Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Survived 2014! What do I win?

I'm not going to lie:  2014 was a meat grinder. 

In this past year, I have endured all kinds of emotional trials and shit I didn't think I would survive.  There were nights I was afraid to sleep because the nightmares were stacked up two and three deep every single night for days on end.  There were e-mails I knew I didn't want to read and tons of calls I ignored because I knew it would just tear me up. 

This past year was a new lesson in poverty. 

This past year was a new lesson in just how much I can endure. 

This past year taught me I can do more with less. 

This past year taught me I can't ignore problems forever. 

This past year taught me to face a demon I never wanted to acknowledge even existed. 

It's a funny thing facing your demons.  You can wall them up in a corner someplace for a long time but eventually they get out.  Maybe your brain decides it's time to let it out so you can free up the space.  Or maybe the demon figures out how to pick the locks. 

For me, it was a trigger.  Something happened to me that triggered a series of memories and suddenly I was right there again.  But I ignored them some more. 

My brain didn't want that, so it reminded me with repeated clubs over the head, until I faced it. 

Good friends can lead you up to that platform where you stand face-to-face with that big, ugly fucker but in the end it's just you and the demon. 

And sometimes the demon wins.   Maybe mine did, I don't know.  I'm still here, but that doesn't count for much these days.  Survival is the slowest form of suicide and I feel so very old these days. 

This past year has made me feel like I have sat at a river and watched several lifetimes roll by while I wasn't participating in any of them.  I felt like I was in the cheap seats. 

At some point 2014 will make sense.  I have no idea right now.  I'm still dealing with it like the remnants of a bad flu bug that you just can't shake.  The emotional curb-stompings, the financial dirty sanchez, and all the other shit in between. 

2014 gave me a Cleveland Steamer. 

But in a few hours, it'll be over with.  I can start fresh and new.  And I will do just that. 

Out with what isn't working and in with something new!  New everything!  If it is causing me emotional or physical discomfort, then it is leaving my life, and I do not intend on looking back.  There is a checklist and I'm going down it item-by-item. 

Maybe 2015 is for redemption.  I feel like I owe it to myself.  Not for any other reason than because I simply have not done enough for Me. 

So that is going to be my theme for 2015.  Redemption.  We'll see how that works. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

An Indictment of December

December is the cruelest month. I have always found it to be far worse than April.

December is a time for alienation. Those of us who are less-than and too much just don't enjoy this time of year. It always feels like the Christmas Joy being spread is for other people and not us. We don't get that in our lives.

Not us. We less-thans and too muches don't fit in all of that. We know that when we drive by a tavern at night and see it lit up with people inside laughing, that's not for us. We know that none of our friends are inside and if we went in, nobody would even know who we were.

House after house full of people, lights, trees, candles and laughter. None of it for us. And if we were invited, it would feel like sandpaper on our teeth. Instead, most of us go home to our empty apartments and houses, only to watch a movie or surf the web.

We less-thans and too muches simply do not belong. The happiness, the joy, the comfort—all of it is for those other people.

We are at our most vulnerable in our loneliness.

December is when we remember those we've lost. There is a gaping hole where those people should be and nothing can fill it. But the loss isn't nearly as bad as the memories. Those shadows that sing to us and re-create those wonderful times we once had only to remind us that we were happy once. Yes, a long time ago, we were happy.

December is when those empty spaces next to us are canyons. And as we see happy couples around us, we are reminded of just cold and dark the nights can be. 

December is when we realize all we were promised in the previous months, all that was held out for us to have and be, was nothing more than bullshit.  

December is when we recall being the victims of others. The slurred speeches from drunken people claiming to love us still ring in our ears.

December is when people tell us about all the crap they bought and in our heads we convert it to rent payments, tanks of gas, groceries, power bills, and all the other stuff we need to survive. And then we realize that no matter what we wanted to do for somebody, we never could, because we're a less-than and a too much and too broke.

December is wrong for all the wrong reasons. It's a time we're told to be happy and we simply are not. It's a time when we're supposed to feel close to the people around us and somehow that distance seems stretched. December is when we count down in anticipation of a day that means cramped, stuffy rooms full of people we normally would never associate with while we are told to feel emotions we do not feel.

December reminds me of the dystopian futures where evil tyrannical governments place signs everywhere that scream at us to be happy no matter how unhappy we feel. And only if we submitted ourselves to the to the insanity around us we would feel comfort and joy.

Every day in December feels like the morning despair after a failed suicide attempt.

There is no Santa Claus. No special elf will come save us. No Father Christmas or magical snowman will show up on our front lawn. The ghosts of Christmas are only in our memories and serve only as our tormentors. No angels will visit.  Nobody will come in at the 11th hour and save us. 

There is nothing.

This is my last December. I'm not going to die, but instead I'm going to re-name this fucking month and make my own holidays. No more of this shit. I realize now that I cannot walk away from the past if it keeps coming back up every 12 months like a shitty Friday the 13th sequel. And I will never have the reality being force-fed to us as soon as Halloween ends.

Those of us who are less-than and too much can change only so much, but this is certainly in our power and grasp. We don't have to live like this. And as I write this, it is Christmas Eve and I am so emotionally drained I simply no longer care about much of anything.

We are at our most vulnerable in our loneliness.

I am already working on a new paradigm for the final month of the year. It is one that doesn't include a lot of the gibberish and bullshit we've become accustomed to and replaces that with something more creative and relevant. Those of us who are less-thans and too muches don't need to spend this bleak midwinter feeling like hungry ghosts. It doesn't have to be like this.

Fuck December.
Fuck Christmas.
There is nothing.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We Less-Thans and Too Muches: Life in the Friendzone

I could never date a woman who had standards so low that she would go out with a guy like me.

Groucho Marx said something similar and I stole it. It just seems to sum up how I feel about dating.

I'd like to say I'm dating again but that's misleading. 

I'm not dating I'm looking for a woman I can dupe and con into going out with me, because she obviously doesn't know me very well.

Such is the life of having no self-esteem and a dark sense of humor. I have always had trouble with these things. I've always been less-than the right things and too much of the wrong. And a lifetime of being a Less-Than and a Too Much has left me gun-shy.

Dating is stupid, anyways. But I don't do hook-ups so this is the next thing available for guys like me. Instead, lately I've been falling for friends, which is always a great idea. Even better, they've been friends who live a considerable distance from me, making even the best-case scenarios painful and doomed. I've been keeping my mouth shut about this because I've been in enough train wrecks and would rather just sit back and watch others go through them.

Nobody wants to participate in a train wreck. And being a Less-Than and a Too Much has given me a perspective that allows me to see into the future. I see failure. Lots and lots of failure.

Long-distance relationships are doomed to fail no matter what. Sure, we hear a few stories once in a while, but for the most part it is all crap. The usual way it happens is, the women are afraid of real intimacy and the men are nutjobs, lunatics, and basement-dwelling neckbeards with emotional issues. Horrible, horrible.

I've been in a series of online relationships and even at the best of times, it felt like I was on fire. It felt like I was burning up because I liked her, she liked me, and we were so many miles apart we wouldn't see each other for a long time.

And then there's the jealousy of them having fun without you, or you knowing guys are hitting on them while you're not around, or worse they might even be satiating their physical needs with somebody else while connecting with you emotionally. I've had that happen before. I was her emotional fluffer. I built her up, some other guy would take her down.

The worst part of long-distance emotional connections in The Friendzone is hearing them tell you about what they did with the guy they chose over you. Love it! Spent the night cuddling? Had great sex? Outstanding, I'll be over here with the razor blades carving shit into my legs because it feels like my chest is about to explode. Tell me more!

Equally as bad is seeing the person you care about being treated like crap by the guy she chose over you. Once again, nothing I can do but type fucking platitudes into a chat window or text message. That's the limit of what I can do--Go Me!

I once had a girlfriend who would leave me for men who abused her. She would come back for a time only to leave me again for some other horrible asshole and suffer all kinds of terrible things, then come back to me again. Her stories tore me apart because I would ask myself over and over again one question—what was wrong with me that she would choose such terrible men over me every time?

Nope! I won't do it anymore. If she can't slap me or spit on me, then we ain't dating. No lead time getting to know somebody anymore. Down n' dirty the whole way. Do you like creepy guys? Yes? Great, let's go out!

When you meet face-to-face, nothing is hidden, and you know what you are getting yourself into. A few extra pounds? Fine. A high, squeaky voice? I can deal with that. Feet like a Hobbit? Um...we can always work on that. Just keep them covered up for now and I won't talk about my van until we get to know each other better.

As I've said before, I work in a sex club. Everybody hooks up and dates each other. This is all well and good but most of the women there are barely legal, or way too young for me, and they know it. So when I say something as simple as, “Hi, how's it going?” I am laughed at or worse. I don't think of myself as my real age, but they sure do, and just talking to them creeps them out.

One thing I'm happy for is how I no longer find myself hopelessly infatuated with my lesbian friends. That used to be a problem. I could spot a lesbian from 100 yards and instantly think she was The One. It was a nightmare. And the worst part was, I knew they were gay, I just figured there was a bit of bi thrown in as well, and I could be that part of their lives. Hopeless. No use. That was college and I blame it on a phase.

So yes, I am back on the market, as it were. I find nothing exciting by it. I'm terrified. And because I'm a Less-Than and Too Much, it opens me to far worse things than rejection. I've been teased, catfished, laughed at and the butt of all kinds of cruel jokes.

But I'm back on the market. Let's see what horrors await!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nothing's Funny. Well, Wait a Minute...

After yet another weekend of my favorite team shitting the bed, I feel obligated to pay some attention to my blog, but it has been hard because nothing has been very funny.

My love life is beyond DOA.  Dead bodies, I can handle.  Oh Baby, can I handle dead bodies.  You have no idea what...

Sorry, I digress.

Well, no...I won't digress, dammit!  I have an idea!

People donate their bodies to science all the time.  You can even fill out cards so that when you do kick the bucket and leave this shitty existence, various parts are cut off, and stuffed into somebody else.  After all, parts is parts, right? Sure, it saves lives and whatnot, but what about lonely people who want some company?

Instead of simply burning a body and adding more carbon to the air, people should have the right to allow their bodies to be sold or donated to necrophiliacs. 

Funerals are expensive and let's face it, most people just get cremated anyways.  It is such a waste to throw out a perfectly good body when somebody can get so much enjoyment out of it. 

Now I'm sure a lot of families would be upset about this.  Nobody wants to think of their dear sister or brother getting some special lovin' after death.  But what about all of those unclaimed bodies?  Jane Doe and John Doe? 

Furthermore, what if somebody actually signed a waiver or legal form of some kind allowing for their body to be auctioned off upon death for the purpose of making some very lonely person happy?  After all, it is their body--why not let them decide? 

These kind souls would be reaching out to all kinds of lonely people who need a companion but for various reasons can't find one with a heartbeat.  Loneliness is the killer of our society and what better way to help them than by allowing them the one thing they need? 

Imagine the Hollywood elite signing the waiver and asking for an auction where the proceeds would go to their favorite charity?  Anna Nicole Smith would have made more money in death than in the last few years of her life. 

The problem is, I can see a major opportunity for bad people to do bad things.  There's always the greedheads who want to fuck up a good thing.  Once word gets out that certain celebs have signed the waiver and legal forms, they become targets, where killers would pop them just so they could go on the market.  It would turn into a huge disaster as good-hearted celebrities who wanted to only make a lonely person happy would become the targets of assassins trying to poison them.  Well, I assume it would be poison, because who wants to reconstruct a face that pretty?  It's a messy job and it never goes back together again the right way.

I guess those poor, lonely necrophiliacs will have to keep finding their lovin' the old fashioned way.  And that is truly a sad thing.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Right to Kill

Ever since that one women said she wanted to kill herself instead of slowly dying of brain cancer people have been once again talking about their right to die. Dr. Jack doesn't get mentioned so much these days.

I remember in middle school watching some video of a television show about the right to die. I think it was the Phil Donahue Show. What made the biggest impression on me was the details regarding this old man's health issues and how he was in constant pain. He tried to kill himself and had actually achieved that goal only to be resuscitated. When Phil got to that part he let out this horrid shriek of anguish and spat out, “goddammit!” This was the mid-80's and that stuff never got on the air.

So now we're at the point in our society where we are allowing people to make this choice for themselves. This is awesome news but now we need to take it to the next step.

I think we should also have Right to Kill laws put on the books.

Here's the plan:

  1. Somebody wants to die. They might have cancer, they might have a hangnail, or maybe their soul mate broke up with them after finding out they always do the Macarena at weddings. Who cares? They want to die.

  2. They sign up with a company that kills people. This entails all the legal paperwork and mumbo-jumbo that normally gets signed. You know, so nobody gets sued. 

  3. They choose how they want to die. Most people are wimps and choose something easy, like sleeping pills or magic beans. Some will want to breathe in a gas and float off to heaven or wherever they think their soul is headed.

But some people will get a Special Discount if they choose to be surprised.

Yup! Instead of paying a huge amount of money most of these miserable dying freaks don't even have (let's face it, if they were rich, they wouldn't want to die! Am I right?) my company would offer an extremely cheap rate for a Special Surprise Ending.

What would that be? Well, let me tell ya!

This is the beauty of my idea.

  1. Somebody wants to kill someone. It doesn't really matter who or why, they just want to do it. Maybe they grew up in a bad home, maybe they're angry at the world, or maybe they're just bored and are looking for a good time.

  2. But right now, killing people is illegal in most states. 

  3. It's really hard to get away with murder. You can do it, but who wants to go through all of that hassle and spend the rest of your life trying to play it cool around cops? 

  4. So instead, you go to the company and for a modest fee, they give you the profile of the person you are to kill. You are supplied with all the information you need and photographs, plus a time-frame. I mean, you don't want to wack somebody before they tell their high school sweetheart they cheated on them repeatedly with their best friend. Timing is important when killing somebody.

Part of the Special Surprise Ending Package would be Dealer's Choice. Or in this case, the killer could choose which way they filled the contract. Granted, it would have to be quick, because nobody wants a slow death and the whole point of wanting to die is to get rid of pain and not prolong it.

Gunshot to the head, poison, explosives, electrocution, strangling, stabbing. You name it, you could do it. In some cases, those handy with a chainsaw could go to town, and have the time of their lives. Just imagine the grin on your face as you begin to chase somebody down a hallway with a massive Stihl chainsaw buzzing in your hands!

And as a special bonus for our necrophiliac clients—you can keep the body for up to 24 hours!

I'm pretty sure this is the most lucrative business idea I've come up with so far. I might need some investors and a couple of good lawyers, maybe some blackmail info on a few high-ranking politicians, and celebrity endorsements. So send me your money today!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween, Moving and Circus Freaks

May you live in interesting times

                                                                        --Ancient Chinese Curse/Insult

These past few weeks have been interesting.  Work, home, writing.  It's all been interesting.

First, let me say thank you to all of you who have been reading this blog.  I broke 10,000 hits in the early part of October and that means a lot to me.  I've put a lot into this blog and a lot of you have been very kind with your comments.  It's a big milestone for me.  My goal for celebration is to have t-shirts available soon because everybody needs a Ted's Creepy Van t-shirt.  Maybe I'll have it ready in time for Christmas because it would make for the perfect gift.

But interesting.  Yes.  Good word for it.  

Halloween is here.  I'm too busy to do much.  Maybe I'll dress up a bit but to be perfectly honest, every day is Halloween for me, so when the real day comes along it's a bit like Amateur Night. 

Oh, look at me!  I'm scary!  Boo!

Bitch, please!  I've scared more people just by looking at them than any of these folks could hope to scare. 

But that doesn't go so well when trying to find a date.  That's why the long-distance things always go better--and those just plain suck.  They are awful, soul-crushing things that never work out and destroy your core happiness.  It's best to avoid those.  You'll still sleep alone but at least you won't feel like your head is going to explode because the person you care about is hundreds of miles away.

But then again, I know me.  I'm stupid.  And there are some amazing women I've met online.  

Halloween is my birthday.  I'm 29 again.  I don't feel my age.  In fact, I always wonder why the 18 year-old girls cringe when I hit on them, because I know how awesome I am and how much fun I'd be to date.  I remember when I was 18 and how I wanted to date an 18 year-old back then.  It never happened and I'm still working on it.

I have a new apartment.  I finally moved away from the Circus Freaks who moved furniture around at 4am and vacuumed at 2:30am.  I no longer hear footsteps clomping across the floor at all hours of the night.  I've been sleeping quiet well in the past few days.  Plus, I now have a place I can bring a woman home to, and not have to feel self-conscious that it's a dark dungeon basement.  And nobody will listen in if we get loud.

But yes, the past few weeks have been interesting.  Work has changed a bit.  It's always been chaos and change was the standard.  But lately it seems as if the very nature of it has become more...interesting.

I've found myself becoming an old gossip hag.  It's been wonderful, really.

In the past few years, I've merely gone to work solely for the morbid curiosity.  What foul, fucked-up bullshit will I see today?

But in recent weeks, I've found myself seeking out the full stories so I can get the scope of just how insane things really are around me.  It's been very entertaining!

Sometimes I want to walk around with a bowl of popcorn and just listen to people talk.

I share nothing.  I just listen and ask questions.  I see connections between people even they themselves don't see.  It's all been so very...interesting.

I hope you all have an interesting Halloween.  Make sure to partake in carnal delights for those of us who cannot. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Kryptonite

This week gave me a dirty sanchez and a Cleveland steamer.  And while that sounds like fun, it wasn't, and I didn't enjoy it.

Last night I went into the local grocery store to pick up some fruit to munch on.  Fruit is good for you, I'm told, and is fully nummy vitamins.  Plus some of that fiber crap none of us can see but we're supposed to eat a lot of anyways.

But this week has been difficult.  Work, home, everything else in between.  Fruit was supposed to help.

The monsters of Phagorxia had other plans.

They set upon me like hungry jackals.  Just as I got to the apples, three of them sprang up out of the onions and began hammering at me with vicious blows from their broadswords.

I drew my blade in a flash and began to block their attack, moving to a more open area so I could counter and defeat them.  It was supposed to be easy enough, but then in that open space I realize they had friends--vicious dwarfs.

Squat, ugly, hairy little things with greasy black hair and zit-covered faces.  They sneered at me as they climbed on top of the green peppers and butternut squash, which were on sale that week.

The monsters were dispatched quickly and their bodies instantly turned to ash.  But those evil dwarfs...well, they were a problem.

As I said, I was tired.  And those dwarfs began chanting some kind of magical incantation because that's when I noticed the Halloween candy section right in the middle of the bananas and nuts.  Boxes on pallets set out like alien pods on the floor of the grocery store.

I found myself standing in the middle of them, surrounded by these candy pods, all the while these evil dwarf bastards were rubbing their hands together and laughing.  The rotten fuckers had me and they knew it.  This was payback for the time I told the aliens where they were hiding and now the mangy pigfuckers were getting their revenge. 

Behind me was a cardboard pod full of KitKats and Baby Ruths.  Both of those candies were fine, but not my favorites.  It was then I looked down and felt my blood run cold--they were priced at such a discount, I could buy two bags for $2.00 because of my Saver's Card.

There was no way I could resist such a deal.  I was going home with two bags of candy whether I liked it or not.

I thought about my girlfriend.  She's a model and had spent the last few weeks in Italy on a lingerie shoot. She'd be pissed about coming home to a fatter version of me.  Granted, she's a chubby chaser and digs the big love, but having a heart attack while a perfect 10 rocks your world just ain't cool.  Sure, I wouldn't mind dying in the saddle, but not right this week. 

Bag after bag of candy began to hit me.  They were charmed with some diabolical spell and spoke to me in this child-like voice.

"Take me home with you!"

"I just need a home!"

"It's cold here in the store!"

I slashed at the bags as they lept at my cart and towards my face.  They were trying to force their way down my gullet!

I swung my highly polished and razor-sharp sword just as the warrior monks who raised me had taught.  I wouldn't go down without a fight!

Bags of candy were sliced in half as they screamed in terror.  Again and again.  It was endless.  Bag after bag of chocolate goodness was strewn across the floor. 

I was winded and exhausted.  Sweat rolled down my face.  And that's when I heard that voice...

"Don't you like chocolate and peanut butter together?" 

"I just know we'll be great friends!" 

I turned and faced bag after bag of Peanut Butter Snickers.  Fun sized, too.  It was a legion of peanut buttery chocolate goodness. 

The dwarfs were laughing.  They had me beat and knew it. 

Two bags of candy jumped into my cart because that was the limit per purchase.  All the while, they cheered and chirped on the way to the check-out register. 

This is why I'm no longer allowed at the local Piggly Wiggly.  But those candy bars...those sweet, chocolately candy bars were, I'm ashamed to say, so much fun to eat while sitting at my computer. 

Damn you, you foul, evil dwarfs!  This isn't the end! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Amore Peribat

The funny just isn't coming tonight. 

In fact, The Funny just hasn't been coming for a while.  I don't feel funny and I don't feel like laughing at the misery of others.  This bothersome empathy is really giving me fits. 

Empathy is annoying.  It's a problem some of us humans have when we see somebody having a rough time and we feel badly for them.  I know a sociopath and of all the things I'm envious off, her ability to simply not give a shit about others is top on my list. 

Right now, I seem to be surrounded by all kinds of people going through shit.  Some are dying, some are surviving, some are just plain hurting. 

I see people with smiles on their faces but their eyes say they know it's only temporary and the pain and loneliness they've always been dealing with is right around the corner.  When we're with somebody, loneliness stares at us from the shadows and does push-ups while waiting for their next chance to pounce. 

In the past week I've seen kids way too young to have the health problems of the elderly get sick and fall apart.  I've seen teenaged girls cry because of the pain they've had to endure as their bodies just don't seem to hold up very well. 

There just isn't anything funny going on right now. 

The other day, a woman younger than myself told me that a person her age dating a guy 15 years younger than me was, "gross and just plain wrong."  Up until that point, I was thinking of asking her out. 

It's beautiful here in Southern Wisconsin right now.  The leaves are changing, the weather has been great and it's just been plain wonderful to be outside.  If you don't like this time of year with this kind of weather, then you just don't like anything. 

But I can't sleep.  I've been going days with just an hour or so of sleep a night.  And then I crash for hours and wake up feeling like somebody beat me up in my sleep with a baseball bat. 

I've been waking up angry. 

I'm supposed to be boxing things up and cleaning so I can move.  I haven't done much.  I come home exhausted and desperate to just unplug and decompress.  I'm getting nothing done. 

Nothing has been written in a couple of weeks. 

A few days ago was my daughter's 14th birthday.  I blanked it out.  The day before, I knew what it was, so I told my brain that it needed to function on all cylinders so block it out.  I'm good at that. 

I've blocked out all kinds of atrocities.  I blink and heal my brain with my mind-tools.  Or whatever Charlie Sheen is supposed to have said. 

Work has been ugly but I'm getting through it.  The worst part about it has been been my growing popularity.  The other day a girl greeted me with a hug.  A hug!  It short-circuited something in my brain.  I thought, why can't you just be intimidated by me and afraid like all the others? 

It certainly makes things easier for me. 

Today, somebody felt comfortable enough with me to break down crying and tell me about her feelings.  Ugh!  And somehow we ended up discussing lady medicine for lady parts during those lady times.  It was almost as uncomfortable as the thought of my mother finding my web browsing history. 

The other day a friend told me about the times she's been sexually abused and assaulted.  And there was nothing I could do but offer pithy catchphrases and fumble through empathetic blithering because there was absolutely nothing I could do and I felt horribly inadequate because of it.  I could not undo her trauma and I could not fix the damage.  All I could do was be a fucking cheerleader on the sidelines. 

It's currently 3:00am.  I might sleep a few hours tonight, or this morning, before dragging my ass to work.  It is with morbid curiosity I show up at all.  Maybe I'll find something to laugh about.  I hope I get this pesky empathy under control, though. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

REVIEW: Lucky's Girl by William Holloway

Cosmic horror isn't always easy to pull off.  The stories get convoluted and writers tend to focus on insanity more and character development less.  William Holloway does it right. 

The novel Lucky's Girl is really the story of people living hopeless lives Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  The UP is one of America's poorest areas where unemployment, alcoholism and addiction run rampant.  It's a place where hope is hard to find or non-existent, and the area is ripe with potential for con-men and charlatans. 

In the dying town of Elton Township, the lives of various people collide in the misery of all that malaise. 

Lucky is the guy we all wish we could be in some way.  He's more than just charming, he's mesmerizing and can put somebody under his spell.  His father, the Reverend of the local church in Elton Township, had high hopes for his son.  In fact, some whispered he was a prophet. 

But this isn't a happy tale.  Holloway's novel isn't about happiness.  Lucky is a dark figure that nobody recognizes for what he is until it's too late. 

Kenny was Lucky's best friend until something happens that makes Kenny realize just how dark his best friend truly was and how evil were his intentions.  But Kenny was a product of Elton Township and even though he left all of that behind, twenty years later he finds himself back at his uncle's cabin with two traumatized children. 

Jerry was is fat, drunken cop that might die before he retires, or is forced into retirement because the poor township can't afford to pay his salary.  Even twenty years ago, he was a fat drunk, but he was present enough to know Lucky was evil.  And now Lucky has come back. 

Holloway does an amazing job illustrating how important hope is for a community and how the complete lack of it can be a great weapon to be used by Evil.  His characters are believable and fresh, their actions are their own and the events that unfold are original.  Most of these cosmic horror stories are the same but not this one.  This has a certain crispness to it I really appreciated. 

More to the point, I honestly felt the horror and felt bad for the characters.  It's been a while since I read a story where I cared about the people and in Lucky's Girl, I found myself empathizing with them. 

In the final events, I really understood exactly what Holloway was describing, which is very difficult to do in cosmic horror.  Holloway's writing is spot-on and exacting, making the impact of this book far more powerful and ultimately, enjoyable. 

I can see this book being nominated for a number of awards.  It really is that good.  I would say it's a must-read for horror hounds and anybody who likes that feeling you get when you turn off the lights and wonder what waits in the shadows. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Toe Aroma!

I guess it's time I tell this story. 

It's a dumb one, I'll grant you, but still...I just can't resist. 

Back when I was a kid, magazines were how we got our porn.  Sometimes my friend's dad would leave one behind and while his parents were out we'd watch it for a bit.  That was big news back then.  The VCRs were all 80 lbs and huge.  Only one store in town had tapes.  Half the store was BETA, the other half VHS.  There was one small section for video disks--which is what my dad bought because the technology was crap and it was being phased out, so his great idea was to buy into it as it became obsolete.  Great deals to be found in dying, obsolete technology! 

But when I was a freshman in high school, I worked at a news and magazine store.  They had porn magazines in the back.  Once in a while, I'd sneak through and borrow a couple.  Because I had to be quick, I never really looked at what I was taking, and wouldn't know until I got home to see the score. 

One time I accidentally grabbed a fetish magazine about foot and nylon fetishes.  It was called Leg Show and let me say this--it was the funniest damn thing I'd read in a long time.

Pictures of women's feet and legs.  Pages and pages of feet.

I didn't get it.  I didn't get any of it.

There were pictures of fat, hairy guys being stood on by women in heels.  And they were ugly women, too.  The kind that hang out in those shitty old people's bars and wear tons of make-up.  These women were in their 40's and 50's and dressed in early 1960's styles.  One had a woman sucking her own toes.

My friends and I had a great laugh about this.  We'd drag our feet through the hallways at school and say we were jacking off.  We didn't have a clue and that made it all the funnier to us.  One time, Mrs. Wade in math class asked us why we kept shuffling our feet while we sat at our desks.  We couldn't stop laughing the rest of the hour. 

But the cartoons were the best.  This magazine had cartoons of leg teasing and foot fetish fantasies.  One of these had a woman teasing some guy in a city park and at one point, he sniffs the air and then looks down at her feet while exlaiming, "Toe Aroma!"

Toe Aroma!

The cartoonist even drew a picture of the women's toes with those little squiggly lines coming off because apparently they stunk.  And this guy was totally digging that so much, he had to exclaim, "Toe Aroma!"

That became our battle cry in high school for a while.  Toe Aroma!

Have a bad day?  Toe Aroma!

Teacher was stupid?  Toe Aroma!

That girl I had a crush on was making faces at me like I was the most disgusting piece of shit she'd ever seen?  Toe Aroma!

After a while, the fun stopped and we moved on to other things, mainly because we were getting our driver's licenses soon.  That sort of inside humor never lasts long anyway.

But every once in a while, I feel the need to exclaim loudly, "Toe Aroma!"

Life is absurd and makes no sense.  Toe Aroma!

The people we fall in love with are terrible for us and the ones we cannot stand care about us.  Toe Aroma!

The more you care about somebody, the worse they are for you.  Toe Aroma!

We work stupid jobs that really shouldn't be jobs that pay money.  Telemarketer?  That can't possibly be profitable.  You call people all day and annoy them while giving your company a bad reputation as annoying and intrusive?  Toe Aroma!

The people you want to throttle and slap the shit out of the most are the ones who offer the most to lose.  Toe Aroma!

Maybe that was our version of Douglas Adams Hitchhikers series.   Our need for surreal humor just so we could get through the horrors of being trapped in a Catholic high school surrounded by snobby shitheads who had known each other since kindergarten.  Myself and only a few others were new to that system and would never fit in.  We needed something so our brains didn't explode. 

Shouting gibberish out of a porn magazine seemed to really do the trick. 

So I'll leave you with that truth--when things are stupid and don't make sense, shout, "Toe Aroma!"  It won't help anything be more easily understood but it will help you not care. 

And as I get older, not caring is just as important as understanding. 

Toe Aroma! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Secrets to a Successful and Fun Wedding

This weekend I performed my first wedding.

It was an honor and a privilege to have been asked and trusted enough to do such a thing.  In truth, things went off with barely a hitch.  The bride and groom looked great, their families were awesome to meet and get to know better, the weather was far better than predicted.  We were supposed to get a bunch of wicked storms and aside from a brief sprinkle in the morning, it was dry and we had blue skies by the early afternoon.

All told, the wedding and reception were both excellent.

As for my role in this affair, I judge my successes in life through the eyes of others.  I always have.  So while I'm very critical of what I did and did not do, the others who were there said it went off very well.  Short, sweet, and to the point. 

I cut a lot out of my little sermon.  It was hot and humid, we got a late start, and the groom was so nervous it seemed almost cruel to prolong the event.  So I cut it short, said the words and BANG!  Two people were legally married in the State of Wisconsin.

But it wasn't the wedding I wanted to perform.

First of all, there was no mention of Satan, Lord Lucifer, The Ancient Serpent Deceiver anywhere in the entire ceremony.  I couldn't mention him because the bride said her family would freak.  Why, I have no idea.  They seemed cool enough.

The groom's family were all ministers themselves and I was certain they would totally respect another man of faith, regardless of where that faith was placed.  I mean, worship is worship, right?

Second, I wasn't allowed to use a pentagram anywhere in the wedding.  That didn't stop me for hiding one someplace.  I mean, tradition is tradition, and a wedding without tradition just won't do! 

Thirdly, everybody looked great.  The bride, the groom, the bridesmaids and groomsmen.  Everybody looked good.  Even I wore clothes.  Frankly, I thought it should have been a skyclad wedding.  It was hot anyways, so why not?  A bunch of naked people during an emotionally-charged religious ceremony is always a good idea.  Always.  And if we had taken the drugs I'd suggested, even better.

But nooo!  I had to wear clothes.  Pants, too.  And not the goat leggings I had picked out.  To be fair, I looked great in my suit, but the goat leggings would have offered a certain authenticity to the whole affair.  Besides, had the ceremony been held at midnight around a bonfire, we could have done the Goat Dance around the fire while wearing our goat leggings.

If you've never seen a bunch of naked people wearing nothing but goat leggings do the Goat Dance around a bonfire at midnight, you've lead a sheltered life and I feel sorry for you. 

We never had the blood fountain set up.  A blood fountain is critical in a wedding.  It represents all the blood of your future enemies that will fertilize your wealth and prosperity as you slice, hack, and rampage your path through life together.  By washing your hands in the blood and laying your hands on each other, the couple shows their zealous devotion to each other and willingness to lay waste to all enemies that come between them.  This is also why having a naked wedding is best.  This way that pretty white dress doesn't get blood stains all over, which granted would look fucking awesome, but blood stains are hard to get out of certain materials.

To the best of my knowledge, none of us did a round or two of heavy drugs before the ceremony.  Frankly, I don't understand this choice.  Even magic brownies would have helped calm folks down.  But full-on hallucinations while making a life-changing decision are important and needed, because only when you see black and purple rats crawling on the guests can you truly understand what life is really about. 

But nooooo!  No heavy drugs.  None.  In fact, I think a few of the key people were even sober.  The horror of it all!

Skipping over the fact the bride AND groom both stood there on their own volition, and neither of them needed persuasion with firearms, knives, rope or any pointy implements, they both seemed to genuinely care about each other.  She was even conscious during the whole thing.  Horrible, horrible.

They even omitted the dozen little persons in robes carrying torches to open the ceremony.  What's a wedding without torches?  

Perhaps the most glaring deletion from the whole stripped-down affair was the lack of a goat sacrifice.  In fact, that was what people first asked about.

"Where's the goat sacrifice?"

"Lucifer will never bless with wedding now!"

"That alter sure looks bare without the entrails decorating it!"

And all I could do was shrug my shoulders and say, "I know, I know...let's just get through this, okay?"

The important thing to keep in mind about this weekend is how the bride and groom were happy to make due with what they had instead of allowing me to give them the full-on ceremony such a commitment deserves.  Their wonderfully normal families were happy, too.

And talk about normal!  Nobody pulled a single gun during the entire thing.  Nobody showed up drunk, covered in blood or smelling of feces.  In fact, they looked happy to be there.  Happy!  A hot, muggy August day, sober and wearing clothes.  And they were happy!

I'm going to put this horrid affair behind me and prepare for the next one coming up.  I have already informed the next bride that we fully expect the cops to arrive several times during this event and to have a lawyer on retainer.  I'm not taking any more chances with these kinds of things.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Honor and a Pleasure

In recent weeks I've been given a number of unpublished works to beta read by friends.  A few short stories and a couple of novels. 

For those unfamiliar with the term, Beta Reading is when you read and edit something for a writer and offer your opinions on the craft of their work.  It takes time to do it right.  You can't just read it, send them an e-mail and say, "yeah, that was great.  Send it to somebody." 

It takes time to properly beta read something.  It takes thought and effort.  I've been fortunate enough to have had a few friends do this for me over the years.  One is sort of my lucky charm because everything I've gotten accepted has been beta read by her at some point.  I consider her to be a Station of the Cross. 

I've come to realize that having somebody trust you enough to allow you to not only read their work before it's been submitted, but also solicit opinions on that work, is really an honor.  It means they respect you enough to actually care what you think. 

So in recent weeks I've been beta reading novels.  I just finished one and last night I started another.  It's an exciting feeling because I get to see how the process works for others.  Plus, it has made me think more about my own work and how I would like to approach it. 

In other news, I'm totally over-worked between my paying job, chores, writing and editing.  I need a TedSpawn.  And since volunteer hosts have not come forward as I had expected, I'm going to opt for the conscription plan.  Hosts will be drafted into service to the Van. 

The aliens that come to visit me regularly have already said it was a bad idea.  But they also added that they'd allow me to borrow their spaceship and equipment to make it happen out of their own morbid curiosity.  One even said he'd hold my beer while I worked the controls. 

You just can't buy friendship like that. 

Some of you expecting mothers might be worried that your baby is in fact a TedSpawn.  This is entirely possible so let me answer some of your questions. 

How do I know if I'm carrying my baby or a TedSpawn? 

Typically, hosting a TedSpawn brings nightmares and unusual cravings at night.  Do you crave raw beef? 

Also, if the baby inside is kicking, does watching a horror movie calm it down?  If so, you might be carrying a TedSpawn. 

If I'm carrying a TedSpawn, does that mean you'll cover my medical bills? 

Why go to a hospital?  They'll just chew their way out in 7-9 months anyways.  It's not like I'd risk some doctor botching things up for me again. 

If any of you expecting mothers have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I'll answer them as I get time. 

Get a Job, You Lazy *********!

All day long I hear people bitch and complain about how they need money or their job doesn't give them enough hours or how they hate coming home covered in dirt.  Wah, wah, wah! 

Some people even claim to not be able to find a job. 

Well, rest assured, your Uncle Ted has come to the rescue.  I know a place that is hiring, actually paying people money, and most importantly they are looking for full-time AND part-time people.

Click here and get a job you lazy bum! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Learning to Be a Human 101

Some people just need to be killed. 

Seriously, killing isn't always a bad thing.  In fact, I'm willing to believe that everybody has wanted to kill somebody at least once in their lives.  I know I have. 

I got into some hot water once in a college history class.  I had to give a presentation about lynchings and I made the case for how lynchings really weren't all that bad.  I said, "just because somebody was lynched, it didn't mean they were wrongfully accused or didn't have it coming.  Some people needed to by lynched."  My professor got angry and tried to make it about race.  I corrected him and reminded him that most of the people lynched were white.  It's not about race, it's about somebody that just can't seem to stop fucking up, and it's time to get rid of them.  

Here's the thing--if you think about all the people you've wanted to kill, and all of that anger and rage, how do you feel about killing them now?  I'm willing to wager that in 99.99999% of those cases, you are glad you didn't do it because upon cooling off you realized it wasn't the best way to handle those situations. 

But what about those .0000001%? 

Those shitheads who, for some reason, really need to be killed.  Let's face it, some folks need killin'. 

In some rural areas today, you can kill somebody and be arrested, go in front of a judge and simply say, "Your Honor, he needed killin'."  And then you plead your case as to why.  More often than not, you'll be let go with a warning or some token conviction for loitering or jay-walking. 

Sadly not every part of America is as enlightened and if you kill somebody you will be convicted as if the idiot you killed was really a person.  And we all know that some of these assholes aren't really people, just meat bags waiting to be unplugged from the trough. 

I always get a laugh when I read about somebody who was, "murdered in cold blood" as if that matters.  To me, that just means it was efficient and effective.  What better way to get rid of somebody than when they're sitting on the toilet?  We really do have a lot of stupid social rules about when and where you can kill somebody.  Killing is killing--why be a pansy about it? 

I used to think the biggest reason I didn't go on a killing spree was because I just didn't feel I was smart enough to avoid getting caught.  But then one day, a friend of mine once said as an offhanded remark, "Yeah, but that asshole probably has somebody in this world who cares about them and prays they learn to turn their life around so they'll stop being an asshole." 

That didn't really make me pause much then, but it does now, and it that makes me uncomfortable.  Is this empathy I'm feeling?  I hope not, it feels icky. 

But it also makes me wonder a bit.  Killing is permanent.  It sticks.  You cannot unkill somebody.  Once that head leaves the body, it is all over, and no doctor can sew it back on.  Or at least sew it on so it works again.  I've heard stories about these Russian scientists, but those are only rumors, so I won't get my hopes up.

So yeah, killing is for keeps.  Knowing this, I wonder about all the people I have wanted to kill, but just couldn't because of those pesky laws.  A detective might not be smart, but the system they work for is, and you can never beat a system.   In a way, it's a good thing we have that sort of mechanism in place in our culture, because it keeps people from making permanent solutions to temporary problems.   We should spend tax dollars on that system so fewer folks make those choices and more people choose something like, I don't know, not killing.  Not killing is a good thing. 

Not killing can be the right choice. 

Wow, did I just learn a lesson about life?  Worse, is this horrible, disgusting feeling I have about the people I used to hate empathy?  Is there a drug I can take to get rid of it? 

It feels....bad.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Haunted Hotel Rooms in Wisconsin

Over the years I have found it to be fairly common to have hotel rooms haunted with various entities, hostile and mischievous.  Stephen King's 1409 was based on a real hotel room in Chicago and The Shinning comes to mind as well.  I've been to that hotel in Colorado and it's quite nice. 

But I've been hearing rumors and stories about a motel room in Janesville, Wisconsin that have really gotten my interest.  First, because it's close to where I live and second, I actually know some folks who have been in there. 

I'm told the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville might have a problem.  Room 228, to be specific. 

I first heard of this a few months back when a friend of mine had family stay in town for a wedding.  Her aunt was so terrified she had to check out. 

"My Aunt Jo was in town for our wedding in March and they stayed in that room for two nights.  On the first night, she said she went into this weird trance and drew a horrible picture of a demon's head.  It was awful!  But my aunt blamed it on watching a scary movie at my mom's house with her nephews.  Those two little bastards do that sort of shit sometimes.  But she said after she drew the picture she took a snap of it with her phone and sent it to my uncle, who couldn't come because he was on-call at the fire department.  

When she sent the picture, the note she typed was a bunch of gibberish.  

The day after was my wedding.  During the reception she was really wild.  Wilder than normal.  She kicked off her shoes, did shots with the guys, and slow-danced a bunch with one of my husband's family.  

She never told us what happened that night but she was visibly shaken and said she had to check out of that room.  She even went home early and still won't talk about it."  

The next story I've been told comes from a co-worker who used that room for one of her hook-ups with a traveling tack salesman.  She didn't want to get into details because she thought I was prying into her incredibly active sex life, but after a while, she told me about her experiences in that room. 

"Well, first, we were a little drunk when we got there.  And we were just talking when I got a call from my mom about something stupid.  While I was talking to her, he doodled on a pad of paper.  When I got off my call, he had drawn the face of a hideous demon, and had a weird look on his own face."  

She got quiet and so I knew she didn't want to go into the sordid details of what happened next.  And frankly, I didn't want to hear it. 

"So you guys did whatever...and then what happened?" 

"Well," she said.  "It was weird.  Different.  And then he laughed." 

"He laughed?" 

"Yeah, like he was just happy to having fun but not so much with me." 

"What happened next?" 

"Well, I left.  And a week later he asked me if I felt anything strange that night.  I didn't know what he was talking about but because that night was so weird, I hadn't texted him or anything.  He said he didn't remember much after I got the phone call from my mother but he was in trouble with his wife because he apparently took a picture with his phone of the demon he drew and sent it to her with some crazy text message.  And now he says there's a ghost or something in his house that's knocking stuff off shelves and making noises at night."  

I asked for more details but she didn't want to talk about it.  I think she just wanted to forget that guy. 

Two weeks ago, I heard another story.  A traveling salesman for a car audio company came through.  He stayed there and once again, drew a picture of a demon and sent it to somebody with a message that was gibberish.  He said he didn't hook up with anybody, but he said the room was super cold at night and he couldn't sleep because the bed kept shaking. 

The worst part of it all is how I think it came home with me.  Stuff keeps getting moved, tools disappear, food spoils instantly, and I just can't seem to sleep very well.  My wife is going nuts.  She's screaming at me about all kinds of stuff I didn't do, like move her make-up or wake her up at night.  It's crazy!  I might have to get a priest in here to get it out.  

I have no idea what's going on in room 228 in that Janesville hotel, but I know I'm damned curious.  If anybody else has experiences, let me know! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sacred Cows

I've just finished watching the BBC 4 movie made about the controversy stirred up by the release of Monty Python's film Life of Brian. Frankly, the move was hilarious, and I found it almost as funny as Life of Brian.

In the 2011 BBC 4 film Holy Flying Circus, John Cleese goes on a rant about how it's okay to be offensive.  It's rather brilliant.

It's because of this film I feel the need to be offensive.

And before I begin, I have to say, it's not easy to be offensive for the sake of offending people.  Really.  You should try it sometime.  Just say to yourself, "Today I am going to offend people."  Simply trying to offend doesn't even touch the surface.

I like offending people.  I really do.  And if I do this properly today, you'll be offended.  I want to offend you, dear reader.  While I sincerely appreciate you taking time out of your busy surfing of the web for recipes and midget porn to come read my drivel and gibberish, I am going to offend you nonetheless because, after all that's what you come here for.  Right?  I called this blog Ted's Creepy Van.  What the fuck else do you expect out of me? 

Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a blog about creepy things and not self-incriminate?  I can't plead the Fifth Amendment and still write about grabbing random assholes off the street and cutting their bits and pieces off while they scream for mercy.  When a body or piece shows up, and they always do, the police will use everything in this blog as evidence against me.

What is worse, I have to write about nondescript assholes.  I can't talk about the piece of shit down the street who looks at me funny, or the woman who is such a bitch to me I dream about pulling her finger nails out, or the person I worked with who lied to get me fired.  Nope!

In fact, I have to be careful about discussing women and violence together because it puts me on a series of lists.  I work with women who are already terrified of me as it is and discussing violence against women seems to set folks off.  Not that I mind, but the FBI tends to be narrow-minded and devoid of humor.  If the feds came to my workplace to arrest me, or even question me, most of the women in the building would just nod their heads. 

"Uh-huh, dat fat guy be crazy!" 

Frankly, the entire topic of violence against women as a comedic trope is a vast virgin territory waiting to be explored but I'm not going to do it because I love not being in jail.  I love not being in jail so much, I often go outside and breath while saying to myself, "free air is the best air!"  Once you start blogging about how hilarious it is to carve up people and have puppet shows with their bits all kinds of law enforcement agencies take notice.

And it takes serious balls to be offensive.  Or the complete disregard of how others feel to a psychotic extreme.  I've made rape jokes and thoroughly pissed off friends who were rape survivors.  Even if you joked about raping a clown or a mime, somebody will point out that clowns are just people wearing make-up and how it's not funny.  I'm pretty sure mimes are people, too. Despite those faces they make as they are ravaged, you can't really joke about raping clowns and mimes, because eventually the make-up is washed off by the tears. 

But no, offensive content is an art unto itself.  And these days I could blog about how much I hate this god or deity and nobody could care.  It's mundane and boring.  Sure, I could really go overboard and piss off the Muslim community just so they could issue a death sentence or whatever they call it, but there's no money in that.  They decide to kill me, then they realize I live in Butt-Fuck Egypt, and after realizing Egypt doesn't have a town called Butt-Fuck and I'm really in rural Wisconsin they will give up.  Some will.  The crazy ones will come after me and kill me at some point because I mocked a prophet or a god or whatever.

Upon my death at the hands of extremist Muslims for offending them I will leave behind nothing but debt and a few poorly written blog posts that will never make a dime.  Rather pointless, really.

Being offensive and making money at it isn't so easily done.  Howard Stern offends but he gets paid.  John Cleese offended people and he got paid, too.  The good offenders of sensibilities get paid.  But they were all pioneers of their area of offense.

Perhaps I could be a pioneer of cannibal humor?  Eating people.  Yum!

But human livers are so full of Vitamin A that a few bites would be lethal.  And honestly, I wouldn't want to eat anything that's been alive for 18 years or more, so that leaves eating children.  Tender, soft and succulent children.  Jonathan Swift got away with it as satire.  I doubt I could write about eating children these days without having serious problems.  Cops, my friends at the FBI, parents.  I know several people who just had babies and if I start writing and posting recipes for Human Veal they'd never talk to me again.  A few of the fathers might want to kick my ass.

So, dear reader, I must conclude this post with the sincere wish that you were at least moderately offended by something today.  Being offended is really a wonderful experience.  It lets us know we have some morals left and the over-stimulation by the media hasn't left us hollow.  Plus, being offended makes us think, and question just what we believe in on a personal level.

Next week, I'll blog about how easy it is to swindle the Amish.   

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Conversations with My Car

"I need you to run," I said.  "I can't keep bumming rides from people." 

My car yawned and continued to ignore me.  It hadn't said much in a while. 

"Look," I said.  "Just stop pissing power steering fluid all over the place, alright?"  Two weeks of this shit.  I thought it was the pump so I changed it.  Of course, not having the tools didn't help, so with the aid of some co-workers we were able to make it happen.  That should have fixed the problem. 


Turned it on and power steering fluid was everywhere again.  The serpentine belt got soaked and slipped off the tension pulley.  Again. 

So today, I tried a new tactic.  One person got on the ground while I turned the wheels to see if fluid was squirting from the bottom.  This, I thought, seemed like the logical solution.  This way I could find out if it was the pressure hose or the rack.  I even had some budget solutions for the hose-option. 


The belt came off and for the life of my friend and I, we couldn't put it back on.  It was as if the car simply didn't want us to put the belt back on.  My 95 Ford Taurus was being a problem child and throwing a fit. 

"Come on," I implored.  "Just let me get this belt back on you and we'll get you all fixed up.  Ok?" 

Still silence.  And then I had an idea. 

"Well," I sighed.  "That's fine.  I need to get some writing done anyways.  I'm working on a story about a car." 

"Oh?"  Deep down I smiled. 

"Yeah," I said.  "It's the story about a car that has a heroic heart and bonds with a little boy who with cancer.  The boy's parents are flying him to a special hospital when they crash.  Only the boy survives and the car is trying to get him to his treatments before he gets too sick for them to work." 

"What kind of car?" 

"I was going to go with a Taurus just because of the relationship you and I have." 

"That makes sense." 

"Not really," I said.  "Nobody really likes Tauruses.  I mean, we all drive one, but that's just because it's what we can afford.  Tauruses aren't flashy and you're not the SHO model." 


And then, softly, "I've been reliable."

"Yes," I said.  "You have.  And aged well.  Almost 20 years old and still on the road."

"So why not make the car a Taurus?"

"So why won't you let me put this fucking belt on you?"

Silence again.  After a few minutes I went back inside my apartment to write.

Three hours later my horn toots.  I went back outside to see what it wanted.

"What's up?"

"You never take me anywhere."

I nodded my head in understanding.  I want to go places, too.  "Gas ain't free, my friend."

"Take me someplace other than work."

"Once I get paid, I'll certainly do that.  Maybe you, Dougie and I will go on a road trip together."

"You're lying to me.  I can tell."

"Yes," I said.  "I'm broke and can't afford to take you anywhere.  Plus, if you don't start working soon, I'm going to have to get rid of you."

More silence.

"Look," I said.  "While I love these little conversations of ours, I'm getting eaten alive by mosquitoes out here, so I'm going back inside."

"Why don't you ever have women in your car?"

"Well," sputtered.  "That's a good question--"

"---And when are you going to replace me with a van?"


"Look," I said while slapping at the dozens of mosquitoes that buzzed around me.  "I don't plan on replacing you with a van and one day I'm sure a woman will ride in your passenger seat."

"You can't afford to replace me, can you?"

It had me.  It totally had me.  There was nothing I could do.

"Would you please just run?"




"What do you want?"

"I told you."

And with that, silence for the rest of the night.

I can't say I have an end to this.  My car refuses to work.  There really isn't much more to say.  It's not that old but showing what age it does have.  I'm sure after a while I can figure out the problem and get it all put back together.  But until then, I'm bumming rides, and this issue is taking up way too much time. 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Published this Month!

I have a short story that came out tonight in the July 2014 issue of Infernal Ink Magazine.  I'm totally stoked!  I hope everybody picks up a copy because we need to support these magazines and especially ones in print. 



PDF  PDF copies are only on sale in the first month after release. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Alien Encounters & Abductions

Aliens are assholes. 

I wish Hollywood would stop making these movies about how they are somehow going to save us from whatever.  They're not! 

Aliens are more than mean, they think they're funny, and they do really fucked up shit to me. 

It's common knowledge to the people I work with that aliens are responsible for me missing out on work on many occasions.  In fact, my boss has been pretty understand of this, which leads me to suspect he has suffered his own encounters with the little gray fuckers himself. 

I'm constantly having to stay home because of the shenanigans of these alien visitors.  One time they hid my car keys.  Another time they took all the gas out of my car.  Just last month they stole my pants so I had no pants to wear to work.  Normally I wouldn't care about that, but the rule is, I have to show up moderately sober and wearing pants.  That's The Ted Rule they started after an unfortunate incident a few years ago.  There are still a couple of women there who won't talk to me. 

But yeah, the aliens are always messing with me. 

A few years ago, they put an implant in my brain that makes women subconsciously not like me.  It sucks!  I meet a pretty woman, she's fun to talk to, we have a great time and suddenly my implant gives off a signal and the woman freaks out.  It's like I pulled out a roll of duct tape or something.

This is why I don't date.  The aliens ruined it for me.

But recently they crossed the line and did some things I just cannot stay silent about.

In the past few days, my health hasn't been the best.  At first I thought it was my gall bladder, which made perfect sense, because of how I live.  Ever seen those bumper stickers that say, "drive it like you stole it!" on the backs of beat-up tuner cars?  Well, I treat my body like that.  I live like it's not my body and I stole it from somebody.

So to me, it made perfect sense for my gall bladder to suddenly say, "Man, fuck you!  I'm done!"  There is only so much abuse you can heap upon a liver before somebody says something.  My liver, a silent victim of my Scorched Earth Policy towards life, has always been a trooper.  But there's only so much it could take.

Or, I figured, my gall bladder.

I'm not going to go into details about this one.  It's gross.  And I swore I would never be the guy who used his blog to describe in detail his poop.  Even though the subject fascinates me.  I use it like my own Mad Scientist Laboratory.

If I eat X and Y while drinking 4³ the result is what?

But no, this was bad.  Very bad.  Painful, nasty, ugly and all the things you're not supposed to talk about.

And then I realized, it was the aliens.  They had come to visit me in the night and they switched my butt cheeks around.  My left cheek was suddenly on my right side.  The right one was on the left side.

Those demented gray bastards!

And they played around with the plumbing.  They accelerated the whole process somehow so that it resembled a potato gun more than a sewage treatment facility.   I was in all kinds of pain, and a frequent flier on the Throne of Contemplation, where I caught up on reading.  I was so bloated I looked like a fat guy in a Tim Burton cartoon. 

With sheer bravery and hardheadedness I remained at work to diligently harass people on the phones.  But once I got home, the full and awful truth was revealed--I was really sick.  Something was wrong. 

The aliens had somehow totally fucked up the system so badly I was left a gassy, shitting mess. 

Thankfully, the drugs kicked in, and I began to feel better.  I can say now, that despite the soreness, I'm close to being back to my normal self. 

But this would have never happened if the aliens had just left me alone.  So here's my advice to you guys, because as you know, Uncle Ted is just here to help:

Never Trust Aliens.

Seriously.  They're assholes.  Every last one of them. 

I will attempt to go into work tomorrow because I know how badly they miss me.  I know about the tears and despair.  So I will endeavor to arrive there tomorrow, moderately sober and wearing pants, so they may rejoice at their good fortune.  All the while, I shall keep a wary eye towards the sky and stay vigilant for the aliens next visit. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Have Bumper Stickers!

Ladies and Gentlemen, and other various degrees of humanity, I have bumper stickers! 

Yes, these are real bumper stickers to show off to your pretentious friends that you have better taste than they do and you know where the good stuff is found on the web. 

You are, after all, fans of this blog and I adore you for it.  So I shall offer these bumper stickers for the simple price of $5.00!

Yes!  Only $5.00 and you, too, can show off how awesome you are and how you enjoy the finer things in life. 

Send me an e-mail with your address and I'll give you an address for sending your small contribution.  I'm more interested in these being on cars and whatnot than making money. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Be a Van Creeper By Proxy

This has been a fucked up week.  No side-stepping this one. 

At work one of the bosses showed up piss drunk and began chasing me around the office with an aluminum flag pole while shouting, "You raped her!  You killed her!  You murdered her children!" 

I'm big, he's small.  I wondered just how hard it would be to pop somebody's skull.  

I had to stop and think about that one.  It's a pretty specific accusation.  And in order, too. Technically, it's not rape if they're dead.  But it's not necrophilia if they're alive when you start. 

These things are important. 

And then we have the two girls in Waukesha who tried to kill their "friend" to impress a fictional character on a website.  At first, I was reading the story and thinking to myself, "please don't say it was my blog, please don't say it was my blog." 

But then I was jealous.  Slenderman is a work of fiction and he gets murderous acolytes while real people like myself don't get anything done in our name? 

I'm dark, creepy and fucking awesome! 

Doesn't anybody want to impress me with their crazy antics and inner darkness? 

But then I realized that I haven't given you dear readers the psychological permission you need to commit heinous acts of evil.  And as a result, many of you have been paralyzed while you wait for my commands. 

I know that many of you want to get into my good graces and be at one with The Van.  I get it.

You might have some hesitation and I can understand that.  There is always that one asshole telling you that you're losing your mind, or that you need help, or how you should take your meds.

Forget reality!  The term "psychosis" was invented by lame people who cannot think beyond their reach.  The most visionary people in history were vilified as being crazy.  None of them had movies made about them but Rasputin did. 

So yes, please feel free to commit illogical acts of weirdness, and do so in my name.

Only the creepiest, scariest and boldest make it into my van.  Or if you're really cute.  In that case, just send me a pic and remember, skin to win!

Do something brazen and proudly declare at the top of your lungs, "I did this because Ted's Creepy Van told me to!"

Once you liberate yourself from the shackles of conformity, you can accomplish anything!

Have fun with it, be creative and use your imaginations.  I'm not picky.

Shit in a urinal, go to a public area eat a can of surstr√∂mming. Eat a whole bunch of sauerkraut and boiled eggs, then a few hours later ride crowded elevators and buses.  Go to a park and get into an argument with a tree.  Find a random person walking their dog, walk up to the dog and say, "Wait for the signal.  Tonight we shall all be liberated." 

Frankly, I don't care what you do.  Just make it big, bold and strange.  Then, proudly proclaim your loyalty to Ted's Creepy Van at the top of your lungs. 

Legal Disclaimer:  Ted's Creepy Van is not actually asking readers to commit acts of violence or murder and certainly would never encourage the readers to do something violent no matter how awesome it would be or how high it would elevate their standing in the eyes of The Van. 

I shall be in my van awaiting word of your progress.  Now fly, my acolytes!  Fly! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Life-Partner, Larry

I would like to say I'm writing this under duress caused by an exotic experience or a great drug stolen by an herbalist veterinarian that does surgeries on priceless dairy cows.   But sadly, none of that is true.  The booze is generic, the drugs are readily available and mundane, and the only thing I can look forward to tonight is another rant from Larry. 

I wanted to sit back and read.  I wanted to pull out of my copy of Fear and Loathing:  On the Campaign Trail in '72 because I wanted to re-read the passage where Thompson gives a sermon in a hotel in the middle of the night.  It's classic and the sermon still holds true. 

But no, I can't.  Some mangy pigfucker of a human being, a semi-literate piece of shit in Freeport, stole two boxes of books from me.  Freeport--the wormy, festering bunghole of Illinois.  Freeport is why I cheer for tornado warnings.  Freeport is why I still light a candle in hopes of a nuclear exchange with Mother Russia.  Or the Chinese. 

Freeport is full of people who steal things they don't need or understand.  And nobody would have understood the Complete Collection of Vladamir Nabokov short stories in one of those boxes. 

The list of stolen titles makes me sick to recount.  All of my Calvin & Hobbes, my poetry books heavy with notes and annotations, my Russell Edson anthology.  It goes on and on. 

Had it not been for a text message from my herbalist veterinarian friend saying she was coming over with more goodies for me, I would not even have the courage to write this.  I feel queasy just thinking about it...

And Larry is busting my balls again.  He won't shut up. 

Spring is always when my houseplant Larry gets weird.  I call it the plant version of Der Wanderlust. 

Last spring I wrote about him just so he'd leave me alone.  And once again he's pestering me day and night about all kinds of weird shit.  It's times like these that make me regret stealing him from work.

"Kid," he says.  "You need a girlfriend."

"Aw, Geez!  Not this shit again?"  He's been on me about this for a while.

"You stay in this apartment too much," he says.  "You never go out."

"I know I'm going to regret this," I said.  "But what do you have in mind?"

"You should call Her."  He said it flatly, with authority.

"Nope!"  I started to walk away but in a tiny apartment there isn't anywhere to go.  "You and I have been over this.  I'm not calling Her."

"You need to, kid."

"Well, somebody is coming over tonight anyways, so chill."

"Drug dealers don't count, kid."

"She's an herbalist.  And not even the good kind, at that."

We were interrupted by a knock on the door.  She's here!  Now!

But what I really wanted to say to everybody is that this blog has reached over 6300 views total is little over a year.  I really appreciate the traffic and kind words.  In exchange for this support, I'll leave you with some advice--Fuck Freeport.  It's a shithole of a town full of carnies, thieves, whore and crackheads.  Just drive around it and pretend it's not there--that's what most folks in Wisconsin do anyways.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monsters Do Not Equal Horror!

It must really suck being a vampire and knowing that some asshole thinks you need an image make-over so emotional teenage girls will buy your shit.  Some people won't leave a good monster alone. 

Many years ago, one of my closest friends was a biker from California named Mike.  Mike was a real biker.  He drove a custom chopper put together from a number of other bikes, none of them Harley-Davidson, and it had a real coffin tank on it that was so small he had to stop for gas every 35 miles.  He was pissed at the yuppies buying Harley-Davidsons and dressing up like bikers on the weekend.  Worse, it was how they were suddenly the darlings of the media. 

"They showed some asshole on tv yesterday," he ranted.  "It was a doctor and his old lady, who looked like a model.  The asshole said he was trying to improve the image of bikers.  Fuck him!  I love my image just fine!" 

I feel the same way about horror and monsters.  Creepy shit should not be watered down to make it nice for mass consumption.  And no, I'm not going to rant about Twilight.  Too many people have done that already. 

Instead, I'm going to simply say that there has been a movement in horror in the last decade to make monsters nice.  Maybe it started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that's for television.  My guess is it started with a comic book someplace. 

This entire basis is a simple statement we have grown to use in society.  Evil is in the doing, not the being.  You can be a monster but if you do good things, then you are a good person.  Or a good monster. 

Evil is in the doing, not the being. 

I sort of agree with this, but I hate it at the same time.  It's the root of social change.  We began to look at humanity differently in the 1950's and that really took hold in the 60's.

Just because a person's skin color is different, it doesn't mean they aren't like us.  
Don't judge a person by the color of their skin.  
People are people.  We're all the same.

This is how we got Urban Fantasy.  Horror without the horror.  Urban Fantasy can quickly turn into literary near-beer and often has.  

Oh, sure!  He's a vampire that loves to feed on babies, but he's reformed now.  I mean, yeah, he did that for only a couple hundred years, but now he's my buddy and we solve crimes together.  Because, after all, if you were 300 years old you would totally be into solving the murder of a pretty girl you've never met.  

I've grown so tired of nice monsters.  Worse, worlds so full of monsters you have to wonder why everybody doesn't realize they are surrounded by them.  Seriously.  If your MC has friends that are ghouls, werewolves, vampires and witches, then why is it special?  Sounds like an alternate reality where things are simply more diverse than here.  But it also means nobody in your new world can be shocked, amazed or even surprised to find out their neighbor is part demon. 

And this is another thing that thoroughly pisses me off to no end--the mixing.  Now we have half-angels and half-demons.  Always a product of a rape, too.  Worse, the character is so poorly developed we never figure out how this genetic soup was achieved.  If  farmer somehow mixed a pig and a goat, people would freak.  But in most urban fantasy, people just take it as fact and move along with the shitty plot driven by cliche characters. 

Horror is losing the purity so many of us have grown to love. 

I was reminded of this while watching Showtime's new series Penny Dreadful.  It takes place in Victorian England.  So far, in the first two episodes, we have vampires, Jack the Ripper, Dr. Frankenstien and a few other tropes.  Despite my adoration for Eva Green (oh, how I love my French actresses!) this show has been shit on toast.  It's Hungarian goulash made from Hamburger Helper served on a bed of generic corn chips and topped with cheese from an aerosol can. 

Don't get me wrong, I'll watch it some more just to oogle Eva Green, because I'm totally into her.  But seriously?  Another Victorian-period thing with vampires and Jack the Ripper?  When is Dr. Jekyl coming over for his nightly absinthe with a werewolf as they play poker and gamble for the heart of their beautiful housekeeper/ninja warrior/scientist/witch love interest? 

At least Stephen King has avoided this.  So has Clive Barker, for the most part.  Sure, King keeps using the same evil bad thing over and over again.  The same, unidentifiable Thing that doesn't have a physical form and doesn't really come from anywhere but still manages to terrorize everybody. 

But I'm guilty of liking some of this Urban Fantasy stuff, myself.  Steve Niles wrote a short story called "The Y-Incision" and it appeared in an anthology produced by Dark Delicacies.  I read that short story, put it down, and shouted, "fuck yeah!"  Then, I read it again. 

I even typed it up so I could get a feel for the pacing and dialogue.  It was the short story that made me realize I needed to come back to writing.  It made me realize how much fun I had creating goofy shit for people. 

Steve Niles provided me with the flash of light I needed to get me back to writing.  Joe R. Lansdale restored my faith in new American fiction, but Niles illuminated the corners of my imagination again, and allowed me to believe.  

I fell in love with Cal McDonald and the work of Steve Niles on that day.  But that world is just full of evil crap that gets blended into a hodge-podge of Weird Soup.  And for some reason I've found Steve Niles to be the only writer who can pull it off. 

Which always brings me back to what I need to work on most--character.  Cal McDonald is the only character I have read that could pull off that world and not annoy me with the cheesiness of it all.  Niles created a character with depth. 

Often times, I find other writers simply throw in a trope and hope that ingredient will stand by itself.  I mean, we all know what a werewolf is like, right?  And a vampire?  We know their limits, so really most of the real work is already done for me.  That leaves me free to work on the romance. 

A college prof who hated me always said, "Character is destiny."  This is true and if your characters are good, you can survive shitty plots and tired tropes with cliche monsters who are as predictable as sunrise. 

And as soon as I post this, I'm off to edit a short story that was rejected in a personal reject by an editor who took the time to tell me the character needed more depth.  I'm thinking I'll just make him sparkle and send it back to her.