Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stop Whining and Edit!

Nobody ever told me that writing a book would be like having to be the world’s meanest English teacher, having to check the world’s brattiest student’s work. No wonder so many hated me.

Every writer is different. To me, writing is like sculpting. You mold clay into a rough shape and form, adding more details here and there. But in the end, you realize that your renaissance-era left leg does not match the Greek-era style right. What do you do? Do you remake the left, the right, or both? Does the weight of the left arm make the entire figure topple over? I guess you have to reposition those mixed-era legs now. And what the hell is with that hat and hair? Maybe he’d be better bald instead…

So eventually, you get the base pose, figure, hair, and bowler hat down to what you want. That’s great. But there are cracks in the elbows and knees where the weight is showing. Better take away some of that belly fat and reinforce them-but not too much. As you’re reinforcing the knees, you come up with an amazing idea – what if he’s wearing all around knee-armor? That would be really cool… except you better give him elbow armor as well. Which means his snazzy bowler hat looks ridiculous. Better make it into a helmet. Okay, now everything works and is balanced. You have what you consider a sculpture / plot / story / whatever: The first draft is finally finished.

The next day, you see all the details and imperfections that need to be smoothed or sharpened. Okay, fine, I’ll give the hair that’s peeking out of the bottom of the helmet some definition. Now it looks amazing and realistic. But… his eyes just don’t match it now, and his stubble is way too rough for such fine hair. Both need to be fixed and then it will be perfect. Okay, they’re both fixed, but why is his hair so nice when his armor is so filthy? Sigh…

To make a long story short, I really thought the second and final draft of Debris of Shadows: Book II would be ready by now, but it’s still being edited and obsessively scoured. I thank you for your patience.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Shallow Thoughts

I had a dream last night that due to global warming, I lost my job, and had to fish in the flooded streets with my son from a rowboat to feed our family. Damn you, Al Gore...

Silly facebook memes seem to have given birth to intersting conversations. For example, does the soul exist, and if so, is it a construct of the body that begins when sperm meets egg, or is there an infinite number of souls floating around heaven, waiting to be assigned a body? If so, is it always a human body, or just any body that comes along? If we live in a multiverse, does each of the infinite mes get a soul, or do we just split one, and as I die throughout the infinite possibilities, do the rest of us absorb my souls, until "there can be only one"? If so, as there are fewer and fewer mes, does having a less spread-out soul make the surviving mes luckier, or have more life and vitality? If so, is it better to have all of your other souls along the probability axis killed off early on, and worse for all of them to live a long life? Are old, homeless people you see in the gutter just men unlucky enough to have the majority of their souls live long enough to see old age?

Since amoebas reproduce by splitting in half, are all amoebas today still technically part of the original Adam/Eve amoeba?

Was there a Jesus amoeba who died for their sins? 

Sigh, I have to go to work now. This is what happens when you stay up late to force your children to watch The Sound of Music.

Have you ever noticed that the ending of The Blues Brothers is suspiciously similar to The Sound of Music - including the positioning of State Troopers and Nazis at their respective concerts?

Anyhoo, everyone have a good one.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dream dream dream...

I've been having sad and violent dreams the past few days. Sadly, they really don't have anything I can mine for fiction, at least nothing comes to mind.

There was one where I was in a church which branched into a giant old office building, and at some point I released a river of acid I was trying to escape from while carrying my daughter. I managed to get some on my hand which burned down to the bone. I approached God, and woke up. Maybe that one would be useful.

There was another one with two high school classmates at a reunion who were in love with each other, but kept standing back to back refusing to talk with each other.

Anyway, another week at work before Christmas. With any luck, my car will be ready by Christmas Eve. I don't want to do too much driving back and forth, I don't want another vacation I need a vacation from afterward.

After almost two years after filming my scene, Vicious Thunder (which was, at the time, called Case at Midnight) they finally held the premiere in PA last week. A lot of fun, and a long drive back and forth in the snow, but what the hell, how many times am I going to get to see myself killed on the big screen?


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Moving Right Along

You know that feeling when there was something in your first draft you were never really happy with, but couldn't figure out exactly how to fix it, and then months later while editing it hits you, and you reach up to the sky from your keyboard, and cry, "THESE HANDS HAVE BEEN TOUCHED BY GOD!!!"?

Another issue with writing is a question of how subtle or how in your face you should be, if there's a point you want to make. Even if a character is based on a real person, is making such a prejudiced character just a strawman example? Everyone is so ridiculously on edge about idiotic social issues these days, it's tempting to ignore them at all.

But then, if you're afraid of saying what you want, there's no point in writing, I suppose. It's just a question of doing it well (I hope!)

For those who don't know, I was in a big accident over Thanksgiving. There were no injuries, that's the important thing. But even though it's not my first, it drove home how instantly something stupid can happen (I'm wondering if the other driver was "distracted-driving") but more importantly, how much the people we love matter more than anything else - more than the stupid arguments that seem to have overtaken our lives these days, certainly.

Be good to each other.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ideology 2016

To my friends who genuinely believed in Hillary Clinton and are devastated by her loss: I am sorry for what you're going through.

But to those who did and are continuing to shame, bully, generalize, insult, vilify, and accuse everyone who did not support her... maybe... maybe there's a reason that did not work out too well.

Just something to think about.


Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Well THAT was unexpected.

Makes me wish I hadn't sworn off of political commentary, though I do think there will be more entertainment before January.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Why I Will Never Vote For Hillary, or Don't Piss In My Face And Tell Me It's Raining

Good morning, friends and neighbors.

I'd like to start off by saying that I know this won't change anyone's mind, or the outcome of the election. It doesn't matter; these are simply things that need to be said.

I should add that I consider myself an independent. There are issues that I support on both the left and right.  This post is not a condemnation of Democrats or Hillary supporters, nor is it in support of Donald Trump

I'd also like to say that I am a firm believer that everyone has the right to vote for whomever they want, be that Trump, Hillary, Johnson, Stein, or a Head of Lettuce Called Ralph.

Last, but not least, unless something really entertaining happens, this is going to be my last political post for a while. So, it's going to be a long one.

Super duper last - comment whatever you want, but seriously, I'm sick of arguing with everyone, so I probably won't respond. Feel free to comment how you feel, agree or disagree and fight among yourselves. That's what the internet is for.

Let's cut to the chase:

Donald Trump has always been on the ticket only to ensure that Hillary Clinton wins, to give us the illusion of choice. YOU WERE NOT INTENDED TO HAVE A CHOICE.

America is being played.

Can I prove this? No, sadly I can't. There is no smoking gun, no diary saying "How I faked a campaign. you morons." Just a mountain of circumstantial evidence. Just the fact that he and the Clintons held a close friendship right up to this year, the fact that he never held any political ambitions before this election, the fact that he has done everything in his power to deliberately self-sabotage his campaign at every turn, especially when Hillary's numbers were down.

The fact that he magically jumped into the political scene when Hillary needed a cartoonish super-villain most, because a cartoonish super-villain is the only person Hillary could ever beat.

All theories aside, Trump has simply never acted like a man seeking the presidency. He has acted, in every step of the way, like a man trying his damnedest not to be elected. He acts like a man screaming "DO NOT VOTE FOR ME!" at the top of his lungs.

The problem is, I think that deep down, a lot of people know it. But now, especially after the recent tape leak, there is a "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" attitude that criticizing Hillary = sexually assaulting women. To say anything that the pulpit is not preaching means ostracization, followed by a burning at the stake. And if you ask whether or not the mainstream media has planted. watered, and fed that fear, you get the following response:

"Probably. But that doesn't matter, because Trump is legitimatizing hate."

Yes, Trump is a lightning rod for hate, isn't he? He's literally Hitler mixed with Satan with a touch of Stalin, the KKK, a dash of Sunny Delight, and whoever else you want to throw in.

And it makes such a compelling argument, doesn't it? Because there's been such a massive, combined effort to elevate strawmen and create false equivalences that people dare not say anything that goes against the grain or even dare to question Hillary Clinton. To do so is to "legitimatize hate", or makes you a proponent of "rape culture."

Isn't that extremely convenient?

I don't have anything against Muslims, but I see the massive problems Europe is having with ISIS infiltrating refugees, and it definitely bears caution-
"You're legitimatizing hate."

I can't blame illegal immigrants for seeking a better life, but logistically, allowing them to come in and join the work force will cause unemployment and hurt workers' rights, not to mention be a huge drain on social services. It's a question of supply and demand-
"You're legitimatizing hate."

Hillary Clinton INSISTED on practices that made classified information insecure for years, despite repeated warnings.
"You're legitimatizing hate."

How can feminist groups say that supporting a candidate accused of sexual misconduct equals supporting sexual misconduct itself, after they spent years kissing Bill Clinton's butt cheeks when he was accused of the same thing?
"You're legitimatizing hate!"

I'm all for LGBT rights, but I can also understand parents being concerned that molesters would take advantage of the bathroom equivalency law.
"You're legitimatizing hate."

Why were liberals so vehemently opposed to Citizens United, but turn a blind eye to Hillary's propaganda Super-PACs, like "Correct the Record"?
"You're legitimatizing hate."

Not everyone who says "All lives matter" are racist. Some actually do mean it, and think exclusion and division are where racism begin. How can you assume and insist on their intentions?
"You're legitimatizing hate!"

Bernie Sanders fought his entire political life for everything Hillary was against.
"You're legitimatizing hate."

CNN wants voters uninformed so badly that they went so far as to claim that reading Wikileaks emails are illegal, and people should only get their information from the Media.
"You're legitimatizing hate."

Hillary Clinton is one of those at the top of the "1%" you've been lecturing against for years.
"You're legitimatizing hate."

What do you say to the proof that the DNC colluded with Hillary to make sure she received the nomination?
"You're legitimatizing hate."

Hillary Clinton's secret 'speech fees' to the very banking institutions she promises to cull were obviously bribes.
"You're legitimatizing hate."

I seriously think Trump is only there to ensure Hillary's victory-
"You're legitimatizing hate."

So Assanage's internet was cut off under pressure from the US Government (according to NBC News), because Wikileaks was releasing more and more proof of-
"You're legitimatizing hate."

-of Hillary's corruption, and under-
"You're legitimatizing hate."

-underhanded dealings while holding office. Don't you WANT to know what the person you're electing was doing that was against your interests, as a citizen-

And my new personal favorite, the one that really turns my stomach:

I'm going to vote third-party.
"You're legitimatizing hate."

This is the new McCarthyism for the 21st century, folks. This is the new intolerant, fundamentalist puritanism, all for the benefit of a corrupt government and its proposed figurehead. I want to rewrite The Crucible just for this election:

REPUBLICAN: Mister Combetta, did you tamper with evidence against Hillary Clinton?

COMBETTA: I-I plead the Fifth. (Shivers) A racist, misogynist wind has come, sir.

COMEY: Touch him, Your Honor, he is cold!

COMBETTA: (Looks to the sky) I Freeze! Save me, Hillary, save me!

IT GUY 1: Uh... I Freeze too!

IT GUY 2: Me too!

IT GUY 3: Someone turn them off and on again!

(Congressmen begin to murmur and cross themselves.)

REPUBLICAN: Oh stop that bullshit, and just answer the question. There is an online trail that leads directly back to you. Why did you seek a way to tamper with evidence against Hillary Clinton?

COMBETTA: I said, I plead the Fifth! (Points at REPUBLICAN, shivering) Why are you sending Trump's shadow upon me, sir? Why?

(Congressmen gasp as all three IT GUYS point at REPUBLICAN)

IT GUYS: (Blessing themselves, shivering.) He sends Trump's wind upon us. I don't want to grab women by the pussy! I'm with Her! I'M WITH HER! 

Okay, you get the idea.

Which leads to my next point. You want to vote Democrat? Go right ahead. You want to be sure there are liberal-leaning Supreme Court justices, that's most important to you? Okay, sure, if that's your view. (And the same goes for those on the right. Your views matter too.) You simply support Hillary Clinton, for whatever reason? Wonderful - that is your right.

But I simply cannot comprehend being "with" any politician.

Hillary Clinton is a power-hungry sociopath, and has been for the past twenty-four years that she's been in the political spotlight. Vote for her, or support her, if you like. But be "with" her? I hate to break it to you, but she's not "with" you and never will be. You always have been, and always will be, no more than her stepping stone. You're against Orange Hitler, and all the evil that he stands for? Fine, but why in god's name would you be "with" her, or any politician?

Here is a Muppet News Flash: The point is for candidates to try and win our votes, not for us to swear our fealty to them.

It blows my mind when people treat her like a victim after she INSISTED on practices that she was repeatedly warned would put national security at risk, saying "It's not fair, because some other republican official kinda-sorta got away with something, once upon a time!" What does it possibly matter? Just because a past president might have gotten away with corruption while in office, we must ignore all blatantly obvious corruption in presidential candidates now, or it's "unfair?"


"But I've seen you bring up accusations against Bill Clinton to defend Trump - it's the same thing!"

No, it's not. Because I'm NOT defending Trump, I think he's a worthless scumbag who should probably be in jail. But yes, if you accuse Trump supporters (or Hillary detractors) of supporting "rape culture," and try shame fathers by saying a vote for Trump is the same as leaving your daughter with a child molester, but you didn't say the same thing about those who supported Bill Clinton (including, possibly, yourself), then sorry, you don't really care about women's rights, you're just an ideological hypocrite on a popularity-fueled power trip.

OK, I'm going to vent my spleen here: All the "hate" bullying, and shaming I see is coming from the left, to support and rally around a candidate that is the EXACT OPPOSITE of everything they've been claiming to be against for years.

I'm not a Trump supporter, but I know many people who are. Guess what? They're human beings, just like you. Not one of them is racist, homophobic, misogynist, or whatever bullshit accusations you want to throw at them. Many of them have college degrees. Some are men, some are women. Some are white, some (gasp) are not. Some are blue collar, some are white collar. You know what frightens me more than a Trump presidency? The fact that some people think their shaming and accusing behavior towards anyone who doesn't share their political views is "just." You're against intolerance? Well, I've never seen the right hold friendships hostage over political views the way I've seen the left do this year. I've never seen the right accuse the left en masse of supporting assaulting women (even though your patron saint Bill Clinton has his own list of accusers, and was impeached for committing perjury to keep a woman who accused him of sexual harassment from having a fair trial.) You know what Trump supporters are going to do after he loses? I hate to break it to you, but they're not going to riot, they're not going burn crosses on anyone's lawn, and their brains aren't going to explode. They'll just go on with their lives, the same way you all did in 2000 when W beat Gore. Sorry to bust your circle-jerk bubbles.


So, at this point, if you're still reading, I guess you wonder what my issue is with Hillary Clinton in the first place. Is it simply that evil label of "misogyny" that gets thrown at anyone who doesn't want to see her in office? Do I really just support grabbing women by the pussy? Why am I so determined to legitimatize hate?

No, when Hillary is coronated I don't think the Earth will fall into the sun, or the seas will boil, or we will be taken over by communism, or whatever.

I do think that without another unexpected surprise like the Dot-Com-Boom, the economic trend of the past few decades will continue: the super-rich will get super-richer, and everyone else will continue to get poorer.

I think Americans will find it even harder to find gainful employment, be self sufficient, and afford to simply eke out  a living, much less own a home.

I think a right-to-work law will pass nation-wide, though, of course, it will be blamed on Republicans. 

I think that there will be a tighter and tighter grip on the freedom of information (or as Obama likes to call it, the "Wild West.") 

I think the cost of health care will continue to rise, and those who have to pay into Obamacare and its ilk will continue to pay the price without being able to afford to actually seek medical care.

I think the power of unions will shrink, and workers will give up more and more rights and benefits in fear of keeping their jobs.

I think domestic spying will grow, and the rights of citizens will continue to be eroded.

I think everyone will fight harder and harder to make ends meet, and to keep their heads above water.

I think both sides of the aisle will shout and blame the other, point fingers and make accusations, and keep the good-cop bad-cop game going for all eternity.

I think both sides of the aisle will continue to coordinate wars over social issues, so we can be split into us vs. them camps, and not speak up about what "our side" is doing wrong. (Can't say anything bad about Obama doing away with the 4th amendment, making health care costs skyrocket for working Americans, or persecuting the whistle-blowers he promised to protect, because he's on the side of gay marriage and climate change. See how easy that works?)

But, I hear you cry, will Trump change that? No, of course he won't. Because, like I said, he's not really running. But honestly, no politician will. I think there's a good possibility Bernie might have tried, but I stupidly thought Obama was going to try as well before he proved me wrong. But that's a kvetch for another day.

So, what's my problem?

My problem is, America is no longer a Democracy, if it ever was. It's a Plutocracy - rule by an elite, wealthy class. We live in the information age, and this is a fact that can't be hidden any longer. So to keep us from fighting against that, we're thrown at each others' throats ideologically. That way, we can champion those who will keep the ball rolling for the very 1% we claim to hate. LGBT bathrooms, abortion, gay marriage, climate change... I understand these things matter very much to some people and affect their lives. But they're just being used to keep us in a never-ending "Us vs. Them" battle while we all get schtupped. Our side is the "just" side, and that's nothing new. But we've reached the point where people actually champion the mainstream news media for trying to smother negative reports about the chosen president, because it's "just" to keep the public uniformed. Because, you know... Orange Hitler is bad.

My problem is, Hillary is touted as a savior, a blue collar angel, a fighter for the working man and common people, when she's as far from all these things as a person could be. She's the exact opposite. As I said before, she's a power-hungry sociopath who attacks others, and then cries victim. And the Cult of Victimhood that's been whipped up into a frenzy the past few years has everyone defending her. When people say "Oh, so it's fine when MEN are power-hungry sociopaths!" instead of "We refuse to vote for any more power-hungry sociopaths!", I just want to bang my head against a kite-eating tree.

Like the title says, The Powers That Be are pissing in our faces, and telling us it's raining.

"But what can you do, it's a two-party system."


Yeah, I know, Hillary looks good against Satanic Orange Hitler. Big deal, so do I. But we can't even question if it's a setup, right? It's somehow a triumph for what's "right" to convince other Americans they have no choice. There's only ONE candidate, she's going to continue to chisel away at all of our livelihoods, and people are actually cheering about it. But point that out, and you're a misogynist who's "legitimatizing hate."


So, for me, I refuse to take part in this sham. I refuse to legitimatize a farce in which my right to vote has been taken away by a corrupt system. I refuse to praise a candidate who is the figurehead of a plutocracy, just because an obvious Hitler / Satan scapegoat has been placed to give us the illusion of choice. I refuse to join the side of shaming, of insulting and berating anyone with a different political position than mine. I refuse to join the mentality of "no bad tactics, only bad targets."

So yay, we're going to have another four years of sticking our head in the sand, and calling it progress. Another four years of the 1% getting richer, and the rest of us getting poorer. Another four years of being thrown at each others' ideological throats, while the powers that be chisel away our livelihoods and those of our children. Maybe when she runs again in 2020, they'll get him to run opposite her again. And then the media can champion her and scapegoat all who oppose her all over again, and pat themselves on the back for "doing the right thing."

Here endeth the ranting.



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why Hillary's Email Server Matters

Pretend you live in an apartment complex. It's a very nice complex. Everyone wants to live there, and President of Housing is a very coveted, lucrative job.

Now, pretend someone has worked in housing for a number of years, with a number of different jobs, and now wants to run for President. Her most recent job for the last six years included (but was not limited to) guarding a set of master and skeleton keys that provided access to every apartment, electrical closet, pump room, etc. She's officially worked at housing for fifteen years (and unofficially, some say, for a previous eight) and from day one, has been trained on how to properly secure these keys, and how important it is to protect them. People throughout the complex's history have lost their jobs or even gone to jail for mishandling the keys. Training is not just a one-time thing, it happens repeatedly.

Now, it turns out that in her last six years - when she was in the upper echelons of the housing hierarchy, she not only did not follow set procedures for keeping the keys safe, SHE INSISTED ON DISREGARDING THEM. Instead of keeping them in a safe, she INSISTED on leaving them in an unlocked drawer, in her unlocked office, and INSISTED the windows were always left open. Furthermore, she INSISTED on having a copy of the skeleton keys at home and on her person, and gave access to people who were not cleared to use them. She was warned repeatedly that this was dangerous and against procedure, but again, she was the boss, and SHE INSISTED.

So the residents find out. Some are outraged, and some...

The complex has a newspaper and its own internal TV station. The paper and TV station insist that this is no big deal. She's the most qualified person to run for housing president ever. How DARE you question why she insisted on practices that left your home insecure. Can you prove any harm was done? Can you? What about that housing president some ten years ago, who might have taken a key home with him accidentally one day? Or another, who had that whole scandal about the cheap water pipes that broke? You didn't care about them then, how can you question her inalienable right to be president now? You know what? It's sexist. It's sexist and misogynist to hold her responsible for her actions. How dare you.

But some residents are angry that she left access to their homes open and insecure, and the government reluctantly gets involved. There are laws involving the correct handling of keys, surely she broke them. After all, people have gone to jail for much, much less violations of key security in the complex's past, right?

So... the housing police detectives investigate. And the day before her interview, her husband (a former president of the housing complex) corners the presiding judge on a runway, and forces what he wanted to be a secret meeting. When the press finds out, they insist that they were just talking about their grand-kids and golf. You actually think there was any impropriety in that secret meeting? Sexist...

The head detective makes his report. He says that while she was "extremely careless" they do not have the evidence to prove criminal intent beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that his interpretation of the law is that she should not be indited.

The local press and her supporters cry victory, that she has been exonerated, that no wrongdoing ever occurred. Meanwhile, many residents are dumbfounded. This was no careless accident, this was years of INSISTING on not following correct procedure that left everyone's homes vulnerable. They demand to see transcripts from the interview.

The information is released. It turns out that despite repeated training, she insists that she did not remember how to identify which are master and skeleton keys. Because of a concussion four years ago, she did not remember proper procedure (though she was repeatedly warned afterward that she was not following it and INSISTED on not following it.)

Again, the press, her local supporters, and celebrities take up the cry of victory, while others stare shocked and incredulous at excuses a child could see through. Then the accusations of sexism and shaming tactics begin anew. What, she was just... careless with her keys. She's a very hard working, dedicated woman, who had the tiniest of slip ups - totally understandable. What's the big deal? Its not as bad as something something something another president twenty years ago kind of got away with... Why are you being misogynist? Why are you picking on her? It's a non-issue, and she's the most qualified candidate EVER.


Thursday, September 08, 2016

Disney Declares Mother Theresa Still Canon

So, Mother Theresa is a saint now.

I was raised Catholic and came out of the closet as agnostic more or less a decade ago, but I still find this all fascinating. There's been much debate on whether or not she deserves it, and I'll leave that up to you to decide. What interests me is how the church decides. Basically, if you pray to someone after they die to intervene with god on your behalf, and your prayer is answered, it's considered that this dead person actually performed a miracle.

So the first lesson is that god does not take freelance prayer submissions, you need to apply through an agent.

The second lesson is that it must be so hard to get god to help out a dying kid, getting him to is considered a "miracle."

I imagine then that heaven must be like a giant stock exchange. Prayers are answered on the open outcry method (watch the ending of Trading Places if you don't know what I mean.) Prayer brokers are all shouting, waving their respective prayers in the air, while god sits back and picks the orders he wants to take, until the bell rings. Get two orders answered, and you become a saint.

The thing is, we have no way to tell who is actually brokering which prayers. I'd like to imagine there's an old Jewish guy named Mort who's gotten the most through, but no one actually prays to him, so he gets no credit at all.

Then, there are saints who specialize. My namesake, for example, is the patron saint of lost keys, though I'm infamous for putting something down and never finding it again. This is the main reason I got LASIK, I was sick of frantically looking for my glasses when I was supposed to be running out the door.

Anyway, everyone have a nice day. May Saint Mort bless you all.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

"We mock the things we are to be"

Last week, my cousin Dean called, with one of the most awesome questions I've ever been asked:

"Want to see Mel Brooks at Radio City Music Hall?"

Of course, the answer was yes. First, they screened Blazing Saddles (it was obviously a Blu-ray projection, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't crisper the way the original film print would have been, but I know that's just nitpicking. It was awesome seeing it on the big screen.) I realized the young woman next to me had never seen it before because of her constant gasping at the use of the n-word. Hopefully she figured out it was an anti-racist comedy. As the presenter said, this is a film that could never be made in today's rabidly PC / SJW society. I felt bad for her, because idiots kept shouting out lines just before they were spoken. Yes, the movie is 40 years old, and 99% of us have seen it before. We all know the lines, you're not impressing anyone, and this isn't Rocky Horror. Chill.

Afterward, Mel himself came out onstage, and answered questions. Of course, most of them had to do with Gene Wilder (sniff.) I was amazed at his energy and wit. I pray I'm half that sharp when I'm ninety. It was just amazing to be in the same room with someone I've always respected and admired.

While editing the next book, I've been winding down at night by playing Obduction the latest game from the creators of Myst. It's not set in the Myst universe, but with its incredibly beautiful other-worldliness, it more than lives up to expectations. There's more than a few technical bugs, and it has the same annoyances as Uru did (I basically have to imagine that I'm disabled and can't step over two foot high barriers, and that the beautiful, shining brook is made out of Mercury, and that's why I just can't wade across it) but over-all, it's an amazing adventure/puzzle game. It's nice to see the original Cyan team back in action.


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Second Person Ramblings or I just gotta be whoever the internet doesn't care about me being

One day, you wake up and realize that you're no longer a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, you've basically hammered yourself into some sort of octagonish shape with rounded corners.

Then another day you realize most of humanity feels this way and you should really just stop whining about it.

So you decide that you're just going to stop worrying and enjoy life. 

Then you feel fat, lazy, and unsatisfied with anything, and you realize that if you want to keep your job and be able to take care of those who depend on you, you have to keep proving you're useful. "Coffee's for closers only!"

Once again, you realize most of humanity has come to this realization, and you should really stop whining about it.

Then you realize you're talking about yourself in the second person, and it probably sounds dickish.

Is dickish a word?

I've realized that I get annoyed by the inner monologue of a lot of characters in books by a certain extremely famous author, because they sound extremely judgemental, and I wonder if that's how normal people are supposed to think. Is that the secret of his success, emotional superiority and manipulation?

I hung out with an up-and-coming stage/TV actor the other night, and he told me that an actor's number of twitter followers factor into whether they get a role or not. Really? That must be maddening. I mean, you can buy a thousand followers in Africa for like $20, or so I'm told, but still, to have to worry about your online persona, to never be real or honest (not saying this person is not real or honest online, just saying that I would feel like I was forced not to be.)

Oh well, time to put my pants on. Everyone have a good one.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Some Changes Never Thing

Put me in a classroom, give me something to write with and to write on, and this will be the inevitable result. There was a time when I wanted to make amazing surreal graphic novels, something along the line of the Hellraiser series, or Heavy Metal. Now, in the digital age when it could be done easily, I keep finding excuses. I had a few webcomics over the years, but I just couldn't keep my own interest up. I guess all my creative juices are focused on writing and editing prose at the moment, not to mention keeping my brain from melting into goo in this insane heat. Remember years ago, when being an electrician meant slinging bx in a nice Manhattan office renovation, with AC in the summer and heat in the winter? Pepperidge Farm remembers!

Peace, love and soul, my friends.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amazing how that day job got in the way...

The first draft of Debris of Shadows Book II has finally crossed the finish line, at 95k words (380 pages using 250 words per page.) So now begins the editorial scouring.

I've eliminated the "B plot" and focused the novel on Matthew's adventures in WesMec. To include what was happening back in the Sage in NorMec would have stretched things out to about 500 pages. Don't worry, it's not gone forever, all that stuff will be in Book III.

Thanks to everyone for being so supportive. Coffee awaits!


Saturday, July 09, 2016

A Reading from the Book of Hillary

And so it was, that the people of the United States were divided into two groups, those on the left, and those on the right. And yea, did Hillary turn to those on Her left, and said, "Blessed are you. When minorities were persecuted, you saved them. When our children were uneducated and starving, you saved them. When our daughters were to be sold into virtual prostitution, you saved them. When the Earth was on the verge of sinking into bigotry, misogyny, racism, and warfare, you fought to save them."

And the people on the left said, "When did we do this, oh Hillary?"

And She spoke, saying, "Whenever you said that My gross negligence and corruption should be ignored, because I'm just a victim of a GOP witch-hunt, whenever you shouted down Bernie Sanders supporters as 'Bernie-Bro' misogynists, or foolish, uneducated girls who were taken in by the nefarious lies of FOX News, whenever you said that a single-payer system was impossible in America, even though you elected President Obama on the promise to do so, whenever you 'Corrected the Record' on social media, whenever you said that a secretary of state's playing fast and loose with national security for Her own gain should be completely ignored, just because other people in the past might have gotten away with something kinda sorta not really similar, whenever you championed My affuluenza-victimhood and said it was 'not fair' to inform the people of the underhanded dealings of someone who wanted to govern them--that you did unto Me."

And then She turned to those on Her right, and said, "You! You wanted the world to be full of bigotry and hatred. You wanted African-American children shot down in the street by machine-gun wielding NRA/KKK members. You wanted all Muslims and Mexicans to be rounded up and put in concentration camps. You wanted the LGTB community flayed alive for using public restrooms. You wanted your daughters to be barefoot, pregnant slaves, who only worked for seventy cents on the man's dollar."

And those on the right said "Oh Hillary, when did we do this?"

And yea, She spoke, saying, "Whenever you pointed out that Bernie Sanders always fought for the things I was against before he made them popular, whenever you reminded everyone that Trump was My friend for decades, donated to My foundation, and once said I would make a great president, and questioned if he might be a cartoonish super-villain who magically appeared on the political scene just when I needed a scapegoat-boogeyman most, whenever you said it was logistically impossible to allow millions of illegal aliens enter the American workforce and expect the minimum wage to ever rise, whenever you suggested that My insanely high fees for secret speeches to the very institutions I promised to cull were obviously bribes, whenever you asked why the fact that I once fought to get someone I knew was a child rapist off the hook on a technicality is whitewashed by those who decry 'rape culture' at every turn, whenever you pointed out that I am the apex of the rich and powerful one-percent that is sucking the livelihood out of the middle and lower classes, whenever you highlighted the obvious bias of mainstream news outlets towards me, whenever you questioned if I ever actually did anything for Labor that deserves the adulation its unions give me, whenever you said that My husband, the former president, arraigning a covert meeting with the attorney general while I'm under criminal investigation by the FBI is a fornicating red flag of elitist corruption that even a five year old could see--that you did unto Me."

And one from the right spoke up, saying, "But, you wish to govern us. Why must we perpetuate the Good-Cop-Bad-Cop farce that is screwing over us all? It is our right to know about the underhanded dealings of all our candidates, no matter who they are. What does it matter what others might or might not have done in the past? This is about the present election, and our future. Go ahead and investigate them all too. Lock them all up, what do we care? We are all supposedly The People of the United States, why are you treated as royalty? Why should we defend you, instead of demanding the truth about those who wish to rule? If another rich kid with 'affluenza' kills more people, or if another judge lets a connected college-athlete rapist off the hook, should we say 'Prosecuting them is wrong, because others in the past might have gotten away with it too'? Why should any candidate, including you, be treated as if they are above the law?"

And yea, did Hillary point at him, turn to those on the left, and cry, "See? SEE??? He wants Trump to take your children's futures! He wants Trump to rip the STEM jobs from your daughters' hands! He wants to see Trump reign, and for all non-whites to be persecuted and murdered!"

She bowed Her head, and began to cry. Tears ran down Her face and onto Her $12,495 Armani jacket, and Her voice became a fragile whisper. "Witness the microagressions of white, male, misogynist privilege against us all."

And yea, did those on the left hiss, and boo, and take up the chants of "Covert misogynist," "Unfriend him," and "Microagressions become macrotransgressions!"

And then did Hillary cast those on the right into the Lake of Fire, otherwise known as Walmart (where Hillary had once been a member of its union-busting board of directors,) where they had to work as door greeters with no benefits as one of their many part time jobs, just to keep their heads above water, and support their families. And there was much wailing, and gnashing of the teeth.

And not soon after, did the left also follow into the part-time jobs of Walmart and its ilk, or did they also stay on their current jobs for more hours, less pay, and less benefits, while the cost of living and taxes rose. And yea, did they, CNN, MSNBC, and all of Hollywood cry that it was all the fault of those on the right, who--even though She had been coronated--had questioned the Will of Hillary, and damned them all.

The Word of the Hilldawg


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Just in case you were wondering

The first draft of Debris of Shadows Book II just crossed the 300 page (75k words) mark... and, according to my outline, still has at least another 100 to go. Coffee is my friend.

The difficulty is fourfold: First, it's a sequel, and it's honestly going to be one of those where you have to read the first book to really know what is going on. Serialized novels have become more popular these days (Thank you, George R.R. Martin) but I'm sure I'll receive some flack for that. Oh well.

The second is that the story goes back and forth between The Sage in NorMec, and Matthew's adventures in WesMec, and then ties the two up at the end, which will lead us into the final book. (Yes, there will only be three.) Multiple plotlines have to be equally interesting. I've read books where the A plot was all I cared about, and I just wound up skipping through the B filler in annoyance. All the characters involved have to move the story along, the lazy bastards.

The third is re-purposing. Matthew's continuing story springs from another novel I had gotten about 200 pages into over a period of about fifteen years, which had many of the same themes. I was able to use about 3/4 of the plot, but it had to be completely rewritten. The art is in disguising the art, or something like that, which means part of the job is making sure no one sees the seams.

And fourth, as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Last Brexit to Jersey

I can't pretend I fully understand what's going on with the UK leaving the EU. I grok that some understand the issue better than I, so please, tell me if I've got the situation or not.

Let's pretend the United States gives amnesty to all illegal aliens and refugees, and opens its borders.

This creates plethora of issues, among them criminal activity, over population, a refusal to integrate, and last but not least, unemployment.

New Jersey, which already has a huge unemployment problem of its own, says, "Fornicate this noise, we're leaving," and secedes from the Nation. So, if you weren't a natural born NJ citizen, you now need a visa/green card/citizenship to work and live in NJ. The flip side is, NJ natural born citizens now need these things to work elsewhere in the US. This includes me and my wife, who live in NY. Our daughter was born in NY, so if we move back, she'll have to apply for citizenship. So will our son, because he was born in SC. This situation has ramifications all over the country, especially because NJ is basically a suburb for NYC. And don't forget the elderly who moved to FL or AZ years ago to retire.

So now, NJ jobs are preserved for the New Jersians. This looks great on the surface. The only problem is, there really weren't that many jobs to begin with. Its only export is horrible reality shows about horrible people, the green flies and annoying pine needles that plague the Jersey Shore, and tourism-mainly people going to Headquarters 10 in Morristown to see if that guy who scans the movie tickets with his finger is still working there after all these years (is he?)

The other issue is that many NJ companies who did business throughout the US are now thrown into disarray. New tariffs and agreements have to be drawn up. NJ also received federal aid for many industries, especially for the perpetual roadwork on 287 that was planned to last for all eternity.

To complicate matters further, NJ is actually made up of two separate nations. The Pork Roll people voted to stay in the US, while the Taylor Ham nation was unanimously for leaving. There is now talk of the Pork Rollers seceding from NJ so they can try and rejoin the US.

Anything I missed?


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Why Someone Else Would Vote For That Person You Wouldn't Be Caught Dead Voting For

As 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most toxic and divisive election years of all time, I keep seeing the following posts:

"How could anyone vote for ______? Only a slimy, odoriferous pile of reptile droppings would ever vote for him/her/it! If you're going to vote for ______, just unfriend me now!"

There is a difference between having your own opinion and arguing for it, and being convinced that everyone else's opinion should be the same as yours. So, in the interest of being obnoxious and lording the fact that I'm above it all, I shall explain.

Other people were born with a different nature than you.
They were raised with different nurturing than you.
Some have had different experiences than you.
Some have had successes you never will.
Some have suffered hardships and pains you never will.
All these things have formed a perspective in those people.
They then found one or more ideologies (sets of ideas and ideals) which more or less coincided with their perspectives.

These ideologies shaped their lives. They may convince themselves that their decisions are based on impartial, objective logic, but deep down, they are shaped by these ideologies. They may say "yeah, you're right, you have a point," and KNOW that you are making pure, logical sense - but still, they will always find a way to justify following their particular ideology.

To them, some decisions you may think are wrong, are right.
To them, some decisions you may think are right, are wrong.

Remember, these rules apply to you as well.
Remember, friends and family are more important than the circus playing out in Washington.

Here endeth the obnoxiousness (for now.)


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rest in Peace, Uncle Joe.

My Uncle Joe passed on earlier this week, at the age of Eighty-two. As he was sick for a while, I was happy I got to visit him last Sunday to say goodbye.

Uncle Joe, myself, Lisa, Mary, and Aunt Diane. The 80s were a simpler time.

Me and Uncle Joe in the 90s. Such hair, such fashion. Hail Pottsylvania!

My uncle was laid to rest in the same cemetery as our grandparents, so a few of my cousins (Keith and Jeanette) and I went to visit them. We found that someone recently put flowers on their grave. Whoever the unknown person is, thank you for remembering them.

My father told me once that in the 20th century, this was pretty much the only cemetery where Catholics from NYC could be buried. That would explain why I have so many relatives from both sides of the family here.

I plan on going out like Slim Pickens did in Doctor Strangelove, but in the slim case I don't get to ride a nuke, I suppose I'd like to be cremated and dumped off the shelf of the Atlantic. That way, no one has to visit me. Chances are, when it rains, I'd visit you.

I would like, however, that if Amazing Grace is sung at my funeral, everyone sing it like Elvis. Dressing up is optional.

Live long and perspire, my friends.


Sunday, May 08, 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016

If I wrote the next Star Wars film...

Max Rebo, Sithym and Blues

Some days you get the blues, and some days, the blues get you.
See that sexy, blue pachyderm, banging away on the keys, feeling the music flow through him like nothing else matters - because it doesn't? That's me. That's Max. Once, I was the hottest night club act in the Outer Rim. Now, I'm playing platform six in the Coruscant subway. No credits, no love, just a scar across my trunk where a hooker slashed me, and a parade of ex wives who would have paid her for the privilege.

I had a pretty good gig on Tattoine, back in the old days. I played Jabba's palace. Our music was so good, that when we played, Jabba would even let his girlfriends get down and funky with the Rancor. If they'd run off with it, he'd just shrug, and get a new one. Can't be jealous when there's good music. That was Jabba. Then, some teenagers and their droids came in, and shot the place up. Why? Everyone in this galaxy gets so caught up in masks, who froze who, who's whose daddy... light side, dark side- who cares? There's always going to be someone swinging a light saber, always going to be guys in armor shooting... that's not what this story is about, because that's not what life's about. It's all about the music. There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, there's just you and me, and Sy Snootles can kiss my blue trunk.

You want to tell me about love? I was in love, once. She was so fine, Wookies used her face to comb for lice. We just used to talk and talk, until the morning birds yelled at us to shut up. Every morning, when I hear birds, I think of her. I wish I could tell her that I think she is good, I'll alway hope her life is good, and that I'm all good. But I can't, because she found religion, and ran off to get sacrificed to a Mynock cult. That's the way it goes. One day you're in love, next day, she's Mynock kibbles. I even wrote a song about it, called, "One Day You're In Love, Next Day, She's Mynock Kibbles." But I was down on my luck, and I sold the rights. Then, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes covered it, upped the tempo, and changed the name to "Mad About Me." No soul, man, no soul.

Because in the end, all you have is the music. You want to know what loneliness is? It's not being some green, big-eared Muppet, all alone on a swamp planet, waiting for some kid to show up and get his ass wupped into shape. Loneliness is being a drop of oil in an ocean, surrounded by water drops who all want to be together, all laughing and playing and being at home - because they're water. And here you are, in the middle of them, but you're a blue blob of oil, so you're never really a part of it. All you can do is watch through your impermeable surface tension, and pretend, because they're perfectly happy whether you're there or not. That's what the music is. It's a way to make me forget I'm pretending.

So there I was, just out of a job, because, like I said, some uppity kids burned Jabba's palace to the ground. Sy had left me to go solo, and I was feeling lower than a Nerf herder on Life Day, when who should come knocking on my door, but the glamorous Mon Mothma herself. Now, don't tell anyone I told you, but Mothma liked to slum around on Tattoine, whenever her wife would go away on business. Just another high-class girl who needed her regular, nasty fix of Big Blue. She gave me a long, deep kiss on the trunk, looked down at me with her big, elegant, arrogant eyes, and said "Max, how would you like to make a dishonest living?"

(To be continued...)

Saturday, March 05, 2016

New Tenants Have Moved Into 1B

The Wanderer poked his head from the silver portal. The magical rains had not fallen in quite some time. To be sure, there was still plenty of water deep within the catacombs; there were other portals, after all. But this tunnel had been home to him, his father, and his children for as long as he could remember. Why had the liquid manna ceased to flow?

He crawled out upon the Great White Valley. It was barren and dry. And bright, so bright. The brilliance made his heart pound, deep within his armor. This was the land of the Gods. One only dared to traverse here under the sweet cover of darkness. But darkness was for hiding, and hiding was for ignorance. He was not making this suicidal journey to be willfully blind; he was here to know.

The ground was cold and unforgiving beneath his feet as he scrabbled up the ivory wall. He tasted dryness and grit, and a chill set over him.

Where had They gone?

His brothers had made the pilgrimage before him. Only one had ever returned, cracked and broken, his limbs smashed and jagged. He had warned the Wanderer, with his last, gasping breath, that the Gods were cruel. They were Titans, walking mountains, who guarded their land of plenty with a petty jealousy, bringing down crushing death on all those who dared to cross it. The Wanderer had been content to lay within his cavern, to feed upon the delicious rains that fell from above. But the rains had stopped.

It was his fault, he knew. He had tried to be good, he had tried to be true. He had followed all the rituals, said all the prayers. He had shown his loyalty and his love. But somehow, he was unworthy. Somehow, he must have failed. They had judged him undeserving of the rain, and he would learn why.

The rustling patter of tiny feet echoed across the ground, and it froze him in his tracks. Were there others here? Children - perhaps even nephews and nieces of the brothers who had never returned? He would find them. He would find, embrace them, and bring them home. The thought ignited a sense of pride within him. They would not find their uncle cowering in fear. He scurried around the corner, calling out a greeting. Then he stopped, his heart sinking.

They were not his family, merely a squad of Simples. Dwarves. They liked to travel in packs. They ran from here to there, careless of what danger they courted. He had met their types before.

"Hey, you," he said. They did not turn his way. He looked to the left and to the right, but saw no one. He moved to block their path. "Hey, I'm talking to you."

"Light," they said in unison, pointing to a spot of luminescence above. "Light, light, light, light, light."

"What happened here?" the Wanderer asked. "Where have the Gods gone? Why did they leave us?"

"Light, light, light," the Simples chanted. They rerouted their passage around him, and continued on their way. His jaw dropped in shock. How could they be here, in the home of the Gods, and yet worship something else?

"Don't you fools understand?" he shouted as they scampered off. "We're all alone now. I'm alone."

Their mantra echoed, fading in the distance. He sunk his head.

"I don't want to be alone."

He looked about him. This was no heaven. He could smell no food, only dust. He would return to his family, to the dank of his caverns. They would find a new tunnel, with new Gods to worship. They would have to fight, kill, and possibly die to overtake the supplicants already living there, but so what? It was the way things were, the way they had always been. It was life.

The dry wind brought a sound of thunder. The ground shook. In the blurry radiance, the faint echo of the Simples cadence turn to screams.

Joy and terror washed over him in waves. The rhythm of the earthquakes grew stronger, the thunder louder. He knew he should run, should scamper back to the safety of the portal. But he knew that if he did, he would hate himself until the day he died. He had come to see the Gods, and he would.

The Avatar loomed into view from above. She tilted her head back, opened her mouth, and screamed. The roar deafened him as he emptied his bowels, his refuse running down his legs. She was terrible, and beautiful, her head crowned by a flowing mane of gold. She swung out her massive leg, and colossal, inescapable darkness hammered down from the sky. As it ground his brain into mush, the last thought to cross it was one of elation. Perhaps the old Gods had deserted him, but here were new ones.

His children would have rain.


Friday, February 26, 2016

"I am The Lorax..."

I love looking at trees in winter, especially landscaped ones by the roadside. Over the decades, certain branches have been pruned and sealed. Perhaps an infestation here or there destroyed or mutated the form of a limb as it was branching out. But the trees' DNA still instructs them to grow in a way that can't be denied. The result is a skeleton that is gnarled and winding, every twist an elegant reminder of its fight to be alive and true to itself.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When life gives you composition...

The other day at work, I was sent down into the subterranean levels to retrieve some galvanized pipe. I came across a few areas where shadows and contrast had created some awesome photo opportunities. Looks like a great place to shoot a noir movie.



Friday, February 12, 2016

A father's open letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton

Dear Mrs. Clinton:

OK, let's be honest. I've never liked you, and I'm not going to pretend I do. Let's just get that out of the way. I don't see you, Bernie, Trump, or even Sarah Palin being any better or worse than any other president; I just don't believe in our political system anymore.

Let's cut to the chase.

I have a daughter, and I've been told that you've done many things that will make her life better. I really don't know how true that is, but if it is... well, then thank you - and I honestly mean that. But there is one trend from your political history that is rearing its ugly head in this campaign, and it's something I definitely don't want her to learn. My problem with you is, after a fashion, the same one I had with your husband. It comes down to this:

No matter what your gender, being principled is hard.

No matter what your gender, being true to your word is hard.

No matter what your gender, practicing what you preach is HARD.

I know - because I've failed to do these things time and time again. I've tried. Sometimes I've won, but many, many times, I've failed. I'm not holding you to a standard I can't live up to, I'm not pretending I'm better than you. Anyone reading this who knows me knows I'm the last person who should throw stones. So let's make this clear: I'm not saying I'm principled and you're not. That's not my point. Who knows, maybe you're a better person than I am. Could be.

The point is, when you come face to face with someone who actually HAS done these things, who has actually fought for their principles no matter how hard it was, then you respect it.

You respect them for it.

You don't play the victim.

You don't say, "Well it was easy for that person to not play the game I did. Sure, they can walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Sure, they can not be completely full of bull-feces. Sure, they can actually live up to what they say... because they had privilege!"

Because, Mrs. Clinton, it's never easy. If it were easy for everyone of every gender, race, or class to be true to the principles they preach, history would be completely different. If that were true, then we would be living in a Star Trek The Next Generation utopia right now, instead of the whole juju-flop situation that we're in.

Let's reiterate: I'm not saying Bernie Sanders would necessarily make a better president than you. I'm not saying people should not vote for you. Everyone should be able to vote for whoever they want (whomever? I'm too lazy to look it up) and I'm sure your supporters are intelligent, well-informed people who have their reasons.

What I'm saying is that when someone (as far as we know) has a long history of being true to their principles and you haven't, then you don't try and spin it that you are somehow a victim. It's not the fault of sexism or misogyny or "privilege" that Bernie Sanders has a truer political record than you do - it's THE CHOICES YOU HAVE MADE.

It's sort of the same way I didn't want my son to learn from your husband that although everyone does things that are wrong, and mistakes shouldn't be forever held over anyone's head - when you're unquestionably caught committing a crime, especially as a leader, you don't vilify the man prosecuting you, and you don't use popularity as an excuse to escape punishment. But I digress.

So, Mrs. Clinton, you really want to be a feminist role model for my daughter? Then stop spinning the fact that Bernie has been truer to his principles as your own victimhood. You want to show her that you're the candidate that's strong enough to take responsibility for the presidency? Fine - then instead of spinning bullshit about "privilege," start by taking responsibility for you own goddamn record.


Monday, February 01, 2016

Back in the 90s, I had a great idea for a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel, about Jabba the Hutt secretly being an amateur photographer. It probably would have been a best seller. Then again, I would have lost my product placement deal when Disney decided his camera was no longer Canon...


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Let me mansplain, honey...

Marvel has every right to go full-blown SJW if they really want to. But I would feel more hopeful for the future of the arts if they could hire a writer who can actually get their point across though well-crafted dialog - or at least someone who knows that ancient Norse gods wouldn't give two dritts about Israel.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Brotherly Love

I don't wish a ticket on anyone.
Except this human polyp parked on the sidewalk.
Fornicate him with a rusty cactus.