Ballmastr: My Thoughts

I have no fucking clue what I’ve just watched.  It seems like I’ve been saying that about Adult Swimming since they had the audacity to give Tim Heidecker and Eric Wereheim their own show, except where as I wished Tim and Eric would hurry up and die already…  I’m more confused than anything else.

Ballmastrz is…  I guess a parody of anime.  Yeah, there’s an original topic for parody.  Sure you didn’t have any Star Wars gags you wanted to throw in for good measure?  Or maybe Family Guy bought the rights to those.

In any case, the show is built around “The Game”: a pseudo bloodsport that seems like a breeding ground for ADHD with all its quick cuts, flashing colors, and announcer who’s more than happy to tell you how you SHOULD be feeling so you don’t have to actually think.  There’s only two rules in “The Game”: use balls to score, and use balls to kill.  From there, the sky is the limit.

I saw the commercials for this back in March, and…  I won’t lie, it looked fucking horrendous if you went by the commercial.  The show…  Well…  It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  For sure, the commercial doesn’t do it justice.

It’s probably not the most original idea on the planet, even by parody standards.  Gaz Digzy is your stereotypical case of being a master at the sword, and an absolute fuck up at life.  I guess the fact it’s a GIRL character is progressive, if that sort of thing matters to you, but frankly, I get the feeling I’ve seen this before.

I really can’t make up my mind on this show.  Again, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be…  But I definitely hesitate to say this show is GOOD.  Dana Snyder as Baby Ball is probably the high point, but that’s probably because Dana Snyder is a man of one voice, and every time Baby Ball is on screen, I immediately think Master Shake.

I think this show has potential.  At the same time, though, I’m keeping my expectations for the remainder of it VERY low.  Even by Adult Swim standards, I am so fucking confused right now.

Advertisements

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.

 

Book 1 Title Confirmed: Realm of the War Pigs

Earlier in the week, I announced my latest writing project.  However, at the time, I was still debating on what the title should be.  I opened the floor for commenters…  But in mostly typical fashion around here, nobody had two cents to give.  Which is fine, because I’m proud to announce that as of today, book1 of The Highway Men has a title.

I decided to go with Realm of the War Pigs.  It fits the best, considering the plot of the novel.  I almost called it Chalk Doorways, but decided that wasn’t good enough.  That was also pretty close to being the series title, but I decided that not every novel is going to deal with the horrors that spawn forth from the interdimensional gateways Grandfather Klein created.

All of this sounds like mumbo-jumbo right now, but I guarantee you that it’ll all make sense when the book is out.

NEW PROJECT: The Highway Men

Technically, I began this project yesterday, but one chapter later, I decided to announce I was working on it here, and I’ll eventually announce it on my Facebook when I’m done here.

The Highway Men is a project I’ve been sitting on since I was working on Lifers Wear Orange: Book 2 of The Gael Saga.  If I weren’t so dedicated to getting that project finished, I probably would’ve left Gael at one book, and started this as a series.

The Highway Men is more familiar territory for me personally.  A blend of action, adventure, Lovecraftian horror, and a few good old fashion references to/digs at rural Kansas culture that I have beheld, or heard tale of years later.  Because sometimes, it’s just too hard to resist.  Relax: there won’t be any politics this time.  I got a lot of that out of my system with The Majin Among Us, and maybe the last Novella of Highfill, Kansas.

I currently have the series name for sure: The Highway Men.  I don’t have a title for book 1 just yet, although I’m leaning towards several possibilities:

 

A. Dismal Dan the Highway Man

B. The Realms of Attrocity.

C. Grandfather’s Interdimensional Nexus of Unimaginable Horrors.

D. Realm/Domain/Dimension/City of The War Pigs

E. The War Pig Experiment.

F. The Horrors of Nevel, Kansas

G. The Chalk Doorways

 

If you see a slash, it’s because I figured words like REALM and DIMENSION are pretty interchangeable at this stage.

It’s hard to talk about titles without getting into spoilers.  Still, I’ll give you this much info about my latest novel here.

Dan Helwig, AKA: Dismal Dan, is the leader of a troop of demon hunters affiliated with a multinational network known as The Highway Men.  They travel around the highways, the enterstates, and other places most wouldn’t think to find demonic activity, because this is precisely where demonic activity ends up taking place.

Nevel, Kansas is YET ANOTHER fictional town in Rural Kansas I made up that, while not technically a real town, is based heavily on real places I know of, and have lived in.

The “war pigs” are, if nothing else, the primary antagonists of this novel.  They might appear in future novels, based on my blueprint, but right now, nothing is concrete.

If I say anything else, I’ll probably give away the plot.  And right now, things are subject to change.

Right now, I haven’t decided on a title.  Though seeing all my choices laid out before me right here, I’m thinking for sure that A and C are definitely out.  However, I’m always up for a second opinion.

If you see a title here you like, be sure to say something in the comments, and I’ll take your opinion into consideration.  Otherwise, I’ll probably choose one I like the most.  Or even pick one that has nothing to do with any of the titles I’ve listed.

I don’t have a speculative release date for this project just yet, but I’ll gladly let you all know when I actually have a time table in place.  Till then, stay tuned for more news regarding this new and exciting project.

The Grand Finale is Canceled

I announced it earlier in the week on my Facebook page, but I’ve officially canceled Grand Finale.  Honestly, though, if you read my attempts at describing how that project was going to work, you probably shouldn’t be shocked.

The Grand Finale was a lot like how Trey Parker once described The Human Centipede.  Specifically, that it was an idea that, at any point in its production, someone would stand up and say “This is dumb”, everyone would agree, and we’d never speak of this project ever again.  Unlike Tom Six, however, I actually reached that point around the halfway point of chapter seven, and called it a day.

Also, as I admitted in the entry detailing how that project was going to work, I had literally no plan going in.  I would just write, and see where it took me.  And unfortunately, it took me to a roadblock.  A roadblock that decided to make fun of me for sticking with it as long as I did, but a roadblock all the same.

And lastly, my desire to write another project I’ve been sitting on since 2017 finally overwhelmed everything else in that particular headspace.  Considering Grand Finale had no real planning, no direction, and just wasn’t working out, I figured now would be a good time to scrap the project altogether, and start this new one.

Details on this new project are coming soon.  For now, though, I regret to inform the two or three of you who were looking forward to Grand Finale that there will be no Grand Finale.

 

UPDATE: Okay, either people are really excited about the new project, or a lot of people actually weren’t looking forward to Grand Finale, because a cancelation post should NOT be getting this many likes.  Just saying.

End of an Era

Earlier this month, Scourged: the last of The Iron Druid Chronicles, was put out.  I bought it, I blazed through it in a week, and now I sit here realizing that the epic fantasy I’ve been reading since 2015 is over.  And boy, I have no idea how to feel about that.

All good things have to come to an end.  Frankly, the fact there hasn’t been a single bad book in the entire nine book series says a lot about how good at this writing thing Kevin Hearne actually is.  When the series started, it came out in a time where the whole “vampires, werewolves, and mythical creatures live among us and I keep them all in check” concept Anita Blake brought to the table was starting to become tiresome.  And really, one could argue that Anita Blake wasn’t even all that original in the first place.  So the fact Atticus O’Sullivan was ON THE RUN as opposed to being god’s chosen champion, or a member of an elite hunter squad, or whatever, was actually kind of a refreshing change of pace.  Also, who could say no to Oberon?  I don’t think myself as a dog person or as a cat person exclusively (I will punch you in the fucking face if you call me bipetual), but having had a dog of my own, I can tell you Hearne’s portrayal is definitely very accurate.  True, my dog wasn’t an Irish wolf hound, but really, dogs are dogs in the longrun: happy, slobbery, manic idiots who absolutely love you.

I’ll admit to not reading the novellas, though.  I basically stuck to the canonical books in the series.  Largely because, for the most part, the side novellas don’t really add anything TOO substancial to the overall plot.  At least, not until the book I refer to as “book 8.5.1 and 8.5.2”, but even then, the only thing those books explain is how Atticus ended up with a Boston terrier named Starbuck.

In the span of three years, I practically devoured all nine of The iron Druid Chronicles novels, and I enjoyed the journey from start to finish.

As per usual, I went with the audiobooks, because blind guy.  All of the books are read by the man, the myth, the legend himself, Luke Motherfucking Daniels.  In fact, I dare say, The iron Druid Chronicles were my first real exposure to him as a reader.  And ever since, Daniels has joined the likes of Simon Vance, Robertson Dean, and Mark Vitor: readers who make me loudly declare “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” the moment I see their name on the Audible.com page.  I was even subscribed to his Soundcloud page at one point, before I ended up deleting that soundcloud account in exchange for the one currently hosting Red Flannel Radio.  I should really do another one of those.  Seems like that’s been reduced to a monthly show now.

But I digress.

The series has ended.  I feel complete in a way, but at the same time, I feel kind of bummed out.  Well, maybe BUMMED is a bit of an exaggeration, but I definitely have that “end of an era, and I have no idea where to go from here” kind of feeling.  This feeling will pass in a couple days (it always does), but I really can’t remember the last time I’ve been bummed out about there being no new stories in the series.  Usually, by the time a series gets to book 4, I’m starting to notice problems, tedium, and even continuity errors in one case.

I highly recommend reading the series for yourself if you haven’t.  In the meantime, maybe I’ll be able to find the next great ongoing series to invest all my psychotic fan devotion to.

No AFD Prank This Year

got to say, the internet has been pretty tame this year as far as AFD goes.  At absolute most, I have it on good authority PornHub apparently filled their entire front page with videos of people playing the trumpet, and that’s pretty much been it.

I myself have been pretty reserved this year, compared to the announcement of Eugene Wafleshire’s epic debut self-help novel, How to Fuck Your Couch Like a MAN!, a year ago to the day.  I’ve honestly given ol’ Eugene Wafleshire an extended, indefinite hiatus after the blog I tried to create for him didn’t work out…

Oh right, I don’t think I ever mentioned that here, have I?

Around the fall of 2017, I had finished The Gael Saga, was in search of a new exciting project, and was hyped up on Hunter S. Thompson and the majesty of gonzo journalism.  Attempting to absorb everything that constituted gonzo journalism (minus the peyote, obviously), while maintaining my own opinions on life, the universe, and everything, I eventually used the Eugene Wafleshire pen name for this project.

Eugene Wafleshire quickly ceased to be a gag name I used as the author name in fake book covers, and I had made him a real life character.  Eugene Wafleshire was an opinionated jerk, a loud and proud libertarian, and the defining feature, the town drunk.

I wrote a series of OP EDs, submitted them to the local papers, and the ones that didn’t get picked up (IE, all but one), I posted to the BlogSpot.com account I’d set up for him.  I’d made the flur de lis Eugene’s insignia, even though whiskey is an IRISH drink, and the FRENCH seem to prefer wine according to stereotypes 101.  I grew my beard out longer than I’d ever let it grow, found an old cowboy hat I’d bought years ago, and used a selfie containing that beard and that hat as my profile pic for said OP ED submissions.

I used Eugene Wafleshire to share stories of working alongside meth heads (which is kind of a true story, actually), political opinions that consisted of clever ways of saying “Everybody’s a fucking idiot”, and occasionally sharing Eugene’s favorite drinking songs.  Spoiler: he really loved Right Said Fred.

I branched out, and used alternative social networking methods to promote myself.  Only to find that “alternative social networks” was a fancy term for “conservative social networks”.  Basically, Twitter’s and Facebook’s attempts at fighting racism negativity, extremism, and what not,  resulted in a massive purging of conservatives from their platform, thus resulting in the creations of Gab.ai, and Minds.com.  Well, Minds.com is a little more neutral in concept, but fucking Kekistan was all fucking over the place when I was trying to promote Eugene there.

Eugene Wafleshire: gonzo journalist, didn’t pan out.  The viewership was minimal, and the only real feedback I’d gotten was that I rambled too much.  Fair enough: even BEFORE I was studying up on gonzo journalism, and the writing style of Hunter S. Thompson, I’ve been prone to letting stream of consciousness grab hold of me.  Before I know it, I have ten paragraphs of crap that may or may not even be on topic anymore.  It’s weird, but that’s how it is.

Seeing as how the blog was going nowhere, I decided to delete my accounts: on BlogSpot, on Minds (which at the time was, and probably still is a bit on the glitch side), my Gab.ai account (I think)…  As many as I could think of.

I’d thought about using Eugene as a narrator in a writing project I called Misanthropy in Retail.  It was sort of an autobiography, but it kind of WASN’T an autobiography.  It was about a chapter of MY life, but as told by Eugene Wafleshire: roommate, good friend, and possible figment of my imagination.  Eugene would tell the tale of how he and I worked retail for two years (give or take), and how toxic an experience it was.  All the while, Eugene would pad out the book with political commentary that was both biographical, opinionated, and libertarian.  Also, he insisted that I had a foot fetish.  Guess he read The Gael Saga too. 🙂

That project, like a lot of writing projects in the time between The Gael Saga and The Majin Among Us, didn’t get finished, and I’m hesitant to even bother trying anymore.  I think this was all just a passing fancy that I don’t dare revisit without a healthy dose of Hunter S. Thompson injected into my brain.

I haven’t used his name for anything sense.  I was thinking of making another April Fools Day prank about a fictional book he wrote, but I figured this was an alias that’d run its course.

And so, I chose not to do an AFD prank this year.  As did a lot of the places I normally visit on the net.  Weird, right?  I guess the fact Easter and AFD are on the same day means everybody’s too busy collecting the seven magical wishing eggs to summon all mighty Shinran the wishing bunny to bring Jesus back to life.  Or something.

Whatever.  Happy Christ on a Stick day.  I’ll see you next time.

New Project: Grand Finale

I’ve been sitting here for at least an hour trying to figure out how to explain my next writing project, The Grand Finale.  Four deleted entries later, I’m still at a loss.

For sure, it’s a superhero series.  Yeah, I know, another superhero series.  Even I thought I’d gotten that out of my system with The Gael Saga.

At the same time, though, it’s kind of NOT a superhero series.  The character who ends up being the hero isn’t really a HERO.  He’s definitely super, though.

I like to think of the project as surrealist.  In the sense that I’m not an art snob, and think everything that is confusing is surrealist.  By my logic, The Ultimate Deletion was surrealist.

This is about as close to an accurate description of The Grand Finale as I have right now.

For sure, I have an easier time explaining what The Grand Finale ISN’T.

For starters, despite it being named The Grand Finale, it’s actually the first book in a possible series.  Will the stories be connected together in a sequencial story?  Will the books be individually contained episodes you can read in any order you like?  Theway I write, usually the former is true, but I think the latter is just as likely.

The Grand Finale is not as dark as Highfill, Kansas, but it’s not a comedy.  There may be some humorous dialogue between characters, but it is NOT intended to be a comedy.

The Grand Finale has no guarantees.  For all I know at this point, I probably won’t even finish it.  It’s an idea I came up with while entertaining myself at work, and now, I’m trying my hand at flushing it out.  I might actually have a book…  Or I might have three chapters worth of text sitting on my harddrive for the rest of my life.  We shall see.

I’ll give you as much information about the project as I can on my Facebook, but honestly, aside from chapter counts, and possible title changes, try not to be too shocked if I don’t say anything about the plot.  Because honestly, even I can’t guarantee I know where this is going.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve flown by the seat of my pants like this in a writing project.  I usually like to have a gameplan when I go into projects like these.  Not this time, however.  This time, I’m just letting my stream of consciousness dictate what direction I go.  This might end up being a terrible idea…  But hey, it worked for Faulkner when he wrote As I Lay Dying.  That, and staying up till 4:00 AM and writing while half asleep probably helped.

 

Fuck Whales: My Thoughts

I  didn’t find out about the majesty of Maddox until about 2004.  Even then, I only found out he existed because Steakandcheese.com, a disgusting fucking website I used to love that has long since been replaced by a RedTube clone, shared his article entitled “You’re Not Dave Chappelle, and You’re Not Funny.”  This was the article I gladly shared with all my dipshit classmates who thought saying “I’M RICK JAMES, BITCH!” was an adequate substitute for a joke.  Only to be reminded that I was just as bad about “GET ‘R DONE” as they were with “I’M RICK JAMES, BITCH!”.

Regardless, that article led to quite a few nights of reading, and rereading, and occasionally even rerereading Maddox articles, and absorbing the gospel of the almighty pirate lord into my own being.  He basically writes books, and makes YouTube videos now, but I still follow his work fairly closely.

His latest book, Fuck Whales, is the only book of his that has made it on to Audible.com.  I can see why I’m Better Than Your Kids isn’t there, considering it’s mostly a picture book, but I figured for sure The Alphabet of Manliness would be there.  Unless it has more pictures than I remember.  It’s been a while since my friend and I skimmed through that one.

If you’re familiar with The Best Page in the Universe, then you know exactly what to expect from this book.  I don’t know if there are pictures in this book (I got the audiobook, after all), but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few.

If you’ve never heard of The Best Page in the Universe…  Well…  I don’t know what to tell you, except prepare to be called several different variants of idiot while the author explains how he’s awesome, how you’re stupid, and how this or that doesn’t work because reasons.  It sounds offensive when I describe it, but then again, I’m not Maddox.

Maddox himself reads the audiobook, which makes the experience even more awesome.  Both because it’s Maddox, and because I always love it when authors read their own books for the audiobook.  One of the reasons Georges St. Pierre’s audiobook is extremely disappointing.  Well that, and the fact it’s one of the most disjointed autobiographies I’ve read since Hunter S. Thompson, but at least you could say HST was probably on ten different kinds of pills.

Fuck Whales starts off pretty irreverent, with such articles as “Fuck Tables” and “Fuck Horses”.  Eventually, though, it gets into some seriously deep shit with such articles as “Fuck Being Offended”.  You read the first couple essays, and get a good little “tee hee” over the absurdism of having a negative opinion about something like a table.  Then you get into stuff like vegetarians who refuse to eat leftover meat, or how we live in a society where bagging groceries is considered less demeaning than doing porn.  the transition from silly to deep is scemeless, and you don’t even notice it unless you’re really paying attention.

All and all, Fuck Whales is a 256 page ass kicking just waiting to be unloaded onto your brain.  And you owe it to yourself to let this book kick your ass.

new Novella of Highfill, Kansas?

Often times, I have referred to The Novellas of Highfill, Kansas as some variant or another on the term “a writing project I thoroughly regret publishing.”  While the review sections on Amazon, and all the places I submitted them to for reviews have been a regular ghostopolis (IE, dead silent), a couple of readers have insisted I’m too hard on myself.  Well, I suppose the important thing is THEY like what they read.  Lord knows two years later, I don’t like them.

All that being said, I’ve been open to the idea of writing more of them.  The only real guarantee I’ve made in the past is that Jodi LaVey and her wife won’t be the main characters, or really any part of future novels.  Jodi’s story is told, and there’s not much else I can do with it.

I’m really more interested in expanding on the setting, the mindset, the culture…  Or really, just providing Highfill as a setting for miscellaneous novellas that have nothing but the setting in common.  In fact, the only reason The Majin Among Us ended up not being a Novella of Highfill, Kansas was due to its supernatural fantasy elements.  So I had to forge a similar town with Redcrest, and make it a whole separate entity.

I’ve had scribbles of ideas in the old internal scribblepad for other Highfill, Kansas stories.

The oldest of the scribbles was a story under the title of Election.  Gwen LaVey was featured as one of the three narrators who told the story of a democrat’s effort to run for mayor of Highfill against a republican candidate so corrupt that Donald Trump looks like the fucking pope by comparison.  Despite his corruption, though, he’s still the popular candidate on the grounds that, while he’s a misogynist, a racist, an incompetent boob, and a spoiled brat with no social skills, at least he’s not a democrat.  I eventually abandoned it on the grounds it’s basically a fictionalized account of either the 2016 presidential election, or the 2014 governor’s race here in Kansas.  Really, take your pick.  I haven’t deleted the idea, but I don’t plan on writing this one any time soon.

Another idea I’d had sitting around was simply titled Boxmart.  I hadn’t really built much around the story beyond the fact it was set primarily at a big box store creatively named Boxmart, and that Jodi would make a cameo.  This one probably needs more work.

Another idea I had was for a story called Court Case.  Gwen would be featured prominently, but she wouldn’t be any of the three narrators.  I had the beginning, and the ending mapped out… But no middle.  I may tweek this one a little in the future.

However, the most recent of the scribblings is what I ended up picking as my next writing project.

The story is officially titled Sarah’s Phone.  It’s set in Highfill, Kansas, and possesses a healthy dose of the backward dark that made the first two what they are.  However, as I promised before, it has nothing to do with the LaVey family in the slightest.  Also, at the rate things are going, it’s looking like there is only one narrator.  At least in the traditional sense of what makes a narrator, anyway.  If and when I finish this story idea, you’ll see what I mean.

I have no time table for when Sarah’s Phone: A Novella of Highfill, Kansas will be available for purchase, but if it’s anything like the first two, it shouldn’t be especially long.

I’ll be sure to keep ou updated, either her, or on my Facebook, on progress.  All I can guarantee out the gate is that knowing my luck, I’ll probably end up hating it like I hate the other Novellas of Highfill, Kansas a year, or even six months later.  For now, though, I’m interested in seeing where this idea takes me.