Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things I'm Thankful For

Turkey Day. Or Ham Day if you're sick of turkey, or Frozen Dinner Day if you're tired of cooking or Stand In Line And Get At Least One Good Meal This Year Day if you're homeless and living in a major metropolitan area.

That's right, folks, it's Thursday! Or something. All I know is I got a pie here and I know how to use it. So back the fuck off.

Anyway, it's supposed to be one of those days where we give thanks for all the good things, the silver linings, the bad things that didn't turn into worse things, the good things that stayed good things and the things that might be good things if we give them half a chance to not be bad things disguising themselves as good things that then morph into the bad things they really are like Voltron or a werewolf or a Voltron Werewolf but really aren't.

I think I lost track there.

Point is that it's Thanksgiving. A time to, you know, give thanks. As opposed to presents like on Yule, Christmas, National Spank A Consenting Adult Day While Wearing A Gladiator Uniform And She's Got A Rubber Nun's Habit On.

I don't know about you, but I got a lot of Days.

And I got a lot to be thankful for.

I am not on fire.

I have no major illnesses of which I am currently aware that will make my head burst like that guy's in Videodrome.

My wonderful and amazing wife, who doesn't get just how wonderful and amazing and talented a writer she is.

I know where my pants are, including my Emergency Pants.

No one has actively threatened to kill me or desire my head on a platter (that I know of) for at least a couple of months now. Give or take.

My dogs are okay, my family is (more or less) intact, no one is currently screaming, "DEAR GOD, GET THE MONKEYS OFF ME! THE MONKEYS! MY EYES! GYAAAAAAGHHHH!" That comes later.

That I actually sold a novel. Hell, that I've been given the opportunity to write another one for money. Real money, not like those counterfeit hundreds I give out to the strippers, either.

For all the new friends I've made. People who, for some reason, have my back, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that I've never actually met most of them.

For the opportunity to be helping out on Needle with some very cool people.

Did I mention that I'm not on fire? I think that's kind of an important point.

And lots of other things I'm just not caffeinated enough to remember.

How about y'all? What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Which They Let Me Out Of My Cage - Loscon 37

Thanksgiving. A time for gorging and puking in a vast orgy of consumption just like our Roman forefathers intended. Shrieking wordlessly in terror as a giant Justin Bieber floats down Central Park West on its way to consume the citizens of New York, tossing hapless passersby into its puffy, bloody maw. And then the gladiatorial combat as packs of wild barbarians murder each other with their bare hands all in a desperate bid to possess that most elusive of treasures, the inflated pig's bladder.

But what about the day after? There's only so much yakking into a porcelain lined vessel one can do. At some point it gets a little dull. The party's over, the inflated gods of pop culture recede back into their year-long slumber, the woodland fowl once more finding a respite from the ravages of religious outcasts.

Well, if you're in L.A. and you're a geek (the sitting around wondering in what positions Vulcans do it during Pon-farr, not the bite the heads off chickens kind... though I suppose there's a Venn Diagram in there somewhere) come on out to the LAX Marriott to Loscon 37 and hang out with your fellow basement dwellers and see FREAKS LIKE ME!

No, really. Making an ass of myself. A skill I've spent many years honing to a fine broken glass-like edge.

I'll be up there. In front of people. TALKING. Muttering and gibbering more like. How the fuck did that happen?

Marvel! As I speak on things I know nothing about!

Cower! As I match wits with people smarter than I!

Metabolize! As you digest the vapidity of my autistic speaking patterns!

Friday at 7:30 p.m. - Horror Tropes as Social Commentary
Godzilla was about the horrors of the atom bomb. Zombie movies have commented on robotic consumerism. Vampirism has been used as a metaphor for AIDS. Let's take a look at the messages that writers and directors have slipped in between the chills and gore.

It'll be me, the lovely and talented Maria Alexander and a bunch of people I don't know, yet: Cody Goodfellow, Allison Lonsdale, Tadao Tomomatsu.

Got suggestions? I got a list here, somewhere. And five bucks to the first person who correctly guesses the time it takes for somebody to bring up zombies.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. – The Fine Art of Writing Short Stories
Everybody believes they can write a short story. But writing a good one, worthy of publication in an anthology or magazine is a craft of its own. Get tips on the best way to use an economy of words to tell a compelling story of any size.

I'll be giving WRITING ADVICE. Yeah, me. HA! There's a good idea.

"Use words. Lots of 'em. And exclamation points. Oh, and fanfic. Lots of fanfic. Editors eat that shit up. And if they don't, write them back and call them dipshits. Because, you know, none of them ever talk to each other. And mention that reading you did at Borders for your writing class."

Thank god there are real writers on the panel. Will Morton, Larry Niven, Laura Frankos, and Juliette Wade

Saturday 4:00 p.m. – A jury of peers - When to join a critique group.
Congrats! You've finished your story. Ready to have someone else read it? How about joining a Critique Group? Learn the benefits and pitfalls from those who have been through it all.

Oh, the headiness of a writing group. The blind leading the blind, the people who "just don't get it", the ones who think your story of love and loss and a young woman's sexual awakening would do much better if you set it in the context of a pre-Roman agrarian society invaded by space aliens.

Come to think of it, I'd read that.

Anyway, I will be joined into the collective hive mind of Ace Hall, Sarah Beach, James C. Glass, and Laurie Tom.

So come on down and make fun of my mental infirmities. But don't just come for that, like you would, anyway.

Instead experience the Steampunk wonders and bar-raising (as opposed to barn raising) intellects of guests of honor Phil Foglio and Emma Bull.

Either way, I'll be spending most of my time drunk in the bar.

Monday, November 22, 2010

That's What They Mean By Body Surfing

Venice, CA

Venice is home to some of the priciest, trashiest real estate in Southern California. Drug houses share blocks with architectural marvels, the homeless and the hipsters pass each other on the street. It's a tough call which one brings the character of the place down more. Venice 13 and the Shoreline Crips call it home.

At least until you get to the canals.

Between Pacific and Ocean, Washington and Venice they criss-cross through this tiny community of homes in the two to three million dollar range. Rows of apartments and cheaper homes block the view like pawns guarding kings. With only one entrance and one exit for cars if you don't know it's there you may never find it. And the rich men and women who live there like it that way.

So imagine their surprise when they find a corpse floating by their front doors.

The body of a thirty-something male in a black jogging suit was found in the Grand Canal Saturday morning. Cause of death hasn't been determined, yet. Or how he got there.

L.A. County Lifeguards went in after him with a rescue surfboard and sort of, you know, surfed him to the shore. No word on whether he was hanging ten at the time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Teaching His Boy A Trade

Burbank, CA

When you're taking your child out for an afternoon stroll, it's important to pack the necessities. Bottle, diaper bag, slim jim.

Frederic Strobel, 31, was arrested yesterday while taking his two-year-old out for a walk. He allegedly walked the stroller past a car, broke in, stole a GPS and some CDs and then strolled himself and his young ward away.

I see what he's doing and he should be lauded not locked up.

You can't start an education early enough. Sure, the kids verbal skills don't extend far beyond "Eeeeengh," but frequent exposure sticks.

For example, I'm sure the child will know exactly what to do when he gets arrested for the first time.

Thanks for those important lessons, pop! You're a peach.

Friday, November 12, 2010

John Hornor Jacobs And His Southern Gods

So I'm sitting around in my boxers the other day having a pineapple, ketamine and psychotic-break fueled vision quest hanging with my dead ancestors and a handful of Polynesian gods and I start thinking, "You know what we need?"

"What?" I say. Psychotic break, remember?

And I say, "More insanity."

"You're sitting in your underwear talking to yourself. You really think MORE madness is the way to go here?"

"And more gods."

"Moho just ate the cat and Pele's setting fire to the furniture. Again. I think we're good on that front."

"No, you're not listening. I mean GODS. Nasty, brutal, rip your mind and soul to shreds type gods. The wailing and gnashing. The mad piping of Yog-Sothoth. Shit like that."

"Dude, you're fucked up."

Be that as it may, I stand by that. And now my prayers have been answered. In the gibbering, half-mad form of John Hornor Jacobs with his novel SOUTHERN GODS which just got picked up by Night Shade Books.
Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle for a Memphis mob boss when a local DJ hires him to find Ramblin' John Hastur, a mysterious blues man whose dark, driving music - broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station - is said to make living men insane and dead men rise.

Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur's trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil.

But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he'll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell...
If you don't pee yourself in spastic excitement at the need to read this book RIGHT THE FUCK NOW then I just don't know you, anymore.

Congrats, John. Can't wait to read the book.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Not So Happy Ending

Rolling Hills Estates, CA

Everybody gets stressed. Even the rich. Especially the rich. All that money to hoard, all those immigrant nannies to hide. They need to relax, take a load off, get a massage.

But not just any massage. No, that would never do. It has to be good. No. Great. And exotic.

They need the Crystal Spa, "The Most Enjoyable Asian Massage in Town"

And considering that they've just been closed by the city on allegations of prostitution, I think we can all say that's a pretty goddamn fine massage.

Police in Rolling Hills Estates closed the spa down after an investigation where they caught (entrapped) one of the masseuses accepting $60.00 for a "sex act".

Apparently the Daily Breeze can't say handjob.

And sixty dollars? In Rolling Hills? Jesus, folks, aim a little higher. Sixty bucks is pocket lint for these people.

I wonder what tipped off the cops. Maybe their tag line? And now that "The Most Enjoyable Asian Massage in Town" is gone, where will these well to do gentlemen of leisure get their $60.00 happy endings?

Oh, the tribulations of the rich. My heart goes out to you exploiters of the immigrant labor force. Truly, it does.

Yeah, That'll Win Her Over

Pico Riviera, CA

If you ask the woman of your dreams if she'll marry you, and she says no, respect the decision. Take it with maturity and grace. Learn something from the experience. Become a better person.

Do NOT attempt to run her over in a car that has the words, "WILL YOU MARRY ME" painted on the back, and then, after you've missed her, try to speed away on those two blown out tires you somehow managed to get because not only are you a violent, impulse-ridden dipshit but you drive like an epileptic on crack.

Just a suggestion.

Francisco Hernandez, 22, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after trying to run down the aforementioned young lady after she refused his request in the parking lot of The Burger Stop on Slauson.

Yes, The Burger Stop.

I wonder if it occurred to him that maybe she was holding out for something a little more dramatic? Like the McDonald's next door, or the Chuck E Cheese down the street.

How about that strip at the end of the block? Oh, wait, they got shut down for prostitution about a year ago. There's a lost opportunity.

I don't know what her problem is. I mean, who doesn't want to get a proposal at the Burger Stop? Chicks dig that.