betting it’s fall out from the “Stuffed Animal Purge” a while back. Maybe SCI should talk to Kodi, see if he’ll finger Elmo Extreme.

    “Elmo says you’re going down, Joey. Hee hee ho ho ha ha ha!”

    – yeff

  34. You Seattleites thought the recent rain there was bad? You should see what happens down here when it rains in the Bay Area. Everyone gets paralyzed behind the wheel. It’s just Water! (Screams the Western Washington Expatriot…)

    Ok, I’m done now. I cannot wait for snow in the Sierras, though. That can never come soon enough.

  35. Jeff @43, do you remember when we got SNOW down here a couple of years ago? Jesus Old Man Chrysler. There was a zillion-car pileup on the grade near Sausalito, and it was, what, 1/2″ of snow?

  36. What surprises me about Seattle and Salt Lake City both: the numbers of people who have lived in both places all their lives, yet apparently lose their memories and their driving sense every time it rains (Seattle) or snows (Salt Lake City.)

    I mean, really. What is that anyway? It’s the same crap you see every damn year! So how come you’re doing ten over the limit, on your cell phone, less than a car-length behind the car in front of you, and then have the nerve to get upset when the wreck inevitably occurs and backs up the entire interstate for hours and hours?

    Frankly, I think “Chew Toy” just had a coronary. Saw the snow, decided it would be a fun time to go for an autumn stroll, clutched his chest… No time to crawl back to the house and gasp for an ambulence. Thought it seems like he certainly gave it the old college try. Poor bastard.

  37. Sub-Odeon and others
    I can confirm what you’re saying.

    I live in Seattle, well Everett actually, and I keep thinking that we should be better at driving in the rain than we are. I keep hoping that it will get better but the “rain driving skills memory chip” keeps on getting reset to the zero state during the next sun break.

    I grew up in Nebraska and while the drivers there are pretty bad in certain ways(turn signal usage), they do remember how to drive in weather from one season to the next.

    As for the snow/no-snow discussion. This is why I love living in the Northwest.
    You want snow? Drive about 20 miles east into the Cascades, play in the snow, LEAVE IT THERE and come back home. I’ve only shoveled my sidewalk here in the lower elevations once in about 10 years or so. Meanwhile, I can head to Mt. Baker and snowboard or ski all winter with clear roads most of the way. A good compromise as far as I’m concerned.

  38. Sub-O… you assume that Seattlites have driving skills that they forget. As a native I can assure you that this is not true. Most of my fellows can’t drive when it’s dry. I, of course, am a GREAT driver.

  39. Hmmm. I was just thinking to myself that autumn has finally started here in coastal Georgia. Some of the tree leaves are starting to turn colors!

  40. John,

    Another example of your writing brillance. Thanks. Your entry made me snicker. Also, Nick Harkawayon, your response was funny too, but of course John takes the cake because it’s his blog and his original idea.

  41. rick @ 49

    You’re probably right. I’m in a van pool so I stay safely in the HOV lane on the trip to the U district.

    I’m LOL with Sub-Odeon though. I see some pretty mindless stuff every day.

    For instance,just last week I saw a driver only car pull into the HOV lane and proceed to speed past a state patrol car. I mean @ 70-75 MPH. It took a few seconds for the trooper to react. I think he was stunned at how stupid that was.

    Needless to say, the trooper recovered and proceeded to pull the dude over. I still chuckle when I think about it.

  42. I shall bravely resist the temptation to do a “you call that snow?” entry even though your probably don’t get the view I have out of my window today even in the weeks you call winter. Jim@Stonekettle called it right even if he is on the wrong side 130W . . .

  43. Any of y’all who are somehow convinced that Western Washington winters are insufficiently unpleasant are welcome to come help us sort and vaccinate calves for weaning the weekend of Dec. 9th.

    The thing about winter here isn’t that it’s cold, much, as it is that it’s so dark even at noon, except for rare uncloudy days- and then it’s cold enough for anyone, given the screaming winds from the northeast.

    (According to the Olympian, it had rained 5.76 inches in November, and last night an important bit of dialogue in “Fringe” was interrupted by an announcement from the NWS of a flood watch all the way around Puget Sound, read by a fumbling illiterate who mispronounced “Puyallup”).

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