Thursday, March 23, 2006

Six Degrees of Chloe

I'm going to refrain from yet again, going into my thoughts on religion, suffice to say if it works for you and you don't take a holier than thou attitude, then that's all right with me. At some point in the near future, I will, however, discuss the tale of Babylon that I recently heard.

I've never been one for religion, but what I do take notice of are signs. Call me superstitious, call me a weirdo, an oddity, a modern day shaman wannabe. But sometimes there seems to be many things thrown at you that all try to point you in a specific direction.

Here's an example...

A few weeks ago I attended a book signing of J.F. Gonzalez for his new Leisure paperback release, SURVIVOR (which, if you don't own yet, you should unfuck that problem by clicking here to go buy it). Brian Keene was there as well, and we hung out for an hour or two, made fun of some of the mall weirdos that came by, and helped sell a few books.

While we were there, a father and his daughter walked by - I recognized the girl immediately as Morgan, a school playmate of my daughter, Chloe, but they were walking fast and I didn't stop them to say hello. Several minutes pass, and Jason and Morgan walk by again and stop. We talked for a while, he went and asked his wife, Michelle, (who happens to like reading horror, and works at an eyeglass place in the mall) if she'd like a signed copy of Survivor. He came back, said he'd buy it, but only if it wasn't "too graphic" because his wife doesn't like that kind of stuff.

J.F. and I exchanged a brief glance, held in our snickers, and proceeded to tell him that, No, not very graphic, I mean, sure, there's blood and all, but nothing too out of hand.

Signed, sealed, delivered. Another paperback sold, and everyone's happy. End of story, yeah?


This past Saturday I get a call from Morgan's dad, asking if Chloe would like to join Morgan for a day of swimming at a local indoor pool. So... I loaded up them up and after arriving, Michelle came to see me.

As it is, she wanted to talk about Survivor.

And how.. um.. "non-graphic" it is. I won't give away any details, but in the prologue alone, there happens to be some extremely graphic events taking place. But it's a hell of a good book anyway.

Michelle said there were moments where she had to put the book down for a few days, but she kept coming back to it. It was like a car wreck that she couldn't stop looking at. But even though it was probably more than she bargained for, she really enjoyed it.

Things turned to the topic of writing, and Jason tells me about a friend of his, Robert McCoy, who has a book out by Five Star calle The King of Ice Cream. I've yet to hear of McCoy, but then, Jason asks me if I'd ever heard of a guy by the name of Tom Monteleone.

Hmmm. Huh. How 'bout that.

I told Jason that Yeah.... yeah, I've heard of Tom. Geoff Cooper and I helped him move last year and once every few months, a group of us all get together with Tom and toss back a few. It's always a pleasure to listen to what he has to say because he's a wealth of knowledge and he doesn't mince words.

Tom "Padrone" Monteleone is a driving force in publishing. He and his wife, Elizabeth, run Borderlands Press and produced some seriously incredible fiction. Padrone also happens to be McCoy's cousin.

Of all the kids that my daughter knows, and all the people involved in writing or publishing, it had to be the one guy that I helped move. An icon, a living legend of knowledge.

WTF are the odds of that?

I left shaking my head and kept turning it around for the rest of the day.

Time to stock up on Red Bull again... it's not like I've been sitting on my laurels... but it's time to kick in the afterburners.

"Sign Sign everywhere a sign 
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind 
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?"
Oh, I see them all right. I see them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Insert Tab Here

From the age of five until I left for college, my grandfather lived with us. He was an unforgiving and stubborn old man who was made that way from the unforgiving and stubborn life of a farmer. He was diabetic, and even though he knew damn well he wasn't supposed to, he'd buy things like Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies and hide them to snack on. Another thing he used to drink was Tab cola.
I have no idea why, but even as a kid, I used to think Tab was weird. Most likely from a mix of watching too much Incredible Hulk, Planet of the Apes, and Twilight Zone, I likened Tab to something a mad scientist would mix up. Battery acid in a can. A lab experiment gone bad. What can I say, I was a strange little kid that grew into a strange big kid.
Now I haven't seen Tab on the shelf in years. To be honest, I thought it had stopped being made, or else some other company had bought it, slapped a label for, say... metal polish or something... and it was being marketed differently.
I was wrong.
Early today I was standing in line at Target, daydreaming about how it should be legal for me to kill the person in front of me if they make me wait by running their credit card to charge their purchase, then change their mind and ask to write a check instead.
And I notice in the cooler beside me, an unassuming little fuschia can with a funky wallpaper pattern on it and written in that small, white, Planet of the Apes font, TAB energy drink.
Well, those of you who know me realize by now that there are few drinks that I won't try. Most of my friends have learned it's an exercise in futility to try and dissuade me from trying different drinks, bellyaches be damned. Another friend of mine has taken it upon him at various moments to send me drinks such as Canned Turkish Coffee Soda (phenomenal, by the way, and OH what a rush), Orbitz (a clear fruity soda with floating... gelatinous globs are as close a description as I can get) among other things. I once drank homemade raisinjack wine to the point where I was attempting to eat a moth. He deserved it - he flew into the drink. But I digress.
I've just finished drinking the Tab energy drink. It tastes mildly like cherries that have been left in the sun just slightly too long, and lo and behold, it has that same Tab aftertaste - that odd mixture of shoe polish, dirty pennies, and the syrupy mess that leaks from bad batteries.
I'm guessing two possibilities could result from this... either I'm going to go into cardiac arrest or my cerebellum is going to explode.

What the hell does this have to do with anything?
Well, I'll tell you... I've been ridiculously busy lately with work. So much so that it's leeching the fun out of a lot of other things - the things that matter. This is a problem I'm working to unfuck.
Because the signs are all around me that I should be doing less corporate bird-cage liner work and more of what goes on in the wee hours late at night and into the next day.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post... how my daughter's playdate turned into a "Six Degrees of..." situation.