Sunday, June 25, 2017

Almost at the end of June

Hello there. Sorry I haven't written in a while. Life has been full of ups and downs, ins and outs, but nothing major. Just life.

For those waiting on Debris of Shadows Book II, all I can say is that it's coming, slowly but surely. I had planned to have it released by now, but editing, rewriting, and proofreading is an arduous task. I'm determined to put out a professional novel, and that takes time.

When I finished the first draft a year ago, it rang in at 95k words. For comparison, The Lies of the Sage was 81k. As I edited the second draft, the plot and characters became more and more complex. It came to be roughly 133k, which is nearly one and a half times longer than the first draft. Think roughly 530 pages. Nowhere near The Stand, but still pretty substantial.

So, at the moment, I'm about 33% done with my third and final polish-draft. I'd like to say this should be the final edit, with perhaps one or two passes afterwards just to be sure all my i's are crossed, and all my t's are dotted. I'd love to say this shouldn't take more than another month or two, but working full time, especially in the far-flung corners of the empire, can be pretty draining of my brain power.

At any rate, thank you all for your support, especially those friends and family who have left Amazon and Goodreads reviews for my other novels, and ask regularly when it will be done. You keep me going.

My daughter graduated Middle School last week. Time slips way too quickly into the future. Always proud of her and her brother, and all they do.

In completely different news, I've been a fan of the Firesign Theatre ever since I was about sixteen. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sharing a drink with one of its two surviving members, Phil Proctor. It's a rare opportunity to get to talk and spend time with someone whose work I've admired and respected for so many years, I'm glad I had it.

TTFN
-Tony



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Another day in the month of May

It's May, but it feels like April. That's okay, I like it cool. I feel like I'm different people these days. There is one of me who laughs at everything, one who is angry at everything, one who wants my life to be better, one who wants to sleep. I feel fractured. I'm sure it will pass. And then come back.

The most honorable Papasan turned eighty-five last week,. He's three years older than Señor Grandpagoni was when he passed away. I'm going to be forty-five this year.

My life seems to go in stages. Sometimes it feels like it's in a holding pattern. Sometimes it feels like it's out of control. I find myself not caring about things I used to, and interested by new things.

I'm still a gentleman of leisure, despite temporary jobs. That should last for another month or so, I'm guessing. I try to go out with friends when I can. We drink and talk about our lives, how everyone is becoming more and more divided.

I'm taking my sainted mother to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 tomorrow, down in Bridgewater. AMC has taken the whole fun concept of a cinema drafthouse and turned it into something expensive. I used to love going to the one in Arlington when I was stationed there, a lifetime ago. I got to see Heavy Metal and Yellow Submarine there. I can always pop them into the DVD player, but it's not the same as meeting a bunch of new people at midnight because we're all weird and like the same old animated films.

I hear Howard the Duck makes another Cameo.

I try to ignore politics these days, even though I can't help but find them entertaining. Comey is the good guy, Comey is the bad guy, Comey is the good guy again. So it goes. I just got sick and angry at everyone turning against each other because they didn't worship the same gods or goddesses, but I don't think I helped at all, just made things worse. Oh well. I can't seem to escape religion.

They made a TV series out of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which is cool, but they're stretching it out to three-plus years, which I'm not happy about. One season would have been more than enough. I like it, but the pacing is way too slow. Thumbs up to Gillian Anderson as Lucille Ball (the Goddess of Media), Orlando Jones as Anansi, and the incomparable Cloris Leachman as whatever ancient Slavic goddess she's supposed to be. The woman is over 90, that's awesome that she's still working.

"Blücher!"

Anyway, my daughter's class is singing "Walking on Sunshine" at their Middle School graduation, and I promised I'd play the video for her, over and over.

I hope you had a special day.

TTFN
-Tony

t-5568...

Friday, May 05, 2017

He's Quagmire, Quagmire...

All partisanship aside, could it be that the real problem is that the cost health care in the U.S. has skyrocketed beyond that of any other first world nation, and until that problem is fixed, any attempts to regulate who is going to pay for those astronomical costs are always going to sink to an us vs. them quagmire? Could that quagmire be the distraction goal of the powers that be, so the real problem never gets addressed? Please (kindly and respectfully) discuss.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Life rolls on

I just finished working at the NYC International Car Show. It's a temporary electrician's job the Union usually gives to guys who are out of work. Lots of putting cables and lights up, or putting video walls together, then taking them down again.

The most honorable papasan turns 85 tomorrow. I wonder if I'll live that long, where I'll be, and what I'll be doing. I keep imagining amazing technological, biological, and medical advancements, but then reality kicks in, and I wonder how many of their researches will be squashed for non-profitability.

This may not be an original thought, but I wonder lately if humans have emotional thermostats. That's why some people can't be happy or satisfied no matter where they are or what they're doing, or sabotage any hope of success, their friendships or romances, or any attempts at improving their life. Their brains think they are supposed to be exactly where they are, and will do anything to stay there. So who or what gets to set the temperature? Discuss.

At any rate, wishing the best to all. Take care, my friends.

TTFN
-Tony
t-8,297...

Friday, April 07, 2017

Hello,Dummy!

Once upon a time when I was about 23, I worked at the S'barros on Hilton Head Island. One day, a little old man came in and bought a few slices. I said he looked familiar, and he mumbled something under his breath. As soon as he walked away, it hit me.

"Enjoy your pizza, Mister Rickles," I said.

He turned around, walked back to me, and crooked his finger. I leaned in, and he leaned over the counter, his nose an inch from my face. He looked me up and down, and asked, "How the f**k old ARE you, kid?"

Rest in peace, sir.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, April 03, 2017

The American Dream is Having Growing Pains

When you try and create something, there is always that period when you ask yourself, "What am I slaving away like this for? Why am I bothering? No one is going to read/see/hear it, no one is going to care."

Well, maybe people will, and maybe they won't. The truth is, there's nothing you can do about it. Don't let it upset you. Don't let it feed your depression, because it will. There's a reason AA uses the prayer "Let me change what I can AND IGNORE WHAT I CAN'T and give me the wisdom to hide the bodies where no one will find them." Because worrying about things or people that you can't change, no matter how unjust it seems, is an emotional black hole that will carve you away from the inside.

Just make your art, my friends. Make it the best you can. Just try to find intrinsic joy in the making, and then, when you're done, move on to the next one. No, you may not be successful, or recognized for your hard work. Yes, you may crash and burn. Yes, you may get shitty reviews, or be completely ignored and get no reviews at all. But you know what? You can't care about that. All you can do is the absolute best you can, and put it out there. Success is not guaranteed, but failure is if you don't even try.

Good luck, my friends, in all that you do.

TTFN -Tony
t - 12,603

Saturday, April 01, 2017

LEAKED SCRIPT FOR "THE LAST JEDI"!!!

Based on J.J. Abrams’ completely original script for The Force Awakens, here is the scientifically extrapolated plot for the next Star Wars film. WARNING – SPOILERS BELOW!

The Alliance camps out on an Ice Planet that is totally NOT Hoth. Darth Emo sends some AT-ATs to attack their base. Finn manages to slice one open and stick a grenade inside, giving everyone else time to escape.

Luke Skywalker takes Rey to the jungles of his hideaway planet so he can properly train her in the ways of the Schwartz. However, it turns out that she’s such a natural, she does not need any training, nor does she need to learn any discipline, or have any personal growth. She’s just too darn good.

Darth Emo decides to send some bounty hunters after Finn and Poe, including the last of Jango Fett’s clones, YubbaDubba Fett. After a nifty escape in an asteroid field (where the good guys evade a giant space slug that is not – we repeat – NOT a worm) they fly to a city in the clouds. One of them remarks that the planet it hovers over is so not Bespin. Darth Emo captures them at dinner, and proceeds to torture them.

Rey has visions of her friends’ plight, and wants to rescue them. Luke tells her sure, go ahead, she’s already practically perfect in every way. The ghost of Han Solo appears, and confirms that yeah, she’s awesome.

Rey goes to the cloud city and winds up having a fight with Darth Emo. In the fight, he tells her that he is actually her cousin. She screams that no, it’s not true, it’s impossible - and chops off his hand.

Oh yeah, and someone gets frozen in carbonite.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, March 27, 2017

In the most delightful way!

Mandy: Why do Mary Poppins' kids need medicine (to wash down with a spoonful of sugar) anyway? Are they sick, or something? 

Me: Well, yeah, they keep hallucinating that she can fly with her umbrella, that they can jump in and out of pastel drawings, that they can laugh on the ceiling... those kids have some real problems, don't you think?

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

From Fun To Tedious In Under Four Seconds

I’m probably one of the few people who accepts Facebook friend requests from people they don’t know. It used to be fun. When fb started and had not yet become the cancer that it is today, there were actually interesting new people out there who wanted to interact. One or two, (as unbelievable as it sounds,) told me they had found me because they liked my books. One was an obvious but hilarious attempt at catfishing, but that’s another story.

Lately, of course, whenever I get a friend request, the feeling has gone from “Ooh, is it an old friend or family member trying to reconnect, or someone new and interesting?” to “Sigh, another fornicating spambot.” Usually, such fake personas have a brand new account, and claim to be some scantily clad bimbo, complete with a picture they downloaded from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit page. Those, of course, I disregard. One guy who claimed to live in Africa immediately began begging for money to help his poor brother get an education. Seriously pal, beg for money for your baby’s life-saving drugs instead, you might get better results. One person in India didn’t contact me for about a year, then suddenly messaged me out of the blue. He told me that he wanted to have his way with me, and then kill me. I told him that it would probably be more interesting the other way around, then proceeded to block him and report.

I got a request the other day from someone who looked like an elderly gentleman, who had a few common friends. I accepted out of curiosity. Of course, the messages started right away. “Hi. Hi. How are you? Are you there? Have you been contacted by (some acronym I forgot but I deleted the thread after I unfriended and blocked him.) Hello? Are you there?” Sigh, it’s depressing.

It doesn’t help that fb Messenger for Android has become the precursor of Skynet, and wants to take over every aspect of my phone. “Can I pretty please have access to all your contacts and email addresses?” Hell no. “Awww, come on, I’ll be your best friend! How about texting? Why are you using stock texting? I can text for you instead!” Um… no. “How about YOUR DAY? Wouldn’t you like to add the extreme close-up picture of that thing growing on the inside of your nostril to YOUR DAY?” Well… yeah, actually, that sounds like fun.

Anyhoo, peace, love and soul.

TTFN -Tony
t - 17,151

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Forgotten War

The Boy Scouts interviewed Dad yesterday as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. It's amazing how he neatly kept everything for years. Meanwhile, I can't find my own socks in the morning.

Although he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, and a Bronze Star, he lied to his family while in Korea, and said he wasn't in combat. This was because my Uncle Mel had seen combat in WW2, and my grandfather would cry when he read his letters. All the air mail envelopes are letters he saved between him and his young cousin who lived in the Bronx. She had polio, and spent almost her entire life in an iron lung. He kept the letters light because she was a kid. She died in her her teens. (This is part of why anti-vaxxers drive me up a tree...)

TTFN
-Tony
t- 21,403...




Wednesday, March 01, 2017

From The Garry Gnu Gnostic Gnosples

And so it was that Jesus went into the desert for forty days and forty nights to clean his belly button of lint. And yea did everyone in Jerusalem take their lint from their own navels, and burn them. Then they put the ashes upon their heads in the sign of the t, because they were terrific.

And then Jesus spoke, saying “People should give something up for this time, whether it be Doritos, cheese, or watching hentai tentacle porn online.” And the people said “Oh Lord, what are these tentacles, and why should we ever tie up hens in a line?” And He replied, “exactly.”

The Word of the Lord
-Tony

t - 27,252

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Every sha la la la la, every woah oh oh oh...

Had a dream last night that Slayer did a Death Metal cover of The Carpenters' "Yesterday Once More". Now I have it (the dream version that doesn't really exist) stuck in my head.

I started playing with Unity last night. Decades ago, I did some work in VRML with the intention of creating a virtual web-site alternative to my main page. The problem was that whatever I created wound up huge (who in their right mind would ever go to a page web-page that was 3 megs???) These days, that's the bare minimum size expected for the backdrop. The question is,what to do with it? I want the result to be interesting and creative, something different. I think a minimalist style would be best for keeping file size down. David O'Reilly proved you can do great work with it, and once said something about the limitation forcing him to be more creative.

I managed to get Burn: Cycle running on my Windows 10 PC last night using DOSBOX. I miss 90s adventure CD ROM games that had bad acting and cartoony FX over actors blue-screened and placed in CGI backgrounds. Harvester was my favorite for pushing every limit possible, but Myst 1-4, The 7th Guest, & Phantasmagoria 1&2 were pretty awesome as well. I don't know, they just seemed like they wanted to be more creative with a new medium.

TTFN
-Tony

T-33,247...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Zen and Civilization VI, or Gandhi Nuking My Piece of Mind

I’m assuming that everyone has gotten upset at people or things that weren’t really there. Or rather, we get angry at people, places and things that are not in the present. Perhaps they’re politicians or our bosses, old arguments, past acquaintances or family members, online trolls… the list is endless.

The way I’ve learned to deal with this is to recognize that my anger at things that aren’t in the present… is just Gandhi.

If you’ve ever played Civ  4 - 6, you might have an idea of what I’m talking about. It’s become a running gag that due to a glitch, the AI for Gandhi can go from Mother Theresa to slinging ICBMs in an instant. But what’s worse – and this is the important part – is that like all the other world leaders, he mocks you.

Not enough food, production, military, culture, or religion? Gandhi will interrupt your gameplay with some obnoxious quip or comment. He’s also a hypocritical dick who has no problem trying to convert all your cities to his religion, but will whine and start a war if you send your apostles to convert his… but that’s beside the point.

The point is, Gandhi is not real. Well, he was, but you get what I mean.

“No shit Sherlock,” I hear you cry. “It’s just a game.” Well, we only actually exist in the present moment. Therefore, things that are not in our present are not real either. But for some reason, we still let them upset us.

When you come down to it, the Civilization games are merely a flow of strategic choices. The aim is to pick the most logical path to your goal before the various AIs beat you to it. This can be done without any graphics or sound, but pretty pictures and obnoxious world leaders create a false narrative that gets us emotionally involved and keeps us coming back for more – even if the things causing this emotional investment aren’t real.

Like emotional distractions that are not in the present.

What if we applied that model to our lives? Not to get too much into the simulism theory, but what if we see life as a series of logical steps we can take to reach a goal, but our path is full of imitation Gandhis – things not in the now that we need to let go of – that create a possibly derailing, false emotional distraction?

Whenever I find myself re-hashing an old argument, or angered and upset by the news, work, or anyone or anything else that I have no power to change, I just imagine that it’s a cartoon Gandhi popping up and ridiculing me. Once the illusion is broken, I know I have a choice: I can recognize the distraction for what it is and stop validating it, or continue to let myself be sucked into an emotional spiral by something that is not really there. The more ridiculous I imagine his gloating, the more ridiculous I feel if I don’t immediately choose to stop. (And yes, just like when playing Civ, I’ve found myself bargaining to stay upset for “just one more turn...”)

I’ve also had a Yoda in my mind for the past thirty-five years who pokes me with a stick and chides me for never having my mind on where I was (hmmm?), or what I was doing – but that’s a different story.

TTFN
-Tony

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.

TTNF
-Tony

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.

TTFN
-Tony

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?

TTFN
-Tony






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.

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Wowsers

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.

TTFN
-Tony

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.

TTFN
-Tony


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.

TTFN
-Tony

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.

TTFN
-Tony

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.

TTFN
-Tony

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!

TTFN
-Tony

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."

TTFN
-Tony

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?

TTFN,
Tony

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.)

TTFN
-Tony

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.

TTFN
-Tony

Sunday, May 08, 2016