Who Are You Weird Fuckers?

It’s been an Age since I wrote a post. I still think about writing posts, and I still pop over to my dashboard at least once a day out of a somewhat vain curiosity to see if anyone’s still reading the bullshit I spewed here over the last year.

Oh yeah, it’s been over a year since I started, by the way. The first post went live on 5/24/15. Guess I missed that anniversary. Oh well.

Anyway, I never claimed I’d get a lot of readers or even really wanted to have many. I expected that a few friends would read this shit, have a laugh at whatever I felt like vomiting on the page at the moment, and go on with their days – and for the most part that has been entirely true.

There are exactly 21 people with WordPress blogs who follow this one. I follow three of them and know three others personally. The rest are mysteries. I don’t read a lot of blogs and usually can’t even be bothered to keep up with my actual WordPress Reader feed.

The Twitter account I made solely for the promotion of this blog has five followers. Three I know personally, one dude who randomly decided to follow me because one of those people did, and yesterday I got a notification for the fifth which seems to be a robot account pretending to be a nude model, porn star, or some other breed of female who only tweets asking if people want to see her naked.

My guess is that it’s some 12 year old Ukrainian boy trying to phish up some attention/credit card numbers, but hey. If he wants to see my twitter wall composed entirely of automated links from this blog, more power to his lonely ass.

I think over the course of the last year and change I’ve pretty much established that I am not the most active social media person in the world, and my blog posts are almost entirely self-gratifying rants about shit I hate, people I hate, having no life, and occasionally passing on some random tidbit I find interesting and/or amusing. The point was never to be producing shit people actually wanted to read here; just to produce shit that kept me writing, and even that’s been waning in recent months.

But, I digress.

Back to the issue at hand.

See, every time I pop over to my dashboard to take a look at the measly stats, I find that someone out there is still reading some of this nonsense. It may be the most pathetic stat counter of all time, but the Tanis posts and “Fuck. Zombies.” pull in a consistent 2 and 1 views per day!

I told you it was pathetic, but still. What in the actual fuck? Who cares what I have to say about either of those throwaway topics? Why are people who are searching for zombies and Tanis finding me at all?

Who are you fuckers?!

Yeah, it’s a crap blog full of hideous rants – many written at varying stages of intoxication – but there are some gems here, too. Does anyone read my mythical summaries on Susanoo or Inanna and Dumuzi? No? How ’bout the varying posts all tagged “writing” that explore the very serious (and utterly ridiculous) issues with calling oneself a writer and actually doing something about it? Nope, not those either? Well, fuck, what about that whole page over there where I put up the prologue to my first novel for free?

Not that either.

Nope. It’s a rambling bit of bullshit about first impressions of a podcast that just keeps falling further and further apart as it goes along (seriously. Should have ended it when Nick disappeared into the cabin and left the mystery hanging. Just sayin’.), and an even more rambling bit of drunken bullshit about how overblown and masturbatory the entire zombie craze is that garner steady attention.

I guess people just prefer stupid shit to anything of substance.

In news not at all related to zombies or Tanis, though, I’m finally on a work schedule that doesn’t require long stretches of utter boredom and solitude, so maybe I’ll get back to writing posts that have some meaning, and actually working on those revisions I’ve been putting off for a year.

Or maybe I’ll just keep ridiculing the world and not giving a fuck. Who knows!

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And the NaNoWriMo Winners Are…

Not this guy.

I started the month off strong with a quick jaunt up to 21k words in the first week, largely re-written work from chapters on the second novel I’d started just after finishing the first, but then life hit me in the dick.

My peak writing times have always been late at night when I can reliably sit alone in peace with myself and my keyboard and a pair of headphones, but then I got a job.

I like my new job selling electronics at the local Meijer, but they started me off on a new third shift they’d never done before for the department and after the first week of working 6pm-2am I jumped right into a full third shift 10pm-6:30am. Let me tell you; eight and a half hours on your feet pulling stock, shelving it, and generally running around like a crazy person all night takes it out of a guy.

Though I’m getting used to the shift now and figuring out how to balance it with sleep, this month was pretty brutal and if I wasn’t working I was sleeping. Leaving no time or energy for writing.

The first couple weeks were especially rough on my feet as I walked to and from work about 25 minutes each way, was on my feet constantly, and had to contend with being uncomfortable in my five-year-old Airwalks with collapsed heels and no arch support or my even older dress shoes that had good heels but pinched my toes mercilessly.

A pair of gel inserts did some good after the first week, but not much. The resulting knot and pressure points, especially in my right foot, made the very effort of it all excruciating. It’s not a hard job, but it’s made ten times worse with bad shoes.

BUT!

I took my first real paycheck and got a brand new pair of shoes with memory foam insoles and plenty of room to breathe, and have been doing much better since. I’m still working that knot out, but it’s not killing me in the process.

So, my NaNoWriMo project to write the second book in my Unknown pairing fell pretty much flat. I have some solid chapters for it, and a better sense of direction than I had going in, and will by no means actually stop working on it when I have time and energy to do so, but for NaNoWriMo this year it’s a bust.

I’m not all that disappointed, of course. I didn’t get into the whole social aspect of the contest at all beyond some poking and prodding at friends to keep working, and as an exercise it never really seemed like something I needed to pressure myself with, but I did enjoy reading a bit of the struggles others had and updating my word count much to the chagrin of others while I could.

Maybe next year I’ll do better, and go at it with something entirely new.

In the meantime, though, work continues to be an interesting experience and I have plenty of time to build up ideas for the sequel and for things to revise about the first book. Hopefully that first book will see the light of day and an official “I fucking finished this thing” stamp of revised approval in the coming months as things settle down into a more manageable routine.

Congratulations to those who did manage to beat NaNoWriMo’s challenge this year, and to Kathryn for blowing past me by 10k at the last time I checked (five minutes ago), and as for the rest of you: Next year, beware! I’m coming back with a vengeance!

Muhuhahahaha!

NaNoWriMo and The Unknown

We’re up to day three of NaNoWriMo now, and I’ve spent most of the time editing the handful of of chapters I already had done for the sequel to my first, yet-unpublished novel. I knew at the time that I was writing these chapters I’d have to redo a lot of it, and that’s holding quite true. The basic story is there, but I was struggling a lot  with how to reconcile the sweeping changes between books one and two and how that’d affect how my characters moved forward.

As of this post, I’ve finished the prologue and first two chapters to the tune of just over 13,000 words. I have one more complete chapter to rewrite, and then it’s on to the all-new stuff. NaNo’s goal is a 50,000 word count by the end of the month, and since my first book is over 95,000 and I wrote 56,000 of those in six days in March, I feel confident I’ll blow their count goal out of the water and more than make up for the fact I’d already written a few chapters.

In addition to the second book, though, I’m also going over my first one and making the revisions that I’ve been claiming I’d get around to since July. I’m trying to get as much of that done in the NaNo month as I can.

In regular-jack-off-life news, I got a job selling electronics at the Meijer location a couple blocks from home, and orientation starts Thursday afternoon. With that in mind, I’m trying to get as much done for NaNo as I can in the next few days since I’m not sure how my new schedule will affect my writing time.

Anyway, I thought in lieu of a ranting post about nothing I’d take a little time to define what it is I’m writing. I tend to speak around the subject of “THE NOVEL” in terms of what I’m not doing with it or how I got an idea for something in it, but haven’t really done much to give a look at the actual thing itself.

I started with a simple idea. An image, really. I saw in my mind a man who had a featureless white helmet that covered his face and sometimes shone with its own light source. He wore black, as all good vigilante crime-fighters do, but instead of a cape he wore a long trench coat with a hood he could pull up to hide his “face” if he wanted to go unnoticed.

He didn’t have a name, he didn’t have a gimmick. He didn’t even really have a history or a face or a defined age. I didn’t know if he was black, white, Asian, Mexican, or a green man from Mars. It didn’t matter. Over time, he defined himself as I wrote, to the point that by the end of the first book I felt he was a pretty well fleshed-out entity to himself. A little rough around the edges, with a few gaps, but mostly intact.

But in August of 2008, all I had was that image and a scene in mind. I knew it was a dark and stormy night –  because that’s how these things always play out – and I knew he had a job to do in a burnt-out shell of a church. That church was real to me. I’d driven by it every day for two years since some idiot put the torch to it claiming to be a Satanist, and though it was in the stages of rebuilding by the time I got around to writing the story I always rather liked the decrepit shell it had become and imagined what it’d be like if the area were a little rougher, a little more plagued by crime and homelessness, and a little less quick to rebuild its churches.

So, I wrote what I had, and it took over for itself. I put the first version of what I intended to have as nothing more than a fun short story I might do something with later down in about an hour.

Then I sat on it.

Then the laptop I’d written it on died its final, agonizing death, and I lost that copy of the story entirely. However, since I tend to remember just about everything I write down once, I wrote the whole story out again. This time in longhand with a pen and a legal pad. It had changed very little, and all the key elements and actions were still in place. I got a little more detail going, and by the time I finished writing it out I had another idea in mind for the character and how to use him again.

I thought, maybe, I’d use what I’d written as a script for a graphic novel or something, but by this point I was still very much just writing for the sake of writing. Then I kept writing, and I delved a little bit into topics like public domain super heroes from the 30s and 40s I could get away with using pieces of or updating, and though none of those made it in whole-cloth, the research was valuable for helping me make some decisions where I wanted to go. So too did I spend hours upon hours re-reading the myths and legends I’d enjoyed so much as a teen so I could refresh myself on details and find ways to merge mythic themes into this strange, gritty noir feel I was aiming for in the writing of the thing.

To that end, and my general dislike of trying to pigeonhole any one story into one of the woefully inadequate descriptors we call “genre” these days, I’ve applied my own “genre” to the effort as displayed on my NaNoWriMo page: Mythic Noir.

Before long, I’d done twelve chapters at just shy of 50,000 words and had what I thought was a good story going. It turned from a lone vigilante operating in a world without anyone else of his kind into an epic tale of a man struggling to cope with the sudden rise and proliferation of post-human entities and the question of why and how they had come to be.

But I let it slide. I hit a wall and instead of bashing through it I backed away from it, and the longer I went without trying it, the easier it got to just leave it laying. I focused instead on my RP work with PotP, and occasionally toyed with a short story here and there for my own amusement, and even spent some time trying to plot out the course of thousands of years after the novel’s own timeline to see where it was going and what else I could do.

I am, after all, a fan of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower and the way everything King wrote had something to do with The Dark Tower. Even in the most tangential sort of way. I wanted to do that with The Unknown. To send ripples from one man’s life and struggles through hundreds or thousands of years of history. I figured it was doable, but I had to be able to finish the book first.

Now that I have, though, I find myself needing to finish the second book too. I have a lot of short stories to tie into it later at all sorts of levels in the grand timeline, but I need to know how the Unknown’s story really ends. For that, I’ve always planned two books.

That’s what my NaNoWriMo project is about; finishing the story and moving on. One way or the other, his story will be finished. Though he might live on in the pages of short stories and side stories here and there in the way no pulp character really ceases to stay active, I’m planning (or maybe hoping) that this second book will be the final stage of laying the ground floor for whatever I do from here on out.

Before we get to that, though, I wanted to share a look at how it started. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a link to a separate page I’ve uploaded the entire Prologue to. You’ll notice right away it reads a little funny because I’ve taken it upon myself to experiment a bit with tense shifts. The prologue itself is written entirely in First Person Present, which I signify throughout the novel in italics as a way to mark certain events as action sequences of a more urgent feel than the First Person Past narrative allows.

Throughout, I jump between the two where it makes sense (though to some of my proofreaders it didn’t in some places and I’m working to fix the delineation between what “deserves” to be in what tense), and hopefully by the end of this preview folks will see why I do so. I felt it was simply a good way to get into the character’s head a little more thoroughly. I want you to decide for yourself who this man is and whether he’s in the right or not, and to do that you need to see him like I do.

Anyway, here ya go. Enjoy:

The Nameless Unknown: Prologue

At the Last Minute: @NaNoWriMo

NaNo-2015-Participant-Banner

Once upon a time, some friends told me about NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month, and I just shrugged it off. It sounded like a cutesy idea full of social media people getting together on a site to hold each other’s hands through the process of writing a novel, and I just wasn’t interested in that.

I liked being the tortured artist struggling to do it all alone. Nevermind that it took me seven years to finish one novel. Nevermind that novel still isn’t revised or published. It was dragged through me with all the rage and pain a person with male anatomy can conjure up to resembling birthing pains.

But, on the other hand, I’ve always been a strong RPer with a good group of friends who I can play off of and write with. People who can run the other characters and let me focus on just one main and a couple of NPCs. Those are the people who’ve been nudging me toward NaNoWriMo for years, and I’ve finally given in.

This might be the shortest post I’ve ever done, but it’s an important one. This is me declaring my intent to write the sequel to the first novel in the next month of the NaNoWriMo competition.

I don’t know that I’ll get into the whole community thing, and I will probably never attend a local event around the concept, but I’ll be updating my word count as I go and using the effort to try and push my friends along as well. That’ll be enough for me, right there.

I’ve scheduled this post to launch at 11:59pm Halloween night, and I’m just guessing that the title will pull off the act of actually tagging NaNo in the automated tweets that accompany all of my posts. Nothing like sliding in the door at the last minute with the least effort possible!

Already a NaNoWriMo participant yourself, or interested in watching the horrors I unleash on the contest? You can find me at NaNo right HERE, and I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot of NaNo-oriented posts this month as we go along.

The OTHER.

I was randomly goofing off last night after dinner with a whiskey tumbler full of rum and my Final Fantasy Record Keeper game grinding through an orb dungeon when a friend who some of you know shared this piece with me. I feel compelled to point it out here and then run off down the street on my own little tangent because I don’t want to comment too heavily on it or attempt to summarize out of respect for the piece as is.

As it happens, Kathryn’s blog is the one I mention on my About page as having been instrumental in bringing about this blog’s existence. Maybe one day I’ll get around to adding a blog roll to my rather Spartan (yup, went there) little site someday to give a more proper and permanent link to it and the works of other friends and random Internet-folk I find amusing or interesting. For now, though, just enjoy it, god damn you!

Anyway, while I enjoyed the piece and the focus of it, I’m always looking at the underlying themes in the stuff I read and what drives a story or article and what I can reach my hand into and rip out, turn inside-out, and scatter around like a lunatic painting on the wall with his own feces, a serial killer furnishing his home with lovely human skin lampshades, or an Elder Thing ripping your sanity to shreds by simply intersecting with your reality at a non-Euclidean angle for a moment.

I’m almost certain this means I am irrevocably insane, and entirely certain that doesn’t bother me.

I’m a horror fan. Stephen King’s It was my initiatory rite into the world of adult literature, and reading it at a time when I was crossing that threshold from childhood to young-adulthood – just like the book’s main cast – pretty much shaped the entire course of my literary wanderings from that point on. There was no point in anything else for me. I had no desire to read about knights and princesses, no room for tales of valor and war, and no use for the teen-angst standards of the day.

I needed the fantastic. I craved the weird and the scary. I lived for Halloween when for just one night I could get away with unleashing the horrors King had wrought upon my psyche onto the rest of the world. It was glorious.

Mind you, I wasn’t one of the creepy goth kids. I didn’t wander around in black t-shirts with black metal bands emblazoned on them crying for attention or inflicting my inner demons on everyone else. I didn’t need to. I got all the horror I needed in my life right there on the pages of It, The Shining, Tommyknockers, and Cujo.

Horror fiction was the release valve on all the daily horrors of being a teenage boy in a tiny mid-west town. It was horror, experienced almost exclusively through King and Lovecraft, that taught me man’s most valuable and detrimental qualities are one and the same.

Fear.

Fear drives us in all things, and I hardly need to go into that particular truth at great length. Fear is an evolutionary advantage that drives not only mankind but every living creature with a brain big enough to process the chemicals necessary to generate fear. Fear tells us, “Hey, moron, run from that thing with blood dripping from its teeth,” and drives us to build shelter against the roaming predators that could snatch our babies in the night and feast on the gloriously soft and un-furred flesh of our awkward bodies.

Even the most innocuous of activities can be tied back to fear in the healthy-for-us sense. We fear starving to death because once upon a time our ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestor starved to death and the surviving members of the species saw how fucking awful, painful, and scary that was and ever since we’ve done whatever we had to to make sure that doesn’t happen to us. It’s lead to some interesting inventions and contrivances along the way.

We fear what others will say about the stretch marks on our asses, or the smell of our various fluids and gases, so we wear pants and bathe – and in doing so prevent frostbite and a wide array of infectious and fungal diseases. Some fear is quite good for you, indeed!

But then there’s the OTHER fear, and I mean that quite literally: Fear of the Other. It’s that fear we have of people and things not like ourselves. Sometimes, if that Other is a slavering monster with bloody fangs and a penchant for human flesh, or a semi-terrestrial entity from the void with tentacles that spread madness with their touch, that fear of The Other is perfectly acceptable and absolutely should be listened to.

More and more in the modern world, though, where flesh-eating monsters are less of a worry than they used to be, fear of The Other is turned on less deserving targets. Constructs of “race” and what that word actually means come to mind as we see most frequently even today, but I wander alone through long nights of weirdness and see other Others moving into the forefront as well.

Take for instance the current trend in cable television programming. Where once channels like History and Discovery were actually about… history, and discoveries, and devoted hours upon hours to documentaries about anything they deemed we might find interesting, now we see an endless string of Shark Weeks capitalizing on our fear of fish with teeth and geologists pretending they know historical truths; preying on our fear of education and common sense.

Capitalizing on an undereducated public, these networks and others have been steadily shifting away from droning documentaries by actual experts in favor of the sensational bullshit of conspiracy theorists and woo-peddlers of all shapes and sizes. We can even expand this into the countless ghost and bigfoot hunting shows which often portray crackpots who spend too much time in the woods as experts in things of entirely unsubstantiated reality.

The Average Joe Jack-off has replaced the serious academic as the leading voice in information dissemination across the dial, and disturbingly they often push an actual agenda of resisting the academic establishment or decrying educated people in specialist fields (like archaeologists, historians, physicists, astronomers, and even mathematicians!) as part of an ever-expanding web of conspiracy set in place to do nothing but lie to the common man about everything under the sun to keep them ignorant of the “truth” about the world around them.

What that truth is, however, depends entirely on the woo-peddler of the week. It could be that the universe is a Matrix-like hologram, it could be that aliens abduct everyone nightly and our dreams are hallucinations put there to keep us from knowing about the probes in our asses and the hybridization of humanity, or it could be that a single group of people (take your pick, it’s either the Illuminati – which was a Bavarian flash-in-the-pan for a decade in the 18th century, the Freemasons, or the Knights Templar these days) runs the entire world and all governments are really their puppets.

Regardless, these heroes-of-the-common-man know the truth, and the truth is that anyone who isn’t them is against them. My favorite right now is Scott Wolter. That guy is dumber than the rocks he’s supposed to be an expert on, but he’s now had two shows on History about his Knights Templar wet dreams that are almost entirely built around the premise that the history we’ve all been taught growing up is a lie. This is declared in the actual title sequence for the show. This geologist will save us from our false history, while conveniently ignoring the fact he’s so bad at geology he once misrepresented a rock he sold as a rare Lake Superior Agate (worth thousands) when it was in fact a Brazil Agate worth significantly less and was sued and found in the wrong and thus demonstrates his own lack of expertise in his own field of expertise; so why the fuck should we trust this guy?

Oh, because he’s on TV and he says academics are liars, that’s why.

This particular fear of The Other plays very specifically to The Other being “anyone who could afford to go to college and was successful in obtaining multiple stages of degrees in their field”. To the audience of under-educated and ill-informed individuals who did not go to college for any number of reasons or perhaps simply lack the resources and skills necessary to discern what is credible information and what is the mad raving of an idiot trying to feel important, the educated and well-informed are an Other of such exceeding strangeness that they must, in fact, be hideous monsters perverting the truth in layers of technical language and a vocabulary that expands beyond two-syllable words.

Witness, too, the case of one Michael Cremo. Cremo has made his living selling the notion that one does not have to go to college at all to be an expert in archeology. In fact, if you listen to a Cremo interview and aren’t entirely put off by the fact the man can’t even get through a sentence in an intelligible manner and has the delivery cadence of a four-year-old pushing a wagon full of rocks uphill you’ll soon learn that he actually claims dropping out of college and choosing instead to blindly accept “wisdom traditions” (in Cremo’s case, Hindu mythology) as an equal path to higher education was a GOOD thing!

Sure, we can argue all day about the accessibility of higher learning institutions to the common man, or we could argue about how woefully unprepared the average high school student really is for such higher learning, or we could go on at length about the rising cost of tuition, but those would be actual arguments about education and educational reform that might have some fucking substance. These bottom-feeders running rampant through the pool are arguing nothing more than “academics are wrong, and professors are protecting the party-line of history for the sake of maintaining their tenure in a world run by the NWO”.

Sometimes I wish the NWO really were in charge. Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash would book themselves more airtime than these morons, and at least the “it’s just entertainment” argument would hold water.

“But Clint,” you ask, “what the fuck does this have to do with the article in question?!”

Probably nothing. But I’m a writer. I see a good prompt and I run with it and fear happens to be on of my favorite subjects.

So! Happy Halloween!

I was going to strap a playing card under my sleeve in my usual stand-by “degenerate gambler” costume, but I think this year I’ll just terrify the masses with a stunning intellect and informed opinions. It seems so much more effective, and doesn’t take near as much preparation as the chainsaw-murderer-with-real-chainsaw costume I did in junior high.

Beware Clowns Wielding Baseball Bats

Picture it if you will. It’s 1997. MTV still knows a thing or two about airing music videos as a main attraction; not just a sideshow between promoting teen pregnancy for fame and misfortune. The venereal disease known as Boy Bands is running rampant through the day’s female youth, and though it’s always been lurking there in the underbelly of the culture it’s really taking on a new shape and ferocity; moving on from a simple chlamydia-esque nuisance to full-blown AIDS that the country will never really recover from.

American music is drowning in saccharine sweetness, and the hair-band metal that once drove MTV to national stardom has all but died. Metallica’s already put out Load, and what a load it is. A big steaming one that pissed everyone off and drove metal further into the shadows by taking all the metal out of Metallica. They’re hard rock now. They’re Van Halen. Even Van Halen isn’t Van Halen by this point. It’s even worse than Van Halen. Some dickhead frontman from Extreme is Van Halen at this point because Sammy Hagar had more tequila-oriented things to do. It is the first anyone’s even heard of Extreme, and the last we’ll hear from Van Halen for a while.

All the metalheads are either disappearing into their underground clubs or jumping ship to ride out the last couple years of the gangster rap wave, because metal is fucking dead in 1997. It’s a bleak, horrible time and the handful of metal bands out there still struggling by for airtime are starting to assimilate into the greater rap movement by either fusing rap lyrics into their own drop-D tuned guitar riffs or touring in weird hybrid shows like Korn’s Family Values Tour – where you can see Korn, Ice Cube, Limp Dickshit (oh, that’s Bizkit, right…) and Orgy all in one fantastically shit-filled show.

But all is not lost! For in the middle of that shitty little tour that got way too much fucking hype and legitimized way too many hacks, a bomb fell. It rained out of the sky in the shrapnel leftovers of a Germain airshow disaster, and it had two words scrawled on its casing we just had time to appreciate before being swept away by the blast: DU HAST.

Rammstein had come. Thank fuck.

Rammstein was America’s introduction to something that had started in Germany a few years earlier with OOMPH!’s second album, 1994’s Sperm: Neue Deutsche Härte.

I’m not even going to attempt to lay out the history and definition of the so-called New German Hardness. If you don’t know Rammstein by now you’ve been living under a rock. DU HAST was everywhere in the late 90s and early 2000s, and you could hardly escape it in movie soundtracks (The Matrix, anyone?), night clubs, and house parties.

That was the point.

If you took Pantera’s groove metal sound and threw it in a blender with a bit of dance club electronica, a healthy dose of Nine Inch Nails industrial and started screaming German profanities while the blades did their work you’d get NDH/NGH. The Germans could dance to it, the Americans could mosh to it, and if you didn’t speak German you could still enjoy it for the musical aptitude it took to balance all the moving parts.

Hell, in the case of some Rammstein songs it was pretty much a blessing if you didn’t understand German. Trust me. Some songs are just best left mysteries, because you will never feel clean listening to them again otherwise.

But this isn’t a music blog, and I’m not one of those “experts” who like to babble about genre defining moments, the technical perfection of one song over the other, or get into the discussion of the heavily masculine and occasionally homoerotic imagery one finds in NDH music. No, I’m just a fan of good music and a writer who can’t help but expound on the things he finds interesting.

See, in 1997 I was fifteen. My musical preferences were just starting to form into what they are today. Up until then I’d been every other mid-western kid listening to the same classic rock radio station as everyone else, drinking deep on the radio-friendly strains of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar years, the southern rock mainstays like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Foreigner, and occasionally getting a glimpse of Dio, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden that made me yearn for that classic METAL sound instead of the classic rock endemic in my area.

Rammstein was something different. It was metal, it was foreign, and it was something German I, as a youth of largely German descent, could actually be proud to claim some tenuous connection to after having spent my entire grade school career learning absolutely nothing about Germany past WWII and the Nazis. It showed me there was more to metal than the American hybrid crap on MTV.

No one had bothered to tell me back then half the metal bands I actually liked back then were English, or that metal itself was not a strictly American invention but more a bastard child of the blues created after American blues artists had been paraded through the UK in the 50s and 60s and their sound had influenced a whole generation of early rockers. It was just not in the musical education of the time, and the Internet was young enough back then I’d have had no way to learn anything about those roots.

Rammstein opened that door for me, though, and once it was open there was no going back. I still listened to some American bands, but I got a lot pickier about which ones I let past my quality filters. I went delving into a world of British and European metal and found a whole host of acts who weren’t just interested in putting their name on TV and selling a bunch of merchandise to get rich. Sure, they wanted that stuff too, but they weren’t selling their souls to the cannibalistic, incestuous nature of the American music scene to get it done.

I’m not saying European bands don’t change, or they don’t do anything different, or they don’t form weird hybrid sorts of genres that often leave one scratching one’s head in confusion. Certainly that happens too, and it was just such an experiment that resulted in bands like OOMPH! and Rammstein finding their voice in the world music scene in the first place. It’s just that the bands I found seemed somehow more honest about what they were and what they wanted to be and just kind of stuck with that. They might change their image a little here and there, or swap members around so fast you might not even notice, but it always felt like there was something more authentic in the European bands. Something grown more out of a love of the music and the art of composing than the American way of doing things just because they’re popular in the moment or the rights to a song are up for grabs.

Lately, I’ve been delving back into those NDH bands I’d grown so fond of. I’d outgrown them for a while, or maybe just got tired of them after so many years when I found my way into more Scandinavian ways of doing metal (sweeping symphonic epics and folklore-laden musical and lyrical themes), but with my Duolingo kick of late I felt I’d get a little bit more out of the German bands now that I’ve actually undertaken a study of the German language itself. I was not disappointed, but I was a bit surprised by just the sort of thing I’m talking about here.

See, Rammstein is great and all, but they actually weren’t my favorite of the NDH bands. They were just the first to make landfall in the States, and the most popular. Even OOMPH!, who are largely credited with inventing the genre, never found a foothold in America. I’m not sure my favorite NDH band has ever even toured in America. If they have, I never heard of it.

They’re called Megaherz, and I found them right around the time their 2004 album, 5, came out. It was their first album with their second singer, Mathias Elsholz, and the only album he did with the band. Their original singer and band founder, Alexx Wesselsky had left after five albums, but here’s the thing: I didn’t know that.

I only had a scattering of songs acquired through various peer-to-peer protocols, and no full albums, and all the real information on the band one could find on the web at the time was in German. I’m usually pretty good at picking out tonal differences in voices, but Wesselsky and Elsholz sounded like the same dude to me. I didn’t know the difference between songs from the band’s first NDH album, Kopfschuss (their third actual album, but the first two were more alternative than NDH) and 5.

Nor did I know that when the next album, Heuchler, came out with Alexander Wohnhaas behind the mic that it was yet ANOTHER different singer. It just didn’t sound like it. Somehow, the band had managed to keep the same sound through three singers and so many member changes that only guitarist Christian Bystron and bassist Wenz Weninger have actually been with the band since the first album.

Some albums are a little harder than others, some songs are a little more explicit than others, but Megaherz itself has managed to exist as an entity faithful to the sound laid down in Kopfschuss in 1998 right down to today with their 2014 album, Zombieland – a feat achieved in no small part by their odd habit of updating popular songs for the new singers.

Mind you, I’m not entirely thrilled with the name Zombieland (the only non-German album title they’ve ever had) or the fact the band is presently rocking the zombie look pretty hard because the title track of the album is a bit of cross promotion with the German advertising for The Walking Dead, but musically the album still sounds like the Megaherz I know and the zombie look doesn’t quite fit the band’s actual sound or lyrics very well. But hey, if a little Walking Dead coattail riding is what it takes to get one of my favorite bands a little extra notice, fine. So be it.

Hypocritical of me, I know, but… Megaherz, motherfuckers.

So, by now you’re all Googling Megaherz, or searching them up on Spotify so I don’t have to explain that the title of this post is an allusion to their band mascot, a clown face that’s appeared on several albums since Wer bist Du? and is currently being portrayed by singer Alexander Wohnhaas in his zombie make-up on the new album, right? Right?

Oh well.

But, I had another reason for bringing up Megaherz besides espousing my love for the weirdness that is NDH metal. See, way back when I was writing the first half of my novel I tried to keep a running document full of notes. I had this idea that a writer has to write out his inspirations, his characters’ personality traits and key features and other details to keep straight what was going to happen and how they were going to evolve.

Crazy, I know.

Some people may work like that, but I just don’t. I just write, and write, and write, and mostly manage to keep it all straight in my head by the power of sheer genius alone. Back when I was keeping those notes, though, I was listening to a lot of Megaherz. I might have actually spent more time daydreaming about the story and potential film/TV adaptations than I did actually writing the fucking thing, and Megaherz was the soundtrack I had in my head for that time.

Notes on those early chapters actually include things like “Du Oder Ich for this scene”, “Glas Und Tranen for this one,” and so on. I hadn’t even finished the damn thing. I only got twelve chapters finished in 2008 before I put the whole thing aside for seven years, but I was scoring it in my head to Megaherz with only a lyrics-search understanding of German at the time.

After a while, my regular listening shifted and though I’d get the odd Megaherz lyric in my head here and there I hadn’t listened actively to the band in years until this week. The second half of the book was written largely under the influence of Wintersun – which I’ve expounded on before – but now it’s all kind of coming back around again as I sit here listening to Megaherz and thinking about how I’m going to get back into the story of those early chapters after so much time without really thinking about them.

I’d edited them down a little bit when I started on the second half, but I wasn’t in the same headspace I’d been in when they were written. I suppose the hope is that this little exercise will help bring just enough of that back up to pull my own hybridization feat; to merge the old stuff with the new and unite the two halves of the book into one cohesive voice again.

You know, before I turn everything on its head and get back to writing the second book.

 

Rambling Bit of Nonsense: 2am Edition

I know, I’ve been slacking on the blog posts lately and there’s not even a really good reason for why. I just haven’t felt like it. I look at the Add New Post page and nothing comes to mind to write about and then I go do something else and revisit it a couple days later to do much the same. So, why not a little glimpse of what I’ve been up to in this hiatus?

Here’s a hint: NOTHING.

Seriously. I have done nothing of interest since the last post. I randomly probe the aether by night, and sometimes day, looking for and applying for jobs or trying to figure out the technical issues preventing my computer from accessing certain work-at-home programs, and when I get tired of that or feel I’ve done enough for a day I go and do something else.

Sometimes I stare at a short story, find that I hate the last thing I wrote and delete it, and then rewrite a third of what I deleted before closing it and not saving because what I had was still better than the alterations. Sometimes I build a bit for PotP, but at this point I’m the only person actually doing any of that right now and I have three completed areas just sitting there waiting to be checked and copied in. With our illustrious admin typically absent and the fact the only other person with access to do copyovers is the “head coder” (for stupid reasons that presuppose that no one else can copy a file or work in a Unix environment, but are really all about said coders being jealous control freaks who believe they and they alone should hold the keys even when they don’t fucking log on for months at a time), though, there’s no real hurry to get them checked since no one can do it.

So there’s that, I guess.

Progress on novel revisions remains stagnate, as most actual writing is apparently beyond my capability at this time, but two more good friends (maybe three) are reading the first draft now and hopefully a bit of extra feedback will shake something loose in that department.

I’ve been doing a lot more reading lately. Usually in the hour or so it takes my brain to unwind when I finally do lay down to go to sleep. Most of that reading has been the complete Conan works of Robert E. Howard, and I admit I kind of put Ana Spoke’s book on the back burner once that undertaking began. I’m still working on it here and there, and find it an enjoyable read, but I’m pretty sure I’m the furthest thing there is from a target audience for the amusing misadventures of a perpetually oblivious twenty-something stumbling and bullshitting her way through life and her new job at what I’m pretty sure is a corporate cult.

I mean, her boss owns an Apache helicopter armed with Hellfire missiles, has at least one actual slave (the Gimp, which makes me think of the Gnu Image Manipulation Program because BDSM isn’t a thing I associate with at all), and arms all his employees as a matter of corporate policy. It’s absurd, and I can appreciate the absurdity, but in small doses of about a chapter a week.

Conan, on the other hand, speaks more to my usual mindset, writing style, and love of world building, so I’m devouring that and rather kicking myself for having taken so long to get around to it. One would think I’d have been a Conan reader an Age ago since Howard and Lovecraft were as close as Lovecraft could ever be said to have for close friends and Lovecraft’s been a particular favorite of mine since I was fifteen. I’d seen, of course, the Arnold movies, and I’d read at least four different Conan comic series, and Robert Jordan had even written some Conan stories before The Wheel of Time, but nope. Never touched the Howard source material.

Foolish, and being rectified.

Let’s see, what else can I babble about for no apparent reason?

I switched browsers today. I was tired of Firefox and it wasn’t working with one of the work-at-home sites I’m trying to get going, so I dumped it for my first love: Opera.

Before I switched to Linux I’d been an avid Opera user since Opera began. It’s a lovely browser that’s always been fast and loaded with innovations that everyone else ripped off. When Internet Explorer and Netscape were still dominating the market with their clunky interfaces and that ever-expanding list of individual windows for every page that’d creep along your Windows 95 taskbar like a trail of ants feasting on your system resources, Opera had already started toward the tabbed interface by opening all your pages in nested windows inside the main Opera window.

My old tower, though, ran a 32x chipset and Opera hadn’t been updating the 32x version of it’s browser by the time I switched to Linux, so I had to make due with Firefox. I like Firefox just fine, and on that machine it was the best option because Chrome is a bloated piece of shit that Google should be ashamed of. When I finally got this laptop running sans-hard drive with a USB drive instead, I just stuck with Firefox because Ubuntu installed it natively and it worked fine for what I needed it for.

But it’s been annoying me lately, and I’m tired of updating it and finding page load times going through the roof, unresponsive windows for minutes at a time, and generally causing a cascading effect across my other open programs whenever it decides to crash. So, since I actually have a proper 64-bit architecture on this thing, and was trying to find something that works with The Smart Crowd website (it still isn’t at this moment, but it’s my project for the night), I turned back to my beloved Opera for help.

The developers behind Opera made the somewhat controversial and unusual decision to shift the browser’s ethos over to the Chromium base that became Google Chrome and is otherwise maintained as an open-source web engine all its own, but whatever’s under the hood doesn’t interest me so much as the usability of the browser itself. It’s working beautifully, loading faster than Firefox ever has, I have a proper Opera speed dial again (Firefox doesn’t, and requires third-party extensions to pull it off), and my speed dial even has an animate star field background that goes well with my desktop theme of rotating Hubble images.

WordPress is working more smoothly than ever, too, so bonus.

I think I’m still going to wind up having to install hated Chrome to manage to do anything work-at-home, because small-minded people take shortcuts in coding to a specific environment instead of providing a wide range of compatibility, but I suppose I’ll live.

Anyway, I think I’m out of shit to ramble about, and sorry if anyone reading this thought they were actually going to get a quality post. It’s 2:30am, and at this point I just wanted to get something up here for the sake of the habit. Maybe next time I’ll have something worth saying.

Maybe.

The Winds of Fate: Lost on the Back Burner

Sometime in the hours before false dawn (when I usually pass out) while I was weaving my way through the first Conan story, The Phoenix on the Sword, I realized I needed to get some blog posts done that actually had some sort of relevance to this whole writing thing. While reading Conan did give me a few structural ideas regarding how to attack my obsessively large timeline of interweaving stories – all of which have something to do with the novel’s world, but not necessarily with the novel itself – it was a previous attempt at something similar that I found myself thinking about as I laid there waiting for sleep to take me.

Once upon a time, before I’d become the creature I am now, I’d been a rather promising youth with a mind too strange and brilliant for my high school teachers to keep up with or care to do anything with. I say this only partly out of my oft-professed narcissism as there was actually evidence of these statements back then. I did poorly when it came to getting homework done on time, or caring about the usual high school bullshit, or even giving a shit about the half-assed nonsense my teachers often came up with to try and get students to engage in the classroom, but I aced every test I ever took. I carried the highest scores on the standardized tests, and had demonstrated this ability to the tune of a 160 I.Q. on the two occasions I was tested.

Some call that genius. Who am I to argue?

The point, however, isn’t that I’m just naturally smarter than everyone else – though certainly I am because they’re all idiots – but as a set-up for what came next. I was going to fail 10th grade so badly they were going to hold me back. They’d have done so in 9th grade, too, because for all the evidence that I not only absorbed all of the information I was supposed to absorb and easily carried my own against all the preppy GPA-whores who did their homework every day like good little sycophants and shit-heels, the educational system cares more about doing what you’re told to do than learning anything.

I’d skated by after 9th grade by way of one particularly good teacher suggesting that I pass if I agreed to attend SuperCamp that summer. I did, and loved it so much that when the good folks at SuperCamp’s head office called me about working for them a few years later I jumped on the opportunity and spent a month at Atlanta’s Emory University working as a Team Leader for the academic-skill-oriented summer camp. The school, or perhaps more rightly the biggest bitch of a principal ever to walk the Earth, wasn’t going to extend me the same sort of offer twice, though.

So I said, “Fuck you guys, I’m out,” and left after 10th grade. But I wasn’t your average high school dropout. I got my GED a week later with no prep classes, and signed up for college classes at the local community college the next week. I majored in Computer Programming until two years of that bored me and I switched to the brand new Graphic Communications program. I still didn’t do homework, but it was a great time and I learned all sorts of stuff.

What I DID do when I was supposed to be doing homework, however, became the impetus for this post and the real topic at hand. I had all sorts of free time since I wasn’t wasting it doing homework, and my programming teachers were truly brilliant people who knew how to inspire creativity in an otherwise very repetitive and often frustrating field. So, between classes or any time I had a break or got bored in one of the mundane Gen Ed classes thrust upon me, I turned my expansive mind and creativity toward what I felt was going to be a truly fantastic future in game design.

I wrote for hours, and filled three notebooks with handwritten plots, character designs and details, world history, quest information, and every other detail I could think of to put into what I envisioned as a classic RPG series very much in the vein of a Final Fantasy, or Suikoden, or Dragon Quest, or whatever other Japanese console RPG series you want to plug in.

I named my series The Winds of Fate, and gave each of the five games I managed to get down before the next diversion took my attention away from the effort its own subtitle instead of numbering them like the Japanese games I loved (and still do) so much did. My vision was a simple one, but grand in scope. I’d create a common thread between each game, even though they occupied different worlds, kind of like the famed crystals or Cid of Final Fantasy; omnipresent, but not always the same.

For The Winds of Fate that common thread was to be a sort of bleeding effect between worlds, before I really had the language to properly express how such a bleed would work or what it meant in the grander scheme of things. It was, according to the game world, just a wind that blew through the worlds themselves and shook things up seemingly without purpose. Winds of Fate characters, foes, and chunks of world would drift from one game into the next, or come out of nowhere from two games ago, and so on. It was an idea I knew even then I was pretty much copping from Stephen King, since by then The Dark Tower had already become my favorite book series of all time, but I thought at the time I was creating something really interesting and compelling.

Even if it was really just a thinly-veiled J-RPG riff with stories inspired by King, a juvenile understanding of mythology, and an intense desire to make my mark on gaming history.

I didn’t know it then, but The Winds of Fate would come to haunt me even to this day. What I thought was just going to be a fun project to keep me entertained while I avoided homework and plotted world domination actually became a testing ground for the world I’m still building today around the novel and the stories that take place outside of it. Everything goes back to the Winds and that attempt to create a world of such breadth and depth that no one story can contain it.

I still have those notebooks tucked away in a dresser drawer in Iowa, and every few years in the fifteen since my misspent years at SCC I’ve pulled them out for a chuckle and a nod to what I’d been before. The writing is horrendous, the plots are shamefully thin and centered around a lot of level grinding and dungeon crawling to pad each game out from what might be about six hours of actual story each, but the exercise was important and acknowledging it as such has often given me that little bit of drive I need to get a project done or at least stir up a few old ideas I can use again.

And the Winds of Fate blow still. A few years after I’d put the notebooks down and moved on to my next obsession, I picked up Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World and I’ll be damned if the Winds weren’t right there, on page one, rising in the Mountains of Mist, blowing east across the Sand Hills (once the shores of a great ocean before the Breaking of the World), and into the Two Rivers to ruffle the cloak of a young man who’d change everything. Robert Jordan’s wind was not the beginning, but it was a beginning.

For The Winds of Fate: Beginnings, though, was the title of the first game in that series-that-never-was.

Space. It Don’t Give a Fuck.

I spent a few bored minutes finally getting around to resizing a new image for the rotating harem of deep space wallpapers I use to keep my desktop interesting, and it turned into an effort to homogenize the image across my web presence as well. I’m not done yet, but getting there involved stopping here to swap out my banner image and this post was born.

My old image was a slice of another background I’d carried over from my desktop system back in Iowa to the laptop when I moved. On that old computer, still running an ancient HP CRT monitor with a resolution of 1024×768 on a good day, it was a stunning image of the Great Rift you can see here in full. On a more modern laptop screen, though, it really does look rather grainy. I kept it, though, because I’d already assigned it here as my banner image and pushed it to Google+, Hangouts, and Twitter as my profile pic and even set it up here as my profile pic about a week ago when I noticed it wasn’t.

But, I found a higher resolution image of the Great Rift a couple weeks ago in a fit of boredom and just kind of forgot about it until I was cleaning out my Downloads folder today. A few minutes of GIMP (the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, Photoshop for Linux people, or people who don’t like paying out the ass to Adobe) work later, and I was pretty well set. I slapped a slice of the new image on my banner here, dumped it to the wallpaper folder on my iPhone, and voila. New shit.

So, you’re probably wondering why the fuck I bother to talk about this, eh? Simple; I needed a blog post, and this shit interests me. So, yeah.

The Great Rift, also sometimes called the Dark Rift is actually visible to the naked eye, and a little less “deep space” than my usual cycling background of galaxies, clusters of galaxies so numerous they look like stars on a field, and close-ups of the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation (a stellar nursery where stars form).

It’s really nothing so fascinating as the swirl of a distant galaxy, or a vague suggestion of a ring of dark matter glimpsed only by suggestion in the intermittent spaces between bands of light billions of light years away, but the Great Rift makes for a damn fine picture. It’s just dust, but dust in layered clouds stretching from Cygnus to Centaurus at a distance of roughly 300 light years from Earth and obscuring our view of the galactic center. With our Solar Sytem on the Orion arm, we typically see two other arms of the Milky Way Galaxy from Earth; the Sagittarius Arm where the Great Rift is visible toward the galactic center, and the Perseus Arm out toward the rest of the universe outside of our galaxy.

Of course, there’s a lot of discussion about where exactly the Orion arm sits, whether we’re part of one arm or an arm of our own, or what the actual layout of the arms of the galaxy itself are since we can’t actually see our galaxy except from within and extrapolate all sorts of ideas based on observation of other spiral galaxies way the fuck out there in space, but you get the idea. I don’t usually concern myself with such details when it comes to picking a new space image, but this one fits this blog nicely.

It’s all about looking inward toward the center of our galaxy, the core of our existence and finding it obscured by some fucking bullshit. What could be more apropos a metaphor for the rambling nonsense I get up to here than that? What more perfectly defines the fiction writer’s job than a big cloud of dust getting in the way of everything?

But this isn’t some New-Agey bullshit, either. Don’t get me wrong. Unlike some morons who think we have to be at a certain angle to get all the magical rays of perfection from the galactic center to align us with ultimate power/love/whateverthefuckthey’resellingtoday, we actually kind of NEED that big fucking dust cloud. Without that big fucking dust cloud, we’d essentially be receiving more radiation from the galactic center than we do now, and while I’m not talking nuclear radiation in the “oh my god, we’re all gonna die because we don’t understand physics or that every bit of heat and light in the universe is radiation” sense, what I mean is the form of life that exists on this planet right now would be impossible.

Our location in space has every bit as much to do with our existence and the shape of it as any other factor, and without that big fucking dust cloud the temperature conditions of this entire solar system change. Slightly, perhaps, but fractions of degrees of change on the astronomical scale create incredible difference at the local level.

One tiny change, and everything else is different. A bit of dust here, a word there, and the whole verse takes on a new shape.

That bit of dust stretching from Cygnus to Centaurus obscures the light in just the right way to shape natural history to make life on Earth possible in the form we recognize. It’s just dust, but it’s important dust. Another bit of dust on a more local scale writes a few words about how we are all just dust, and human history is shaped in the same way.

What happens in a few billion years when that stellar dust has moved and changed again? Or a few thousand years when a different writer’s bit of nonsense becomes indelible fact to a people we can’t even imagine now?

I’ll tell you.

The sea-faring octopus-worshipers of Earth all hail Great Cthulhu and his prophet L’v’krft while making war on the photosynthetic Green Men of Mars and their two-faced god, Lord Burrwells in the year 6,5000 BCE.

Duh.

Bing Fucky, Yo.

What do you do when it’s 4am, you have 1260+ Bing Rewards points unspent because you quit spending them on free X-Box Live months a year ago, and everyone you know has been harassing you to read some crap by a guy who you’ve already professed profound dislike for?

Duh. Spend ’em on Amazon gift cards and get free books that don’t suck.

That’s what I did last night, and I’m not even done. I just got tired.

At 475 Bing points for a $5 card, one wouldn’t expect to be exactly rolling in literary goodness, but hey, I was bored and awake and the free promo copy Ana Spoke’s book (which I haven’t finished, but I’m making my way through steadily) was looking awfully lonely as the only thing in my Kindle app. Half an hour later my list was looking a little more me.

Obviously the first thing I did was look for Lovecraft. Why the hell wouldn’t I? I’d have aimed for some Stephen King, but then I’d only get one book, and it’d probably be a short story collection from the dark ages. Lovecraft, however, is a public domain author; his stuff is FREE if you know where to look, so folks putting together collections for e-books can’t really get away with charging all that much. And that’s how I wound up with the Complete Collection of H.P. Lovecraft for $.99 that really only cost me 95 Bing points, or about one week worth of randomly searching shit on Bing.

From there, shit just kinda started happening on its own. Download everything Lovecraft ever wrote, and the next thing you know Amazon just starts throwing pillars of the pulp years at you left and right. So, I wound up with the complete Robert E. Howard Conan collection (only Howard’s originals, none of those spin-off authors, though one day I do need to read Robert Jordan’s Conan work…) and the complete Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter series for another $.99 each.

Of course, once you have everything “of Mars” Amazon decides to suggest you also get a 12-novel collection of H.G. Wells, apparently knowing full well you’ve only actually read War of the Worlds. $.99 more cents go away, thirty more hours of classic sci-fi genius appears.

Now, at this point in my wandering I was getting tired and my brain didn’t really care to think what else I might pick up on the free. The already-mind-boggling amount of classic pulp sitting there was just enough to fry my brain. I’ve read most of the Lovecraft stuff before, but it was necessary. One should always have a little Lovecraft on hand for emergencies.

The Conan and John Carter series, though, I’d never read in their original form. I’ve had years worth of comic book adaptations of both, both direct adaptations and new-material expansions, but obviously Lord Amazon decided it was time for me to stop bemoaning my lack of a public library (back home I’d been shut out of the Burlington one because they raised the yearly fee and Danville stopped paying it) and get my pulp on. Wells is just kind of an extra bonus. War of the Worlds is a terrific book that has about jack-all to do with any of the movie adaptations, and I’m looking forward to the rest.

My curiosity, however, would not be sated. By now it was nearly 5am and my brain went to where it always goes when all else fails: mythology.

In one fell swoop I picked up The Illiad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Sir E.A. Wallis Budge’s translation collections “The Babylonian Legends of the Creation” and “Legends of the Gods, The Egyptian Texts” in about five minutes of inspired searching. All of these, and so many more that I need to seriously spend a lot of time later to go frolicking through the Classics, were free. It turns out there are actually a metric fuckton of free classics on the Kindle store. Since I’m both a cheap motherfucker and entirely absorbed by any and all ancient history and mythology, it’s gonna be a long time before I’ve successfully hunted down copies of everything I could possibly want.

I didn’t even burn an entire gift card yet, either. That’s going to be fun.

I should note that until Ana launched a free promotion for her book I hadn’t even signed up for Amazon. All these years it’s been around, there was just no reason for me to go shopping online for anything, and I’ve always been a hard-copy book person unless I’m looking for quick reference materials. Once I had the app, though, it seemed necessary to at least try to fill it up with stuff a little more up my usual literary alley.

I’m enjoying “Shizzle, Inc” so far, though I’m well aware at this point (five chapters in) that I am certainly not the target audience for this book. I like how absurd it is, and despite the comments of certain individuals it doesn’t really feel like what I imagine when I hear the term “chick-fic” so much as it is just an intentionally absurd comedy about a pleasantly-oblivious twenty-something, an eccentric billionaire, and what I’m pretty sure is going to prove to be a homebrew terrorist plot.

It is, however, not the sort of thing I usually read. That’s good sometimes, and I’m happy to read it and give it a bit of time as one writer supporting another, but after Isa’s hijinks I’m going to need to spend some time taking manly adventures in the deserts and jungles of the pulp gods for. Maybe I’ll wander down some cyclopean ruins while I’m at it.

(By the way, this was NOT a sponsored post, but if Amazon or Microsoft would like to throw some money at a brotha…)