Greg Orman isn’t Selfish, You Are

DISCLAIMER: at the time I originally wrote the rough draft of this, Kobach was slated to win.  Somewhere over the weekend, I heard he and Colyer were having to recount the vote due to some rule I just now heard about.  So forgive me if I assume Kobach won the primary in this article, only for the committee doing the recount to decide Colyer won.  Anyway, back to the article.

“Oh my god!  I can’t believe Greg Orman is so selfish!  Running in a race where we can’t afford to let Kris Kobach win!  What is he thinking!?”

This is the attitude I’ve been seeing from people lately revolving around independent candidate Greg Orman’s campaign for Kansas Governor.  I told myself I wasn’t going to talk politics this year, but stuff like this leaves me no choice.  I must purge!

This attitude is both sickening, and sadly unsurprising.  I find it interesting that we live in a society where everything from cell phones, to soda corporations, to fucking GENDER isn’t binary, but politics still is .  This is like someone getting yelled at because they had the audacity to buy an RC cola, knowing full well it’d take sales away from Pepsi.  Or for buying a Windows phone because it takes sales away from Android.  This is a highly irrational thought process everywhere else…  But in the battle between democrats and republicans, the moment someone decides they like an independent like Greg Orman, they’ve committed a sin.

Greg Orman has just as much right to run in the election as anybody else.  He shouldn’t have to bow before your democratic or republican overlords in order to get approval.  Dude wants to run, I say let him run!

Does he stand a chance?  That question is irrelevant.  He still deserves to run.

“But he’s taking votes away from Laura Kelly by running!”

First of all, I’m sick and tired of hearing this “a vote for X is a vote for Y” mentality.  Ross Perot ran in 1992, and republicans like to complain about how he stole votes from Bush Sr.  Meanwhile, surveys that were conducted in that time, where in voters ranked their choices from favorite to least favorite, it was actually Bill Clinton who suffered the most losses due to Perot’s involvement.  And Clinton still managed to win.

Also, telling people that the only reason your candidate lost was because a third party candidate was running…  Well, that really speaks volumes of how anemic your candidate was in the longrun, doesn’t it?  If your candidate’s success depends entirely on running unopposed, then that’s probably not a good candidate.

I have a question: who the hell is Laura Kelly?  This isn’t a lead into something clever like “Here’s who Laura Kelly is.”  This is a legit question.  Because lord knows I’ve never even heard of her until just now.  I had no idea she won the primary.  I had no idea she was even IN the primary.  I didn’t even know she existed till now.  Hell, I’m not even sure I’m spelling her name right, that’s how little I know about her as a candidate.

True, the local media has been a bit hyperfocused on how good ol’ Cowboy Kobach is trying to juggle a court case AND a campaign for governor (it’s like Milton Wolf all over again), but at the same time, this doesn’t look good when your entire primary is an afterthought before the candidates have even been named.

Also, candidates like Greg Orman exist not to ruin everybody’s fun, or to intentionally screw over your favorite team.  Rather, they exist because the two party system can’t possibly cater to every single group on the planet.  And lately, the democrats have been terrible at this.  I’ve seen more democrats turn independent because rather than give us the candidate WE WANTED, they gave us the candidate THEY wanted.  Hillary Clinton is a conservative in democrat’s clothing.  Her husband signed NAFTA into law.  Her husband supported The Defense of Marriage Act: a law that delt a blow to same-sex couples who wanted to get married.  As a senator, she supported the war in Iraq, as well as  a potential war in Iran.  She preached all about transparency, but not once did she ever make her speeches to Goldman Sacks public.  She DID change her mind on The Transpacific Partnership Act: an act so secretive that nothing good could’ve possibly come from it getting passed into law.  However, it took people like Bernie Sanders, The Justice Party, and dozens of paranoid individuals from the other side of the aisle to force that opinion change.  And if she got elected, five bucks says she would’ve flipflopped, and signed that law into effect anyway.  Of course she’d probably focus more on open and outright war with Russia first, because America definitely needs to have another one of those right now…  But I digress.

The overall point is that Hillary Clinton was a terrible democrat, and never should’ve won the primary.  Yet she did, and I was supposed to just swallow my pride and vote for her.  Because the alternative was just too terrible to comprehend, and because there’s no other choice.  Either vote for Hilldawg in 2016, or you’re a bigot-ass racist who masturbates to pictures of Pepe the Frog.  Isn’t that right, Hillary?

It’s this exact mentality of “Vote Hillary or you’re a racist” that made people like me second guess being registered democrats, and start looking into third parties.  In my case, I admit to eyeing the exit since about 2008, but while I felt like Obama was SOOOO not ready for this job when he ran, I stuck with it.  It wasn’t until Hillary started her march for the white house when I realized that there was no way this two party system was going to benefit me this go-around.

Two years later, we have a race for the governor’s office.  Based on Twitter, the democrats haven’t changed their strategy even a little bit.  Furthermore, we’re living in a generation where republican candidates can be brick fucking stupid mongos who just say every stupid little thing that comes into their heads, all the while juggling campaigns and criminal charges for white collar crime or whatever, and still win.  And they win because the other side is insisting I have to vote for them, or I’m racist.  I’m not racist, and I’m sick and tired of you idiots telling me otherwise.

Furthermore, as I’ve said before, I have no idea who Laura Kelly is.  Probably nothing a quick Ecosia search wouldn’t fix (yeah, I abandoned Google years ago), but even then, if this is the situation, I’m not going in to her campaign positively.

I can’t remember her name, but she ran against Kevin Yoder in 2014.  And she lost.  Not because of third party interference, but because she was quite literally a nonentity the entire time.  Sure, she probably got on the debate stage, but I saw NO presence from her and her campaign outside that.  Hell, I couldn’t even remember her name when the 2014 midterms were going on!  This is unfortunately looking like the fate of Laura Kelly.

By comparison, I know who Greg Orman is.  Setting aside his defeat in the 2014 senate election, I know who he is because he’s making his presence felt.  He was all over Facebook, and I guess all over Twitter as well (I only got my twitter a month ago, so I don’t know).  He has comercials that pop up on YouTube before my videos.  I knew before primary season even started that he was going to be running.

Does this mean Orman is going to win?  Who can say, really?  All I know for sure is that he has a better chance than Laura fucking Kelly.  And I have a feeling that was going to be the case even if Orman DIDN’T run.

Greg Orman exists because the other two candidates aren’t giving me what I want.  That’s not selfish, that’s an alternative.  If anything, YOU’RE the selfish one.

People around here are talking about the governor’s race the same way they talk about a football game between The Chiefs and The Raiders.  I don’t even think it’s about making Kansas better to some of these guys.  I think they just want to see their team win.  And that’s a shitty reason to support a candidate.  The republican party have been a collective of syckophants for as long as I’ve been following politics (thou shalt not criticize a fellow republican).  The more recent “vote blue no matter who” slogan of the democratic party doesn’t make them a better alternative.  For guys like me, this is like a Chiefs Vs Raiders game where both teams are The Raiders!  We need an alternative!  And YOU need to improve your fucking attitude, mister.

So yeah, my mind’s made up.  And if you don’t like that…  Well, the unfollow button is right there.  No one will miss you.

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NSP at KC for the First Time

Somewhere around June, I heard from both a friend and from their official Facebook page that Ninja Sex Party, one of my absolute favorite comedy and music acts of the decade, was coming to Kansas City for the first time.  The one thing keeping me from running out and buying tickets right away was that the previously mentioned friend beat me to it, and offered to take me and others to the show.

Musically speaking, I believe the YouTuber known as Todd in the Shadows put it best: the 2010s was a mistake.  Musically, this was the decade that gave us such audible atrocities as the dubstep genre, the mainstreaming of indie while still insisting on calling itself indie, the rise of the ukulele and that really obnoxious accent everybody uses when they want to sound like Imagine Dragons, the advent of “trap”, the rise and fall of “bro country”, the rock genre being handed over to the Swedes because American acts like Five Finger Death Punch, Halestorm, and Pop Evil are seriously the best America can do (according to Kansas City radio anyway)…  Hell, the only GOOD things that came out of the 2010s, as far as music goes, is a toss up between “djent”, and Ninja Sex Party.  And for the sake of this ranting raving lunacy I’m calling a concert review, I’m going to say NSP was definitely the best.

NSP has been around since at least 2009, but I personally didn’t hear about them until 2015.  By then, they had two albums in the bucket, and were in the process of pimping their recently released third album, “Attitude City”, everywhere they could.  While I arrived to the party late, the important thing is the party was still happening, and about three years later (give or take), I got to see them live.  And at The Midland of all places.  By KC standards, you know you’ve arrived when you play a venue like The Midland.  It’s not the arena KC folk affectionately call “The Amphitheater Formerly Known as Sandstone”, but it’s definitely up there.

This was a show that was just nonstop.  As a metal guy, I’m used to there being pauses in between bands while the roadies tune up their instruments and make sure the amps haven’t exploded yet.  But I guess when keytars and drum machines are your instruments, there’s very little tuning that needs to be done.  The closest thing to a breather the audience got was Tupperwear Remix Party’s over-indulgent ten minutes of blue light and repetitive noise.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The show opened with a group I’d never even heard of until that night: a little act known as Booty Patrol.  And that right there is another aspect of the 2010s: the rise in popularity of buttcheeks.  I hesitate to say I don’t get it, largely because there was a time in my life where I myself would’ve probably considered myself an ass guy.  Still, this obsession that the 2010s inflicted on us as a people…  Well, there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing, you know.

Booty Patrol is a group of people who take this cultural fascination, and crank it to eleven.  Their set design, according to a friend, even included a butt-shaped disco ball.  Their set was short, but it was an enjoyable act.  As much as I love to support local, independent, or even just favorite musicians, though, I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of their merchandise on the grounds that walking around with a shirt reading “Booty Patrol” is just asking for an ass kicking from some ultra uptight MeToo type.

TWRP came up next.  I’ve seen these guys live before, and my only real complaint about their performance is the previously mentioned intro.  For TEN STRAIGHT MINUTES!, the stage is empty, the lights are blue, and all you hear is this extremely repetitive beat.  If this is part of the joke…  Honestly, it’s more tedious than funny.

However, aside from that bit, TWRP put on a great show.  Basically, TWRP is the unholy love child of Saturday morning cartoons and Daft Punk.  For some, that’s plenty.  For the rest, all I can say is check them out when they come to your town.

And of course, there was the main event of the evening: Ninja Sex Party.  This was well worth the wait.

NSP was part concert, part epic battle between the team of NSP and TWRP against the evil Lasersaurus.  It was a spectacle that rivaled such epic stage battles as Tenacious D facing off against the dreaded Beelzaboss.

Other highlights included audience members performing The Cool Patrol Dance during the performance of their song “Cool Patrol”, a slow piano rendition of their classic song “Dinosaur Laser Fight”, and of course, my current favorite song of theirs, “Danny Don’t You Know”.

The show overall, regardless of who was playing on stage, was deadest on assuring the audience that they were all beautiful in their own way, and that the power of positivity will overcome all the naye sayers and what not.  I’m not saying I’m against this message (far from it), but man, I am SOOO not used to this sort of thing.  There’s a lot of factors adding in to that feeling of weirdness.

A. I was born out in Western Kansas.  AKA, Catholic country.  One of the first things you learn out there, even if you aren’t Catholic, is shame.  Probably another reason why I didn’t want to get a Booty Patrol shirt.

B. I was a child of the 90s, and a lot of the popular music of the time was stuff like Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana.  Not exactly upbeat cheerful music.

C. The majority of my high school years were spent hanging around metal heads.  As I’ve said countless times: metal heads hate everything.  Including, but not limited to, other metal heads.

Basically, I’m not hardwired to think positively and have pride in myself.  I’m not ASHAMED of myself, mind you, but I’m not exactly popping out of a paper mashay egg, waving a purple flag, and hugging everyone in arm’s reach or anything, either.

I’m not sure if this is the 2010s assuring people that shame is an obsolete concept, or if this is all part of the loud and angry fuck you we hand out to Donald Trump on a regular basis…  Although Danny of NSP did basically include the phrase “fuck politics” in his intro to “Danny Don’t You Know”.

If there was one regret I have about the entire show, it was probably not being able to hit the merch stand after NSP left the stage.  And that’s as far as I’m going to get into that tangent, because it was an awesome show, and I’m not going to let petty things like where someone decided to park get in the way.  Would’ve been nice to snag one of those exclusive copies of the new NSP album, though.  Or even a T-shirt.

Yeah, I won’t buy a shirt reading “Booty Patrol”, but I’ll totally buy a shirt reading “Ninja Sex Party”.  I’m sure there’s a double standard in there for some, but really, the term Ninja Sex Party leaves more to the imagination.  Also, I only had enough money for one.

NSP in KC was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to in my life.  I can’t remember the last time I came home with no voice, sweating like a fountain, and proud of it.  I really hope they come back to KC soon.

Slobberknocker: My Thoughts

Jim Ross: AKA, “Good ol’ JR”, is one of the greatest wrestling commentators of my generation.  Joey Styles is an extreme (no pun intended) close second, but Jim Ross just takes the crown.  There were many times in my middle and high school years when I sat down, watched me some Monday Night Raw, and let JR take me on a journey into the wonderful world of Vince McMahon’s one ring circus that is WWE.  Or WWF as it was known back in those days.  Michael Cole, god bless him, just doesn’t have the same ora of pure personality behind his commentary by comparison.  When Mankind fell off the Hell in a Cell, Jim Ross sold the shit out of it.  partly because, according to his book, he wasn’t in on what they were going to do, but all the same, he sold the shit out of that fall.  Cole, or the guy on Smackdown would probably settle for just going deathly quiet on the grounds this is super serious and requires us to be super professional.   Michael Cole screaming “AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, THAT MAN IS BROKEN IN HALF!” is like hearing a cat bark at the mail man.

Seriously, I could go on for fucking ever about JR’s commentary.  But then you’d have no insentive to read the book.

Suffice to say, there’s a lot of stories in this book I’d never heard before.  Primarily around Mid South Wrestling: JR’s first job, and the king of the Oklahoma territory back when terratories were a thing.

Honestly, had I known about Leroy McGuirk: blind color commentator, I probably would’ve pursued my teenaged dream of doing color commentary for pro-wrestling a lot more passionately.  I mean hell, to hear it from Slobberknocker, Leeroy had less vision than I did!  If a 100% blind guy could do color commentary, than surely, my one-eyed ass could do it, right?  Ugh, this is what I get for listening to my parents.  Oh well: multiverse theory dictates there’s probably a version of me that gave it a try.  I hope it turned out well for alternate me.

Some stories in Slobberknocker, though, are pretty unpleasant.  IE, the story of Grisley Smith’s…  Addictions.

There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that I’d never known about, either.  IE, JR’s crippling depression brought on by his second bell’s palsy attack.  It probably gives away the ending of the story, but it’s amazing to think that Wrestlemania15 was originally going to be his last commentary gig ever.  Crazy.

I bought this book on a Saturday, and I finished it yesterday.  There was never a dull moment.

The book is mostly read by Jim Ross himself.  Admittedly, it’s very obvious that he has the book, or at least prompts in front of him as he’s reading.  His style of commentary is something that’s stuck with me over the ages, but his reading style…  Well, it doesn’t leave anything to be desired, but you can tell when a guy like JR is reading from a card.  But in the end, it wasn’t bad.  Hell, he didn’t even have to get on the mic and do the audiobook, really.  But he did, and I appreciate that so much.

I think I’ve brought this up before, but it really makes it special when the author of an autobiography, regardless of the subject, goes out of their way to read their own story for the audiobook.  Sure, they might not be the best reader on the planet (Cough cough Daniel Bryan cough), but at least they made the effort.  More than I can say for some people, Hardcore Holly.

I highly recommend this book.

After On: My Thoughts

Whew boy, this book was an ordeal.  People who follow me on my Twitter (@ThomasJBlack1) watched me struggle with this one in realtime, but for those who don’t give a fuck about Twitter and prefer blog posts featuring paragraphs of text all in one place…  Yeah, this book was a chore.

I’ve mentioned before that nonsequential story telling is a pet pieve of mine.  Admittedly, this one does it better than most…  Sometimes.  As far as Mitchel’s high school romance storyline goes, at least I had warning that we were going to be spending several chapters jumping to the past.  More than I can say for the unfolding epic of Epetstore.com’s demise, anyway.

This is one of those stories where they just dump a bunch of random shit in your lap in the early going, and expect you to figure out how to put it together as the story unfolds.  I seriously thought the epic saga of Brock Hogan was happening in reality alongside Mitchel’s company getting eaten by Phluttr Inc.  Only to figure out later (several chapters before the book just outright tells you, mind you) that Brock Hogan is actually just the CEO’s terrible scifi creative writing.  The Amazon.com reviews included in the book, while amusing enough, take a while before you figure out what purpose they serve to the plot.  Before then, they just feel intrusive, and maybe even counterintuitive to the story.

Another pet pieve of mine that I might or might not have gotten in to in this blog as a whole is present tense narration.  Plenty of GOOD stories suffer from this pet pieve of mine, and a lot of them are very noir esque.  This seems to be a trope of the young adult genre, and it just reaks of laziness.

In the case of After On, the present tense narration is compounded by the fact the narrator is FUCKING ANNOYING!.  Eventually, you figure out the artificial intelligence that eventually becomes known as Phluttr is the one narrating.  That doesn’t improve anything, but…  Well…  No, that doesn’t improve anything.  Seriously, the narrator for The Powerpuff Girls wasn’t this fourth wall breaking and excessively biased.

I’m aware that unreliable narration is a concept, but much like nonsequential storytelling, it’s one of those things that needs to be done right in order to work.  William fucking Faulkner couldn’t even make it work, and I love Faulkner.  After On is no Faulkner, though, and I’m made aware of it with every paragraph.

This book was featured in my scifi-fantasy book club.  Other criticisms, such as the author’s unhealthy obsession with “info dumping” were brought up.  I personally could look past the fictional disease of the protagonist (Folkenberg’s Syndrome, I think it was called), if only because of all the things that annoy me about this book, that one annoyed me the least.  It’s not a real condition, but whatever.  Don’t care

One person in the group even went on an EXTREMELY long tangent about how Phluttr could communicate with every country in the world, and understand every culture’s language querks and cultural taboos was flat out absurd.  Seriously, the last time I heard someone go on a tangent this long and ridiculously over thought out, one of my best friends was trying to explain how Ron and Hermione should’ve never ended up together on the grounds “opposites attract” is pure and absolute bunk.  In his defense, though, he has aspergers syndrome, and really wanted Harrymione to be a ship (I guess).  And in defense of the person arguing the Phluttr case, foreign language is apparently the thing she nerds out over the hardest.  She herself even admitted it on at least three occasions since I’ve met her.

Still, that may be something to keep in mind.

The audiobook is read by a ridiculous amount of people.  I’m going to guess January LaVoy is the one who reads about eighty-five percent of the book.  It also features Felicia Day: famous for…  Uh…  Some reason.  And I’m sure this was the case BEFORE she appeared on the reboot of MST3K, or her appearances in Ninja Sex Party videos.  I guess she hosted a podcast or something?  In any case, Day reads all the Netgrrrl posts, and she reads them all through a voice filter.

My favorite of all the narrators of this book, though, has got to be Jesse Cox as the guy who reads all the Whistleblower posts.  This guy right here steals the show.  You can just hear the capslock key being glued permenantly to the ON position once he starts up.  Whistleblower ITSELF is like listening to Alex Jones, if the roided up gorilla knew the first thing about computers.  Considering he doesn’t know the first thing about FROGS, I imagine he doesn’t stand a chance, but I’ve been proven wrong before, so…

So yeah, they really went all out with this audiobook.  It’s just too bad this thing ended up being such a fucking headache to get through.  I’m genuinely impressed with myself that I made it through this book.  If it weren’t on my cell phone, I’d have probably chucked this fucking thing against the wall at least twice in the process of reading it, it was so tedious.

I can’t recommend this book.  At all.  Don’t get suckered into the dare.

Oh yeah, this book actually dares you to read it at the beginning.  Did I forget to mention that?  You know you’re going to be in for a bad time when the author of the book has to DARE you to read his own book.  You DARE people to read Battlefield Earth.  You DARE people to read The Naked Lunch (spoiler: it’s not as sexy as you think it’s going to be).  You DARE people to read Confessions of an Economic Hitman.  You DARE people to read The Satanic Bible.  You DARE people to read Atlas Shrugged.  If you have to DARE people to read YOUR BOOK, that doesn’t reflect all that good on you as an author.

So yeah, don’t accept the dare.  Just walk away, and find something else to read.  It’s not worth it!

The Golem and the Jinni: My Thoughts

I pose this question to you, dear reader: Have you ever read a book that had a good idea, an interesting story, and had everything going for it…  But you just can’t get in to it despite all that?  You know in your heart of hearts this story is good, but you just can’t get anything out of it?  This is basically my relationship with The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

The plot is pretty straight forward.  Some guy in…  I guess it’d technically be Palastine at the time the story takes place?  Either way, he makes a golem: a construct of clay and other assorted materials that is brought to life for the single purpose of serving its master.  Unfortunately, this golem’s master suffers a heart attack on his way to America, and now the golem is forced to wander around 1910s New York wondering what it ought to do with all this confounded freedom.

Elsewhere, a jinni from the Syrian desert is released from his prison, and finds himself just as puzzled about what to do with his newfound freedom.

Eventually, the two meet…  And that’s about as far in to the story as I got.  I don’t know why, but despite this interesting premise, I just couldn’t get in to this story.  I ended up setting the book down around chapter fourteen, and I haven’t picked it up since.

This isn’t really a review, so much as it is me wondering out loud if I’m weird.  I’m sure everybody’s encountered this at least once with a book, or a movie, or a TV show, or literally any other form of entertainment. This happened to be mine.

Furthermore, I’m apparently the weirdo because literally everybody else I’ve talked to loves this book.  Even if they didn’t finish it at the time I spoke to them, they just adore everything about this story.  And the strange thing is that I agree with them on just about every point.

The only real negative I can think of is that the story has a hard time staying on topic.  Yeah, ME, the guy who prides himself on his barely coherent stream of consciousness both in his blogging and his podcast, is criticizing someone for drifting off topic.  But I stay pretty coherent in my story telling, at least.

This book will focus on the golem, or the jinni, as it should.  It’ll also focus on the golem’s maker, and the man the jinni is working for in exchange for room and bord, which is understandable.  I’m going to guess people like the Syrian doctor turned ice cream maker has something to do with the plot, because diversions like his seem flat out unnecessary.  The author explains his story from his days as a doctor all the way to how he came to live in New York making ice cream, and all I can think is “Um, weren’t we talking about a fucking golem and/or a jinni three pages ago?”.

I am on record saying nonsequential story telling is a bit of a pet pieve of mine.  Flashbacks are fine (lord knows I’ve used flashbacks in my writing before), but for fuck sakes, tell the story in order!  You’re not deep, you’re not smart, you’re a pretentious douchebag!

Other than this major nitpick, though, this is a story I know I should like…  And yet, I don’t.

The audiobook is narrated by George Guidal.  I think he’s narrated a couple other books I’ve reviewed here, and liked, which is equally puzzling.

This might be one of those moments where I suggest just picking it up for yourself.  Clearly, I’m no help.

Invader ZIM Movie? Really?

 

Invader ZIM, for the lamens, is a show that used to air on Nickelodeon back in 2001.  The title character, Zim, is a member of the Irken Empire: a galactic empire so expansive, they conquer entire planets just to turn them into parking garages and fast food restaurants.  Operation: Impending Doom II is their latest campaign of conquest…  But rather than include Zim, the proverbial village idiot, they instead send him in the exact opposite direction of the invasion fleet, and give him a defective helper droid to further the illusion that he’s helping.  They originally think they’re sending him directly into a sun, but he actually ends up on Earth, and begins the process detailed in Operation: Impending Doom II.  Shinanigans ensue.  Particularly when you take into account Dib: an earthling whose fondness for conspiracy theories has made him the laughing stock of society.

Invader ZIM was a show I didn’t really get to see when it was new.  I’m not even all that sure why, for that matter.  My only theory is by 2001, I was a Cartoon Network guy.  It wasn’t until the launch of Nicktoons TV: a sister network of Nickelodeon’s, and a dumping ground for all their old cartoons…  At first.  Nowadays, it’s basically “the other Nickelodeon”.  But I digress.

It wasn’t till Nicktoons TV came into existence when I started watching Invader ZIM.  I got to say, I’m legitimately surprised this show even made it on to Nickelodeon in the first place.  This show is fucking dark!

True, Nicktoons got away with adult innuendo in the past.  I could point you to several episodes of Rocko’s Modern Life, or Ren and Stimpy, for example.  Invader ZIM does have its share of innuendo jokes.  IE, Dib insisting no human has a “squeetilyspooch” (don’t quote me on the spelling of that), only for his little sister to say “I have a squeetilyspooch”.  Subtle, by the way.

However, there’s adult innuendo, and then there’s just outright dark.  And the darkest a nicktoon ever got prior to Invader ZIM, according to my memory, was that episode of Ren and Stimpy featuring “Eggyokio”.  Trust me, it takes a lot to get ME disturbed, but that episode did it.

So yeah, Invader ZIM set a benchmark for just how much you could get away with in a cartoon I’m pretty sure was supposed to be for kids.  I wasn’t really disturbed by any episodes or anything like that, but there were several times I watched this show, and the first thought in my head was “you sure this is for kids?”.

Of course I say that, knowing full well that there was a time I could relate to Zim.  Much like him, I was a dumb, neurotic little thirteen-year-old doing his best to fit in with a bunch of taller assholes who literally wanted nothing to do with me.  The difference being that in my experience, they weren’t even subtle about it.  I was just an idiot, trying his best to fit into a society that SOMEHOW managed to be even stupider than I was.  In the case of Invader ZIM, it was a society that chose its leadership based on who the tallest of the Irkens was, and that’s it.  In middle and high school culture, it’s more about coolness, but coolness, in the grand scheme, might as well be based on tallness.  It’s equally absurd.

Dib, weirdly enough, was also someone I could relate to.  I’ve never been one for conspiracy theories, but if you replace CONSPIRACY THEORIES with PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING, then yeah, I was Dib, too.  Dib is such an unpopular, hated, and overall unwanted individual that the entirety of his class will sit on one side of the bus in order to avoid sitting on the same side as Dib.  I never had a sister, but I imagine if I did, she’d probably be just as annoyed with me as Gaz is with Dib.

And can I just say, who fucking named these kids!?  Dib?  Gaz?

There’s a lot going for this show…  Unfortunately, there’s a lot going AGAINST it as well.  Specifically, this show was largely responsible for the “random = funny” mentality injected into everyone’s brain.  If it wasn’t ZIM, it was probably Family Guy, but I noticed more of this from the ZIM fanbase.  Sometimes, it worked.  IE, filling ZIM’s defective robot with random clutter instead of traditional S.I.R. chips that resulted in it becoming GIR.  Other times, it just left me wondering what the joke was.  IE, one episode where ZIM decided to call his masters while wearing a bearsuit.  Um, why?  What was the point of the bear suit?  Other than “OMG, LAWL!  SO RANDOM!”, obviously.

Invader ZIM wasn’t the worst of it…  But it was definitely a victim of its time in that regard.  And really, nobody is immune to the threat of becoming dated.  IE, the book After On made references to backpages.com and the “casual encounters” section of Craigslist, only for said section of Craigslist to get shut down, and Backpages.com to get seized by the United States government and its CEO sentenced to, like, twenty years or something for sex trafficking a year after it was published.  So yeah, it happens to the best of us.  I suspect my own writing will probably show its age one day, assuming it hasn’t already.

ZIM lasted a couple years, and while the reruns get pulled up every now and then, it mostly remains as is.  As it should, honestly.  It had a good run, and it’s remembered fondly today by its little community of fans.  Fans who have a tendency to get on my fucking nerves, but fans all the same.

Unfortunately, we’re living in the 2010s.  And one thing about the 2010s I’ve learned is that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, knows how to stay dead.  Enter this:

 

Yip, sixteen years after most normal people have moved on to greener pastures, they decided to bring it back.  Because somebody higher up was popping memberberries one day, and said “Hey, I memba Invada ZIM!  I loved that shit!”.

Yes, I know it’s a made for TV movie.  I haven’t heard anything beyond the fact this is going to be a thing, so for all I know, this is probably the one and only thing that’ll come of it.

More likely, I suspect that this will be the beginning of something bigger.  Nickelodeon had already announced they were thinking pretty hard about resurrecting Rocko’s Modern Life from the dead.  Because lord knows SOMEBODY was asking for it.  I’d heard they were thinking about the same for Ren and Stimpy, but I never heard one way or the other if they were actually going to go through with that.  Really, considering how much grief that show gave the network, I’m surprised by that, but I guess if my generation are the adults now, and my generation isn’t up its own ass with sanctimonious conservative parent signaling…  I’m getting off topic.  Basically, resurrecting Invader ZIM from the dead is a thing I’m sure is about to happen.

I really would’ve thought people have learned their lesson about resurrecting properties from the dead by now.  It didn’t work out for Family Guy, it didn’t work out for Robocop, it didn’t work out for Karate Kid, it DEFINITELY didn’t work out with Ghostbusters (gender swopping the cast probably didn’t help any, either), It’s not working out for Transformers, it’s apparently not working out for Command and Conquer…  You get the idea.

Basically, the whole reboot fad, memberberry culture, Generation: Nostalgia, or whatever the fuck you want to call it, isn’t working out.  You want to know why everything seems so blique, unappealing, and why so many people just aren’t as enthusiastic about life?  I’m sure things like the opioid epidemic, Twitter consuming our lives (he says knowing full well he has one now), a generation of war in Afghanistan, and having a dipshit like Donald fucking Trump as our president constantly embarrassing this country at every turn while everybody on the opposite side devours the neoliberal agenda of banging the war drum for a conflict with Russia are primary causes.  However, another bulletpoint to add to that list is that there’s nothing new to sink my teeth into.  Everything that was around when I was a kid is around as an adult.  There’s nothing new to experience, because everybody thinks I want to watch the same old shit over and over again.  Well if I wanted THAT, I’d just buy the DVD boxset of the old shit!  I don’t want to see a show from 2001 in 2018 try to adapt to the times.  especially the way things are now, they’ll probably PC the shit out of it.  Or they’ll make the Irkens an allegory for the Trump administration.  Because fucking EVERYTHING is an allegory for the Trump administration now.

Will the movie suck?  Probably not.  I don’t have cable anymore, so odds are I won’t even see it until someone like Mars Reviews or The Mysterious Mr. Enter reviews it, or someone uploads it to YouTube in its entirety.  Of course, the latter implies I even WANT to look it up in the first place.

I feel like I go on this rant every other month anymore.  Not so much about Invader ZIM, but with the whole Generation: Nostalgia thing.

Realm of the War Pigs Sample Chapter!

When it comes to sample chapters, this one was a hard one to choose from.  Out of an entire manuscript, I usually have a good idea of what I want for a sample chapter.  Barring that, I have two candidates, and I usually keep the runner-up for something like a change in schedule, or if a cover artist can’t make the deadline for some reason.

This time around, though, I found FOUR POSSIBLE CANDIDATES!  I might even post the other three if I think they’re worth it.  Right now, though, I finally decided on a sample chapter, and I’m posting it here for all of your viewing pleasure.

DISCLAIMER: the following text comes from my second draft.  Upon publication, it is very likely that the version of this chapter that appears in the final product may not be exactly like, or ANYTHING like the chapter featured here.  Also note that, since this is the second draft, there are probably some typos I haven’t gotten around to cleaning up just yet.  It isn’t perfect, but for those wondering what’s in store, this should give you a good idea.

 

 

COPYRIGHT THOMAS J. BLACK, 2018, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

4

 

 

It came as no surprise to me that the lights had been cut off. Grandfather was deceased: deceased people have no use for lights. I had hoped that he’d gotten the bills paid for at least one more month, or even one more week, but it turned out that this was asking for too much.

Dan and Hamburger turned their cell phones’ flashlights on, and proceeded with caution from that point onward. They pointed them every which way as they investigated. I wasn’t entirely certain what the two were looking for, but it was clear to me right out the gate these guys knew what they were doing. They talked about that Satannic cult like it was all part of the job, whatever that might be.

We looked through the kitchen, but all we found was that the refrigerator and cubbards had been emptied. Hamburger made a remark about ordering pizza as they continued their search. The living room seemed okay. The bedrooms, both upstairs and on the ground floor, seemed fine. The study was okay, despite a few books being scattered about the place. It wasn’t until we checked the basement, though, when we found something.

My grandfather really only had two major rules in his house: no pets, and stay out of the basement. I wasn’t sure why, but assumed he had his reasons. Uncle Roy, tactless and vulgar as he could be after a couple beers, assumed Grandfather Klein kept his pornography in the basement. I didn’t believe him, but I didn’t exactly dispute this claim, either, figuring it wasn’t impossible.

Sadly, what we found was far worse than pornography. Really, putting aside my prudishness, pornography wouldn’t have been all that bad. Especially compared to what we ended up finding down there.

The basement seemed darker than normal. Even taking into account that it was pretty much evening, the basement had no windows, and the electricity had been cut, it seemed dark. Like somehow, the darkness was an entity unto itself that somehow made it even darker.

Also, there was a smell. An overpowering oder that threatened to make me wretch my guts out wofted through the basement. Suggesting that something died might not have been out of the realm of impossibility.

“Yip,” said Hamburger, shining the flashlight around. “This is definitely the source of it all. If we were using torches right now, the dark would’ve snuffed them out the moment we hit the bottom step, I reckon.”

“What have we got?” Dan asked.

Hamburger shined his light around. The walls were stone, gray, and dull compared to the more vibrant colors upstairs. Something caught my eye, though, and it caught Hamburger’s as well.

Throughout the basement, someone had apparently drawn on the walls with chalk. It didn’t take a detective’s sharp vision to figure out what had been drawn. Whoever had been down here, doodling on the walls, they’d drawn large rectangles on several spots. They started at the floor, and went way up over my head.

“Oh boy,” said Hamburger, dreadfully. “Looks like someone’s been experimenting with doorways.”

“Doorways?” I asked.

“We’ll explain later,” Dan said before Hamburger could answer. “We need to finish looking around here first. How many doors are…”

“Oh shit,” Hamburger interrupted. “We got a blood door.”

Dan and I walked over to where Hamburger was standing. He was shining his flashlight on another rectangle drawn on the wall. Unlike the others, though, it wasn’t drawn in chalk. If I had to guess, it was drawn in red paint.

“This just got serious,” said Dan.

“Oh golly jeepers gee fucking whiz, you think?” Hamburger replied, more concerned than anything else. “You don’t fuck around with the kind of things that can use blood doors, you know.”

“Oh I know,” said Dan.

“Bad enough he was making chalk doors,” Hamburger mumbled. “If it were up to me, nobody would be fucking around with that sort of magic either, but at least with chalk doors, nothing especially nasty can pass through it. Best case scenario, he probably just used these things to visit friends who live in other parts of the country.”

“And the worst case?” I found myself asking.

“Worst case scenario, he punched a hole into an alternate reality. But even then, it’s one of the safer alternate realities. Well, unless the reality where Benito Mussolini’s Italy became the world’s greatest superpower after World War II counts as safe, but that’s probably a matter of perspective. In any case, that’s the worst of the chalk doorways. The blood doorway…”

A loud, inhuman shriek of a noise cut him off, and demanded our immediate attention. We all spun around, and Hamburger pointed his light at what had so clearly made that horrible sound.

It looked like a man, but no one I’d met before. He wore a suit and tie that was caked with filth and blood. The moment he came into view, the smell of death became significantly more overwhelming than before. The light from Hamburger’s flashlight was at odds with the humanoid’s red glowing eyes.

“Get back!” Dan shouted.

Before either of us could do as we were told, he took aim with his shotgun, fired off a shot, and reduced the creature’s head to a myst of putrescence. The creature didn’t have blood, per say. Rather, a sort of black ooze and a swarm of maggots seemed to spray out from the shotgun blast.

I was already having a difficult time trying not to vomit from the smell alone. The creature’s exploding head, and the contents that spraid outward was enough to see to it that I’d lose that struggle. Suffice to say, Burger King doesn’t taste as good coming up as it does going down.

“Sorry,” I said afterward, wiping my mouth off on my forearm.

“Honestly, said Dan, “I’d have been shocked if a normy like you didn’t puke after something like that.”

I found myself immediately full of emotions and thoughts that demanded the floor, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Feelings of terror, and thoughts of what other unspeakable things lurked down here.   feelings of confusion as well as betrayal, and thoughts of what sort of reason Grandfather could’ve possibly had for keeping such things down here. It left me in a cold sweat.

“We need to go upstairs right now,” Hamburger ordered.

 

 

 

We practically ran upstairs after that, slamming the door behind us for good measure. The next thing I knew, Hamburger grabbed me by the wrist, dragged me into the living room, and practically shoved me onto the couch. I landed rear first on the throw pillow, giving him a look that couldn’t begin to properly convey my perplexity at this sudden aggression.

“What the fuck is your family doing?” Hamburger demanded, loudly.

“Whoa, calm down, Burger,” said Dan.

Hamburger’s head whipped around to look at Dan. “Shut up, Dan!” he shouted. He whipped back around to look at me, and it was then I realized how dead serious he was. The jovial tone that accompanied his every sentence since the moment I’d first met the man was long gone now, and in its place was a fury I wasn’t prepared to deal with.

“What the hell has your family been doing?” he repeated, more angrily than before if such a thing were possible.

“I… I don’t know!” I replied, startled. “I just thought that was where grandfather kept his pornography or something!”

Hamburger laughed. “Whatever perverted shit your grand dad was in to goes well beyond gawking at naked ladies. You don’t fuck around with the sort of shit we saw down there. We haven’t even been here an hour, and I’ve already found out your grand dad not only necromanced a guy, but he also turned his basement into a transdimensional nexus of horrors!”

“We don’t know where those chalk doors lead,” Dan interjected.

Hamburger looked back over to his companion. “Maybe not,” he replied, “but that blood door is the kind of thing that says you mean business! This ain’t no frat boy Ouija board party: this here’s some appocolyptic bullshit!”

Dan shrugged. “Fair enough,” he conceded. “That blood door is definitely cause for concern.”

“None of this makes sense!” I protested. “My grandfather isn’t some sort of necromancer.”

Hamburger laughed again. “Your grand pappy’s well past necromancer at this point,” he said. “Pretty sure somewhere down the line, he officially graduated to doomsday cult status. And I don’t mean one of them Heaven’s Gate cults, neither. I mean real life Cthulhu worshipper level doomsday cult.”

“I… But… What do we do now?” Was all I could stammer out.

Hamburger looked at Dan. “Yeah, fearless leader,” he said, the anger in his voice finally beginning to subside. “What do we do?”

Dan pulled out his cell phone. “First thing’s first,” he said. “We get the electricity turned back on, and we get the fridge stocked back up. Looks like we have our next assignment.”

“you seriously don’t think the two of us can fix all this,” said Hamburger.

“No, dipshit,” said Dan. “I’m calling in the cavalry. We’re going to need all the help we can get on this one.”

The Summer of “Math Horror”?

It’s only been one month in what we normally consider “the summer months”, but as I look through all my favorite Let’s Players on YouTube, I see a fascinating trend.  A trend that I personally refer to as “Math horror”.  What is math horror, you ask?  Well, allow me to explain.

Somewhere around early June (possibly earlier), I became aware of a game known as Baldy’s Basics in Education and Learning.  It’s often abbreviated to simply Baldy’s Basics, and I plan on using that from this point onward.  It’s a game that has stolen the hearts, and the imaginations of countless people on YouTube, and it’s not necessarily hard to see why.

Baldy’s Basics, in short, is what you get when 1990s edutainment games and Slenderman have a baby.  You have the popular Slenderman trope of wandering around some random location, collecting seven things, all the while avoiding the big scary dude who wants to eat your face off or whatever.  Then you have the edutainment portion of the hybrid, where in Baldy makes you do math problems before you can truly collect the thing.  Not to mention everything in this game looks like it was drawn in Paintbrush (the drawing program that would eventually become MSpaint).

I myself am very familiar with the old edutainment games.  Being the son of a first grade teacher, my mom often used me as a test audience for videos she thought about showing to her class, or games she thought about putting on the computer (more so the first one).  I played with such forgettable “games” like Hanging Out at the Treehouse, Fatty Bear, and…  Well okay, I forgot the name of it, but it was basically a Busy Town game.  Some of these were adequate, although I never really felt like I was learning anything outside how the game itself worked.  Others…  Were dumb at best, and patronizing at worst.  But regardless, this is not unfamiliar territory for me.

Then we get to the Slenderman portion.  I’m just going to come out and say it: I never understood the appeal of Slenderman.  I mean yeah, the idea of being chased around by a big spooky scary guy who wants to murder me to pieces is fine, but why am I collecting these notes?  How the hell did I end up in this forest?  What did I do to make Slendy so god damn angry at me!?  Or is it more of a wrong place at the worst possible time sort of deal?  It’s one of those concepts where when you’re booting it up for the first time, it’s fun, it gives you a scare, and you’re willing to forgive things like the abstract nature and the udder lack of plot…  But when you decide to play it MORE than once, it kind of starts to unwravel.  Especially if you’re like me, and find yourself overthinking things.

Also, Slenderman has been around long enough to where the fan games and the spin-offs wore out their welcome a long time ago.

The first time I watched a Baldy’s Basics playthrough, I was suspecting it was going to be more of the same.  Collect seven notebooks while something spooky chases you.  And yes, that technically is what Baldy’s Basics does.  However, there’s so much more to Baldy’s Basics than just the standard Slenderman ripoff formula.

For starters, there’s other characters whose one goal in life is to inconvenience you EVEN MORE than the angry bald guy in the green sweater ominously slapping the ruler on his palm, reminding you that he’s going to “spank your rump” the moment he catches you.  You’ve got a principal who monitors the halls to make sure you can’t run, or use items like soda to repel Baldy, or food to regain stamina.  You’ve got a little girl who seems oblivious to the fact you’re about to get spanked into oblivion, and wants you to stop and play jump rope with her.  You’ve got a bully that swipes items from your inventory.  Recently, the developer added a…  Robot, thingy, that can either give you a speed boost, or smoosh you in a corner and leave you a prime target for Baldy.

Then, there’s the math problems.  You have to do math in order to collect the notebooks, and at least one out of every three problems is complete and total jibberish.  [INSERT ALGEBRA JOKE HERE.]  The more problems you get wrong, the angrier, and the faster Baldy gets.

The math problems are what have led to a lot of intrigue with Baldy’s basics.  I’ve heard people liken Baldy’s Basics as a whole as an allegory of American education.  IE, you don’t learn anything in school because it’s useful, but rather, because society beats you to the ground if you don’t.  Then you exit school, and realize you didn’t even NEED a generous chunk of what you learned there.  [INSERT ANOTHER ALGEBRA JOKE HERE.]

Another theory I’ve heard is that Baldy HIMSELF is an allegory for the frustrated teacher.  The teacher who wants his children to learn, but gets frustrated to death with the fact his kids are dumdums, or government keeps flopping down nonsensical standardized testing like No Child Left Behind or Common Core, etc.  So much so, in fact, that when a child can’t even do basic math, it sends him in a rage.

Whether these, and other theories are what the developer was going for, or if this is typical game theorist “seeking meaning where there is no meaning for that sweet sweet YouTube revenue” fair is something that either remains to be seen at the time I’m writing this, or has been explained and I just don’t know where to look.  Either way, it really says something about your game when people are trying to find meaning in a game mostly designed to be a cheap edutainment themed Slenderman clone.

In recent days, I’ve found that the fan community has begun the march towards Baldy fan games.  For the most part, these fan games focus more on concepts like “play the game as Baldy”, or “play the game as the principal”.  All novel ideas on paper, but they wear out their welcome within the first minute or so.

However, there are newer games that basically lift the concept of doing math and running from not-Slenderman popping up here and there.  The most well known of which being Advanced Learning with Victor Strobovski.

Strobovski takes the Baldy’s Basics formula of having to do math and running for your life, but cranks up the creepy factor even more by making the school look even more grotesque, and cranks up the difficulty even more by adding a SECOND antagonist who wants you to forget about running for your life and attending his cooking class.  Otherwise, he comes looking for you, drags you to the cafeteria, and kills you himself.  I think.  Also, the principal’s detention system comes with warnings now, and while nobody I’ve seen has maxed out their warnings, I’m about ninety-nine percent positive that three warnings results in you getting killed to death.

On top of the horrors of the school itself being ramped up to impossible levels, the math problems are significantly harder, too.  Not exactly algebra, of course, but definitely more advanced than Baldy’s 2+5 and 5-3.

While Victor Strobovski is the only other game like this I’ve found so far, I know trends.  And I have a really good feeling that the trend of math horror will only grow from here.  We will most certainly see other math horror games throughout the summer, and possibly even the rest of 2018.  A lot of them will suck, no doubt, but whether the game sucks or is actually halfway good is irrelevant.  Math horror is popular right now, and the likes of Markiplier, JackSepticEye, PewdiePie, and 2LesbiansPlay will probably be subjecting us to a lot of it in the oncoming weeks.

As it stands right now, though, I’m okay with that.  So far, the concept has held my attention, and I’ve liked what people have come up with so far.  Much like the Five Nights at Freddy’s games, I can guarantee immediately that these games will wear out their welcome just as quickly, but for now, I’m liking this concept a lot.  Probably because I’m not much of a math person.

 

Do I REALLY Want a Twitter Account?

I’ve contemplated getting a Twitter for the longest time, but it seems like the more I think about it, the less I really want one.

I’ve tried other avenues of social media to promote myself or my projects, and have found the results…  Mixed.

I’ll try to keep my opinions brief (I could go on article long rants on each one of these individual services probably), but here’s the situation.

Currently, I use Facebook, and nothing else.  It was working pretty good when I started, and I have a following there.  I’m not one of those crybabies who’s about to whine and complain about FB censoring my right to freedom because they won’t let me shout and post racist shit on my profile while masterbating to pictures of Donald Trump and Pepe the Frog anymore, but at the same time, it pisses me off I have to “boost” posts to get any attention outside my followers.  Boosting, for the record, costs about ten bucks bare minimum.  Per post.  That fucking blows, I’ll agree.

I don’t use Instagram, because I’m not a very picture oriented person.

I don’t use Snapchat for more or less the same reason.  Also, everything I’ve heard about Snapchat sounds stupid.

I’ve played with Minds.com in the past.  The site ITSELF insists you boost like Facebook, but if you don’t have money, you can accumulate boost points that act as money.  Don’t quote me on this, but I think one hundred points is like one dollar, and you earn fifty points for logging in every hour.  People can donate points, though I have no idea how.  So it’s got that going for it.

It’s just too bad that Minds was a bit on the glitch side when I used it.  The glitches were pretty minor things (IE, the profile pic would never upload), and whoever programmed the site labeled the buttons in the source code with descriptions of what the buttons LOOK LIKE instead of what they ACTUALLY DO.  For a screen reader user, that’s pretty counterintuitive most of the time.  “Thumbs Up” and “Comment bubble” are pretty self explanatory, I’ll grant you, but what the hell does “red circle” mean?  What the hell does “downward arrow” mean?

And of course, there was the community itself.  Again, this was over a year ago, and the Kekistan crowd seems to have dissipated down to the extremely diehards who haven’t figured out the joke stopped being funny months ago (assuming it ever WAS funny in the first place).  Back then, though, it was in full effect.  And for every let’s player, or indie musician with something interesting to show off, there was some dipshit posting his favorite pro-Trump Condescending Wonkas or Skeptical Black Kid or whatever memes are popular with the kids now.  Yeah, no thanks.

Still, even if the Kekistani are in full force there, Minds is still a better community than fucking Gab.ai.

Jesus Christ, Gab.ai.  I still can’t remember the last time I ever felt more unwelcomed in a community.  Granted, nobody actually declared social media war on me there…  In fact, they pretty much ignored me completely.  Which is probably the best thing I could’ve hoped for.

It’s one thing to be a conservative, and I realize everybody sounds like an opinionated asshole on social media, but good lord!  Every single person on Gab sounded like they had an agenda, an axe to grind, or were just pissed off at the world.  Was it really THAT infuriating you got banned from Twitter?  Seriously, you guys went well out of your way to build your own version of Twitter!  Seems like there’s no need to be so god damn amped up for war.

Bottom line: I’m not touching Gab with a fifty foot poll, and I still can’t believe a friend of mine suggested I try it out.  He does realize I’m a lefty, right?  The Gab crowd would eat me alive if I made more of an effort to post anything beyond Incredible Hulk memes and talk about the that year’s world series.

As far as I know, Twitter is the only social networking site I haven’t used yet.  And I’ve refused to use it for such a long time on the grounds that Twitter is fucking stupid.

I like to rant, as this blog may indicate.  The last thing I want to do is count characters, and divide one rant into twelve tiny posts.  Also, Twitter has NEVER been a shining beacon of intelligent conversation.  Need proof?  Donald Trump uses it all the time!  If I needed proof that Twitter is a waste of time and energy, that right there tells me everything I need to know.

At the same time, though, I’ve thought about getting one for business purposes.  I could use it specifically to promote my books, or my podcast that I haven’t done since May, or even let people know I might be streaming something soon.  Or any other possible project.  Hell, I might even use it to bitch about the net neutrality repeal and jack off to The Vegas Golden Knights like I do on Facebook!

All I really know for now is I’m considering it.  If I do decide to do it, I’ll post a link to it all around so nobody is lost.  Hopefully.  We’ll see.

NEW PROJECT!: The Helen Tamzarian Papers

Earlier in the week, I mentioned I’d begun tinkering with a new project.  I also mentioned it doesn’t usually mean good things for said project when I’m working on something else right next to it, but compared to COLA, and The Grand Finale, this one is actually holding up so far.  Worst case scenario, I see myself taking a break from it when I run out of ideas, finishing Realm of the Warpigs like I probably ought to be, and coming back to it either when I’m done with Realm of the War Pigs, or till I acquire another spark of inspiration.

The second thing I’m working on right now is an idea for ANOTHER series.  I have yet to come up with a title for the book I’m currently working on, but the series title overall is The Helen Tamzarian Papers.

The story concept came to me while pondering one day: “What would the story of Superman look like if it was told from Lois Lane’s perspective?  And what if the Lois Lane character was a Hunter S. Thompson caliber trainwreck?”  Hense the original working title of Fear and Loathing in Metropolis.

Helen Tamzarian is many things: a journalist, a pill popper, an alcoholic, the worst representative of the bisexual community since Anne heshe, and an individual who probably ends up causing more mayhem and destruction than the supervillains.  She finds herself in the dead center of the power struggle between a corporate billionaire bent on world domination, and the superhero who wants to stop him.  When she isn’t drunk, or high, or getting into it with either the hero, the villain, or the paper’s newly hired photographer, she finds herself musing: “Which one is the worst: the one with countless billions and no moral compass, or the one with superpowers and a near psychotic dedication to morality?”

Admittedly, this probably isn’t the most original premise for a story in the superhero genre.  I don’t THINK anyone’s tried the gonzo journalism approach to this genre yet…  And if someone has, I’d sure like to read their work.

As much as I would love to make no guarantees, the fact I have an idea for a whole series, and the fact I’ve already got a good twenty pages of writing down might indicate this thing might actually have a future.

More on this as it unfolds.

And no, I haven’t given up on Realm of the War Pigs.  Worst case scenario, I’m taking a break on that one until things become a little more stable.  I’ve got to get my shit packed, I have to call numbers to get things switched on, and plenty of other stuff, and the last thing I want to do right now is read over my own scribbles and remind myself how much I hate my own work.  I’d rather just get the ol’ plot bunny out of the way.

Do people still say plot bunny?  What the hell even is a plot bunny?  No one ever explained where that came from.  I know what it is in concept, but where did it come from?

Whatever.  New project.  Enjoy it when I get around to finishing it.