Saturday, January 25, 2014

Whites, Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Gays, Lesbians, American Indians, Rednecks, Illiterate Soccer Moms, and Jerry Springer. Why I hate every single one of them.


THAT got your attention, didn't it?

We live in a cynical world. Hell, I've been in the advertising business for 25 years, I bathe in cynicism every day. Maybe it's just my perception as I get older, but I've become increasingly disgusted with certain things.

And yes... this is going to be a rant, so buckle the hell up.

In the mornings I turn on CNN and watch Robin Meade dish out news segments that are almost verbatim to what I can read on Facebook. Instead of hearing about what's going on with Fukushima and real news, we hear about Kanye West and Justin Bieber. I find myself turning to other news sites to hear the real facts and figures and information that impacts the world instead of what hot topic Entertainment Tonight or the Hollywood Reporter will be discussing.

And the hatred... I've become less and less tolerant of people's hatred of things for no good reason other than to hate.

I have hate for the upper echelon of white people. White people with their sterling credit and their yes-you're-approved-car-loans-and-mortgages. You think you're so smug pulling into your paved driveways in your shiny black Humvees and walking into your less-than-ten-years-old development house with a wine-cooler and the Keurig coffee pots waiting on you as you walk in the door. Looking down your noses at the little people you've climbed on top of to get to the top of your ladders.

You whites. With your privileges and mutual funds and your I'm better than thou attitude. 

And Blacks. How DARE you! Taking advantage of the government system and the minority advantages they give you. Leeching off the system. No wonder everyone thinks of you the way they do.

Jews. Why are you all so.. Jewey? Gold-grubbing, money-stashing pack of thieves you are. Can't even take something to a pawn shop without worrying whether you'll steal us blind because it's wired in your DNA.

And Muslims. Wired up around your ribs, explosive wearing martyr sons of bitches. How dare you come into our country of freedom and preach your beliefs and keep us in fear of our lives. How DARE you?

Bible thumping Christians, shoving your opinions down everyone's throat, preaching the Savior is the only path and dousing holy water like warm summer rain, blessing everyone in your path.

Ohhhh.. and you gays. You gays and lesbians. You damned Satan-worshippers you. You think you can just go around loving anyone you FEEL like it? You think you can just go around being... non-violent? And... well.. loving anyone you feel like it? Damn you. Damn you all to hell.

American Indians with your casinos and whiskey-drenched reservations, getting revenge on the white man for all they've taken away from you.

Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey reading, 5th grade education level reading Soccer Moms, spreading the low level favoritism of poorly written literature so you can find a few hours of mental escape from your Nascar loving husbands. Great job! Thanks for sinking the IQ of the American public down a few notches.

And Jerry Springer. You asshole. What happened in your lifetime to make you want to host a show with the inbred scum of guests that come on stage and talk about the trials and tribulations of degenerates?

We see news of hate crimes all the time. A person of color killed for no other reason than their skin is a different shade. We read about young gay people taking their own lives because their secret came out and they would rather kill themselves than rise against the ridicule and shame from their family and friends. More people have been killed in the name of God and religion than anything else, and will continue on until the last sunset falls. Each and every day we see persecution and judgement and hatred for no other good goddamned reason other than hate itself. 

Why? Does it make you feel better to hate? 

I've heard people say if they found out their son or daughter was gay, they would disown them. Would you rather they be a murderer? Would you love them then? How about if they were straight but bombed an elementary school? You'd choose to disown your own child because of who they choose to love?

You're the one losing out... not your child.

I've heard people make racial slurs and cluster entire groups of people together, judging all of them... for no other reason than they grew up learning that mentality and are continuing the cycle. 

People are people, simple as that. Judge them on whether they're assholes or not - should be easy enough, shouldn't it?

You want to hate something? Hate your narrow mindedness. Hate your thin view and perceptions of the world, created by the blinders you've created yourself. Hate how you've missed out on opportunities of discussion and learning new things because you refused to talk to people who are different than you somehow. Hate the lost opportunities. Hate that you don't have a more varied and richer life because you are the one making it that way. Hate that manners and politeness have been tossed out the window by a large portion of society. 

But stop hating people for nothing other than stupidity. Stop judging entire segments of the planet because of stereotypes.

I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people over the years. Straight people, gay men and women, people with skin color of every shade under the sun, young and old. And without fail, my life and mentality was the better for meeting them - with the sole exception of the people who carried around so much hatred because someone was different than they are.

END RANT.
You can all go back to learning about Kanye West's new CD or something.


*Disclaimer, just to be clear. I don't really hate Whites, Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Gays, Lesbians, American Indians, Rednecks, and Illiterate Soccer Moms.

I'll admit to hating Jerry Springer though.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas - 1978


It was the Christmas of 1978. I was  seven years old and excited as all get out about Christmas morning. At the time, I still lived in the northern part of Maryland, on the farm where I grew up. I had yet to lose a part of innocence of my youth and was still completely enwrapped in the wonders of the world.

I still had an enormous unrequited crush on a girl in my school named Ruth. When I wasn't exploring the woods surrounding the farm, or making hay forts in our barn, I was listening to my mother's old 45 records like Lobo's Me and you and a Dog Named Boo or Sam the Sham and the Pharoah's Hey there Little Red Riding Hood.


It was the era of In Search of with Leonard Nimoy, and Fantasy Island (maybe THAT'S where my obsession with midgets started?), and the Incredible Hulk with Bill Bixby.

And I wanted nothing more for Christmas than a new bike.

When I grew up, we definitely went through a poor period. I had a lot of second hand clothes (and a pair of purple, flowered jeans... maybe the last dregs of the flower child years?), and a bike with a banana seat that had the American flag on it. I grew up loving yard sales and thrift stores because if you dig hard enough, you can find treasures like old comics or paperbacks with tattered covers that let you escape for a while. 



But this year, things were started to look up a bit. As kids sometimes do, I woke up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. I crept downstairs, trying to avoid all of the many creaks and cracks the old farm house held, and peeked into the living room, across the hall from my parents bedroom.

I do believe, at 7 years old, I mouthed the words "Holy shit!" when I saw the Christmas tree. There were packages there - a lot more than I'd seen when I went to bed - and a suede leather coat and an M&M candy cane sticking out of my stocking and the tell-tale bulge of a book of Lifesavers and some action figure dude with white hair and a clear chest (and is that blood pumping in his chest? How freaking COOL!) and...and... oh, for the love of St. Nick... a stallion. A glistening, gleaming, polished, beautiful thing.

A brand new black and red Team Murray bike, parked by the right hand side of the tree, its handlebars cocked to the side, waiting.

I have no idea how I fell back asleep that night, and to be honest, I can't even recall if I did or if just went back upstairs and looked at the ceiling until the morning light started coming into my windows and it became an "acceptable" time for me to come downstairs and wake my parents up.

The first time I put my hands on the grips of the bike was magical. I'm thinking it's the equivalent of an adult getting their first new car. It was unblemished. Untouched. Unridden. 

And mine... all mine.

My mother made me try on the new winter coat, and though it was the coolest coat I'd ever seen (dark suede with faux sheep wool interior... looked like something Robert Redford would wear), the leather was thicker than football leather and I recall having a hard time actually bending my arms and the coat itself felt like it weighed a good 40 pounds), I wasn't interested in anything but that bike.

My father helped me get it downstairs and out onto the front porch and when I hit the ground, I was gone. I was the Lone Ranger, man. I was Evel Knievel and the Fonz and Captain America all morphed into one.

I've certainly experienced some moments of feeling free in my life. You know what I mean... those instances where you feel light and free and untouchable, weightless and no longer beholden to the moment at hand and the pressures of the world.

I'm in my forties now, but I don't think I've ever experienced a moment as carefree and full of light as I did when I pedaled that Team Murray bike down the long dirt driveway of our farm and felt the crisp December wind against my face. I distinctly remember closing my eyes for a heartbeat or two and just experiencing it for what it was, trying to commit that feeling and capture it.

That was my Christmas at 7, and though that bike served me well over the years, I don't think the new winter coat got nearly as much mileage. (I'm sorry Mom and Dad... you two did amazing on all of my presents but that jacket made me feel like a knight in a suit of armor). 

I hope all of you readers and friends and family have an amazing holiday season. I hope you get everything you want - the tangible and the intangible. I hope you feel the love that you cannot put into stockings and boxes and put a bow on.

But above all, even if it's fleeting... even if you have to close your eyes for a moment to capture it... I hope you all are able to feel free and lifted and enjoy the wind against your face.

love and light, and best wishes for 2014.
Bob Ford

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

With the ever after


"The most important thing is to be able to see who you are at the current time, in the present tense. Because there's just no guarantees. I'm just trying to be as strong as I can for my kids, for my family. I can't see looking into the future. I just want to be alive."
- Eddie Vedder [Interview with Billboard, 10-19-2013]



It's no secret to people who know me that I'm a huge fan of Pearl Jam. Their CD "Ten" was one of the first CDs I ever bought. I've got rare acoustic sets and live concerts and have listened to their music in good times and bad, late work nights and road trips. To a degree, I can look back at a lot of pivotal moments in my life and remember listening to a specific song of theirs during that time. (Hey Stapleton, you remember us talking about the soundtrack to Into the Wild when it first hit?)

One of the things I really dig about them is their lyrics. Write a song with a great guitar riff and I'll happily listen to it and enjoy it, but if the lyrics suck, it's only going to go so far with me. It's why I like bands like The Avett Brothers, The Gaslight Anthem, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, and The Black Keys. 

Pearl Jam's recent release, "Lightning Bolt" is one hell of a CD. From the opening of "Infallible", I was hooked and when I heard "Sirens" for the first time, I was completely blown away. 

Oh, I could take your hand, and feel your breath.
For feel that someday will be over.
I pull you close, so much to lose.

Knowing that nothing lasts forever,
I didn’t care, before you were here.
I danced in laughter, with the ever after.
But all things change. Let this remain.

Hear the sirens covering distance in the night.
The sound, echoing closer, will they come for me, next time?"

I'm not ashamed to say the song made me glassy-eyed the first time I heard it. And again, for the next several times. I love the impact great music can have. (thanks Doug... you've shown me that time and time again). 

Of all the bands or musicians I've listened to, I think Eddie Vedder is the one I most closely resonate with and can relate to. He's the kind of person I'd really like to pull up a chair, grab a cold beer and shoot the shit with for a while. His outlook on life seems to align with mine pretty closely even though I've never set foot on a surfboard, know and love my father very much, and never played in front of thousands of people (though there's a blog post on here somewhere about me singing live for an audience of several hundred or so as my mother played guitar, but that's another story entirely).


I read his recent interview in Billboard magazine. It was a decent interview talking about the new release and the themes and underlying ideas behind shaping the CD. But the end of the interview... those last words in it by Vedder himself... yeah. I suppose the most important thing is to see yourself in the current time. He's right. There ARE no guarantees.

None except, I guess, as the saying goes with life, that no one here makes it out alive. Guess we should all do the best we can to be strong for ourselves and feel alive while we're still here.







Saturday, October 12, 2013

Moving Polaroids - Falling Like Rain


I once wrote a series of blog entries called Moving Polaroids. They were some of my most popular blog posts and I've been meaning to get back to them but life and time and... well... everything else just seemed to keep getting in the way. 

They were simple blogs about some favorite memories of my childhood and how they may have shaped me. Or not. Some were only what they were... good memories of better times.

Recently I was in a discussion about earliest memories.

I have a fleeting memory - my earliest one - that my mother has argued in the past, that I can't possibly remember, is one of me around three years old, crawling peek-a-boo from beneath a blanket. But I mildly digress.

My earliest "real" memory is of me in the first house I lived in as a child, in Sparks, Maryland. It was an old house, prone to cold drafts and wrapped in gray, weathered siding with beautiful wooden details inside. There was a thin, marshy stream behind the house that attracted swamp rats larger than most small dogs. 

Though it had plumbing inside, there was also an old outhouse on the property (where my father {and I say this because I love him dearly, not to pick on him} drunkenly passed out one night. Why he was even in the outhouse instead of inside the real house is still up for debate). 

My earliest memory is of standing on the front porch of that house. At the time, my parents were working different shifts for their jobs. My father would take me in my pajamas in the morning to a gravel parking lot to meet my mother, on her way off of work, and I'd get out of his car and into hers, go back home and the day would start its cycle all over as my father went onto work. It was a situation a lot of young couples find themselves in, and though I'm sure it was tough, somehow they made it work.

At some point, for some reason, my parents were both at the house in the morning at the same time and my father was headed off to work. It was drizzling a light rain that morning and my father had stepped out onto the porch and set his empty coffee cup down on the porch railing, taking his last drink before heading to his car.

I can still remember that mug. It was a big-ass ol' 70's style coffee mug. Dark, chocolate brown with a drippy looking top edge and felt like it weighed 5 lbs. I picked it up as my parents talked to each other and tried to catch rain water in it. I don't remember what was on my pajamas... only that they felt soft and flannelly to me. 

I remember the weathered gray wood of the porch. The earthy but not unpleasant smell of the marsh behind the house, and the sound of the stream, burbling louder because it had swelled a bit from the rain. 

The gray siding on the house was catching the rain. Near the tin roof, it had dripped to make it appear as if the rooftop was weeping. 

Cars drove by the front of the house - people on their morning commute - spraying a fine mist over the front yard, the static noise of them as they drove by.

I held my father's coffee cup out and caught rain drops in it... taking a sip when I could. The water tasted sweet and fresh and... pure. Clean.

I kept sipping the rain falling from the skies overhead until my mother noticed and told me to stop drinking the rain. I suppose she may have thought I was catching it from the rain dripping from the tin roof and didn't want me drinking dirty water.

My parents talked a bit more, briefly, and my father drove off to work and I was shepherded back inside to morning cartoons.

I think back to that memory often. 

Not a lot of pure things in my life right now. My stone walls are a mess. My garden has a lot of weeds in it.

My children... they're probably the purest thing, though my daughter is a young woman now and changing. The dynamics of our relationship are changing and though I realize that's inevitable, she still makes it a point to tell me she loves me as I do the same for her.

My son... he's on his way to being a young man. He's got a sense of humor I can't deny is my fault or my gift, I'm unsure of which yet.

I have friendships that are pure. My brothers... though even those relationships have been affected by time and distance and... life. 

I think back to that early memory - more than thirty-five years ago - and I wonder if the falling rain still tastes as pure and untainted as it did back then.

Will it ever again?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A thank you to my readers... and the scariest thing I've ever written.

As a thank you to all my readers, for the next 5 days, I'm offering my debut novella, Samson and Denial, for FREE on Kindle



(There's also a sneak peek of my novel The Compound in this edition). 



Writers write — plain and simple. There's no choice in the matter... it's simply who we are. But amazing readers like you make the difference in so many more ways than you'll ever know. So thank you... from the bottom of my cold, black heart. Hope you enjoy meeting Samson Gallows.

•••

I've written scenes of ghostly children haunting with pure vengeance in their hearts. I've written about zombies tearing people limb from limb. Russian gangsters feeling the evil wrath of long dead kings.

But nothing I've ever written is as scary and thrilling as becoming a new father.

My latest book is called Bob's Book of Baby Madness and it's the real life guy's guide to becoming a new father.

Learn about the the fatal things to NEVER say to a pregnant mother.

Read about Lactatious, god of large breasts. Hormonal changes and why you may or may not need a barrel of holy water.

Why it's suddenly your job to take over the kitty litter - for the mother of your child and the baby itself.

Crucial things you'll need to buy (that you probably never knew existed). 

Learn the difference between a father and a dad... and why, with the Mt. Everest pile of diapers, the long nights of broken sleep and everything in between, why all of it is so very worth it.

Irreverent and humorous but full of useful information, if you know a father to be, go tell them check out the Kindle edition of Bob's Book of Baby Madness here. It's the Real Life Guy's Guide for Expectant Fathers.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dark Bits of Lamplight and Other Updates

Have had a lot going on lately with the writing front and wanted to update everyone.

My short story "Maggie Blue" was published in a new (only up to issue 3) but very cool zine called Splatterpunk.

The zine itself has such a great old school feel to it but has some quality content and makes me long for the days of other zines just like it. I think they'll be around for quite some time if they keep doing what they're doing now.

•••


Speaking of magazines that will be around for a while, Lamplight is another magazine, run by Jacob Haddon of Apokrupha and he is doing it the way it should be done. 

The first year of Lamplight has been collected into a 450 page volume. It has a years worth of fiction, interviews and articles by... well... damn near everyone you can think of, including my short story "Early Harvest" and an interview.

•••

Also from Apokrupha is a great collection and new release, Dark Bits. It has 52+1 horror flash fiction pieces... and this thing is loaded with fiction from damn near everyone. I have a short story "In Country" in the collection and Dark Bits is available on ebook, paperback and a beautiful hard cover version.



•••

Available on Amazon, my debut novella, Samson and Denial is finally re-released on paperback and still available on ebook. I've been considering doing Samson and Denial as an audiobook release if there's enough interest as well.


•••
The Compound has been re-released on paperback and available on ebook. Thanks to all of you who have purchased a copy. It's greatly appreciated and I hope you enjoy the read.


•••
I've also released several rare short stories on ebook.

Bloodlegum and Lolliknives appeared in a special Christmas chapbook called New Dawn, given away by Brian Keene to his fans. Now, for the first time, it's released in ebook format on Amazon.



•••
Georgie appeared in the special Halloween issue of Shroud magazine. Available now in ebook for the first time at Amazon.


•••
Free Ride Angie was originally released as a promotional chapbook and, except for the few copies on my own shelf, the original copies are sold out. She's one of my favorite characters and had a guest appearance in Samson and Denial. You can pick up the ebook of Free Ride Angie on Amazon



•••

So there you have it! Hope you're all doing well, and as always, thank you so much for reading the tales I write. Working on some fun new things I hope you'll enjoy.

b







Monday, August 19, 2013

How the Hell did I Wind Up Here?


How the hell did I wind here?

It's been a while since I blogged... too damn long as I'm prone to do. Well... prone to do over the last several years. I used to blog way more often... but life has a way of getting complicated and that's impacted more things than I'd like to admit.

How the hell did I wind up here?

Heh... there's the crux of the situation, isn't it? 

Y'know, when I was a kid, I used to sit, gargoyle-style, and listen to the grownups talk when there was a cook out or a get together or whatever. I used to shut the hell up and listen to them tell their stories or do their "I-don't-want-to-gossip-but-I'm-going-to-anyway" gossip and just... absorb.

I learned a lot of things back then about my family... who, let's face it, are pretty damn tight-lipped about most things. Hell, it wasn't until I was around sixteen years old that I realized my paternal grandfather had taken a second wife. She had passed away of cancer and I guess I was too young to remember meeting her, but she was never mentioned. Never. Mentioned. Ever.

Why? Shit, man... I don't know. I guess my keep-your-damn-mouth-shut mentality comes naturally. Maybe it's in my DNA... I don't know. But it's there.

Time flies, doesn't it? When I used to stand by, concrete statue style, and listen to the grownups talk, I'd hear them, when they occasionally acknowledged me and engaged in conversation, tell me that time speeds up as you get older.

It damn sure does.

I have a beautiful, amazing cousin that's been working for the government for 15 years. It seems like only yesterday that she graduated college and took her first job.

I saw my grandfather a couple days ago and he reminded me the last time I saw him was at my grandmother's funeral... years ago.

I have a daughter turning 14 this year and a son that's 10.

My parents, as much as I love them (they are amazing parents and always have been), have reached a point where they're unable to hide their age. My mother (a cancer survivor) is on and off different meds and there's no way she can hide the effects they have on her.

My best friends... no... my brothers (whom I feel a terrible effect with time's passage), are raising their families and living lives and my tumultuous life has had an affect. I haven't had any "real" conversation with any of them in quite some time. 

I have a partnership at an advertising agency that I look forward to going to every day — even with the volatile atmosphere advertising invites in today's economic Nagasaki environment. I have fun at my day job, even though some days I want to climb into a tower with a high-powered rifle.

How the hell did I get here?

Life... life has a funny way of running away from you when you're not paying attention. It's been a while, but I wrote a blog a while back about tending your garden. I haven't been tending my garden at all. It's run amok and has gotten away from me. The weeds are high and the kudzu has taken toll.

I don't think... in my entire life... I've been as financially poor as I am right now. And it's taking every ounce of my willpower to keep it together most days, do the mental math on future bills, and plunge forward anyway.

Life is struggle... guaranteed. And until you give up, you don't give up. I'm doing the best I can in all regards. But sometimes, that's not enough.

I'm just trying to work back to a point where I can tend my garden. It's not enough sometimes to "want" to do things... sometimes you just have to plunge forward and do them, no matter what.

You have to tend your garden. But sometimes... you don't have enough tools or worse yet, you don't have the correct tools to do so.

I need better tools.

b
August 2013