Monday, August 25, 2014

Dream Weaver

Why is it that in my "normal" dreams, there are usually only one or two other people, but my lucid dreams are ridiculously crowded? Also, when I ask any of these people who they are, and why they're in my brain, they turn their backs, and refuse to speak to me. It's quite vexing.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!


And yea, was it written that I should have ice water dumped water over my head for charity...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dah-Day!

Check out this video I animated a few years back for Baze & His Silly Friends! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

Mortie's Blog Tours


Hello, everyone. This is Mortie the Gefilte Fish, guest-blogging here with Mortie's Interviews. Today, I'm interviewing carbon-based lifeform, author, electrician, and all around swell guy, Tony LaRocca. How are you, Tony?

Tony: Fine, thanks.

Mortie: Now, for those who don't know, this is what we call a "Blog Tour," where authors answer a few questions, and then tag a few of their author friends to continue.

Tony: Yes, I was invited by Suzanne Casamento, author of Fingerprints and Choosing Tally.


Mortie: That's just wonderful. Ok, now that we've done the restrospective plugs, why don't you tell us a little about yourself. What do you have published?


Tony: At the moment, I have a science-fiction short story collection, titled False Idols and Other Short Stories. It has a little bit of everything: nuts and bolts, horror, fantasy, comedy, drama... That's the great thing about short stories: you can have different types, themes, and tones. With a novel, it's all one.

Mortie: Which story has gotten the best response, do you think?

Tony: I would have to say "Heaven 2.0." It's pretty much a pact-with-the-devil story, but people tell me they've enjoyed the characters and humor.

Mortie: That's the one about the dog?

Tony: And ancient Japanese cat-demons.

Mortie: Yeah, but I noticed, no fish.

Tony: What?

Mortie: You have stories about dogs, cats, all kinds of scary bugs, even a cyborg-dragon, but no fish. How come?

Tony: Well... if I came up with an interesting story about a fish, then I would write one. But if I just tried to force it, people would be able to tell.

Mortie: I see. Moving on.

Tony: Good.

Mortie: So that's it, one book? That's not a lot.

Tony: Well, in addition to the short stories, I've written three novels over the years. The only problem is, there's a phenomenal amount of work involved to get them up to a publishable level. I've been polishing one for about a year now. It went much quicker when I was unemployed. I'm about halfway done.

Mortie: What's it about?

Tony: It takes place in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future. There's a boy who dies, and his mother paints his mind into a virtual reality painting, which gets stolen by an army of cyborgs. They're also fighting an army of cybernetic insects, who were once humans.

Mortie: But no fish.

Tony: ...No. The novel started out as a short story, just about the mother and painting of the son, being chased by cyborgs. But then I started adding details, and back stories for the characters, and enriching their universe. One of the main characters is a female cyborg named Sigma. She actually started out as male in the short story, and was the main antagonist. There was a lot of (Clive Barker's character) Pinhead in him. I found myself in a rut one day-

Mortie: Which one?

Tony: Excuse me?

Mortie: Which day? Thursday? Was it in July? 2010?

Tony: I think it might have been as far back as 2005. I've been working on this novel for almost ten years.

Mortie: Wow, and no fish?

Tony: No. Anyway, once I changed him into a her, the character became much more interesting. She had an entire slew of different motivations. That's where the real magic comes in writing: the process. You can sit and plot and plan all you want, but when you start writing, all kinds of strange things pop up. That's what's so exciting to me, the bizarre things my subconscious dredges up.

Mortie: I see. So how does your work differ than others in the genre, then?

Tony: Well, it differs because it's coming from my subconscious, rather than someone else's. Authors create stories based on their lives and experiences. My stories are unique because they were dredged from somewhere in the back of my mind, instead of someone else's.

Mortie: Corny, but probably true. So that's the only reason you write what you do? Because your subconscious tells you to?

Tony: Sometimes. I can't let it just go at that though, it's like a puzzle. The aforementioned "Heaven 2.0" came about because a friend of mine chastised me that I had no female heroes in any of my short stories, so I wrote her a story full of them. I also worked in my friends' daughter and her dog as well. But my annoyance at online data gathering, banks who hide traps in the fine print, and love of folklore came through. "False Idols" wasn't originally intended to be a dig at Monsanto, or even religion, for that matter. I needed to give my main character sympathetic motivation, and those themes just came through.

Mortie: Well, "Ad-Aware" is obviously about advertising. Would you say "The Autumn People" is about 9-11?

Tony: No, that's about depression and loneliness. The whole backdrop of the 9-11 aftermath was just my subconscious bleeding through, dealing with what I saw when I worked downtown afterward. Actually, that story was influenced by an essay by Harlan Ellison, in which he talked about subtext. That's how the story started, with me trying to create an atmosphere. Likewise, "Shattered Possibilities" came about by trying to emulate the Firesign Theatre's skill in layering hidden meaning upon hidden meaning. If you're interested in the background of my short stories and their processes, you can read about them here.

Mortie: Ok, I'll do the hyperlinks, here. Come on, let's wrap this up. How does your writing process work?

Tony: An idea comes to me, and I'll jot it down, usually on my Android. I'll dive in, and see if it works. Sometimes, it does, sometimes it's doesn't. After the story has taken off on it's own for a bit, I sit down, and see what sort of general plot I can make out of it. Was what I wrote a beginning, a middle, or an end? What does it need to make it complete? Does it need more characters, backstory, a satisfying ending... I have to look and see what I have, and work out where I'm going. That's why this final edit of my novel is taking so long. I polished and fixed a lot of problems in the first half, and now much of the second half needs rewriting to make it all work. Then I have to read it over and over and over, either short story by short story, or chapter by chapter. I have to apply a lot of narrative Spackle to make it as smooth as possible.

Mortie: Well, thank you very much for your time. Again, you have been talking with me, Mortie the Gefilte Fish, and him, Tony LaRocca. The blog tour continues next Monday with authors Brain Hartman and Don Martin. Check out their blogs then!

Tony: Thank you very much.

Until next time, Shalom.
-Mortie



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Breastfeeding, facebook, God, and Satire.

Hello, everyone, God here. I'm guest blogging today to talk with you about a subject of celestial importance: breast feeding pictures on facebook.

Now, as everyone who has read the Bible knows, I did not create women's breasts to be bared. When I created Eve fully grown from Adam's rib, I made her hair just long enough to cover her upper naughty bits. Likewise, I created fig leaves with a natural Velcro that would stick to pubic hair-but that's beside the point.

The point is, I did not mainly create breasts for feeding, that's just a weird (and frankly, gross) side effect. I created them to be ogled. If you took all the breasts in the world, added up every second that they had been used for nursing, then divided that number by the sum of the times they had been played with, looked at, autographed, or dreamt about, you would get a ratio so infinitely small, you wouldn't be able to find it with a microscope. It's math, people. Boobs are for enjoying, not milking.

And what's with all this hatred for Nestlé? Just because Nestlé encouraged women in poor, underdeveloped nations to use their "free" samples of baby formula instead of nursing, which caused their (weird and perverted) lactations to dry up, making them formula-dependant? Is it Nestlé's fault the women couldn't afford the product once the freebies were gone, or didn't have clean water to mix with it? Were they really to blame for the the resulting high infant death rate? And now, when Nestlé is trying to buy up all the world's natural water supply so they can sell it back to your children in bottles, you're getting on their case again. Sheesh. Some ungrateful people...

But I digress. I'm asking nicely ladies: Stop this weird fetish of breastfeeding your baby in public, especially on facebook. Keep your sick, shameful practice behind clothes doors, preferably under a blanket. Remember, your breasts solely exist for the pleasure of men, so send them pictures of your boobs instead. Why not start with bloggers-especially Sicilians?

Dominus vobiscum,
Me

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday

So here I am, at the end of another Monday. My waistline gets larger, but strangely enough, my pants are becoming looser. This must be some conspiracy between my subconscious and the computer that runs the universe. Another workday has come to a close, another week begins. One day just seems to bleed into another. As Rowlf the Dog said in The Muppet Movie, "I finish work, I go home, read a book, drink a couple of beers, take myself for a walk, and go to bed." Sometimes I'm mad at myself for my lazy whining, but the answer to a difficult plotting problem I had had while editing my new (still unnamed) book has snuck up upon me, as so many of my writing answers do. Perhaps it was just a matter of time.

Speaking of writing, the talented author Suzanne Casamento has invited me on a blog tour. So tune in  next week to read all about my thoughts on writing, past, present, and future.

Also speaking of writing, Craig J. Clark (a very good bearded playwright and werewolf aficionado) has contributed to a compilation of horror film reviews, Hidden Horror. It's chock full of strange and forgotten motion pictures, definitely worth checking out.

In other news, the controls center I'm working in at work FINALLY has air conditioning. The hateful tears of the jealous are like manna to me, they feed my cold, black-but most importantly, cold-heart. If I'm going to suffer the stench of Queens's sewers, I may as well suffer in style.

TTFN
-Tony

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dora the Poltergeist

Saw this in the apartment building basement. My daughter would be mad that I didn't bring it home, but it scared the crap out of me.

TTFN
-Tony

IF: Golden

Trying to get the hang of painting on my Galaxy Note 10. The return of the golden boy.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Heroic Chicks on Battle Chickens

I'm lying here, listening to the rain. Clouds are bumping uglies, making sparks fly. I explain to my frightened daughter that clouds are huge, and yell at each other to get out of the way. I miss my parent's house, the sliding doors in the kitchen that give a beautiful view to thunderstorms on summer nights.

I've been rewatching Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, and wishing I had it in me to be so arrogant an author. Still working on the rewrite that's taking forever, but my characters needed better motivation. I can't think of the word without remembering Drill Sergeants screaming it at me, that I wasn't motivated enough. I can remember so many things. I'll probably get Alzheimer's when I'm older.

What if a person's left hearing aid was modulated up three half-steps, and the right up a fifth? Would they then hear their universe as a progression of minor chords? Would it drive them to insanity and depression?

Watching the end of Heavy Metal on Netflix. My daughter plays with her naked Barbie riding on a My Little Pony Pegasus, named Starry Farts, or something like that, and I'm reminded of Taarna from the end of the film. Of course I haven't shown it to her, I have SOME parenting abilities. Also, Taarna rides a giant chicken. (Hence my humble sketch.)

Take care, my friends.

TTFN
Tony

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In a perfect world, it's required readomg in schools across the country.

You know, not only is that Suzanne Casamento an extremely talented writer and a wonderful human being, but she's obviously also a woman of impeccable taste.

TTFN
-Tony

At least I'm never alone

Awww... so many friends to play with at work!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Selfie With Your Sister Day

Mets won, waiting for Huey Lewis and the News to start!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Slipped Discs Blues

Jelly doughnuts bulging on my sciatic nerve,
Twists me to the side, makes my spine all curved.
Every time I stand, I have to stretch the other way,
I tell everyone I'm practicing for when I do ballet.
It's no fun when all your discs have slipped,
And you have to walk around like someone kicked you in the hips.
My stomach is overflowing with NSAIDs,
Oh Lordy, won't you give me back my spine from 1993?

Tony LaRocca, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Yes, you!

You are good. You matter.
Happy 96th birthday,
Grandpa Parisi!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Night

I'm lying in the dark, which is where I usually lie. I wonder for  a brief moment if I'm laying or lying, and decide that at the moment, I truly don't care.
It's like when people say you should "give it up to God," it's always the bad stuff. No one ever gives up the good stuff. In the old testament, everyone had to sacrifice the best of their best. Now everyone just gives up the crap they don't want. No wonder we're screwed.
I keep getting fatter. The backs of my knees are the only parts of my body that are sweaty. Why?
I have to learn how to be funnier. Drama is too easy, too self-serving. Everyone wants to be listened to, nobody wants the burden of listening. The secret is never to whine about the comedy mask. No one wants to hear it. And yes, I get the irony that that's just what I'm doing right now.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sleeping Under the Watchful Eye of Jesus...

You know your sainted mother is cute when she puts this on the guest bed for you =)
TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Paint

I'm sorry I got muck everywhere,
Now it's stuck in everyone's hair.
They were once such pretty colors:
Cerulean, scarlet, and jade,
But they all got mixed together,
Now they look like something a dog made.
I tried so hard to make it good enough,
But the details were never just right.
So I tried again, and again,
But the paint underneath was still wet,
And now it's just a horrible fright.
I'm sorry, I really wanted to paint you something beautiful,
But inside, I'm just not the artist I wanted to be.
Maybe the Guggenheim will buy it for a million bucks.

-Tony LaRocca, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Polaroid Tattoo

Blonde, beige sundress, nose stud,
Underground R-train rail,
Polaroid camera on your upper arm,
Tattooed in high detail.
Do you want to record life-changing moments,
Instant gratification for memories?
Or are you just an art-school hipster,
Protesting Photoshopped Instagtam selfies?
Do you admire the engineering and chemistry,
Photons, silver halide, and water?
Is it an over-stretched metaphor for giving birth?
Are you Edward Land's great-granddaughter?
Are you documenting passing seconds,
Before they die like fading embers?
Or do you deliberately keep your past blurred,
Until you choose how you want to remember?
All these questions and more,
Stay undeveloped in my head.
I didn't want you to think I was hitting on you,
So I let you go instead.

-Tony LaRocca, 2014
   

Monday, June 09, 2014

Obvious Fishing

Finding myself writing all kinds if bizarre poems and songs. Wondering if I should share-or even worse, sing them...

TTFN
-Tony

Saturday, June 07, 2014

I feel like I could... like I could...

Playing one of the greatest computer games of all time with Mandy. Sigh, I miss you Lucas Arts...

TTFN
-Tony

Friday, June 06, 2014

Friday!

Just... a few... more... minutes...

Monday, June 02, 2014

Strange Doodles and Stranger Dreams

It seems that after all these years, it's still impossible for me to attend school (in this case, a class for Confined Space certification) without doodling. Props to all the Whovians out there who get the reference.

I had a bizarre dream the other night that my paternal grandfather (who died when I was in first grade) had really been alive all these years, and had just recently died. I was furious at my father for hiding the truth from me.

The bizarre thing? I had the exact same dream, back in 2007. I knew it seemed familiar. That's the great thing about PDA's, you can jot down dreams quickly, and save them for referencing.

I wonder what my subconsciousness is playing at...

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, May 26, 2014

Illustration Friday: Universe


The Third Testament, according to me:

And lo, did it come to pass, that the polar ice caps did melt, and the seas did rise. And the people wailed and gnashed their teeth, and cried, “Oh Lord, why did you not warn us?”

And yea, did the Lord sigh heavily. “But you people must have known that you were poisoning your air, trapping carbon dioxide, and contaminating your food supply. Wake up, and stop lumping beliefs in with each other. Throw rotten kumquats at those who would convince you that caring about your environment is somehow tied in with religious and political decisions. It isn’t. You can believe that global warming is an ecological disaster, and still feel that Obama is a lying schmuck, if you wish. Science isn’t your enemy, it knows no religion or politics. Stop being so stupidly ideological.

“Science?” asked the people, “but why then does Your Good Word say that the Earth is the center of the universe, and was created in six days?”

“Look,” spake the Lord, “Thousands of years ago, that’s what made sense to a bunch of goat herders. They looked in the sky, saw things moving across it, and said, ‘Hey, the heavens are just a bowl on top of the ground.’ That was as far as their knowledge reached, so they made sense of what they observed. Now some of you look at the sky and think, ‘Lookie that, everything is moving away from each other really fast. In order for that to happen, there must have been some sort of really big bang aeons ago.’ Who knows? A hundred thousand years from now, you might have proof that that’s true, or that theory may turn out to be as silly as uber-knowledge-giving apples, and talking snakes. I gave you eyes to observe, and brains to work things out.”

“So, wait,” the people said, “You’re saying the story of Adam and Eve isn’t real? I'm not descended from a monkey!”

And the Lord’s face grew red, and he shouted, “No one ever said you were descended from a monkey, someone just figured out that you had a common ancestor! Jesus Christ, people, why do you think a pig’s heart valve is compatible with a human body?”

“So... You’re saying we’re descended from pigs?”

And thus did the Lord slap His forehead and rub it vigorously, for He was getting a migraine.

“Ok,” He spake, “Here’s what you need to know. If you truly love Me, and want to do My work, then for fuck’s sake, use the brains I gave you to seek out how My universe actually works. That’s the only way you can do that. Do you idiots think you just pray for healing, and it magically happens? It happens through the deeds of others. Those deeds can only be on level with your current level of knowledge. Some self-serving bastards have convinced you that evolution is evil, but you still give antibiotics to your kids when they’re sick. That came from evolution, morons. I’ll say it again: You want to do My will? You want to be My tool for answering prayers? Then stop insisting it’s sinful to look beyond what hut-dwellers thought thousands of years ago. Use your brains. That’s why I gave them to you. Learn how My universe really works, so you can do My work.”

And the people did look at each other, and said, “But if we do that, won’t we have to vote for Hillary in 2016?”

And yea, did the Lord let out a cry of celestial annoyance, and dissapeared into the aether. And thus did the seas rise, and those with cunning knowledge and foresight did own beach-front property in Ohio, and charged a fat wad for access.

The word of the Blog.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Schmaltzy, I know...

Text this to someone you know tonight. You never know who needs to hear it.

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Good hunting, Alpha I!

I hooked up my new PC to the flat-screen television. Unfortunately, it came with Windows 8. Everyone wants to pretend their desktop is just a giant smartphone, right? Ridiculous operating system or not, retro-gaming on a wide-screen TV from your couch is just fun.

Quake I - the best FPS ever made (with the Darkplaces engine.)

Tie Fighter. Why oh why isn't there an updated version of this game? I would seriously throw money at you, Lucas!

Watching YouTube is fun too, you don't get the blocks with browser viewing the way you do through the Xbox or Wii. I had fun torturing the kids with 80's videos. According to my ten-year-old daughter::

"Land of Confusion": too weird.
"Take on Me": too romantic.
"Holy Diver": too scary.
"Just a Gigolo": too many girls without pants.

In other news, a security guard was shot Saturday night at the bowling alley right around the corner from my home. This is where I take my kids, where I've had birthday parties for them, for Christ's sake. It horrifies me that this can happen on my block. I feel like screaming the "in my bedroom" rant. from Godfather II. Seriously, what kind of piece of shit does that?

TTFN
-Tony

Sunday, May 18, 2014

(Modest) Genetic Lottery Winner

Apparently, I can scrub up halfway decent. (With most honorable Papa-san.)

TTFN
-Tony

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Gospel According to Me

“I hate to bother you guys, but I have a real problem here.”

Over Jesus’s shoulder, Haniel could see Puriel rolling his seraphic eyes. “What do you need, boss?” he asked.

“I had this great idea, that I would make a few loaves of bread and some fish feed five thousand people. Look, I admit, it’s a little ambitious, but I’m sure it would really win them over.”

“Uh huh,” said Puriel. “And how do you propose to do this?”

“Well, obviously I stopped time-”

The angel gestured to the frozen multitudes. “Obviously.”

Jesus shrugged. “Yeah... I was going to go fishing for a few months, and bake a shitload of bread,” he said, “but with time being frozen, the water’s frozen too, and fire doesn't burn, so that’s out.”

“Yeah,” Haniel said. “Look, kid, we’re on the clock here. Freezing time takes a lot of energy.”

“Besides, we’re strictly here to carry out plans, not make them,” said Puriel. “Union rules.”

“Yeah, I know, I know,” Jesus said. “But maybe you guys could help me out, just this once?”

Haniel sighed. He rubbed his hands together. “Ok,” he said, “have you tried the multiverse?”

Jesus stroked his beard. “The multiverse?”

“Sure.” Haniel said. “It’s easy. You just talk to all the different Jesuses in all the alternate realities that don’t have to feed 5000 people today. They each give you one loaf of bread and one fish. Then, when the time comes, you trade something back to each one of them. A fish, an egg, lamb chops, whatever. It’s not going to be exactly the same.”

“How about a gold coin?” Jesus asked.

“Oh yeah, like that would work,” said Puriel. “Think. Caesar’s not going to be the same across the different dimensions. Each coin would look different.”

“That’s true,” said Jesus, “Especially in the reality where I have three heads.”

Haniel whipped out his Android. “Ok,” he said, tapping in a few calculations. “I have it narrowed down to five thousand multiverses where there’s no feast today, and the fish and wheat aren't toxic to the people here.”

“Oh,” said Jesus. “Well, do I ask-”

“They’re all coming up with the same idea at the same time,” Puriel said, as, with flashes of light, thousands of Jesuses (male and female) materialized, fish and bread in hand.

“It’s all here,” Haniel said, pointing to his smartphone. “I’ve got a schedule down for you. Tomorrow is fig day. You need to bring three figs a day to dimension 54b through Alpha-6 by sundown for the next four and a half years, or the miracle in those dimensions will fail, and the critical amount of souls won't be saved. Can you do that?

“Easy,” said Jesus, as his trans-dimensional brothers and sisters piled the fish and loaves before him. “Fig trees LOVE me.”

(The word of the Lord.)

TTFN
-Tony



Monday, May 12, 2014

Random moments of my life...

I woke up this morning with The Electric Company's sign songs in my head. Can't blame Z100 for that. "I like fish food, you do too... Don't look now, your hair is blue..."

Is it just me, or does the new Godzilla movie look like it's taking itself WAY too seriously. No Gamera or Mothra? Where's the fun in that? And now people are actually saying that the new Godzilla looks too fat. These are probably the same scrotal sacs who think that Cookie Monster needs to eat vegetables.

I have no idea why, but I have this recent obsession with the old DOS (and yes, I know it was on the C64 first) game, Impossible Mission 2. It's still impossible.

My aunt-in-law gave my daughter a feather boa, which she loves. Of course, there are fake purple feathers all over the apartment.

And in other news, The Schmoo was apparently murdered in our parking lot at work...


TTFN
-Tony


Sunday, May 11, 2014

There's nothing on. I just wanted to say hi. I hope you had a happy day, and that life is being good to you.

TTFN
-Tony