Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ink Pink, You Stink

There will be an update on the status of The Pink Room in the next day or so, tops.

There is foul play going on.

Army? Mobilize... you may be called to battle to correct an injustice in the world.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Writing for the American Idiot

This town needs an enema.
-- Jack Nicholson, as The Joker, in Batman

I was going to write up a report on what a great time I had at Necon this past weekend. I was going to blog about how incredible it was to see old friends again and how I giggled myself silly off of tequila and dirty comments as I held my Foosball championship title. Or how great it is to be around like-minded people and get my batteries recharged.

But noooooooooooo. Instead I had to do some market research this morning, and am now filled with hate and rage (insert bitter box here).

I've been reading horror and watching horror flicks for a long time. I grew up with parents who let me pursue my interests freely. Books of Blood, Monster magazine, Fangoria... not much that was really off limits.

I saw the heyday of 80's horror when anyone and everyone was jumping into the frenzy to cash in. I read and watched a lot of... well... shit is the word that comes to mind. There were lots of diamonds in the rough, mind you, but you had to dig through the mess to find them.

Brian Keene predicted a while back that things were getting ready to implode. And, not that I doubted him, but holy shit kids... taking a look around this morning at the markets has me ready to line up double-shots of Yagër bombs and start howling at the sky.

"Enough with the fucking zombies!"

I've heard this rant again and again of late. And while I tend to agree as I'm getting a bit worn out by them... the undead won't go away if the american public demands them. And the writers who are doing it are laughing themselves silly. All the way to the bank.


Dead Snow.

The Carriers.

Oh hell, I'm SURE there's more, but that's just off the top of my head.

But for the sweet blue fuck of all that's holy... ZOMBIENAUTS????

As a long time self-employed businessman, I understand supply and demand. I understand you feed into the trend of what's hot. But damn...

Zombies in space... that's a bit of a stretch isn't it?

How about... a little crew of people who were out on a three hour tour and got shipwrecked on an island? There'll be a professor, a movie star, a millionaire and his wife... GILLIAN'S UNDEAD!

Wait! I know! A ship full of sailors will find a zombie mermaid and they'll drag her aboard, infecting the entire crew until the ship runs into the land of the free and the home of the brave.*

Of late, I have become increasingly convinced that the days of readers seeking out a well written book with great characters and plot are gone. It is writing for the American Idiot.

"But wait, Bob," you say. "I'm not an idiot! I like great characters! I love great dialogue! I seek them out!"

Fine, pull up a rock and sit by the fire. You're like me. I can't handle two-dimension characters in a story that has a plot line thinner than a truck stop's bathroom tissue either. But guess what? WE ARE THE MINORITY.

Most of the public seems to want their fiction and flicks with sex and explosions all bundled into a fast food container so they can get in, get out, forget it and move onto the next carton of nuggety entertainment.

Don't agree? That's fine. Take a look at the majority of what's been on the NY Times Best Seller List. Look at what's "hot" at the box office.

Mmmhmm. Why are you so quiet all of a sudden?

The literary IQ of most of the public no longer requires that things are well written. Give it a catchy bass line and a good drum rhythm, and you're off to writer rock stardom. Things have degraded to the point where it's like The Kingsmen's song "Louie, Louie."

You know the song, right? The one from National Lampoon's Animal House?

Catchy beat right? Ok, now sing any of the lyrics other than "Louie, Louie, ohhhh no!"

If you know any lyrics beyond that, you win a prize of the next zombie novel to hit the shelves.

That's our majority right now. Quick catchy bursts that are fun while you're reading/watching them, but later, you realize you really don't have any idea what the hell it was about.

I'm done grumbling for now. I'm off to brainstorm about chick-lit novels and a zombie screenplay.

*If any of you bastards steal this and sell it to Hollywood for six-figures (which... in all seriousness, I think would actually SELL RIGHT NOW), I will hunt you down and beat you with a zombie arm. Or leg. Or whatever else I can find within reach.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Learning to Fly

I've often spoken of life growing up on a farm as a child. There was an endless laundry list of animals showing up that were badly hurt and we almost always tried to mend them.

Raccoons, (which... incidentally... are the coolest thing next to having a pet monkey when you're a kid and make very cool pets if you set aside the whole rabies thing). An albino skunk (which... incidentally... are sort of disgusting during the winter when they do this light hibernation kind of thing and still stink to high heaven, glands removed or not). Many, many, many feral cats. A tree-rat.... er... squirrel (don't get me started) and other odds and ends like newts, frogs... the general assortment of what you'd expect to find on a farm.

A week ago I found a bird in the street. It was early and I hadn't even finished my first cup of coffee, but I saw the bird out there, flapping its wing uselessly. It looked young and hurt, so I went out and picked it up, brought it into the yard so it wouldn't get turned into a flapjack by an early morning commuter.

I set it in the grass and talked to it for a bit. Gently checked it's wings, which seemed to work fine. Eased out its legs - also in working order - and left it in the lawn, away from the street, before I had to leave for the office.

That evening I was outside on the porch and walked around to check on the little guy. Apparently my efforts that morning weren't enough because he was laying there in the grass, deader than the proverbial doornail. It saddened me more than it probably should, seeing that dead bird. Sort of a bittersweet acceptance.

That was a tough lesson to learn as a child. That sometimes, despite the best intentions and efforts, things don't make it, even though you think they should. Even though it seems as if they ought to and you can't fathom exactly why.

If enough time passes, you sometimes have to learn that lesson all over again, no matter how old you are.

Some of you know and some of you don't, but no matter which camp you have your sleeping bag in, you should realize there's been a lot of life changes going on with me lately. It's one of the reasons I've been so quiet for a while... probably the longest stretch ever since I started this little blog of verbal masturbation.

The short version is that there was a bird in life who couldn't fly anymore and despite a lot of effort and best intentions, it didn't make it.

Sometimes the feeling is a bittersweet acceptance. Other moments come with an emotion that I'm not quite sure carries a name. It's broader in scope... looking at a larger picture of things around us all. I've never truly bought into it, but a grand plan maybe? I don't know. Some birds can only fly for so long, I guess.

Well kids, I've gotta run. I require more caffeine this morning. I'll be making updates more often now that life has settled down a bit.

Soon I'll tell you about the insanity of dealing with producers and screenplays.

I'll tell you about updates on some cool little things I've been working on and what's in the works on a grander scale.

I'll tell you. Pull your rock closer to the camp fire so you can get warm.

I'll tell you.


Current Reads:
Fresh Blood; A very cool chap featuring Dave Alexander, Kelli Dunlap and Bob Freeman. Nicely produced and hella-fine reads by all. You should pick up a copy by clicking here

Cover; Jack Ketchum. I've been looking to sink my teeth into a great read, and as usual, he does not disappoint.

Current Music:
A metric fuckton, but some highlights:
The Black Keys - Magic Potion (absolutely amazing).

Dan Auerbach's (of the Black Keys) solo release, Keep it Hid. Exactly what you'd expect from half of the Black Keys. Soulful, heart-wrenching and kickass.

Ry Cooder; The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO has Landed. Because... quite simply... Cooder is one of the best.

Cold War Kids: Robbers and Cowards. Great voice and catchy melodies.

And almost daily: I'm on a Boat. Just 'cause.

Current Movies:
Ice Age 3. Exactly as funny as you'd expect.

The Unborn. I'll let you know as soon as I don't fall asleep through it.

TV special on lost civilizations in the Amazon. Because... the universe knows exactly when to provide such a source of information for me when I need it.