Friday, August 29, 2008

The Taste of Our Indiscretions

That's the title for a story I have notes on in my ramblings file. It's a strange, surreal little story and I don't know if I'll ever write because there's so many other things in front of it. The entire thing hasn't really come together yet and since it's Friday I figured I might share the skeleton concept with you. The story deals with a man who wakes up in a waiting room outside of Heaven, something akin to waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Everyone's impatient, the staff is disgruntled, and no one at all really wants to be there.

The man realizes he's dead, and after an attendant reviews his records, he leads him to a large warehouse-style room filled with shelves and shelves of water cooler jugs. The attendant then proceeds to lock the door behind him on his way out.

See, the thing is... the guy was kind of a prick when he was alive. A corporate suit that cheated and robbed and stole. An asshole on the streets, turning a blind eye to the poor and needy, and keeping kindness and good will tucked neatly in the pocket of his pants.

The attendant explains to him that every ounce of grief, every shred of pain, every tear that he's caused in his lifetime has been captured and is waiting for him. The jugs are filled with the tears he's caused, and to walk through the pearly gates, he needs to drink them all and experience the hurt, the pain, the grief that he was responsible in life; The Taste of his Indiscretions.

Told you it was an odd little story, and I don't even remember what triggered it back when I wrote the notes. Been seriously busting ass lately at work and I guess my mind has been turning things over inside on a smorgasbord of topics.

Poor choices that most people wrestle with after the fact, our indiscretions can take many forms. I'm a firm believer in karma; you get what you give. Be an ass, people will be an ass back. Don't love? You won't be loved. Be open and true to your friends, and they will be to you. I hate to break down emotional aspects, but it ties into physics really. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

There's a fine balance in life, held together by gossamer strings that break with the faintest of touches. Take care what you do and how you treat people, lest you want the same in return.

Or someday you'll taste your own tears as a result.

In the words of Maya Angelou, People will forget what you said. They'll forget what you did. But they'll never forget how you made them feel.


Current Reads
Lee Thomas' The Dust of Wonderland. VERY cool read and I'm ashamed to say it's the first thing I've ever read by Lee. Almost to the end and the pages are burning my fingers to get done. Next up: I suppose I'll trudge back into No Country for Old Men, though the first twenty pages gave me a headache when I attempted it last time. Then, the Raw Shark Texts because it's been a while since I read book that sold for six figures.

Recent Movie
Hmmm. Actually, I haven't watched a damn thing lately except AMC's Mad Men.

Current Music
The Kooks: A band from the UK that kicks more ass than a donkey. Think acoustic Strokes with less edge. Very cool.

The Subways: Caught them on Sundance Channel's Live from Abbey Road. A three-piece band that jams. And as a bonus, the guitar player is quite the cute rock-chick.

Delta Spirit: Bluesy and kickass. Click here to check out their track titled "Trashcan" on their MySpace page:

Current Infatuation
Hmmm. Nope. I got nothing... except maybe Chapter 14 of my novel.

Current Frustration
Uhm... among other things... clients that give me lo-res photographs to use in their layouts.

behave yourself,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I am turning into Bill Murray


And this week on the Funk of Skunk...

So it's Friday night. This has been a long week. No.. let me rephrase that... this has been a LONG FUCKING WEEK for many reasons. Professional, personal and all of the above. Been knee-deep in work and was only able to write one night for a good chunk and another for a handful of words.

I was looking to unwind a bit, have a few drinks and just catch my breath, but obviously the universe has decided that my life doesn't have enough drama in it already.

I was just finishing putting my kids to bed when I came downstairs and saw a look of trepidation and unease on my wife's face.

"Pepe's back."

Adrenaline kicked in and I grabbed my shotgun, a couple of shells and bolted from the house, a flashlight in the other hand.

Loading the shotgun on the run, I ran around to the back of my barn and swung the flashlight around and caught motion in front of me. At this point, my feet did one of those Bugs Bunny tire squeals.

Yes it was a skunk.

But this was no Pepe.

It was a much smaller target and colored much blacker. Offspring of the hell-spawn herself.

So I gave chase and fired off a shot. Monsieur Le Pew ran to hide beneath my raspberry bushes and I reloaded and fired again.

Effectively shredding my raspberry bushes.

He bolted like black mercury from the bushes into a row of Laurel trees and I ran around to the other side - standing in the cemetery and yelling battle cries and yelling for my wife to get me more shells as I tried to focus the flashlight and find him again.

I aimed and fired.

And buckshot ricocheted off something, hit my truck's gas tank and the entire thing burst into a fireball in my driveway.

Well, at least in my head it did.

I reconsidered where I was aiming and in that instant, I heard Monsieur Le Pew's leprechaun-like voice utter "Fuck you, Mon Capitan" and he ran around the barn again, headed toward the woods.

I ran the opposite side of the barn, intending to cut him off, and didn't realize how fast the little bastard could run.

We ran parallel in the darkness toward the woods, me screaming obscenities in a horrible French accent (I've no idea why... it seemed the right thing to do) and then the little bastard disappeared.

There is a very large Oak tree along the drive in the cemetery. It would make a good hanging tree. It's base is as wide as three of me and it's wrapped in poison ivy. And there is a hole at it's base.

The Le Pew's new residence. (Cue the Jefferson's Movin' On Up theme song here)

I kissed the tip of my middle finger and dramatically showed him that he was clearly number one tonight and slowly made my way back home.

The rest of the night was spent doing exactly what I had intended to do in the first place. Having a few drinks and unwinding.

But in the back of my head, I was plotting.

This morning, coffee in hand, I made my way to their new abode and leisurely dropped a lit quarter stick of dynamite into their hole.

It made a very gratifying bang but since I'm fairly certain their domain is in the ninth quadrant of hell, I don't think it did anything.

I came back later to check and see if anyone had pulled themselves free of the trenches.

And was promptly stung on my ankle by a yellow jacket.

Oh Miss Pepe. Oh, you bitch. Clever, clever girl.

There are several holes in the ground by their new home. And they are all filled with a particularly spicy variety of yellow jackets.

I came back home, grabbed a beer and returned.

With a can of Super 77 in hand.

Some of you may not know what Super 77 is, so I'll explain. There is a craft material called spray glue that comes in a can much like spray paint. The normal variety works very well and you can also peel up and reposition things with it after you've stuck it down.

Some genius at 3M realized that the denser glue that settles at the bottom of their vats could be marketed as a high-end industrial spray adhesive. Once this is sprayed, you'd better damn well position things correctly, cause it's not coming back up with a crowbar.

While my ankle continued to throb with venom, I spent the next 1/2 hour spraying the yellow jackets without mercy, watching them pass by like planes with King Kong, and drenching them with 3M's sticky goodness, and laughing gleefully at their writhing bodies in the dirt. I also sprayed their holes until it looked like vanilla ice cream at the entrances.

Tonight, I shall load up and return to the scene of the striped demon's lair.

The only good varmint is a dead varmint.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Intolerance for Intolerance...

Shortly after I first met Brian Keene, he invited me to one of the infamous Keene-Con's in his back yard. This was years ago, and since then, we've become close friends. At his party, it was barely two weeks that I'd known him, and he made a statement to me. He said that he couldn't speak so much for other genres, but most everyone in the horror genre are some of the most accepting, tolerant and open people around. Their only intolerance is for intolerance.

I'll admit, looking back, in high school I used to be an ass in some of the ways I thought. No excuse, but it was the environment I grew up in... surrounded by a variety of students, ranging from red neck to outright hillbilly, I became a product of nurture, not nature.

But as I've grown older, I've reached a point of maturity and growth where I realize both that 1) I don't really give a shit and 2) as long as it's not affecting me or my loved ones, it doesn't really matter. I'm not of the homosexual nature and I've met some incredibly wonderful people over the past ten years that I've began to really take writing seriously... of both hetero and homosexual natures. And it doesn't matter.

It just doesn't matter. They're people and that's the end of it.

In this fucked up world that we live in - and if you think it's not fucked up right now, you seriously need to turn on CNN once in a while and get some meds - if two people find love and solace and comfort in each other, more power to them. I'm happy for them because finding that is so rare... it's like Ishmael tracking the white whale.

Having said that, if you're interested in, write for, read from, or otherwise a fan of the horror genre, you should read Brian Keene's latest blog post. You can check it out by clicking here..

And also his addendum here..

Roy at Bad Moon Books has publicly aired his own beliefs in a completely arrogant and belligerent way. There's no call for it. I for one, don't see myself buying any future books from him - no matter the writer. You reap what you sow, and Roy has planted a crop for himself and his company that I predict will fail miserably.

Anyone who's paid attention to my blog for a while will know that I've no faith in a religious sense, but what I do believe in is karma because I've seen it work out time and time again. You give what you get. I think Roy has yet to understand that.

And as for Brian's original statement to me years ago, standing in his back yard and sharing beers and burgers... intolerance for intolerance...

Brother, I couldn't agree with you more.

Been busting my ass this week with work... but there'll be a new blog post soon and some updates on what I've been doing before all hell broke loose with my day job.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dear General Public: I'm done with you.


It was 1992. I'd just bought my first Mac - a Quadra 660AV and I was loving life. For a 15 inch monitor, a computer with 24 megs of ram (that's right baby, you know you're jealous, and you don't need to tell me I'm showing my age here, thank you very much) and a 120 meg (yes.. MEGS) hard drive, I think I paid around $3,200. I think my hands were trembling as I wrote the check.

But that machine was the bomb. I brought it and Peter Gabriel's Secret World interactive cd home with me and hibernated in my room for a few weeks.

Then I discovered the internet through AOL.

A lot has changed on the internet since I first heard the static handshake of a 2400 baud modem connecting to the outside world.

But then again...

See, each time I think the general public has hit a new low... an entirely new threshold on just how far they can sink, they surprise me yet again.

I won't even go into the foulness of two girls, one cup. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen it, avoid it and save the Big Mac and fries you had for lunch.

Recently I became aware of a new phenomenon site involving naked girls, cakes and farting. I... won't even get into this one either suffice to say that once again, an entirely new level of ridiculousness has arrived to grace the electronic world and I wasn't exactly waiting anxiously on what the net would dish up next.

At least I hadn't been until today. And once again...

I'd like to talk to you about a site that breaches all former bugfuck, crazier-than-a-shithouse-rat protocol, but first, a slight digression.

I've never been hesitant to talk about my platform regarding religion. I think if you want to believe in God, the Tooth Fairy or little green forest fairies, whatever gets you through the night, good for you. Just don't shove your beliefs on me, and we'll get along just fine and share the bottle of tequila without issue.

I, however, have always been inquisitive by nature, since I was a kid. I question too often, do not generally take things on blind faith, nor put much stock in 2,000 year old books with missing pages unless I see some sort of proof.

I am a doubting Thomas.

So I pose a question: Are you familiar with The Rapture?

No, I'm not talking about the naked girl and cake site... I'm talking about the belief that God will eventually come back and scoop up those that truly believe in Him, take them to heaven and then unleash some serious nastiness on Earth.

With me so far?

All right, then let's proceed.

There is now a site (and no, I'm not even hyperlinking this one... you want to visit it, go type it yourself) whereby people who believe they'll be hoisted in the hands of an Angel and Super-Dooper-Looped to Heaven after the Rapture takes place, can send an email to whoever they choose, six days after the Rapture, for the recurring annual fee of $40.

That, of course, is also taking into consideration that the Net will still be operating after the plague of pestilence, locusts, famine and war have arrived, post-Rapture.

The beauty of it all, is that how would they know if the email is even sent?

As an aside, the site's owner has an email going to his wife. Mmhmmm... you read right. His wife. Evidently, he thinks that while he's going to be on the stairway to Heaven, his wife will be playing dominos with the rest of us heathens, as she has no relationship with God.

And what, you may ask, will his email say? The password to his stock account so she can trade.

Yes, I know. I needed bread crumbs to get back to the land of logic after I read it too. After he's been called away, he's sending her a message from the afterlife so she can TRADE STOCKS. Tell ya what sport.. how about you just write the password down on one of those fancy yellow Post-It notes and save the communing with the dead stuff to somebody else.

Ludicrous you say? Ridiculous? His cheese has slid off his cracker?

Oh, but wait, there's more.

At this point, over 1,000 people have signed up for it and paid their annual $40.

You read right, my little holy wafer eating friends. ONE THOUSAND.

That's 40,000 American greenbacks for this service. AND IT JUST BEGAN.

Their mission statement: Our purpose is to get one last message to the lost, at a time, when they might just be willing to hear it for the first and last time.

I have written just shy of 20k words on a novel this past week but tonight I think I'm foregoing fiction and working on a business plan involving cakes, nude women and religion. Apparently PT Barnum was right, there really IS a sucker born every minute.

And apparently, they're among the chosen.

Bob why-does-this-Kool-Aid-taste-funny Ford

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Recipe for Muse Soup

On my way back from New Jersey this weekend I heard that the area I live in had been under its second tornado watch in two weeks. This does not bode well for I am a firm believer in the rule of three. So far, both the barn and the house are standing.

I'm still waiting to see Flying Monkeys arrive.

After I got back I walked around the cemetery with a beer in hand to see if the place had gotten ripped up at all.

There were no limbs down. No trees broken off at their ankles as their sometimes are.

I'm very respectful of the dead when I'm over there. If there are flowers overturned or something out of place, I tend to put it back. I make sure the kids are respectful too - not bothering the many things that people sometimes leave there. And people leave things there all right. Baseballs or stuffed animals for stillborn infants. Cards or photographs for husbands and wives long gone. Someone once even left a metal military helicopter for a buried veteran.

But what I found there over the weekend was a note tucked into a plastic ziplock baggie in the middle of the paved road. It only had a single name to the addressee, so I have no way of knowing where exactly it came from.

This note was obviously meant for the dead. As I stood there in the cemetery, beer in hand, sun setting behind me, it made the hair stand up on my arms.

I LOVE that. =)

But I figured I'd let you read it now.

Inspiration comes to the muse from everywhere it seems.


Tune in tomorrow for a new rant... "Dear General Public: I'm done with you."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Driveby Update

20k words into a novel and it's sailing baby, it's sailllllling. It's a raw lump of clay at the moment, but I'm digging it. A lot. I hope you will eventually too.

In other notes, you should all go grab a copy of Nate Southard's new release, Just Like Hell. You can buy it by visiting Thunderstorm Books

Recent Reads:
Sleepers, Lorenzo Carcaterra. Amazing. Go get it. NOW.
Next up: Selected Scenes from Earthworm Gods, Brian Keene, and Old Flames, by Jack Ketchum.

Recent Movies:
Ghostrider. I don't even want to talk about this as it made me want to poke my own eyes out. It was a train wreck that I couldn't turn away from and for the life of me, aside from Nicolas Cage's Hollywood name weight, I have absolutely no idea how this movie got made.

Recent Infatuations:

Recent Music:
Been listening to a lot of My Morning Jacket and NIN's The Slip.

Unspoken Words

I seldom re-read books.

And by seldom, I mean I've only done it four times. It. The Stand (abridged and unabridged). I Am Legend, and Sleepers, by Lorenzo Carcaterra.

That last one is one I just finished re-reading today and even if you've seen the movie by the same name, I urge... no, I demand... that you read it.

I came across the paperback of Sleepers by accident years ago. It was before my children were born. Before I got married. I was three years into being self-employed and living in my first apartment with my soon-to-be wife.

I saw Sleepers on a rack at a local pharmacy and read the blurb on the back. It hooked me and after I got home and cracked the spine, that was it. I disappeared. It was a Sunday afternoon and I simply vanished until the early hours of Monday morning.

Never had I read a story about a group of friends that close. A group of friends that would do anything for each other, whatever that meant. Loyalty without bounds. At all costs. Friendship beyond blood.

It struck a nerve with me because I live by the same ties that bind. The friends that I have - those that have made their way beyond my self-made stone walls - are ones that I'd do anything for. Their happiness - whatever that means - means everything to me. There's trust there. Love. And so many things unspoken.

After reading it again, thirteen years later, I saw it in a different light, but the same resonance came away with me. That beautiful overwhelming friendship that exists so rarely in this world that when you find it, you have to hang onto it at all costs because it's a true gift.

The simple fact is that life is full of a lot of bullshit. Oh, it all balances out for the most part. There's laughter and happiness to be sure. But there's also mourning and grief. Pain and loss. Betrayal and heartbreak. And we're there for each other, thick and thin.

It's sort of cliché and overused, but John Lennon said that "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." So very true. Just when you think you've got things figured out, along comes a strong wind and knocks over your carefully built house of cards. You can go it alone if you want. Experience the rollercoaster of emotions that go along with it all. But with a core group of friends you don't need to. They can help you share the burden. They're the ones that will sit and listen and nod at the right spots, offer comfort and solace and maybe a few words of advice.

They're the ones that will weep at your sadness and celebrate your victories with the same gusto because they're there for you no matter what.

They're the ones that will look at your expression and know without you having to say a word. The ones that will be willing to give you a hug or a smile, not saying a word because it's unnecessary; they already know.

And sometimes, the things that go unspoken are the truest words of all.