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Status Update

May 17, 2013 Leave a comment

I am currently looking out on a field of green and can feel the warmth of the sun on my face as it beams in through the window. It has been a long and difficult winter, but that time is behind us now. Now is the time of warmth and of shorts and t-shirts, of backyard swimming pools and sprinklers on the lawn. Though it has been spring, in the technical sense, since March 20th, we have gone from wondering if the frozen grip of winter would ever loosen from around our throats, to feeling as though the summer sun will pummel us into the ground with its fiery fists. Indeed, spring has done a fine job of hiding this year.

I’ve spent almost all of the day so far writing. What time I did spend away from the computer was spent trekking to the post office and the local market. The television has laid silent and still in the other room since I woke up this morning, only music has been played, only a handful of YouTube clips have been viewed. All other time has been spent writing, jumping from project to project, and I’m quite happy.

I wrote yesterday, as well. A short piece entitled The Depth of Life. It’s here if you’re interested. Another short (if rambling) piece that I completed this afternoon, called UNTITLED #1, can be found here.

There are other things in the works as well, longer things made up of smaller bits that I’ve been working on. Some bits are finished, others have been started, others still remain untouched as yet. It will all come together someday very soon.

Every so often, Alan Moore awakens from his long slumber and grants us all with his wisdom. Such wisdom can be found below:




August 27th will be the next time I attend a concert. It will be the first time I’ve been to a concert in nearly a decade, the first concert I will be attending with the wife, and the first time I will be seeing Depeche Mode in concert.

I’m very excited.

Here is Dave Gahan talking about their current world tour, their latest album, entitled Delta Machine, and his bout with cancer a few years ago.




And here is the music video for Heaven, the first single off of Delta Machine.

As I finish this post, the sun is now gone and only clouds remain. I think I’ve written enough for today and I feel it’s time to go do a bit of reading. Enough pouring out, time to soak up something someone else has written.

I’ll update again soon, though probably not as soon as I intend to.

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31 Days = 31 Horror Reviews

October 1, 2012 3 comments

Last year, I spent the month of October updating my “writingcentric” Tumblr blog with various horror short stories (read them here). This year, I thought I’d do something different.

First, let me preface this by saying that Halloween is my favorite holiday and it has been since I was a child. Don’t get me wrong, here. I love Christmas. The family togetherness, the exchange of gifts, the sights and smells of winter filling the air. It’s great. However, Halloween offers some things that Christmas does not: The colors of the leaves, both the ones that litter the ground and the ones that cling to their trees with hopes of miraculously making it through winter, the look on the faces of children as you dump handfuls of cavity inducing goodies into their bags or buckets.

And of course, horror movies.

I’ve had a passion for horror movies ever since I was a kid. My father would sit me down with him and we’d watch all of the old Universal Monster classics. Those movies taught me a lot. I gained an appreciation for the delicate process of bringing a hodge podge of dead body parts back to life in Frankenstien, I learned how to kill a vampire in Dracula, The Mummy taught me never to read the contents of an ancient scroll out loud, and The Wolfman taught me that even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. All of this was merely the groundwork being set up to a lifelong love of scary movies. As I grew, so did my taste in horror, and I became introduced to the works of George A. Romero and John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Brian De Palma, Clive Barker and David Cronenberg. My list of horrible creatures of which I had some knowledge grew to include zombies and ghosts, demons and twisted alien creatures.

The great thing about the month of October is that you would be hard pressed to find more than a few channels that aren’t showing horror movies all the time. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

And so this year, I’ve decided to review thirty-one horror movies over thirty-one days.

Here are some facts about that:

1: Due to work, I might end up doubling up on reviews (meaning I might have two reviews in one day every once in a while), but I’m committed to thirty-one reviews.

2: I have a lot planned, most of which are DVDs that I own, but I’m probably going to throw a few in as the month progresses on a whim. If I see something on cable or after scanning my Netflix queue that piques my interest, I might add it into the rotation.

3: Not all of these movies will be good and the reviews will most certainly touch on that.

4: I’m going to be incredibly biased as far as what movies are included in the list (as the first movie of the month will indicate) because there are a lot that I consider to be favorites.

5: If you can’t wait to read movie reviews written by me, you could always visit BadSequels.Com and visit my author profile. I mean, no one will hold it against you if you do. Also, note that almost all of the movies I’ve reviewed over there are horror movies except one: Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. That might still count as horror, depending on who you ask.

6: I won’t be “rereviewing” or reposting reviews from BadSequels here.

Stay tuned for the first review coming sometime later this evening.

Edit: And we’re off! List of movies below will be updated as I go:

October 1st: An American Werewolf in London
October 2nd: An American Werewolf in Paris
October 3rd: Fright Night (1985)
October 4th: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
October 5th: Ginger Snaps
October 6th: The Descent
October 7th: Trick ‘r Treat
October 8th: The Lost Boys
October 9th: House on Haunted Hill (1959)
October 10th: Dog Soldiers
October 11th: From Dusk Till Dawn
October 12th: 1408
October 13th: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
October 14th: The Howling
October 15th: The Thing (1982)
October 16th: Alien
October 17th: 30 Days of Night
October 18th: The Wolfman (1941)
October 19th: The Wolfman (2010)
October 20th: Evil Dead
October 21st: Near Dark
October 22nd: Cursed
October 23rd: Bad Moon
October 24th: Wolfen
October 25th: Frailty
October 26th: Silver Bullet
October 27th: Creepshow
October 28th: Night of the Living Dead
October 29th: Friday the 13th (1980)
October 30th: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
October 31st: Halloween (1978)

Ray Bradbury 1920 – 2012

June 6, 2012 2 comments

I logged into Twitter this morning, much like any other morning, with a yawn and a sip of coffee and a certain sort of sleepy curiosity as to what funny or horrible or tragic things I would learn, 140 characters at a time. It was soon thereafter that I read “RIP Ray Bradbury”. I gasped. “Oh no.” I said aloud and I raced to find a more viable source of information, preferably from a website that is not known to unceremoniously kill a different celebrity each week, only to find that said celebrity is in fact alive and well.

This is what I found.

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Bradbury. I’ve read quite a few tweets and tumblr posts from people and they all say pretty much the same sort of thing: “I met Ray Bradbury once and he was lovely and I’m so sad that we’ve lost him, but so glad that we had him, and so happy that his work has touched so many of us so deeply.”

I have not met Mr. Bradbury and while that upsets me, it does my heart good to know that there are people who have met him, and who have shared with him their stories of how they first came to read and enjoy his work, and who have walked away from the experience feeling as though they’ve accomplished something. That they had their opportunity to thank him. That warms my heart. It makes me feel happy for those who had that chance and it makes me feel glad that Bradbury knew how loved he was as a member of the writing community.

The first work of Mr. Bradbury’s that I ever read was Something Wicked This Way Comes (buy it here). It moved me in many ways. It was spooky and at times funny, it was dark and menacing, but still had enough heart to make you care about it.

Ray Bradbury is on my list of favorite science fiction writers, along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison and Isaac Asimov, and countless others. Sadly, his name is also now on the list of favorite authors who have left us, and in doing so, have also left a gaping and irreparable hole in the world of fiction itself. No one will ever replace Ray Bradbury.

If you’re a fan of Bradbury, but do not yet own any of his work, I’d suggest Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles, the classic Fahrenheit 451, or this collection of some of his shorter works.

If you’ve never read the work of Bradbury, please visit your local library and look him up. They’re sure to have something with his name on it and you’d be doing yourself a service.






Prologues and Dismissed Cases

April 19, 2008 1 comment

First thing, I suppose, is first. I know there will be a quite a few people reading this blog who may not know who Gordon Lee is. They may not even know what The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is.

For those currently reading:

Here is a Wikipedia entry on the CBLDF.

And here is a Wikipedia entry on Gordon Lee.

Give them a browse and get caught up.

For those unwilling to click the above links, Gordon Lee is the owner of a comic book store in Rome, Georgia, who has been previously charged and convicted with selling pornographic materials. In his own store. To adults. Who had asked him for the materials.

This current case, however, involves the alleged incident in which a comic book containing a scene in which Picasso is painting, though in the nude, was given to a nine year old child on Halloween.

If such a thing had happened to my nine year old, I would have been upset as well. But I would have approached the store owner and let me feelings known to him/her. In this instance, however, the law became involved, and Lee was charged with two felonies and five misdemeanors.

This was in 2004. In the four years since, Mr. Lee has experienced the legal equivalent of a roller coaster, involving mistrials, postponements and several other delays.

Well, it’s been announced that Gordon Lee’s case has been dismissed. The link leads to a very interesting, albeit short, Newsarama interview with the Executive Director of the CBLDF, Charles Brownstein.

Granted, the dismissal of the case is not the same as an obvious win, but- Well, Brownstein says it best below:

NRAMA: From the view of the CBLDF, how does a complete dismissal compare to a courtroom victory?

CB: A clean win is a clean win. And this is a very clean win.

It should have never gone this far to begin with.

Four years and over $100,000 of donated money later and the “attempted miscarriage of justice” (as Neil Gaiman called it) that was the Gordon Lee case is finally over. Gordon Lee can return to his daily life unafraid of the authorities watching over him.

It’s just a sad state of affairs. In what is supposed to be a free country, this sort of thing still happens. And the Gordon Lee debacle is but one of many cases that the CBLDF is on a mission to help. Here’s just a few of them in recent years.

If you have the time and the money and want to donate to a worthy cause, please give pause and consider the CBLDF.

Here is a YouTube video of Neil Gaiman making the announcement at last night’s New York Comic Con:

I’ve finished what will be the first of two prologues for the novel this morning. Really, it’s one prologue, in two parts, seperated by a quote page. I would hope to finish a chapter a day from this point on, but I can easily tell the chapters will get longer and longer as I press on. So I can only hope to finish most of a chapter a day from this point on.

I’m really enjoying myself so far.

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Happy Doctor Who Day

April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

A quick one, sorry.

Tonight will be Doctor Who and we will rejoice. The level of Doctor Who love in this household lately is amazing, as is the level of anticipation for this new season. It seems far longer than it has been since the last season.

On a brief adventure to Casey’s last night for carbonated syrup-laced beverages, I noticed a list of outside chores Boss Lady had left for me for today. I get the joy of showing up in jeans and a t-shirt and working out in the sun all day.

Few things can compare to working outside. Such a simple pleasure. Fresh air, sunshine, the smell of freshly mowed lawns. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Early this morning, after the wife had left for work, I re-read the five thousand or so words I had completed of what will be my first novel. I was suddenly struck with a far better way to start it, however.

So I did. I opened a fresh word document and began to type, using the previously written words, in a seperate window, as a base on which to build. I was able to write a solid opening before retiring to bed. I then wrote a few more solid paragraphs when I woke up until just now, when I realized I should really get dressed and go to work.

I’m excited. I think I know how to continue now.

Onward I go. Wish me luck.

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P.P.S. I want a pony.

April 14, 2008 1 comment

When I returned home from work today, I found a note on the front door.

It read:

Dear Whoever Reads This,


I went to child friend’s name omitted‘s house to see if he could play.


Love,


Ben


P.S. I’m taking money out to buy mints.


P.P.S. I want a pony.

I fear the poor boy is inheriting my sense of humor.

After reaching a minor block in the story I plucked from my “Unfinished Fiction” folder a few days ago, I took it to the wife. I explained what the story was, where I was going, where I was blocked and what the basic idea behind it was. She added her own flair to it, by way of a few ideas she presented to me, and now I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing. So, I’ll be making notes of the wife’s ideas and putting it away for a short while to germinate.

We’ll see.

Today, however, while going through a website containing many of my older short stories (many of which I cringed at while reading), I discovered a few other things I’d like to dust off and make whole. One such thing, a novella entitled Tales From The End Of The World, has already had a chapter and a half added to it as of this morning. More on the way, very soon.

I put my writing on hold when I moved here to Minnesota. The list of priorities that come before writing include: paying bills, providing food and clothing for a child, being a good husband, etc.

The wife continues to push me in the direction of writing, saying I need to get my first novel published so we can live off the riches that would follow (I haven’t the heart to tell her novelists are vastly underpaid), but I found it very difficult to focus with things like our livelihood looming overhead. We’re beginning the slow and steady crawl out of debt and, while bills are still thrown at us at a rate much faster than we can catch them, the stress has been somewhat relieved. So, now I’m writing again and it feels great.

Maybe I’ll finish my novel.

The Writer’s Dilemma.

April 9, 2008 1 comment

It was 3:25am when the wife left for work. It was 4:00am when I finished watching The Brady Bunch. It was 4:15am when I decided to browse my “unfinished fiction” folder, a folder that is far too full for my liking. It was then 6:24am before I was able to sleep.

Why? Because I stumbled across something I hadn’t read in well over a year. Something stirred in me as I read it and I decided to continue it. So I edited what there was, about four pages, taking out certain things that didn’t work and adding things that did, until it’s current page count of nine pages and well over three thousand words.

Here is where the dilemma appears; I find myself uncertain of a few things.

I’m uncertain as to what it is I’m writing. My short stories are usually kept at around or under one thousand words. Here I am nine pages and three thousand words later and I’m uncertain as to what nature of beast sits before me.

I’m uncertain as to where to go from here. I know where I want the story to go, but it won’t go that way. If I sit back and try to let it do it’s own thing, it just sits there.

I’m uncertain as to why it chooses to come so slowly. Five pages came pouring out of me in the wee hours of the morning. Five pages and then it all came to a grinding hault.

The above things are not permanent blocks, only temporary hindrances. I will finish this piece eventually, and all writers experience what I’ve stated above, so I am not concerned. Merely frustrated.

I’m not concerned about the uncertainty of the story’s nature. How many novels started as a mere short story in someone’s mind?

I’m not concerned about the uncertainty of where to go next. There’s a certain excitement that comes along with the lack of knowledge of what happens next. It’s more adventurous that way.

I’m not concerned about the uncertainty this particular story’s annoying habit of starting then stopping. I will be rewarded with a much higher sense of accomplishment once it finally finishes.

The life of a writer.

According to this website, Spanish scientists have found the smallest planet outside of our own solar system ever discovered. It’s only 50% larger than Earth. The scientists claim it won’t be long before we’re stumbling across worlds much like Earth.

This story, about a man using a hedgehog as a weapon, has been bouncing around the internet for a couple of weeks now. Why I’m only just now posting it is a mystery.

Someone has created working color televisions for your doll house.

A homeless man in Seattle fashioned himself a home in the form of a complex and elaborate tree house, as a means of beating the system.

Well the system found him and he’s been evicted from his leafy home.

The story ends well, though. At this link.

“Filmmaker” (if you can call him that), Uwe Boll reacts to an online petition asking him to stop making movies.

How does he respond? By calling Michael Bay a “retard” and calling George Clooney’s movies “Bullshit”.

Class act.