R.I.P. The Skellyman

By now, I’ve mentioned here that I stream on occasion.  I use the YouTube handle Steaksaw McGraw, and for a few hours, I stream myself royally sucking at video games.  Apparently it has a market.  I’m nowhere near the level of Markiplier or Pewdie Pie or whatever, but these things seem to get views.

Recently, though, I tried my hand at a different sort of video project.  A project I simply called The Skellyman.

Not going to lie, this project was highly experimental.  I went in with little hopes, not expecting to be loved, to make mad money, or anything of the sort.  I’d figured a couple things out with Windows Movie Maker, as well as my cell phone camera, and I wanted to play with these discoveries.  As a result, I made some vlogs that were…  Okay.

There were a lot of jumpcuts in between lines.  If you’ve ever listened to my podcast, you know how bad I trip over my own speech.  I wish I could say that’s a stream of consciousness sort of thing, but really, that’s just how I am.  I had to butcher the shit out of those videos to make them coherent.  I basically took ten minutes of footage that was basically me in a La Parka mask I bought at a wrestling show back in, like, 2013 or so, and waving my arms like an idiot while I complained about how Greta Van Fleet is a glorified Led Zeppolin tribute band.

SEMI-RELATED NOTE: that was probably my least popular video on the entire channel.  But it wasn’t the thing that convinced me this channel is a fruitless endeavor.

Bottom line: this channel was an experiment.

In some ways, the experiment succeeded.  The videos, while not the best, were passable by my standards.  I still need to work on centering myself in front of the camera, but the phone didn’t make it a vertical video (one of my pieves with some vloggers), and editing on the last version of Windows Movie Maker is actually pretty painless once you figure out how everything is laid out.

In other ways, the experiment was a failure.  It didn’t perform as well as I would’ve liked.  I’m no stranger to being a contrarian when it comes to popular opinion, but honestly, my most popular review consisted entirely of me talking about a fucking hockey jersey I bought myself.  Not exactly what I was intending.

If I decide to do another vlog series, it won’t be as The Skellyman.  That character is basically done with.  I may try my hand at another video project down the line, but for now, I’m content with being an author who occasionally podcasts.

And to the one person who subscribed to my channel…  Yeah, sorry I didn’t give you warning.



2017 in review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!


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.



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.




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.

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.

Hurry Up and Be Over With Already!!!

Tuesday cannot come soon enough.  This has been the single worst election I think I’ve ever seen.  Seriously.  Even the 2000 election didn’t feel this tedious and irritating, and that was the one where they recounted the votes in Florida infinity-billion times.  Either because Gore was a sore loser who couldn’t accept the fact a red state voted red, or because Jeb was rigging the election in favor of little bro.  I’ve heard evidence on both sides, and frankly, I don’t even care anymore, what with Dubya pretty much returning to his home planet after 2009.

I’ve been saying here over and over again I was going to vote libertarian.  However, when I went in to vote early, I stood there at the voting device, I remembered all the disastrous town hall meetings Bill Weld had to bail Johnson out of (making me wonder why they didn’t nominate Weld for the LP in the first place)…  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

It may’ve taken me a couple months to come to the conclusion everyone else aware of Johnson has, but there was something in me that said, “You know, this Garry Johnson fella may very well be stupid.”  Which begs the question: what the fuck did the other nine libertarians sound like if THIS was the best we could come up with?  I know for sure the guy who founded McAfee Antivirus was one of the candidates, and that right there is a loud oh hell no.  I can’t trust McAfee to keep MY COMPUTER safe from MALWARE, so why the fuck should I trust his administration to protect my rights?  I don’t even know who the other people were.

Naturally, I didn’t vote Clinton.  Nor did I vote Trump.  Do I really need to explain why at this point?  Nor did I vote for Jill Stein.  Stein, in the grand scheme of things, is a big picture type who paints a really nice picture if you’re a former Bernie Backer like me.  However, the problem with big picture people is they tend to overlook the nuts and bolts.  And when you look at Stein’s outlook, there’s some details that need some serious explaining.

I was tempted to write in Joe Exotic: a write-in independent who…  Let’s face it, this guy doesn’t stand a chance.  It doesn’t help that I have no clue where he stands on literally ANYTHING.  The only thing I’ve gleaned from his comercials is that he’s most likely pro-gay marriage, and that he doesn’t plan on wearing a tie when he wins.  Perhaps in that one parallel Earth way off on the Z-axis of the multiversal spectrum.

But I felt like I had to vote.  So I did what I planned on doing since 2015: I voted for Bernie Sanders.  I clicked write-in candidate, and I wrote Bernie Sanders in.  Because fuck it.  You’re not giving me anything good.  Also, I’ve heard you can get arrested if you write in NONE OF THE ABOVE, or SOMEONE ELSE.  Don’t know how they figure out it was you, or if that’s even enforceable, but yeah, I don’t plan on learning the hard way one way or the other.

Is writing in Bernie Sanders akin to not voting?  Probably.  I have heard a pretty huge amount of Bernie backers who weren’t putting all their faith in Stein or Trump saying they were going to do it.  Even if he doesn’t stand a chance (especially now), I feel like I made my statement.

Frankly, Tuesday can’t come fast enough.  I don’t even care anymore.  Either we get sent to war with Russia with Clinton, or we get a fucking circus with a dash of “religious freedom” sprinkled in with Trump.  Nobody wins, and America sucks for four more years.  The end.