Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Upcoming Publication.

It is perhaps ironic that the anthology pictured below is taking a bit longer to fill than the first volume did. That one featured my novella "Toilet Bums," but this second volume features something very different. It actually has two of my stories in it, but the one I'm more anxious about is "Hawk Vs. Dove at a Coffee Shop."

The reason I mentioned irony in my opening sentence is because we're in an election year and that particular story was written during the last presidential election. Back then, I was trying to demonstrate the acidic vitriol (with apologies to Montilee Stormer who used that phrase to describe my commentary on a famous series of novels) that was shaping up among the American political landscape. The story concerns a raging conservative Mid-Westerner who wanders into a West Coast "Liberal" coffee shop with disturbing and violent results. It'sthe story I was assured was too weird and personal to be accepted for publication.

The true irony is that the behaviors depicted in the story, from both sides, no longer seem so far-fetched.

I'll let you know when it comes out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quote O' the Day

"America is one of the few countries in the world where being "creative" is considered a birth defect."

-Joe Meils , Facebook Guy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Excerpt from my bug-related horror tale (WIP)

The other thing Rodger remembered later was the dream he had while he was passed out on the marble floor. In that dream, he was standing on top of one of the Twin Towers with flames all over the place. Overheard, there was a loud buzzing as millions of locusts hovered.

Rodger looked up into the sky and thought how awesome it would be if the locusts would follow his orders and start going after everything and everyone in their path.

So, they totally did!

It was beautiful; uber-carnage and devastation. People screamed and died and trampled each other while Rodger placed his hands on his hips comic book movie villain style and laughed his fucking ass off. So, you can image why he woke up so grumpy when he realized his moment of triumph wasn’t real.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quote o' the Day

"Rush is an ultra right wing nazi for the Tea Party. Uneducated, stupid and has no morals. A bigot against anyone not white anglo saxon and protestant. He needs to take his millions and get off the air so real journalists can relay real news."

-David Turnbol, Facebook user

Friday, January 13, 2012

STEREOTYPES AS METHODS OF WORKPLACE TRAINING?

We wrangled that insane Scribe alter-ego of mine back into the lab and locked his cage, but he posted this final piece of his way out:

Where I used to work, we were in constant training. It’s the nature of the industry. People are constantly demanding newer and more exciting products and we have to be trained on every single one of them. I took a training for a new PDA that was the major holiday season buzz and failed it like a retard with a drool cup.

We get to retake most tests until we passed them, the logic being it was better to learn through repetition than to feel like someone who will never get it.

This particular training had what I can only refer to as story problems. That’s probably why I failed. I hate those. I don’t like being forced to think inside a small tube, and that’s exactly what those things do. As if that weren’t enough, however, some of the questions were of a rather stereotypical nature. One specifically jumped out at me regarding a man named “Koji” who was a camera enthusiast. His name couldn’t have been Sam or Dave? Sure, part of the question involved international usage, but non-Japanese people do travel to other countries last time I checked the statistics. Ok, I never checked the statistics, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.

There were a few others that weren’t quite as in-yo-face stereotypical, but Koji stood out most. And then I realized something: They might need help making their questions more stereotypical! Maybe the people writing them don’t know all the racial, ethnic and gender-based stereotypes.

Thus, I decided to use my mighty writer’s arsenal to come up five examples for them, pro bono, so the future trainings can be more in line with the Koji example. Observe and be changed for the better:

Jose is an illegal bean farmer who loves to drive ’57 Chevy’s while drinking cerveza and blasting tejano music to the four winds. He needs a phone that can be used across the border as well as in the U.S. so he can coordinate with Hector, the man he’s paying to sneak his family into Texas. What phones would you recommend for his use?

Tyrone owns and operates the Get Down Grits & Greens Restaurant on Martin Luther King, Boulevard and is also a drug dealer. He needs a handset that can be operated hands-free so as to properly enjoy his fried chicken & watermelon while talking to his baby mama’s. What phones would work for him?

Jenny is a former bleach blond rock star groupie and general boy-go-round that decided at the age of 25 she was going to be respectable and landed a rich husband who has no idea about her past. Since she’s prone to marital infidelity and spending large sums of the money her husband brings home on useless crap because it’s on sale, she needs several handsets so as not to get caught. What phones would work for her?

Sydney Weintraub is a real estate broker and a slumlord that also holds membership in the Hollywood elite. Because of his utter ruthlessness in business and total disregard for anyone who isn’t Jewish, Sydney needs instant access to his financial records in order to properly evict indigent families from their homes. Which handsets would give him the ability to destroy lives and enjoy it since he is of the devil?

Cletus is a NASCAR and beer enthusiast who is constantly on the go in his pickup salvaging trash in the front yards of rich people. His overall disdain and envy for them causes him to “work” late hours in order to get whatever he thinks he’s entitled to. As a result, he needs a handset that can take pictures of the trash to send to his wife Raeleen so she can evaluate its worth as well as something he can use to text so he can give the trash pix names like, “This here’s a right purdy sofa bed, ain’t it?” What would you recommend?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A LETTER TO FACEBOOK

Since he still hasn't been caught and returned to the laboratory, my alter-ego, aka "Scribe," has once again decided to post a rant from his blog. This one is form 2009:

Dear Facebook,

I am still not sure what to make of you. Your appeal makes sense, but the cult-like devotion of many of your users baffles me much the same way I am perplexed by fans of American Idol. I am writing this letter in the hopes of understanding what, pardon the French, the big fucking deal is!

As the rumored publication of my novel seemed to become more and more of a reality, I was urged to create for myself more of a web presence. I already had one on blogger, but not under my real name. My first attempt at expanding my reach into the cyber-world was Myspace, a disastrous choice. For one thing, that site is almost exclusively devoted to preening simpletons more interested in being seen as cool and hot all at once. Silly applications galore bombard that site like flies hitting windshields.

It became painfully obvious that Myspace was for self-indulgent distractions, not anything of substance. That’s not to say there aren’t others in the creative fields with sites but the annoyance factor is far too high for it to be a pay-off.

But you were supposed to be different. Your design was less garish; your purpose was more honorable. You were the site originally designed for students on college campuses to remain in contact with each other. Eventually, other people caught on and started using you and suddenly your creators were overnight millionaires.

I instantly noticed the difference. You were a networking tool. You could be used to find old friends and business associates, not to mention others in your field. Within a week I had the same amount of “friends” through you that it took me 6 months to get through Myspace. By the end of that month I had more.

Facebook, I went to a fucked up high school. So it came as no surprise that I only founda couple people from my school days.

You are an interesting tool, much like my own interesting tool, and there is a lot of stuff that’s positive about you.

However, there is an evil force infiltrating your purity and attempting to destroy you from within. That force is known in our world as…SOCCER MOMS.

Perhaps you’ve heard of them. Do not be fooled by their pretense at harmlessness, for they are the great evil that snakes its way up through our drains and wiggles along the floor and around our ankles as it slowly slithers its way up our bodies. And their numbers are increasing! Much like they do with mediocre novels like “Twilight” and ridiculously embarrassing TV shows like “Desperate Housewives,” they wait until someone else decides it’s for them before embracing it with a fanatical passion.

The way conservatives complain about illegal immigration, you’d think they’d be intelligent enough to notice the same pattern in soccer mom migrations. Much like the cheesy vampires about whom they enjoy reading, soccer moms much be invited in before they can devour us. Sadly, most people are idiots and totally unaware of the threat and do just that.

Scores of this hideous scourge have created Facebook pages and it isn’t pretty. Facebook, my new friend and possible future lover, you may be wondering what possible harm these imbecilic locusts can cause to you and the rest of us. To that I say with all sincerity, respect and loyalty:
GET YOUR HEAD OUTTA YER ASS!!! WHAT ARE YOU, A COMPLETE IDIOT? STUPID CUM BUCKET! LOOK WHAT YOU MADE. ME DO! I LOVE YOU AND LOOK. WHAT. YOU MAKE. ME DO!!!!!

Now I have to go out and buy you flowers and a card and promise it’ll never happen again. Are you happy? See what you caused? Do you? Well, I certainly hope so! I love you….

I’m sorry, Facebook, sometimes I just get so angry. It’s those damn soccer moms. So vaporous and empty, so shallow and annoying. You can actually look into their eyes (not for too long, though, or you’ll be taken over) and see what superficial teenagers they were. And now, thanks indirectly you and the geeks who brought you into our world, they have an outlet for their mind-numbing tedium that could conceivably devour us all!

When I post something using Facebook, it’s usually an update on what I’m writing, something sarcastic and hopefully funny to others, or what my turds look like after having eaten Indian food. But these women, and I use the term loosely, (I love that expression) seem to believe everything that happens throughout their days is of vital import and should be shared with the rest of the world.

I am fortunate in that I don’t have any soccer moms among my 50 or more friends. I chose carefully from writers, blogger friends, former co-workers and some tramps...the way god intended it. However, I know people who do have them in their friends list and some of their updates have been shared with me. I don’t mind telling you I lost bladder control.

Wait…that was before the updates were shared with me. That was a whole separate thing, come to think of it. Forget that part, Facebook. I have a narrow urethra.

Ridiculous updates like, “Jenny is feeling sad for little Greggers because he has the sniffles” are always followed by a barrage of sympathetic replies from others of the same ilk. What started as a networking tool has become an excuse for self-indulgence of the most mediocre.

I know what you’re going to say: Put your pants back on and take your power drill elsewhere. But I bet you’re also saying, “These are woman who feel ignored, craving validation. I provide them with a resource where they can feel like what they do and say matters. Shouldn’t they also have the chance to feel that way?”

Of course not! Haven’t you been paying attention? These aren’t people! Just because they have feet doesn’t mean they’re human beings! Rodents have feet! And they’re delicious! Especially with lemon and a little butter! But I bet soccer mom feet taste like sulfur, since they walk along the corridors of Hellllllllllll!!!!

You might think I’m crazy, but unlike actual crazy people, I know I’m not crazy because everybody else is. So chew on that, Facebook! You stupid…website. Soccer Mom lover! Can the more blue-collar hockey moms be far behind?

Don’t you see? If we don’t draw the line right here, right now, soon our TV stations will consist of daytime talk shows and shows with judges on them screaming at morons. Our roads could become filled with gas-guzzling SUV’s driven by distracted airheads. Our restaurants could be over-crowded with selfish moms and their kids during the lunch rush and our movie theaters could be…well, OK they don’t go to movies the rest of us care about so scratch that last one off the list.

Facebook, you are the potential savior of us all, you and only you can purge us of this menace before the next logical and horrifying step occurs: They’ll start breeding with the normal human population!!! Do you want that? Do you want everyone using you to be the same? Does homogenization appeal to you, you son of a bitch!?

Maybe it does. Maybe that’s where you’ll get your power. I hope not. I like you, Facebook, but I will fuck you up if it becomes necessary~

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

THE CULT OF THE GUITAR GUY:

It would appear that my alter-ego "Scribe" has once again escaped from the laboratory and re-posted one of his hostile invective-filled commentaries from 2008, the Year of Great Anger. Thankfully, I was able to edit some of the more incendiary stuff...believe it or not!!!

Here it is:

I just realized the other day how much I can’t stand guys that play the guitar recreationally. I realized it when I thought about two utter pieces of fecal matter I know who do.


Not so ironically, these guys work in the same place and feed off each other’s perceived coolness. Only one could make the argument for being even remotely cool and there’s nothing cool about his punk ass either. They share similar obnoxious personality traits, chief among them being a sort of removed arrogance and over-compensating cockiness that is at once annoying and undeserved.

They are certainly not the only ones who fit this description. I’m sure you’ve had this experience or known someone who has. Some arrogant, know-it-all “rebel” whose carefully cultivated persona reeks of effort and thinly disguised hostility because he’s being forced to live the life he despises…you know, normal and accountable. But the world doesn’t get him, man. He’s a guitar hero. Those who don’t play should hail his very existence. His humility is the result of his enlightenment, since his one-ness with the wood and metal makes him a more fully evolved human being, am avatar of the ax, a monk of musicianship, a motherfuckin'
GUITAR PLAYER!!!

Before I go any further, I should tell you that both of my uncles are musicians, One of them is a jazz guitarist who plays professionally and was part of the birth of Motown Records in the Sixties. Actually, thy both were. My other uncle was a bass guitarist and they collaborated on songs together, some of which got airplay. This is not the portrait of the Guitar Cult I am attempting to draw. Two accomplished and proven musicians who have proved themselves don’t qualify for membership.

And, honestly, dabbling in the guitar as a form of relaxation or self-improvement is perfectly fine. I don’t have any issues with guys like that.

The guy I have a problem with is the guy who struts around the office while insisting he’s not of the office, a cocky half-grin, half-grimace affixed to his lips as he tolerates the rest of us until he finds out some of us have our own forms of creative expression. The guy I take issue with is the one that thinks because he and a bunch of other recreational musicians jam in his buddy’s basement that he is on the same level as my uncle who still plays professionally.

For some reason, this guy has always wanted to write a novel or book of his life. He will most likely never finish the book and if he does it’s so far outside his comfort zone to submit the thing, he’ll probably never even try.

In many ways, members of the Guitar Cult remind me of soccer moms. They are a group that sees itself as somehow separate from the rest of us by virtue of its purpose. Both groups tend to want to only congregate with like-minded people and discuss what would be industry subject matter if these were professions. They both tend to be incredibly self-absorbed, often thinking their needs are paramount and superior to the needs of others. Oh, and they’re both really annoying dorks! How’s that for an academic overview of the situation?

Before my mom went onto her heavenly reward (becoming a displaced spirit that appears to me in dreams) she told me how sick and tired of the guitar she was. At the time, I found that odd. She said the guitar was always supposed to be staple in the rock ‘n roll sound but it wasn’t supposed to dwarf all other instruments. It became a symbol of instant gratification and stardom, a giant, noise-making penis used to release the pent up sexual frustrations and angst of pimply teenage boys the world over. What bothered her most was its utter ubiquitousness.

At the time, the mid-Nineties to be exact, popular TV ads featured guitars strumming in almost everything. Hip-hop had yet to capture the white suburban imagination and so alternative rock was the pop culture movement du jour. I think much of America came to agree with her, as the general de-emphasizing of the guitar that followed her death would seem to indicate. That didn’t last, of course. There’s always a new generation of suburban youth eagerly looking to escape the doldrums of their existence by banging away at three chords in their garages in the hopes of becoming the next White Stripes or some other equally uninteresting band.

But those are kids and kids are supposed to be morons. The guys I mentioned earlier are not kids. One of them is in his fifties and the other two are in their late thirties. I know for a fact that the guy in his fifties has rock star aspirations. He doesn’t know this, but I found his bitch ass online and listened to some samples of his band’s music. I haven’t laughed that hard since the Tina Fey Sara Palin skits at the end of last year. Mr. Hipster McFreebird caterwauls some of the lamest shit I’ve ever heard. I could get all immature and tell you it’s as if Crap & Puke had a baby and he decided to play guitar in their basement in a sea of raw sewage. But I won’t because I’m an extremely mature individual who doesn’t say bad things about pieces of shit like this low-rent fuckstick.

Not all recreational guitar players are reprehensible. My friend Dutch comes to mind. But he seems to be the exception to the rule. Most of them are pricks. God forbid you should ever have to work alongside one of them because they don’t seem to have any sense of loyalty either. Since everything except jamming sessions is an illusion, everything external is to be ridiculed , ignored and disregarded.

I’m not saying they’re scourge or a plague that must be stopped like soccer moms and midget Nazis but we should keep our eyes on them. Besides, they’re only a small part of a bigger problem. In the near future I’ll be discussing the self-entitled hip-hop wanna-be~

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quote o' the Day

"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." ~Haruki Murakami

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quote o' the Day

"Guess that 'big tent Republicanism' they were touting a decade ago didn't work out. So they folded up the tent and are cow-towing to the crowd they know best: Rich white men and poor old white lemmings with Tri corner hats"

-A Facebook poster

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Quote of 2011

After much consideration, here it is:

"He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed."—Sara Palin on Paul Revere, June 3, 2011

Vote!

Please vote for my friend and favorite editor Jeanni Rector of The Horror Zine in this year's Preditors and Editors Critters Workshop Readers Poll! Links provided below:

For Best Editor:

For Best Fiction Ezine:

For Best Poetry Ezine:

http://www.critters.org/predpoll/poetryzine.shtml

For once, voting will actually result in something tangible. You'll be able to tell the grandkids!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reactions to "The most Uncomfortable Thing I've Written in some time."

It's interesting how, even when a writer scribes up something intensely personal and puts it "out there" for the general public, readers often still feel the need to respond privately. It is very respectful and nice and I'm in no way judging them for that, but I'm a writer, and writers like to put things against the wall so passers-by can see it, too.

Therefore, I've compiled the reactions my previous post (Scroll down to read it) engendered sans names:

I just read your letter, Chris. I'm so sorry that your mother and you and your family had to go through such a painful experience. I never tell anyone about my mother's end of days but I saw some of my own frustration and anger in your letter. All we can do is our best during times such as these, and I am certain that your efforts were a comfort to your mother when she needed you most, even if to you they seemed small and futile. I hope your letter is a step toward healing; I doubt your parents would ever want you to suffer for as long as you have.

i just read the piece you wrote on your blog. It's one of the most moving pieces I've read in a long, long time. I know how hard it was to lose my mum at an early age too (she was 54), but in a small mercy, she went downhill very rapidly, so the emotional distress on the family was at least not as drawn out...

Losing the house, and that connection must have been a wallop.

You're a good man Chris, and take care of your self.

Very, very touching. And sensitively expressed. Thanks for sharing with us. I hope that time has helped to heal, little by little. And perhaps in writing this, another step has been taken in that direction. Love and hugs.

And from my cousin I haven't seen in thirty-plus years who adored my mom:

just read you letter...wow, I understand. Aunt Dee was a great woman and I will always love her.
I'm so sorry your mom suffered so much and I sorry you suffered. Sometimes life sucks, I would have never guessed it would end like that.

Thanks to all who read it and felt compelled to reply as well as those who did not. The letter was mailed yesterday. If I receive a response, I'll let you know~