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.

 

The End of Oz: My Thoughts

If you want my opinions on the first three books in the Dorothy Must Die series, click here:

https://tjbauthor.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/dorothy-must-die-my-thoughts/

All caught up?  Okay then.  Let’s proceed on to book 4.

I have to say, book 4…  Was kind of a Letdown.

Part of me thinks it’s because this is where the series ends.  While young adult isn’t a demographic I regularly indulge in on purpose, I’ve actually been enjoying the books for the most part.  The fact this thrillride is over, and now I have nothing to look forward to every April is just kind of a downer.

It could also be that the eventual death of Dorothy that we’ve been waiting for since book 1 was kind of a lame-ass cop out.  I spent four books waiting for this bitch to get hers, and the series ends with the main character “taking the high road” on the death penalty like some sanctimonious, bleeding heart pro-lifer on their soapbox denouncing “the satanic institution of death row”.  Ugh, don’t even get me started: we’ll be here all night, and it’s already 3:00 in the morning as I write this.

All I know is rather than a satisfying final battle that leaves the antagonist dead, we get this bullshit morality ending, and Dorothy basically erases herself from existence using…  I don’t know, bailfire?  Does anybody outside the Wheel of Time fandom even know what I’m even referencing?  I waited three fucking years for this, you know.  I’m KIND OF satisfied The Noamb King got his…  Although The Noamb King was pretty one-dimensional by comparison .

It could also be that the FRIangle that has been a minor inconvenience since book 1 reaches its climax.  They finally boink in this book, and it gets pretty insufferable afterward.  Sue me, I wasn’t much of a hopeless romantic when I was their age.  Hell, I used to MST the shit out of this sort of lovey-dovey stuff.

It could also be that, in my humble opinion, chapter 23 was literally unnecessary.  You really could’ve ended the story on chapter 22, and it would’ve been less tedious.  Instead, we get this long, drawn-out, “where are they now” sort of ending that I was really wishing would just hurry up and be done with.

The End of Oz, like the books before it, is read by Devon Sorvari.  I forgot to mention it in the review of the first three books, but I honestly find listening to Sorvari to be the biggest ordeal of the series.  Even when the books are GOOD, I find her style to be slow and monotonous.  It hasn’t gotten better as the years have gone by, sad to say.  I’d like to think she’s giving it her all, and I can forgive a reader who’s a reader of about two or three voices tops, but I get the feeling Sorvari was getting paid by the hour the rate she was reading.

Hell, maybe I didn’t enjoy this one as much because I’m just not feeling the concept anymore.  It seriously took FOUR books to kill Dorothy, and they didn’t really KILL Dorothy so much as they clicked the delete button on her and undid everything she did as a result.  Did I mention that was very unsatisfying?  Because it is.

I probably shouldn’t be complaining too much in the longrun.  Shit, I’m a thirty-one-year-old man who has to self-publish all of HIS crap complaining about someone’s young adult series that managed to get for-real published.  Still, this book was actually kind of a letdown.  It’s the end of an era.  I just wish it didn’t have to go out with an apathetic shrug, mumbling “Whatever, it’s done.  I’m out of here.”

Will Save the Galaxy for Food: My Thoughts

Yahtzee Croshaw.  Now there’s a mouthful of a name if I ever heard one.  Croshaw is well known for several things: a couple other books I haven’t gotten to yet, a series of adventure games made with one of those Game Maker esque programs I’ve really been meaning to pick up, and perhaps the thing that sealed the deal and made me a fan for good, his game review series.

Zero Punctuation has become one of my favorite things to watch on YouTube lately.  Considering Youtube is on the verge of censoring itself into oblivion (apparently), it probably won’t be there much longer, but for now, I’m enjoying the trip.  Admittedly, if you don’t like the color yellow, you’re probably not going to like this show.  There’s a lot of yellow in the background.  But even if that’s a turn off, I’ve found looking away from the screen and focusing primarily on the audio works just as well.  I’m not a very vision-oriented person, though, so maybe that’s just me.  And maybe you like yellow, which in that case, go ahead and look at the screen.  Look to your heart’s content!

Semi-related note: did you know there’s an honest to god phobia of the color yellow?  I forget what it’s called, and I’m not exactly in any hurry to Google it, but yeah, that’s a thing.  Go figure.

While marathoning some Zero Punctuation one night, I saw at the end of one of his videos that he’d apparently written a book.  At the time, I didn’t know he was an author with two other books in the can prior to this one, so you’ll forgive me if I’m going in reverse order.  It’s like the Star Wars trilogy all over again.  The good one.  Not the prequel one, or the J.J. one we’re working on right now.

Fortunately, the books are unrelated.  Say for maybe a reference to his book, Jam, I read through Will Save the Galaxy for Food, and didn’t feel like I had to backtrack.  True, I’m GOING TO backtrack, but it’s because I want to, not because I have to.

I love these kind of space epics.  The Expanse is fun if you want hardcore science fiction in the real world…  Or about as close to the real world as you can possibly get.  However, I’ve always found my favorite scifi was the kind of scifi that threw up its hands and said “fuck it”.  Is there such a planet as the one he takes people on a tour of in chapter 1?  Fuck if I know.  We did discover a whole other solar system a couple months ago with three planets that could hypothetically support life and all, but man, I don’t fucking care.  We’re never going to see those planets.  Between the fact that, last I checked, a science-denying hypocrite by the name of Ted Cruz has a pretty high-ranking position in NASA, and the fact it takes literally for fucking ever to get there with the technology we have, it’s not happening in MY lifetime for sure.  So just give me a fucking fantasy to hold on to.

The book gives me flashbacks to the various Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, what with its mostly well-flushed-out environments, great characters (even the obnoxious one-percenter teenager and his pink-haired girlfriend have their charm), and dry British humor.  Although instead of a nifty device that was a laptop in the 1970s, a cell phone in 2001, and god only knows what it’ll be if they ever give us another Hitchhiker’s Guide thing in the present day, we have the captain of the S.S. God of Whalesharks.

The audio book is read by the author himself, Yahtzee Croshaw.  I have to admit, it’s weird hearing him read in a slow, reserved sort of way.  I guess I’m too used to his million miles a second ramblefest style from Zero Punctuation.  All the same, I love his performance.  No two characters sound exactly the same, and I imagine the captain himself with Croshaw’s normal voice.

It’s a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have two other books to get caught up on.

 

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.

Goodbye, Jamal

Well if you live in KC, then one of the popular topics of discussion is that The Chiefs finally gave Jamal Charles his walking papers.  on one hand, I can see why a lot of guys are mystified.  On the other hand, I can see why The Chiefs did what they did.

On one hand, Jamal Charles was an institution.  He was pretty much the star player of The Chiefs for the longest time.  He’s been on the team since I first started paying attention to football!  I remember him from when Todd Halley was the coach, Matt Cassle was getting sacked every other play, and Larry Johnson were cakin’.

Unfortunately, dude’s been injured for about two years straight.  That’s bad enough.  Add on the fact that the coaching staff have long since figured out how to replace him, and…  Well…  Nobody likes learning they’re obsolete, but…  Charles pretty much became obsolete.  Travis Kelsey, Kniles Davis, and Charkendrick West have all proven to be successful, and we never would’ve figured out they were any good unless Charles was on the injured list.

If The Chiefs had one glaring problem in their strategy, it was that they depended on Charles WAY too much.  Occasionally, they’d hand it off to a guy like McCluster, or Bowe (back when they were around), but it seemed like it always went to Charles.  Not taking anything away from Charles himself, but man, when you hand the ball off to the same guy every single god damn time, then wonder how on Earth the other team was able to stifle your offense so easily without coming to the obvious conclusion, then I think we might have a problem.

When Charles was on the bench, the team had to find work arounds to a strategy that, if you asked me, was barely working at best.  And as a result of giving guys like West and Kelsey a chance, and changing up who gets the ball, we ended up on an eleven game winning streak in the 2015 season.  And in our defense, we lost the playoffs to the fucking Patriots.  There’s little to no shame in losing to The Patriots: they’re nigh unstoppable.  Especially now that Peyton Manning is retired.

It’s sad to see a guy like Charles go, but I think this might be for the better.  Like I said before, dude’s been injured for two straight years now.  It’s really not doing us any good hanging on to him.

All that being said, watch the next team that decides to draft him instantly go to the superbowl and win.  Assuming he doesn’t retire.  Or that team happens to go against The Patriots, and the Patriots are the team that DIDN’T draft him.  Because there are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Patriots win the superbowl.

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 Week of Bumble

If you’ve never heard of Bumble, imagine Tendr if it were yellow and themed after bees.  If you’re not familiar with Tendr…  Well, I’d say something about you being super out of it, but frankly, I’m a bit of a dinosaur myself, what with my OKcupid account and all.

I heard about Tendr through Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance.  Before I go too far off topic, I recommend getting the book.  Even if he decides to bitch out all the people who got the audio book.  Because apparently you’re fucking lazy or illiterate if you get an audio book.  Yeah, everybody knows blind people don’t listen to audio books.  They’re too busy learning sign language down at the circus!  Asshole!

Tendr, in short, is a dating app that many have jokingly referred to as a cell phone game.  Except after playing with one of its clones, I can’t guarantee it’s a joke anymore.  You swipe left when you aren’t interested, and you swipe right if you ARE interested.  If a person you right swiped swipes right on your profile, then you can talk.

Bumble works exactly the same way.  The one key thing that seperates it from Tendr, though, is that women make the first move.  The guy can right swipe, and the woman swipes right if she likes your profile.  However, the woman starts the conversation regardless of whether she swiped right first, or you did.  And there in lies the fatal flaw of Bumble.

Go ahead and call me a sexist pig if you have to.  Considering I voted Sanders in the 2016 primary, and refused to see the new Ghostbusters movie due to its gender swop premise, I’m already batting zero.  Really, it’s been my personal experience women don’t want to make the first move.  The guy always has to be the one who goes out of his way to get noticed.  If this weren’t true, I’d probably have a lot more people on the dating sites sending me winks, or likes, or thumbs up, or whatever the site uses to show they’re interested but don’t have time for a message, or can’t think of anything good to say.  It could also be that I need to get rid of the beard, and that I need to get over this delusional idea mirrored sunglasses make me look cool, but this has been the case even BEFORE going through this phase of my life.

Women don’t want to make the first move.  In my entire life, there’s been a grand total of one exception to this lesson I’ve learned, and frankly, she ended up being a fucking trainwreck.  For everything else, I’ve had to be the one to make the first move.  And this is why the app is destined to fail.

The fact its rating went from a 4.1 to a 3.7 in the span of a week probably doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence, either.  But hey, I figured I’d give it a try anyway.  It’s free, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting any money on this ultimately fruitless endeavor.

So I downloaded it.  And I right swiped, and I left swiped.  The app provides very basic information: age, college they graduated from, job, and maybe a little blurb about them.  That’s it.  The information is so minimal, it’s almost not even worth looking at, honestly.  In fact, it pretty quickly reached a point where I wasn’t even reading the profile information, and was swiping right or left based entirely on the photo.  Which I guess is the point, but still, it seems kind of dumb.

It reached a point where I found myself more interested in the act of swiping right or left than in actually getting results.  Of which I got none, as I expected, but I digress.  It became less of an opportunity to meet some new people, and it ended up becoming something to distract a side of my brain while the other listened intently to the latest in The Expanse novels.  I guess this is what they meant by a cell phone game disguised as a dating site.

I complain about the lack of interest the community had in me…  Though if I knew it was going to use Facebook photos, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time trying to perfect the art of the selfy again, and picked some better photos than the ones the app picked.  I wasn’t wasted, or naked, or doing anything embarrassing in any of the photos they picked…  Though based on that commercial for Tendr, having a picture of you holding a cat apparently isn’t as appealing to women as I was led to believe.  So yeah, I had to delete that photo of me hanging out with my cat.  As well as two or three others that reminded me that I take a lot of photos while wearing sunglasses.  You’d think I was a cool kid from the 90s or something.

All the same, I really didn’t enjoy this app.  Gaming wise, it kept me distracted for a while.  In terms of meeting people…  Yeah, stick to meeting people in real life.  Or even the on-line personals.  Not this.  Never this.

After months of writing, proofreading, waiting for cover art, getting distracted by Darkest` Dungeon, and still more proofreading, Book 2 of The Gael Saga (formerly known simply as Gael) is now available!

Roisin O’Malley: the masked vigilante known by many as Gael, has been arrested, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.  Dan Adelson, the criminal kingpin the media has since dubbed “The Teal Tyrant”, has SOMEHOW been cleared of all charges, and finds himself engaged in corporate warfare with the man who’d be his successor.  The police force, now reduced to a third of their original manpower thanks to Adelson’s previous efforts, find themselves barely capable of contending with an ever increasing crime rate, as well as a group of copycat vigilantes calling themselves The Gael Army.  And as if all of this weren’t bad enough, a masked killer has emerged, leaving a trail of dead bikers, gangsters, and even corporate assassins in his wake.  What will become of Sapphire City now that all out bedlam has broken out?  And what will happen to Roisin, now that she must spend the rest of her life in a cage with her arch enemy?

The Gael Saga has been one of my favorite things to write lately, and I’m really happy this one is FINALLY available for purchase.  Admittedly, this one didn’t come spilling out onto the page quite like book 1 did, but I’m still very proud of how this one turned out.

Fair warning: this book, like many in a series, operates under the assumption you’ve read book 1 first.  I’m not saying you’ll be lost, or confused, or anything if you decide to start here…  Although I do seem to be thinking it pretty loudly.  It seems idiotic that I have to say this out loud, but if my mom has proven anything, it’s that people have an uncanny habit of picking up a series right in the middle on the assumption you can start anywhere.  Believe me, the days of episodic tales are long over.  That’s just the way it is.

You can get your copies right here.