Regarding Red Flannel Radio

It’s been fun.  Sadly, this is where I announce I have to put the podcast on hiatus.

For starters, this is the time of year when my roommate is off for the summer.  Normally, we barely have any contact with one-another.  She’s at work from 8:00 to 4:00, I’m at work from 2:00 to 7:00 (on average).  My afternoons are usually full of writing, and in recent months, Red Flannel Radio recording and editing.  However, with her hanging around, there’s no way I can record this show.  I’m not one of those guys who invites their friends, or their girlfriend/boyfriend, or their wife/husband, or kids, or whatever on to the show.  I ain’t no Bill Burr.  Red Flannel Radio is a solo act, and even if I had the kind of connections to have guests on board, I’d sooner do the entire show on my own.

My afternoons of solitude technically don’t come to an end till this upcoming Friday.  I thought for sure I could fire off one last episode, and maybe even explain the situation there.  Sadly, something else has come up.

My job has decided to start calling us in early.  So now, my hours have changed to a time that is super inconvenient if you wanted to fire off a thirty-minute ramble before work.

It also doesn’t help matters that we’re heading into the summer.  When you’re in my line of work, shit gets hot.  By the end of the shift, I’m so sweaty, exhausted, and hating my life and virtually everyone in it that the podcast would probably be a much different animal.  Not to mention by the evening, I’ve absorbed a generous amount of news from my favorite news sources, and just in case the heat hasn’t given me a healthy dose of misanthropy, whatever stupid shit Donald Trump and/or the republicans said recently ends up topping me off nicely.

I’m still writing for sure.  In fact, that sort of sweaty exhausted misanthropy is what fuels a lot of my creativity.  Not to mention typing on my computer is significantly less intrusive and irritating to my roommate than me putting together audio content.  Trust me, about this time two years ago, I was recording “funny” parody jingles and dumb skits and putting them up on Soundcloud.  Not only did nobody on Soundcloud like most of them (amputech4000 seemed to have a following), but the people living with me expressed their annoyance with it at least twice.

As long as I’m talking about writing, I’ll gladly mention that I’m up to chapter 30 of The Hood and the Heroine.

I’m also streaming a game or two on occasion on Wednesday nights…  Although that’s mostly for shits, giggles, and to test out how things on my PS4 work.  If people watch, cool.  If not…  Well, I still got to play a video game I thought was fun.  Most likely.  So whatever.

Red Flannel Radio, on the other hand, is pretty much on the shelf.  If not till August, then until I can find a place away from the complainers, and record to my heart’s content.  Too bad blind people can’t drive, or I could’ve made like Mark Bennet: host of I Said Shut Up!, and made my car the studio.  Sure, I’d probably make the neighbors super confused, but I’ve never given a flying fuck what the neighbors think.  Probably why a lot of them generally move out, am I right?  Ba-zing!

If I think of a way to work around this, I probably will.  Till then, I’ll probably focus more on the book I probably should’ve finished by now.  For sure, I figured I’d be on the second or third draft by now.

I’d like to thank everyone for subscribing, for listening, and really, for giving me the motivation to keep the ramblefest going well after it served its purpose.

I’ve covered a lot of topics in improvised audio form on that show.  Maybe it’s time I converted them into more well thought-out blog articles here?  Maybe do more with this thing than talk about getting sidetracked with side projects.  Time will tell for sure.  Till then, stay tuned for more TJB/Red Flannel/Steaksaw goodness.

Remember When I Used to Update This Thing?

I admit, I haven’t been the best blogger in the universe.  I haven’t been doing a very diligent job of updating this thing, or my Facebook.  I also don’t have a Twitter, because I think Twitter is fucking stupid.  I also don’t have an instagram, because I’m not a very vision oriented person.  Also, I’ve heard Instagram is Twitter for illiterates, and as I said before, Twitter is fucking stupid.

My only real excuse is my side projects required a lot of my attention.  For a while, I was playing with the idea of streaming gameplay, as well as a podcast.

As of this posting, I believe I may be done with streaming.  I wasn’t expecting to get Pewdiepie levels of fame over night.  I played the YouTube game back in 2007-2008: when a little guy stood more of a chance of getting somewhere, and one-hundred subscribers was considered a milestone.

A lot of my disappointment with my latest YouTube outing has less to do with the response (or lack there of), and more to do with the fact I hated about eighty percent of the videos I’ve put up there now.  There were some unforeseen instances that ended up hampering the experience.  Like that Darkest Dungeon stream where I forgot to switch on my mic.  Or that WWE2K17 stream where I laughed at entrance music that apparently got filtered out of the archived version for some reason.  Or the fact Knee Deep requires a lot of reading, and I’m a slow-ass reader.

SIDE NOTE: that jigsaw in Knee Deep ended up being a lot easier to solve than I originally thought.  Shit, if I knew the pieces turned yellow when you connected them properly, I would’ve braved the sstorm.  Oh well.

I haven’t given up on the idea of streaming altogether, but I think this might be less of an ambition, and more of a fun little aside I occasionally do.

No sir, the REAL distraction that has taken time away from The Hood and the Heroine: book 3 of the Gael Saga, is my podcast: Red Flannel Radio.

I started the podcast when I was between books, waiting for cover art, and really wanted to give the podcast game another go.  I’ve done podcasts in the past, and…  Well…  Let’s just say, rate of success may vary.

In 2006, my friend, frequent cover artist, and former roommate and I tried our hand at podcasting.  We made a dumb little show by the name of The Mechanical Cannibals.  I think.  Mechanical Cannibal was definitely involved in the title.  Either way, it was apparent out the gate that neither of us knew what we were doing, and we both had different ideas about how to do this.

Roomy wanted a super-organized blueprint laid out before we went into recording, and I wanted to just throw caution to the wind and just dick around for an hour.  In the end, we ended up compromising with a very loose blueprint that left room for improv.  We had segments, but none of which were concrete.  We’d have segments like game reviews, movie reviews, my roommate’s “annoying song of the whenever”, and a couple others I can’t remember anymore.  Just because they were on episode 1, though, didn’t guarantee they’d carry over to episode 2.

Another big problem with Mechanical Cannibal was finding a webhost.  I was playing with 50webs.com at the time, but they didn’t allow you to host mp3 files.  Least of all if you had a free account like I did at the time.  Soundcloud didn’t exist in 2006…  Or I didn’t know about it.  In any case, we shared it on one of those file storage sites like megaupload.com.  Except it wasn’t that specific one.  I think it was something like File Jar or something?  All I know for sure is that was a terrible way to host the show, and unsurprisingly, we got discouraged to keep going after the three episodes we recorded were met with absolute dead silence.  It doesn’t help episode 2 got taken down by the site for…  Some reason.  Probably copyright infringement, seeing as how it featured the annoying song of the whenever.

Four years would go by.  Then, in 2010, I’d plug my PS3 headset into my computer tower, and adapt my religious obsession for UFC into a podcast.  This time, I learned from the mistakes of the past, and while I still wouldn’t have called myself an expert, I had a better idea of how NOT to do a podcast.

This time around, I was running a show by the name of The Sacred Octagon.  I posted my audio to still images, made a video file out of them, and posted them to the now defunked blip.tv.  As a bonus, you actually made money if people let the ads play.  Unlike last time, I knew that a show with a very specific topic required a more concrete blueprint.  I talked mostly about UFC events, though I occasionally talked Bellator, and maybe even Strikeforce.  A lot of the time, it was recapping that season of Ultimate Fighter, or giving my predictions on UFC pay-per-views.  Not to mention reporting results from those UFC PPVs, and seeing if I guessed right.  Hint, I don’t think I did all that often.

In mid 2011, I ended up putting the show on hiatus due to the home stretch of my college years demanding my immediate attention, and me taking my attempts at getting for-real-published a lot more seriously.  I picked the podcast back up in 2013…  Only to fall victim to “The Great Blip.tv Purge”.

I didn’t keep copies of my videos, or even the audio files, because why bother?  It’s a weekly show about a very topical thing.  As a result, I basically lost everything, and couldn’t reupload anything to anywhere else because I’d lost everything else.

For the next few years, I chose to make my writing the primary focus.  It helped that 2012-2014 was more or less the height of my old blog’s popularity.

Then, in 2017, I began my most recent podcast: Red Flannel Radio.  This right here was the podcast I wanted to have over a decade ago: no script, no structure, no mercy!  The only rule I set for myself was to try really hard not to talk politics.  And unfortunately, Donald god damn Trump is just too tempting a target for a hardcore Berniecrat like me to take potshots at from time to time.

Honestly, this podcast is a show I consider to be my greatest success in the field yet.  I have a reliable host with Soundcloud.com.  I have about ten subscribers as of this posting, which is about seven more than I was ever hoping to get.  And just in case Soundcloud decides to kurplode, or purge someone like me as the result of going a different direction, there’s a couple other podcast hosts I know of.  A friend of mine recommended I do what I did with Sacred Octagon, and post video versions on YouTube, but the problem is I’m pretty sure YouTube’s little algorithm will find something to bitch me out over.  Namely, I like to use thirty second clips (give or take) of music in my intros and outros.

I have no idea what to say other than Red Flannel Radio has been a blast.  I actually look forward to Tuesday afternoons now.  I just sit back, and I dump all the chatter in my brain into a thirty minute (give or take) slab of audio file.  I have some laughs, I discuss topics I want to talk about, I don’t have to worry about maintaining a segment, or skimming through news sites…  It’s pretty much just thirty minutes of TJB being TJB.  Or Flannel Guy, as I seem to be known on this show, but it’s all good.

So yeah, I’ve been distracted as all hell with this podcast.  Who knows: if indie publishing ends up not working out, I might just keep this up.

But make no mistake, dear reader: The Gael Saga will be finished.  I know I flopped on Jade Blade Legacy, but this one I do plan on finishing.  From there…  Eh, we’ll see.  But for now, I do plan on finishing The Hood and the Heroine.  Right now, as of this posting, I’m up to chapter 27 in the first draft.  Admittedly, that’s not quite where I thought I’d be, but I’m making progress.  And without  YouTube channel to worry about, I should have that much more time to devote to the project.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on news and updates.  Till then, I strongly recommend you check out the podcast.

 

April Fools 2017: How to Fuck Your Couch Like a MAN!

cover

Coming soon to a Kindle near you: Eugene Wafleshire’s breakout self help thriller that will change your life forever and ever.  How to Fuck Your Couch Like a MAN! is more than just a guide to fucking your couch in the manliest ways possible.  This book teaches you about other manly things, as well as other household items you could be fucking when your couch is in rehab.  A must read for couchophiliacs all over the world!

Eugene Wafleshire is many things: he’s a philosopher, a scholar, a Ron Paul cosplayer, a chainsmoker, and perhaps the horniest human being since Sir Daniel Y.  Sexbang.  He is also one of my closest friends, and the person I turn to the most for terrible advice.  I’ve sat and listened to the gospel of Eugene Wafleshire, and I’m a better person for it.  I hope.  Now, for the first time since he used the pen name Muhammad Fear for that ghost story nobody liked, he’s published his glorious gospel for everyone to read, and to practice later on.

I received an advanced copy of the book myself, and I got to say, How to Fuck Your Couch Like a Man is perhaps the single most brilliant book I’ve read.  It’s rivaled only by The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson, and…  Well, let’s be honest, there’s not as much chouch fucking in Manson’s book.

I’ll make an announcement for sure when this book becomes available for everyone to purchase.  Till then, I hope you have something to look forward to.

GRRM Syndrome?

There have been moments lately where I find myself wondering if I may be afflicted with GRRM syndrome.  GRRM syndrome, for the record, is what I call it when someone gets so bogged down by side projects that the stuff they’ve been promising for fucking ever never shows up, and eventually, everybody gives up.  In the case of George R. R. Martin, the condition’s namesake, it’s The Winds of Winter.  For The Kovenant, it’s “Aria Galactica”.  For me…  I was about to say The Hood and the Heroine, but honestly, it’s looking more and more like World War Jade: book 3 of The Jade Blade Legacy is my GRRM syndrome.

In 2011, I wrote the first book in The Jade Blade Legacy: Mahinder’s Grand Tournament.  I also wrote another story…  And in hindsight, I’d have donated THAT story to the self-publishing experiment.  It was a one-shot, and I’d only have to pay half of what I was paying before now.  But I went with Jade Blade.  The damage is done, and all I can do is learn from my mistakes.  And eventually republish what I have under KDP when the 90-day no-republishing clause runs its course.

I wrote book 1 not expecting much.  I wrote book 2 the very next year.  Then I started writing book 3.  I’m sitting on twenty-plus chapters of unspellchecked, unproofread book that isn’t finished, and probably never WILL be finished at the rate I’m going.

In large part, it was due to some side projects in 2014.  I’d written something for NaNoWriMo in 2014, and had ambitions of seeing it get for-real-published in 2015.  Those ambitions were never met, for the record.  2015, and 2016 (especially 2016) were dedicated to playing with KDP, and at the time, Createspace.

I published HikikoMorey: a novella(?) that forever stands as the single most pretentious thingI’ve ever written.  It’s undergone its share of changes (mostly in the area of book covers), but it’s still there, and I guess people like it.  I’ve heard nothing about people hating it on Amazon.  Then again, I’m not exactly scanning my Amazon page like a hawk.

As 2016 progressed, I put up other stories.  I wrote and published both Novellas of Highfill, Kansas.  I also put up Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Unspeakable Horrors, which is probably the one I’m the most proud of.  And of course, there’s The Gael Saga.  It’s still in progress, and I do plan on finishing it as quickly as possible.  So far, so good.

Then I started a podcast.

 

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What started as something to occupy my free time while I waited for cover art.  Lately, though, I find I’ve been having fun with it.  Even if a grand total of 6 people are listening, and I actually know who 2 of them are in real life.  HINT: 2 of them share an account.  Honestly, 6 followers was about 4 more than I was expecting.

And just in case that wasn’t enough to occupy the down time I could’ve spent on books, I began streaming recently as well.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRnAU1061TYhHLhpotkbjtA

 

The fact I haven’t been trying to stream a lot sooner than now…  Well, there’s actually a couple reasons for that.

First of all, I only just recently gotten a hold of a PS4 headset that actually fucking works.  Either the PS3 headset isn’t compadible, or my PS3 headset was a piece of crap.  Really, I’ll believe either one.  Also, while I may be confident enough to put out a story like The Gael Saga, knowing all well there’s references to the counterintuitivity of superheroes in real life, foot fetishism, and a general disdain for corporate billionaires…  Being on a mic and playing a video game at the same time is a different story.  I honestly didn’t know how The Game Grumps do it, but considering it’s a one man show, I decided that maybe The Spoony Experiment’s Livewire series might be more appropriate research material.

Four videos later, I’ve blown it at Texas Holdem, sent my favorite characters from Darkest Dungeon I’ve been building up and protecting since January to their horrifying gruesome deaths in a quest to find and kill The Shuffling Horror, played some Feist, and celebrated Stone Cold Steve Austin day (3/16).  Not everything was particularly successful, but I still had fun doing it, and I still have ideas for how for other possible stream ideas.

So between The Gael Saga, a podcast, and a stream series, I’ve really had no time to work on Jade Blade Legacy lately.  I joke around, and say I’m ultimately holding book 3 of that series hostage.  Until GRRM finishes The Winds of Winter, you’re never going to see book 3 of Jade Blade.  That idea, however, is kind of flawed.

For starters, I don’t have NEARLY the following GRRM does.  I really can’t afford to piss a couple people off, even if it’s a joke.

Also, it’s very likely we’ll never see The Winds of Winter.  I suppose GRRM’s estate could hand the project over to Brandon Sanderson: the human printing press, and we’d get both The Winds of Winter AND A Dream of Spring in the same year.  More than likely, though, I need to quit making the joke, and just get that shit written down when I’m done with Gael.

I have a really bad feeling that these might not end up being the only side projects I do.  Whatever the other ones are, who can say?  I just know they’re lurking in the horizon.

And yeah, first chance I get, I’m updating the ABOUT ME page with those links.

Reviewing Rockfest 2017 Entirely By Lineup and Nothing Else

I don’t LIKE being an angry-ass curmudgeon.  If I could change even the most trivial annoyance into something awesome, I’d do it.  I’m not one of those guys who complains because I like the sound of my own voice, or because it’ll get me more readers if I’m a negative fucking Nancy.

That being said, Kansas gives me a lot to complain about.  Whether it be something huge like the fact the governor is an idiot who has inflicted Reaganomics onto us all and left the state with a potential billion dollar debt to pay off by the end of the decade, or something trivial like the only rock station that played anything past 1991 suddenly establishing a cutoff date around 2005 or so and refusing to play anything from this fucking year, it seems like this state lives to infuriate me.

And speaking of local radio, it’s that time of the year here in KC.  That wonderful time where we spend the next three to four months hyping up a day-long concert.  A concert that…  Honestly, I’m surprised we’re having.

98.9 The Rock has not been itself lately.  The Annual Freaker’s Ball and Twisted Christmas events (the latter devolving into a cheap excuse to invite Steel Panther over to KC on a yearly basis, but I’m not complaining) didn’t happen this year.  Up until this month, every single concert they’ve been advertising has been some 70s throwback like The Led Zeppolin Experience, or The Pink Floyd experience, or The Red Hot Chili Peppers coming to town.  Shit, the only reason you ever hear about a modern band like Ghost coming to town is because they’re opening for Iron Maiden or something.  All of this only serves to perpetuate the timewarp this state is stuck in.  Forcefeed the audience the belief that rock died in the 1990s, and Kurt Cobane killed himself so he couldn’t be tried for murdering it.  Isn’t that right, KQRC?  You assholes who have officially programmed me to cringe in disgust and annoyance every fucking time AC/DC comes on the air anymore.

Okay, I’m calming down.  Seriously, it’s hilarious to think that about this time two years ago, I was complaining about Five Finger Death Punch getting played into the ground.  You know what I’d give for that playlist to make a comeback?

The point I was getting at is that considering this dramatic shift in format, and cancelation of what I’ve considered 98.9 traditions, I’m legitimately surprised we’re even HAVING Rockfest in the first place.  True, it’s at the KC Speedway instead of Liberty Memorial this year…  Which only furthers my belief not enough people came to last year’s Rockfest, and the station might be hemourhaging money, but that’s honestly just theory at this point.

Still, I had a feeling this year’s Rockfest was going to suck.  Considering the most recent band they’ve been promoting is either The Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Iron Maiden, I had a feeling there either wasn’t going to be a Rockfest, or Rockfest was going to become another nostalgia circuit show like Rocklahoma or something.  They released the lineup earlier in the month, and…  Honestly, my thoughts are mixed.

And so, for your enjoyment and my desire to purge the chattering voices in my head, here’s my thoughts of Rockfest based entirely on the lineup.  Because honestly, relocating to a smaller venue is easy to forgive if the bands can hold my attention.

Opening up this year’s Rockfest on the second stage is a band by the name of One Less Reason.  I’ve never heard of them, and I doubt most people have.  This has little to do with the previously mentioned cutoff date hampering the exposure of new music in KC, and more to do with the fact the opening act on the second stage is almost always a newbie that no one’s ever heard of.  Barring that, they’re an indie band that nobody who doesn’t go to that one bar has ever heard.  So yeah.

I listened to One Less Reason on Spotify, and honestly, they’re…  Okay.  They’re not horrible, but they didn’t necessarily light my world on fire either.  If anything, they sound a little overdramatic.  Seriously, check out the music video for “Break Me”.  I appreciate they decided to give us more than just a video of the band playing, but holy hell.  I seriously thought the first thirty seconds or so was a YouTube ad I couldn’t skip.

Up next is Sidewise.  They’ve been here before, and I liked them well enough.  So far, I’m thinking of showing up late enough to maybe skip One Less Reason, and catch these guys.

Up next, we have Candlebox.  AKA, those dudes who wrote “Far Behind”.  And literally nothing else.  I don’t know if they’re legitimately a two-hit-wonder, or if that’s just 98.9 humoring all three of Candlebox’s fans by occasionally playing this one song, and going right back into spanking my eardrums with “Back in Black” for the infinity-billionth time.  Kind of an odd choice.  Even if they’re a one or two-hit-wonder everywhere else in the world, it’s a good enough hit to hold my interest.  Doing good so far, 98.9

Next up is Crobat.  I…  Have no idea who these guys are.  I think they were at a Rockfest or two before this one, but I couldn’t tell you anything about them.  And I probably even watched them on stage the year they were there and everything.  Oh well, I could use the refresher.  Worst case scenario, the main stage is usually starting up by now, and if I end up hating them, I don’t have to stick around for them.

After them, we have Blackberry Smoke: that super obscure underground band that’s all over the place.  I’ve heard them, and I honestly can’t tell if this is rock or country.  If they’re country, we have ourselves some hardcore Trashville “city faggot in a cowboy hat” caliber country right here.  If it’s rock…  It kind of reminds me of American Bang: a one-hit-wonder (maybe) who’s ultimate claim to fame was that their one hit was the first theme song ever for WWE NXT.  I guarantee you the ONLY reason these guys are coming is because they’re buds with Johnny Dare.  Not that this is a bad thing, but honestly, they’re not my cup of tea.

Up next, we have Tom Keifer: the former frontman for Cinderella.  Oh boy.  I can hardly wait to skip this act entirely.  If you know me, or if you followed my old blog, you know how I feel about hair metal.  For the newbies…  Basically imagine Steel Panther without a punchline, and you literally have the entirety of hair metal.  It’s a joke, and it’s not a funny one either.  And yes, this is coming from someone who cut his teeth on grunge growing up.  I’d rather have a bunch of semi-intelligible homeless dudes from Seattle than a bunch of glittery transvestites who are TOTALLY super straight any day.

And really, what can I say about Cinderella.  Near as I can tell, they’re pretty much the status quo for that generation.  I have a pretty good feeling Tom Keifer’s set is going to be nothing but Cinderella covers.  So if you like Cinderella, then you have motivation.  If you’re like me, though, you’re already seeing what’s on the main stage, or hanging out at the concession stand/merchandise stand.

Rounding out the main stage is a band by the name of Zakk Sabbath.  I have no idea who these people are, but based on the fact they’re the ONLY second stage act that gets a soundbyte in the promos, and said soundbyte is a clip of “Iron Man” from BLACK Sabbath…  Yeah, I smell cover band.  Black Sabbath is more my speed, but again, keep that timewarp perpetuated, 98.9.  *sigh*

Then we get to the main stage.

Opening things up is…  P.O.D.?  Holy shit, those guys are still around?  Here I thought those guys broke up.  Or they disappeared into the ether, and retreated to the sanctimonious realm of Christian rock.  Don’t even get me started: this article by itself is taking for fucking ever to write.

Honestly, the fact P.O.D. was a Christian band always put a bit of a raincloud over my head.  I loved rap-metal, but I was a thirteen or fourteen year old boy who was in open rebellion against all things Jesus.  The one saving grace of P.O.D. in the longrun, though, was that they were never really in your face about it.  Yeah, they looked on the brighter side, which was a nu-metal no no, but at least they weren’t forcefeeding me heavy-handed Christian symbolism.  More than I can say for those jerks in Skillet.

I might actually check that show out.  Yeah, it’s a total nostalgia circuit show, but it’s MY nostalgia.  And yes, that does make me a hypocrite for railing against the nostalgia circuit, then immediately turning around and enjoying a nostalgia circuit esque show.  Big whoop, want to fight about it?  Well it’ll have to wait till I’m done with this.

After P.O.D., we have…  Oh dear god.  We have Buckcherry.

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a trillion times: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU PEOPLE SEE IN BUCKCHERRY!?  Buckcherry is, hands down, the worst band I have ever heard in my entire life.  Seriously, even at their absolute worst, Slipknot was still a trip to the fucking circus.  Even The Dillenger Escape Plan has some sort of pattern to its cacophony.  Hell, even AC/DC, burnt out on them as I am, at least sounds like music.  Buckcherry is fucking terrible.  “Crazy Bitch” is the equivalent of ear rape, and it’s embarrassing you people enjoy this shit song that any god damn thirteen-year-old could write in their sleep.  Josh Todd couldn’t carry a tune if you gave him a god damn forklift.  This band should’ve died in 2002 when everybody refused to buy “Time Bomb”.  But for some reason, they came back.  And we LET them come back.  And they’re never going to go away, no matter how much they suck , because you idiots decided after FIVE YEARS of absence, they needed to come back.

Ugh, fuck those guys.  Buckcherry suckvery.

Okay, I’m done.  What else do we have?

Well, after that exercise in misanthropy, we have…  Collective Soul?  Where are they getting these guys?  Here we have another band that 98.9 has perpetuated into one-hit-wonderdom.  Except I’m positive Collective Soul have written a lot more than just “Shine”.  Not that “Shine is a bad song or anything (far from it), but I’d certainly like to hear more.  Of course, such a request would cut into all that Pink Floyd time, so I’m not surprised I won’t be getting it, but still…

Up next is RATT.  Ugh.  Again, I’d point out the one-hit-wonder thing, but to be honest, that one hit isn’t even all that great.  Considering what era it came from, it could be a lot worse though.  “Round and Round” isn’t my favorite song, but it could be worse.  It could be something like “Talk Dirty”, or “Love Injection”, or literally anything by W.A.S.P.  Ugh, my god those guys suck!

I was kind of surprised to hear RATT is even still around.  I’m pretty sure that, at absolute best, RATT is a classic case of a band with none of its original members involved in it in any way, shape, or form anymore.  Like Cannibal Corpse, or GWAR, or Anthrax for a while.  The list goes on.

I’m also kind of surprised RATT are relegated to one-hit-wonder status.  Considering where I live, and the mindset being perpetuated, you’d think they’d play every single they ever came out with, regardless of whether it was a success or a flop.

After that, we got Halestorm.

Well at least they came from this decade.  Not to mention they’re LOADS better than Buckcherry.  Although saying that out loud is kind of like saying bologna tastes better than drywall.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: my one ultimate criticism of Halestorm is that they have no distinct sound.  They’re not quite as bad as Nickelback, or Papa Roach anymore, or any other play-what’s-popular band, but there’s no consistency from song to song.  One minute, Lzzy Hale is a badass who takes shit from no one (“Dirty Work”, “It’s Not You”, “You Call me Bitch Like it’s a Bad Thing”), and the next thing you know, she’s a fucking doormat (“I Miss the Misery”, “Mz. Hyde”, I almost want to say “The Familiar Taste of Poison”…).  Otep is consistent.  The Agonist was consistent until they replaced their vocalist.  Tristania was consistent.  Halestorm just isn’t consistent.

Also, as I’ve said before, “I Miss the Misery” hits too close to home for me.  Not getting into that story again.  At least, not here.

After them, we have Volbeat.  And Finally, we have a band I actually want to see.  A lot of the bands I’ve said I was interested in seeing up to this point, it was more of a “eh, why not?  Could be fun.” sort of deal.  Volbeat, on the other hand, kick ass, and I’ve wanted to see them for fucking ever.  Also, they and Halestorm are literally the ONLY bands from this decade, which I find fucking depressing.

Especially since right after Volbeat, we get Sammy Hagar side project 352.  Seriously, has ANY band Hagar’s put together lasted more than one album?  And don’t say Van Halen, because that wasn’t HIS band.  Aside from his Van Halen years, the only thing I know Hagar for is a solo career, and in more recent years, the band Chickenfoot.  Chickenfoot: they are so totally decent!

And finally, we get to the main event of the evening.  The band that everything, for better and for worse, has ultimately been leading up to.  And…  It’s Godsmack.  Again.

Okay, I’ll be honest with you guys.  I love Godsmack.  Yeah, they write the same two or three songs over and over again, which suddenly makes me sound like a hypocrite for loving Godsmack despite it, and giving AC/DC shit for it, but fuck you, Godsmack isn’t getting played into the fucking pavement.  I’m also aware Sully Erna is kind of a dick, but I’m at a point in my life where either all my childhood heroes turn out to be dicks, or I know better than to deify someone because they wrote a catchy tune I like to listen to while I punch things after a bad day.  All that being said…  Yeah, that solo album of his sucked.

There’s only one real reason I’m not all that excited for another Godsmack show, and that’s because I’m at a point where I’ve seen them to death.  They definitely have some new songs since…  What was it, 2010 when they last headlined?  And they’re probably coming out with a new album pretty soon.  I’ll never know for sure if the radio is all I have to go by, because FUCKING TIMEWARP!  But even if there is new stuff coming out, I’m really not motivated to see Godsmack AGAIN.

In fact, pretty much the ONLY reason I would waste money on a ticket or two is for Volbeat.  And literally nothing else.

And yes, I’m aware I hated “Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie””  I still hold to my opinion that that album is a sign of coasting.  Still, literally everything BEFORE that album was awesome, and even if it means sitting through songs from that album, it’d be worth it to see a band I’ve been dying to see live.

Sadly, one out of fifteen isn’t enough to motivate me to go.  If I had to judge by the lineup, I have a feeling this year’s rockfest is going to be kind of a downer.  I’m probably better off saving that fifty bucks for rent anyway, the rate I’m going.

Book 3 Under Way!

Technically, I began work on book 3 of The Gael Saga yesterday, but I’m only just now getting around to announcing it here on the blog.  Never the less, here’s some details to keep in mind.

Book 3’s current working title is The Hood and The Heroine.  On one hand, don’t expect that title to stick.  On the other hand, don’t be surprised if, despite my recommendation, the title ends up sticking.

I have a bit of a habit of coming up with a working title, looking over my completed manuscript, and deciding that in the end, the working title is good enough to stay.  Lifers Wear Orange was originally a placeholder title till I came up with something better.  I was reluctant to keep the title at first, because it sounded too much like Orange is the New Black: a pretty good autobiographical book about what it was like to spend a year in a women’s prison that eventually got adapted into a Netflix show I gave up on the very moment I saw the “I miss the misery” angle coming down the hall.  After some time, though, it ended up sticking.

Some of the titles I have for book 3 are as follows:

 

A. The Hood and the Heroine.

B. The Diamond Club.

C. The Gael Army.

D. Diamond is Forever.

E. The War of Five Kings.

 

SPOILER: The Diamond Club is a new faction that’ll be making its debut in book 3 of The Gael Saga .  The Gael Army was introduced in book 2, but will ultimately play more of a role in book 3.  Apparently, here in the notepad in my head, Diamond is Forever is a sort of catchphrase the leader of The Diamond Club has for herself, but I’ve already dismissed this as a title.  Frankly, I’m thinking of not using that, period.

Naming the book after either The Diamond Club, or The Gael Army seems like the wrong way to go.  I like The Hood and the Heroine thus far, because a large portion of the book deals with the interactions/fights between Gael and The Blue Hood.  Also, while The War of Five Kings is based on a quote Dan Adelson makes in his first chapter, I have a feeling George R. R. Martin is probably going to sue me over it.  Though none of HIS books are called that, that’s ultimately what the war throughout A Song of Ice and Fire is called.  I don’t know, maybe I’m thinking too hard about all that.  I’ve only got about a chapter and a half down as of this blog post, so it’s possible I won’t use ANY of these titles.

I look forward to getting this book done with.  I was originally planning on ending this series on book 3…  Although at the time I’m writing this, I’m really liking the concepts going into The Diamond Club.  If I end up deciding on a book 4, try not to be too surprised.  Don’t count on it, but don’t be too surprised.

That’s all the news I really have for now.  Stay tuned for more TJB flavored goodness!

A Series of Unfortunate Events: My Thoughts

Dearest reader,

I strongly urge you to ignore this post, for it is a commentary on a series of events most unfortunate. I strongly suggest abandoning whatever computer, tablet, cell phone, or napkin you are currently reading this on, and pursuing something far more pleasurable like cuddling with a favorite pet, or reading Donald Trump’s Twitter.  For what follows, second handed as it is, is truly unfortunate, tragic, miserable, and will overall ruin your entire week.

If you thought that paragraph was funny… Prepare for countless hours of the exact same thing in Netflix form.

I’ll be honest, I missed out on the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. They started in 1999, but frankly, if it wasn’t Douglas Addams, Animorphs, or an anthology of Dave Barry colums, I wasn’t interested. Not to mention the series apparently went on FOR FUCKING EVER! As much as I loved Wheel of Time at one point, even I couldn’t see my way past book 8 for that very reason.

I saw the A Series of Unfortunate Events movie when it came out in 2004. A lot of people gave it shit even then… And it’s not difficult to see why. Jim Carrey made a passible Count Olaf, but let’s face it, the dude’s career had been going down the toilet since that remake of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Add on the fact he was also in The Number 23: a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream made by Joel Schumacher: murderer of careers, and yeah, it’s not hard to see why people didn’t like him.

Also, the movie squashed the first three books into one movie. Never a good idea. Seriously, I think they did that with The Dark is Rising movie, and whew boy, you want to talk about a movie that had me running out of the theater screaming “BETRAYAL!!!”…

Although with all that being said, I actually didn’t hate the movie. Maybe it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. Made me laugh. Which by Lemony Snicket’s standards probably makes me a horrible human being, but whatever. I embraced the backward dark a long-ass time ago, and there’s no looking back now.
At least a decade and a half later, though, we now have Netflix: the greatest thing to happen to television since they started allowing people to say the S-word after 8:00 PM. The only real downside is living on Netflix usually means being a season behind everybody watching in real time. Also, no Game of Thrones, but seeing as how GRRM is holding The Winds of Winter hostage and can’t be bothered to write a list of demands, it’s not so bad.

And now, in 2017, we have an A Series of Unfortunate Events series on Netflix. I’ll own up to have not yet finished the series as of this writing. Frankly, the show all but encourages me to stop fucking watching it every other scene, so can you really blame me for needing a break every now and then?  I love Lemony Snicket’s tactics of getting you to read the book. It’s kind of like Cartman Land’s “You can’t come” approach to advertising in reverse. The Cartman land approach is as follows: “This is the single greatest theme park in the history of the world! The food is great! The rides are awesome! It’s tons of fun! And you can’t come! Haha haha ha ha, nehneh nehneh neh neh!” The Lemony Snicket approach, meanwhile, is more like this: “You don’t want to read this book. It’s horrible. Oh the horrible things in this book are so bad, I can’t even describe them to you without coming off as a horrible person. Here, I’ll even tell you what happens later on in the book in the first chapter! That way, it’s not quite as bad. But it’s still pretty bad. Just sayin’.”

The only real complaint I had at first was Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket. I don’t know, I guess I was too used to Jude Law ? All I know is when I thought narrator for A Series of Unfortunate Events, Brock fucking Sampson wasn’t exactly MY first pick. As the series progresses, though, you get used to it. Neil Patrick Harris steals the show, though. In fact, he steals the show, the spotlight, the director’s chair, the producer’s coffee cup (regardless of whether or not it even has coffee in it), the catering, the golden globes in the closet they haven’t handed out yet, AND your wallet.   That’s right, bitch: Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf just stole your fucking wallet, and you won’t even care because it’s absolutely perfect!

I know it’s an endurance test, and you will feel horrible, but I’m actually going to recommend you check it out. Even if it means Snicket spends the rest of eternity giving me that dirty look.

2/11/17: Mark Your Calendar!

After talking with my cover artist, and seeing how much I have left of the final draft of Lifers Wear Orange, it’s been decided that, barring some unfortunate circumstance, book 2 of Gael will be released on February 11 of this year.

I’ll be honest, this is a little behind schedule for me.  I was hoping to have everything done sometime next week.  Unfortunately, when I recruited my usual cover artist…  I hadn’t counted on the possibility he’d be super swamped with other projects.  I suppose these things happen from time to time, so what can I do beyond push back my due date, and find other things to occupy the downtime.

I’m not the kind of guy to start another project when the one I’m working on is unfinished.  I used to do that a lot in high school, and as a result, I had a lot of incomplete stories on my various computers over the years.  Stories that I’d gladly feed to the recycle bin if I hadn’t already done that.  I’ve long since broken that habit.  So much so, that starting writing on book 3 when book 2 isn’t even finished, or even starting a whole other project for that matter,  seems a little irrational.

So the release date has been moved to February 11.  Unless something happens, and I have to push it back again, but I have a hard time seeing something like that happening on my end.

The book will get here.  Even if I have to fart out some bland autogenerated cover with KDP’s cover designer program, you’ll be getting book 2 of Gael.  Then book 3 right afterward.

Until then…  patience.

2016 In Review

2016 has more or less come and gone by this point.  A lot of guys were posting their end of the year retrospectives during the week, but I’d prefer to wait till the 31st.  That way, I can guarantee something like the death of Carrie Fisher won’t sneak up on me right in the middle, and completely throw my retrospective out of wack.

A lot of people are going to tell you that 2016 was the worst year ever.  I’ll get you money at least 50% of them are democrats who are still butthurt over Hilldawg losing to Trump, and drinking the party Koolaid about how Russia hacked an election instead of admitting to themselves Hillary Clinton was a shit candidate, a neoconservative warhawk in democratic clothes, and the worst thing that could happen to America since George W. Bush.  In fact, knowing what I know now on top of everything I knew going in, the only reason I’m convinced Hillary isn’t the antichrist made flesh is because Dick Cheney isn’t dead yet.  Somehow.

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t looking forward to a Trump presidency any more than a Hillary presidency.  To paraphrase a famous quote: “I’m disappointed Trump won, but I’m glad Hillary lost.”

Still more people see 2016 as a sort of celebrity meat grinder.  More famous people died in 2016 than any year I can think of.  Yeah, I’m bummed about some of those celebrity deaths (Carrie Fisher, Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten, Jonie Laurer, Lemmy from Motorhead), but for the most part, it didn’t really bum me out as much as it bummed other people out.  This is America: the place where you can become a god for starring in a halfway decent movie, TV show, or put out a listenable album.  These people aren’t immortals: they’re human beings, and their batteries run out just like they would for nonfamous people.  I won’t deny it’s sad to see them go, especially if you’re friends with them or related to them, but it’s not the end of the world because Prince is dead.  Then again, I was never an especially huge Prince fan, so that probably explains why I’m not as devastated.

2016 to me had its ups, and it had its downs.

in 2016, I began my career in self publishing.  After years of trying to appeal to literary agents, publishers, and the mainstream, I finally quit, and discovered Amazon Kindle Direct.  If I’d discovered this in 2012, I’d probably have probably never touched Outskirts Press, but hey, nothing ventured, nothing learned, right?  I’ll admit, my reader base is relatively small, but at this point, I’m almost happier with the fact I have a way to put stuff out there than whether or not it’s selling.  At worst, that’s a 2017 problem.

2016 was also the year I’d found my most recent girlfriend.  Only for her to break up with me a few months later.  It figures the moment I was thinking about amending my comment of “being impaired means getting used to the idea you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life” is the moment she decides out of the blue to prove me right all along.  She fed me the old “it’s not you, it’s me” jargon, but I’ve got a side bet going that she dumped my ass because I wouldn’t vote for her gal pal Hillary.  At the time, I was going to vote Johnson, which led to our first, and pretty much ONLY real fight that ended with us both joking about voting Vermon Supreme.  If she’d stuck around a month later, she’d watch me come to the revelation that she was right all along about Johnson being a “welfare hating mongoloid”…  Although writing in Bernie Sanders probably wouldn’t have sit well with her, either in hindsight.

2016 is also the year I ended up gaining about ten pounds.  All I can say in my defense is Sarpino’s clearly puts crack in their pizza sauce.  That, or getting dumped sent me into another “if I feel full and bloated, I won’t feel so fucking empty inside” fit that went a little overboard this go-around.  DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!

2016 was the year the only rock station in KC decided to establish a cutoff date at around 2004.  Lately, they’ve made some exceptions to that rule, but if you want to hear anything new that wasn’t put out by Metallica, then you have to call in and request it.  And if you liked Red Sun Rising, Ghost, Otherwise, any Drowning Pool song that isn’t “Bodies”, or several other bands they used to play that were brand spanking new, or had something brand spanking new to show off, you’re fucked.  Five years ago, if you told me I’d end up missing Five Finger Death Punch, I’d laugh at you.  But hey, at least they still play AC-FUCKING-DC into the fucking pavement still.  And they’re right back to doing it to Led Zeppolin and Jimmy Hendrix.  *sigh* Way to prove me right about the entire fucking state of Kansas being stuck in a timewarp, KQRC.

2016 was also the year I got the news my cat will probably be toothless by 2019.  Because that poor cat hasn’t had enough go wrong in her life.That’s a blog entry all by itself right there.

2016 was also the year Avenged Sevenfold redeemed themselves for “Hail to the King” with their kickass album “The Stage”.  It was also the year Ghost seemed to explode onto the scene here in the states, but maybe that happened a lot sooner than I realize.  Like I said, Kansas is in a bit of a heavy metal time loop.  Rock is dead, Kurt Cobane killed himself so he wouldn’t be charged with it’s murder, and AC/DC is god’s gift to music.  Or at least that’s what you’d believe if you lived out here.

2016 was the year Metallica FINALLY released the album they’ve been working on since…  I want to say 2011?  It’s a two-disk love affair with the E-chord, and I’m mystified they went that route.  Surely, you could’ve fit those twelve tracks on one disk.  SURELY!  If you wanted to include a live album in the packaging with the new album, that’s fine.  But really?

2016 was also the year of the most ambitious season of South Park I can remember.  Yeah, I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore.  I usually put Adult Swim on at night out of habit.  Also because King of the Hill and Bob’s Burgers are on there, and maybe Squidbillies if I stay up late enough…  I’m getting sidetracked.

This season of South park was the most ambitious thing Stone and Parker have done since Imagination Land.  And in the end…  I found it to be a bit tedious.  Maybe I’m just not used to my season of South Park taking on overarching storylines that take for fucking ever to get through.  My friends and I refer to this as “the Netflix formula”, because a lot of Netflix originals we’ve watched over the last year or two do this all the time, and it’s part of why we see the series to the end.  Even when it sucks.  I’m looking at you, Orange is the New Black.  The Netflix formula works when everything is up and ready to view.  When you have to wait for it once a week, though, it gets boring.  Also, what the hell happened to the memberberries?  They hinted at big things possibly happening with those little guys, and then, in the home stretch, we seem to have forgotten all about them.  Are we seriously going to have to wait till season 21 to see where the memberberries plot goes?

Overall, I give them an A for effort…  And a B- at best for execution.

2016 was also the year the Curse of the Goat was lifted at long last, and The Chicago Cubs won the world series.  Tell you the truth, I’m not a huge baseball guy.  Sure, I paid really close attention to The Kansas City Royals when they made it to the world series last year, and the year before as well…  But it was lip service at absolute best.  I went to those parties for the chance to hang out with friends who aren’t always in town to hang out, and for the food more than for the actual ball game.  The Cubs, on the other hand, are a different story.  It’s not every year you get to watch a team legendary for sucking for over a century suddenly winning the big game.  And whew boy, if they made that any closer,  I know at least one guy in my circle who’d probably have a heart attack.  The Cubs became the world series champions this year.  Too bad The Chicago Bears couldn’t keep that hype train going, said the Chiefs fan.

2016 was the year of the Olympics.  It was also the first time in a long time I actually paid attention to gymnastics.  As much as I’d like to insist I was mostly watching for the purpose of making Gael as accurate as possible, but really, I ended up liking what I saw a lot more this year.  Maybe I growing to appreciate gymnastics as a sport the older I get, maybe I’ve always liked it and I just didn’t want to admit it out loud in public.  Or maybe I just have a super creepy infatuation with Simone Biles.  There’s part of me that’s about 90% convinced that girl is, like, sixteen or something.  Another part of me is more convinced it’s because she’s about four-foot-eleven or something, and if my last girlfriend is any indication, I might actually like little people a little more than I realized.  Maybe more than I SHOULD.

Great, now I have THAT moral quandary kicking around in my head.  Thanks a lot, 2016.  You jerk.

There’s a lot of other bits and pieces to 2016, but I’m not entirely sure they’re worth noting here.  Also, I can’t think of them at the moment.  So here’s to the end of an era.  And here’s to the encroaching darkness known as The Religious Right taking this country over for the next 4 to 8 years.

Scary, bruh.

Tonight, I had quite the scare.  It’s a long story.  Too long for any old Facebook post, so in typical fashion, I decided to put it here.

Earlier in the day, I was doing something on my PS4.  Let’s just save all the “how the hell do blind people play video games” related conversations for a later post.  Also, I use my PS4 for Netflix and Spotify a lot more than games anymore, but that’s beside the point.

I was doing something on PS4, when suddenly, the power goes out.  Or that’s how it SEEMS, anyway.  The TV, PS4, and my computer black out completely, but I notice that the lights in my office are still on, and my BOS still works just fine.  Puzzling, yes?

I investigate a little further, and that’s when I notice the power strip all my electronics are plugged into is a lot warmer than it probably ought to be.  Furthermore, the cord that connects my space heater to the powerstrip is nuclear hot.

I’m no electrician, obviously, but it doesn’t take a science major to put two and two together.  I unplug the space heater, get a new powerstrip from my folks (the basement is full of computer parts and electronic crap), and plug everything in.  Everything works good as new.

Except, to my horror, My computer is displaying an unfamiliar desktop.  My desktop is dark green.  The desktop it gave me was blue.  As in the default color everything in Windows8 is before you go in there and tinker with the settings.  None of my folders, none of my programs, none of my shortcuts…  Literally nothing is on my desktop except Recycle Bin, McAfee Antivirus (which I swear I removed), a couple other programs, and thmy screen reader program.  Except my screen reader isn’t responding.  Long story short, if I get a noise complaint tomorrow, it’ll be in large part due to the MASSIVE FUCKING PANIC ATTACK that ensued.

I had a lot of useless crap on my computer I could probably part with in hindsight.  I have a lot of pictures I downloaded from the old days of I Can Haz Cheezburger that I don’t even look at anymore.  A lot of my music was on the computer, but about eighty percent of that was already on my phone.  Some older stories I’ve long since given up on were on there, as well as the finished manuscripts of stuff I’ve already published.  It’s already available on Amazon and/or Createspace, so what do I care?

No, the thing that sent me on a panic attack was that Lifers Wear Orange was on this computer.  It’s not complete yet (I’m on the verge of finishing the second draft, and moving in to the third), and if I’d lost that manuscript…  Well, let’s just say you wouldn’t be seeing the story anytime ever.

Of all the things I hate doing, rewriting things from scratch is definitely in my top 3.  There was a time when I had to write the same god damn term paper three times in a row: the first time under normal circumstances, the second time on my Braille Lite (back when it worked) after my computer ended up with a harddrive-eating virus, and a third time after realizing my college, despite claiming to have all the necessary accomodations, didn’t have the cables necessary to hook my Braille Lite to a print printer.  I was literally expecting to have to write that term paper a fourth time.  I’m pretty sure that was the day I learned all about Murphy’s Law.

In any case, there is nothing I find more tedious, more aggravating, and more torturous than having to write an entire story all fucking over again from beginning to end.  A term paper’s bad enough, but even then, it’s only going to be anywhere between three and seven pages (depends on whether or not they want doublespacing or if you can get away with one-point-five spacing).  I don’t do a whole lot of short stories.  The Novellas of Highfill, Kansas are the shortest stories I’ve written, and even then, they average out fifty to sixty pages.  Or one-hundred if we’re going by Kindle format.

As of this current draft, Lifers Wear Orange is just a bit shy of one-hundred and sixty pages in Word.  By the time it hits Kindle, we’re looking at a possible two-hundred plus page story.  I’m not rewriting all of that.

This would be especially humiliating because I didn’t have any backup copies at the time.  Yeah, over and over again, I find I’m having to learn this lesson.  Psychostick of all people said it best: “You can never depend on just a single drive.”

Semi-related note: “Blue Screen” by Psychostick is great.  Well, virtually EVERYTHING by Psychostick is great, but as a former tech guy, I can relate.

Fortunately for me, when the panic subsided, and rationality took charge, I realized my computer booted up in safe mode.  I’ve had this computer since 2013, and I had no idea what safe mode looked like in Windows8.  Apparently, it looks like Windows8 when you first boot it up and have yet to put anything on it, I guess.

Everything’s fine.  I’m calm, my stuff hasn’t been eaten, and my electronics all work just fine.  Although the powerstrip I’m using is significantly tinier than my old one, and now I have to alternate plugs when I need to put my razor on the charger.  I’m also having some serious second thoughts about that space heater, although the fact it’s fucking ten degrees tonight has me hesitating to throw it out necessarily.

Everything is back on schedule.  You will be seeing Lifers Wear Orange.