Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying Goodbye to 2013, A Warning for 2014

Southern Wisconsin has some very secluded spots.  For instance, in a patch of woods tucked away between rolling hills, off a gravel road that winds for miles sits a pole barn.  It doesn't look special from the outside.  It looks like any other barn the many farmers around here use.

Photo used with permission from JPVehmeier Photo

Inside?  That's another story.

As with most barns the floors were concrete.  On one side of the building sat a van.  A creepy van.  A van you don't ever want to see outside your home.

On the opposite side of the van sat a man.  He was naked but for a black hood over his head.  The cold steel chair he was duct taped to was bolted into the floor.

I walked slowly around the man, the heels of my boots clicking on the cold floor and echoing in the barn.  Outside the wind blew snow against the side of the barn with a slight ticking sound.

I stopped in front of the man and looked down upon him.  He was motionless.

I pulled the hood off his head with a quick snap and took the gag out of his mouth.  A look of fear moved across his face.


"Hello, 2013.  Going somewhere?"

"Hey, look," he said.  "I know you haven't had the best time these past few months."

"Oh?"  I slowly walked around him.  "These past few months, huh?"  I walked over to a table I had set up with the night's entertainment.  "So, it was just these past few months that have been rough, in your opinion?"

"Well," he started.  "I know this whole year wasn't easy.  I mean it started pretty hard for you."

"That's one way of putting it, I suppose."

"But," he began with a stammer.  "We had some good times, too.  Right?"

"Name one."


"Name a good time I had."  The wind had picked up outside and more snow blasted against the outside.  It was chilly inside the barn, but the firebox was stoked and hot.  Inside logs popped and snapped.

"Well," he said slowly.  "There was the time you went to see your family."


"Umm...you saw your family a couple of times."

"Like when my mom had cancer?"

"Yeah!"  But then he realized his error and stopped.

"Oh no," I said while picking up a sledge hammer with a short handle.  "Let's continue."

"I'm sorry!"

"But there is so much more to talk about, 2013.  We haven't even gone over the various women."

"Please," he said.  "Let me go.  I'm almost done.  I'm almost out of here."

"You must be held accountable."  I didn't yell.  Yelling is such a waste of energy.

"That one wasn't my fault, Ted.  That started in 2012!"

"I know.  I don't hold you accountable for her.  And she's been dealt with."

"Oh God!"

"He's not here today, 2013.  It's just you and I."

"I'm gonna be sick."  He began to gag a bit.  "Please let me go!"

"Why should I do that?  You really brought some bad things.  Unrequited love is one thing, but to have my face rubbed in it and laughed at?  No, I'm afraid we can't have that."

"But I'm not over yet--"

I brought the sledge hammer down on his foot with all my strength.  He screamed as the bones crushed and burst through his skin.

"I'm sorry, 2013.  You had your chance."

"But why?"  He was sobbing.  "I only have a few hours left."

"I'm going to take you apart, now.  Bone by bone, tendon by tendon, skin from skin.  I'm going to do to you what you did to me."

"Please forgive me," he gasped.

"I don't know what that means or why I would want to."

I started with the straight razor.  Small cuts here and there, then deeper and deeper.  I cut off his nose, ears and lips.

The hot pokers in the fire box glowed until I put them in his eye sockets.

"Can you still hear me, 2013?"

He grunted.  There were just a few minutes of life left in him.

"Do you know what disappoints me the most about you?  It's the promise.  It wasn't having my face rubbed in that which I'll never have, or having a pretty woman ignore me, or getting a rejection letter.  It's that for a moment there midway through, I actually thought you were going to be better.  And in a matter of a few weeks it was all stripped away.  You disappoint me, 2013."

The chainsaw was a nice toy.  Legs and arms, already mangled and skinned, flew off his torso.  The intestine was fun, too.  I loved how the warm blood sprayed on my face.

2013 Expired without me noticing.  I was taken with the ecstasy of it all and lost my track of time.   As I turned off the chainsaw and went to put it on the table, I noticed 2014 standing in the doorway.  His eyes were wide with terror and he had dropped to his knees with his hands over his mouth in an attempt to hold in the scream.

"Oh God," he said as he looked over the shredded and torn bits of 2013. 

"He's not here today."  When he looked over at me, covered in blood and gore, he tried to talk but couldn't.  I stared at him deeply, making sure our eyes were locked.

"I'm expecting better things from you, 2014.  And you really don't want to disappoint me, now do you?" 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stop The Christmas Slaughter!

I grew up in a family of great cooks.  If you've ever seen me, you'd know this right away.  We love to eat and we all love to cook. 

The holidays were wonderful because Mom and her other sisters would bake.  Usually the day after Thanksgiving was the big one.  All day long Mom would be in the kitchen baking cookies, cakes and pies. 

One of her specialties was molasses cookies.  They were perfect with just a bit of ginger.  No molasses cookie would last beyond a week and people were constantly bugging her to make more.  As the years progressed, her molasses cookie bake-a-thon consumed the day.  Hours and hours, using up huge jars of molasses. 

And then, shortly after turning 12, my dad took me hunting for pheasants in November just before Thanksgiving.  He made a comment, "Yeah, your mom is really going to need a lot of molasses this year.  Your uncle and I are going to need your help.  Besides, it's time you learned how to do this for when your wife bakes molasses cookies." 

The following week was one of the most traumatic events of my childhood and permanently scarred me for life. 

I always thought molasses was made from some grain or sugar, or something like that.  But no, it isn't.  Molasses is just as the name implies--the asses of moles. 

I was horrified to learn this. 

How could a body part of a rodent taste so damned good in a cookie?  How was this possible? 

The slaughter began early, just after dawn.  My uncle had a hose stuck in a hole in the ground.  When there was enough light, he began pumping water.  My job was to whack a mole with a club when it stuck it's head up. 

We must have cleared a dozen fields that day.  Hundreds and hundreds of tiny, furry little moles.  Innocent creatures.  I would bash their heads in and throw their carcass in the back of the truck. 

By the end of the day, blood ran under the tailgate of my dad's Chevy pick-up. 

That night we skinned and carved the little moles up.  Dad showed me a few tricks and how to hold the knife.  It was a grim assembly line.  My uncle would skin them, Dad would chop their little asses off, and I would grind them up in a large meat grinder. 

Blood got everywhere.  My shoes, my pants, my sweatshirt.  By the end of the night I looked like I had just chopped up an entire sorority with a chainsaw. 

We put the mole's asses into a jar with some sugar, then with the lid off we put them in a water bath that was slowly heated with a wood fire.  Eventually the water boiled and the mole's asses cooked, combining with a few other ingredients my uncle threw in for good measure. 

By morning the next day, we had about a dozen large jars of molasses.  And I haven't eaten a molasses cookie since. 

It's time we end this senseless slaughter!  It's time we stop murdering moles so we can have good cookies.  Yummy, delicious molasses cookies. 

Mom doesn't make molasses cookies anymore.  I stopped hunting moles when Dad died.  I refuse.  It's one family tradition I just cannot follow.  Mom understands and doesn't press the issue.  Truth be told, I think she's happy to not have to slave away in a hot kitchen making cookies all day.  And I'm fine with that. 

The question is, are you, dear reader?  It's time to write your congressman and all those fancy food magazines.  Perhaps Anthony Bourdain can be enlisted to help us, too.  Once Rachel Ray realizes the error of her ways, I'm sure no more molasses recipes will appear in her magazine or show.  I know from experience Martha Stewart is a lost cause because she actually enjoys the slaughter.  I've seen pictures.  She was smiling. 

She was smiling

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Have a Weird Christmas!

We weirdos never get enough credit.

It's tough being this weird all the time.  We get ostracized and picked on.  Well, I don't get picked on because I'm creepy and the van is legendary.  But most weird people get picked on. 

And you never get The Girl.  You know The Girl--that one who is by far too normal and sane to be caught dead hanging out with you.  The Girl doesn't get all your jokes and the ones she does get she finds too dark to laugh at. 

Usually Valentine's Day is the roughest time to be weird.  Everybody is off being happy while we're pondering the weaponization of chocolate. 

But Christmas is a close second.  It's too.....sane.  All that preconceived, carbon-copy, canned happiness is just frustrating.  People having parties and doing social things.  And nobody wants to invite a weirdo unless they have to--like family. So most of us weird people do our own things on Christmas. 

One of my favorites is running up and down the streets on Christmas Eve night, at about 2AM, with a large belt of sleigh bells.  Sometimes I shout, "Merry Christmas!"  Then, I watch the lights turn on in the houses and sometimes I can actually hear the kids screaming. 

This reminds me of a weird story.  So, back when I was in college, I used to hang around various people in the BDSM community.  It wasn't so much my thing as I could relate to them and they accepted me.  BDSM people aren't too picky.  Anyways, I needed some leather belts, restraints, harnesses, whips, prods and crops.  All the things a good Dom needs.  And I was looking for a belt so I could attach my sleigh bells. 

So, I went to the local Farm & Fleet store because it was a small town, and that's where you go for stuff like that.  Keep in mind that back then, I was only person on campus with a shaved head, one of the very few guys with an ear ring and I wore a dog collar.  And I'm not a small guy. 

But I was at Farm & Fleet checking on various toys and tools.  I had a couple of harnesses around my neck, one was tightened around my chest, and I was experimenting with various whips, prods and crops.  Since nobody was around for me to hit, and nobody was there to hit me, I was hitting myself on the backside just to make sure they had the right feel.  I did that for about 10 minutes before I looked up to see 3 farming couples standing at the end of the isle.  Husbands and wives.  They were just staring at me with their jaws open. 

I smiled and gave them the "thumbs up" sign and they walked off shaking their heads and muttering about the crazy college kids in town. 

So yeah, being weird at Christmas is fun, and often times we have to entertain ourselves.  I've gotten good at it, too. 

Larry Update:  Larry, my houseplant, has grown 3 feet in the past 3 weeks.  I'm totally impressed with his effort into this.  Each morning I cheer him on and let him know how proud I am of his growth.  But I have to be careful because if I do it too much, he starts to curse at me. 

And Larry has a very foul mouth.  Or whatever he's using to talk. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, You Turkey!

I hope everybody is having a great Thanksgiving.  By definition, we keep this day in acknowledgement that we cannot do it all by ourselves and sometimes we need some help.  Or in cases such as myself, a whole mess of help. 

So thank you, dear reader. 

In a couple of hours I'll be heading down the road to see my family in Illinois.  I enjoy the trip so much more now since I discovered a way to completely avoid Freeport. 

For those who are not from my neck of the woods, Freeport is the wormy, festering bunghole of Illinois.  It's a place for drunks, addicts, thieves, whores, grifters, cons, winos, and the insane.  Avoiding this town is always preferred. 

But now that I have a better way home, I'm much happier, and safer. 

Thanksgiving always reminds me of a slew of good memories.  Sure, there are some bad ones, too.  My family always did enjoy drinking.  But I'm reminded of some of my favorites. 

There are moments we cling to and wish we could translate them for others.  For me, it was always about the food, sure.  But also seeing family I hadn't seen in years.  I come from a family of people who weren't always rich or flush with cash, but would save their money all year just so they could afford to come home on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It was important. 

This was my mom's side of the family.  The Irish Catholics.  

I remember playing a lot of pinochle--the official card game of my family.  Deer Grove Rules, so there was a double deck and sometimes a triple deck.  Just to shuffle you had to use a bushel basket and a stick. 

And then there was my cousin and I playing Nintendo.  Or watching the MST3K marathons on Comedy Central.  He was always like a little brother to me so we had some great times. 

Once my sister got bored and started a game of Dragon Warrior.  

That game lasted for months.  Every holiday, we played some more.  She was pissed because it was her game, but seriously, it was a lot of fun.  We all played a whole bunch of that game.  One game lasted well into the Spring.  The adults loved it because we were out of their hair. 

I remember my Uncle Chuck getting some great Hungarian sausage in a suburb of Chicago and using that to stuff the turkey.  He was Hungarian himself and knew some of the best places to find that sort of thing. 

There were some amazing meals cooked on those holidays.  My family was great at this. 

But there was one bad turkey that needs to be addressed.  It was horrible.  Disgusting, really. 

My dad's mom decided to come visit us for Thanksgiving one year.  According to my dad, she used to be a good cook, but by the time I had gotten old enough to know the difference those days were long past. 

She was obsessed with dry food.  She would make her toast and leave it out for a few minutes to dry up.  She cooked the shit out of everything. 

And she had a problem with my mom.  So, my grandmother interfered in the kitchen as much as possible.  The worst was how she kept fucking with the temperature of the oven while the turkey was cooking.  My mom would turn her back and my grandmother would sneak up and change it.  She was a sneaky woman, my grandmother.  I was constantly catching her sneaking up on me, or trying to spy on me from around a corner.  And when I'd catch her, she'd laugh and go back to whatever she was doing. 

So yeah, the turkey that year was horrid.  My mom was furious and the rest of the family wasn't too happy either.  Everybody complained loudly about how dry the turkey was and my grandmother would say, "I know!  Isn't it wonderful?" 

Thanksgiving is sort of the time of year when we acknowledge our family is weird.  We have some really weird people in our family.  And while I'm certain they say the same thing about me, or worse, we still agree to sit in the same house, at the same table, and pretend not to let it bother us. 

If I had to work with somebody from my family, without me knowing their were related, I'd kill them.  And they would call the cops on me. 

Family doesn't press charges.  Isn't that a nice sentiment? 

So yes, I hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving.  I plan on eating too much, saying crazy things, and stealing leftovers.  I hope you do, too.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Manly Fiction for Manly Men, by a Manly Man.

I realize now my fiction doesn't have enough testosterone.  It's just not manly enough.

Sure, sometimes my characters kill people.  And yes, a few kill them and do stuff with the bodies.  One does stuff with the bodies but he doesn't kill them.  But these men just aren't manly enough.

They usually think themselves into situations that don't require a fight.  Instead, they kill the person before anything is suspected.

Piece of Meat Victim #1 walked to his car, cautiously looking around the dark parking lot, when suddenly he felt a hot, searing pain across his throat.  As he turned around, his legs gave out, and he fell to the asphalt.  He looked up to see a man smiling broadly and holding a razor blade.  

Piece of Meat Victim #1 tried to ask the man who he was and why he slit his throat.  And most importantly, how did he creep up on him like a ninja.  But all that come out was, "arrghgle-gargle, thpht, blargh!"  

Piece of Meat Victim #1 then broke wind for the last time and died a confused man sprawled on cold asphalt. 

That's not very manly.  I should point out that from now on, whenever I describe somebody dying, they fart.  And shit themselves.  Just today I spent a whole paragraph describing the various fluids, sounds and smells associated with those last few seconds of life, and the first few minutes of death.  It wasn't manly, but I sure had fun writing it.

And that's the whole point, right?  Editors can see you smiled as you wrote the story you submitted to them.

When I was in grade school, I read spy novels and a series of books I'm not proud of.  Mack Bolan.  The Executioner. 

I buried my nose in a ton of these.  By the time I was in 7th grade, I had graduated to a whole slew of Vietnam memoirs.  Because of how I had been growing up, they made sense to me, and I learned a whole lot of the wrong lessons. 

My personal favorite was Once a Warrior King by David Donovan.  I love it.  I remember in 7th grade, I used to sit in study hall and read that, ignoring my other homework. 

It was a different time back then.  We were dealing with getting our balls back after Vietnam.  John Wayne was dead and all we had left was Stallone and a whole bunch of pissed off veterans who didn't want to talk about it. 

So now I'm trying to make manly fiction and it just isn't going so well.  Joe R. Lansdale pulls it off perfectly with his Hap n' Leonard Series.   They're manly men solving crimes in manly ways.   Of course, Mr. Lansdale is a walkin' boss himself.  I'm pretty sure he would whoop my ass rather quickly.

Hemingway was known for beating the crap out of people.  Every professor I ever had despised the man and his fiction. 

After recently reading Strega by Andrew Vachss, I decided I should use that as a template to make my own fiction more manly.

The Token Bad Guy sneered at Willie and called him a "midget."  Willie smiled because that allowed him to do what he needed to.  

Willie--the only little person to ever play the in NBA.  After that, a short tenure in the porn industry, then he moved on to starting up a series of safe houses for battered women.  Only his close friends knew his real name.  Willie was just his porn name.  

Willie unleashed a series of punishing testicular-based attacks while his girl Vera watched and smiled.  She still worked as a call girl but only for twenty grand a night.  She used that to fund her research into a cure for pediatric cancer.  But after living on the mean streets of Scum City, she was hard as drunk's liver.  

I kept a lookout for cops while Willie did his customary stomp on the Token Bad Guy.  Once he was on the ground, Willie unleashed his 14-inch meat hammer and began smacking it against the Token Bad Guy's head.  

"I guess he took offense at that term, asshole."  

"Make him stop!  Make him stop!"  

But it was too late.  The Token Bad Guy lost consciousness from the severe beating.  


Once again, that didn't seem to work, either.  I mean, why would a dwarfish NBA player/porn star and his hooker/cancer researcher girlfriend hang around a genius necrophiliac private investigator? 

Maybe my fiction needs more grease?  And guns!  Can't forget guns... 

Dirk lifted the Chrysler transmission on his shoulders and began to wedge it under the woman's van on the hoist.  She was stunning in her black evening dress and pearls.  

"So," he began.  "Big night tonight?  You seem pretty dressed up."  

"Oh this?"  She sounded bored.  "I always wear Prada."  

An old Elvis song played on the radio and Dirk absently moved his hips from side to side as he threaded the bolts to the tranny. 

Suddenly, a Random Rapist Thug ran into the shop and headed right towards the hot woman.  She screamed.  

Dirk threw a wrench at the Random Rapist Thug and hit him square in the face, dropping him to the concrete floor.  And that's when his friends followed up behind him.  

Dirk reached into his toolbox and pulled out his Dan Wesson .500 Mag Revolver with the chrome plating and custom leather grips.  Three quick shots and the Random Rapist Thugs were on the ground with holes the size of basketballs in their chests.  

"You save me!"  The hot woman looked at Dirk with lust in her eyes and began to strip off her dress.  

"Wait, baby."  Dirk held out a hand.  "Let me finish this tranny first.  A man's gotta do his job, after all."  

That's right!  A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.  And right now, I gotta stop being a pansy and write some manly fiction!  Fiction with grease, and guns, and cartoonishly large members.  And stupid women with no souls and so many mutually exclusive characters traits they couldn't possibly exist in real life.

Yup!  That's what I'm gonna start writing.  Just as soon as I'm done with my short story about the pastry chef too terrified of the lady he buys eggs from to tell her he's madly in love with her.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again....

When I was a kid, the family dog was a mutt half a dog tall and two dogs long, and her name was Midget.  She was a great family dog.  She hated men, barked only when there was a problem, never licked and loved to chase the tennis ball. 

In fact, playing fetch was her most favorite thing in the world, and we all played it with her daily.  My mom would play fetch in the mornings, I played fetch in the afternoon when I came home from school, and my sister would play fetch later on in the evening. 

The dog was in great shape and loved every bit of it. 

So one day, I had a great idea--I got Midget excited and riled up about chasing a tennis ball, and then I threw about a dozen of them at once.  For a split second, life was suddenly the best it could ever possibly be, and every great dream she ever had suddenly came true.

She darted around, picking up and putting down each tennis ball, never bringing anything back.  Then she looked over at me, cocked her head to the side and trotted over to me wagging her tail awkwardly.

"Get the ball," I told her.  She looked back and then just trotted off.  She was done.

Having my computer back is like that.  I have a ton of Works In Progress (WIP) to get done and I was really excited about getting my computer so I could tear into them.  But now that I have my computer, I'm more interested in farting around, playing games and checking out various places.

Plus my monitor is very old and dark, so I can't see images all that well, and the glare kind of hurts my eyes.

But that hasn't stopped these WIPs from trying to get my attention.

"When are you going to sub me, Ted?"

"Wait!  I'm almost ready to get sent out, I just need some final editing."

"Shut up and wait your turn!  He's sub'd me out twice and it's my turn until I'm published!"

"All you guys need to hold on," I said.  "I'll get to you when I'm ready."

"When the hell is that going to be?"  The Performance short story was glaring at me.  He was a special breed and not all too patient anymore.

"Soon," I said.  "I promise."

So that's what I'm doing today.  It's my day off, the Bears are on, F1 is on and I'm cooking bean soup.  In between all of that I'm checking out various things and looking at what needs attention now.

What can I get done today?

All the while, the Big Clock just keeps on ticking.   

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Tragic Death of a Computer (And the Harlot Replacement)

"I can't do this anymore, Ted."  It restarted again. 

"No, you're fine.  We just had you doing too much."  I ran C-Cleaner again.  That usually helps. 

"I'm pretty tired, man."  For a computer, it had done alright for the past 4 years.  And I had gotten it used.

"Yeah, but we have all kinds of shit to do."  I didn't want to game or watch a bunch of porn.  I just wanted to write and surf the web a bit. 

"I'm not gonna make it, Ted.  I'm done."  And that's when half the functions stopped working.  And I couldn't get online to do anything but send e-mail. 

I ran all the software I had to fix the problem, but it wasn't a software issue.  The motherboard was going out and this was the final death throe. 

I will admit I was lost for a while.  I e-mailed people from work when I could. 

And then there was the whole fiasco with HSN and how they fucked me.  I should have known better, but I was grabbing at straws. 

A circus freak let me borrow her broken laptop.  It hurt my eyes and the screen slowly degraded to nothing.  I found a spare old monitor and plugged that in to the laptop.  It was a shitty, shitty way to live.  The laptop was crap and kept clicking on random shit I never selected.  Sometimes it would just close the browser in the middle of doing stuff. 

The circus freak claimed it was because somebody had kneeled on the laptop while it was on her bed.  Figures. 

So I ordered a replacement from TigerDirect.  I love those guys. 

But after all I'd been through, would I be in trouble again?  Would I just be left disappointed? 

So after spending more than a month living the Saga of the Computer, I can say I now have a replacement that will last me for a few years.  It's fast and it runs quite well. 

People have been very understanding and I appreciate that.  This blog is now just short of 3000 views.  That's pretty damned good for being up less than a year. 

I'm currently working on coming up with t-shirt designs.  Once I do, I'll post how to get those shirts.  The trick is to make them so folks can wear them in public without getting too many bad looks. 

Thank you, folks, for all your patience as the guy with the horror-themed blog didn't have a computer for the month of October.  Embarrassing, yes--but unavoidable. 

And now I can get on with NaNo.  November is National Novel Writing Month and I'm 13 days late.  This is terrible but I'll make that time up I'm sure. 



Saturday, October 26, 2013

Open Letter to My Boss

Dear Boss,

I know that you have been feeling down with the recent health issues as of late. I feel terrible about it and wanted to help. So, I've taken it upon myself to help you run the company, even though you've put somebody else in charge of it. But let's face it, he can't be there all the time and I work nights, so that leaves me with lots of time to be you.

Not that I wanted to be you, I just wanted to do you a favor and help you out. Plus, I don't want you to return to work too early, so I figured that I would let you see how we don't really need you around that badly. Sure, we miss you, but we can survive while you get better.

Yes, I did pretend to be you a few times.

Now don't worry, Boss--I do a great impression of you on the phones. Just ask anybody. During the conference call with the client last week, I made sure to let them know how badly we need changes and how they weren't paying us enough. He made some threats about the upcoming contract and I told him he's a moron. I figure I'll play hardball for you until he comes back, then you can deal with him.

Oh, and tell him I (you) had no idea his mother was from Guatemala when I (you) made those comments. I'm sure he'll remember them clearly the next time you talk to him.

I've also increased employee happiness and job satisfaction. Remember those ugly support posts in the center of the call floor? I turned one into a brass pole with a little stage. During breaks employees are encourage to use them to relax. This didn't go so well at first but then I (or You, rather) instituited Drinking n' Dialing Sunday and instantly that pole was a huge hit.

We used to have problems getting people to come in on Sunday. Last Sunday about 80 people showed up, which is a record for Veridian Dynamics. Remember that runty little high school girl you hired, the one with short hair? Josey? Well, you'd be amazed at how much tequila that little thing can hold. I'm pretty sure by the end of the day we doubled her weight. Her calls were pretty happy, too. I think she sold a car, a house in Florida, a couple of bunny rabbits and an old dirt bike. I know we're supposed to sell cable bundles, but a sale is a sale, right?

The cops showed up when somebody drove by and saw a bunch of naked people running around. I thought we were screwed but it turns out Wisconsin has this law that states if you are working and drinking, it's okay to be underage. They just can't drive afterwards.

Oh, and I (You) made Sundays a Clothing-Optional Day because it was heading in that direction anyways. Just remember, if you come in Monday morning don't light a match.

The pole was such a hit, we raised over $2000 dolars for a charity. The bad news is some of the female agents realized they were grossly underpaid and left to pursue other opportunities.

But things are running very well. We were having a problem with one of the campaigns underperforming so I (You, actually) came up with the Pinata Award. The lowest performer in the campaign gets strung up by their heels and we beat them until the candy comes out. Problem solved. But we had to let go of Shandy because it was impossible to understand her with a broken jaw. I'm sure she'll be back when the doctors take the wires off.

We repainted the walls, too. Instead of the Kindergarten colors of before, we painted them in Packer Navy Blue and Orange, just like you like it. As a Packer fan, I'm sure you'll feel right at home.

People have been asking a lot of deeply personal questions about the nature of your illness, so to protect your privacy and dignity, I've been telling everybody you have Syphillis. When they ask why your arm is in a cast, I tell them you've been reaching for the stars and just leave it at that.

Oh, and I (you) turned that cluttered storage room into a Smoosh/Smoke Room. It was a lot of fun until I realized a few people would never leave. My (your) solution was to put a camera up with a live web connection. This way, people pay to log in and we make money while employees do their business on breaks. You'd be amazed at how full that room gets during lunchtime. The added bonus for us is that we've made over $30K in subscriptions. Google "Breakroom Lovin'" and you'll find the link.

Since you haven't been using your office, I've been putting it to good use myself. It was great for taking pictures for my calendar, 12 Months of Ted. You might laugh, but morbidly obese erotica is a fast-growing market, and I might sell a couple dozen. I'll be certain to get you a free one, too.

I (you) have been hiring people. You recently hired somebody who needed a chance. Fox News called him The Horse Lover. He is sueing them right now because the horse in question was dead and therefore didn't violate any laws. Also, if they curse on the phone because of Tourettes Syndrome, that doesn't violate company policies about call quality. So when Sandy begins shouting into the phone, ignore it. That's the polite thing to do, anyways. We all laugh when she's not looking.

I (you) also designed a special project for Jenna and I to work together on. It's been tough because every time I get close to her she gets that wild look in her eyes like she knows she needs to run or stab me. I think she's still pissed off and irritated at me about the whole "stalking" mistake. I wasn't stalking her, I was looking for mushrooms and happened to stumble upon her sunbathing. The reason I was there for hours was because I was waiting for a certain mushroom to finish growing. Everybody knows I'm a shroomologist. And that time she found me on her farm at night, I wasn't looking in her windows, my dog Sven ran away and I was chasing him down. I miss that dog.

So yeah, she and I are in a deeply committed relationship only she doesn't know about it yet. She will, I'm sure.

Because your email pile was getting big, I logged into your account and began to reply to a few of them. Things got personal so I (you) started flirting with a few of them on your behalf. It's going well with a couple of them. One got kinda butthurt about my (your) comment on how her body reminded you of a VW Beetle. I (you) smoothed it over with an expensive gift from Victoria's Secret. Money was no object because I (you) used the company accounts.

But the relationships that have gone well have really gone well. Don't be surprised if when you do come back several women approach you with all kinds of offers. And a couple of guys. I mean, they were intriguiged by your need to experiment.

All said, Boss, you really don't need to hurry back. I got this. Besides, I want you take your time and heal with your family. You don't need to hurry back for my sake. And I'm positive I'm speaking for many when I say we'd all prefer to know you're taking care of yourself first instead of us at Veridian Dynamics.

Your Favorite Employee,

Uncle Ted



Monday, September 30, 2013

The Days of Our Ted

Have you ever looked at your life and imagined it as a soap opera on television?

I have always hated soaps.  I grew up watching them as a child.  Both my parents worked so for about the first 6 or 7 years of my life, I went to a baby sitter, where myself and a bunch of other kids were subjected to each other's weirdness.

Remember the cartoon Muppet Babies?  Yeah, same thing only with less interesting people.

I'll admit I was a blend of Gonzo and Fozzy Bear.  But that's all I'm admitting to.  For the record, the baby sitter's daughters were Miss Piggy.  Both were obnoxious, pushy little bitches.

Back during the summer, we were forced to watch soap operas.  If it was too hot outside, or if it was raining, then we stayed inside.  The baby sitter loved soaps.

Frankly, I never understood them.  To me they seemed like boring sets of dialogue that needed gunfire, explosions and monsters.  And I think the creators of Supernatural and X-Files thought the same thing and that's how we got those awesome shows.

So yes, I watched those cursed shows.  And as I got older, I understood them.  It's a simple formula.

First, one plot line just begins.  A second plot line is in the middle and a third one is just wrapping up.

This is how a show that's a hundred years old keeps snagging and hooking new viewers.  My guess is a hundred years from now, we'll still have that show, only it'll be that time's equivalent to television.  Maybe implants in the brains of people that automatically get a wireless signal that generates memories instantly of that day's episode.  You're in an elevator, you tap your temple, and suddenly you remember being in a fight with your evil Mother-in-Law about the inheritance left to you when your wife, her daughter, was killed by a swarm of bees.  What she doesn't know is how those bees were meant for her because the daughter, your wife, found out about the affair you two were having.

So, yes.  My life would make a great soap opera.

As beer pours out of the tapper, so are the days of our Ted.
All My Tedness.
The Bold, the Beautiful, and the Ted.
The Young and the Tedless.
One Life to Live with Ted.

The plot lines would be easy.  My life is a weird blend of train wrecks, bad choices, unrequited love, paranormal mistakes and watching a lot of people around me have sex.  Well, not watching them, actually.  More like they do it, film it secretly and then tell me all about it later while we watch the video.

The first set would be work.  I work in a call center surrounded by all kinds of people making terrible choices, hiding their pasts, smothering their feelings and losing their minds.  And it's a meat market so they're hooking up constantly.

As a writer, it's a material-rich environment.  Not too long ago, a girl was crying because her boyfriend was teasing her about the um...lack of aromatic pleasantness in her um....lady parts.  You can't make this stuff up.  He was teasing her, other women were teasing her, it was ugly.  She was really upset.

And so I was thinking this could be perfect for a product tie-in.  The advertising revenue generated by a plot that incorporated sponsorship would be huge.  An entire week of Female Character #12 and her angst over the foul smell of her hoo-ha while people make fun of it.  And then a doctor, or Uncle Ted (wink), comes to the rescue.  "Don't be sad, Female Character #12, millions of women suffer from your condition and it's treatable with Corporate Hoo-Ha Cleaner."

I could make millions on this one campaign alone.

The second plot would be the unrequited love Our Hero (moi) feels towards Female Interest of the Month.  She would, of course, be totally incompatible with him.  So much so, it would add to his angst. Soap Operas have a lot of angst, so this would work out well.  Because Our Hero (moi) is too good for her, she will recognize this and hurt him terribly through her dark evil bitch powers.  She will laugh at him behind his back, make jokes about him with the many men she patrons, and generally show just how wrong she is for him.

This brings up the third plot thread.  We would need to have something paranormal and supernatural.

Having a medium or a psychic is great for foreshadowing, but also because they can be used to explain weird behavior.  The Female Interest of the Month is only in her position because Our Hero (moi) was cursed by alien warlocks that abducted him in his sleep.

And then throughout the entire show would be Our Hero's (moi) struggles to be a successful writer as he is tormented by inner demons and loneliness.  We would later learn the unrequited love bit is a function of his alternate personality who sets these things up just to torment the other half.

The comic relief in all of this, as if you'd need it, would be the moronic people Our Hero and the other characters are forced to deal with daily.  For this, we could take real calls from the people I actually talk to and simply use them.  I couldn't make up a more insane group of people acting as if they were in another dimension where sanity was unheard of and basic human kindness was abhorred.

"What do you mean I called the wrong number?  Why did you pick up the phone if I called the wrong number?  Why didn't you give me the right number in the first place?  I hate you and your company!"  

The season finale would be centered around whether or not Our Hero (moi) finally gets The Girl, or in this case the Female Interest of the Month.  Season Finales are always cliffhangers.  It looks like it might actually happen...it might become a reality.  Oh wait, she just wanted to get close to Our Hero (moi) just to talk trash about another women so he wouldn't designate her the next Female Interest of the Month.  And once she made her case, she refused to talk to him ever again. 

Aw, so sad, too bad.  But just before his heart breaks, aliens come and wake up the ghostly spirit of the Female Interest of the Month from last season who died in a quilting accident.  The spirit does in fact love him!  Wow!

I really should be in soap operas.  But I would have to include Larry, my houseplant.  He could be my spiritual adviser in matters of the heart. 

The best part of soap operas is how they never end.  Ever.  Fucking ever.  I'm serious.  There are story lines from 2000 years ago still being played out on TV.  The Greeks had a play they did called General Apothecary.   Socrates called it, "the worst piece of shit I ever sat through" but he never missed an episode and openly wept when the hero, Phisysius, was killed with poison by his lover.  But he was happy to learn a few seasons later it wasn't Phisysius that was killed but rather his evil twin and his lover was just protecting him.

This shit goes on and on and on....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Peanut Butter and Broken Glass

While working on a short story, I recently realized I cannot write a sex scene worth a damn, no matter how I hard I try. 

Really.  They come out totally crappy. 

Part of me wants to use this as an opportunity to send out a plea for help from the ladies in my life.  You know, ladies, if you really wanted me to be a better writer you'd come over to my dungeon apartment and help me...um...map out the scene a bit. 

But I won't do that because I know better.  Besides, careful what you wish for, eh?

I avoid sex scenes.  My characters kiss, a little detailed description of some breathing and body language, and then the scene closes.  We come back and they're putting their clothes back on.  Done. 

When I try to write out the scene with details, it always gets weird.  One time I had to write something kinky.  It was for a writing class.  I was told sex should be dirty and a little kinky.  What ended up was this little gem:

Stefan grabbed Lori's wrist and pulled her roughly towards himself.  She looked into his eyes for a moment then kissed him hungrily.  
"Baby," she whispered.  "This is our only night."  
Stefan tried not to think of her husband and failed.  
"I want you to make me remember this forever," she said.  
Stefan walked over to his closet and pulled out a jar of peanut butter and a bag of broken glass.  
Lori's eyes grew large and her mouth hung open a bit, but she said nothing.  
"Oh," Stefan said.  "I'm sure this will come up a lot in therapy."  

Yeah, nobody liked that scene very much, either.  Personally I found it to be evocative of many post-modern sentiments and a wonderful statement on the creative uses for peanut butter. 

But I was the only one. 

I once tried to enter into a BDSM-themed writing contest.  The editor wrote back to me that my submission was, "bordering on Sadistic and sociopathic homicidal fantasy" and wrote at the bottom of the rejection, "Sex is supposed to be fun!"  

In my defense, I will say that one of the characters did laugh a lot. 

My favorite sex scene ever written was the one in The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats.   Keats was brilliant in his language, pacing and form.  Technically speaking, it was more of a rape than a sex scene, but I'm sure in 1819 it was the highlight of romance.  Plus, this was supposed to be a dream, so she gives in willingly.  This is why it can be great literature and still be a bit rapey. 

  Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far
  At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
  Ethereal, flush’d, and like a throbbing star
  Seen mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose;
  Into her dream he melted, as the rose        320
  Blendeth its odour with the violet,—
  Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
  Like Love’s alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes’ moon hath set.

Isn't that just the loveliest?  Much better than when I tried writing a sex scene after spending the whole summer reading Kurt Vonnegut novels.  His novels should come with a script for Prozac and other mood-enhancing drugs.  I was less depressed after reading Elie Wiesel's Night while listening to Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) on a rainy Sunday afternoon. 

When I tried to write it out, the characters didn't even like each other much.  They didn't hate each other, either.  And their disinterest in each other made the sex so joyless I couldn't help but feel sorry for them.  Killing them off was an act of mercy.  They were eaten by a bear who was angry his favorite tire swing was removed from the oak tree near the woods.  As he chomped bitterly at their flesh, he reflected upon their acceptance and stoic reactions. 

That story didn't sell, either. 

What I'm reading always has a huge effect on what I'm writing.  So you can imagine how fucked up the sex was during my Hunter S. Thompson phase. 

She looked and talked like a Texas debutant.  But this was Day Three of the GOP Convention and she was on Day Two of a meth binge.  The hotel room was completely destroyed as if a twister from her hometown of Tyler, Texas, had done meth right along with her and together they made this awful mess.  

I had gotten myself into this terrifying position because the manic bitch promised me an interview with Senator Smith in exchange for some drugs.  But earlier she and I had done them all and she'd forgotten the whole affair.  Now she was on top of me and screaming Republican gibberish while tearing off her clothing.
It just got worse after that. And note that I never really got into the sex part.  I just can't do it! 

When I play with the language, it just doesn't work.  I'm just not good at softening things up. 

He gently opened her legs to reveal her hoo-ha.  And it was a stunning hoo-ha, indeed.  In fact, of all the hoo-has he had seen in his life, her hoo-ha was the prettiest.    

When I was in college, I had the assignment of writing a sex scene that was supposed to be realistic.  The professor said it should be embarrassing.  No problem!  I have a ton of those stories to tell. 

Instead, everybody laughed when I read it in front of the class.  But that laughter stopped when I began to describe in great deal the horrible things our bodies produce, do, smell like and feel like as you discreetly try to wipe them off your skin. 

The human body really is a disgusting bag of rotting chemicals.  Once you understand that, sex just isn't all that great.  It's a nice idea, but in practice it's kind of gross.  This is another reason I don't ask women out.  Sure, they're wonderful, pretty and full of light--but once you see them without the illusions of fantasy, they are all just bags of slimy, rotting fluids.  Men are, too. 

This is the crux of the whole problem I have with writing sex scenes.  Flesh is a lie.  Flesh is a putrid, fetid prison for our spirits.  So the last time I tried to do any kind of sex scene at all, it read more like an autopsy report done in the middle of the night by a drunken coroner.  Things fell on the floor with a wet splatter, etc. 

This is another reason why I like necrophilia stories so much.  They're already dead, so you can't insult them by holding your nose.  Plus, if you stop what you're doing to wash them off, even the reader understands.  And just by the act itself, you can allow your character a certain amount of insanity. 

I'll end by telling you this story.  It's true, sadly. 

I was in a bar in Albany, Illinois with a friend of mine.  We were intercepting somebody on the way back from the drag races in Cordova.  While at the bar, we joked about kinks and freakish things people do. 

I said, "Yeah, she's a freak.  But she's not into peanut butter and broken glass."

The 50-something bartender, who looked like a surfer girl that had seen plenty of better days, overheard me and smiled.  She said, "Mmm, that sounds kinky!"

I almost named this blog Peanut Butter and Broken Glass.  Truth.   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Those Defining Moments

A writer friend of mine said we have three or four defining moments in our lives and they heavily influence who we are and the lives we lead.

I've been thinking about this a lot.  And I have come to realize that one of the most defining moments of my life was really a period from my childhood.

People are always giving me shit for writing horror.  They wonder why I make morbid comments, laugh about terrible things and feel totally comfortable in darkness.  I live inside my head and speak very little.  In fact, when I'm not at work, I can go days without even using my vocal chords.

I leave my apartment only when I absolutely have to and even then, it's straight there and straight back.  I purposefully choose basement apartments with small windows.

I isolate.

That is my comfort zone.

But it wasn't always like that.  When I was a kid, my first job was newspaper delivery boy for the Sterling-Rock Falls Daily Gazette.  The route originally belonged to Jeff Corwell, an older boy across the street, who I think got it from his older brother years before.  I looked up to Jeff and wanted to be just like him.  For a while, he was like an older brother.  Jeff was getting rid of the route so he could play football and wrestle.  My dad decided it was time I started to earn some money.

My first day was in the last week of the Second Grade.  I was so young, my dad had to agree to walk the route with me.  He did walk it with me for about two months, but then he got bored with it, so I was on my own from then.

I later found out the reason so many of the older businessmen would be standing outside waiting for me was because they were watching out for me.  They later told me how I was way too young to have that route by myself and they thought my dad was wrong.  

It was a good route.  I lived on the street and would walk up one side, then down the other.  About two miles total.  Seventy-three or so customers.

I had some really great people on my route.  Doctors, lawyers, businessmen, engineers, accountants.  Some of the best houses in Sterling were there.

But there were some really bad folks, too.  And I saw a lot of things no child should ever have to see.  I saw them more often than was healthy and I wasn't old enough to understand any of it.  

There was a man on my route everybody called Santa Clause because they didn't know Mr. McSorely's name.  He was old, bald and had a huge white beard.  Every time I delivered to his house, it smelled like sauerkraut.  I think he was a retired corrections officer or something.

Anyways, about three months into my new job, he chatted with me.  He told me about how he prayed every night that God would kill him because he didn't want to live anymore.  He pointed out his liver spots, told me about how he couldn't be with a woman and how lonely he was.  He cried.

Keep in mind, I really thought he might be Santa, because I was six years old and still believed in that stuff.

When you walk up to somebody's house, you never know what you'll catch them in the middle of doing.  I've walked up on people having sex in their enclosed front porch on numerous occasions.  One of the rules I was told by my dad was I had to walk up to their doors and put the paper in a safe spot so it wouldn't get blown away or wet.  He wouldn't allow me to use rubber bands at first.  I did later anyways. 

This meant I was walking right up to people's front doors.

In that time, I saw all manner of domestic strife.  It wasn't the first time.  While my dad never beat up my mom or anything like that, I did watch the baby sitter beat up her husband with a vacuum hose as he tumbled down the stairs.  I was sitting on steps that lead to the stairs and I remember very clearly putting my head down and covering my eyes.  I think I was about three years old at the time.  I remember being terrified.

But when I went to some of these houses, I saw men hitting their wives.  I saw a woman get drunk and fall down while her husband kicked her.  I saw all manner of arguments, verbal attacks and emotional abuse.

I even once walked up to a house while the couple were doing a BDSM scene.  I thought it was rape, or something similar.  He was shouting at her, "You're gonna suck it, bitch!"
She cried and kept saying, "I don't wanna!"
I heard slapping.  It was only until much later I realized they were playing a game.  

This is where I learned not to talk.  Somehow in all of this, I learned to simply not say anything and not talk about what I saw.  I withdrew from everybody.

As I got older, I knew more about what I was seeing.  I learned to enjoy the nakedness a few of the women willingly showed me.  I remember one women in shorts was husking corn while sitting on the steps on a hot day and when I delivered her paper, she spread her legs to show me a very thick patch of hair.  She smiled at me, I smiled back and gave her a "thumbs up" before going back to my route.

That was about 33 years ago and this is the first time I've told anybody.

I saw a lot of nudity.  Some accidental, some not so much.  Growing up in an extremely conservative Catholic family, and living in small-town Midwest, such things were unheard of.

Because a lot of these old houses had big picture windows, and for some reason everybody puts a couch in front of the big picture window, I saw a lot of sex.  A ton of it, really.  I even saw Jeff with a girl once.  

There was a married, but obviously bored, housewife on my route who used to tease me.  She would tell me about her nipples and how she thought they were perfect.  She would tell me about how soft her skin was, and really drove me nuts.  This went on for about a month until I asked to see them.  I made it sound like I totally didn't believe her.  She walked up to me slowly, never breaking eye contact, then slipped one out of her bra for a few seconds, then back in.  All the while, she looked at me closely and at my reactions.  After she put it back in, she smiled thinly and said, "have a nice day."  We never spoke again.  When I delivered her papers she was always busy.  She wouldn't even look at me and I thought I had done something wrong.

I was convinced, for years, that my reactions were wrong and that's why she rejected me.  And since those reactions were involuntary, then something was wrong with me.  Logically, the less I react, then the less people would know something was wrong with me.

This is how I thought of myself when I was in the Fifth Grade.  Something was wrong with me on a deep level so the less I spoke or reacted, the harder time you'll have seeing that. 

When I was in the Fifth Grade, I was able to save up my money to buy a set of radio headphones.  they were big, bulky and went through batteries very quickly.  I only got a couple of stations with them, which was fine, because back then we all listened to WLS out of Chicago.  They were the only ones that played music.

It was my way to tune out the world.  I didn't have to hear people fighting, or insulting each other, or any of that mess.

This didn't stop the insanity.  I once had a married couple, while sitting on their front porch drunk, tell me about their sex life.  In detail, too.  I even understood some of it because I was about ten at the time.  That was when I learned what a G-spot was. 

One of the nicer aspects were the dogs.  Some houses had dogs and they loved me.  I'm a dog person anyways.  Sometimes, people left their dogs outside alone, and when I delivered the paper I would sit and pet the dogs.  I had grown really attached to a few of them.  Sometimes I bought a box of dog treats and would take a couple with me, or I'd sneak a bone from dinner the night before.  I was really attached to some of these dogs.

One family had this small dog that was just a sweetheart.  She and I would play and all kinds of stuff.  They neglected her.  I brought her bones, a toy and sometimes I put water in her dish during the summer.  During a harsh winter, they left her outside and she froze to death.  I thought it was my fault and I cried the whole way home, saying how sorry I was to her because I let her die.  It was my fault, I knew, because I didn't do anything.  When I got home, I covered up by saying it was really cold outside and that's why my eyes were watery. 

I saw car accidents.  Lots of them, really.  Locust Street is Illinois 40, so it's busy.  Usually just minor fender-benders.  I saw so many of them the local police knew my name and would ask me what I saw.

There was one I saw that was horrific and happened right in front of my house at the corner of Locust & 10th street on a nice Saturday afternoon.  An old man had a heart attack and crossed the center line.  He hit, head-on, a very large old barge of a car and careened into somebody's yard.  The woman got out and began to scream in this awful voice I can still hear to this day, "My baby!  My baby!"  Sure enough, she had an infant with her and back then, nobody used car seats.

I will admit, though, that I wasn't the best kid in the world.  The darkness had taken root and was spreading.  I did some ugly things.  

There was an apartment building with about six units and it was full of functionally disabled people.  I'm not sure what the proper term for it is in today's lingo, but back then we just said they were retards that paid their own bills.  Most of them worked odd jobs and got a check from the government.

But they drank beer, too.  And when I was in the Fifth Grade, I learned I could slip them a couple of extra bucks and they'd buy me a six-pack.  I used to drink beer while doing my route.  I came home buzzed a few times and nobody noticed.  On Friday nights, I would go over there and they'd buy me beer so I could share with my friend.  (I only had one, I was a loner back then, too.)

In that apartment building, there was an old man who would let me look at his porn magazines.  They were wretched things full of ugly women doing nasty stuff.  But when you're in the Fifth Grade, it's the best shit in the world.  It was fun until he the old man asked me if I wanted to see the real thing and to go upstairs with him.  That ended the fun right there.  I never saw him again.  He moved out the next week.  

But there is something else I need to say.  There is one more story I need to tell about this period.

Johnny Gosch. 

He was a newspaper boy like myself.  In fact, if you look at a picture of Johnny next to a picture of myself from the same period, we look like brothers.  But there's more to it.

Back during this period of time, I remember having a very hard time.  I was constantly anxious during my route.  I would have terrible stomach pains when I got home from school and my mom would have to do my route.  I would almost run between houses and sometimes just randomly knock on people's doors and make up some excuse about their delivery service.

I was scared.  I don't know why.  I just felt something bad.  So, I kept moving, kept seen, hid when I needed to.

My mom was about to strangle me for all the times I would come home too sick to do my route.  She would come home from working at a factory and have to deal with this nonsense.

And the pain was intense.  It felt like I was being stabbed from the inside.  But as soon as the route was done, it went away.  And I was too young and not smart enough to piece things together.

So at the same time, Johnny Gosch was abducted from his paper route, just a few miles from me.  After a couple months of this, the pain went away and I no longer felt scared or anxious.  But Johnny was gone.

I had never met him, but I think about him a lot.  I have a few theories about this.

First, maybe my reactions were what many animals feel when a predator is near.  All manner of mammal and fish react a certain way when something dangerous is close by.  Maybe I saw somebody look at me funny and a survival instinct in my brain picked up on it.  That would explain my actions without knowing what they meant.  This would also mean I saw the evil bastards who did that to him and they were looking at me. 

Second, maybe it was something else.  Maybe a guardian angel or spirit was watching out for me.  Maybe they knew what was happening so they whispered in my ear or screamed in my brain.

Sometimes I feel guilty about Johnny.  But then again, I blame myself for a lot of things I had no control over.  It's what those of us who live inside our heads often do.  I didn't make those evil bastards choose him, I just made it harder for them to grab me.

And I know I'm so very fucking lucky. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Shitty Parts of Speech

I love the English language.  Being a native speaker is like belonging to some exclusive club that all the other jerks of the world have to aspire towards.  The peasants and low-born spend years in school and watch our movies closely just so they can communicate with me.  It's amazing how many years of education they need to have just so they understand me when I tell them, "Take the piss bucket outside--it smells terrible!" 

Sadly, even being born in America doesn't mean you automatically speak English well enough to be understood.  On an almost daily basis I encounter people who speak as if they had a large melon dropped on their heads from a great height.  Or worse, they have something in their mouths that prevents them from being understood. 

Being the kind-hearted person I am, I have taken it upon myself to post a little grammar information.  After all, I'm just here to help. 

I will also say my grammatical skills are terrible.   I have never been good with grammar and even in college I had a terrible time diagramming sentences.  The professor spent his time with me in private lessons trying to help to no avail.  I am constantly screwing up my apostrophes and commas.  My grammar makes proofreaders laugh. 

But there has to be a line. 

So, today's blog is about understanding the various usages of the word "shit" and how it fits into various parts of speech. 

Shit is important.  Shit is necessary.  Our world would not function without shit. 

How many times in a day do you say the word "shit"?  Personally, I know for a fact, I say it at least a dozen times every single day.  Sometimes I say it as soon as I get out of bed. 

I love this word. 

So, let's get started!  First, we have "shit" as a noun.  There are many uses and forms it can take. 

The farmer has shit on his boots.  Just a simple sentence where "shit" is a noun. 

After my first cup of coffee in the morning, I have the shits.  In this form, the word "the" always precedes "shit". 

I don't want to hear your shit!  Here, the noun for "lies and deception" is replaced by "shit". 

You're a liar and a shit!  This was one of my grandmother's favorite sayings and I used it whenever I can.  I miss my grandma dearly sometimes.  Except for those times when she would get drunk and call me a liar and a shit. 

I always get my Roxy from D-bo because he always has the good shit.  The nouns for narcotics and other various drugs can always be substituted with "shit". 

I hate having Big Hungry over at my place because he eats all my shit.  Here, the noun for "food" is replaced with "shit".  I knew a guy everybody called Big Hungry because he would come over and eat all your shit.  He would walk into your place and go right to the cupboards, go through your shit and just start eating.  

Get that shit out of my yard!  The final noun usage is for when you replaced the word "trash" or "garbage" with "shit".  You can also use it for just about any object you don't like.  As in, Get that shit off my car! 

Shit can be used as an intransitive verb, too. 

Shit!  Not as an exclamation, but more like a command.  I used to tell this to my dog when I had to take him outside and it was raining.  Who wants to stand around in that shit?  So, while he was sniffing around and looking for shit, I'd tell him to shit. 

I can't shit here.  After a long day of usage, the bathrooms at work are nasty, and sitting down to re-enact 60 Seconds Over Tokyo is simply out of the question.  Some folks can only shit at home. 

Good morning, time to shit!  There's that first cup of coffee again. 

Why does it smell bad in here?  I shat!  Remember, folks--the past-tense of "shit" is "shat". 

We can also use "shit" for transitive verbs.  We need an object, or thing, with our verb.  Verbs are about doing. 

I called my cable company and the sales rep kept shitting me.  As a telemarketer, I do this a lot.  Daily, even.  I'm paid to shit people.  Shitting is my business, and business is good! 

Another NFL player was arrested for a violent offense?  You're shitting me!  The verb form is synonymous with deception. 

I shit that nasty chilli all night long.  This is also why you eat ice cream after a spicy meal.  This way, you have something to cheer for and you can say, "Come on, ice cream!" 

I can't drink PBR, it makes me shit my brains out.  An understandable reaction to bad beer. 

Perhaps my favorite usage of "shit" is an interjection.  I mean, shit--who doesn't have those moments? 

Well, folks--I hope this shit I'm shitting out on my shitty little blog is giving you the good shit so you can go about your shitty day shitting the shitheads you see along your way and shit. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Peanut Butter on My Trout

Somebody keeps putting peanut butter on my trout and it's pissing me off.

Let me explain.

One of my favorite scenes from the sit-com 3rd Rock From the Sun was when Dick and Harry were walking in the woods.  Dick had a jar of peanut butter and Harry had a trout.  The bit was a parody of the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercials from the 70's.  

The audio clip is from the show.  

This is the problem with my writing as of late.  I can't keep anything pure. 

The horror makes people laugh.  The humor makes people cringe.  And the last time I tried to write a sex scene an Anatomy prof in some college used it on an exam.  He took out a few words and the Pre-Med students had to fill-in the blanks. 

Now I'm working on a couple of projects that embrace that lack of purity.  I'm not happy about it.  I want the horror to bother people and the comedy to make people laugh.  What's so hard about that? 

Instead, I have a story in submission to Infernal Ink about a unicorn that shits gold.  I also have a short story in submission to Untied Shoelaces of the Mind under thriller/crime because I just couldn't figure out where else to put it.  It wasn't scary enough and it wasn't funny. 

And I still can't find a place for my necrophilia romantic comedy.  The places that do romantic comedies don't want to even hear about necrophilia.  One editor, who didn't put in the guidelines that he wasn't accepting necro stories, now has a little blurb that says, "I thought it went without saying we weren't interested in necrophilia stories, but apparently somebody needed to be told." 

That was me.  Sorry. 

It's hard having peanut butter on my trout.  Or trout in my peanut butter.  Frankly, I like them both, just not together.

I'm currently doing what can only be described as a fan fiction piece for a group of friends on a comedy writing forum.  It's turned into this meta fiction piece that resembles a collaborative effort with Mel Brooks, Hunter S. Thompson and M.R. James.  And it's so meta that nobody can understand it.  It's like a subjective look at an acid trip.

So yes, I have peanut butter on my trout.  I'm writing extremely dark comedy, humorous horror and the occasional dark romance piece.   My goal for this weekend is to make some progress on a couple of things and get another couple of short stories submitted out because that's the only way I can keep what's left of my sanity. 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: Miss Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I have recently finished reading this book and I must say, I'm thoroughly glad I did. 

Funny story, I'd heard that Tim Burton was going to direct the film for this novel, and so I decided to check it out.  But, being as broke as I am, I figured I'd have to wait until it was on special at Amazon for my Kindle.  A woman I work with happened to have it at her desk and loaned it to me. 

I will say this book is YA (young adult) but it doesn't matter--it's damn good and worth reading.  Ransom Riggs weaves a wonderfully dark tale about an orphanage and a remote island with a series of black and white photos.  The photos make it all the more delightful. 

There are a lot of elements this book does right.  The child who is seeking answers to his family's past, the remote island and the sense of being special.  This book avoids many of the stereotypical traps and tropes while navigating others brilliantly.

There is a certain magic about this book that makes it delightful to read yet too dark to discount as fantasy.  And there were plot twists I expected to happen that never did, which really made the book even more enjoyable.

The story is tightly written and tense, and there are some genuinely touching moments that made a person feel sad for these special children.

I hope everybody gets a chance to read this.  It's one of those rare stories that come out where it's dark yet woven with beauty throughout.   

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review--American Ghoul by Walt Morton

This book was suggested to me by the author himself, Walt Morton, after I made a comment that the title of this book was the same as a WIP (work-in-progress) of my own.  Actually, the working title of mine is American Ghouls and I hope to be done with it soon. 

I was lucky enough to find this on Kindle and I have to say, it was a fun read.  It was the first YA book I've read in a while and I'm glad it was suggested to me. 

The story is about a teenage ghoul who has to live a secret life in 1970's America.

But this isn't a coming-of-age story.  Thankfully, Morton keeps the plot going on this and doesn't dwell on bits that peg this book into some convenient mold.

There are some very funny moments, some touching moments and some great elements of horror.

I loved the dark humor in this novel.  It reminded me a bit of Tales From the Crypt and some of the Crypt Keeper's jokes.   There are moments where I felt like I could almost hear the Keeper's wonderful cackle in the background. 

Howard is a good character with nice balance.  He isn't overly sentimental but he isn't cold and unfeeling.  In fact, if it weren't for his ghoulish needs, he would be like any other kid his age. 

As he takes care of his grandmother and works his way through being in high school in New Jersey we see him navigate through various teen tropes.  The nice part is Morton keeps this plot driving forward so he doesn't get hung up on various things. 

And thankfully, Morton doesn't get sentimental about the 70's, and instead keeps it as a backdrop in a matter-of-fact tone. 

Howard also gets into a band called The Corpsemen.  To me, this screamed "Homage to The Misfits" but seeing as how they are a litigious bunch and have more lawyers than total number of band members, I can see why their name never comes up.  And I'm probably going to get sued for making that comment because I mentioned The Misfits twice without permission and written consent of the various members.  

There is even a website about The Corpsemen and it's well worth a look.  In fact, I'd wager that Morton was able to make a better story by avoided the other band all together and instead creating his own unique group. 

This book was a fun read.  It didn't get bogged down in the various traps YA books have in front of them and Morton kept the plot driving so you kept turning the pages.  He made Howard a great character without making him too unreal and it's nice to have somebody writing about ghouls. 

I would say give this one a read.  If for no other reason than to learn a few more jokes about eating people.  You never can get enough of those, can you? 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Help Wanted: Inquire Within

I need a stalker. 

Everybody else seems to have one and I'm jealous.  I've never had a stalker before. 

I personally don't do stalking, per se.  I mean, others might call it stalking but I call it Intense Personal Research.  You know, two people go out for a walk but only one of them knows about it?  I haven't done it for a very long time because it got boring. 

Why watch somebody enjoy life more without you than with you? 

But I'm jealous of guys who have had female stalkers.  To me, that's just intense love.  It's romantic.  A woman looking through your mailbox when you're at work isn't creepy.  That just tells me she wants to make sure I don't get junkmail. 

I find the idea of a female stalker touching.  It's a gesture of love and affection. 

I used worked with a guy who was being stalking by an ex girlfriend.  She once greeted him as he left his house to go to work and laid down on his driveway so he couldn't drive away.  How cool is that?  It's creative, dedicated and really shows her level of commitment. 

You just can't buy that kind of work ethic these days, either.  In a world where sex is so easy to find, true love becomes more illusive.  And what proclaims love louder than cutting your man's name into your own arm with a razor blade?  Nothing! 

I offered to be a stalker for a friend of mine once.  She had one previously but it just didn't work out so she kicked him to the curb.  She was stalker-less.

So I offered my services.  You know, just to keep things lively and to avoid stagnation.  She was nervous enough as it was, being stalker-less is scary sometimes, so I outlined my full-on Deluxe Headcase-Off-His-Meds Package.

First, I would do the usual online cozying up.  You know, follow every post she made, like it and comment about how great she was, etc.   I would make sure to use statements like, "Wow!  You're the smartest person online!" and basically go nuts every time she made a post. 

Next, I would make sure to send rambling private messages and e-mails.  These would also include links to badly written poetry I posted on wasteland forums that vaguely referenced my affections for her.  Plus, I would make sure to include links to romantic music where all videos seemed to end in the couple dying. 

After that, I would begin sending her all kinds of weirdness.  Pictures of kittens in cages, recipes with bizarre ingredients like sauerkraut and grape jelly combined with boiled eggs.  I would insist she make it and try it with hourly PM's while asking for her phone number. 

The best is when you find out where they work without them telling you, then you send them roses.  That just puts the cherry on the whole thing, really.  It's the little details like that that make Intense Personal Research such a rewarding hobby. 

Anyways, after fully laying out the plan, she politely declined and said she was good for now.  Also, just in case I missed it, she got a restraining order.   Those silly pieces of paper!  I always have a good laugh with the cops when they bring one over.

So, yes!  I need a stalker.  An Intense Personal Researcher.  Someone who will watch me closely and make awkward attempts at getting close to me.  The job doesn't pay, but I'm sure we'll work something out later on.  *wink-wink*

You'll have to hurry.  There is a prowler/peeping tom running around my small town currently.  My neighbors have seen him/her and I heard them outside my window the other night.  If that person is reading this, let me be the first to say, "Thank You!"  You know, it's not often you'll find somebody who likes to look into an apartment at 2 am and watch a fat guy in his fudgies read a book, but you sure did it.  And for that, I'm flattered. 

There's no such thing as mind bleach and if you like that sort of thing, then Gods bless you!  I'm humbled.

No, really.  I am.  I know that in today's society there are tons of exhibitionists out there and of all of them, you chose to watch a fat guy in his underwear read a book.  A good book, actually.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.   I'll be reviewing this book on this very website soon enough. 

In fact, the book was so good, I didn't notice you right away.  I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude.  But I'll be sitting around in my chonies again tonight while I finish this book.  If you're there, lemme know and I'll do some poses for you. 


Friday, July 12, 2013

NightWhere by John Everson

I've waited a bit to review this book for one simple reason--it evoked a lot of thoughts and I wanted to sort through them before I said much. 

This book is amazing for a number of reasons I'll cover, but most importantly it does something that all very good books do--it sends your thoughts back your own life.  It makes you think about your actions and what you do, have done, and what you desire to do.  And for me, it made me sympathize with an MC while wondering what I would do in his shoes.   

On the surface, NightWhere by John Everson is a novel about a man who goes to great lengths for a woman he loves.  It's a couple involved in swinging lifestyle brought on by her insatiable needs. 

I've known swinging couples before.  I can tell you that it's always one partner or another pushing the issue.  Maybe one is gay or bi, maybe the other is just greedy.  But one person is always pushing that issue and the other goes along with them out of love. 

How much are you willing to accept just to be with the person you love?  That's a tough question to ask.  NightWhere really does address that issue in a big way.  Sometimes it's hard to watch this happen and Everson does a remarkable job navigating the plot and characters through this initial mud into something darker. 

When Rae, the wife, pushes harder to satiate her desires it leads the couple into the world of BDSM.  Thankfully, Everson doesn't picture the world of BDSM through the lens of some babe in the woods but rather as a vanilla that isn't a prude.  It's refreshing to not get some learner's course on this stuff. 

The most important aspect to NightWhere, for me anyways, was the decent into the underground club and where it ultimately leads.  I'm not going to spoil things, but it's no big secret our desires lead us into terrible places.  The Seven Deadly Sins were named so because when we over-indulge in them we take ourselves in a spiritually bankrupt state.   

What do you desire?  If God wasn't looking and you could have what you wanted, what would it be?  And if it was a dark, terrible desire, would you still want it? 

Sex gets us into trouble.  Almost always, it gets us into some kind of trouble.  NightWhere does a great job of sliding us into that trouble without us totally being aware.  We are titillated by the voyeurism.  But once we look, we cannot look away, and that leads us into true horror.

NightWhere is a club.  It's not some ordinary sex club.  It's underground and hidden away.  You can only get there by invitation.  You must choose to be there.  This is important when we partake in our indulgences.  We choose to gorge ourselves at the buffet, we choose to make money to buy things, we choose to attack out of anger.  And at NightWhere, you can choose to do anything you want.

The other element to NightWhere that had me buzzing was the nature of the relationship our flesh has with our desires.   I wasn't surprised to learn that every lottery winner gains a bunch of weight.  We all indulge in something and most often it is with our flesh.  We consume. 

But what if that goes too far?  And who is to say what "too far" is defined to be?  Where do you draw the line?  The kinksters like to use the mantra Safe, Sane and Consensual.  But what if you could break any of those?  What if you could break all three and get away with it? 

NightWhere reminded me a bit of the David Guy's novel Autobiography of My Body in that it forced me to question my own thoughts and feelings about desires, flesh, and what is too far.  Everson brings out his MC's heroic elements perfectly until it is an obsession just as strong as his wife, Rae's.  And in the final third of the book we are taken through a world we hope we never have to see.  Rae's husband does anything, and I mean anything, to get her back.  Plus, there is a certain toy used by a plaything I once sketched out and tried to design, and seeing it used in this book didn't make me feel any better. 

This book was nominated for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award and I knew it would.  Anything that provokes that much thought while making me squirm in my seat as I turn the pages is something special indeed.  If you haven't read this book yet, you need to.  Anybody who is a fan of horror needs to put this on their reading list.