The Majin Among Us Sample Chapter!

I’ve expressed concerns of being an incompetent, Marvel Comics caliber social justice warrior a week or so ago, and I ended up with some…  Interesting, feedback on the matter.  In the longrun, I guess the only way to truly find out is to just put it out there, and let the people decide.

As of this writing, I’m on the verge of finishing the second draft.  there’s at least two or three more drafts that need to happen before this gets released to the public, but I’m feeling pretty confident about getting this in around the beginning of February.  In fact, let’s just make it official: I’m aiming for 2/11/17 for a release date.  Set your calendar apps to that date, and when you don’t see it on Amazon, check back here for a possible explanation.  Or just bitch me out.

In the meantime, I hope this sample chapter suffices.

DISCLAIMER!: This is the second draft version of the chapter.  If there are some noticeable errors, it’s because I may have missed them in my initial proofreading.  With luck, I, or my spellchecker will catch them in future drafts.

 

Also, as is the case with sample chapters, this version of the chapter might not be the version you end up getting.  Until the final version becomes available, though, I hope you enjoy.

 

 

THE MAJIN AMONG US

COPYRIGHT 2018 BY THOMAS J. BLACK

 

 

8

 

 

I thought for sure I was going to have to play detective that day. I dreaded this, because back in those days, I was never especially good at detective work. Sure, Redcrest was pretty tiny, but there were still a pretty considerable amount of nooks and crannies she and her family could’ve been hiding in that I’d have never thought of looking.

So it was probably a good thing that I didn’t actually have to do any of that detective work. I don’t know how, exactly, but somehow, Debbie was able to find where I lived! All I know was that there was a knock at the door, and Debbie was standing on the other side when my mom answered it. Next thing I know, we’re taking my car to her place.

It turned out that she lived clear on the other side of Redcrest. Specifically, the bad part of Redcrest. The part Joe Jack’s dad lived. The part where all the meth heads from neighboring towns go to buy their product. The part of town all the adults warn us about.

“You live out here?” I asked. Considering this was the same girl who could turn people into chocolate on a whim, this shouldn’t have been as shocking. And yet, here we were.

“Yeah,” said Debbie. “My parents aren’t exactly the wealthiest people on the planet. Especially not these days.”

“What happened?” I asked.

Rather than answer my question there, she pointed to a house further up. “That’s my place,” she said.

In terms of houses in bad neighborhoods, you really could’ve done worse than Debbie’s place. You could do better, for sure, but you could’ve done worse. The outside could’ve probably used a new coat of paint, and the lawn definitely saw better days, but none of the windows were broken, and there weren’t any toilets or washing machines in the front lawn. More than I could say for a couple of her neighbors.

The inside smelled like cat piss. Debbie’s family clearly didn’t own any cats, or really any pets at all for that matter. I’m guessing that was left over from the people who used to live here? The carpet was a dull dark grayish color, and the furnature was clearly thrift store furnature. The couch had a pretty generous amount of cushioning torn out of one of the arm rests, and one of the chairs looked like someone fatter than the chair could handle sat in it.

Debbie gestured for me to have a seat on the couch. Rather than join me, she chose to take a seat a foot or two away from me on the floor. She looked me from down their, and I looked at her from up where I was.

“Okay,” she said. “Let’s just get down to it. I find that in situations like this, it’s just easier to get all the awkward questions out of the way right here and now. I’m sure you have plenty of questions, and I probably have answers. So go ahead, ask me anything.”

I thought about it for all of three seconds. “What the hell!?” I exclaimed.

Debbie laughed a little. “Okay, maybe broaden it a little more than that.”

“You ate chad!” I exclaimed.

“Are we really still dwelling on this?”

“Um, yeah, we are!”

Debbie started to sigh in frustration… But halfway in, she seemed to come to a revelation.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “You didn’t want to eat him by chance, did you? I’m so sorry!”

“What?” Was all I could say in response to that.

“I really should’ve taken your pride into consideration,” she said. I thought for a split second she might’ve been mocking me, but all it took was a look at her face to see she genuinely meant what she was saying. “I mean the guy was clearly beating you up and everything. It probably would’ve satisfied your pride if you’d been the one to eat him. Plus it’d be pretty ironic. He always did want to be inside another man, after all. What better…”

That’s not even close!” I interrupted, maybe a little louder than I would’ve liked.

Debbie blinked. “Huh. Okay, what’s the deal?”

“Debbie, you took someone’s life!”

“And?”

“What the hell do you mean and?”

Debbie snapped her fingers, coming to another realization. “Oh, right! You’re a human. I can’t believe I keep forgetting that.”

I blinked. “What?”

Debbie stood up then. “Maybe it would help if I dispelled my glamour.”

“Glamour?”

She bowed her head, and closed her eyes. Then, to my absolute shock, she began to change! Admittedly, her appearance didn’t change all that much. However, it was enough to surprise me.

Her skin went from pretty standard Caucasian to cotton candy pink. She opened her eyes, and revealed that they were now the color of blood. Her hair remained in the same style it had been before, but now it was a very dark blue. On the sides of her head were little nubs that looked like they were trying to be horns, but were too short.

“Whew,” she said, “that feels good. Glamours are so hard to maintain, you know? Wait, you probably don’t know.”

“Whah… I… What are you?” I stammered out, astonished.

Debbie took a seat on the floor once again. “I’m a majin,” she explained. “My whole family are majins.”

I vaguely remembered her mentioning majins that one time, and it became clear her dumb little joke that only mythology buffs would probably find funny wasn’t a joke after all. She really was a majin in human clothes.

Unfortunately, rather than answering any of my questions, it only raised more.

“I think I explained what majin are,” said Debbie, trying to fill the awkward silence.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Apparently, they’re pink devils who can turn people into chocolate, and have no problem with eating them right afterward.”

“I didn’t want to use my powers on him,” Debbie protested. “I hated seeing him and his friends bully you around like that. And believe me, you’re far from the first person he’s harassed.”

“Oh you don’t have to tell me. I already know that guy was a douche. Everybody did. But eating him? Couldn’t you have just used your little jedi mind trick on him like you did with his friends?”

Debbie blushed… I think. The color scheme was not something I was used to, but it definitely looked like she was blushing then.

“I suppose I was thinking with my stomach again,” she said. “I knew I should’ve gotten some snacks at the theater.”

“Uh… Okay then. I’m guessing that’s a majin thing?”

“Kind of. For sure, it’s a Debbie thing. Majin in general are pretty hedonistic.”

“Hedo-what?”

“Hedenistic. It means do whatever because it feels good, and to hell with the consequences. On the positive side, that just means a lot of us like food. Or sleep. Or… Um, “other pleasures”.”

It didn’t take me long to figure out what that meant.

“I suppose that’s the problem when you’re an all-powerful godlike being who lives for flippin’ ever,” she continued. “We tend to think of humans the same way humans think of cows or chickens. Or more positively, we tend to think of you the same way you think of cats and dogs.”

“So we’re either food, or we’re pets,” I clarified.

“At worst, I’d say food. At best, I’d say you’re just another animal we have to share the planet with. Nothing personal. It’s just that majins have to eat too. And like I said last night, nobody’s going to miss that douche.”

“His parents are going to miss him. His friends are going to miss him. And even if nobody ends up missing him, people are going to notice he’s gone. Redcrest isn’t that big a town. Somebody goes missing, you usually hear all about it. Not to mention that guy was the star quarterback.”

“Oh, woopy for him. He can throw a ball, so we should put him on a pedistol and treat him like a god.”

I couldn’t say I disagreed with that. People around Redcrest worshipped Chad Testaberger. It was a popular joke around Draiman High that they held him back twice so he could get the football team to state. The other kids looked at him as someone to respect. The adults looked at him like he was somehow going to make them rich. In the case of people like Pat’s dad, he probably was.

The sad part is as disgusting as this was, it wasn’t, and actually still isn’t exclusive to Redcrest. We treat football players in this entire country better than our teachers, our emergency service workers… Really, better than everybody. And why? Because they can throw a ball really far? Because they can get tackled by a three-hundred pound lummox with an additional fifty pounds of padding?

They’re certainly not good people. I swear to god, there was at least one player a week getting a D.U.I. or a drug charge. And that was the standard nonsense. If you wanted the really bad stuff, you need only look at guys like Ray Louis, or Hector Hernandez: men who were charged with, and possibly even got away with murder. Although I think Hernandez eventually got caught, but I digress.

The fact football players, be they big time NFL players, or small time high school flunkouts in the making like Chad, are worshipped like gods is definitely something Debbie and I could see eye to eye on. Unfortunately, it was straying from the point entirely. Even if Chad was a douche, a closet case, and frankly, an individual the world would be better off without, Debbie had still opened pandora’s box on this one.

She was in the middle of a rant that, in short, was exactly what I was saying just now. However, she chose to end the rant with, “You want to see a god? A little majin like me is the closest thing you’re going to get.”

I chuckled. “If you’re so godlike,” I countered, “why do you and your parents live in such a dump? Surely, you could use your magic to counterfit money and buy a nice house out in the good part of town.”

“Because we’re trying to lay low,” said Debbie. “And in any case, that’d be a vulgar display of power.”

“Sort of like Jesus refusing to perform miracles on the spot?”

“Well yeah, in concept. My grandpa insists Jesus was either a very opinionated street preacher, or the head of one of history’s most successful cults.”

“Cult?”

“Well yeah. The only real difference between a cult and a religion is the difference between a membership in the dozens and a membership in the millions. We’re kind of getting off track here, though. Basically, I don’t see what the big deal is with you humans and football. Hell, it’s not even football! It’s not in the shape of a ball, and the only real footwork is in how far you can run.”

“Well… Okay. You’re more than welcome to have that opinion, but it still doesn’t change the fact people are going to notice Chad is gone now. And if they figure out there’s a pink devil girl around here with the power to turn people into chocolate…”

“Not my problem.”

I was at a loss for words then.

Debbie laughed. “Honey, if humans could kill us with anything less than a nuclear bomb, there’d be significantly fewer majins in the world.”

I sighed in frustration, which led her to laugh at me.

“Relax,” she said. “I’m not going to pick a fight with the entire human race. All I want to do is live my life, and enjoy the ride.like you. The only difference is we live a lot longer than you.”

“Really?” I asked. “Like, how long?”

“Well, that depends on the majin, really. My grandpa was somewhere around a couple thousand before he finally passed.”

THOUSAND!?

Debbie laughed again. “It is way too easy to blow your minds, you know? But yeah, thousand.”

“Okay, uh, I know I’m not supposed to ask a lady this, but how old are you?”

“I’ll be a hundred and ninety-eight in December. I’m guessing that whole “never ask a lady how old she is” thing is a human taboo? Probably because you guys only ever live to be seventy or eighty on average.”

“I… Uh, I guess so. I always thought it was a girl taboo more than a human taboo.”

Girl taboo, huh? Majins don’t have a whole lot of those compared to humans. I mean we have similar ones to humans, like “Thou shalt not kill”, “Honor thy mother and thy father”, and so on, but the only real taboo I can think of we don’t have in common is “thou shalt not use thy magic on thy fellow majin”.”

“Um, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of commandments there.”

“Eh, six in one, half a dozen in the other. The important thing is majin are discouraged from using magic on each other. Which… Sort of brings us to Scott.”

“Yeah, who is this Scott anyway?”

Debbie was about to explain, but then the front door came open. A woman with a similar Buddha belly shape, and brown hair to Debbie came in first. She was followed by a skinny looking man wearing overalls, a trucker hat, and sporting a thick black handlebar mustache. Someone was clearly trying way too hard to appear Midwestern. He looked like how one of those douches in San Fransisco thought us Midwestern folk looked. The woman had a better concept, if only because she didn’t really where anything that screamed “YOU’RE TRYING TOO HARD!” to anyone who looked her way.

Lastly, there came what had to be the fattest man I think I’d ever seen. If he were any fatter, he’d probably need one of those scooters those fat city people ride around on when they go to Walmart.

“That was a good walk,” said the woman.

“Brad like walk!” the fat one declared, clapping.

“You sure did,” said the woman. “Now head up to your room, and…”

“Debbie!” the man interrupted. “What are you doing out of your disguise!?”

Debbie was already on her feet by then. She handled herself calmly… Sort of.

“You really went out into town like that?” she asked, pointing at her dad’s overalls.

“Debbie, we have to be glamoured, remember?” her dad insisted.

“But dressed like that?” Debbie countered. “I keep telling you guys that nobody here dresses like that. You look like a couple of damn Beverly Hillbillies!

“fair point,” the woman interrupted before the man could say something, “but you still need to look human if you’re going to socialize with these things.”

“It’s okay,” said Debbie, calming down. “He already knows what we are. Kind of.”

She explained that I had unfortunately seen her use magic. She bent the truth just a little, implying both of us were backed into a corner and left with no alternative. She made it sound like Chad and his goon squad were going to kill us! At absolute most, he’d probably just shove me around like he had been doing for a while longer, make a few more gay jokes only Joe Jack thought were funny, and call it an evening. Debbie could’ve probably gone home right then and there, and they wouldn’t have even noticed she was gone.

The father sighed, and his glamour faded. I soon learned the mustache was fake as he pealed it off. Debbie’s mom unglamoured next, revealing she had the same dark blue hair as her daughter. Brad, the fat one, seemed confused.

“Mom said Brad need be human in front of humans,” he said, puzzled.

“Your sister already blew our cover,” his dad explained. “You can unglamour yourself in front of this…”

“Okay!” said Brad, way too inthusiastically.

With that, Brad’s glamour faded. Rather than two nubby little horns on the sides of his head like Debbie and her mom, he had one long horn protruding out of his forehead. It made him look like a unicorn trapped in a human-shaped bubblegum mold, honestly.

Debbie’s dad removed the trucker hat, and a unicorn horn of his own popped out of his forehead with a faint pop noise.

“Go to your room, Brad,” Debbie’s mom ordered. “We need to have a talk with your sister.”

“Okay!” said Brad.

Gleefully, Brad went barreling past his sister and me, and down the hallway to his room. It was just the four of us then. I wasn’t sure of anything at that point, but I couldn’t help but think that nothing good was going to come of this.

 

 

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One Point Short

The other day, I decided to go to my favorite bar: a quaint little place called Sharks.  I’ve mentioned its existence very briefly in my book, HikikoMorey, and I assure you that it’s a real place.  I don’t go there nearly as often as I used to, but for an event like The Chiefs making it to the playoffs, I’ll make an exception.

There is nothing like being in the audience of a Chiefs game in Arrowhead Stadium…  But I imagine a bar full of ravenous Chiefs fans is the next best thing.

I sat at the bar, watching multiple screens playing the same broadcast of ESPN’s coverage.  The Chiefs took on The Tennessee Titans, a team that virtually everyone and their mom insists has no right to even be in the playoffs this year.  In the first half of that game, it was definitely looking like the naye sayers were right.  Two quarters in, it was 21 to 0.

Then, like only The Kansas City Chiefs possibly could, they done fucked up.  They went from unstoppable to paper mache in one quarter.  In the end, The Tennessee Titans, the underdogs of the AFC at this point in the season, did the…  Well, I’d say unthinkable.  Unfortunately, this is The Chiefs we’re talking about.

The Chiefs, god bless ’em, just don’t have what it takes to last in January.  In the last seven years, we’ve been to the playoffs four or five times, and we only ever made it to the second game once.  And for the record, I’m not counting that year we got the bye as making it to game two.  I’ve heard friends of friends on Facebook insist it’s the Andy Reed curse, but honestly, I just think that’s our team.  One of those four or five times I mentioned before, Todd Halley was our coach, and the world’s easiest quarterback to sack was our quarterback.

In the end, Tennessee ended up beating Kansas City by one point.  One measley point.

ASIDE: I have no idea what happened to Ryan Succup.  He was probably the best kicker the Chiefs have had in a while, but as a Titan, he just couldn’t get the extra points to save his life this game.  How the hell do you miss extra points!?  Even if you get ten yard or fifteen yard penalties, those kicks should be the single easiest kicks a kicker can make!  Okay, back on topic.

The game was…  Interesting.  Disappointing, yes, but unlike the rest of the patrons at Sharks that day, I didn’t get nearly as worked up over it.  Let’s be honest, football doesn’t rule my life.  I cheer for The Chiefs, but I’m unbiased enough to see my team for what it is, and our team is…  Weird.  They can either be unstoppable conquerers who can defeat the fucking Patriots, or they can be a team held together with Elmer’s Glue and Thumbtacks that can’t even beat the 1-7 New York Giants.  And yeah, my examples come from the 2017 season.  That’s because the 2017 season is really the best proof of this.

People groaned in fury when The Chiefs lost.  One girl way in back shrieked “GOD DAMN I HATE THIS FUCKING GAME!” at the top of her lungs.  A guy on the other end of the bar was slamming his fists in anger, shouting “FUCK!” at the top of his lungs.  I, and the lady next to me who was helping my blind ass out by telling me important details like how much time was on the play clock and what not, was probably the only one who DIDN’T flip out, and even SHE was bummed out by the loss.

The game was disappointing, but I went more to interact with the crowd.  I fancied myself a bit of a gonzo journalist, more in the sense I was injecting myself into the crowd and writing more about the people I encountered and the adventure I was on, and less in the sense I forgot my job and spent the entire day doing insane amounts of drugs.  Although I did have a ridiculous amount of Angry Orchard, but I digress.

So yeah, KC’s out.  Again.  Can’t say I’m shocked, really.

SJW Concerns

The Majin Among Us is my latest writing project I plan to get published.  It’s pretty much guaranteed to be getting a paperback release at this time, so good news for all you people who prefer paper to ebook.

The further I get in to this project, though, the more one particular worry hits me.  That concern is that my book immediately gets dismissed as social justice tripe.  I’ll be posting a sample chapter within the week, but for now, take my word on it when I say that this thing may be a little preachy.

Make no mistake, I’m a lefty at heart.  True, I abandoned the democrats completely in 2016 after the stunt they pulled, and I’ve spoken highly of various aspects of libertarian ideaology, but in my heart of hearts, I’m still a lefty in many aspects.  I believe gays should be allowed to get married.  I believe abortion should be legal.  I believe net neutrality should’ve never been repealed.  I believe marijuana should be legal for recreational use, although I’d settle for medicinal if that’s how we have to start out.  I believe if someone wants to mutilate the shit out of their body in order to resemble a woman, why not?  Really, the only things I DON’T agree with my fellow lefties on is gun control (I’m pro-constitutional carry), and the death penalty (hang ’em all!), but that’s pretty much it.

Then we get into the kind of nonsense that passes for modern day liberalism: a horrifying checklist ideaology known as neoliberalism, or social justice warrioring.  I may think of myself as a liberal, but jesus tap dancing Christ, the SJW crowd makes me feel legitimately embarrassed to admit out loud that I vote democrat in public.

I could go on, but many other classical liberals have probably made all the points I’d probably be making.  Furthermore, they probably did it more intelligently, and with fewer swear words, because I’m a rude-ass boogan with no shame in using me some colorful language.

This is a crowd I generally want to distance myself from…  Except looking over the rough draft for The Majin Among Us, and making all the edits and additions I feel needed adding, I fear this book may come off as social justice tripe: the very thing I’m NOT going for.

The Majin Among Us is a tail of xenophobia.  A majin and her family find that their cover has been blown by the worst representation of their race: a cannibalistic serial killer with no concepts of restraint, social skills, or diplomacy.  The people take one look at this horrible majin and his wicked ways, and like people are prone to doing, they immediately assume EVERY majin is wicked, unspeakable evil.  From there, it’s a combination of trying to mend the bridge while keeping the guy who ruined it for everyone as far away as possible.

Pretty SJW-ish, right?  Honestly, I’ve based the story on all the stories I’ve heard of retards beating hindus and Sikhs to let us all know Muslams ain’t welcome in Amrrrica.  Or like the local dumbass who lost the mayoral election after running under the most blatant anticimetic platform…  Probably in the history of Kansas for all I know and care, then went on a shooting spree with all the intention of killing as many jews as possible…  Only to end up missing all the jews, and killing a couple Methodist Christians instead.  There are several examples of this caliber of retardation, and I could probably fill an entire blog with nothing but those stories alone.  However, I instead decided to draw influence from those stories when describing the level of ignorance displayed.

Unfortunately, one can’t write a story about racism in this day and age without immediately being labeled some sort of antifa level socialist ideaolog (as if being a right-winged libertarian anarchist somehow isn’t being an ideaolog).  You’re labeled an SJW, and you’re accused of virtue signaling to your fellow SJWs while pandering to the left’s lowest common denominators.

Need proof?  I refer you to the bullshit going on with Marvel comics right now.  A lot of what I can tell you is pretty much second-hand information at best.  Plus I’m strongly in favor of people actually looking it up and formulating their own fucking opinion instead of expecting my dumb ass to spoonfeed it to you.  But in any case, the current state of Marvel…  Well, the movies are doing all right, but the comics are a bit of a disaster right now.  I could probably forgive Ms. Marvel, on the grounds that Ms. Marvel (according to my own research) is less of a character, and more of a mantle handed down from heroine to heroine.  Then you get into things like Captain America just fucking off and shouting “Hile Hydra” so they can get the black guy the roll.  I’ve also heard of things like “Girl Thor”, “Asian Hulk”…  I think Storm might be transgendered now?  Or maybe I misunderstood my friend’s latest rant.  In any case, nobody asked for this.  I sure as shit didn’t want to throw Bruce Banner under the bus so some rando Asian guy could help Marvel show off how PC they are, bruh.  Wearing their sweet-ass Oakleys, and reminding us PC is the way to be for me.  And you.  WOO WOO!

Comparing my work, a work of fiction still in development with virtually no preestablished fanbase (unless fanbases from my previous novels counts, anyway), to Marvel, a studio that’s been around since the 1960s with an impressive legacy some SJW editor decided to wipe his ass with so we can recolor the heroes and find fascinating new ways to scream “FUCK WHITEY!” in approximately twenty-two pages, is probably not fair to me.  Or to Marvel, for all I know and care.  Dude, I WISH I was making Marvel cash at this point in my life, but I digress.

It’s an unfair comparison, sure, but it gives me an idea of the sort of fiction I want to desperately avoid.  Financially speaking, because according to the previously mentioned friend who’s given me all this information, it’s a direction that has thoroughly buttfucked Marvel’s sales.  Culturally speaking, because I’m not a social justice warrior.  We have some common ground, sure, but then you guys go and take it to a very psychotic level of nonsense that even I can’t agree with.

People will, and probably have accused me of having biases.  They’ll probably point out the liberal is the one in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Unspeakable Horrors is the soul survivor amongst a conservative, a libertarian, and a communist.  They’ll mention HikikoMorey takes potshots at The Tea Party.  They’ll mention how The Gael Saga demonizes capitalists by making Dan Adelson the A-list villain.  Right after the SJWs accuse me of using Gael as some sexist way of living out some foot fetish fantasy that demeans women, because fuck you for being a male.  Or whatever.

In all those cases…  Fair enough.  Even I’M not one-hundred percent unbiased.  But boy, the last thing I want to do is associate myself with a crowd that makes people like me look bad by association.

Once I’ve picked out a chapter or two I’d like to use as sample chapters, you’ll probably have a better idea of where these concerns are coming from.  Until then, I just want to get this off my chest, and out of my mind.

2017 in review

Another year in the books.  And boy, if 2016 was the year the entire world came unglued, 2017 was the year we forgot we were supposed to glue it all back together.

On a personal level, though, this was quite the year.  I got transferred to a new office where I get paid more…  But have to spend all that extra money on transportation.  So basically, I’m making the exact same amount I was before.  Kind of defeats the purpose, up until I realized just how much better the new hub is.  The technology is top of the line, the hub is cleaner, and I’ve officially reached the point where I don’t even need a guide to get around most of it!  More than I can say for the other hub.  Seriously, I worked there five years, and I still couldn’t find shit.

2017 was also the year I ended The Gael Saga.  The Gael Saga, while probably not my most ambitious concept ever, was still a lot of fun to write.  Most of the time.  In any case, it’s the first series I’ve actually managed to see to completion, and it left me with a lot of feelings as those who’ve read the blog and listened to my podcast are aware.  I felt pride for completing it.  I felt that weird sort of hollow feeling that comes with finishing a long-ass project, and having no idea where to go from there.  I felt happiness that the few people who’ve read it and reviewed it seem to like it.

Speaking of podcasts, 2017 was the year I got WAY into podcasts.  I subscribed to several, I recorded several…  I even did a guest spot on one.  The Thrifty Niggle was, oddly enough, the podcast that kind of got me back into podcasts four or five years after getting bored with all the ones I used to subscribe to either discontinued, or got boring.  It was a fun time for one and all.

My own podcast, Red Flannel Radio, the podcast I keep SAYING I’m going to either put on hiatus, or that I’ll be updating more frequently, has taken off rather nicely.  At the time I’m writing this, the subscriber count seems to have dropped from twenty to fourteen.  I guess either the lack of consistent updates, or spoiling The Last Jedi had something to do with that.  In any case, I’ve been in and out of podcasting, and this right here has been my favorite podcast to do.  I look forward to exercising more stream of consciousness in 2018.

2017 was also the year I tried streaming on YouTube…  But I don’t really plan on that becoming anything bigger than a hobby, based on the lackluster views.

2017 was the year the most controversial Star Wars movie was released.  The Last Jedi has got to be the first Star Wars movie in history to polarize a crowd, and I was glad to have seen it while it was still in theaters.

There were plenty of celebrity deaths this year, as there are every year…  But man, Chester Bennington probably hit me the hardest.

I’ve made my case for nu-metal in general back in the day, and I stand by it.  Linkin Park, love ’em or hate ’em, was a pretty big part of my childhood.  I actually enjoyed their music…  Right up until about “A Thousand Suns”, but that’s a rant for another day.  Chester Bennington…  I wouldn’t say he was a hero, necessarily, but I definitely liked what the guy had to offer.  And it was even looking like he was going to be the new vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots of all things.

Then I found out he’d committed suicide on the way to work.  Man, you want to talk about an announcement that punches you in the gut.  It left me in a funk for the better part of a week.  I actually took Linkin Park off my phone for most of the second half of this year.  Yeah, I still have Linkin Park albums on my phone.  Or at least I used to.  I’ve only just recently put them back on, and began listening to them again, but even now, it’s kind of weird.

I always joked that “In the End” was like someone’s suicide note set to a rap.  seventeen years later, that joke isn’t funny anymore.  And only PARTLY because I ran it into the ground.

On a lighter note, 2017 was also the year South Park bounced back from the disaster of season 20.  I didn’t catch every single episode, but the ones I DID catch were brilliant.

And speaking of South Park, 2017 was also the year their second video game came out for PS4.  I went in expecting to get stuck hopelessly on one puzzle like I did in Stick of Truth, but as it turns out, I actually managed to beat it!  And I enjoyed every single moment I was playing it.

Then Phone Destroyer came out.  I gave it a try, and…  I’m sure a lot of people will like it, but honestly, for me, playing CCGs on a phone is agony.  It’s one of the reasons I eventually gave up on Eternal Mobile.

In politics, 2017 was the year that proved that maybe Alabama doesn’t love republicans as much as I thought.  My friend, frequent cover artist, and goer of churches Korean, insists up and down Roy Moore was going to lose that race no matter what happened.  I honestly have to take his word for it on the grounds I was barely paying attention, and I was barely paying attention because I operated under the assumption Alabama loved its republicans.  I even made the joke: “Yeah, Roy Moore may be a pedophile, but it could be worse.  He could be a democrat.”  But I guess that ended up not being the case.  If a democrat can win in Alabama, who knows?  Maybe that bastard Kris Kobach will lose the governor’s election coming up here in Kansas!  Yeah, that might actually be wishful thinking.  Whatever, I’m still voting Orman if and when he runs.

2017 was full of Trump tweets, and my previously mentioned friend suddenly deciding he LIKED Trump now.  Largely because he gives Kim Jong Un the business every time North korea comes up, and my friend has been to South Korea.  Honestly, I won’t be surprised if this is the sort of egging on that results in our country getting nuked.  Maybe not by North Korea, but I’m pretty sure somebody with nukes is going to take those tweets personally, and decide “Fuck America!”, and blow us up.

Donald Trump as president…  This is a topic I generally avoid talking about, because honestly, this blog will turn into a monumental buzzkill if I did.  However, I just don’t have the same inthusiasm for his presidency as my friends suddenly do.  Admittedly, I’ve ALWAYS hated the republicans, where as my dislike for the democrats is fairly recent, but even if Trump were a democrat, I have a hard time saying I approve of him or anything he stands for.  Outside of repealing NAFTA, which I notice hasn’t happened yet… Come to think of it, he hasn’t really accomplished anything besides emplament a tax plan that has trickledown written all over it, and may very well effect my disability pay if what I’ve heard is correct.  His attempts at repealing Obamacare have been shot down, his attempts to get the wall built in 2017 have gone nowhere…  Really, if it weren’t for the tax plan, I’d say Trump has been a paperweight president at absolute best.  Which is probably why I like him a little better than George W. Bush…  Although if I’m being honest, that statement is akin to saying I like eating sand better than I like eating broken glass.  Not to mention, this was only year one.  We’ve got anywhere between three and seven more years of this asshole, and it’s not going to be easy.  Especially if my previously mentioned friend is correct, and the democrats shit the bed again.

I’d personally like to think that, between Alabama, Virginia, and New Jersey, the dems may slowly but surely be learning their lesson.  Or the republicans are getting cocky, and putting anemic candidates up for election on the grounds they think they can get away with it.  I know a lot of long-time fossils are leaving deciding not to seek reelection in 2018, and we’ll see what happens there.  Maybe they’ll make good on that promise, or maybe they’ll pull a Marco Rubio, say they won’t be seeking reelection, then suddenly change their mind in July and run for reelection.  And people wonder why I lost respect for Rubio.

2017 was the year that net neutrality was finally repealed.  This, for those who don’t follow my Facebook, is a passionate topic for me.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if you genuinely believe the big three (Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon) are going to play fair, and give the little guy a break now that there aren’t any rules saying they have to, you’re a fucking idiot.  If you think YouTube isn’t going to get labeled a “premium service” in the age of the tiered internet that Ajit Pie and his cronies have been masterbating to since 2006, you’re a fucking idiot.  Prove me wrong, but when you suddenly find vid.me inaccessible, but Go90 runs like a dream, and YouTube suddenly costs an extra twenty bucks a month just to access, try not to hate me TOO much.

There was a lot of internet drama, and a lot of SJW bullshit in 2017, but honestly, I tend to distance myself from that shit.  I don’t care about PewdiePie fucking with fiver, I don’t care about Anita whatsherface, I don’t care about ANYTHING relating to Kekistan…  I was surprised to hear that Catherine, a game I loved when it first came out and still holds a special place in my heart, went from being an amazing experience to an exercise in misogyny and transphobia.  I don’t see it.  Unless you’re talking about the possibility where in you can find a path that reveals Erica, the waitress, used to be Eric, and the only person oblivious to it is the guy she’s dating, but even then…  I don’t know.  Just let me have my game, man!  Stop turning everything into a fucking race war!  Or a transgender politics issue!  I don’t want to debate with you on transphobia in American culture, I just want to climb some nightmare towers!  Is that really too much to ask?

I guess in short, 2017 was…  Interesting.  I wouldn’t say bad, but I wouldn’t say good, either.  Just interesting.

I’m definitely interested in 2018.  Politics have been interesting these last couple of years, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.  The rerelease of Catherine (Catherine: Full Body), Mega Man 11, and a couple other releases are definitely on my list of things to get a hold of.  More podcasts, more novels from yours truly…  And hell, maybe some more streams for the two people who like those.  Maybe even other projects, if I should choose to share them with you.  Till then, I hope everybody has a happy new year.  Be safe, and in the case of us Kansas folk, stay warm.  Seriously, the temperature is going to hit negative numbers tonight

Canceling COLA

Well, for the second time in a row, I find that I’m making the announcement that I’m canceling a project altogether.

This time around, it’s the project I’ve named COLA.  I’ve talked about it before, and I had really high hopes for it when I started it.  Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I’ve found that I’ve hit a roadblock that I can’t get past.

It’s especially disappointing in my case because the first few chapters just flat out came spilling out of my head.  I managed to get about nine chapters down in the spand of a weekend.  True, they were relatively short chapters, and combined, they only managed fifteen or so pages in Word, but it was something I’ve only ever experienced while writing the first couple of Gael Saga novels.

Somewhere around the tenth chapter or so, though, I found that I just couldn’t take this idea anywhere further.  I do have a couple concepts written down, but it takes some serious doing to get from point-A to point-B.  Point-B may very well be inaccessible at this point.

Besides, I’m already working on a project: The Majin Among Us.  This project has taken up most of my attention that isn’t going into Red Flannel Radio (the podcast I keep saying is on hiatus until I decide to just sit down and record my dumb ass for about half an hour), and my experiments in YouTubing under the alias Steaksaw McGraw.  I have too much shit going on at once, and COLA is, at this point, the most expendible of my projects.  Steaksaw McGraw is probably next on the chopping block if I have to axe more things, but for now, the balance is…  Uh…  Balanced, I guess.

I’m sorry if you were looking forward to COLA.  Perhaps one day, I’ll come back to it, and see if I can do anything with it.  For now, I hope you aren’t too disappointed.

And if you were more interested in The Majin Among Us, then you’ll be glad to know that I’m chugging along just fine on that one.  I find myself actually ADDING chapters to what I already have.  A lot of the additions are supplemental material I failed to include in the rough draft due to it being NaNoWriMo, me having a deadline to meet, and thinking this excess detail wouldn’t be important.  Since I blew it on meeting the deadline by about sixteen days, and still managed to fall short of the required wordcount when I finally finished it, I figured “fuck it, I’ll add the new chapters.”

I usually make it a rule that my stories only get paperback copies on KDP if they’re longer than one-hundred pages in Word.  I’m not sure of the math, but if it’s a hundred in Word, it’ll be more or less the same amount when it’s all crammed into a six-by-nine paperback.  This is why The Novellas of Highfill, Kansas (all two of them) and Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Unspeakable Horrors don’t have paperback copies.  That, and I’m pretty sure somebody from the Dahl estate is on the verge of suing me for that one, but if Dorothy Must Die can get away with it…

In any case, the point I’m trying to make is that it’s looking very likely that you’ll be seeing a paperback version of The Majin Among Us as well as a digital version.  So if you’re one of those old fossils that prefers paper over digital, you’re covered.  Most likely.

Audio copies aren’t planned at this point.  I’ve seriously been meaning to play with Amazon’s audio book service, but I don’t even know where to begin.  For sure, I thought about going with The Gael Saga as my first audio book, but I have no guarantee that’ll be the direction I go.

Know that for sure, COLA has been shelved, and The Majin Among Us will be out in paperback most likely.

Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

 

The Majin Among Us Crosses the Finish Line First!

Those who’ve been following my exploits here, and on Facebook alike know that for the first time since my high school years, I’m actually juggling two different projects.

PROJECT 1: The Majin Among Us.  What started as a NaNoWriMo project quickly evolved and changed into an entity I can only describe as “teen drama meets gonzo journalism.”

PROJECT 2: COLA.  A more adult story about adult problems, and dependency on supernatural substances.  I think.  The idea kind of sprung up in my head, and I spent the better part of a weekend just winging it.

As of this writing, I can safely say for sure that The Majin Among Us has been finished.  It’s in its earliest draft phase at the moment, and I hope to expand and add to what I already have thus far in the rough draft.  Also, the obvious stuff: fixing spelling errors, fixing continuity errors, renumbering the chapters on the count I usually misnumber, etc.

COLA…  Has kind of hit a roadblock.  I haven’t given up on the project just yet, but the way things are going, The Majin Among Us is definitely going to see publication first.  I’m honestly not even sure I’m even going to finish COLA, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Tell you the truth, I’m genuinely surprised I haven’t scrapped either one of these projects just yet.  The Majin Among Us didn’t flow like previous writing projects have.  COLA, for about a weekend or so, had some pretty significant flow that just seemed to dump its way out of my hands and onto the Word document.  Only for that flow to come to a complete and total screeching halt.

In any case, The Majin Among Us is definitely looking at seeing the light of day.  I look forward to seeing it get to that particular finish line.  In the meantime, it’s crossed the rough draft finish line, and will probably be seeing more work done on it the way things have been going lately.

Two Projects Going On at the Same Time?

As everybody knows, I tried my hand at NaNoWriMo this year.  The bad news, and perhaps the most obvious news, is I failed to meet the deadline.  Again.  Not to mention the wordcount was going to be an issue even if I DID finish the story in time.

Still, I don’t hate the project so far.  I’m still working on it as of this writing, but am on the verge of reaching the ending.  And then, the revisions.  The countless, countless revisions.

Whether or not it’ll receive a paperback version is honestly up in the air.  I usually try to hit 100 pages on Microsoft Word before I guarantee a paperback.  HikikoMorey came dangerously close to being Ebook only.  Right now, all I can guarantee is I don’t plan on discontinuing The Majin Among Us just yet.

However, over the weekend, I was struck with inspiration.  next thing I know, I have about two Korean watermelon-flavored softdrinks pumping through my system, and about five chapters of a new, more adult-oriented project written down.

And when I say adult-oriented, I mean a story for adults.  I don’t mean porn, or even erotica.  Plenty of drugs, though.

The second project I’m working on is under the working title of COLA.  Much like Gael, and the Highfill, Kansas novellas, it jumps from the prospective of at approximately three narrators.  In fact, this approach to story telling seems to slowly, but surely be becoming my style.  Nothing wrong with it, obviously, but it’s just a musing I find myself stumbling across after looking over what I have thus far.

Between The Majin Among Us, and COLA, I have no idea which one is going to see the light of day first.  COLA is definitely the newer one, but the idea is definitely flowing out of my brain a lot more quickly than The Majin Among Us.  T.M.A.U. took a lot longer than a single weekend to get five chapters done.  Not to mention it’s much easier for me to write from an adult’s perspective than it is a teenager’s.

I’m not making any guarantees which one will be finished first.  Assuming, of course, I decide either one of them is worth sharing at the end of the day.  It’s definitely going to be 2018 before you see either of these in their final form.

All I can say for sure is that I’m currently juggling two completely different stories.  I haven’t done this since high school, and this usually led to either one of them, or both of them getting dropped completely back then.  Then again, I’m much better at finishing what I started when it comes to writing projects these days.  As long as it isn’t a total brick wall like Alabasq ended up being.  Both times around.

I’ll be sure to keep you informed on the goings on with bothFor now, though, this is all I got.  Hope you’re satisfied with me teasing you for the time being. projects.

The Sims 4 for PS4: My Thoughts

Holy fucking hell.  I seriously can’t believe I was waiting for this.

Look, I’m not a PC gamer.  A lot of the time, I end up getting computers that can’t run shit as far as PC games go.  I suppose STEAM has remedied that problem…  Or maybe Eternal doesn’t require a whole lot of processing power to run.  In any case, aside from Eternal, which I haven’t played since July, I generally don’t do PC gaming.

Meanwhile, there’s The Sims.  If I have literally ANY guilty pleasure in life, it’s probably The Sims.  This is hands down the single dumbest idea for a video game anybody has ever had.  And have you seen some of the shovelware on STEAM?  And yet, despite this, it’s been one of my all-time favorite things to play.

I tried playing it on PC back in the day, but found that it crashed regularly.  The console version for PS2, and the offshoot game known as The Sims: Busting Out, were games that saw some heavy rotation in my old PS2.  I tried playing The Sims 2 on the WII, but found it to be a serious ordeal.  Not necessarily because of the game itself, but because this was the point the WII was losing its novelty.

I came to the console version of The Sims 3 for PS3 way late in the game, but I ended up enjoying the shit out of it.  I thought lifespans would ruin the game, but honestly, it made it MORE interesting to see.  I put the game in around March, played it religiously, and when I finally came back to reality, I came to the revelation of “Holy shit, it’s July!”.

I’ve honestly heard the ultimate definition of mixed reviews for The Sims 4, and a lot of the negative reviews were about all the features from The Sims 3 that got cut out, and reintroduced as DLC.  SEMI-RELATED NOTE: fuck EA Games.  I anticipated the release of the console port, and it finally came out earlier this week.  And I legitimately can’t remember the last time something Sims related left me this disappointed.  Seriously, even Urbs: Sims in the City was novel for a while.  Before it got stupid.

The menus in this game are fucking horrible.  Microscopic text on eye bleeching backgrounds is nothing especially new for The Sims (this was a problem dating back to around The Sims 2 as memory serves), but man, it’s especially annoying here.

It’s made extremely worse the moment I discovered they expected you to use a fucking curser to navigate everything.  A curser.  On a fucking PS4!  Seriously, bro, what’s wrong with having a simple scrollable menu on the left, and my sim on the right?  It worked just fine in The Sims 3.

The interface of this game is the most atrocious part of this entire console port.  I suppose I should be a little happy they went with something other than bleech white for the create-a-sim screen, but having everything in icons, and having to use a FUCKING CURSER to click on things…  This probably works fine for PC, but on console, this is unacceptable.

The curser is made even worse by being uncooperative.  It goes from sluggish to streaking across the screen in nothing flat, and someone like me who operates on one faulty eye loses track of this thing WAY too easily.

You can technically click the touchpad on your controller, and go to using the D-pad or left analog stick to navigate menus…  Except that’s somehow MORE inefficient.  I literally NEEDED the broken fucking curser to do certain things.

The game provides tutorials if you ask for them.  Unfortunately, the text is so fucking tiny, and the tiny black text on bright white gives me headaches.  I’ve literally had more fun looking directly at the sun for an hour.  If the menu system wasn’t such a pain in the ass, this wouldn’t be a problem.  Believe me, I’ve often said “fuck the tutorial” and made it through games by figuring out where everything is.  Except here, the menus are fucking impossible to figure out.

I played this game for about forty minutes, and I’m so fucking annoyed with it that I’m debating whether or not I want to give it another go tomorrow night.  My sim is currently standing on the sidewalk, texting his buddies…  Or maybe he’s playing Flappybird?  He’s doing something on his cell phone like an idiot, because I have no fucking clue how to build his house.  And I can’t build his house because the interface is unintuitive and frustrating, I can’t read the tutorials, and thus far, all the YouTube videos I’ve consulted deal with the PC version.  Because fuck console gamers, I guess.

All and all, I consider this to be a major disappointment at best, and fifty bucks I’m never going to get back at worst.  I wish my PS4 was backward compadible with PS3, because then I could just plug in my copy of The Sims 3, and play that instead.  At least then it’d be fun.

I couldn’t tell you if The Sims 4 is any good or not.  It’s got all the fun stuff you’d expect from the past games, plus the ability to make vampires apparently, but I’ll never know, because this game is a fucking headache to deal with on PS4.  I guess stick with the PC version?

Reincarnation Blues, My Thoughts

1As much as I love the PEOPLE in my book club, the selections have left something to be desired.

I’ve tried The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neil Stevenson, and I honestly wasn’t impressed.

I tried the first book in Illuminae, and the fact it was classified as young adult might as well have been the red flag to end all red flags.

I tried From a Buic 8 by Stephen King, and was honestly pretty disappointed with it.

So far, out of all the books we’ve picked as a group, the only one I can say I truly loved was Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore.

Reincarnation and spirituality fascinate me.  Having been a kid growing up in the reddest part of Red Kansas, my only choices for religions were Catholicism, and Presbyterianism.  And when I say choices, I meant that my family was Presbyterian, and I had no choice but to be Presbyterian along with them.  So in other words, my spiritual studies could be summarized as “Jesus is correct, worship him or fuck off”.  But I’ve gone on that topic a bunch already, so I won’t bore you with it here.

Moving to the city, and gaining access to the internet were the best things that ever happened to me in this regard, because I found myself researching a lot about religion and spirituality over the course of my life.  I eventually settled on Baha’i, but even after settling, I still like to read what other religions have to say on this matter.  And Reincarnation Blues has an interesting interpretation of how reincarnation works.

Whether Reincarnation Blues builds its model of reincarnation on the Hindu, or the Buddhist concept is something I’m not entirely sure of.  I’m guessing the Buddhist version, considering one of the main character’s lifetimes was during the times of The Buddha himself, but honestly, Buddhism’s concept of the afterlife seems to borrow pretty heavily from Hindu.

The story, regardless, is fascinating.  At worst, I’d say it’s a bit on the predictable side the moment you find out there’s a finite number of lifetimes you’re allowed to have, and the fact the main character only has five more to go, but predictable isn’t the same as bad.

It’s all about attaining enlightenment, and going through “the sun door”.  What awaits you on the other side of the sun door?  Milo doesn’t seem all that interested at first, due to the fact the love of his life exists in the realm between lives.  Love makes you do crazy things.  It makes you lose count of lives and spend a lot of your time between them just hanging around deserts learning how to juggle.  I guess.  And here I thought it just made you forget smelling your girlfriend’s hair is considered creepy.  Don’t ask.

The humor in this book has been likened to Douglas Addams: author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  It really depends on which passage we’re talking about.  Sometimes, I can totally see it.  Other times, that seems like a stretch.  The book has its own, unique, dry sense of humor.  Life and death are clearly irrelevant, and it really needs to be that way, or else the concept of reincarnation really loses its power.

The audiobook is read by Mark Bramhall, and…  He’s okay.  Listening to him read is like listening to a bed time story read by my grandpa, honestly.  Although I don’t think my grandpa ever read me any bed time stories with this much death involved.  In any case, his performance isn’t distracting, and the story never feels like a chore at any point.

I honestly recommend this book.  I’ve even thought of giving it a second readthrough once I’m done with the monumental pile of crap I have in my Audible.com cue right now.  It’s totally worth your time.

From Undefeated to Unbearable to Watch

If I’ve learned anything in life, I’ve learned that being a Chiefs fan is an exercise in masochism.  Every football team has its off-days, and some even have off-seasons (IE, this year’s Indianapolis Colts).  But man, The Chiefs really know how to build your hopes up just high enough to make it hurt that much more when the cleats come down on your balls.

At first, we were 5-0.  We managed to be the longest going undefeated team in 2017, if not one of them, and the playoffs were a guarantee.  Shit, we beat the fucking Patriots in game 1!

Then game 6 happened, and it’s honestly been all down hill from there.

Losing to The Steelers is one thing: love them or hate them, Pittsburgh’s got one of the better teams in the league.  I could probably forgive our loss to The Cowboys, but only because I missed that game.  Losing to The Raiders was humiliating: partly because it’s the fucking Raiders, but also because they scored that same touchdown, like, five different times in a row, but had to replay it every single time because somebody kept getting ten and fifteen-yard-penalties that negated the play entirely.

And then, we played The Giants.  The 1-7 Giants, I might add.  one of my favorite YouTubers of all time has frequently referred to The G-men as “The NFL’s sentient derp”, and this year, it’s not hard to see why.  This is really the quarterback who led Big Blue into what looked like a slaughter, and somehow managed to pants Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots?  Because based on the clips shows I’ve seen, the one thing this team has going for it is that it’s not Cleveland, whom as of this writing are sitting ugly at 0-10.

The Chiefs, even during their undefeated streak, weren’t a flawless team.  While not as bad as some teams, our defense left a lot to be desired.  Still, even a team like this ought to be able to get a touchdown.

This game, without a shadow of a doubt, has got to be the most boring Chiefs game I’ve ever sat through.  And I’m definitely counting games that had a score of 35 to 0.  Regardless of who had the 35 and who had the 0.  Fieldgoalmania was running wild, brother, and somehow, this game managed to make it into overtime.  In which it was won by ANOTHER FUCKING FIELDGOAL!

Our next game is against The Bills.  The Giants may be having a bad year, but The Bills are having a bad… decade, I guess.  In their last game, the quarterback threw not one, not two, but FIVE interceptions.  In one half.  And I have five bucks on the table right now that says we somehow lose this one as well.

I’m in disbelief that this is the same team that, at the beginning of the season, destroyed The Patriots.  But I guess this is the sort of thing that happens here in KC.  When the games actually matter, the Chiefs choke.  Fuck my life.